Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thankful Part 3

It's the last installment of my "thankful" series! It's been fun to reflect on all the good things in life over the last several weeks and I am sure I will do more reflecting as we gather with our family this week!

21. The best thing I tasted yesterday was the Thai chicken salad I had for lunch. There is an awesome salad place in my building that makes the most delicious salads. They are not cheap but it's a lot of work to chop all those ingredients! I've given myself a pass on bringing lunches to work over the last 4 weeks as life has been crazy with all the house stuff. After this week I want to get back to bringing lunch 4 times/week. But sometimes you have to cut yourself some slack!

22. I love going online to connect with friends. I have met so many wonderful people through blogging. I can't imagine my life without them. I wish I was able to see them in person but I still feel very connected to them even though we don't see each other in person.

23. I'm grateful for the way these things feel: my heated blanket, the new cozy comforter I bought for our bed, holding Paul's warm hand in mine, and big hugs from Phil.

24. Yesterday I felt supported (by a person, the Universe, God) when Phil fixed our shower head. It's a little thing, but it's really nice to have someone to fix things when they go wrong. Phil has done a lot of that between buying and selling a home and I'm very grateful for him. I'm also grateful that he does all the snow removal as we are in the midst of our first real winter storm!

25. When I look around my home, I'm grateful for everything! I truly love our new home and I think we will be here for the long haul. The floor plan is so perfect for us and I just love all the character that our home has, like the window seat between the kitchen and dining room.

26. When I look around at the world, I'm grateful for so many things. My health and the health of my family members, good health insurance and kind doctors, our beautiful home, our ability to put food on our table and give Paul everything he needs, and our supportive family. This is a time of year when I am especially cognizant of how very, very lucky we are. There are so many who don't have a home or can't afford groceries or have strained family relationships, or all of the above!

27. I love that I have the ability to daydream about future vacations. Travel is such a luxury. We don't travel as much as we used to but I'm glad we can take one family trip/year and that my parents are willing and excited to join us as we love having their company!

28. I love it when I see animals when we are out on our family walks. Paul gets so excited when he sees dogs - he yells "doggie!" and says "bow wow wow." He gets excited when he sees any animal so I'm always hoping we'll see ducks on the creek. He loves to watch them! Last week we watched 3 male ducks protecting a mama duck while she took a bath in the creek.

29. The nicest thing I have felt on my skin today was my Aveda hand cream. Dry skin season has started so I am constantly putting lotion on my hands!

30. I'm grateful that I'm learning to trust God's plan and timing. This is something I am still learning. I reflect a lot on Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I spent many years metaphorically shaking my fist at God and asking why it was taking so long for my prayers to be answered. I got married and started a family so much later than most of my friends but I can't imagine a different life than the one I have! Of course it's easier to accept God's plan when some of your prayers have been answered. My heart goes out to those yearning for a partner and children. I, too, yearn for another child but I am trying to trust that our prayer for a 2nd child will be answered in 2020.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I'm thankful that you stop by here to read and comment! I'd love to hear what you are most thankful for this year!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Weekend Accomplishments

Ufda, that was an exhausting weekend, but we got A TON done. I'm actually enjoying being at work today because it's like a vacation day compared to unpacking/organizing/cleaning/etc.

Here are some of the big accomplishments of the past weekend! I don't have many pictures but eventually I'll share some when we have some new furniture in place!

- The house is 100% unpacked, as I predicted it would be. We had all the boxes emptied by Saturday morning. The worst room to unpack was the kitchen. I loaded/unloaded the dishwasher 3 times on Friday afternoon since everything had to be washed since it was wrapped in newspaper for the move. I'm pleasantly surprised with how much room our kitchen has. It's hard to get a sense for the storage a home has until you move in and start to unpack!

- We (err mostly Phil) assembled a tv stand. Our old tv stand was a hand-me-down from a college friend and was in dire need of replacing. We decided to order one from Wayfair which meant we got to assemble it. We popped open a bottle of champagne from our realtor on Friday night and made a little bit of progress on it and finished it on Saturday. It was probably 1/3 of the cost of what an already-assembled tv stand would cost so it was worth the savings. I'm happy with how it turned out. There's plenty of room for Paul's books, some of his toys, our DVDs, and the dvd player/gaming system Phil has (but never uses - he got rid of one during the move but I couldn't get him to get rid of the other...).

