Thursday, May 29, 2014

House Tour: Living Room

When we first moved in to our house (back in 2007) the one thing I knew, as far as paint colors, was that I wanted to paint the living room red.  We had white furniture (that sounds really funny now) and a big living room, so my heart was set on red.  So I painted it red.  I never loved how the color turned out, and after trading our white furniture for a brown sectional, I convinced E that we needed a new color.  I was able to find a shade just a couple lighter than the tan we used in our dining room so the two rooms would flow together well.  I love how it has brightened up the room!

On to the tour.  Coming in through our front door you are in our living room, with our dining room through the arch.  Just inside the front door there's a small closet to the left where we keep our coats and shoes.  As you walk strait in there's a stool and an armoire that holds our TV.
As you'll notice throughout this room, and really our whole house, I love photos of our family, and they are featured throughout our house.  I especially love the big photo of the four of us from fall 2012. 
As you walk further into the room, the main living space is to your right.  We have a great big sectional that is perfect for our (growing) family.  The pillows came with it, and are near the top of my list for things to make/replace.  On the shelf next to the sectional we keep a vase from our honeymoon, digital frame, adult books, kid books, a basket of blocks and a basket of dolls (currently featuring Anna, Elsa and Kristoff).
Above the sectional, more family photos :)

Just inside the front door to the right is the card catalog that E got me for my 30th birthday.  The top half of the drawers are filled with my craft supplies, the bottom half are empty due to mischievous little ones.  The start of E's globe collection is on top, along with more photos of the girls and a plant a friend gave us as a housewarming gift (and I'm very proud to say is still alive!).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Twosday Eleven

Two Major To Do Before Baby Items Crossed Off the List Over the Past Week

  1. Bunk Beds!  E built a top bunk and added it to the bed he previously built for Miss A, so we now have both girls sleeping in the big girl room.  There's a lot of chatting in the room when the girls are supposed to be resting, but hopefully that will get better as they get used to sleeping in the same room. 
  2. New Car!  My car wasn't going to work for 3 car seats, so while Miss A and Little J spent a few days with my parents, E and I took advantage to do some car shopping.  We ended up with a 2008 GMC Acadia.  Considering I was driving a 1998 vehicle, this is a big upgrade, and such a relief to have it done!  
Two Ways I Treated Myself While the Girls Were Gone
  1. Lunch at Panera, one of my favorite spots.  The Asiago cheese bagels are so tasty!
  2. A new haircut.  I've been going to The Hive Salon in Minneapolis for about a year now, and it's an awesome spot, especially if you have curly hair.  I saw Jen this time, and she did a great job getting my hair ready for summer.   

Happy Hour Spots Visited While Girls Were Gone
Two New to Us Spots We Checked Out on Friday Night
  1. The Fulton Tap Room.  It seems like tap rooms are all over right now, so we thought we'd check one out before dinner.  I appreciated that they had hand crafted sodas along with the beer.  I had passion fruit lemonade (yum) while E enjoyed the beer.
  2. Butcher and the Boar.  We've been hearing so many good things about this restaurant, but I've never been able to get reasonable reservations before.  I'm so glad we could this time.  The food was amazing!  We had dinner inside, which was great, but there was also a nice outdoor area for drinks and a more casual menu.
Two Little Girls Loving on Their New Cousin, Baby JR (and Practicing for August)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Plans for Next Year

Now that it's official, I wanted to share a little bit about our plans for next year.  (By next year, I mean next school year because that's the calendar my life revolves around.)  With Baby #3 joining us late this summer, we have decided that I'm going to stay home with all three kids next year.  This is something we've been planning for quite some time, and thankfully my school was willing to give me a one year leave.  I'm beyond excited for the opportunity to stay at home with all three kids for the year before Miss A starts Kindergarten (as a side note, how can that possibly be only a year away!?).

