Monday, December 17, 2018

My Christmas List this year

Looking for any last-minute gift ideas?  Maybe my list will help!



My family keeps asking me what I want this year, but the only things that come to mind is stuff for Haddie so I spent some time (way too long seeing as Christmas is, um, next week) figuring out what I want.  Now that I have created my list, I actually really want all of these things!

Most everything here can still be delivered in time for Christmas, so hopefully it will give you (or your significant others) some good ideas! Here's what I'm hoping for this year:

  • A new bottle of Chance by Chanel (I prefer the Eau de Toillette to the Parfum, and I like the smaller 1.7oz bottle as it keeps longer since I don't wear perfume as often anymore)
  • Mommy and Me beanies - I can't wait to take cute winter pics with Haddie in the new year!
  • Gift card for new glasses from Zenni 
  • Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit - appears to be out of stock everywhere, grrrr -- let me know if you find it anywhere!!
  • Fur-lined Birkenstocks - because I wear sandals in winter.  Don't judge me!
  • "Becoming" by Michelle Obama
  • Barefoot Dreams robe
  • Fuzzy socks and functional socks - I love these
  • Photo albums with lots of slots
  • Maryland crab magnet for our car (everyone has these here and I've been dying for one!)
  • A "baby on board" sticker for our car
  • Lush bath bombs and bubble bars
  • A piece from the Harry Potter Lenox Christmas Village
  • Live-in high-waisted Zella leggings

and my dream is one of these fireplaces!

*This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you*

Friday, November 30, 2018

5 on Friday



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.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ten plaid holiday dresses for baby girls

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!


Thursday, November 22, 2018

What I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving




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!


Friday, November 9, 2018

5 on Friday

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??





Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reader beware: ghost stories!

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. 

Mary
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?

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Haddie's 9 month update







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!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Five for Friday: Cleaning Edition


~* 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!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A week in Ohio and Indiana

Well, Blogtober is going just about as well as I imagined it would, ha.  I totally had intentions to blog during our trip but I never even got my Chromebook out of the bag!

We had a great long trip home. We left last Saturday and returned this past Sunday.  We spent 2 days with my family in Ohio and then headed to Indiana to Bill's grandma's house for 3 days, then back to Ohio for the duration. It was a lot of driving - 8 hrs to and from DC, then 4 hours to and from Indiana for a total of 24 hours, not including all of the stops for food, bathroom breaks, diaper changes and baby feedings! I'm glad we got those new tires on our car!  I'm also glad that we got the new carseat.  It some adjusting, but I think she was happy to have more room to stretch out and sit upright.

Anyways, to recap the trip in full detail would take a lot of posts so I'm going to just attempt to catch the highlights and hope this post isn't a million words long. So, the highlights:


  • Playing lots of games with my family. 


  • Eating my mom's delicious food. She made lemon orzo chicken (a recipe I think I'll be sharing soon!), spaghetti (my fave), beef stew, and the best ribs ever.  One night we also got wings from the best local wing spot, Wings & Rings. 


  • Spending time with my grandma.


My heart!!



  • Haddie meeting Bill's grandma for the first time!




  • Hanging on the farm in Indiana with Bill's family, including his cousin's new baby! 





  • Looking through his grandpa's old photos.  

This is his grandpa on a break home from the war



  • Early morning coffee at Winan's with Amy!  She happened to be in the area for work and I was dying to see her over our trip, so we made it work.  8:30 coffee made me feel very adult, lol.



  • Playing some Keno at 311 Drafthouse.



  • A few rounds of croquet with the fam.


All bundled up to watch the game



Haddie's view of the course!



  • Playing with the best bowls and ladles!




  • Lots of sink baths! I will definitely miss being able to stand up to bathe her.





  • Grocery shopping with Mom.  For some reason, this always takes an inexplicably long time with her, but it was great to spend quality time with her and it was oddly comforting to shop in my hometown stores. 



