7QT #60: anniversary, WW, books

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to blog, so how about a QT to get back in it? Linking up with Kelly as usual!

1.
Yesterday was my and David's 4 year anniversary! I know that in the grand scheme of things, 4 years isn't a long time. But it feels a heck of a lot longer than 3 years, for some reason. I made the joke on Facebook already but these four years seem longer probably because we've been awake due to children many more hours than the years prior to marriage/kiddos. ;)

Some throwback wedding photos because I can!








2.
Sorry about that photo spam, but my blog, my rules.

To celebrate last night we had dinner at a fancy Italian place in Omaha we've had a gift card to for awhile (Pasta Amore, if you're curious), which was delicious - I had an amazing gnocchi and David had a combo of like 3 different things. Then we drove around for awhile watching the amazing lightning storm and got Sonic (79 cent slushes!). It was a great low-key night and much needed after a busy/crazy couple weeks.


I just got hungry looking at it again (ugh, so good) that I had to grab myself a snack.

3. 
Speaking of food, I'm going to do a little bit of humble bragging ahead, so you've been warned to click away if you don't like that sort of thing.

I started Weight Watchers around my birthday (May 26, although I didn't really start for a couple days later because...hello...it was my birthday) so I've been doing it for just about a month now. I've been trying to lose the baby weight (x2) for awhile, and finally asked my new endocrinologist what to do and she recommended WW. I was hesitant because 1) it has a somewhat dated reputation and 2) I didn't want to pay money for it.

Well I can totally eat my words (pun intended!) because I've lost over 10 pounds in one month! Currently sitting about 15 pounds lower than my last doctor's appointment, but those weights with shoes on I never count, so it's really more like 10-12. But I am stoked!


I've really liked the interface - I'm just using the app they have - and find it relatively easy to track. I like their system because it doesn't exclude any food, you just have to be a little more cautious about what you do eat. And you can just scan right from the phone app & it'll tell you how many points it is! So far, so good. I've got some prizes lined up for myself as the weight goes down (motivation! hooray!) and I just hit my first one so I'm getting a pedicure tomorrow. Goals, people.

4.
I've also been working out, continuing my streak and trying not to go more than 2 days in a row without exercising. I'm on month two of Insanity Max 30 and wow, let me tell you, some of those workouts are seriously tough. I enjoy Shaun T as a personal trainer though, because he is not afraid to be honest and kind of annoying which is my dream combo in someone trying to get me to workout.

5.
Let's get to the MOST IMPORTANT take of them all, Bachelorette opinions.

As always, I've been reading Ashley and Lindsey and Sharleen's recaps, which is honestly the true highlight of the Bachelor/ette fandom for me. They all offer such unique perspectives and I can't and won't quit them all. If you've got another I should be reading let me know.

I think it's fairly obvious that Bryan is the frontrunner, because we see them making out so much. My favorite is Peter but I'm still v v suspicious that he is still single. (How? Why? but mostly, HOW?) Dean is my second favorite but I can see him being the next Bachelor (although would he be the youngest one yet? idk.) The one-on-one with Jack was cringe-worthy. Also how the HECK are Matt and the other one who's had no screen time still there? Bad editing.

In other TV news I started The Great British Baking Show and once again, how did it take me this long to watch this show? Love it. So perfect for a mental break during the middle of the day.

Okay, nuff talk about trashy TV.

6.
Affiliate Amazon links below.



I've been talking them up like crazy to anyone and everyone that will listen, but if you need a good fantasy/historical/ancient Greek-modeled novel series to get you hooked this summer, I have got the one for you! The series is The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, (I linked to the first book) and y'all they are so freaking good. I read the first 3 (pictured above) in about 72 hours total and can't wait til the next one gets off the hold list at the library for me. Highly highly highly recommend. Technically they are YA but do not let that deter you. Fantastic storytelling, amazing plot twists, SO GOOD.

I've also recently read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which was more deserving of the hype it's gotten than most books are. I wanted to immediately quit my job abandon my family and go on a super long hike so, job well done. I'll probably settle for watching the movie adaptation sometime.