I have enjoyed working part time for the past four years.  This year I work Monday through Friday from about 7am to 11:30am for most of the school year.  This schedule has allowed me to continue teaching while also having extra time with my kids.  I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but I also really wanted to be home with my kids, so in a lot of ways working part time was an ideal situation.  Teaching fewer classes not only shortened my work day, but also lessened the grading and prep work I bring home.    The down side has been that I can't be as involved in the school as I would normally be.  I'm not able to be at a lot of meetings because I only work in the morning, so I miss a lot of information.  I also have less time to socialize with my coworkers because I'm not often around after school or at lunch, which is something I miss.  My school also starts early, so I have to get myself, Miss A and Little J up and out the door by 6:45am every day.  Thankfully, my girls love their day care, and I feel good dropping them off with Miss J each morning.  I think E would say it has been beneficial because I have time to take care of most of the house related things so we get more time to spend as a family at night.  I know I have a much better work-life balance because of my part time schedule.

Our decision for me to stay home next year is the result of a mix of factors.  First, and most important, I really want to stay home.  I could continue working, but I think next year would be really hard.  I don't qualify for FMLA, so my leave would likely be limited to 6 weeks.  I got a little bit of extra time with Little J, but I still had to return to work when she was 8 weeks old, and I hated it (I was incredibly lucky to be off for 5 months with Miss A because my maternity leave went until the start of summer break).  I love having my afternoons with the girls,   If my school hadn't given me a one year leave, I most likely would have resigned my position completely.  I also know that I've been lucky to have every afternoon with my girls, but a lot of that time is taken up by errands and rest time, so I'm really excited to have whole days to spend with my three (wow... 3!!!) kids.  We also would have to find new day care if I went back to work because Miss J has two other babies starting this summer.  Just the idea of trying to find new daycare for 3 kids, including an infant, part time, stresses me out.

Overall, I am just so excited to be staying home next year, but I am a little nervous too.  There are days now when the afternoons seem so long.  When Miss A and Little J refuse to nap and are just wild.  This winter was so, so, so terrible, and I'm not sure how we'll survive the winter months being home all day, every day.  I think I shared before, but I've been loving Julia's Moms Make It Work series because it's so helpful to get tips from other moms, especially SAHMs about how things work in their families.  Miss A is going to go to preschool two mornings a week, so I think (hope) that will help.  I have to admit, I'm also a little nervous about having a newborn again in general.  I feel like I've forgotten so much of what life is like during those first months, though I also think it will come back to me when baby arrives.  Luckily, I have an amazing husband who has been super supportive through this decision (and is about everything).

So June 12th starts a new adventure for us.  Not just an adventure to being a family of 5, but my adventure as a SAHM.  Any other SAHMs, please share your tips or tricks for making it work!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Our 2014 Garden

We got an early (for us) start on our 2014 garden last weekend.  The girls were both excited to help.  Little J thought it was fun to just throw the seeds randomly (not so helpful) but Miss A did a good job listening to Daddy's instructions, and she thinks watering the garden is about the coolest thing in the world.  Miss A is excited to check the garden every day, so I'm glad we bought a couple of plants to put in so she has something to look at!

Little J LOVES the swing.  She will swing for hours (seriously!).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Twosday Ten

Two Projects Completed Last Week
  1. A measuring stick for the little ones.  E has been wanting to do something like this for a long time, I picked up supplies to finally get it done while E was out of town for work last week.  It's not perfect, but it will be so fun to have as the girls grow.  I used the records from their well child visits for previous ages.  
  2. Organized the work bench area of the scary room.  That's what I call the basement room with the furnace and water heater.  E says I should stop calling it the scary room, but after (almost) 7 years, I think it's sticking.  The room is a mess, and this was the first step to conquering the mess.  I got together a bunch of plastic storage containers, washi tape and a permanent marker and got to work going through everything that should be on the workbench.  I'm SUPER happy with the result.

