Five favorites: lately

1. Lots of fall evening walks, which of course include an adorably bundled-up baby and feet pictures.





2. Once Upon a Time, which has very recently (as of last night at like 10 p.m.) become my new obsession. I always thought it sounded ridiculous. And then I started watching it and I'm down for the count and apologizing for every time I dissed it in my head. (And yes, it's on Netflix.)



3. Adorable Husker game watching with this little cutie in her somewhat boyish outfit.


4. DayQuil and decaf tea, because we're suffering as a family through a rash of voice-losing colds and trying not to succumb completely to their powers. (see below current favorite flavor, country peach)



5. Getting excited for this beautiful lady's wedding in less than 2 weeks, and writing the toast for her wedding, and internally freaking out about the beauty of vocations and the excitement of parties and such. She's great. (Also how crazy young do we look?!)



Linking up with Jenna, the new host of Five Favorites!
HG

Liebster tag yo!

There is nothing like a good blog-award-hop. Kayla at The Sweet Wonder tagged me for a Liebster award, which is awesome...and came at the best timing, because the writing cells in my brain seem to have disappeared. Oops.

So here goes nothing!


1. 2015 is just over 2 months away (WHAT). Do you have a preference for odd or even number years?

Hmm, I would say I mostly prefer even-numbered years. But my favorite is when dates line up so that the year fits in prettily, like say 10-14-2014 or something that has symmetry like that. I'm also freakishly good at remembering numbers so stuff like that pleases my somewhat OCD-brain.

2. What's your current favorite TV show and why should we watch it?

Oh, I have to pick just one?! Well I've already written about Parenthood and how much I love it, and also The West Wing...so I will advocate again for Doctor Who. It's a really hard show to summarize, but here's the Cliff's Notes: human-looking alien called Time Lord who takes human companions with him to travel the stars and save planets and races all over. Super pro-life, always touching and hilarious at the same time, and there is plenty of material to get through (but start with the new episodes in 2005 if you need a jumping-off point). 

3. How often do you really try out new recipes or DIY projects you pin on Pinterest? Any major successes?


Haha...well I am not much of a cook at all but when I'm in the mood I definitely turn to my recipes board on Pinterest first for inspiration. It's sometimes a success and sometimes a big huge failure. BUT I do love pinning DIY-inspiration and I'm pretty good about actually completing a lot of those, especially because David and I just love doing projects together. Mine are mostly sewing-knitting-crafty types and his are home improvement-themed, but we seem to get along just fine anyway. 

4. What's your favorite pie for Thanksgiving?

Cherry pie, for sure. I'm not opposed to pumpkin pie, but cherry tops anything no matter the time of year. But I usually don't limit myself to just one type of pie for such an important holiday.

5. What's the last blog you were reading?

Well, I've been binge-reading Hey Natalie Jean because hello, beautiful and she talks real life and I really love that. Otherwise Jenny's post about Modesty Wars was the one left in my queue before Kayla's nomination, and she's been totally killing it with her series Catholics do what? so you should definitely be reading those!

6. Cold and flu season is just around the corner (or it's already here. whatever). Does your family stick to any natural prevention techniques or remedies you swear by?

So far this is one area I have not tapped into yet as a new mom. I'm pretty much okay with over-the-counter cold meds and an occasional cup of tea to get me through cold/flu season. I would love to know if anyone has tried-and-true methods to keep them away! All 3 of us are suffering through a nasty cold right now and I'm not looking forward to it.

7. Did you go pumpkin or apple picking this year?

Unfortunately no, I didn't make it to either so far this year! Although I suppose we probably have a few weeks left before cold weather hits that I could maybe squeeze it in, but we've been SO busy that I doubt it's going to happen. 

8. What's your preferred method of documenting your life through photos? Scrapbooking? Facebook? Wall art? Magnets?

I tried scrapbooking once and totally failed. I'm pretty good at putting photos on the blog and on Facebook, and I finally got around to printing our wedding photos into a book about 3 months ago, just after our one-year anniversary. I'm hoping to keep up that tradition and try to do a yearly photo book every year, because I know myself and I'm not going to be consistent at printing photos and putting them in a photo album. Shutterfly makes the process super easy and always has good deals going on so once a year I think is a feasible goal!