- I did some cleaning around the house and we figured out what minor repairs needed to be done. The previous owners took care of the house pretty well but I think our consensus is that they weren't quite as fastidious as Phil and I are about cleaning/maintenance. We also learned that leaving a house vacant for 30 days isn't optimal. The sewer drain pipe in the basement must have dried out so we had the lovely aroma of sewer gas on Friday afternoon (it needs to stay wet to provide a seal so you don't smell sewer gas). But a good cleaning - which about made me vomit from the smell (it's not raw sewage - more so stuff that goes down your bathroom sink and tub, but still gross) - and running all the showers and faucets remedied that situation.

- I put up a Christmas wreath on our front door and hug a Christmas garland on our mantel. I love the garland. Our mantel decor needs some work as it looks unbalanced with the tall "Minnesota" sign on one end. I moved one of the 8x10 photos to the far right after taking this photo but it still needs some work. I'll defer to my college friends who are coming over in December. Home decor is NOT my thing! I could put the MN sign in the middle but I want to hang a holiday wreath (to be purchase) during the Christmas season and a large mirror during the rest of the year. I'll figure something out!

- My MIL came over on Sunday so we got a photo of her with Paul and ordered her Christmas cards. I was surprised Paul would sit with her as he hasn't been keen about sitting with anyone but Phil and me. I also made a 2020 photo calendar on Shutterfly (my habit of making albums of fave photos from each month made this a breeze!) and ordered one for us and one for my MIL for a Christmas gift.

- We also ordered a bunch of furniture - 2 night stands, 2 end tables, and 2 stools for our kitchen island. Moving close to the holidays has worked to our advantage as we got great prices on everything! We still need an ottoman for our living room and a chair for the fireplace/reading nook area of our bedroom, but those are things we need to order in person at a furniture store.

Those were the big things! We also fit in family walks on Saturday and Sunday. The weather was so beautiful (in the 40s which is warm for MN in November!) so we had to take advantage of it. I collapsed into bed sore and exhausted every night!

How was your weekend? 

Friday, November 22, 2019

This Old House

Today is moving day!!! It's an exciting day and a bittersweet day - all at the same time. I have waited for this day to come for years! I'm so excited about our new home and can't wait to make it "ours."

But we will be a little bit sad to say goodbye to our house. So many landmark moments happened in this home. We'll take those memories with us, but we will miss this house. The photos I am sharing below are from the listing so it doesn't quite look like it did with our stuff - truthfully, it looks better because our realtor has amazing taste! We will be gradually upgrading our furniture and decor in the new house and hopefully it will look a bit more like this in the end - it's good to have inspiration!

The house we moved out of was built in 1915 and it was the first home in this area. It was an original farm house that was part of an area called "Lyndale Farm" - so it was surrounded by farmland, which is hard to imagine. This house has seen so much history in the last 104 years. But we sure made a lot of history and formed many memories in the last 6 years. I'll share some below.

I'll never forget trying to get up these front steps after my hip surgery in 2016. You can't tell in this picture, but the landing of the front stairs is very small and the storm door opens one way while the front door opens the other way - so it's kind of an awkward entrance. Poor Phil had to carry me into the house (it was too small/awkward of a space to try using my crtucches) while trying not to bump my hip against anything and in that moment I thought I was going to throw up from the anesthesia. Oof, that was quite the day. I moved in with Phil on a Friday and had hip surgery the following Monday so we really had a trial by fire experience of living together. But you know what? It was totally fine. A lot of people talk about how difficult it is to move in with someone but I have to say it wasn't all that hard for us! I think it helps that we are both tidy people and are super practical. There were some disagreements over which dishes to keep and whether I have too much kitchen stuff but all in all, it was pretty smooth.We were also both older (35) when we moved in together - so I think we had a good idea of what battles to pick and how to let things go.

