A baby's crib.

31 March 2016

31 March 2016

Sometimes I'm thankful for the most random things.

A curl on the back of Kitty's neck, the fence around our backyard keeping our rambunctious puppy in a space where she can go crazy, a cold bottle of water straight from our second fridge (in the basement!) after an intense workout. (Seriously, that last one is half the reason I get motivated to work out anymore. Not having to prep a water bottle, no matter how lazy and #firstworldproblems that makes me sound, is 100% worth it. But I digress.)

Yesterday afternoon it was the crib that has held our baby while sleeping for almost 2 years now.

We saved up to buy a fancy-looking crib, and at the time I don't think I realized how often I would be interacting with said crib. Sure, she slept in our room for the first 3 months in a hand-me-down bassinet, but since that point I've purposely gone to this crib at least 4 times a day for the last 2 years. (More frequently when she napped a lot as a wee babe, now down to two straggling naps a day plus morning & night time.)

I'm extremely grateful for it.

I'm thankful beyond words that I've been blessed to be a mother to a wonderful little girl. I know too many friends suffering the pains of infertility to ever take it for granted again. I'm blessed that we have a warm, safe space to lay her down to sleep in, night and nap after nap - because there are too many moms out there worried about their babies in much more dangerous situations than I'll ever encounter. I'm especially grateful that she's a good sleeper - this crib has not often been the source of contention (although, sleep regressions are terrible and we definitely didn't escape them).

Mostly, when I look at her crib, I'm thankful for Kate's little life - that even though it's not been very long on this earth so far, that God chose to give her to me, to us. She's brought us more joy than I could ever possibly have imagined before I became a mom. (Heck, sometimes David and I have back-and-forth conversations that are just the cute words and phrases Kate says, and it cracks us both up.)

It's a blessing, all of it, even though motherhood's no easy ride. I need to remember that more.
What are you thankful for today?
HG

Eeeeeaaaster!

29 March 2016

29 March 2016
Don't you just love the fact that the Church basically forces us to eat & party like it's the best day of the year for 50 solid days???

My tastebuds rejoice usually and my waistline doesn't but...I can't ignore the Church's teachings, right? Although to be fair, the agony I felt after a day of sweets + sweets + more sweets Monday morning may prevent me from going overboard. Darn getting old!

We took some *really* unflattering photos on the nice camera which happen to be our only photos all together & dressed up, so I'm going to pretend like those didn't happen and just post phone pics like norm around here.


David's Easter basket involved a somewhat-gag-gift of a selfie stick, which we all had WAY too much fun with throughout the day. See above. And below. (jean jacket: Gap, old; swing dress: Old Navy)


We went to Mass with my family at 7:30, came back to a delicious brunch of quiche & coffee cake, sat around and played Catan, watched HGTV, and then had dinner with my priest-uncle and step-grandma. Nice and quiet.

yep, David spelled out "loser" with everyone's tiles waiting for us to start the game...except his own

Oh, and Kate ate way too much candy.


Honestly, she walks in my heels just about as well as I do. I'm out of practice (see: toddler to chase after) and she practices a lot.




That's about all we did, and it was great.
Hope yours was equally splendid!
HG

He is Risen.

27 March 2016

27 March 2016

Have a blessed day with family and friends. He is Risen, Alleluia!
HG

Holy Week thoughts

23 March 2016

23 March 2016

These flowers were my long-overdue reward for making it another 2 months of consecutive workouts (9 months!). I walked in the door and David said, "You bought flowers for yourself??" and I just looked at him and said he could buy flowers for himself the next time he hits a workout goal. Not the point of this post...they just make a pretty intro photo.

These flowers were also half a reward for making it to confession yesterday afternoon. Although it was one of my New Year's resolutions to go every month, let's just all be honest here and say that hasn't really happened. I've made a few more stops at the local adoration chapel than normal due to that resolution (Pink Sisters ftw!), but coordinating a time when I have our one car + Kate is at home + there are confessions available somewhere has not been as easy as I had hoped.

But I promised myself I'd go before Easter - and I made it happen, thank goodness. I headed down to the Newman Center because I figured it was spring break and there wouldn't be a lot of people in line (compared to last Holy Week when I went to our home parish and stood in line for 45 minutes and then didn't even get to receive before they shut it down!). I showed up plenty early, and then...waited. and waited. and waited.

