Home reno list

30 September 2014

30 September 2014
As this blog is a sort of electronic journal, and I haven't spent much time writing about or recording our home improvement projects lately, I thought I'd catch myself up and make an official list. I'm even going to separate them into categories!

cleaning so fast you can't see his hand

Things We Have Completed

Redid the nursery, which included:
Tore out old walls
Tore out windows
Added insulation
Drywalled every wall
Put in new windows
Added ceiling fan
Added light in closet
Added new trim and baseboard
Painted dresser
Painted side table
...and other things...
Replaced 4 basement windows
Painted and refinished outside of basement windows
Refinished my work desk
Built shelves in basement
Added carpet to basement (not actually installed, just laid)
Painted my own dresser

Things In Progress

Finishing/start the rest of the basement windows
Super secret project #1, woodwork edition
Super secret project #2, sewing machine edition
Rearrange attic into guest room
Organize/create work room for David's tools

Things To-Do

(Note: most of these are wish-list items, and are probably not going to do them all. But we can dream, right?)
Knock out the wall between kitchen & dining room
Take out old cabinets
Build new cabinets (David's ambitious project, although with Kate's current post I'm feeling more optimistic)
Move our back door to the middle of the house
Fill in current back door, replace missing siding, etc.
Replace lots of other windows because they're all broken
Build deck or lay cement for a patio
Re-tile bathroom floor
Add bathroom (or at least a toilet and sink) to the basement
Replace window in shower (yes, we have a window in our shower...it's ridiculous) with either block glass or something else (any ideas?)
Paint our bedroom
Take out/replace all plaster walls in the entire house
Add bathroom to the second floor
Add recessed window to basement
Add bedroom (framed and everything) to basement


Like I said, this is a big huge wish list. Obviously it will depend on how quickly we outgrow this house, and how much time and money we want to put into it while we're here. Also, how much energy we continue to have for house projects. It's really our favorite couple past-time - what we spend our free time on - but maybe that will change. (I'm guessing not, but never say never, right?)

In the mean time, we're dreaming on Pinterest (we're obsessed) and having fun working on our current projects.

Life of a WAHM

29 September 2014

29 September 2014

((in case you don't know...WAHM means Work At Home Mom.))

I work from home, 40-odd hours every week. And lots of time on Monday mornings it seems impossible that I will get 40 hours done, every week on time without having a mental breakdown.

I'm really lucky though. My work from home job is non-schedule-specific, which means I can work any hours of the day or night, whenever I get the chance. I only communicate with my employer via email, and sometimes occasional phone calls or rare meetings can take place but really not very often.

This makes it somewhat easy to work around Kate's schedule. Since I'm at home most of the time, I can stop to feed her, change her diaper, play with her, or distract her as necessary. Of course that doesn't mean it's always easy easy. She has a great tendency to blowout a diaper or get into a realllly good fit of teething pain when I'm trying to make a deadline or send off an important email.

I've had to learn to make wiggle room when I can. When David works late, I tend to work later hours into the evening, taking breaks and playing with Kate during the day more. When he gets home at a reasonable hour (sometime before the sunset is reasonable on our account), I have him take her for an hour or two to finish up a project or do a bunch of emailing in a row.

Luckily, Kate's still in the immobile and mostly happy stage of babyhood. She stays put wherever I put her (has only rolled over once...big deal but still only once) and can entertain herself for most of the time an hour at a time in her bouncer seat, looking at her mobile play thingy, sitting in her swing with a toy in front of her, or in her Bumbo on my desk next to me.

sometimes lap-sitting is the only way to go
and Kate wears this "must-have-pen" expression quite often

Also, I've gotten really good at working during her naps. Right now she takes about an hour nap between waking up and her "lunchtime" feeding, somewhere between a 1.5-3 hour (sometimes 4 hour!) nap during the afternoon, and another one or two cat naps during the evening, usually around half an hour each.

Someday I'd love to be a SAHM instead of a WAHM. Working 40 hours a week means chores, cleaning, and laundry are almost always weekend activities. It means meal planning is pretty much non-existent and we're often scrambling to make something for dinner at 7 p.m. It means I don't get to watch and interact with Kate as much as I like to. It means that I'm at home all the time, and don't really get to leave the house much during the week unless David gets home early. It means I don't have a lot of time for daily prayer, or daily Mass attendance, or mom groups, or anything like that. It means sometimes I'm overwhelmed and don't feel like I'm being the best mom or wife I can be.

But right now, this is where we are as a family. We need the money, plain and simple, and it works for us. We obviously save on child care, and I love being able to still work while being a mom. But someday, maybe, we'll be able to change that.