  • Got a haircut!  I always like to get my hair cut at home because it's a fraction of the DC prices.  I actually chopped a lot off, around 6-7 inches.  Haddie was always pulling it and it was looking scraggly and getting tangled.  I don't miss it at all! 





  • My mom took 2 days off of work so we got some quality time in during the week, a treat!



  • Shopped cute little stores in Troy with Bill and Mom and grabbed lunch on the square.



  • My brother came home for the last 2 days that we were home!  He went off to college this year and it was very weird the first week with his room all empty. It was so good to spend time with him.



  • My parents really wanted to introduce Bill to Maid-Rite in Greenville, which is a local diner that sells loose meat hamburgers.  It's been around forever, it's exterior walls are covered in gum, and it's always crowded.  It's definitely an experience!  I'm glad we went, though I'm not sure how much he liked them, haha.  






  • I'll be writing more about this soon, but we went to the pumpkin patch!




  • I spent an evening making copies of some of my favorite recipes of my mom's.  I'm really excited to make some of her meals for Bill.
  • Last but not least, Kyle came home on our last night in town and we played games.  It was great to see him and catch up!





The lowlights of the trip included me accidentally eating dairy which caused Haddie to get violently ill for a few hours one day.  I've never seen a baby throw up so much and you could tell she felt truly horrible.  I officially feel like a real mother now that I've been vomited on.  My poor little brother was sick as a dog from allergies -- you could barely hear him when he spoke because his voice was totally gone. My sister wasn't able to come home at all.  She recently started teaching at a new school and she's in a musical so she couldn't grab time off.  The temperatures were very extreme - the first 3/4 of the trip was hot, like nearing 90, and then the last few days were cold, near freezing in the morning with highs around 55.  I was glad to experience real fall weather, but I didn't pack for it so I was pretty chilly. There was a spider in my bed and a spider in my shower at my parents, and then a spider in the sink at Bill's grandmas!  Finally, my dad's barber Bruce died.  You might think that this last piece isn't big news, but it actually is.  He's been his barber for literally 45 years and if I had been a boy, I would have been named after him.  That's right, I would have been named Bruce Kruse.  RIP Bruce. :(

We were home for a long time, but no matter how long I'm there, it's never enough time.  I have been feeling really homesick lately so I was grateful to be there, but the trip didn't do much to help - now I just miss it more than ever!  I've been wishing so badly that we lived closer to home for the past few years and having Haddie has made it so much worse.  My grandma is my only grandparent left and I want to spend more time with her.  Our dog is 14, my parents and aunts/uncles aren't getting any younger, and there's a variety of issues throughout my family. My mom kept mentioning how hard it is that all her kids live away from home and I never got it before but I do now.  I also just really love my hometown and my home state.  Everything feels easier there and safer.  I love the space and the beautiful skies and scenery.  BUT, I don't live there -- we live here, our life is here, and I want to make this place feel like home.  Breastfeeding hormones don't help when you feel homesick, or really when you feel any feeling at all - it feels like everything is magnified! Woof.  Didn't mean to end this post on a bad note, but like to keep it real!

To sum it up, we had a fun family trip and I cannot wait to go back.

Does anyone else live far away from home and struggle with it?  Any tips to make it easier when you have kids but live far away?

Friday, October 5, 2018

5 for Friday

~* 1 *~

I've decided to change the title of these posts to Five for Friday.  The name is as an ode to Five for Fighting -- I used to love his songs.  (Little known fact that Five for Fighting isn't a group, but just one individual). Now his songs make me kind of sad, almost like they are too nostalgic, but they hold a special place in my heart!

Ok ~*1.5*~ because that was a lame first one

I just started reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and so far I'm loving it.  This is the first of his books that I've read which is both surprising and embarrassing given how much I love history.  I'm particularly loving this one because it takes place in my home city of Dayton, Ohio!  The first few chapters have been describing life in Dayton in the early 1900s and I'm absolutely eating it up.  I'll report back when I'm finished, but so far so good.  I've learned a lot, like Wilbur and Orville had 3 siblings!  Who knew?  Have you read this one?


