Wednesday, February 10, 2016

wiww: Maternity

I'm sharing a few of my favorite maternity outfits this week.  They've all been on repeat lately.  I'm 31 weeks pregnant and I'm happy to report that most of my maternity clothes are still fitting.  I am still adding in non-maternity cardigans, vests and jackets to change things up a bit along with a wide variety of accessories.  Most of my non-maternity tops have been retired because they're all too short for my growing belly.  I am quick to pack them up  and get them out of my sight so that I only have clothes hanging in my closet that currently fit.  I learned with my first pregnancy that staring at a closet full clothes that no longer fit takes a toll on the old self esteem every morning.  

Third Trimester Wardrobe Favorites:

// 1 //
dress & necklace  - Old Navy (sized up non-maternity)
cardigan - Motherhood
tights - Spanx 
booties - Meijer

// 2 //
floral tank - Old Navy (NEW)
sweater - GAP
necklace - Charlotte Russe
bow earrings - Kate Spade
pants - Motherhood
flats - Marhsalls

 // 3 //
Solids + Fun Accessories
vest - Kohls (NEW)
chambray - Old Navy
tank - Motherhood (NEW)
non-maternity leggings - Wal-Mart (NEW)
pearls - Macys

*****My thoughts on leggings ****
I ordered a pair of the infamous Blanqi maternity leggings 
during their Black Friday sale and I found them to be very underwhelming.
Thankfully, they were half off, but still kind of disappointing. 

They are thick and comfy, 
they snag easily and any time I change a diaper the velcro snags them like tights,
they run REALLY large so I should have sized down,
ignore their sizing chart and buy several sizes SMALLER,
they are SUPER long - 
I'm 5'5" - almost need to cuff them & could pull them up to my armpits,
they don't shrink at all which would be good if I'd ordered a few sizes smaller,
they are not supportive unless you size down a few sizes
and overall I prefer my $5 Wal-Mart leggings over the $64 Blanqi options.

I do love that they fully cover my growing belly since the belly panel is so big.  They are also thick enough to pass for pants with long tops.  So I can't say to avoid them completely, just beware and size wayyyyyyyyyyyy down.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Talk: What Love & Marriage Has Taught Me

July 24, 2014

My husband and I are quickly approaching our 12 year wedding anniversary.

We started dating back in 1998 and have known each other since kindergarten so it feels like we've known each other forever.  Our moms were great friends and kind of arranged our marriage at our weekly play dates.  Their plans came true and we started dating in high school.  We've lived in 4 states, 5 soon to be 6 homes, added two cats to the family, traveled together, added 1 and soon to be 2 kids to the family and have had some great adventures together.  It was fun to sit down and come up with five the things we've learned about love and marriage since we got married.

We > Me
We are happiest when we think of ourselves as a team.  We're both working towards the same goals, not trying to win or take sides and we are working together to make things happen.  We encourage each other and take time to see what is important in our day to day happenings.  We try to plan out schedules to help each other out, support one another and encourage us to be the best we can be.  We strive to put others first and factor in the needs of our spouse when making decisions.  Thinking of us is much better than just thinking about me.

Share your life.
Share your highs and lows.
Share your joys.
Share your careers.
Share your hobbies.
Share your smiles and tears.
Share your likes and dislikes.
Share your days.

Life is so much better and it's easier to connect with your spouse when you're sharing your life with them.  It's hard for them to know how to encourage and support you if you're failing to include them in the things that are happening in your life.  We have gotten into a good habit of sharing in all of the areas I mentioned above.  It's fun to have someone checking in on your progress or giving you encouragement to see something through. 

It's been a bit of a challenge to keep this up once we added kids to the mix, but we've still continued to put forth the effort to share.  Pre-kids we would go out for breakfast dates before work, go get smoothies together after work, go for long walks, get away for a weekend or stay up late chatting about things.  Now we plan date nights, make time for just us after Olive is in bed, have several short conversations throughout the day, text regularly and just have to be more intentional about sharing our lives with each other.

Love Always Wins
We do best when we come at things from a loving perspective.  We are on the same team and really want to see each other succeed.  Our marriage work best when we approach things in a loving way and the end result is usually much more positive.  Being critical of your spouse, using harsh words or holding grudges really does no one any good so it's much better for us to communicate regularly and openly.

Together is Our Favorite Place to be
We really enjoy being together.  We make plans on our own during the day time, squeeze in work meetings, play dates and such all during the day so that we can be together as a family in the evenings.  We don't make many plans during our family time and try hard make fun plans together.  We go for walks, get take out, run errands, go to the park, travel and just hang out as a family when we can.  We both have friends and have things we like to do on our own, but we make being together a priority in our family.