7QT #24: renos, TV, and old photos

26 September 2014

26 September 2014
Oh hey, Friday! there you are! finally.

Grace's post about all things TV this fall made me so excited for shows and television in general. So here's what I'm watching this year.

Parenthood: obviously, because you have already seen my opinions on the greatest drama ever
Grey's Anatomy: because I binge-watched 9 season or however many there are and I'm not a quitter
The Mindy Project: once I get caught up because I love Mindy Kaling
Parks and Rec: because AMY POEHLER, for gosh sakes, and David and I are going to catch up real quick-like once the last-year's-season goes on Netflix (I think today?)
New Girl: again, once we binge watch last year's season (thank you Netflix!)
Doctor Who: because it's the best show ever created, and there are finally new episodes!
Downton Abbey: once we have a snow day David and I are going to curl up on the couch and burn through the 3 seasons we haven't seen

I'm also hankering for some good quality BBC shows to watch so here's what I've seen are supposed to be good:
Death Comes to Pemberley (Jenna Coleman! Darcy! anything Jane Austen!)
The Escape Artist
Call the Midwife
Broadchurch (Season 2! yayyyy! Season 1 was fantastic)

Onto something a little more in-depth, and less embarassingly revealing of how much TV I watch...

I am crowdsourcing this problem David and I have with our one bathroom in our house. We need more storage, preferably some of the under-the-sink kind.

please excuse how grimy the floor looks...it's not that dirty, I promise
stupid iPhone photos
so, as you can see, we'd like to add some storage under there. We've considered buying a new vanity with sink included, which would be the logical choice...except even the skinniest vanity in the world covers up part of the vent in the room, which kind of sucks.

We added some shelves above the toilet:

But as you can see, they're being used to hold random things, instead of being organized and cute AND functional like we had in mind when we put them up.

Any suggestions for me, on either problem? I have baskets that we could use on the shelves, but not enough of one type/shape of thing to really make them organizing-useful.

How does one transition into being an adult when it comes to hairdos? I have a hard time leaving my hair down, always have - I'm a big top-knot, side-pony, chignon girl because I'm too lazy to blow dry my hair...especially since most of the time it turns into a big ball of fuzz when I do.

Do I just like take the plunge and start leaving it down? Do I use some sort of product? The only thing I use religiously around these parts is Moroccan hair oil, when I know I'm going to straighten my hair. Any curly-haired girls got some advice for me?

We found our old engagement photos and I am amazed at how different I think we look already! I think we took them in October of 2012, or somewhere around there. Levi Baus, one of our college friends, was our photographer - check out his site for some great photos! (also if you search long enough, you can find our engagement photos, wedding photos, and night photography, and also pics of my sister...haha!)

I think I've had a cup of iced coffee every morning this week. Am I becoming a coffee addict?
Time will only tell.
But let's be real, I'm going to keep drinking it because it's delicious.

The weather here teased us with some lovely fall temps the past couple weeks, but this week the high has been sweaty-and-humid 82° every. stinkin. day. I already got all my sweaters and jeans out of the closet...and now I'm just staring at them longingly, wishing I could actually wear them without going crazy.

I'm also drooling over this dress:

I need a dress for Caitlin's rehearsal dinner in November, and even though this isn't exactly nursing or pumping friendly, I'm still considering it. Plus, with leggings or tights it can be classed up or down so many ways!

This weekend is going to be a full one for us. We've got friends coming in from out of town, a Husker Catholic tailgate to attend, a Husker football game to watch (of course! #GBR), house projects to finish, and I think I have the most laundry buildup I've had since we moved in.

What are you doing this weekend? I hope it's a good one! Linking up with Jen @ Conversion Diary as per usual!
Pax tecum, everyone --

Cameras + growing in grace

23 September 2014

23 September 2014
So, my camera is in the shop. Ehh, well by that I mean I shipped it off to Nikon the other day in hopes that they will fix it for free.

See, my father-in-law dropped it. It was really bound to happen sometime, so I don't blame him. So David and I took it into the Nikon/Canon big camera shop in Omaha, Rockbrook Camera. They do a great business of selling and fixing cameras...except the guy took one look at the error message on my screen and said he'd never seen that error before.

Uh oh.

The plus side was he couldn't find a "ding" spot, aka an indent from dropping it, which Nikon usually looks for when they're fixing cameras that have errors usually caused from being dropped. His professional opinion was that they might fix it for free, seeing as they couldn't prove it had been dropped in the first place...so long as we didn't happen to specify that's what caused the error in the first place.

So I'm sans-lens (say that five times fast) for the next who-knows-how-long. Which isn't all that bad, because iPhone cameras are still better than my backup camera (literally, my iPhone 4S is 8MP or whatever and my old digital is 4. yikesss.).