~* 2 *~

Yesterday, I went to my first-ever estate sale and boy was it an experience.  It was basically like a garage sale except everything in the house was on sale.  If you're not familiar, they are usually held after someone passes away, or sometimes after a divorce or other life event.  I ended up buying some dish towels and a brand new tea box. That, however, is not the point of my tale.

So, there I was in the kitchen, looking through the cupboards that said "open me, good stuff inside!"  I opened one of of the cupboards with my right hand, when I would normally use my left, but I was holding Haddie and somehow my ring finger got stuck.  Like, really stuck!  I tried in vain for a good 5 minutes to pry it out, but there was no hope.  Eventually I had to call to one of the women running the sale and a whole crew came over and ultimately used a screwdriver to remove the knob.  One of the women exclaimed "this is certainly an estate sale first!" Mortifying.

Honestly, HOW???

 Then, as I was trying to check out, they told me I needed to download an app to pay.  No problem, I say, and go to pull out my phone which is... missing.  I knew that I had it in the house because I took the above photo.  I searched everywhere I could think of and before I knew it, everyone in the house was looking for it-- the team working as well as other shoppers.  We called it a million times and eventually someone found it in a washcloth drawer in the kitchen!  I paid and hightailed it out of there in embarrassment.

In my defense, I read an article about tips for your first estate sale(!) and one of them was to not bring your purse.  I needed my phone in case I found something worth checking with Bill about.  Every single other shopper in the house had a big ol' purse, so I won't be following that tip next time.


~* 3 *~

I have spend most of my "free" time over the last week catching up on Grey's Anatomy. I watched this show religiously in it's heyday. In college, my friends and I would gather on Thursday nights to watch it together and I also owned all of the seasons on DVDs that I played nonstop, much to my roommates' chagrin. I lived for that show.  Then when the "new" batch of interns (April, Jackson, etc) came on, I lost interest, plus I got tired of being sad every episode. A few years ago, I caught back up and then when Derek died I declared that I was officially done with Grey's.  Well, as I mentioned awhile ago, I was attempting to watch all of ER, but it just made me miss Grey's so I decided to start back up where I left off and boy am I glad that I did!  It's so good.  I'm currently nearing the end of season 13 and it's seriously really good.  I am so into it!  I still don't like how sad some of the episodes are (anything involving babies or old people kills me) but nevertheless, I'm hooked.  Do you still watch Grey's?


~* 4 *~

We are headed home to Ohio to visit my family for a few days and then we are heading to Indiana to see Bill's grandma, and then back to Ohio for a few more days!  It's going to be a whirlwind trip, but I am so looking forward to being back in the Midwest.  There is truly nothing like fall in Ohio.  We are planning to go to the pumpkin patch one day and I could not be more excited about that!




~* 5 *~

In prep for our road trip, we bought Haddie's convertible car seat today! After a ton of research, we ended up going with the Graco Extend2Fit.  Have you used this one?  Do you like it?  I went back and forth for a long time because we have been trying to use non-toxic products, which this is decidedly not.  All car seats have flame retardants on them.  There are a couple brands that use less toxic ones, but they are out of our budget.  I also figured it's probably not any worse than the pack 'n play she's been sleeping in for months sooo I bought it.  Other than that, it seems like a great car seat.  I've read a lot of great reviews and it seems especially good for tall babies (up to 5 inches extra leg room!).  It's also a slimmer-fit model of car seat which I'm hoping will give up some extra space in our car.  For an SUV, it is surprisingly small inside.

Linking up with Katie



Disclosure: this post includes Amazon affiliate links - I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Blogtober & Weekending

Right after I hit publish on my post yesterday, I stumbled across #Blogtober, a challenge in which bloggers attempt to write every day during October.  Well, I know me and you know me, and we all know that this probably isn't going to happen, but I'm going to do my best to use this as an opportunity to get back into the habit of writing often.

One of the linkups I've always enjoying doing is Weekending with Biana so I'm hoping to make this a regular feature.  I missed the time to actually join the linkup this week, but that's ok! Without future ado...