Confessions were scheduled to start at 4:45. I was the first confession at 5:09. (monkey covering mouth emoji here plz)

Now, I shouldn't be surprised. Our chaplain at the Newman Center has a tendency to be late, but I figured since it was Holy Week he'd make more of an effort to be on time. And I'm sure he had a valid excuse - he runs one of the biggest Newman Centers in the U.S. and is a very busy priest. But for a little bit I was annoyed. I made the effort to come here on time, Jesus! So I could get my sacrament and get out! What gives?

But all that extra time waiting gave me a great chance to actually read the Passion from Palm Sunday (since our Mass last Sunday was focused on keeping a very fidgety toddler away from mischief) and the daily readings for all this week, as well as plenty of time for a good examination of conscience.

And it gave me a chance to notice the silence.

Ohhhh, the silence. It was heavenly (literally).

I sat in the church, the only person there, and just soaked up the silence. And I realized that was the best gift He could have given me during this Holy Week - however unintentional on my part, completely planned by Him, this long stretch of silence (that I just do not get enough of as a work-from-home mama).

What a great start to Holy Week, if you ask me.
Hope yours is going equally as well, and if it's not, well, He's still there anyway.
HG

7QT #49: chalk paint, baby clothes, & stripes

18 March 2016

18 March 2016
Another week, another quick takes post! Head to Kelly's for more.

1.
I know I shared a bit on Instagram, but here's the final product of our chalk paint job on our piano! (We've been all about the house projects recently. Or at least I have - the spring weather does that to me.)



If you've ever had hesitations about chalk painting, throw them away! It was SO easy and I'm in love with the final product. The best part? Hardly any smell while painting, and it's all low VOC/etc etc so safe to paint around kiddos.

We used Valspar Chalky Finish Paint and sealing wax from Lowe's (because I couldn't find an Annie Sloan dealer anywhere in Lincoln, and didn't want to wait to ship it online). They had 40 colors to choose from and we went with Moonstone Ring.



Two coats of paint and a coat of wax later, and it's all done and I'm swooning. It makes our dark living room feel so much bigger & brighter!

2.
MURPHY.
Murphy has been a somewhat good puppy lately, except for the last two nights she started chewing up my new kitchen rug. :(

play syringe from Kate's doctor kit ^^^^
And then when she got put out in the yard this morning, she chewed through Kate's swing straps even more than she already had. (Which is somewhat my fault for not putting it up higher than it was, but grrrr nonetheless.)

Now she's asleep like this in the living room and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Puppies are hard work!

3.
David had late meetings last night, so I binge-watched more of House of Cards (so drama!!!) and sorted through the 4-5 tubs of baby clothes we were storing in the basement. Talk about an emotional project! I had a hard time remembering Kate fitting into some of the things I ran across.

Jenny's post the other day about getting rid of baby things, trusting they'll come back around to you when you need them, really resonated with me -- so I've got a pile to donate, a pile to hand-down to a friend, a pile to keep, and a pile to sell bit by bit so I can shop early at my favorite consignment events twice a year. ;)

I need to do the same with all of Kate's toys -- we've been pretty good about rotating them in and out, but I need to just let go of some that we don't like, and try not to feel bad about it.

4.
I folded this pile of my clothes the other day, and I turned to David and asked, "Do you think I like stripes, or what?" and he replied, "The funny thing is, you'll probably go around and buy a striped thing the next time you go out shopping."

He's not usually wrong, and I'm guessing he'll be right again for this. Stripes are just so fun!

the sad thing is that's not even all of them
5.
Someone else please take this Gilmore Girls Soulmate quiz and tell me if you get ANYONE else but Christopher. I got Christopher, Caitlin got Christopher, another friend of mine got him too, and then David got Luke. (Yes, I made David take the test. He hasn't even seen Gilmore Girls...and that's irrelevant.)

CHRISTOPHER SHOULDN'T EVEN BE IN THE RUNNING. Who made him an option??? He is not at all what you think of when you think of "leading men on Gilmore Girls". Dumb.

(I'm irrationally angry about this. Let's be honest, I was hoping for Jess, and was willing to settle for Logan. But Christopher???)