Progress Made on my 33 Before 33 Last Week
  1. Visited the dermatologist.  I have been putting this off for years.  So silly.  I FINALLY made it to an appointment last week, and very quickly got things taken care of.  So easy.  
  2. Create a wedding photo book.  I didn't actually make the book, but I went through all of our wedding photos to pick out my favorites for the book.  It was really fun to look back on the pictures from our big day.  We look so young (you can see some favorite photos here).

Two Extra Fun Parts of Mother's Day Weekend

  1. My awesome mom came to visit.  It's always nice to see my mom, but so often when we see her there's something going on.  This weekend there was nothing happening, just time to sit and relax.  We went to a craft show and out to dinner, but spent most of our time outside enjoying the nice weather.  Nana helped the girls make homemade ice cream.  It was a big hit with the girls!
  2. E and the girls were really sweet all weekend.  They went shopping on Saturday to get supplies for a very tasty breakfast on Sunday.  They also got a giant frosted brownie cake that was soooo good.  I say it was good, because I'm sure by the time I post this it will be gone.  
Two Weekend Workouts
  1. A 2.4 mile run/walk.  We live by a great little lake that makes for a great short running route.  I keep thinking I'm almost done running until after baby comes, but I felt really good running this weekend, I'm going to keep going as long as I'm comfortable. 
  2. A 2.4 mile walk with E and the girls.  After dinner on Sunday night, we headed out on a walk around the lake.  The girls love walks by the lake because they can look for ducks, turtles and other animals.  Pushing the stroller around the lake is no joke.  I felt like the walk was harder than the run in some ways!  The girls did get out of the stroller to run for awhile, and did well, which gives me hope we'll be able to keep up our walks this fall.  
Two Healthy Decisions Made Last Week
  1. Smoothies.  I'm back to taking a smoothie with to school most mornings.  Last week I was taking raspberry-blueberry-banana-spinach smoothies.  So good.  An excellent choice if, like me, your freezer is packed full of frozen raspberries.  
  2. Apples for snacks.  Besides taking a smoothie each morning, I slice a Honeycrisp apple (yay University of Minnesota!) to take as a snack.  I feel less guilty about my treats when I start the day out with lots of fruit.
Two Ways I've Been Treating Myself Lately
  1. Rolos.  I'm not sure why we had Rolos in the house, but the chocolate and caramel combination has been my favorite lately.  Yum! Yum! Yum!
  2. Ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream.  Especially on the nice, warm days that we've been starting to have.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Teacups

Earlier this spring, I shared about Miss A's Tea Party.  One of the activities for the kids at the party was to decorate their own tea cups. I bought the tea cups for the girls to decorate before getting RSVPs for the party, so I ended up with a few extras.  Instead of returning them, I decided they would make fun, easy DIY gifts for the grandmas (and myself... there was one cup left).  So if you're a grandma, stop reading now.  

I wrote We (Heart) Grandma/Nana/Mommy on each tea cup, then Miss A decorated the cup, and Little J decorated the plate.  We used the Sharpie Oil Based Paint Markers, which we still had from Miss A's party.

After the girls decorated the cups, I baked them to set the color (this post gives a good description of what to do).  Looking back, I probably would have skipped the baking step for this project.  The colors got a little darker after baking the cups, and the pink and purple now look a lot alike.  Since these tea cups aren't for regular use, it probably would have been fine to skip the baking.  We also might have been able to use regular Sharpie markers because the cups won't be washed regularly.  

With the tea cups decorated, we headed to a local garden center to pick out some plants.  I am not great at keeping plants alive, so we waited until this week to add the plants to the cups.  Miss A picked out the plant she wanted for each cup.  We went with succulents, hoping they will survive well in the tea cups.  

Here is our final product.  I think they look pretty cute.  Hopefully the grandmas will like them too!

Have a great Mother's Day this weekend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Baby #3: Week 27

Little J is swinging in the background... I think she spent over 2 hours swinging on Sunday!