9. Does it snow where you live? If so, are you looking forward to the first snowfall of the season?

It definitely snows in Nebraska. Big time. Farmers and the weather men around here are predicting an above-average year for snowfall which I am super excited for! I love snow. I love cozying up inside with a cup of tea and a good book, bundling up to go outside and quickly come back in again, and just the general beauty of a good snow. 

10. What did you have for dinner last night?

We had leftover enchiladas which David's mom made us (so delicious!) and guac and chips. It was a delicious dinner - it's so nice to be able to use the oven again without dying of heat every time we turn it on. I'm thinking we'll have more casseroles this week to take advantage of it!

------------

Now for a Liebster award you're supposed to tag 3-5 other bloggers who are either under 200 or 3,000 readers, depending on your source. Little bit of a difference there but let's go with it anyway! I'm tagging:

Caitlin at A Joyful Duty
Rosie at A Blog for My Mom
Caitlyn at Harvesting Home
Michelle at My Life In Lists
Amy at All For Heaven's Sake

Here are your questions!

1. If you were any TV character, who would you be and why?
2. What are you really really good at? Like, your superpower if you were a superhero...
3. What got you into blogging? How did you feel about it when you started?
4. What's your favorite quote? 
5. How often do you do the laundry? Dishes? Other household chores?
6. What's your guilty pleasure? 
7. Do you like to take naps? How often do you get to nap?
8. What's your favorite alcoholic drink? 
9. What time do you usually go to bed? Are you a night owl or a morning person?
10. Do you vote/get into political things? What interests you the most about politics?

Now, go forth and blog -- thanks again for the tag Kayla!
HG

Trendiest trender on the block...

So, the capsule wardrobe.

Every one in the world is doing it. (Yes, those are all separate links.)

And the idea fascinates me. I spent most of yesterday (whoops) going through Caroline's blog, and then clicking follow on Bloglovin' as fast as humanly possible because, wow, what a genius idea.

I've complained to David probably 20 times since we've been married that we really need to pare down the clothes we own. And wowza, has it gotten bad. Currently between us two adults, we have 4 (FOUR) storage bins - the big size - full of unworn clothes in the basement, one closet stuffed to the brim between the two of us, and another closet practically full of other clothes we sort-of-sometimes-wear but not really. And it just gets bigger worse every day.



That up there is the parsed-down version. My side of the closet starts from the gray sleeve on the right-hand side...yep. Still overwhelming at 27 items in there right now.

I really resonated with Caroline's motivations to pare down her wardrobe, as well as her mentality around shopping bringing her happiness but not really (I can't find the post now, but basically she - and I - found a lot of joy in buying things but kept them only because she felt guilty, not because they were good pieces or fit her well).

via Unfancy blog

Then Kendra wrote a killer post about it, and I was hooked. So I'm in the midst of a big purge. I'm not committing quite yet to a capsule wardrobe, per se, but I am in the mindset of getting rid of any clothes that I know I won't wear.

The 2 biggest things holding me back previously were sentimentality and sizes.

Sentimentality: I own tons of dresses that I wore for special occasions, some up to 6 or 7 years ago, but didn't want to part with because they reminded me of that time in my life. I also had shirts and skirts that reminded me of so many things: our honeymoon, high school clubs, etc. etc. that I was realistically never going to wear again but was emotionally attached to. I made myself think: would I ever choose this item over a piece I currently actually wear? If the answer was no, it went into the get-rid-of pile.

Size: Since I'm still pretty post-partum-y, this was another big factor in keeping some of those clothes in my closet. I'm not quite back at pre-pregnancy size yet, so I had this vision in my head of getting back down there and then eventually using all these clothes again. That was obviously made up because, hello - losing weight isn't going to make 4 year old dresses suddenly come back in fashion. So I asked myself: if I was me now at the smallest I've ever been, would I wear this again? The answer was no for 99% of the clothes I was hoarding. Yeah, it was sad.

some of the donate/sell pile

Now, I'm not super far into this capsule wardrobe thingy, like I said. Right now I'm focusing on getting rid of clothes I KNOW I'm never going to wear again. That is going to involve a heavy Sunday of trashing or donating almost all the clothes in our basement, and another big purge with David - if he's on board.