6.
My other house project was a lot less time-consuming than the piano but makes me just about as happy:



We needed a new wreath for our front door, so I grabbed some 50% off greenery from Hobby Lobby and a $3.99 wreath and went to town.

7. 
Thanks to our current binge of Parks & Rec before we watch the final season, every time I hear the Vitamin Water Zero ads on my Spotify all I can think of is this scene:


And then subsequently my favorite Ben quote of the entire show:


So dang funny.

This weekend will involve some yard work, more sorting & organizing stuff to get rid of, and hopefully a nap or two.
Have a great Palm Sunday, everyone!
HG

Linking up with Kelly!

Bathroom reveal...4 months later

17 March 2016

17 March 2016
I'm really awful about promising to write posts and then literally never doing it. Okay well not literally never, but it takes me forever. So today I'm finally talking about our almost-6-month-old bathroom renovation that I talked about in this post. Yay!



{You will certainly notice throughout this post that I'm not a super good documenter of renovations. Sometimes I get on a good kick, and then I'll miss a vital step and that's just how I roll. So bear with me!}

Ahem.
This is the best "before" photo I could find, although please imagine that when we moved in, that top layer of laminate went all the way to the wall like normal flooring does (this was part way through demo, obviously).


I'd been dying to redo the floor in the bathroom practically since we moved in, because I felt like it (and the kitchen floor, oh the kitchen floor is so bad) just did not match the rest of our beautiful hardwood. The previous owner ripped out a bunch of green shag carpet right before relisting the house (and we bought it 3 days after it went for sale) and went down to the original hardwood and it's lovely. Aaaand then you'd walk in the bathroom and see this. It just didn't match!

I finally convinced David to have his parents come up and help us redo the floor.
We spent a long time looking at tile before deciding on this porcelain tile from Lowe's. I originally wanted something old-timey to match the era of the house, a hexagon tile like this one, but after weighing the costs and a lot of debate, we compromised on the wood-floor-like-tile (but it's not as dramatic as most are) -- mostly so we can eventually do the kitchen in the same tile without it seeming weird.


Demo took awhile - there were two layers of linoleum + subfloor, as evidenced in this photo which was layer #3 of 3 that we took up. Under this was a beautiful but in-terrible-shape hardwood to match the rest of the house. No surprise there, but wood floor and a bathroom do not mix, and it was pretty bad.

You can see in this pic in the back right corner how black and almost-disintegrated it was. The stuff near the door was in pretty good shape, but it was obvious why they linoleumed (is that a verb?) over it.


We lived for a few weeks with the above situation, being very careful to not let Kate anywhere near the bathroom because of splinters/big gaping hole in the wall/staples in the floor, and then got to work!

(Also pretty much anytime I say "we" in this process I mean David. I helped a little bit but he and his dad did 99% of the actual labor, while I provided refreshments and kept the toddler busy with his mom and sister.)


We bought cement board and mortar, David cut out pieces, and plopped it down. (Mind you, all this needed to be done in about one day because our house has only one bathroom. So we they booked it and got a lot done in a very short amount of time.)

Next step was laying out the tile, and then cutting the irregular pieces, one of those steps I didn't realize the importance of until we'd done it -- because your cuts and everything have to be exactly right, and don't forget the spacers for grout because you will regret it!



This is the part where I say I don't have any photos of David actually putting the mortar down and laying the tile back in, because...I don't know why. But I don't. Oops!


Let it dry the correct amount of time, and then grout! We went with a darker gray grout because we knew it was a hopeless dream trying to keep white or lighter grout clean with a kiddo and a dog and lots of traffic in one bathroom.

I tried to prevent Kate from drowning one of her baby dolls in the new toilet we bought:


I obviously failed.

After the floor was all installed and dried, we replaced the toilet and the vanity.  This listing was the closest I could find to what we bought for the vanity, although I think ours was a now-discontinued version because we spent way less than what they're asking for it now.

If you really need to know what toilet we bought, I can look it up for you...but I'm not going to right now because I doubt anyone really cards. It's a toilet! It flushes! The end.

So! All finished (mostly anyway)!