But of course, now that it's gone, I really want to take a bunch of photos. Isn't that always how it goes?

One of my mom's favorite sayings, what she dubs the official Baker family motto, and literally had put on a plaque, is:

Most of the time, it refers to Christmas gifts or work settings. But here it refers to my camera. Of course as soon as I send it in, I want to take pictures! It's just logical, of course.

But isn't that what life usually is like? And isn't that what the sufferings of this life are usually like too? I pray for patience, but when I get opportunities to actually use that patience or grow in patience, I'm like, no thanks God, I'll try something else instead.

Or I know that I'm being selfish, and I need an opportunity (or 1000) to put someone else's needs above myself. And the next night Kate has a really hard time sleeping because she's teething, and all I do is grumble and complain about it. Instead of realizing that this is exactly what I prayed for, what I really need, and what is the best for me, I can't come to terms with it and completely miss the opportunity to grow.

The worst part is that I never realize I'm doing it til it's already past, and I'm back to praying for the virtue that I just missed a chance to practice it on. I'm back to asking God for the graces I want and need and fail to realize that He's giving me plenty of chances, and I'm just blind to them.

also, my iPhone works just fine.
So here's a (late-in-the-year) resolution: realize the times I can practice the virtues and graces I need to grow in, and actually do it. (As Dwija said it much better than I can, I'm all in.)

7QT #23: moto jackets, teething, and thrifting

19 September 2014

19 September 2014
Friday again! Yay! How about some quick takes? Head to Jen's for more!

I do not think I can pull off a moto jacket (aka motorcycle jackets styled for women.) This fact does not stop me from dreaming of buying one and hoping that I could pull one off. Here are some of my favorites, both from Forever21:


here and here

I really love them. But they're not practical, and I don't look like the kind of girl who can pull them off. Or do I? I can't decide. What say you?

I discovered the black-and-white shoot setting on my camera yesterday! Therefore, more pictures of Kate. 

David worked late every single night this week (except tonight!), which kind of stunk. When he works late, it usually means I have not-very-healthy things for dinner, and Kate and I get a little bored at home. It also meant we got no further on any projects we currently have in the works...and lately our weekends have been crazy busy, so we haven't done anything during the weekend either.

Hopefully we'll change that this weekend! We have some windows to still finish up in the basement, before snow hits - which, let's be honest, could be any day now. We're also working on a secret gift, hopefully refinishing our dining room table, and then I've got to get going on some sewing projects.

I'm looking forward to a productive weekend. Plus a Husker football game. What more could you want from a fall Saturday?

Does anyone have good teething remedies, somewhat on the natural tendency? I'm definitely not above giving Kate some Baby Tylenol when she needs it, but this onset of teething is throwing us for a bit of a loop and I'd rather not constantly drug her to improve her mood/sleep.

We have one of the above (Sophie the Giraffe...most expensive little thing in the world) which Kate loves, but she doesn't have quite enough motor control to really get it in her mouth and keep it there. So I'm trading off with trying to get it in her mouth and just giving her a pacifier to chew on, but when she's flushed and won't chew on anything I don't know exactly what else to do for her.

Luckily the teething isn't throwing off her sleep too much - she's waking up earlier in the morning and has sort of been cutting her naps short, but those are minor symptoms compared to the drool, the obvious pain she's in...and the really painful bite she's got going on. 

Experienced mamas, got any advice for me?

Have you all heard of the photographer from the 50s and 60s, Vivian Maier? If you're just discovering her, like I did this week, click here to her website and check out the fantastic photos she's got. She was the "pioneer" of what they call street photography nowadays, aka she took pictures of everyday life.

Of course if you read Verily as religiously as I do, you've already discovered her website. Here are some of my favorites that I've seen in her galleries (available online!).

all photos copyright Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, accessed here
My friend Ashley and I went to the pre-sale of a locally-run consignment sale this week. It was fantastic. This sale is almost exclusively volunteer-based, and they have fantastic stuff because they have really great strict rules about what kinds of items can be brought in to be sold.

She and I both consigned a few items so we could get in to the pre-sale, and holy crap was it worth it! I spent $113 and got all this stuff: (35 items)

Some of my favorite things:

Since I got 35 items total, that makes the average price for each item was $3.23. That included that pink dress above, which is Polo brand, a Skip Hop diaper bag, a maternity top (for future use!! don't get all excited), and plenty of items that were still new-with-tags. 

The bargain hunter in me was pretty ecstatic.

I haven't left the house all week, so later today I am going to Target. By myself. It's gonna be awesome. 

What are you up to this week? linking up with Jen as usual!