In this living room, we got engaged! We also had many, many conversations on this couch before getting engaged. Deep conversations about faith, priorities, family (both of origin and the family we would build together), what marriage means to us, etc. I'll never forget the time Phil prepared a list of questions about my beliefs as a Catholic. I think he must have had 20+ questions on that list and many of them were very difficult to answer because no one has asked me why I believed what I believed before. There were times I wanted to consult the Catholic catechism for help! It wasn't an attack on my beliefs - he just truly wanted to better understand what I believed, especially since we planned to raise our children Catholic.

This is also the living room where I spent countless hours rocking our sweet baby. And pumping. Oh my gosh, so many hours were spent pumping! It's also where Paul had so many firsts like rolling over, crawling and walking for the first time.

I also nursed my broken heart on this couch while recovering from my miscarriage with mindless tv shows to distract me from the physical and emotional pain. Not all memories made in this house are good ones - but that's life.

I prepared so many meals for our family in this kitchen. I mastered canning for the first time on my own in this kitchen, with several calls to my mom, the canning pro! We prepared a post-Thanksgiving day meal for my family in this kitchen as well as Paul's post-Baptism celebration.

Many meals were shared at this dining room table, like the celebrations mentioned above and smaller dinner parties. This is also where my "girls gone mild" bachelor party took place. I think we had 18 people around the table (it has 2 leaves so is quite large!). That was one of the most fun nights I've had in this house - there was so much laughter and the most amazing Mexican food.

Lastly, the backyard. We hosted parties and small gatherings in this space. Many meals were grilled out here and morning coffees were enjoyed on that deck. I spent a lot of time in that cozy hammock that is on the left in this picture. We discovered Paul's intense dislike of grass in this backyard- which had yet to go away at the end of the summer. Maybe 2020 will be the year he excepts the texture of grass!

So much happened in this old house. We'll miss her, but I know we'll love our new house as much if not more. What will happen in the next house? I have my hopes and dreams, like bringing a 2nd child home, sending our kids off to their first days of school, and celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries. Goodbye, old (1915) house, and hello to our new (1925) one!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thankful Part 2

I'm back with part 2 of my "Thankful" posts!

11. The best song I heard yesterday was Most of All by Brandi Carlile. I don't listen to music much anymore since I am so obsessed with podcasts, but I usually put on Brandi Carlile on my drive home from daycare with Paul. He seems like music more than podcasts. ;)  I get to see Brandi in concert in February and I CAN'T WAIT! I think it will be my 5th time seeing her? I will never tire of seeing her live as she's so incredibly talented.

12. When I look inside my closet, I'm grateful that it's full of clothes that look good on my body type. It took me until my 30s to figure out how to dress my body. I need to further pare down my closet after this next move, though, as there are summer items that I never wore this past year so those need to go.

13.  I'm lucky that I'm smart enough to figure out when to take a step back from social media. I took a break from Instagram at the beginning of November as I recognized that it wasn't having a positive influence on my mental health. I love social media but there are seasons of life when you need to take a little break.

14. In this moment, the things I love most about my friends are that I have friends across many stages of life. I'm glad I have friends with similarly-aged kids as it's nice to be in the trenches together. But it's also nice to have friends with older-aged kids so I can see how life changes as your kids age! I'm also grateful for my friends without kids because they usually are happy to come to you for get togethers so you don't have to get a babysitter!

15. I'm grateful that my hands can hold my sweet baby boy. Oh, he's not really a baby anymore but I still call him my baby. I know he won't always want to sit in my lap, hug me or give me open-mouthed kisses so I am soaking them up!!

16. The prettiest thing I saw yesterday was some outdoor Christmas lights! Ok, it's a little early for Christmas decor (we decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving) but on cold, dark nights, I really like seeing outdoor Christmas lights. They are just so cheery and bright!

17.  When I look in the mirror, I'm grateful for a body that I truly love. I am far from perfect and I have my problem areas like every other person. But all in all, I'm happy with what I see and I'm grateful my body has done things like run marathons and bring a child into the world!

18. Three of my most prized possessions are my beautiful piano, my engagement/wedding rings, and our wedding album.

I'm glad our piano will be more prominently displayed in the new house. It was tucked away in the office in our current house and was kind of 'out of sight, out of mind.' I think it will get played more often now that it's in our living room area.