I've had to work really hard in this area.  I am a take charge, organized, like to be the boss, problem solver kind of girl so it definitely doesn't come easy to me to compromise.  I was not very good at it when we first got married.  I obviously compromised some, but it wasn't my first reaction and it involved lots of grumbling on my part.  I am happy to report that almost 12 years later my husband would say I'm a much better compromiser, much more flexible in regards to making plans & decisions and much better at taking a moment to think things through from other perspectives than I used to be.  You'll find me saying yes to last minute dinner invitations, saying yes to plans that weren't exactly what I had in mind and agreeing to things that wouldn't be my first choice. Our marriage works better and everyone is happier when we're both compromising.

What things have love and marriage taught you over time??

Several of my bloggy friends came together for a little blog hop this week.
Check out all of their different takes on writing about LOVE this month!

Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls  //  Becky at BYBMG
Jessica at Sweet Little Ones  //  Emily at Raising Barnes
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me  //  Stasia at Our Life on a Budget
Sarah at Abiding In Grace  //  Ruthie at Rear. Release. Regroup.
Laura at Life Is Beautiful  //  Christina at Waltzing In Beauty
Michelle at Grammie Time  //  Tina at Go Big or Go Home
Whitney at Polka Dotty Place

It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk Ladies this week.
Join us with your favorite recent post.  
We had 175 people join us last week.

Polka-Dotty Place

Monday, February 8, 2016

Get Well Soon Wishes

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend.  We had fun visiting with family and friends and were THRILLED to see Peyton Manning & The Broncos win Super Bowl 50.  He's my favorite so I'm anxious to see what the future holds for him.  We also ate lots of delicious game day foods and are excited to see some snow in the forecast for the week.

Now on to an easy DIY project for you today...
It seems like each week someone in my extended family or one of our friends is sick lately.  So I wanted to find some cute get well soon cards to mail out.  I wasn't able to find any affordable, cute options so I made some of my own.  Olive helped a bit, but I did most of the work during her nap time one day.  Sometimes it's nice to do just do a project on your own.

blank note cards & envelopes
solid color bandaids - Dollar Tree
google eyes - Dollar tree
Elmer's glue
*iced coffee definitely helps the creative process :)

The most time consuming part of the process is unwrapping each bandaid.  Those things are not easy to open quickly.  Go ahead and stick on all of the bandaids.  I put two on each card and did a variety of horizontal and vertical options.

Put 4 dots of glue on and then attach the eyes.
Go ahead and do the writing on the card next and then
they'll need to dry for several hours.

Olive woke up from her nap and was eager to count the eyeballs :)
I made about 20 cards so I'm all set and ready to send some get well soon wishes your way.
 I love sending real birthday cards through the mail and I love these Wal-Mart sets.  They are $1.88 for TWELVE cards.  The designs are really cute and they have 4 different packs of birthday cards.  They also carry blank cards, sympathy cards, thinking of you, etc in these same sets.  I found them on an end cap in the party aisles. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Best Parts

It was a great week at our house.  Nothing super exciting, but just lots of good times.  We tried out a new story time, met Kevin for lunch, played with friends and worked on some things around the house.  We DIY'd some valentines and I can't wait to show the finished product to you next week.  We're heading to visit family this weekend and ready to cheer hard for the Broncos and Peyton Manning to win the Super Bowl this year.

1. We met up with some friends for a donut/library date yesterday.  The valentine donuts were delicious and our newly remodeled library was so nice!  We got to go to a story/music time class, play with all of their new interactive toys and explore the space.  We'll definitely be returning on a weekly basis for their programs and fun things.

2.  We got to pick up this handsome guy for a quick Jimmy Johns lunch date this week.  There's one right next to campus so it worked out perfectly for us to grab him in between classes.  Olive has finally decided she's a fan of JJs and happily shared my sandwich with me.  As soon as my food was gone, she moved over to sit by her favorite person.

3. I love making holiday themed food so it was a ton of fun for me to do a valentine themed snack for our play date with friends and then make a valentine themed salad for myself.  Pretty food just tastes better.  So far we've enjoyed these two things, some valentine donuts and brownie cookies.  I've got the urge to make some cream puffs next week!