Recent readings {five favs}

17 September 2014

17 September 2014
I haven't done a reading update post recently, even though I've been devouring books like crazy on my Kindle during nursing sessions with Kate. (If you're in need of motivation to start reading some more...have a baby. It's helped me immensely.)

I thought I'd pick out 5 of my most favorite recently and link up with Mary for Five Favorites! so here goes!

1. Eleanor & Park 
by Rainbow Rowell

This book was fantastic. I saw it recommended to read if you enjoy John Green's works (like TFIOS or Paper Towns) and YA lit. I think you'll like it no matter what. It's a love story, told from the point of view of both Eleanor and Park, the two main characters.

It's not your typical high school love story, though. I was surprised by how great I found the book, especially because I was just looking for an entertaining read when I picked it up. I think it's in the works to become a movie but make sure you read the book before you go see it.

Also, the author is from Nebraska, and it's set in Omaha, so that's awesome.

2. Outliers
by Malcolm Gladwell

I know I'm about 6 years late on the Malcolm Gladwell train, but if you haven't taken the plunge and read his plethora of best-selling non fiction works, do it now on my recommendation. Outliers is an explanation of why different people become successful - what the real reasons are for success in any one person's life.

It was absolutely fascinating to me to read this book. Gladwell is one of those writers that takes something you've always thought about in the back of your mind, like how is that some people accomplish so much, and expands it into a fascinating book.

He's also a terrifically entertaining writer, packing his books full of information but not being too preachy or unreachable like some authors of this genre. I also recommend his other books but this one has been my favorite so far.

3. Girls in White Dresses
by Jennifer Close

I saw this book recommended on Pinterest (what a great literary source, right?) but had no idea what I was getting in to when I rented it. It's the story of a group of recent college graduates, told in little snippets from the perspective of each of them as they try to navigate the "adult" world - getting jobs, finding and breaking up with boyfriends, and getting married.

Sounds like a cliche sort of premise for a book, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Close does a fantastic job of making you actually interested in each character. She also has a very unique writing style, which definitely kept me interested.

If you're just out of college you will definitely identify with this book...I sure did.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? [And Other Concerns]
by Mindy Kaling

Guys, Mindy Kaling has long been one of my favorite famous people. (Admit it, you all have favorite famous people. It's natural.) I loved her character on The Office, loved that she was an actor and also a writer, and of course fell in love with The Mindy Project. This book is what I imagine sitting down to have a conversation with Mindy would be like.

She is really, really funny - in ways that I didn't appreciate before this book - and also has great advice for pretty much any stage of your life. I've read this before but just rented it again because I knew it would make me laugh...David can attest to the fact that I laugh out loud re-reading it every night in the past couple days.

If you liked Tina Fey's Bossypants then this is right up your alley. Also she does one of my other favorite things which is talk about other famous people (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Steve Carrell to name a few).

5. Paper Towns
by John Green

Forgive me, but this was the last John Green novel I had yet to read so I had to include it on the list. I have a hard time distinguishing favorites from among his works but this one was amazing. Seriously. I really loved it.

Green has this amazing ability as a writer to take your expectation as a reader and conform to them but also completely surprise and upset them all at the same time, and I think this work of his does it in the best way. (It's also not as depressing as TFIOS, although I'm not going to say it's the happiest book in the world.)

Also, I was an English major in college so although this list is compiled of rather light reads in comparison to what I read in college, it's still valid to read a book because you love it and not necessarily because it's high literature. To some people this is where Green fits in because he writes "YA lit," whatever that is, but I think he's great all the same. He's famously quoted as saying something like, "YA lit is just what they call books people actually buy."

What have you read recently? I'm in need of some new suggestions, so send them my way!

P90X update

16 September 2014

16 September 2014
So as you might remember, I'm in the midst of doing P90X as a way to get back in shape after not exercising for approximately 9 months...whoops.

Well, that's not entirely true. I was in the midst of P90X when I found out we were pregnant, last year in early October. So I had been doing some working out at the very onset of pregnancy, but as soon as I found out I was like, forget this and let's work on other things instead. Also, I was having a hard time finding a full hour during my first trimester where I was not working and also not feeling nauseous.

sunburnt at our resort for our honeymoon...s
ort of an unrelated pic but I've been looking for an excuse to use it
Back to now. At 6 weeks postpartum, I decided to start P90X. Why, why oh why would you commit to something like that right after having a baby, you might ask? Here were my reasons:

          1. I need structure in my workouts. If I don't have a plan, and a plan that is pretty rigid and unforgiving, it tends to fall to the wayside, pregnant, postpartum, what have you. P90x is like built on structure.

          2. I like weight lifting and cardio, but never have been successful at doing both in the same day. P90x is a great mix of both, in the same week, without being too heavy on one end or the other.