19. I'm grateful that my eyes let me see the beauty in every season.There are 4 distinct seasons here and some of them are not my favorite - like winter and early spring when everything is brown and wet. But every season has it's beauty if you look for it. Like right now all the leaves have fallen so the trees are bare, but I love seeing the leaves fall. It shows you that there is beauty in letting go of things.

20. The things I would never change about myself include my type-A plannerific nature, my math abilities, my goal-oriented nature, and my loyalty to the people I love.

Your turn - pick some of these questions to answer!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Currently: November

It's moving week! Here's what is happening in my world these days!

Reading: No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury, which is a book about toddler behavior/discipline and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I borrowed the toddler discipline book from the library but I think it's one I need to own so I can reference it when things come up. I downloaded Big Little Lies from the library last week when I was in need a new book to read. Moriarty's books are kind of hit or miss with me but she sure knows how to write a page turner!

Loving: this Revlon one-step volumizing blow dryer. My friend Alli encouraged me to buy one but I was skeptical about my ability to use a round brush blow dryer. I envisioned my hair getting tangled. I finally bought one in October and oh my gosh I LOVE it. I no longer have to use a straightener so it's cut down on the time it takes to do my hair in the morning and my hair has way more volume! My hair dresser always uses a round brush when blow drying my hair and I was never able to figure out how to mimic her approach but this round brush blow dryer makes it so easy. Highly, highly recommend it if you have longer hair!

Feeling: excited for the holiday season. October/early November was a 'heavy' time in our house with the aftermath of the miscarriage. I still feel sad, especially when I see pregnancy announcements or encounter pregnant people. But overall, I'm doing ok and I have the excitement of the holiday season to carry me through the end of the year. I'm looking forward to decorating our house!

Anticipating: moving this weekend! Eeks, I am so excited to be in one house. We've moved some stuff over so there are times when I don't know which house an item is in (like last week when I needed to bring Paul's winter boots to daycare!). The upstairs carpet is being replaced Wednesday/Thursday (it looked a bit dingy/stained after the owners stuff was out so we figured now was the time to replace it) and then we move in on Friday. I can't wait!

Grateful: that our house sold. The process has been pretty smooth so far as the inspection contingency was lifted last week. Now we are just waiting for the appraisal results which should come back early this week. Our buyers have been very prompt about things like the inspection and appraisal which is very reassuring when you are the seller!

Working: on planning the soup menu for the family dinner we are hosting the day after Thanksgiving. I'm planning to make chicken wild rice soup in the instant pot, my mom is making a vegetable beef soup, and I think we will try this GF chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles! My mom is a baking pro so I am sure she'll have no trouble making the noodles. And the rolling pin we got for our wedding will finally be put to use!

Listening: to podcasts, as usual. I'm pretty behind as it's been too cold to go for long walks. I did go for a walk with Paul on Saturday, though. It was 35F out which felt 'nice' after the super cold weather we've had recently!

Watching: The Americans on Amazon Prime with Phil. It's a show about 2 undercover KGB spies living in Washington, DC in the 80s. When Phil isn't around (which isn't often!) I watch Modern Love on Prime and Top Chef or This is Us on Hulu. When we get through the first season of The Americans, we are planning to watch the new season of The Crown which was just released on Netflix! Can't wait!

Wishing: for little or no snow until after we've closed on the sale of our other house! Phil does all the shoveling/snow blowing and I'd hate to have him do it at 2 houses!

Bonus Paul pics!

He makes the funniest faces!

Saying "cheese"

Enjoying some leftover spaghetti that Nana sent home with us last weekend

Reading a Little Blue Truck book. He's saying "wow" in this photo which is one of his favorite words these days!

What are you currently loving, anticipating, and grateful for?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Capturing Paul's Childhood

As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. I've definitely found that to be the case, even before having Paul. But having a child seems to sort of speed up the clock. You blink your eyes and your baby isn't really a baby anymore! We are so lucky to live in a time when it's so easy and fairly inexpensive to document their life digitally. But it's easy to let those photos just sit on your phone or computer and do nothing with them! I was certainly guilty of that before becoming a mom!

So I thought I'd share my approach to capturing Paul's life. I have a multi-pronged approach that I've sort of honed over the last 2 years that is working really well for me. Hopefully this gives other people inspiration!

