Christmas already??

It's been real quiet around these parts lately. Sorry if you (ahem David) came here every day in the past week or two expecting riveting content and I severely disappointed you.

Heck, Theresa just had a baby and she's been posting more than I have. (Also, she's superwoman because she wrote the birth story still in the hospital. Amazing, right?)

Anyway. I could make a lot of excuses for my lack of posting...including trying to avoid the dreaded pre-Christmas work slump, extra freelance projects, a head cold traveling between the 3 of us, the last-minute Christmas shopping I swore I'd avoid this year (umm, major fail), the fact that I'm engrossed in Storm of Swords (no spoilers plzzz), etc. etc.

But it's primarily laziness, let's be real. The mental energy I'm expelling to comprehend that Christmas is on Friday is taking up 99.9% of all of the brain space I have, and so the usual .2% I use for blogging has been taken over and I've been too lazy to try and reclaim it. Apologies. :)

How about a photo dump post? Yes???


On Friday night we went out to eat at Red Robin (we had a giftcard from David's bday, thanks honey!). It was Kate's first real experience with the magic that is the crayons + kids menu, and she was pretty darn enthralled with it.

I've tried coloring with her before, but she never seemed to get the concept - it was more a game of "let's just move these crayons around for a long time" rather than putting pen to paper, as it were. But she definitely got some coloring in this time and it was super cute! The fact that she was in a booster next to Dad instead of banished to a high chair helped the cause, I think. 


On Saturday morning, David's sister's fiancé graduated from college. I was hesitant about Kate's behavior going in, because college graduations are not known for their brevity, but she actually did a great job. (I brought snacks and juice which never hurts when Kitty's involved...food usually fixes any ail she has.) Although I don't think it would have gone as well without 5 of us adults looking after her (the bulk of it going to her grandma and her aunt).

Plus she snuggled with me at the end which really never gets old.

Also, #instagramhusband.


Just a cute photo post-nap. :)



This morning, Kate's been wrapping up her baby doll in first a baby washcloth (no idea where she got it but I'm not arguing) and then mama helped her find a big blanket to swaddle her in. She's proceeded to then kiss her baby multiple times, sway back and forth to the music with her in her arms, and lay down next to her for "naptime." Heart. Melted.

I have a feeling it's going to be relatively quiet around these parts for the next few weeks. We're doing a bit of traveling over the holiday, and I don't plan on blogging. But there will be plenty of catch-up when I get back, don't you worry!

Merry (early) Christmas to all, and to all a good...day. :)
HG

a tour of our neighborhood & etc.

On probably the last warm-warm day we'll have this year (ahem, last week, yes in the middle of December), Kate and I took a few walks around the neighborhood to get some fresh air and to savor the last moments we could outside without 8,000 layers of clothing and a white layer of snow on the ground.

While we were walking, I decided to take a few photos of some of the cute little houses around the neighborhood. We live in a really great area - lots of small houses, friendly people, beautiful yards, and a sense of peace and quiet even though we're about smack dab in the middle of Lincoln. (Okay, okay, Lincoln is no bustling metropolis, but still - it's quieter than it seems it would be.)

The weather was a gorgeous 65, the sun was setting (at 4:00, yayyyy winter), and it was one of the most refreshing things I've done in a long time. I was silently kicking myself for not getting out of the house to do it more when the weather was nice so many days in a row in the past few months. Nothing like the onset of winter to kick your butt in gear, am I right?

I love taking walks, and this one was so beautiful that I had to share some of it with you all. There are a few houses (pictured below) that are some of my favorites, and I love to walk the same routes to get to see them every time. So I thought I'd share!

There are a few for sale around our house too, so if you're looking to move to the greatest city/area/neighborhood in the world, feel free to look them up. (This one is my favorite but there aren't any pictures of the inside, and I don't understand why so...take with a grain of salt. :))

anyway! to the house tour.

David and I are convinced this house is an identical copy of our house, because it's the same year built and exact same layout from the outside. We've been working up the courage to ask the owners to go inside and peek into how they're using the house, because our layout presents some...challenges, let's say. 

The brickwork on this house is swoon-worthy. I love the white grout/mortar and the wreath just pops on that door.