Due date: August 2nd.  Just about 3 months to go!

What I'm loving:  It stopped raining just in time for the weekend, so we were able to spend a lot of time outside.  Much needed by the whole family!  I also had a really good week last week where I felt good most days and had energy.  I only had to nap one day.  With the extra energy, I was able to get a lot done last week.  I sent this picture to Heather on Sunday night, because I was so proud of myself for actually finishing my weekly to do list!  I can't remember the last time that happened.

What I'm looking forward to:  My mom is coming to visit this weekend, which is always a lot of fun.  Now that it's May, I can actually see the end of the school year in sight too!  I'm excited to have a little time with just the girls to squeeze in some summer fun before baby joins us.

What I'm missing:  Sleeping through the night.  I'm up at least once every night.  Sometimes I can fall right back to sleep, sometimes I'm up for quite awhile.

How I'm feeling:  Overall, I'm feeling pretty good right now.  My legs bother me if I'm on my feet for too long, but wearing compression socks has helped on bad days.

Exercise:  Still getting 3 to 4 days a week of cardio, a mix of elliptical and run/walks.   I feel so much better when I'm consistently exercising, but the elliptical is driving me a little crazy.  I'm hoping the weather stays nice so we can get out on some evening walks.

What I miss:  Real runs.  I'm glad I've still been able to run a little, but I miss being able to run my whole route without needing to stop to walk.
Cravings/Aversions:  No major aversions right now, thankfully!  I've managed to cut back on the sugary cereal too :)  I have been craving lots of fresh fruit, especially strawberries and pineapple.

Diet:  I've been eating much better for the past few weeks.  Less sugar and many more freggies.

Differences between pregnancies:  This pregnancy still feels a little harder than my first two, but maybe I've blocked out the rough parts of the first two :)  I'm a little worried about what the summer months will bring.

Other Thoughts:  I'm at a point where I'm noticing that my belly is getting in my way.  I worked on cleaning out some closets last week, and squeezing in to small spaces is not so easy anymore.  Same for getting up after crawling around on the ground.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

About to Pop Baby Shower

Last weekend we headed to Wisconsin to celebrate my SIL and her soon to arrive baby girl!  I'm so excited that the girls will have a cousin on my side of the family, and another girl makes it even more fun!  My SIL is a big popcorn fan, so we decided to go with a Ready to Pop theme.  I made some (really cute if I do say so myself) invitations, sent them to all of my family and was then alerted that I put the date as August 27th not April 27th.  Oops!  I'm going to blame pregnancy brain, and my brain's focus on August, for that one.  The shower was pretty low key overall, but a lot of fun!  It's always nice to see the ladies from my crazy family.  

We set up a mini popcorn bar with a bunch of popcorn seasonings.  I found these cute popcorn bags at the Dollar Tree.  I'll be going back to stock up before our summer movie night!  Little J was super pumped about all of the popcorn.  It's also one of her favorite treats.

Baby girl got so much cute stuff.  Mom played softball for the University of Wisconsin, so there was some Badger gear mixed in, including a little glove and ball.  So cute!

Miss A has been wanting to read to our baby all the time, and was anxiously awaiting a chance to read to her new baby cousin too.  She helped Aunt S speed through the presents so she could finally read the pink book to baby.

Instead of playing any baby shower games, everybody decorated a onsie for baby girl.  My friends did this for my shower when I was pregnant with Miss A, and it was so helpful to have a bunch of extra onsies for her to wear.  I had fabric markers from a previous shower, and checked out some drawing books from the library to help those of us who were a little less artistically inclined.

Nana decorating her onesie.
A few of the finished products (mine is the dragonfly).

Before we got back in the car for our drive to Minnesota, we got a picture of the family.  This is my mom, stepdad, brother, SIL, two sisters, husband and kids.  Crazy to think that by the end of the summer there will be two new babies!