1. 1 second every day ap

- During the first year of Paul's life, I took a photo of him nearly every day. Since I have an iPhone, every photo is a 'live photo' so it's a 2-3 second video. This ap will allow you to select a photo for every day (it's hard to explain how this works but it's very user friendly). The ap then creates a video of those daily photos/videos. It's such a fun way to watch your baby grow and changed. I stopped doing this after Paul turned one since it's hard to keep up with taking a photo/day. And the day-to-day/month-to-month changes aren't as pronounced after that first year. But I'd highly recommend this ap for the first year of a baby's life!

2. Chatbooks

-  Chatbooks makes it easy to generate photobooks of photos on your phone. It's also especially easy to make a book of the photos you share on social media - which is what I do since I tend to share the best/most fun pics. Chatbook is linked to my Instagram account so any photo with the hashtag #babypaul or #toddlerpaul automatically goes into a chatbook. (That's why I use a hashtag - not because I'm super into hashtags but so the photo goes into the chatbook). Each book holds 60 pictures so when 60 pictures have been loaded into a book, I get a notification to edit the book and then it prints and is mailed to me. It's $10 for a softcover book and $15 for a hardcover book. Paul LOVES looking through Chatbooks since they are full of pictures of him. It's also a great way to work on recognizing family and learning names. The Chatbooks link above is a referral code. If you want to try it out, we'll both get $10 off a book (so a softcover book for free!).

3. Shutterfly Photobooks

- This might be overkill, but I also have started to put together a photobook/year. I think I'll be glad to have these as it will be fun to look back at the early years. I remember looking through my parents photo albums - I loved seeing pics of me and my siblings at younger ages so hopefully Paul enjoys looking through these some day.

- This is definitely the most time consuming and expensive project, though. I recently learned that Shutterfly has "unlimited free pages" deals so I will be waiting for one of those deals to print our 2019 book. That way you only pay for the standard 20 pages (I think 20 is the standard amount) and the rest are free. YTD through September, my book is 64 pages so I expect it to be 80+ when it's all said and done so unlimited free pages is a HUGE DEAL! Other companies likely provide great deals. I'm so used to Shutterfly's photo book user environment that it would be hard to switch at this point!

- Last year, I put our 2018 photobook together in the beginning of 2019. It was so much work and hard to remember some of the details from earlier in the year. My approach for 2019 has changed and is so much more doable:

  • After every month, I go through my google photos (all of my iPhone photos are backed up on Google photos). I then make an album of my favorites from the month to use for our yearly photo book. I title the Album "January 2019," "February 2019," etc. 
  • Shutterfly allows you to upload photos/albums from Google Photos. I upload the monthly albums of photos from google photo and work on one month of pages at a time. 
  • It can be overwhelming to work on a string of multiple months so I work on 2 months at a time. In March, I worked on January and February. In May, I worked on March and April. And so on and so forth. 
4. Baby book

- Lastly, I also have a 5-year baby book that I have been filling out. The most labor-intensive part was the first year as there was a 2-page spread for each month. I filled out the prompts as each month ended and added photos towards the end of the year. This is obviously the most 'analog' way to document Paul's life but I'm glad I'm doing it as it helps me document firsts, his weight, and other little stories about him. 

I know this is a lot of documentation, but I love looking at pictures and hope Paul will also enjoy look through pictures and his baby book some day! I also realize that as your family grows, it might not be possible to do this for every child but, at most, we'll have 2 children so I think I'll be able to repeat this process for our 2nd child when/if that happens for us!

What approach do you take to documenting your life or your child's life if you have one/several? Are you good about printing out photos?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thankful Part 1