I'm not going to be completely unrealistic about this all either. I still love shopping, and I'm constantly changing sizes so I won't trash everything. Some will definitely go into the hopefully soon-to-be-empty bins in the basement. I'll send another shipment to ThredUp (again, I know I still haven't posted about my opinion of both it and Twice) and then see how it's going.

I know I'll never include workout/lounge clothes, underwear, bras, or undershirts in this thing (Caroline doesn't, so that's good enough reason for me...plus, laundry).  But I might be ambitious enough to really get my style figured out and invest in some good pieces that I love with this capsule wardrobe thing. Or since our "style" budget is basically $0 right now, I might just pare down what I have until that's a little more feasible.

love this palette for my wardrobe?

Let's be honest: I already do this subconsciously. There are only certain items in my closet I like anyway, so I really only wear 20 items in my closet (that's an exaggeration) right now anyway. If I saved more money on items I don't really love and put them towards items I DO love, it would probably be more like 40.

But. But. I want to find clothes that I love, that are good quality, that fit me well, that are things I will really love and want to wear over and over, that are my style. Whatever that is, I haven't discovered yet.

I'm still in the process and discovering how far I want to go with this thing. I am sure I'm going to post about this again, but in the meantime...what are your thoughts on a capsule wardrobe? What do you do to keep down the mass of clothes that builds up?
HG

Taking stock

(copying Bridget and Katrina...you know how I do.)



Making: pumpkin muffins for dinner (literally just a can of pumpkin, a box spice cake, and chocolate chunks...so delicious)
Drinking: water, and tea now it's getting chillier in the evenings
Reading: An Abundance of Katherines and the Unfancy blog...getting caught up
Wanting: to find time to binge-watch the new episodes of Parenthood
Listening: to my fall mixes on Spotify which mostly feature Nickel Creek and Alexi Murdoch
Eating: Boy Scout caramel popcorn and guacamole
Smelling: crisp fall air coming through the open windows
Enjoying: the new ways Kate is interacting with us. She's more smiley, more cuddly, more willing to play and have fun with us. And also nap with her dad, which is too adorable.
Loving: the ability to take jogger runs with Kate in the fall weather, oh and unabashed selfies
Hoping: we have a fun and relaxing weekend in Columbus in the next couple days - celebrating David's birthday with his family
Feeling: a little less stressed than last week, which is always great
Wearing: leggings and t-shirts during the day, cozy sweaters and jeggings and loose tops when I go out in public
Noticing: the changing colors in our neighborhood (fall theme much?) and how different Kate is day to day
Bookmarking: ways to treat baby colds (poor thing has the biggest frog in her throat) and how to maybe start using essential oils? new territory for me

What are you up to?
HG

The dreaded...the evil...

Sleep training.

I said it.

Now, if my blog had more than about 12 readers, I'd be afraid of the reaction of the internet to the fact that David and I decided to start sleep training Kate this week. I know not everyone agrees with this method of teaching kids to sleep, but so far it has been wonderful for us.

Let me preface that by saying we just finished night #2, so obviously we're not quite out of the woods yet (Tswift reference AND Nickel Creek reference in the same phrase? winner) but I have confidence that this is going to help us all magically.

A couple reasons we decided to start now (let's be real, I made the decision but David was totally on board). Kate was displaying many a sign of being ready to sleep through the night but not actually doing it on a consistent basis. Right before she turned 4 months, she was sleeping basically every other night 11-12 hours solid, and then the in between days she'd wake up once to eat and then go back to sleep.



Then 4 month sleep regression hit, and all hell broke loose.
She wouldn't fall asleep. She wanted her pacifier to fall asleep each and every time, and c-r-i-e-d until we gave it back to her. She woke up basically every 2 hours, trying to transition into deeper sleep, unable to put herself back to sleep without us. Occasionally she'd get so worked up that I had to rock her back to sleep for upwards of 30+ minutes before she'd conk out.

I didn't want her to get in the habit of having me rock her to sleep, but within a week's time she was dependent on it. And we had started the "rock until she's asleep but not too asleep but not too awake and then gently put her down praying to the Lord above that she'd stay asleep" phase, which we'd never done with her even as a brand-new baby.

Don't get me wrong, it did sort of warm my heart. She wouldn't calm down and go to sleep without me, which kind of tugs at a mom's heart seeing her need me like that. David would be lucky every once and a while soothing her, but most of the time it had to be me. I liked it in a sort of twisted way.