The new view when you walk in the bathroom just makes me happy-sigh. It feels like a whole new house with a fresh bathroom - I'm no longer ashamed of our wonky toilet that always left a little behind or the weird stains on the ancient linoleum.


Plus I am super duper happy with the tile we chose. It hides dirt great, it always looks clean (even if it's not) and it's cool to the touch -- I'm going to love it in the summer.


Look! Mucho storage! An actual ledge to put a toothbrush/straightener on! It's glorious, I tell you.


Top drawer of the vanity is fake (pipes etc. have to have a place to go, I guess) but the second drawer is full of makeup, hairties for Kate, pregnancy tests, tweezers, a hairbrush -- you name it. I went crazy with all the extra space. Plus now there's a spot to hold Kate's soaps and shampoo underneath!



We installed these shelves on the last round of reno, at the same time as doing the blue-pop ceiling. I finally got around to getting some baskets & lining the inside with some fabric to hide the craziness inside of them.


Seriously. Look at how much more room there is. 



We still have some odds-and-ends to finish up, including:
-paint the medicine cabinet some color (probably white, unless someone has a good idea? there are WAY too many mixing browns in this tiny room and this one has to go)
-get a new shower rod (we spray-painted the one that came with the house brown, and it's slowly disintegrating)
-move the hand towel hook up or find a replacement
-get a new toilet paper ring
-put the backsplash on the vanity
-do some general caulking and spot-filling
-get a new vanity light

But for the most part it's done, and it feels amazing.


(Mirrors on the wall from Target.)


A shot from the shower side towards the door.


Welp, that's about it! Congrats if you made it through this massive post. :)

Murph's barking in the backyard (more puppy pics coming soon, Amy, I promise!) and Kate is napping so I'm going to go watch another episode of House of Cards and try to finish a spring wreath for the front door. Have a happy St. Patrick's Day!
HG

Much ado about, well, nothing

14 March 2016

14 March 2016
Nothing like a good Shakespeare pun to start off on Monday morning, right? #englishmajoralert

The last few weeks have been a blur of projects, visiting family, and other such nonsense that doesn't make for very interesting blog posts, but I like documenting them anyway. And it's my blog so I can do what I want!


I used to pride myself on the fact that I was a "read one book, finish it, go onto the next book" type of person. My nightstand proves that to be not true anymore -- I'm currently reading 3 books, one less than this photo shows because I just finished The Girl on the Train last night before bed. (SO GOOD. May have given me nightmares, but totally worth it. Superb thriller.)


We tried officially potty training Kate for two miserable days last week, and then promptly gave up. She was doing somewhat fine the first day, lots of accidents as to be expected, but by the morning of the second day she was bawling every time she either had an accident, or we told her it was time to go on the potty, or over tiny little things...so I decided it wasn't worth it and we gave up for awhile. We'll try again in a few weeks, I have a feeling.

Above you can see one of the few things that kept her on the potty without being very very angry: brushing her teeth. She is her mother's daughter!


Sleepy Kitty.
Not during this photo but on Saturday, we were driving home from the mall and Kate was so tired (had missed her morning nap shopping & eating with David's family). And this transpired:

David: Kate, do you need to take a nap?
Kate: Nooooo. (eyes wide open but looking very tired)
*ten seconds later max, after going through a turn lane*
David: Kate, do you need to take a nap?
Kate: Nooooo. *snooooores loudly* (eyes closed, sleep-talking, followed by a huge snore)

Within 10 seconds she had fallen asleep and was snoring. Adorable.


We were with David's family Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and while it was misting on Sunday morning, Kate and I walked along as David and his dad did a couple holes of golf. Kate's in this stage where she's started to notice wind and rain, and so she went "whoooaaa!" the whole time. It was adorable.


At a wedding shower for her aunt Jenn, Kate got all dolled up in the multitude of ribbons that came off the presents.


Styling toddler in sunglasses with her papa and some pretty beautiful skies and weather.

I should really attempt to break my camera out -- I've been itching to try a new lens (this 50mm is calling my name!) but budgeting prevents it so...iPhone photos it is.