Apparently this past weekend was the last one of September.  Who knew?  I don't even feel like September happened. Seriously, if it wasn't for our anniversary, I don't think I'd believe that it really happened.

I spent much of the weekend with an ice pack attached to my arm because I got stung by a hornet or something last Wednesday -- it's still not quite healed yet.   

THURSDAY

I know that the weekend didn't really start Thursday, but Friday was one of Bill's Fridays off.  He gets every other Friday off because he works an extra hour each day.  It's a great perk of his job, especially since Haddie was born.

We started our long weekend with dinner at Sakuramen with my cousin Nick!  He was in town for a conference. It was great to catch up with him!  Ramen is something Bill and I both love but that we have been hesitant to try since having Haddie -- it's really crowded, a little hot & stuffy, and we were worried about her being around the hot broth, but it all went fine.  She was literally a perfect angel and just sat smiling in her carseat the whole time.

FRIDAY

We didn't really do very much on Friday.  Bill took the the car into the shop in the morning and learned that we had to replace all 4 tires.  A fun expense we weren't expecting.

We spent the rest of the day just hanging out and relaxing.  We ordered Chinese for dinner (which we used to do all the time, but now it's a rare treat), played a game of Scrabble (I lost) and then watched a couple episodes of Ozark before bed.

SATURDAY

Saturday morning, Haddie and I headed into the city for a baby food event with Raised Real. Because we hadn't gotten the new tires on the car yet, we took the train.  It was her very first train ride! I've been nervous about taking her on the metro, but she did great and it wasn't as hard to navigate the stroller as I thought it might be.  We then had to walk about 10 blocks to the event and it was hot out so I was struggling.  It happened to be National Coffee Day, so I grabbed some Starbucks even though I was hot and it was delish.

The event itself was ok -- the company makes bags of pre-cut frozen meals for babies.  All you have to do is steam and blend them.  I was pretty excited to try the food, but it wasn't really that tasty to me or Haddie.  There were some odd ingredients.  I think we'll just stick to our basic recipes! There was a play area where she met a couple new friends and we took some pics.  Then it was back out into the heat for the trek back home.  All in all, it was fun to get out of the house and into the city, but not sure it was worth the metro commute.

Noooot my favorite picture of me lol


I ended up with a migraine for most of the rest of the day, so that sucked, but I whipped up one of my mom's easy dishes for dinner, which my family calls Choo-Choo Wheels.  Not even totally sure why - guessing because you use wheel-shaped pasta, my little brother called it that?  Anyways it's pasta wheels with ground beef cooked with onion, tomato sauce, ketchup, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese (which I left off mine since I'm dairy free at the moment). It was the perfect comfort food!

SUNDAY

I woke up feeling much better and it's a good thing because I had shopping to do!  There's a sale near us called The Wee Sale and it's a semi-annual kids consignment sale.  I had gone to the sale on Wednesday for the new mom shop and got some good stuff, but I really struck gold on Sunday which was the 50% off sale. I got there around 9 and shopped for nearly 3 hours.  I had sooo much stuff in bags that I sorted through and pared down.  I ended up with the following: 21 shirts and dresses, 5 pairs of pants, 4 coats/jackets (including a beautiful fur winter coat, red pea coat, a really good quality jeans jacket, and a raincoat), 2 sleepers, her Halloween costume, 6 parenting books, 2 baby books, a tugboat toy for the bath, 2 brand new glass bottles, a Infantino baby carrier, and a bag full of babyproofing stuff for the house, all for $107.  I didn't add up all the stuff I got on Wednesday, but I got a babyfood maker, tons of long-sleeved onesies, sweatpants, outfits, 3 Halo sleep sacks, a beautiful brand new dress that we might use for her baptism, 2 vests, and more! I never have been into thrifting or used clothes, but I really love this particular sale.  Many of the moms shopping are the people who consigned their clothes there and they screen the items so you know you're not getting things that are too old or worn.  Babies grow out of things so quickly that it really helps to buy used.