          3. I can't really go for runs, and definitely couldn't 6 weeks postpartum. I have a pretty severe case of IT Band syndrome, which prevented me from running cross country as a senior in high school and has persisted ever since. I'm okay on ellipticals, but can't do anything that is really like running for a long period of time. Also my joints were crazy loose still at 6 weeks so I was like, probably better not (Fat Amy voice, please.)

          4. It seemed crazy. I like crazy things. I like being extreme and committing to something that most people scoff at. Plus Tony Horton, the leader/coach, is extreme and hilarious. Also I think he probably says the word "extreme" about 100 times per video. Right up my alley.

I contemplated taking a before picture, but I thought about it and looked in the mirror and was like, I'm pretty positive I'm going to remember what I looked like. No reason to scald the camera lens by taking the actual picture.

Now, I haven't gone through the program all the way yet, and I took about 2 weeks off total so far - this past week I was sick with a cold (thanks a lot David) and when we went on vacation I couldn't muster the energy during my week of relaxation plus taking care of a baby on vacation. So I'm obviously not suuuuper strict about it.

I love being pregnant...
but I also love being able to bend over all the way.
But other than that, I've been really good to myself by keeping with the program and not giving up, even when I had to modify or change things. At the beginning I avoided the ab workouts, doing my own modified versions because I was afraid to damage my abs (diastasis recti was like, my major fear during pregnancy...don't ask me why). Even though my doctor approved me and was visibly impressed with my ability to lift my legs (such a simple task, such hard work right after giving birth) at my checkup, I was still hesitant. So I held off on those.

And holy crap, even though I took last week off because of illness, I can tell a noticeable difference in how in shape I am now versus how much I was not when I started. Taking the week off let me have a chance to notice how well I was doing on my workout yesterday! Soo here goes, some results I've encountered so far.

Results {so far}:
          I can do 25 standard "girl" pushups in a row. This is a huge deal for me - I have always struggled with pushups, and even though I'm doing the modified version, I still love seeing my progress from when I started. When I began the program, I could do maybe 4 or 5 in a row and then be shaking and totally out of breath. Last night I did 25 in a row with no problem!
          I don't get winded going up and down stairs, or walking for a long time in a row. Obviously when I was pregnant some of those were because I was pregnant, but I love seeing and feeling the difference.
          For the first time in my life, I have zero love handles. Obviously I'm not entirely svelt in that area but I have never not had love handles! This is huge for me and was super encouraging to notice. The cellulite on my legs, which I've had for a long time, is also gone. Smooth sailing, which is awesome.
          I've had to increase the weights I've been using on the weight lifting sections, and I can do the hardest version of pullups-using-bands (we don't own a pullup bar, so I use bands like they do on the DVDs).

I've wanted and somewhat needed a little bit of a motivational push recently, so this tallying up of things I'm noticing about myself is more for my own benefit than for yours, dear reader. But thanks for putting up with me anyway.

Really the best "result" I've seen so far is that I crave working out. Sundays are rest or stretch days, but sometimes due to scheduling I have to move them around to a day during the week where we're going to be out of town or something. When I don't work out on a day I usually do, I actually miss it! I notice how much less energy I have, and how sluggish I feel by the end of the day. Working out also gives me a chance to not think about anything for an hour, which is always good. And when David's not working too late, it gives me an hour or two by myself which is great for a mama's soul (if he works late, I try to work out while Kate is napping).

Obviously P90X isn't for everyone. But if you need structure like I do, and you're looking for something challenging, I highly encourage it. I was gifted a hand-me-down set of the workout DVDs (the original set, from like 2005 or whenever) so I didn't have to pay the steep price, but I think it would totally be worth it if I hadn't. (Nope, this isn't an affiliate post...I just really like the program and think others would too.)

What do you do to work out? Do you love seeing your results as much as I do?

Monday shenans

15 September 2014

15 September 2014
Monday shenanigans, aka a blog post about a bunch of things I have no other place to put. Hooray!

First off, I am seriously in love with the Blessed Is She ministry. If you haven't researched it yet, you should sincerely go to their website and sign up for their daily devotional. Talk about a fantastic idea - the daily scripture plus a devotional sent to your inbox every morning? I officially have no excuse not to keep up with the readings this way. And you don't either anymore.

Also they sent out a phone background with one of their recent emails so this loveliness is gracing my home screen now. Beautiful right?

This weekend we spent some time in Columbus working on adding a patio to a property that my in-laws own and manage. It was approximately 58° outside and cloudy most the day, so it was really actually nice spending time outside.