While we should be thankful all year round, November is definitely a month that reminds me to stop and think about what I'm thankful for. Stephany recently shared these prompts on her blog and it turns out I shared them 6 years ago. It was fun to go back and read my answers - my how life has changed since the fall of 2013. Back then, I was living in Charlotte and dealing with my recent RA diagnosis. Let's just say I am very glad that my life unfolded the way it did! There are 30 questions so I am going to tackle them in 3 different posts! I filled in my answers on Wednesday night so the questions related to my senses are from Wednesday!
1) I’m most thankful for my ability to work in the industry I work in. It's not for everyone as it's very numbers-based and not everyone thrives in a male-dominated environment. But it's a great fit for me and I feel very fairly compensated which is a nice bonus.
2) In this moment, the thing I love most about my family is how kind, caring and supportive they are. My parents are in North Dakota and my siblings are spread across the country from AZ to Chicago to the suburbs Minneapolis to the border of MN/ND. But when we go through highs and lows, I feel their support even though we are separated by many miles. 
3) Something that made me smile today was picking Paul up out of his crib when he woke up yesterday morning. He usually wakes up in a cranky mood but this morning he was smiling and happy. He always gives me a big hug when I get him out of his crib. 
4) The best thing I smelled today was the latte I purchased at Caribou. I've been treating myself to a lot of lattes lately as our coffee pot/bean grinder are at the new house. I'll nip this latte habit in the bud after we've moved.
5) One of the memories I’m most grateful for is the time I spent with my paternal grandparents growing up. There isn't really a single memory - it's more a collection of memories. We lived just down the road from my grandparents and my grandpa had a shop next to our house where he restored engines with his brothers. I'd visit my grandpa and his brothers nearly every day and they would take me "uptown" for their afternoon coffee gathering with friends. I am sure I talked the ears off my grandpa and his brothers but they never made me feel like a bother! I also spent a lot of time with my grandma. I would bike down to her house and we'd play Up Words or just sit and talk. My grandfather passed away 10 years ago and his presence is so very missed but I am so glad I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with him. My grandmother is still going strong at 96. I hate the thought of losing her but I know I've been lucky to have her in my life as long as I have! I do have memories with my maternal grandparents but they lived an hour away and my grandfather had a terrible stroke when I was young so I sadly don't  have many memories of him before the stroke. But I am glad that I got to know all 4 of my grandparents - not everyone has that opportunity. Paul will never know Phil's dad, Don, and that makes me sad for Don and for Paul. 
6) Thank goodness someone taught me how to use excel! I use excel so much for my job and I love it so much that I use it a lot in my personal life. For example, when we were working on wedding thank yous, I had a calculation set up to tell us what % of thank yous were done!
7) The strongest part of my body in this moment is probably my brain. I'm not as active as I'd like to be so I can't say I feel all that physically strong but I intend to change that once the move is behind us. My plan is to do strength training/HIIT workouts 3 times/week. But my brain sure is strong these days!
8) Even after a rough day, the things I’m most grateful for at work are my amazing coworkers. One of my colleagues, Paul, is a former mentor/boss. He's one of the nicest people I know and has really helped me in my career. I'm so grateful that I get to work with him again. My other coworker is wonderful, too. We are a 3 person team and Paul travels most weeks so usually the 2 of us are dividing and conquering the work load each week. We each have very different strengths (I'm the excel girl and she's great at writing papers and creating marketing materials) which is a good thing. I like that I can be very real with my colleagues - they know when I'm having a tough time and they know when I'm on top of the world, and everything in between. I also work with a broader team that is wonderful!
9) I’m so grateful that my legs carry me through long walks with Pablito. Taking long stroller walks with him is my favorite thing to do. We haven't been on any recently since it's been bitterly cold but hopefully we'll get some milder weather soon!
10) I felt a little burst of energy today when I went for an afternoon walk through the skyway. I try to take a 20-30 minute walk each day as it's good to get a break from work and get some steps in. It always gives me a little burst of energy which I badly need in the afternoons!

It's your turn - pick a question to answer or answer them on your blog!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Weekend Highlights

We had a really nice long weekend up north at my parents. It was nice to get away after a busy/stressful period of preparing our house to list. Here are the highlights from our time at the lake!

- I'll start with the big news - we accepted an offer on our house last night! We were really happy with the offer and if everything goes well, we will close on the sale of our house on 12/17. I'm glad we will likely only own 2 homes for a little over a month. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that we don't get much/any snow so Phil doesn't have to shovel 2 corner lots!! Fingers crossed the inspection and appraisal go smoothly!

- Seeing Paul play with toys from my childhood. He had so much fun playing with this box of trucks that belonged to my brothers.