This house is somewhat unassuming but the shutters are beauties. 

This little house is probably my favorite in our whole neighborhood. The two trees close in front flank the sidewalk, and they're gorgeous Japanese flowering trees so in the spring it's just awash with white flowery leaves and the smell is heavenly. Also I love the teal door and the simplicity of it all.

Just writing this post makes me want to go take a walk and get some more sunlight, but we've been treated with a load of wet spitting overcast skies and some biting wind today, so that's not in the forecast (weather puns! only the best around here).

Switching gears slightly...

Today I'm featured as part of a group of "brides who've been there" at Captive the Heart, the hard work of Stephanie who runs a Catholic brides/wedding planning blog. She's on maternity leave with her daughter Lily Grace and had a brilliant idea to ask brides who've been there what they did for their own weddings to fill the time while she's snuggling her new little one!

The post today talks about stretching your budget, something David and I talked a lot about during our wedding planning process. I could have probably written a novel about my advice for stretching your budget during wedding planning (ahem, English major with a financial advisor for a husband),  but I kept it to my top bits of advice for this post. Head over there and check it out, and keep your eye out for future posts in the series!




Poor Kitty is either teething something fierce or has the onset of a cold, because she has been crabby as all get out with a faucet for a nose, so we're trying to take it somewhat slow today. Plus, tonight is long-awaited saint peg doll exchange, so I'm sure I'll be writing more about that later this week!

Have a sparkling Tuesday, friends.
HG

Some recent bookmarks

...and other gems from around the internet.

This song, which is a great play on the old Mr. Sandman song and turns it into Señor Santa and makes it super fun. The album I found it on is one of my Christmas classics: Holidays Rule, also on Spotify. Very indie, very mellow, perfect Christmas music.

Jolie at Brim Papery wrote this amazing post today about being a work-at-home mom. It's spot on and thought-provoking (like she always is!) and I encourage you to check it out. As someone who works from home it really got me thinking.

I've been browsing online for unique and pretty fabric, daydreaming for quilts and baby projects and all sorts of fun things, and I came across this great list by Emily Henderson. So far I'm absolutely in love with all her suggestions but primarily Fabric Bubb and Drygoods Design. Someone take my credit card away from me so I don't buy them all right now. (Ahem. David.)

I made this THM Broccoli Cheese soup a few weeks ago (tweaked a little bit by just dumping all of the ingredients minus the bacon into a crockpot on high for 4 hours bc I am lazy) and it was seriously delicious. The perfect mix of creamy and broccoli-y and a huge hit in my opinion. (David's not a soup person so he wasn't a fan but it's killer, I promise.)

I bought a few of these air sole inserts by AirPuf last year at Audrey from Putting Me Together's recommendation. I realized I never sang their praises on the blog when I was talking to someone about them a few weeks ago. They are small and seem like their promise can't hold up to reality but...seriously guys these changed my heels-wearing game. I'm not big on heels in the winter because I'm pretty ice-falling-prone, but I stuck these in my shoes for now three different weddings I was a bridesmaid in during the past year and every heel wearing since and they are magic. If your heels don't give you any other complaint besides tiredness from, well, wearing heels, these will solve all your problems. Seriously. I don't know how they do it but they do.

Kate's been wearing out her beloved bunny Lola (a Jellycat bunny, here on Amazon) to no end. She's been washed over 5 times now and the smell never quite leaves, no matter how vigorously she's washed or how hot of water I use. I'm wondering if I can find a sturdier version to replace her with, or if I should just give up and buy a few more of these to sustain her for a long long time. (Also, I can't tell if that means Kate is just slobbier/gives more enthusiastic kisses than most average kids, or if she's really just destructive in general.)


Happy Wednesday, y'all.
HG

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Christmas decorating

Life has been c-r-a-z-y around here lately. I meant to write this post sometime last week, and then realized an additional freelance project I need to finish had a deadline about a week closer than I had imagined, and that I thought I was super far ahead on my Christmas gift buying but really was like, not even halfway through. Add into that the super exciting plumbing problems and a Christmas party and like, zero blogging got done. So I'm finally writing it today! Yay!