I also just started The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond. I've read his newspaper column for years (is that weird? I read it even as a kid...I have no idea how that started) and I follow him on Facebook. I love his no-nonsense, old-fashioned approach to child rearing and discipline, and it makes a lot of sense. We haven't been having a crazy amount of discipline issues, but Kate's 3 year old attitude has finally emerged and I'd like to be yelling less throughout the day so...I chose this one. So far so good!

7.
The most important news of the last week? 20 year HP anniversary. Thanks JKR for the world you've introduced us all to. We're better for it.


Head to Kelly's for more!
ta, friends -
HG

Cora, 6 months




Cora turned 6 months like two weeks ago and I'm writing about it now, blah blah blah, you get the drill, these will never be on time but I am determined to do them.

Weight: 18 lbs, 11.5 ounces at her 6 month well check.

Height: 26" tall.

Firsts this month: falling in love with baby food, pretty much any kind & anytime, hanging out on her tummy almost all day, a little more progress towards sitting but not there yet, playing peekaboo!

Other things to note:
-- Her eyelashes are still awe-inspiring. I'm jealous and intrigued by them every day. They are still crazy long and beautiful and I hope she keeps them forever, just like her father.
-- We're trying to find a bit more of a daily rhythm, some days with great success, others not so much. I'd love if she switched to a two-nap schedule, but she won't sleep late enough in the afternoon for that to happen so I'm usually cajoling her to spend another 30 minutes sleeping in the late afternoon so she can make it to bedtime.
-- Big girl is a HUGE fan of food all of a sudden. A switch inside her flipped and now she'll gobble down anything and everything we give her in record time. Which is great!
-- She's still nursing twice at night, usually around 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., sometimes a bit earlier or later depending on the day. I'm still relying on coffee to get me through the day although I've been sleeping like a rock the past few weeks so I wake up completely disoriented and not sure what day/time it is and it's very strange.
-- Cora loves watching Murphy run in the backyard or walk around in the basement or pretty much do anything. She'll go completely still and her eyes will be HUGE and she'll just watch her, silent, for a good few minutes every time she catches sight of her. It's so adorable. The few times I've had them close to each other she tries to grab Murph's fur really hard and yank, so we've been having them keep their distance for now. (Also because Murph is still enough of a puppy that she doesn't watch where her feet are, and steps willy-nilly wherever she is -- including on Kate still occasionally -- and so I don't trust them together on the floor. We'll get there soon hopefully.)
-- Her nails grow way too fast and are super sharp. I currently have 3 scratches on me that I can see from her grabbing my neck while nursing or my arm while I'm holding her.
-- She loves to take a break in the middle of nursing to arch her back and do a back bend on my lap to check out whatever's going on, or just to stretch, I'm not sure which one it is. If she's not super hungry, the tiniest thing will distract her so I've taken to almost always nursing her in a dark & quiet room, away from noises and mostly Kitty.
-- She's nursing about every 3 hours during the day and 5 hours or so at night, which totals 6 feeds in a 24 hour period. It seems like a huge break between the feeds but I think it's just because she's growing faster than I think she should be!

Kate at 6 months. Cora's got her beat at this age by TWO WHOLE POUNDS. Holy cow girlie! No wonder my arms are toning up.

Parenting this little girl is a true joy. She lights up all of our lives! We love you, precious baby!
HG



my sunday best \\ father's day 2017


Linking up with Rosie for a Father's Day edition of My Sunday Best! 
Some affiliate links below, thanks for supporting my blogging habits.

Shirt: H&M, old. 
Skirt: J. Crew Factory, old, similar here (same cut but a different blue).
Shoes: Target, old.
Wildbird ring sling in dove, aka my (still ongoing) obsession.

I had to take a picture in the church bathroom to document my first time successfully nursing in the sling, so I had a picture for this post! yay! I felt like a total badass and that should always be documented, right?

Unfortunately I failed and didn't get a picture of the honored dad in question with his offspring, because he spent the morning digging a ditch for a drainage system in our front yard, and then we drove to Lincoln to eat dinner with my dad. There wasn't a lot of downtime, in other words. But I did get him a new dopp kit and a (free with my rewards) caramel frappucino to celebrate, so that's better than nothing right?