4.  We made our Valentine's this week and Olive spent an hour painting them.  Anything that entertains a toddler for an hour is amazing in my books!  I picked the colors and painted a few hearts where she told me to, but she insisted on painting herself.  She'd shoo me away if I got too close to her masterpieces :)  I pinned several cute DIY valentine ideas, but ultimately decided to let her do her own thing.  She had a great time and I didn't stress about how anything was coming together.  Win-win!  They dried overnight and are ready to be delivered/sent out to family & friends.  I'll be sure to show you a picture after we've gotten ours in the mail.

5. Our house hunting is going really well and we're starting to think about fun things to add to our backyard.  Olive did a little house hunting of her own while we were at Sams this week.  She was ready to move right into this darling house.  Her birthday is at the end of May so we'll have to seriously think about some backyard toy options this year.

Be sure and check out my favorite posts from this week:

I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend!!
Do you have any fun Super Bowl plans??

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Teaching Together: Highlights Magazine

 My MIL surprised us with a Highlights subscription for Olive this year.  I didn't realize that they even had a subscription service for preschool/toddlers and thought they only published an elementary school Highlights magazine.  

The subscription is darling,
arrives once a month and here's what's included:
- a parent's guide to reading tips for toddlers
-an indestructible book that is sewn together
-a calendar with search a find picture for each month & holiday stickers

The parent's guide:

The books:
They're perfect for keeping in my purse
and have cute activities on every page

 We've had so much fun with the calendar.
The hidden pictures are a little hard for Olive to do on her own, but we have a great time doing them together.  She loves to point out each of the pictures all month long.  We add in the monthly holiday stickers, talk about numbers, letters, days of the week, months, keep track of potty training progress, etc.

It's fun to open a new book each month and do new our little learning each month.  I'd highly recommend this subscription to any parent of littles. Maybe even suggest it as a gift from family members for a birthday??  It's a great learning tool!

Linking up with Beth for Teaching Together

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Goals

I'm sharing my February goals with you today in the hopes of being held accountable knowing that I'll be checking in with you again in 4 weeks and for me to sit down and write out my goals for the month.  I also love making lists so it's a fun way for me to start out a new month.

Here's little recap of my 2016 BIG goals for the year:

1. Start and Finish Olive's scrapbook of highlights for the last 2.5 years.
2. Scrapbook my teaching career.
3. House Hunt
This has dominated our lives for the last several months.  We've spent countless weekends driving around to scope out neighborhoods and areas of town we want to live in.  I've researched schools, checked sex offender registry sites, property taxes and more to ensure we end up in an area we can live for a long time.  Our parents have helped and I think we're in the home stretch of making big decisions.  Hip hip hooray!!
4. Get moving!
I switched my step goal from 10,000 to 9,000 and hit it 27 out of 31 days last month.
5. Find a church home.  
We're also working really hard on this one.  We've tried out six new churches and have yet to find THE ONE.  Some had no children's programs, others were too small and the rest just weren't good fits for us.  So the church search continues...
6. Blog goals: 5 great posts a week and pull out my DSLR camera regularly
Doing great with both of these goals.  I'm really excited about blogging and very much enjoy this little space.
7. Kid Goals: Potty train Olive and move her out of her crib.
8.Work hard to make new friends and new connections in our new city this year. 
We've said YES to many invitations and even done some inviting of our own this month.  Olive has a cute little group of friends and I'm working hard to connect with the moms.  It can be exhausting, but I can tell that it's definitely worth it to be making new friends in our town.
9. Make the most of my Fringe Hours instead of binge watching the DVR, mindlessly scrolling through apps on my phone and vegging out.
10. Be encouraging to those around me and be a light for the Lord. 

February Goals:

1. DIY some Valentine cards for Olive to send out to our family and friends

2. Make Valentine's Day treats for Kevin's co-workers and cookies for home

3. Read 2+ books - I just got Breaking Busy, Unglued and have started reading Jesus Calling again 
each morning.

4. Take better care of myself - flossing, exfoliating, hand lotion, mani/pedis at home, etc.

5. Try 2 new churches

6. Take an inventory of baby items we have in storage and see what our needs are for baby brother.  Reorganize the toy situation at my house - pack away toys Olive has outgrown and this will have to be done at nap time or at night because it's traumatizing to do it with the help of a toddler

7. Write out a daily to do list of things I want to make sure to do with Olive every day.  I've done this in the past, but I'd like to revamp one that works well for us right now.  I'm thinking a quick checklist that I can post and work through most days.

8. Download current favorite songs and make a new playlist 

9. Plan some fun things for Olive.  Invite one new friend and their mom over for a play date and say yes to 2 invitations to play.  Go to story time and check out the program at the art museum for toddlers.  Go on a doughnut date, bring Kevin lunch, run errands together, stop by the pet store, etc.