Each year I get really excited to decorate our house for Christmas (well, the last 3 years, not a super long time) and then I get kinda bummed because it's never quite as gorgeous as I predict it will be in my head. I keep forgetting that we don't have the years and years of built up Christmas decorations like our parents, so I have to kind of sigh and accept it's not going to be as great as I imagined.

But during our Christmas party on Saturday, we got a ton of compliments on our Christmas decorations - and it totally threw me off. I just have too high of standards for myself, I suppose - but then again, I have a feeling everyone does. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I decided I'd write a post so I can remember what we did this year for decorations AND to remind myself to be grateful that we even have the opportunity and the budget to decorate for Christmas every year - not everyone has a beautifully cozy home or the disposable income to buy decorations.

So! House Christmas-y tour, here we go!


First of all, my favorite part of the house right now - the token chalkboard "merry and bright" sign I chalked last year with Kate's nativity from her uncle Michael nestled right in front. I have grand plans and some sketches outlined to redo the chalk again this year, but we'll see if I squeeze that in at any point. The gold leaf branches (from David's grandma) are in old quart-sized mason jars, and the garland is the 50 ft, $10 bunch from Target. Pinecones from...outside, maybe my parents' house last year? Not sure.


A close-up of our Christmas tree. It's a Hobby Lobby tree, decorated primarily with the jumbo pack of ornaments from Target we bought our first year of marriage. The little fluff ball is actually an owl on a stick which doesn't gel at all with the general "theme" of this tree but they were so cute, I couldn't pass them up. I'll share a full-shot of the tree sometime later when it's not super bright outside -- Christmas tree pics are just way better in the dark.


This stair-step cabinet (a hand-me-down from David's grandpa) is one of my favorite pieces of furniture, and one of the most fun to decorate. Problem is, these Ho-Ho-Ho signs keep falling off, so then it just says "Ho"......not the most Christmas-y of sentiments. But we don't have another good place for em, so here they'll stay.


Our liquor & glassware cabinet (which we got at a steal for $50 on Craigslist, and was one of the first pieces of furniture we had in the house) decorated simply by a red bow. I kind of threw it up there on a whim because I didn't know where else to put it, and now I really really love it -- we hardly ever open the doors so it is very festive and suuuper easy (I'm pretty sure I bought the bow itself for $1 at Menards last year).


Advent wreath (gold solid wreath underneath from Amazon here) and mini gold Christmas tree from Target for $8. When the dining room table is clear, the wreath is in the middle there, but right now it's about the only place Kate can't reach so it's a catch-all for junk/current projects...see below...


Very messy non-Christmasy dining room table including: laundry to be folded, fabric for some quilts that needs to be ironed and cut, a random fox I started embroidering like two months ago, Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, the contents of my purse and Kate's shoes that all got soaked with juice last night during Mass, my sewing basket, fabric for the stockings David and I are working on...you get the picture.

Just wanted to keep it real around here.

How are you decorating for Christmas? Do you have more willpower than me and wait longer to get it all set up? (David was clamoring for us to put it all up before Thanksgiving and I just cannot get on board with that.)
HG

7QT #45: plumbing, quilts, and the Presidents

Last night before bed, David asked me, "Are you doing 7 for 7 tomorrow?" After a few moments of confusion we realized he meant 7 quick takes (told you, he's a really avid blog reader) and I admitted that yeah, I probably was. Because why not? :)

1.

A napping baby just because.

2.
This was a crazy week.
We had doctor's appointments on Monday (luckily no issues, just a checkup for Kate and David), another doctor's appointment for me yesterday, and a mess of a plumbing issue that kind of put a damper on the whole week.

I did a load of laundry on Wednesday, trying to prep for the fact that we're having a Christmas party on Saturday night and I wanted most of the laundry out of the basement. Cue a giant puddle of water in the basement NOT draining down the drain like it was supposed to when you do laundry. Then we flushed and...I won't go into details but you can imagine what happened. YUCK.

Called the plumber, who came over the next morning and gave us basically the worst-case scenario news: there are tree roots growing all throughout our sewer line in the backyard (able to be cracked because they're the original clay pipes), and we either have to replace ALL of the pipe in our backyard, most of it, or every 6 months have a plumber come and snake the sewer line until it finally bursts all the way (anywhere from 3 to 10 years from now).