The only problem was the stones were approximately each the weight of a small cow, which made laying them and rearranging them and leveling them a super pain in the rear end. Good workout, but made for an absolutely exhausting day.

Kate was a dream the whole day, though, being happy and enjoying watching us all day with barely a peep of complaint. She watched and got cutely swaddled up in a sweatshirt because we still don't have any sort of outerwear for her...especially since the cold weather just suddenly hit us with no warning.

Then we got blessed with a beautiful sunset to grace our night. How wonderful is this? (couldn't do no filter, sorry)

It was a great weekend, and now I'm back to normal everyday life aka working when Kate takes a 4 hour nap. Genius baby right?

How was your Monday?

Things I'm loving recently

11 September 2014

11 September 2014
The West Wing

Boy oh boy why did it take me so long to start watching this? I'm loving it so much it's hard to tear my eyes away from it sometimes. Which makes lunch hour my absolute favorite time of day -- aka, the time I watch TV while eating/catching up on emails. I'm only into season one by 9 episodes and I know it's going to be a love affair.

Brim Papery

I really love Brim Papery's shop and I've found myself going back there a lot in the past couple weeks. If I could have one skill to suddenly pop into my repertoire it would be beautiful hand-lettering like this. Gorgeous right?

My leopard-print scarf

It's finally cold enough in Nebraska to wear a scarf. I didn't know how much I missed it until it came back. My neck is comfortably warm with this $6 version from Forever21 (when it was their steal of the week or what have you).

What have you been loving recently?


09 September 2014

09 September 2014

eating: lots of things you can grill...brats, chicken, repeat. using the grill while we still can.

drinking: iced coffee & water. & gatorade, to beat this cold.

listening to: noah and the whale radio on spotify. fall weather always brings me back to them -- soothing and easy to work to. also, thunder.

watching: baby kate sleep. and also firefly, and contemplating starting the west wing.

reading: eleanor & park, which I already love on chapter 3. blogs, as always.

wearing: gym shorts and tees. and jeans! so excited to wear jeans again. with buttons and zippers, even.

realizing: only 2 short months until my BFF gets married. crazy how time flies.

working on: house projects galore, finishing up this month's work, trying to stay sane and not too messy.

enduring: a cold brought home by my lovely husband. I didn't get it as bad as him but it's still hard to be a mother and also weather a cold.

smelling: incoming rain, and a lilac candle gifted to me by my sister's boyfriend.

sewing: a very secret special project that is making me very excited. cooler weather brings out my craftiness and I'm extra excited about this one.

wanting: time to slowwwww down. kate's already so much bigger than when she was born. how can that be over 3 months ago already?

disliking: a not-really-functioning water heater. cold showers = no fun.

cheering for: huskers, even though the game starts at 9:30 p.m.  this weekend. I'm going to need some major caffeine help.

what are you up to currently?

not a fashion blogger {eShakti review}

08 September 2014

08 September 2014
Hi y'all. Another big bad sponsored post - I received the dress in return for writing the review, but of course all opinions are my own. 

dress: eShakti
shoes: ancient - Jessica Simpson
sweater: Gap, ancient - stole from Caitlin
necklace: Target

Guys, I am not a fashion blogger.
Most days I wear gym shorts and a tshirt to work - which is my computer in my basement. And often times that outfit gets spit up on. I might go for the occasional pair of jeans on a date night, or put on a nice pair of slacks and a blouse for Sunday Mass. 

But then eShakti contacted me and asked if I would be willing to review one of their dresses and I said, why not? So here I am, venturing into uncharted territory. Bear with me.

I've been a pseudo-fan of eShakti since I discovered them searching for dresses on a whim a few years ago. (what can I say, I'm great at internet browsing but never purchasing). But I never found an occasion to buy one for, so they slipped to the back of my mind. Stupid of me! eShakti has customizable dresses - aka every dress you buy can be sized to your exact specifications. Genius, right? 

I picked out this dress because I realized the only black dress I had in my possession was one I wore to our Winter Formal dress when I was a sophomore in high school...aka I probably purchased it somewhere in the timeframe of November to December of 2006. That is 8 years ago, people. It was shameful. And every girl needs a little black dress, right? This one hit the spot. It's got plenty of ruffles on the front to avoid the boring-aspect and a bow that can tie in the front or the back. Plus it has pockets. I love it. 

On almost every dress they offer, eShakti can also change or modify the sleeve length, dress length, and remove the pockets (although why would you want to, let's be honest here - pockets in dresses are the best thing since sliced bread). They do customize every dress to your preference, and have expanded their inventory a ton recently to include skirts, tops, and pants now, too! But how about these gorgeous dresses?

here, here, and here
each one customizable sleeve lengths, too!
eShakti was generous enough to give me a coupon code - use the code gokienotes at checkout before September 26th to receive 10% off your order! And if you're a new customer they have a site-wide coupon going on right now that gives you $25 gift coupon towards your first purchase. Pretty amazing, right? Pretty sure I'll be sneaking back around a few times when wedding season hits this Christmas.