I'm also trying to mentally gear up for Easter (and finish finding things for Kate's Easter basket -- if you need some ideas, head to my friend Kenzie's awesome list!) and finish up a few things around the house project-wise before that happens. How about you?
HG

5 ways this Lent has changed me

09 March 2016

09 March 2016
Gosh dang it.

I said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again but...Lent is hard.
Every time I look at the calendar I think, it has to be Easter soon, right? Aaaand I just realized we only just made it to halfway through Lent.

Wah wah wah.

In an attempt to try to push through these last few weeks, and really make the most of my time left, I'm talking today about 5 ways this Lent has [truly, I promise] changed me and my way of thinking.



1. Lent isn't the cure for my ineptitude.
I had big plans for this Lent. Don't I always? (Resolutions, Lenten promises, goals...these are my jam, guys.) But I realized, just like I do every year, that Lent isn't the answer to every one of my flaws and faults.

It's a wonderful season to reflect on what's important, and to scale back on things that may be drawing you away from God, but it's not the end-all-be-all of getting rid of sin and concupiscence. It's a season, a chance to change, but it's not going to magically fix everything.

2. St. Josemaria Escriva is a boss.
H-O-L-Y-H-E-C-K, guys, why has it taken me so long to read Jose??? Caitlin talked about him for years and I just now jumped on that bandwagon and I'm mad that it took me this long.

He's a great role model and his first (and most popular) work, The Way, is the exact thing I needed for this Lent. Short, pithy reflections to get my butt in gear and make me think about important things.


No, I haven't kept my promise 100% of reading every night before bed -- but what I've read has been amazing. When I remember (or don't conk out immediately upon jumping into bed), his book changes the way I fall asleep - more peaceful, more encouraged, more fulfilled. Game. Changer.

I'm also itching to read more about his life, so if you know of a good bio of his, hit me up.

3. Being a mom gives me a chance to grow in holiness.
Last year during Lent, I didn't give up much because Kate was still nursing -- and let's be real, I used it as an excuse to do some different sacrifices that didn't involve food or things like that. This year Kate feeds herself, and I don't spend so much time obsessing over every little thing, but I'm realizing more and more every day that motherhood in itself gives me a chance to grow in holiness.

Sure, that's one of those phrases you hear all the time -- but for me, I've never much thought about it beyond a surface-level recognition. But this Lent I'm trying to take a breath and pray before I react, or offer up a dirty diaper every so often, and it's changed the way I pray throughout the day. (It's not a lot, but it's better than it was.)

4. Lent shouldn't feel short.
I know I complained about that in my opening paragraph here, but if I really stop to think about it every time I lament that Lent isn't over yet and I can't go back to my comforting (bad) habits, I know that Lent shouldn't feel short. What's the point of trying to offer up your sacrifices with the cross if it's a walk in the park? I'm guessing Jesus' 40 days in the desert didn't feel like a walkabout (LOST, anyone?) (Although I'm not Jesus, so maybe that was His version of a walkabout. Pretty intense one at that.)

credit: Cartoons by Jim

I complain about it in my head, I complain about it to David, but Lent shouldn't be easy or something to be quickly dismissed. I'm going to keep trying to stay positive and keep my eye on the "prize" aka Easter.

5. I really have time in the day for whatever I choose to focus on.
Sure, I'm busy. I work from home, I have a crazy toddler and a hyperactive puppy, but I have plenty of time throughout the day to do what I want, even if it's 10 minutes here or 2 minutes there. I spend a lot of time thinking about how little I get to do "for myself" throughout the day (what parent doesn't? or really, what human doesn't? obligations come for everyone!) but that's all really my own fault.

If I want to spend more time reading the Bible, stop getting on Instagram so much and pick it up instead.
If I want to teach Kate to behave a certain way, take a breath before I respond and reason with her.
If I want to work on a craft or develop a new hobby, stop writing long blog posts...oh wait. JK JK.

But seriously. Lent helps me focus on the everyday, and seeing my everyday in more acute focus has helped me realize that I can do what I want - I just have to prioritize it.

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

If this posts comes off high and mighty, I apologize. Just picture me hitting my chin super hard on a window this morning while I tried to close it, and you'll feel better. (I don't even know how I did that, honest. Why I felt the need to bang my head in a downward direction while simply closing a window is beyond me...)

In all seriousness, though...how's your Lent? Has it changed you? Tell me about it.
HG

Parenting is hard.