10. Plan a day trip to Indianapolis to use a restaurant Groupon and do some shopping

What are some things that you're working on accomplishing this month??

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday Talk: How to Win My Heart

(The Bellagio in Vegas 2010)

Since it's the month of LOVE, I'm going to be talking about the ways to win my heart today.  My husband and I have been married since 2004 and have known each other since we were 5.  We have spent tons of time together over the years and share many of the same memories of growing up.  He's the sweetest and goes above and beyond to be a thoughtful husband.

The Way to My HEART:

Volunteering to take over dinner duties for the night.  
It usually means he's grilling or picking up take out on the way home from work.  Both are fine by me.  He's memorized my favorite orders from local places so he can just stop in and order for me.  I used to feel like I had to make dinner every night, but then I realized that it really helped me out.  So we happily take him up on his dinner suggestions.

 Taking the time to teach me the rules of college & NFL football games
I knew nothing about football when we got married so it was quite an undertaking of patience to teach me all the ins and outs.  Now we watch TONS of football together, go to games and really enjoy the time together watching our teams.  We even played Fantasy Football together one year and he was such a good teacher that I won our league!

Planning fun trips for us - cruises, beach trips and weekend getaways
Kevin is in charge of finding great deals on hotels and dining and I look for tourist attractions.  We both enjoy traveling together and have explored everything from San Fransisco, National Parks out west to the beaches in the Gulf.  He maps out our routes, does 100% of the driving and makes sure that we're packing as much fun into the trip as possible.  I pack the snacks, pack our bags and get the car loaded up for the adventure.

He buys special treats for Olive when he's out and about.
He'll make grocery store runs and come home with things like giant chocolate Santas or heart containers full of valentine m&ms for our daughter.  I almost always skip over those things and he loves to bring her surprises.  They went grocery shopping together not too long ago and she came up with a bag of bite sized Nutter Butters and a goldfish container for her goldfish crackers.  He's thrilled to find her something fun and it makes me happy to see them get so excited over these surprises.

Picking up party supplies on clearance because he knows I'd love them
He scooped up some Notre Dame plates and napkins this Fall because he thought I'd like them for our tailgating parties.  He was right and I was so excited to pull them out for our tailgating parties.

Paying attention to my preferences and little details
He fills my drink with as much ice as possible and then adds the drink, picks up our favorite ice cream flavors, compliments my cooking and requests his favorites, and knows I'm always hot so he sets the thermostat accordingly.  He is really great at paying attention to little details.  For example, He memorized my ring size so that when he proposed he already knew what size to have my ring sized to fit me.  He said that he knew I'd hate giving it up to be sized so he figured he'd just make sure it fit ahead of time.  Another example - If I change lipstick shades, eye shadow colors or make up he notices right away and comments.  I usually have to think if I changed anything up, but he'll notice right away. 

He appreciates and thanks me for my SAHM status
Kevin knows that I loved my years in the classroom so he's always quick to point out how great of a teacher I am to our daughter.  He works hard so that I can stay home with our kids and often comments that my new job is a tough one.  It's nice to feel appreciated and supported as we're raising a young family.

Straightening our bedding
I like all of our covers tucked in and straightened so he does this for me every night.

Saving room for dessert
Kevin wasn't a big dessert eater growing up and desserts are my very favorite.  He's become quite a dessert fan and loves eating a fun treat with me.  He'll save room for dessert if we go out to a nice dinner, request a fun dessert during the week or even picked up ice cream sundaes for us on a rare night that he had to work late.

He encourages me to try new things and be brave.
 I am a creature of habit and would easily be content just keep doing the things I know I already like.  Kevin is much more of an adventurer.  We were on a cruise for our 30th birthdays and he scoped out this Mexican resort in Cozumel.  It had great reviews so he bought us a day pass while our ship was at port.  The skies were overcast, the taxi ride situation was shady and I was ready to abandon our plans.  He encouraged me to keep the plans and try it out.  We had an amazing time and that day was some of our best memories from the trip.  He was right and I appreciate him putting up with my stubborn self.

Linking up with Momfessionals 
and my favorite Tuesday Talk crew today.

Join us with your favorite post for the week.
We had 171 people link up with us last time.
Be sure to hop around and meet some new bloggers.

One of the most clicked on links last week was:
Because Marriage Matters by Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort
 Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Michelle at Grammie Time | Pinterest | Instagram 

Polka-Dotty Place