We'd tried to celebrate a little bit on Saturday too with a Sonic run (that we've been craving for like 3 months) but I ordered him the wrong thing, and then Saturday evening we used a gift card for a pizza place near his work but they made David's wrong (they put his least favorite food on there, black olives!) but it was too late and the girls were too fussy to try and complain about it...so long story short, I had some making up to do on Sunday. And like the selfless dad he is he did hard manual labor all morning while I took the girls to Costco and cleaned up a little. Aka a pretty typical Sunday.


I'm so glad Cora is getting big enough to be in the cart. She is way too heavy to be lugging around in the infant seat, so I'm extra grateful for places like Costco with two kid spots! Every place should have them (ahem Target ahem).


A lot of our weekend prior to that was consumed with stressing about how our power went out on Friday night about 7:45 p.m. and didn't come back on til Saturday around 6:00 p.m. We had all these plans of things to do - but most of them got canceled with no electricity! So Friday night we played Catan in the dark until we ran out of light, and Saturday we ran errands for awhile and tried not to sweat too much.

It honestly wasn't all that bad except both Kitty and Cora are totally dependent on their sound machines to sleep, so our night of sleep on Friday was pretty terrible. Kitty, who hasn't woken up in the middle of the night for a year (except when sick), woke up 4 or 5 times, and Cora was up her usual amount plus had a cold coming on, so it was just a very little amount of sleep all around. We were all pretty exhausted and also hot because it was crazy humid. Luckily it was back by bedtime on Saturday, otherwise we were going to be in for another very long night.

Head to Rosie's for more outfits & Sunday stories!


HG

Summer summer summertime

Ahh, summer. The time of year where, once you're an adult, it's just miserably hot (in Nebraska) and nothing else really changes about your day-to-day schedule.

Usually we have some big event to look forward to in the summer -- in the past couple years it's been vacation, the birth of one our kids, moving, a family wedding -- but this year we don't have hardly anything planned. No vacations, not moving, just a lot of relaxing and hopefully some house projects with nonexistent deadlines except ones we impose on ourselves.




Last weekend we spent some time outside in the heat and even though it wasn't long, it was great to just be at home, together, doing a whole lot of nothing. Kate thought it was the funnest thing ever, and it reminded me how easy she is to please at this age. All of us hanging out together, David pulling weeds, me lounging and reading, and Cora hanging out in the pack-n-play -- that's all she wants. It's easy to fill up time with things that have us going here and there, but I want to enjoy and appreciate more these times we have just being together as a little family. 

(Also, I can't decide if I like Spindrift as much as La Croix. It was at Costco and worth a try once but I miss my fancy La Croix flavors.)



Cora continues to be just about the happiest baby on the entire planet -- except when she's tired. And even then you can usually crack a smile out of her if you make goofy enough faces and persist in your attempts to make her laugh. She turned 6 months old yesterday and we haven't done pictures yet but it's hard to believe she's been in our lives for 6 months. I'll blink and it'll be December and her babyhood will be over. I'm trying to soak in her baby smell and her sleepy cuddles more and more, because I realize how rare they are in the long scheme of time.


Going to Target for an escape from the house has become more of a chore and less relaxing with the addition of two kids in a cart, now that Cora is just freaking way too heavy to keep her in the newborn car seat for more than just a car ride. (I think I strained my knee the other day lifting her into our car. She is a chunk.) But it is nicely air conditioned and there's nothing quite like an iced coffee when it's 100° out. Kate always wants "just one dwink of coffee?" and wants to say hi to every person we come across, which is somewhat horrifying for introverted me. Luckily she diffuses most social interactions because she's so talkative and willing to make conversation with anyone and everyone.

As for house projects, we're in the planning stages of garden beds now that the paint is finished at the front of the house: thinking something like this is what we're going to go with, maybe with a seat, maybe not. We still haven't found a good replacement sideboard/buffet (Craigslist is a dearth of stuff! there is nothing new on there and I stalk it ALL THE TIME), and I have dreams of shiplaping our living room like this (David's laughing while he reads this but it's gonna happen!).

We might head to the zoo for Father's Day this weekend, or try to start on the garden beds, depending on how hot it's going to be for both activities...haha.

How's your summer?
HG

Recent media recs

totally unrelated picture of my cuties. Cora's first time in the cart!

