Friday, February 26, 2016

SQT: Loooove edition

Linkup time! We're sticking with the theme of the month because frankly, things have been going pretty well around here (despite the colds making a third round), and I'm savoring it for all it's worth.

1. Valentine's day was this month! I love love, and I love Joel. We were so excited to host my brother-in-law for the weekend so the brothers could have some quality time and I could... well, do what I always do, I guess. It was so much fun to have him here and the girls just loved having their uncle around. A few days into the next week, Joel and I celebrated our third Valentine's day together with a fancy dinner out, kid free and everything. I kept telling him I wanted a date date, and he delivered. ;)

2. We are making over our living room! We have been dreaming of this day for basically ever (it feels like). In each of the places we've lived, we have planned the "ideal living space" for our family. I have no idea why it took us so long, given it is the room we spend the majority of our time in. We finally have the big ticket items taken care of and now we're just putting together the finishing touches. Big reveal post coming soon!!!! Here is a teaser that gives away absolutely nothing...

I'm sure the delivery guy was just protecting Our Lady from the elements.
3. During our Christmas vacation last year, my mother-in-law treated us girls to high tea. I had never been but I had a blast. I loved the tiny sandwiches, baked goods, the tea with cream and sugar (and I usually only drink tea when I'm sick!), and most of all, the teacups. I finally have a complete set, so when Joel agreed to tea for dinner, I went to work. We ended up having WAY too much food (deviled eggs, 3 kinds of sandwiches, 3 kinds of scones), but I was giddy through all of dinner. I can only hope the girls will appreciate it too when they're big enough.

4. Speaking of theme dinners and food experiments, Joel also just brought me into the world of fondue cooking. I had only known about it as another way to incorporate cheese or chocolate onto already cooked food, but I was missing out. We joined my mom and my sister's fan for a fondue (and tea party!) night and I was dee-licious. So much so that we had fondue at home the next night too.

5. I chopped off my hair. It was so much fun to have long, but because I'm still not quite in a rhythm with the girls, my hair was more often than not in an unwashed, unbrushed top knot. The post-pardum hair loss returned, and it became time for a change. I love my new "mom cut," but top knots are still my spirit animal.

Yes, I went to Ash Wednesday mass between the before and after shots.
6. The snow is finally melting and we are getting temps above freezing, so I officially have spring fever. Colds be damned, I am ready to get outside!

7. I've still been chipping away at the #12in12bookchallenge, finally switching it up with a little bit of a tougher read. I'll be writing more about the challenge soon, but for now I hear two little girls waking up from naps. ;)

Any tea or fondue food/recipes we should try? I'm still new at this and open to suggestions!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Monica Jane: 5 Months

Oh my sweet Monica, you are such a delight!

You are FIVE months old today. You have been getting stronger and stronger every day. You even do push ups pretty much just like I do. You want to sit up so bad but you're not quite there yet. Soon, though dear! For now you're flipping over in about half a second and lifting your head and shoulders off the floor in an attempt to sit up on your own. You have amazing ab strength. #fitspiration.

Your hair is coming back in and, we guessed right, it's significantly lighter than your sister's. Your eyes are still blue but I just noticed the tiniest speck of brown in them, so who knows what color they will end up. No matter what color they are, they sparkle big time.

I love how easily you smile. You looooove your feet: kicking them around, playing with them, chewing on them, or letting us use them to tickle your chest (flexible much?!). You can reach out and grab things pretty quickly now, including (but not limited to) our faces, my phone, my food, Daddy's glasses, and anything that lights up. We're moving big sis to her booster seat and before you know it, the high chair will be all yours.

You love to snuggle, but only if you're upright. Unless you're sleeping... you take lots of cat naps on my lap when your tummy is full. And that tummy though... Your soft skin and little rolls melt me. In a big way. I can't stop kissing you all over and I have no intention to start trying to stop now.

Daddy and I figured out that the fastest way to get you to sleep is by changing your diaper (which you also LOVE) and making a constant "shhhhhh" in your ear. It kind of soothes me too, so thank you for that.