Thanks for tolerating this non-fashion-blogger's first foray into the world of having my husband take pictures of me in front of our garage for my blog. How about a cute baby picture to reward you? :)

we love to match!


7QT #22: fussing, thrifting, and college football

05 September 2014

05 September 2014
Another week, another quick takes post wi' Jen. Let's be real, I can't write more than a take's worth of a post anyway so here we go!

Peaches around here have finally been good. I get wary of fruit purchases when it's off season, but the problem with only having done your own grocery shopping for like 4 years now is that I'm still unsure of when in-season is for some fruits and veggies. Obviously I have figured it out now for Colorado peaches - aka right this very second. Our hometown grocery store (Super Saver, duh) has fantastic ones in right now for like $1.50/lb. I think I'm going back this weekend for more of them.

Who am I? Blogging about fruit? What a great start to a riveting post, Hannah...

I think Kate is going through her 3-month growth spurt (just googled to see if that was a thing...google says it is.) She's been sporadically fussy for no apparent reason, which is very unlike her, and also has been eating and getting up more frequently during the night and not staying asleep like she used to. I thought originally that she was maybe cutting her first tooth - which I haven't totally discounted yet, btw - because she's been extra drooly and fussy also, but now I'm thinking it is growing pains instead.

come ON mom, figure it out already!
Her first growth spurt - at least, first one that I noticed - was around the 8 week mark, but I didn't recognize what it was until we were through it. After about 3 days she was back to normal. So I'm hoping to ride out this wave of fussy in the next, oh, 24 hours, and call it good. Report back for further details later.

I've been trying to keep up with the brouhaha going down around Archbishop Fulton Sheen's cause for canonization, and this was an interesting article you may not have read about it yet:

Okay yeah it's one of those buzzfeed-like article titles, but the author made some valid points I hadn't thought of yet. Just thought I'd add to the mix. I definitely believe Sheen is going to be a saint someday - just might take a little longer than thought previously!

I had my first payout from Twice this week - and my one from ThredUp is coming soon, an email told me this morning! I can't wait to see what the other one brings but after they both come you best be sure I'm going to write a review post!

[try to contain your excitement while you wait, hard as it may be]

I'm also trying to decide if I want to get store credit (25% more) or just take the cash at Twice...thoughts? I'm all ears eyes.

David and I have tons of house improvement projects in the works and in the conception stage right now, and they're making me super excited. Last weekend we rearranged the basement and at the same time switched our dining room and living room on the first floor. I haven't taken pictures yet because it's still in destructo mode but once I do I am going to be asking for your feedback to see if we're crazy to think we can knock down a wall and not have our house fall down around our ears.

I mean, yes, we're crazy. But like, how crazy??

New favorite healthy drink?
Pellegrino + Crystal Light.

Best combo ever!

Does anyone who doesn't have a cable subscription have tips on how we can buy and/or watch college football games without paying an arm and a leg? Not that we don't love socializing but the thought of going somewhere every Saturday for the next 10 weeks to watch a Husker game sounds intimidating for us homebodies.

I heard rumor that AppleTV might be what we want...any clues? Or does everyone else just suck it up and buy cable?

Like I said...riveting post content right over hurrr.
Hope you all have a lovely lovely week! Check out famous radio host Jen's for more lovin.

3 Months

03 September 2014

03 September 2014

Baby Kate is 3 months old! How about an update post?

Weight: at her very-late 2 month appointment (aka when she was 2.5 months old), she weighed 13 lbs 8 oz. She's definitely gotten heavier since then, but we didn't have a checkup this month so we'll have to wait til 4 months for an official new weight. My guess is somewhere around 14, pushing 15 maybe.

Height: at the same appointment, she was 25 inches tall. I measured her with my sewing measuring tape the other day, and it said 28 inches. How is that even possible? 7 inches since birth? If that's accurate, she's still in the 99th percentile.