07 March 2016

07 March 2016

I'm sore and tired from a killer MMX workout last night (thank you P90x3, for consistently reminding me that I have muscles all over my body that I don't normally use), and I'm lazy and trying to avoid work so...blogging.

The thing I've been thinking about the most recently is really how truly difficult this whole parenting thing is. It is not a joke or a picture-perfect series of Instagram shots. It's definitely not a walk in the park filled with happiness and rainbows and perfect moments.

It's sacrifice.
It's giving of your own desires and needs in place of a little person who you love very much - but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier.
It's reading the same stupid book a thousand times because it's what they love the most.
It's changing another dirty diaper and trying not to gag or curse even though that's what you really want to do.
It's taking breaks from typing a blog post to kiss someone's toes because they need you to do that right now or the world's going to end.

And so on.

Kate's toddlerhood has been primarily uneventful. Most of the time she's a happy, smily girl, wanting to please and generally being all around hilarious and cute. By far and away this has been my most favorite stage: she has all the beginnings of being independent, but still wants plenty to do with mama & dada -- and her budding hilarious vocabulary doesn't hurt.

But just because I love this stage and I love her very much doesn't make the constant demand of motherhood any less wearing.

Don't misunderstand me - I love being a mom. It's the most fulfilling and rewarding thing I've ever done in my life, and I have a feeling that title's not going to change hands anytime soon. It's a person-changing thing and I wouldn't undo it for the world.

But this last week David graciously worked from home a few afternoons so I could finish a work project, and I got a few uninterrupted hours done at Starbucks for multiple days in a row...and it was a really nice, refreshing break. Not to have to stop a thousand times in the middle of a thought to fix a toy, or find a stuffed animal, or kiss an ouchie, but just to work and work and really concentrate. It was lovely.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, parenting is hard. No news there, but it's true. And sometimes you need a little break -- and that's okay. It doesn't make you or me any less of a loving person who cares deeply for their kids. It just makes you human, and proves that I'm an introvert who needs some alone time to recharge and step away for a bit.

So take a break. And treat yourself. And remember that parenting is hard but it is worth it.
HG



currently

02 March 2016

02 March 2016




Eating: Sourdough bread toast & burritos & 7 layer dip...yum.

Drinking: Lots and lots of Starbucks iced coffee and, not surprisingly, La Croix.

Listening to: San Fermin, The Lumineers, Old Dominion.

Watching: David and I are catching up on the Blacklist (o.m.g.), I've been pretty stoked to be keeping up with the Bachelor, and I'm debating whether to start House of Cards this weekend.


Taking: Way too many selfies at Starbucks when I get up to stretch my legs/go to the bathroom (see above photos for reference).

Wearing: 3 days last week I wore shorts (shorts! in February!!), and yesterday I bundled up in approximately 8 layers because it was freezing. Glad to be freeing my toes when I can from the burden of socks. Socks are just not my jam, guys.

Realizing: Kate is growing up. I looked at her face this morning and noticed how much of a change there was since yesterday -- she had literally changed overnight. Whattttt. Stop growing up my tiny girl!

Working on: A big freelance project that is *this* close to being done (hooray!) as well as trying to rework our budget/make some plans for the future. Adulting, you know how I be.

Enduring: The cold, Murphy chewing up things (our carpet corner this morning, ugh...), the fact that Kate still says "no" when I ask her if she has a dirty diaper but she 100% does...

Smelling: Open windows last week which are heaven-sent, this candle from Target, laundry starting that I should go switch to the dryer when I finish this post.

Sewing: Putting the finishing touches on my baby-quilt-for-no-purpose! (Not pregnant.) I'd originally hoped it would be the start of stock for an Etsy shop somewhere in my future, but we'll see if I can hang onto it that long -- I know lots of people having babies, so it might not be possible.

Disliking: Cutting my finger on an open can of enchilada sauce the other day (it still stings!). Murphy chewing things up (see above).

Wanting: This adorable Madewell peasant top that Jenna introduced me to. Or the ability to find an alternative that isn't $100, which so far has proved an impossible task.

Cheering for: My great husband this week as we discern some changes in our lives. and Lauren B!!!

Hows about yous?
HG

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