As you can imagine, that's not going to be a cheap project -- no matter which option we choose. :( Home ownership, am I right?

So keep us in your prayers, would you?

3.
Onto happier things...some music recommendations!

Feeling Electric by Parade of Lights
and a throwback,
Little Secrets by Passion Pit

(I have not watched either youtube video, a fair warning, it's just the easiest to link to here.)

4.
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I'm still daydreaming/slowly thinking/hoping for my Etsy quilt shop to eventually open up, which this week has manifested into drawing patterns and researching things on patterns, fabrics, and all that jazz. I found this seriously gorgeous Rainy Day Quilt Pattern on Craftsy, after sketching out a raincloud/rain drops quilt pattern for myself.

I have a hard time deciding which direction I want to go with my quilts. On one hand I love super-modern looking quilts that leave no doubt they were sewn in the 21st century, but I also love super intricate old-fashioned ones. And my passion is baby quilts so that's probably where I'll start...if I ever get up the nerve/inventory to do so... ;)

Also, if you want to drool over some gorgeous quilts and baby products, Little Wife Power House is my quilting muse.

5.
I know I said I'd be posting a tour of our new bathroom but, as you can imagine, the whole plumbing situation kind of pushed everything on our to-do list back quite a ways. Also I realized that if I was going to get pictures of the entire space in the daylight, it was going to have to be during the weekend when David was home because it gets dark before then most nights now.

So. Sorry about that. Next week maybe??

6.
Something to make you laugh on a Friday:

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I was crying I was laughing so hard! Pretty sure my favorites are: JJ Abrams, Rose Bowl, Minivan Bureau, Tombo Jeffs, and Herbie Fully Loaded.

Ohh, the dumb but hilarious things you can find on the internet. Worth a good laugh at the very least.

7.
Well, off to a weekend of partying and cleaning and snack-making and Christmas cheer come early! Head to Kelly's for more quick takes!

love,
HG

JOY. (catching up from Thanksgiving)

I hardly took any pictures on Thanksgiving, and my camera is being annoying and not downloading them onto my computer, so here are some mostly-unrelated catch up things from Thanksgiving. I spent most of it taking naps, doing some reading, and pretending like all the responsibilities I had were imaginary (which is why it's going to take me 18 loads of laundry to catch up...sigh).


^^^ is how I feel every time I walk into our bathroom now. So I took a picture of it as a sneak peek for you all. ;)

After spending many hours this weekend working on it, our bathroom new-floor-plus-new-sink-and-vanity is this close to being done. We need to do some final touch-ups and actually wash the floor once the grout sets permanently and it'll be done. Major props to David for all the hard work he and his dad did. With such a small area, there wasn't room for many more of us helping actually inside the bathroom so they did 99% of the work. (I ran a couple errands to the hardware store and that was about the extent of my contribution...haha.)

It looks fantastic and it feels like a whole new room! I seriously can't wait to show you all how good of a job they did.


I convinced David last night during bedtime to finally hang up the St. Kateri print Kate got from his parents for her birthday, umm, 6 months ago and it looks really killer. (The artist is local, Sue Kouma Johnson, and she's on Etsy!) The icon is from her godfather, Michael, and is also so gorgeous that I thought about putting it up in our living room but figured it was meant for her so decided on her room instead.


Not related to anything but I took this photo of Kate watching the snow in Columbus and she looks so grown up in it I can't believe it. Growing pains and all, I wouldn't change her for the world. (Over 33" tall now, aka she's grown more than a foot since she was born!)

Today is the first day of December. (WHAT. HOW.) I'm super close to being done with Christmas shopping, I actually managed to purchase an Advent wreath and candles this year, Christmas cards are super close to being done, and the weather's getting colder and gloomier... I don't know how it happened but another year has passed by and Christmas is coming! Hooooooray.

Keep your eyes peeled later this week for a full bathroom reveal (and process photos, too) because there's nothing quite like living vicariously through someone else's renovation process...am I right? ;)
HG