I've been trying to get back on the reading train, after a long break -- I tend to do that, I've discovered. I read like 7 or 8 books in a row and then take a month off to catch up on sleep or do all the adulting things I should have been doing while I was reading. But as I'm just at the beginning of this reading swing, I've also included in this post some other media (entertainment?) David and I have been enjoying, just to mix things up.

I've linked them all below, Amazon affiliate just so you've been warned. If you click through and make any purchase, a tiny percent comes back to me at no cost to you! My bookworm and library-building self appreciates it.

books: Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax

After all the discussion on Haley's Facebook group, I finally managed to get my hands on the only copies the last few of the Anne of Green Gables series in our library system. I read Rilla of Ingleside first because it came off the hold list first, and then just finished Anne's House of Dreams and started Anne of Ingleside late last night. Guys why did it take me so long to find these? They are so good! And I immediately added a bunch of the gorgeous redesigns to my Amazon wishlist because they are so beautiful and I want to own them.


I've also finished Girls on the Edge by Dr. Leonard Sax, and I'm immediately recommending it to every single person out there who either is raising a girl, works with girls, teaches girls, you name it -- you need to read it. Dr. Sax goes into the issues of raising a modern girl and so clearly outlines problems & solutions that you'll not be able to put it down. (Thank you to my brother-in-law for the great Christmas gift!) There's a boy version too that'll be on my list to read soon.

Some books I have on hold at the library: Outlander, The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1), and David Sedaris's new book.

board games: Carcassonne

After years of being recommended this game, especially for two players, I finally bought it for David for an Easter gift after seeing it on a clearance endcap at Target. I'm SO glad I did! It is honestly really fun and has broken us out of our board-game-slump. If you like Catan, or honestly pretty much any strategy game, I guarantee you'll like it. Plus it's so much easier to clean up/set up than Catan so that's a huge win in my book! Highly recommend. (And so far, I've won twice and David has won once, if my memory serves. Last game I more than doubled his score, I know that much. ;))

tv shows: Elementary

Elementary is a show I used to watch, and then the, ahem, vehicle I used to watch it online stopped uploading episodes, and I couldn't find them anywhere, so I stopped. Luckily we're borrowing a Hulu+ subscription from David's sister, and all the episodes are on it! So we started together from the beginning and gosh, it is fantastic. I think I'd watch any remake of Sherlock, no matter what, but Joan Watson just makes the show for me from the very beginning.

She is serious fashion #goals. Source.
I need another show to watch over the lunch hour though, because that's the reward I give myself everyday for working at home with two small children and a dog, and I'm sticking with it. I tried Aziz Ansari's show Master of None and it was HORRIBLE, and I don't know what to go to next. I watch the Bachelorette every week but that's not quite enough.

I think I'll try Jane the Virgin based on Caitlin's recommendation but if you have another recommendation hit me up! (Preferable that it's okay for a toddler to watch, too, because she's just getting old enough to recognize things on the TV and I like to keep it clean for her.) My mom recommended Wallander, my sister's been trying to get me to watch Peaky Blinders for ages, and we haven't watched season 3 of Kimmy Schmidt yet so you can tell my taste is all over. Hit me up!

Or really, hit me up with any suggestion of all 3 categories above, plus podcasts -- I'm all ears. Always need an excuse to feel behind the times, right?
HG

Whew.

We've been busy bees the last few weeks/month or two.

David keeps urging me to blog some more about it, because we're going to rely on these old blog posts when we're old to look back at memories, but we've just been go go go for so long that my brain hasn't been able to rest & process into blog posts for awhile.

Primarily, we were out of town, not sleeping at our house, for 6 solid weekends in a row. SIX WEEKENDS IN A ROW, PEOPLE. It was a combination of graduations, birthdays, wedding, ordinations, and other family functions that all collided into the busiest end of April and month of May that I can remember. Maybe the whole bringing-two-kids-with-us had a little bit to do with it, too. Just maybe.

In the midst of all the travel, we finished painting the brick on the front of our house, finally got the backyard to where it needs to be grass-wise for Murphy to come back home (yay!), organized and completed my craft closet project, and did all the things you have to do on a regular basis even when you're traveling all the time (laundry, cleaning, dishes, food making, yada yada yada).

I've also been taking lots of photos on David's phone because mine's at the end of its tether so I had to get all the photos from him to put here.