I can't remember what else we did on Sunday, but I was pretty exhausted from the sale.

HADDIE'S HAPPENINGS

This weekend, Haddie had her first cold.  Luckily the worst of it only lasted 24 hours but it was so sad to see her struggling to breathe, especially while she nursed.  She had a fever and her eyes were all red.  She was croupy and sounded hoarse, but like I said, she got better fast!

She started pulling herself up and standing this weekend!  Not sure I'm ready for that yet, haha.



How was your weekend?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Changes and improvements

Hi there, internet friends, long time no talk! You will notice a few changes around here over the coming weeks. I figured the start of fall was the perfect time for a little re-launch.



The blog will be getting a face-lift at some point this week, so be on the lookout for that. More importantly, though, I suddenly had an existential crisis about blogging and social media. I've been wanting to write more and I feel like I have so much to say, but I suddenly became terrified of sharing so much of our private life online. There are a lot of bad people out there in the world. I've been hearing so many horror stories lately and I no longer feel comfortable freely posting pictures and stories of my baby (and family/friends) online.  So I was stuck at a crossroads, wanting to write more than ever, and grow my blog, but also wanting to protect my family and so I've come up with a few solutions:

1) I've removed the majority of pictures that show Haddie's full face and I won't be sharing any more in the future.  I always thought it was strange when bloggers did that but hey, hi, now I'm one of them. I am also trying to figure out watermarking/copywriting pics so you'll probably see those pop up on my pics in the near future.

I'm not even 100% sure that I want to keep using her real name -- I'm open to thoughts on this.  I've obviously been using her name on here, but I could change it to a nickname or even a fake name, as I've seen other bloggers do, though that seems a little inauthentic to me.  What do you think?

2) One of the other biggest changes is that I've made my Instagram private.  I took a look at my followers and realized there were literally hundreds of people that I had no idea who they were. A lot of them seemed like fake/bot accounts, too.  It really disturbed me that these total strangers could be doing god-knows-what with my pictures.  I have since removed these followers. If you were one of them, I'm sorry -- shoot me a DM and I'll add you back. As a solution to the blog/Instagram dilemma, I decided to start a blog account so that new readers can keep up with me there! I do hope that everyone will follow my new blog account.  There's nothing there yet, but it's @ourcapitallife. I think I'll start using the stories feature more on there than I do on my personal account.

(I've also started new Pinterest and Twitter accounts, but there's no content there yet either and I can't promise how much I'll use them, so I'm not even linking to them yet).

In addition to privacy changes, there will be some slight content changes, or as I'm thinking of them, improvements! I have historically blogged a running diary of my life and I will continue this format, while safeguarding our privacy a bit. I'm also going to mix in some additional material as well. I will be writing a lot about motherhood/parenting. I told myself I would never run a "mommy blog," so my goal is not to turn this into one, but it's kind of all I have going on right now, so naturally it's going to be the focus of the blog at least for now. It won't be the sole focus, though, so please don't abandon me if you hate mom blogs! I've been cooking a lot more so I want to share some recipes and tips. I want to start taking advantage of free things around the DC area, so expect more of that. I've been reading again finally and watching a ton of tv, so I have a lot of thoughts on what I've been reading/watching, if you're into that kind of thing.

I know I've said it before, but I plan to write more and this time I really mean it! Blogging has been a hobby of mine for a long time and it makes me so happy to have this little space on the world wide web.  I've made a lot of internet friends through it and I love reading blogs myself, so I want to pay it forward by showing up and writing.  Also, in this new season of my life, my blog is one thing that has stuck with me for the past 10 years (under various titles).  It's cathartic for me to write and it's familiar, like an old friend that I'm happy to reconnect with.  I just looked and I've only blogged 6 times all year.  That's inexcusable!! So, expect more from me, and feel free to call me out if I'm quiet for too long!