But it got to the point that getting up every 1.5-2 hours was wearing on me. I don't do well on no sleep (even though I do better than David), so something had to give. So I did a ton of reading on the internet about the Ferber method and decided we should go for it.

The other reasons? She was obviously not hungry that much during the night, so I was okay with her dropping the night feed. (She's also growing like crazy so she's not in need of the extra calories.) She was developing bad habits. She was getting extra cranky during the day because she wasn't sleeping enough at night, and then she was napping badly, and it was all just compounded on itself.

Monday night was our first night sleep training. We followed the Ferber method as I read online (didn't read the book...whoops), which you can find in a lot of different places. Basically we were going to cut her off completely from a pacifier at night (worrying about naps at a later date) and hoping she would learn to soothe herself. She was at the right age for his method of training, which he recommends starting between 3 and 5 months, and was showing all signs toward needing to sleep through the night.

So the first night we started what I think will be our consistent bedtime routine: nurse, bathtime, eat a little more if she's still hungry, read a story, sing lullaby, turn sound machine on, leave room and have her go to sleep. We did that and then left the room. There were a few blissful seconds of silence and then...WAAAAA.

cute picture but unrelated
She cried for just over an hour the first night.

We did the Ferber timing - starting with 3, then 5, then 10 minutes (through the end of the crying) checking in on her, giving her back her bunny rabbit, patting and shushing her but not picking her up through that first hour. It was so hard to see her little eyes in disbelief staring back at us, not understanding why we weren't! just! picking! her! up! already! Emotionally heart wrenching but we lived through it. (I totally count 1 hour of crying as a win, because most of the stories I read online said that 2 hours is average for the first night.)

She slept from then about 9:30 until 2:30, when she woke up crying - again, I think mostly out of habit. So we started the program again. 3, 5, 10 minute increments. Again she cried for about an hour until she finally put herself back to sleep.

She woke up in the morning around 8 and was a happy, smiley baby. Hooray! During the day yesterday her naps were somewhat sporadic. I read a few places that naps transitioning takes longer than night-time sleep, so I wasn't going to worry if she needed the pacifier to fall asleep during the day. Two of her naps she put herself to sleep playing, which was great, and the other two she used the pacifier to fall asleep. Also a win.

Last night we repeated the bedtime routine, and put her down in her crib. Again, the screaming and crying - but with a little longer interval of checking (5, 7, and then 13 minute increments). This time it only took her a little over half an hour to fall asleep! It was great.

This morning, she woke up at 6:30 crying again. I wasn't sure if she was ready to be up for the day - my mom gut told me she was still tired, but obviously as this was only our second day sleep training I didn't know. I told myself that if she was still crying at 7:30 I'd get her up for the day and feed her. So we did the increments again for an hour until she was still crying at 7:30 so I got her up. Instantly happy and awake baby! So I think she was ready to get up. (Obviously I'd prefer if she slept a little later...I've never had a consistent wakeup time so early, 6:30 is hellish, but I'll do it for her...)

Obviously we're not very far into it so far but wow, sleeping from 11 to 6:30 solid was amazing! I missed it from not having it for like 3 weeks...I can't imagine having a baby who doesn't sleep well from the beginning. (Please Jesus keep blessing us with gems like Kate.) I can understand some people hesitating on sleep training because it's pretty awful hearing them cry for so long, but it's amazing when you can see them put themselves to sleep! I will keep y'all updated on how the rest of sleep training goes. Probably since I posted about it it will just completely go south and won't work...but I'm crossing my fingers it has worked its charm on Kate.

Anything I should be looking out for? Questions for me? hit me up, yo. I'm running on an uninterrupted sleep high!
HG

Weekend at UND

Some of our good friends are FOCUS missionaries at the University of North Dakota, so we went up to visit them for the weekend! It was a hectic and crazy time and I'll come right out and say it, a little stressful with Kate. But it was all-in-all a good time.

My camera is still broken-being-fixed, so I didn't take very many pictures even on my phone. Sorry about that.

We drove up Friday night after work, which meant we didn't get to Grand Forks until like 1:30 in the morning. Kate was a super trooper the whole way there - she slept for about 80% of the drive and was happy and smiley the other 20% - even without a real break to eat. (We had bottles ready on hand but she wasn't hungry enough to take them, so I was fine with it!)