 - I also got to see Paul learn some new things or show off things he had learned at school. It turns out he knows more than we realize. My mom pulled out this box of magnetic letters/numbers while we were there. He picked up the letter O, turned to my mom, and said, "owl!" He picked out several other letters and numbers that he learned in school and showed off some of his Spanish skills. I ordered some magnetic letters for our house since he really enjoyed playing with the letters at my parents.

- As usual, my mom totally spoiled us with delicious food. Egg bake, homemade soups, homemade cookies, spaghetti with homemade sauce, etc. We ate very well! We also enjoyed one meal out on Saturday night. Paul is still at a good age for eating out so he did very well. He loves looking around and waving at people.

- My mom watched Paul on Saturday and Sunday morning so I could go back to bed and get a little more sleep. He was up early both days so I was very grateful that she was happy (thrilled, really) to watch him as I did not sleep well up at the lake so needed some extra sleep. This also gave her a chance to hold him and read to him. When Phil and I were around, he was very clingy and would not sit on her lap. I think the change over the last couple of weeks has been hard on Paul (for example, we've moved his crib to 3 different places in his room as we prepared to go on the market and all his toys were packed away). He's been extra clingy in general. He's got more change ahead of him since we move into the new house a week from Friday but hopefully he adapts to the new house quickly.

We couldn't have asked for a better weekend up north! Well, it could have been warmer - it snowed there on Saturday and the temps were in the teens to 20s. Burr! But coming home to an offer was the best way to cap off the weekend. What was the highlight of your weekend?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A crazy week

The process of buying and selling a house is not for the faint of heart. Dang it is so much work, most of which has fallen on poor Phil since a lot of it required manual labor/heavy lifting. So he took on the physical work while I handled caring for Paul. That said, I know we are lucky to be able to buy a house before selling ours so we can declutter/move things to the new house!

We moved a lot of stuff out of our house on Saturday. This before and after picture doesn't do it justice but gives you an idea of how much got moved out. Not pictured is the office which was full of furniture from upstairs/other areas of the house - the office is now empty.

Our house will get staged this week, photos will be taken on Wednesday after the cleaners come through and it goes on the market on Thursday. We will head to the lake after work on Thursday and hope/pray that our house sells that weekend. If it doesn't, we'll allow showings up until 6:30pm on week nights and will either hang out with friends or at the new house until Paul's bedtime. I don't think anyone would want to see the house after 6:30 on a week night anyways since it's very dark at that point, especially after "falling back" this past weekend.

We've decided to replace the upstairs carpet in the new house so all the stuff we moved out of our current home is sitting in the living room of the new place. We meet with the carpet people on Thursday afternoon and hopefully the new carpet can be installed ASAP so we can empty out the living room before the big move.

So our current house feels empty/echoy and our new house feels like a hot mess. For a type-A person who craves order, this all makes me feel kind of "twitchy." But I am reminding myself that 2 weeks from Friday, we'll fully move into the new house and can get settled! I don't like to wish time away but I would like to go to bed and wake up on Thanksgiving when we are moved/settled into our new house. I say settled because we are the kind of people who unpack right away! Plus since we rented boxes for the move, we don't have the option to pile them up - they need to be emptied within a week of moving so they can be picked up by the company that provides them.

One fun positive is that we went shopping for a new guest bed/headboard for the guest room. It will be delivered at the new house on 11/16 so my parents can stay there the weekend of Thanksgiving. I'm so excited to have a dedicated guest room/bathroom as we have a lot of out of town family/friends. It was very hard to host people in our tiny current home but now we are set up well to host family!

So in short, send us allll the good vibes that our (adorable) house sells this weekend so we can focus on the move! I'm looking forward to a weekend of relaxation at the lake - especially for Phil as he has not relaxed much in the last 6 weeks! We'll get some extra sleep since my mom can help with Paul in the morning and we'll be well-fed by my mom! I'll talk to you on the other side of this week/weekend - hopefully I'll have good news to share next week!

Monday, November 4, 2019

What We Read in October

October was definitely a slower reading month for me. Between feeling pretty sick with pregnancy symptoms, then dealing with the miscarriage, followed by buying a house and starting to move things over, I didn't read nearly as much as I usually do. But I still managed to read 5 books, bringing my 2019 total to 86!!