With this mini-relaunch, it's a great time for me to ask you, what do you want to read about?  Do you like watching Instagram stories? Do you have thoughts on masking Haddie's identity?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Haddie: 8 Months Old

I say this every single month, but time is flying!  I cannot believe that Haddie is 8 months old.



She is really growing up and turning into more of a toddler every day.  She sits up very well, she crawls, she has 2 teeth, she's alert and interested and does things intentionally now (ie will see something she wants and grab it or she'll stack blocks).  One thing I love so much that she does now is reaches up for me to pick her up.  It melts my heart every. single.  time.  She's started trying to "kiss" us which consists of her opening her mouth wide and just leaning into our face.  

Her favorite foods at the moment are peas mixed with carrots and pure butternut squash.  I have made all of her food so far with the exception of oatmeal.  So far she's had peas, carrots, butternut and acorn squash, sweet potatoes, peaches, prunes, pears, apples, oatmeal, green beans (hated them), and broccoli (hated it). There are more foods that she's able to have starting at 8 months, so I'm excited to introduce her to more foods. 

Her favorite activities include drinking water (out of glasses), crawling around our living room, tormenting the cat, watching Outdaughtered on TLC (I really don't let her watch a lot of tv, but she's obsessed with those babies!), guitar time with dad, pretending to walk/run while we hold her arms, and baths.  She used to hate baths, but now that she can sit up, she loves splashing around and she actually cries when I take her out. Over the past few months, she's taking up growling which is both cute and a little disturbing (jk).  She started out doing it when the cat would walk by her, but now she growls pretty much any time.  It sounds a little bit like a baby zombie.  Perfect for the Halloween season, I suppose!

Dislikes include dirty diapers (duh, who would like that?), sitting in her high chair unless she's actively eating, long car rides, and teething, obviously.

Firsts this month:  crawling, swing rides, first playdate, first ride in the seat of the shopping cart. She also only uses the "big girl" stroller now (we don't clip her carseat into the base anymore).

One moment from the past month that I never want to forget is one night Bill was refilling the cat's food container and he accidentally dumped some cat food on his desk.  The cat came running and was eating right off of the desk and Haddie just starting shrieking with laughter as if it was the funniest thing she has ever seen.  I wish I could just bottle up her happiness and listen to it forever! She also got a real kick the other day of the mailman driving by when we happened to be standing at the end of the drive and he just handed Bill our mail.  She screamed with laughter.  So cute!

Over the next month, we are going to move her to her room at night (she currently sleeps in a pack n play in our room), move her to the next step of carseat, and babyproof the house!

A few (or, um... 20) pics from the past month:






















Sunday, September 16, 2018

Asheville and Lake Jocassee 2018



During the last week of July, we went to Lake Jocassee, South Carolina with my dad's dad's side of the family.  The lake is special to me, as we went every summer from the time I was 6 to 18 and we have been back a few times since then, so I was excited to bring Haddie there for the first time.

The trip didn't quite go as planned, but we made the best of it.  A couple of weeks before the trip, my dad's boat broke down and it wasn't possible to get it fixed in time.  In fact, it might not ever be able to be fixed which makes us really sad because it was my grandpa's boat and we have so many great memories on it.  We had to rent a tiny boat which was expensive and just NOT what we are used to -- it only fit a few people on it at a time, there was nowhere to lounge, plus it was hard to get off and on.  First world problems, right?

My best friend from home was supposed to join us, but at the last minute he had to cancel because of work.  That was a major bummer since we have talked about him coming with us for like 15 years!

Then, the night before we were supposed to leave, Haddie spiked a fever and she was crying every time I changed her diaper.  We took her to urgent care at 10pm and she turned out to have a bad UTI.  They gave us some antibiotics which cured her, but it took her awhile to fully recover so she was pretty fussy and out of sorts during the trip. I spent a lot of the trip in our villa rocking, nursing, and singing to her.  Fun!