Here goes nothing to try and recap it all!




First things first: we spent a weekend driving to Valentine/Atkinson for two of David's cousins' graduations + parties. It was great to see all the family but we left Saturday morning to drive 5 hours (plus an hour for potty + nursing breaks), drove around that afternoon for the girls' naps, then drove another 2 hours back to where we were sleeping so it was like a day of 10 hours in the car and we will NOT do that again without hefty hefty reason. Luckily both the girls were only marginally crabby towards the end of the day - the drive home on Sunday was worse - so it was tolerable but still not something I'd like to repeat anytime in the near future.

Kate was a little apprehensive about the potty chair on a country road, but soon warmed up to the idea with plenty of Kindle movie motivation to goad her on. She also made friends with some cows and we had some nice views to accompany our hours in the car, so those were bonuses.



The next weekend Cora experienced her first thunderstorm, and wanted to be held in the sling every time the thunder roared...I was happy for the cuddles.

The sleeping Kitty picture is from a wedding in Sioux City, where she got a hotel bed all to herself and was 90° from a different position every time I looked at her. The 4 of us sharing a room actually went much better than I anticipated - but it helped that both girls were completely worn out from the wedding and fell pretty much right asleep.

Also Kate has this magical ability to tune out Cora's crying when she's sleeping, which is something that there's probably a good reason I can't do but seems impossible. Cora could be screaming her head off in the car, literally 2 feet from Kate, and Kate will not.wake.up. It's glorious and really impressive. So that helped the overnight sleep when Cora was in her pack-n-play about a yard from Kate's bed.



The following weekend was my birthday on a Friday -- graced with a breakfast in bed and David surprising me by taking the day off! He kicked me out of the house to go to Starbucks by myself and read and it was literally all I'll ever need and want from a birthday. Then we had a visit from Lauren (internet friends meeting in real life! it's not a scam, guys!), a lovely meal celebrating my & Kate's birthday at my parent's house, and then ordination celebrations two days in a row afterwards.


Kate and Granny and Grandfather...contrary to Kate's expression she was happy, just very concentrated on getting 3 fingers up correctly...haha.




We then celebrated the THREE birthdays (me, David's sister Jenn, and Kate's) later that weekend with a beautiful cake and pie and a lovely breakfast out at Green Gateau where I tried my first eggs benedict.

Guys.
Eggs benedict has literally changed my life.
I'm on a quest for the best recipe to make at home now so if you've got a winner please let me know.

I stole this photo from the Facebook page, please don't sue me I just don't think any of the rest of us took a pic while we were there.

We also did a really fun Escape Room as a birthday gift for me and Jenn and wow, was it hard but also super duper fun. We made it out with like 1:30 left, so we were cutting it close but it was awesome nonetheless!


Did I mention I got the BEST gift ever for my birthday -- a Bob Duallie?!? I've been eyeing one forever - really since we got pregnant with Cora - but I wasn't sure if I'd really want a double stroller once she was born. In the 5 months she's been around I think I've wanted a double stroller to either go on a walk or go somewhere at least once a week (factoring in the weeks of cold weather where I didn't want to go anywhere) so I was super excited to get one! Be assured it will be showing up in plenty of pictures to come. Thank you to all who got it for me and especially David for listening to my incessant whining and fielding all my emails telling him when it went down in price on (affiliate link here!) Amazon.


As promised, here's a picture of our house painted now! David is on the roof painting the chimney if you can see that, as that was our very last step. We used just two gallons of Dutch Boy MaxBond paint - practically every last drop of those two gallons, but still just two gallons - which worked out to about $60 and the transformation has been totally worth that $60. We got it painted in about 6 or so hours of work total, with both of us painting during 4 of those hours. Oh and the color is Ship's Anchor. It was the perfect dark gray.


Oh and I finally got around to finishing my craft closet organization! Started it way back here and now we here, y'all. It makes me extremely happy to open it and see all this lovely organization but it's way too hot to be crafting right now so I'm just basking in it being clean & pretty and I'll start something else maybe later this summer.

Yikes.
I shouldn't go so long without blogging again cause that took me an entire naptime to get written. Ah well, I'll appreciate the time put in when I'm 80, right?

Pax --->
HG