I feel like these reading recap posts are getting really long and not so interesting to read so I'm shortening the format and will focus on "hits" and "misses" with brief comments about the books that fell into those 2 categories.


- It's no surprise that I loved A Better Man by Louise Penny which is the 15th book in this series. I really hope she writes more - I will be sad to see this series come to a close!

- I also really loved The Huntress by Kate Quinn. It's a WWII novel but focuses on tracking down a Nazi war criminal in the US after the war is over. It took awhile to get into it, but once I was hooked into the story line, it was tough to put down.


- Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald was very 'meh'. I had trouble getting into it initially but it was a Modern Mrs. Darcy summer reading guide pick and I usually love the books she suggests so I stuck with it. I should have abandoned it as it just wasn't the book for me!

Paul's Reads:

Paul is really into this lift the flap book that I got at Half Priced Books this summer. It's all about farms which is theme he enjoys!

He's also still drawn to this "touch and feel" book that my parents got him about a year ago!

And he still loves the Little Blue Truck books! A new one came out this month called, "Good Night, Little Blue Truck." It's not available in board book form yet but so far he's done well with the format and hasn't torn any pages!

 Did you read anything great this month?

Friday, November 1, 2019


As usual, I'm greeting the weekend with open arms! We have A LOT to do this weekend but I'm still looking forward to it. Here's what's happening in my world!

The book I'm reading is Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. I was drawn to this book after the author tragically died earlier this year from complications from a flu virus. She was just shy of 38 (my age) and left behind a husband and 2 kids, ages 3 and 1. :( She is a well-known Christian author and I had been meaning to check out her work for awhile but her death prompted me to request her book from the library. 

The high of my week was picking up Paul from daycare after my 2-day work trip. When he saw me, he ran over and gave me the biggest, longest hug. It was a different reaction from when I usually pick him up so I know he missed me! I missed him, too.

The low of my week was being away from Paul (I really struggle being away from him!) and coming down with another bug of some sort. I haven't really felt "great" since the miscarriage. I think my body is under stress/healing so I've felt off for the last 2 weeks but now I have a cold. Hopefully I am back to full health soon!

A recipe I made was pasta puttanesca. This is an easy recipe - the only prep work is chopping half an onion and some garlic! I skipped the anchovies. I know they would give it more flavor but I knew we wouldn't use whole can so it seemed wasteful to buy them. It was still delicious without the anchovies!

The best money spent was on nothing? I didn't spend any notable money this week since I was traveling for work. I even resisted a 50% off Friends and Family sale at Banana Republic. I was tempted to buy a couple new sweaters but then asked myself if I REALLY needed more clothes. The answer is no! I mean, we did just buy a house a week ago and have plenty of expenses coming our way related to that so now is not the time for frivolous, unnecessary spending!

My plans this weekend include lots of moving stuff!! We rented a U-Haul truck on Saturday morning so we could move a lot of small furniture over to the new house - like book cases, end tables, rugs, a glider, chairs, etc. Our realtor wants to stage our house with her inventory when we list our house next week so a lot of things will be moved out this weekend. Luckily we have 3 friends who are going to help and my parents are going to help out with Paul and my dad is going to help with a few maintenance things around both houses. On Sunday, Phil and I are going to shop for a new guest bed while my parents watch Paul. Our current guest bed is his grandparent's bed so it is VERY old! We are hoping we'll have a new bed by the time we move is so my parents can spend a night with us over Thanksgiving weekend. It's going to be a productive and busy weekend!

Bonus (mostly) Paul Pics!

Phil sent me this picture while I was traveling. Paul tends to do most things with his right hand, but he eats with his left hand - just like daddy! Phil's parents were both left handed so he does a lot of things left handed since he was taught by lefties (eats, uses a computer mouse, brushes his teeth). Maybe Paul will be slightly ambidextrous, too?

Last Sunday we gathered with Phil's college friends for our annual pumpkin carving party! We usually host but this year another couple hosted since we have too much going on with our move. Ours is the cat pumpkin, of course!

We didn't send a costume with Paul for Halloween since it's a pain to put a toddler in a costume. Instead he wore a very Halloweeny outfit!

What was the high of your week? Are you doing anything fun this weekend?