I love you so much, princess!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Five Favorites: Skin care

I love the midwest, but Iowa winter weather is horrendous for skin. The air is dry, the wind is strong, and temperatures frequently drop well below zero. As a result, by lips are chapped, my skin is dry, and my knuckles look like I have been salving away on... well, something labor intensive.

My skin has always been dry, but it has definitely gotten worse over the past couple of years. I'm linking up this week with Ashley at The Big White Farmhouse to share my essentials for surviving the blustery winter months... and the rest of the year too.

1. Water - Dry air and dehydration can be fought from the inside out. Drinking buckets of water works WONDERS for your skin. I am a believer after watching this video. Cheap, healthy, natural, and effective!

2. Carmex - Has anyone seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Remember how the father uses Windex to fix EVERYTHING? Well, Carmex is my grandpa's cure all and now I swear by it for chapped lips, cold sores, rug burns... it's basically my vaseline but in convenient little tubes (stashed everywhere around my house).

3. Norwegian formula hand cream - Joel told me this stuff was amazing, but up until I used it I figured all lotions were basically the same. FALSE. A little goes a long way, but this heavy duty stuff works wonders for my sore knuckles. Props to you and your man hands, hubby.

4. Burts Bees Day Lotion - I'm picky about what I put on my face, but not picky enough to pay top dollar for super high-end products, Therefore, I use Burts Bees. Mostly natural, smells nice, and available at local drug stores. Perfect.

5. Ponds Towlettes - I used to be terrible about sleeping in my makeup. It's so bad for your skin, but I was just too lazy tired to wash it off every night. After reading some tips from Pinterest on how to wake up beautiful,  I made it more of a priority. I still wash my face daily, but these are great for cleaning off what is left on my face before crashing for the night.

What are your go-to skincare products? Feel free to share in the comments below :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What I would tell my younger self

Recently I've been reflecting on the passage of time and how much I have changed over the last few years. The number of my age is rising, but somehow I don't feel like I am growing at the same rate. Yet, at the same time, something can happen and I have to change and adapt and mature very quickly.

Sometimes I feel like I still belong back in college. I do miss those days; having most of my close friends walking distance away, copious amounts of free time, being challenged in the classroom, and no bills to pay (well, not really). But I'm not in college anymore. I still don't feel as old as my age says I am, but the older I get, the faster life seems to be moving.

These are a few things I'd like to let my younger self know.

1. You won't live forever. Don't take your health for granted. - Sure, right now you can survive off of pizza and ice cream and laugh over a glass of wine about going to the gym, but that will catch up with you faster than you think. Even little changes will make a huge difference in the long run. Skip the second slice of pie and have a salad instead.

2. There isn't an expiration date on your heart. - Why are you in such a rush to get married? Just because people around you are getting engaged before graduation doesn't mean you need to also graduate with a ring. An MRS degree is not the end all be all and when the time is right, you'll know. Don't force it because you're scared your time will run out. Trust that the right man will find you when you both are ready. Use the time until then to make yourself better. He'll like that.

3. Knowledge is important. - Grades might not matter as much "in the real world," but remembering what you learned does matter. Crash studying for a test might help you pass the class, but make sure you're still learning. Refresh your memory often, brush up on your old notes, and feed that hunger to know. If you don't foster it, it might fade away. And that would be tragic.

4. Know your priorities. - They might change, but keep them in mind at all times and let them drive your choices. Sainthood, family, travel, career... whatever it may be, keep losing forward. Your dreams don't have to be reserved for sleep.

5. Follow your heart but take your head with you. - Trust your gut, but use common sense. You'll save yourself a lot of tears, time, and money that way.

And to my present self:

It's not too late. - You're not that old. You can still be spontaneous. You can still travel. You can still have adventures. They might not look the same as you had pictured five or ten years ago, but your life didn't end when you decided to settle down. Get in shape, savor a weekend away, take a family vacation, try something new. Your future self will thank you for it.