Before we joined up with our family, Bill and I went to our favorite city, Asheville!  We booked the best Airbnb.  I was so pleased with it.  Hotels and inns were astronomically priced, so I started looking at Airbnbs.  I wanted one where we had the whole place to ourselves, but couldn't find one that we could afford.  On a whim, I looked at "private room" ones and found ours.  While it was technically a room, it was more of an in-law suite and it was completely separate from the rest of the house. It had it's own bathroom and a kitchenette.  It was so clean, had the cutest decorations and amenities, and it was really just perfect.  If you're ever in Asheville, I highly recommend Michelle's place!

We ended up getting in pretty late so we just went to bed when we got in.  Over the next day and a half, we shopped, dined and hit some breweries.  On Saturday, we hit our most favorite shops:  Kress Emporium art store, Asheville Bee Charmer, Battery Park Book Exchange, and Bill's favorite coin shop.  I was sad to see that my favorite body care shop, The Laughing Mermaid, had closed.  We stopped into a hot sauce shop to find a birthday present for my dad and I had to sign a waiver called "The End."  My entire body was on fire! I bought him a bottle and it was a huge hit. We ate lunch at our old favorite, Wicked Weed and then finally tried White Duck Taco for dinner.  We ordered several different tacos and my favorite was the Korean Beef Bulgogi.  The next day, we tried The Rhu for breakfast where I got the best strangest-sounding thing - a jelly & bacon sandwich on sweet potato brioche -- YUM.  On Saturday, in addition to Wicked Weed, we hit the Funkatorium and Bhramari for sour beers (for me).  Bhramari also had a beer that was brewed with pizza.  It was... strange.  We finished off our short stay with a trip to New Belgium Brewery.  One of Bill's best friends is a rep for them in NY State and they also happen to make one of Bill's very favorite beers, Citradelic. I found a new favorite here, Passionfruit Foeder Saison, but unfortunately they only sell it on tap and you can't get a growler of it.

After a stop at Target, we made a very rainy drive to the lake, checked into our very own villa (!) and then settled in.  Seeing family was so fun and everyone was excited to see (or meet) Haddie.

It was cold and rainy the first few days.  We stayed inside and played cards, drank wine, and ate great food.  Each night a different family makes a meal.  Since we had our very own villa for the first time ever, that meant that we were responsible for one night.  We took the second night and made goulash, salad, and garlic bread.  This also meant that I had to partake in the world's longest grocery shopping experience with my mom and sister -- we were gone practically the whole day!

My final "complaints" are that the water level was up really high so a lot of the waterfalls and beaches that we normally visit were nonexistent and also that there were a lot of people on the lake.  In the past, it felt like our own personal paradise.  Well, now the lake keeps being listed in lists of "best secret lakes" or "hidden gem" which makes it no longer... secret or hidden.  I selfishly want to keep it to ourselves, but I am glad that other people get to enjoy it.

Once the weather cleared, Haddie was feeling a little better, and I recovered from cooking dinner (lol), things started to be a bit more fun!

Haddie loved swimming in the lake!  She had a couple of little floats that she was able to go in by herself and she cracked us up splashing around and kicking her legs.  She also loved to sit on a float with me.

Some of our highlights included Haddie's first boat ride (though she slept through the whole ride -- I'm not sure she was ever awake on the boat!  She fell asleep as soon as we got on the water!), hanging out at a beach across the lake, an afternoon just boating and floating, Haddie playing with my cousins' babies, jumping off the "Jumping Off Rock," splashing around in our lagoon, and my very favorite day was actually the day after we had to return the boat.  We swam and floated in the area below our villa and it was just so relaxing! We ended the last night with a party at our villa including smores over the firepit in our back patio.

People like to tell us that traveling with kids isn't a vacation, it's just traveling, so Bill and I tried hard to make sure we didn't feel this way.  We both made sure the other had time to relax and play at the lake, but it was definitely a different trip this year.

Here are some snaps from our trip:

































Do you vacation on lakes or do you prefer the ocean? Have you ever been to Asheville? Any tips to make traveling with kids feel more like a vacation for the parents too?

If you ever want to visit Lake Jocassee, we stay at Devil's Fork State Park in the villas!