Firsts this month: grabbing her toes, grabbing toys and stuff in front of her, following objects in front of her eyes very easily, pushing herself up completely supported when she's on her tummy (and in the mood to do it).

nothing new this month but recurring strength of Big Belly

Other things to note:
-She officially can't fit into 0-3 month clothes - but no surprise there. Her 3-6 month onesies are getting tight long-ways too, so those are going to be gone soon I'm guessing. Good thing her mom went on a fun hunt when the Gap was having a huge baby clearance!
- I think she might be starting to cut her first tooth. There's the faintest hint of one of her two front coming in, and it is slowly slowly poking through. Luckily there hasn't been any resultant fussiness really yet, but I'm getting nervous about it...
- She can almost sit up by herself when she's the right combination of full/awake. But it's still a guessing game most of the time if she's going to completely faceplant or not.
- She's definitely developed a routine during a normal day, and can get crabby if she doesn't stick to it. But it's not usually anything that can't be remedied by the next day!
- At nights she's mostly sleeping about 12 hours, from 10 p.m. to 9/10 a.m., with one break to eat around 5:30-6:00. Of course that's not every night, but most nights it's pretty reliable! She's a miracle baby.

We love you, Kate!

Long weekend recap

02 September 2014

02 September 2014
Who doesn't love a good long weekend recap-type-post? I for one do...so here you go, future me, reading back on my blog in the year 2050 when you're retired and missing having babies around. {how about that for a post intro?}

This Labor Day weekend was probably the busiest one I've ever had. I don't remember much about last year's, but this year tops them all!

On Friday Kate and I went on a shopping spree. And by spree I mean I went to Target and Old Navy and it was very nice because there weren't many shoppers out at 9 a.m. on a Friday morning. Praise the Lord for that because I still cannot get the hang of pushing our stroller through a door that doesn't open automatically. All ye experienced moms, got any tips for me? I'm doing the awkward "pull door open, walk in front and try and yank the thing through the door" move now and it's kinda awful. #firstworldproblems

Via Jenny's recommendation I bought these jeans at Old Navy, and trust me when I say that she did the perfect job of hyping them up. If you are in the mood for a perfectly-stretchy pair of black jeans that come up high but not too high, these are it, my friend. Do yourself a favor and get yer butt over there and buy some! I also got me some tunic-y shirts at Target and a lovely drapey cardigan. Can you tell I'm ready for fall?

Then we took our weekly trip to Menards (you think I'm joking...but I'm not) and got supplies for some projects we're working on and some storage shelves for the basement. I think the employees at Menards are starting to worry about us...and definitely recognize us...because we spend so much time (=money) there.
We're hoping a scene like this is in our near future...fingers crossed!
Then we went home, did some quick packing, and went to celebrate my baby sister's 18th birthday. Too crazy that the littlest one in our family is already 18 years old and will be going to college next year. Where does time go? After her bday celebration, we drove to Columbus to spend some time with David's godparents who were in town from Arizona for the weekend.

Nebraska in one picture: corn + football gear.

We played golf in the morning and then watched the Huskers demolish Florida Atlantic 55 to 7, a game which included the craziest catch I've ever seen live on a football game - catching the ball behind his back! (only beating out the same player's catch last year from a ridiculous bouncing Hail Mary play):

Then we drove back to Lincoln where David went out to celebrate a friend's birthday and I crashed at home. On Sunday morning we went to Mass, went grocery shopping (oh the glamorous glamorous life we lead), came home and hung out with a friend who had stayed the night, and then spent the rest of the afternoon working on the house and yard and cleaning up everything that was crazy messy. We had a celebratory long-weekend dinner at Raisin' Cane's (to which we are ridiculously regular customers) and then spent the evening watching old Doctor Who and playing Catan - I won 2 out of the 3 games so I was declared victorious.

Monday morning we got up and David cleaned and organized the basement. We just recently acquired a new-to-us fridge to replace the super old one that came with the house, so we moved our old one to the basement and officially designated it a man cave, complete with two TVs, a now-working N64, an XBOX, and speaker system. David worked really really hard on it and is very pleased with the results. We still don't have cable but when we get it, we are going to have plenty of college-football-watching parties down here!

world's heaviest-duty coffee table
so many appliances, so much fun

After we finished some of that up, we dropped Kate off at my parents' and went to our first movie since she's been born! We missed out seeing Guardians of the Galaxy with David's family a couple weeks ago, so his mom paid for us to go together (so sweet). They've got this new setup at the biggest theater in Lincoln where one theater is full of automatic recliners, with no additional charge for the movie ticket. As we were walking up, I was telling David that we'd have to plan on going to a movie on that screen sometime soon...and lo and behold, the 4:30 show for Guardians was in that theater! It was luxury, let me tell you. We even got popcorn & pop, which I don't think we've EVER done before as a couple. It was awesome.

We drove home, skyped with David's brother Michael, ate some dinner, did some furniture rearranging (which deserves its own post so I'm going to skip it here), and then crashed at 10:00. It was an EXHAUSTING weekend but so so awesome. And the second best part? It's only a 4 day week now!

What did you do this weekend? Was it as crazy as ours?? :)

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