Lots of North and South Dakota look like Nebraska, but without the awesome Nebraska feel, if you know what I mean.


I took this on the way home but I imagine it looks mostly the same whichever way you're driving. Trains, clouds, lots of fields - some in the midst of harvest, some being plowed - and not very much traffic. The biggest annoyance was the occasional roadwork on I-29, which I'm convinced has been worked on consistently since they built that highway. I've never been on in it in any amount without running into construction.

The next day we took a tour of the campus, which was really beautiful but also totally quiet and empty, which was super weird. According to our friends, that's what it's like there most of the time. Students don't really socialize or leave their dorm rooms except to go to class, and even on a weekend campus is really deserted. Totally opposite of UNL campus, especially on game days - you can't walk through the crowds usually, it's so busy! Even on away game weekends, it's still full of people gathering to watch the game or just hang out. So UND was quite a different feel.


We took our obligatory family photo, one of the best we've taken so far I think!

We then took a "tour" of their famous hockey rink, the Ralph. Apparently hockey is a REALLY big deal at UND, because their homecoming football game was that day and there was like, no one around, but probably 20 people total touring the hockey rink. It was impressive for someone like me who has never even been to a hockey game, but I think I'm with the rest of the country in preferring football.

The only photo I got of the Ralph was this awkward selfie of me in the huge mirrors that grace the entrance.


We toured their Newman Center, I got a super comfy sweatshirt at the bookstore, and then headed back to their apartment. We played games, ate delicious soup, then ribs, as well as too much snack food, went swimming in their hot tub, and had a blast all around.


We woke up at went to 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday morning after a pretty hellish night with Kate (still in her sleep regression and it's killing us), which she was pretty fussy during so I spent in the cry room (first time for everything, I guess!). We then went to Denny's for breakfast and drove home right afterwards.

It was a quick weekend but packed with lots of fun. This same weekend last year we visited them before they were married, which was actually the day after we found out we were pregnant with Kate! Here's a throwback picture to see the difference:


Kate was there but not even showing yet! (Also on that trip we went to a Nebraska-Purdue game because my brother was studying there, and because tickets were $2.00...yes, you read that correctly.) Anyway, this trip was a little more complicated even though the "number" of us is technically the same!

It was a really fun trip, but it's nice to be back home. How was your weekend?
HG

He's old...

Happy birthday to my favorite man!



David turns 24 today, so if you get the chance say an extra prayer for him today. He is almost a quarter of a century old, which as Kate so eloquently expressed is "gahhhhh goooo gahhhhh" aka very very old.

It's been quite a year for us - since you turned 23, we:
--found out we were pregnant
--went on quite a few trips: Purdue, Ball State, Atkinson NE, Columbus NE, Colorado, and New Mexico
--did more home improvement projects than I can even count
--laughed a lot
--watched a ton of movies and TV together
--fought a lot too
--survived an appendectomy and a radioactive thyroid treatment
--took lots of walks and drives around town
--went to Menards about 1000 times, no joke
--experienced the birth of our DAUGHTER
--learned how to care for a baby together
--took lots of fun selfies
--failed at loving each other sometimes, but tried and tried again to be better

I love you so much, dear. Hope this next year is as wonderful as the last was!
your wife,
HJ

4 months


Kateri Amelia turned 4 months old on September 30th! Let's do a recap, shall we?

Weight: 15 lbs 11 oz., making her 80th percentile for her age. She's definitely markedly heavier - I noticed a big jump in how quickly I got tired holding her about 2 weeks ago. Her legs and tummy are getting chubby, and she's even got the end-of-arm rolls. Too adorable.

Height: 28 inches, making her still around 95th percentile for her age. She is definitely lengthening out!

Firsts this month: finally rolled over! (from front to back, not quite gotten there on the vice versa part), turns to your voice when her name is called, can put pacifier back in her mouth (never mind that most of the time it's backwards, we still count it as a win), major hair grabbing, and a huge slobber maker in the works.

Nicknames:
Fuzzy (due to the hair growing in on her head, sooooo fuzzy)
Monster

Other things to note:
-She's wearing at minimum 6 mo. onesies, and lots of sizes up through 12 month pants and jeggings. How cute are baby jeggings, by the way?
- She is going through sleep regression right now, which is a pain in the booty, but is otherwise very well behaved most of the time.
- She's perfected the pouty face when she wants some attention and it is so cute.
- I really miss having my camera right now to take cute pictures of her all the time...I'm spoiled, I know.
- She's officially getting too aware of the world to be able to sleep well in her carseat or in our arms when we're out in public or at church. I've been using our carseat cover which has helped but most of the time if she falls asleep out in the world, it's for very short periods of time.




We love you, girlie. Thanks for being our beautiful little daughter!
HG

Nota bene

This article, by my former roommate (hi Mary!) interviewing some of my bestest friends, about the Church's upcoming Synod on Marriage and the Family -- and the sacredness of marriage. (I feel famous because I personally know everyone in the article minus Chris Stefanick. Nbd.)

This terrible collection of bridesmaid photos, because everyone needs a good laugh on a Monday morning. Caitlin, I'm expecting all of these to be reenacted on November 8. I'll bring the props, okay?

The fact that Kayla so generously informed me that my comments were no-reply again. I swear I have linked my blogger email to my profile like 100 times by now, but I think every time I log into my Wordpress account (for a different blog) it messes it up. So apologies if you've been trying to reply to my comments and can't - it's a big pet peeve of my own so I am very very sorry! I am going to be regularly checking it from now on. (And thanks again Kayla!!)

This adorable picture of Kate lounging in her bath the other morning after an extreme poop-splosion at Mass.


She was obviously unfazed by the whole incident. Unlike her father.

The fact that I will be posting her 4 month update post...sometime this week, probably.

That today is Monday and this week best go by fast!
HG

7QT #25: strikes, Divergent, and fall eats

1.
The nap striker.
I never thought I would say those words, especially about my adorable little sweet hellion of a good sleeper baby. (Excuse me while I eat my words with reluctance.)



Well, I don't know what it is. Teething, or a growth spurt, 4-month shots, or the 4 month sleep regression (my money's there), or just general fussiness that can't be reasonably explained. But we've got a genuine nap/sleep fighter on our hands. Any tips for me? Just wait it out? That's my theory right now, as I go in every 20 minutes during her nap and every 2 hours at night to soothe her back to sleep...

2.
We took a tour of the under-construction Newman Center last weekend before the Husker game. We weren't quite sure that Kate would be allowed, but they didn't have a technical age limit on the tours (hooray!) so we went with this:



No, unfortunately she's not just suspended in midair. She's in the Ergo underneath a very fancy safety vest. I was glad I wasn't the one wearing her, because there were a lot of stairs and also a lot of pictures taken.

3.
My momiform, again, which now includes these $15 shirts from Target which are the beeeeesssttttt. Cheap and slouchy and they even have a pocket on the front!



4.
Yeah, you can all tell I don't have my camera. iPhone photos are not the ideal, but they are sufficient for the moment.

5.
Divergent. Finally saw the movie, and for the first time I read the book AFTER seeing the movie.
I know, disown me from my English major right this very second. I was pretty ashamed of myself. Until I realized that I LOVED it. Love love loved it.


Seeing a movie and then reading the book was, as you can probably suspect, a new experience for me. I watched the movie on Saturday night with David and then devoured the book between then and this morning. Although I'm sure sometimes I'd prefer not to do it that way, I liked having the images from the movie (which I thought was a great movie) in my brain while I was reading.

I'm now moving onto the next two books here shortly, and I will report back when I've finished.

So far my reactions? Movie: better than Hunger Games. Book: worse writing, perhaps more interesting material, but HG are better books. I'm excited to see where they go from here. I read the first in like 3 days and devoured 3/4 of Insurgent last night.

6.
Kate and I need to get out of the house more, so we took a walk last night before the sun set.


The sun was finally out after 2 solid days of rain (over 6" in some parts of Lincoln, no joke) and the leaves were crunchy. It was the perfect fall afternoon.

7.
I am craving all things fall recently, since it's finally looking and feeling like it around here. I need to break out the crockpot and start making some great soups! Bridget posted a great recipe for corn chowder, which I've never made, and looks delicious. Then Annie posted one for Chicken Fiesta Soup, which looks sooooooo good. I'm gonna have to try both here very soon.

Hope your weekend is wonderfully fall-ish. Linking up with Jen for quick takes!
HG