quick takes: no. 58

31 March 2017

31 March 2017
Look at me, more than one post this week! I'm on a roll. Linking up with Kelly for quick takes again!

1.
Do you ever wake up on a day with your kids (if you have them) and instantly wish it were already nap time? No, just me? Well that's how I felt this morning, even though it's Friday, so I'm hoping the day turns around.

My extra-steeped cup of Mixed Berry Twinings tea is helping with my mood immensely already.

2.


Cora has been a gem of a smiley baby lately, but her night time behavior is super unpredictable. She's been some days sleeping through the night, some days waking up once, some days waking up twice. I never can tell ahead of time which it's going to be, which is the worst part!

When Kate started sleeping through the night, I was super adament about not letting her go back to waking up. With Cora I find I don't mind getting up to nurse her as much as I thought I would. Luckily I'm able to fall back asleep quickly (it'd be a different story if I couldn't), and she eats so fast and concentrated-ly at night that it's maximum 15 minutes awake for one feeding. AND she goes right back to sleep each time, so really I have no complaints.

I'm worried about the 4 month sleep regression coming up soon and hoping maybe she'll ride it out without a problem? Wishful thinking, I know. Oh well.

3.
Without TV to entertain us in the evenings (when will Lent ever end!!!...that's the spirit of Lent, right?) I've been trying to read a little bit more. My book for Lent is (affiliate links!) In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden, spurred on by a lovely internet book club through Fountains of Carrots podcast page on Facebook. I am loving it so much and trying really hard not to speed through it because I want to enjoy it -- and I want it to last the rest of Lent!

I just finished Before the Fall by Noah Hawley last night. I'm not sure where it was recommended to me, but it was definitely an interesting read. The quick version summary: a plane crashes in the ocean holding the founder of Fox News (name changed in the book but it's very overtly Fox News) and another high-profile family and the investigation that surrounds it. But it's much more than that. I thought a bit of it was a little forced but overall I really wanted to finish the book and find out the ending, so I'd call it a success.

4.
One thing that's been saving my morning routine since Cora was born has been some pre-made egg muffins my mom, sisters, and I made in a big batch cooking day. We did a lot of dinners (which we're slowly working through, too - so nice to have something to just pull out of the freezer some days!) but I didn't anticipate how much I would seriously love these dumb and easy egg muffins.

I'm not sure what recipe I used, but they're basically just mini quiche things (minus the crusts) cooked in a muffin tin. I put two to a baggie and froze them all. In the mornings now I just grab a package from the deep freeze, pop them in the microwave for 2 minutes, and voila - healthy and super super easy breakfast.

This recipe here is similar but I did just cut-up lunchmeat, peppers, onion, and no cheese as the filler ingredients. The only downside is I can't eat any of them on Fridays because of Lent, but that's okay. I need to soon check to see how many I have left and make more of them if I'm running out.

5.

Is anyone else freaking out about and/or listening to S-Town? I'm really obsessed with it. I mean, I'm a big podcast listener in general, and this one may turn out to be my all-time favorite. Also a seriously beautiful website that I just clicked over to to link it here.

6. 
A recently overheard Kate soliloquy:

"You not da best, Cowah. *I* da best, wif Mom. Okay, Cowah? Okay???"

She's getting quite a personality and quite a naughty streak in her, that little stinker. Growing pains of a toddler, I suppose, right?


7.
K, that's about all I got this week. Ta, friends!
HG

Recent house projects

29 March 2017

29 March 2017
I've been slacking when it comes to documenting our recent house projects. David has been nagging me to get them written about, so we can look back when we're 80 and lazy about all the stuff we used to do! Plus, work-wise it's been a little slow this week so I really don't have any excuse not to. Mind you, none of these are finished so take "documenting" with a grain of salt.

First up, my craft storage.


About a month ago, we transformed this somewhat-useless closet in the basement into my craft storage. Up until that point, all my stuff was still in boxes from the move, and I was getting real sick of it. So we got some storage cube shelves from Target (this one and the smaller one, when they were on a good sale), some pegboard from Menards painted a lovely shade of lavender, brackets and a leftover shelf from our old house and voila!

Obviously it is all still rather a mess, but that's because I haven't bit the bullet on how to organize the actual pegs quite yet. I have lots of little things I need in baskets - craft paint, ribbon, embroidery hoops, current embroidery projects, etc. - that I don't know the best way. I'm eyeing these (affiliate link!) pegboard baskets on Amazon, maybe spray painting them, but I haven't clicked "buy" yet. I think I need another couple fabric bins too, just waiting for them to go back on sale at Target.

Having it all organized & easy to access has really motivated me to craft again, and makes it SO much easier to find things than my (admittedly terrible) system at our old house. Yay for cuteness + function!

Next, our IKEA bookshelves.

On our babymoon to IKEA in Kansas City back in September (wow, yes, only took me almost 7 months to get it blogged) we got these Billy bookshelves and bookshelf lights, as well as some Poang chairs. Back in January or early February we finally assembled the shelves and attached the lights...and I subsequently realized how tiny our book collection looked! So I'm going on a hunt to fill our library since for the first time in forever we aren't running out of space to put books. Used bookstores here I come!

Even if I doubled our collection, though, we'd still have room leftover. I don't wanna spend a bunch of money to style our empty shelves though, so got any ideas for me? Right now it's very kid/toddler friendly but it looks rather strange.

Finally, the biggest expense/hardest labor job...the backyard saga continues.


So yeah, we're still working on the backyard. You remember how we got rid of our huge tree back there? Now comes the process of bringing all the dead grass back to life so we can have an actual lawn again.


Last Friday we got 6 cubic yards of dirt and dirt/compost mix delivered to the house (pictured under tarps above), and David and his dad spent Saturday afternoon spreading it over the yard. There was a pretty big gaping hole where the stump used to be, and the rest of the soil seemed really dry and not conducive for grass growing, so they spread it everywhere in hopes that when we plant seed in a couple weeks, the soil will be healthy enough for it to really grow.



Kitty tried to help out by assembling a new wheelbarrow but just ended up getting dirty and cold (even with her snowsuit on, with the temperature at 40°).

Once it's warm enough and the chance of frost killing off a newly-planted lawn decreases, we're going to rent a seeder from Home Depot (that's not the technical name for it, but I can't think of what it's called and I'm too lazy to google it) and get some grass seed and pray it takes. We seeded around the front trees last year, and it was a lot of work but it's so rewarding when you see it all full & green so I'm excited to see our progress. Cross your fingers that the weather cooperates, and that the birds don't eat all the seed right when we put it down. {Oh and for those curious, Murphy is spending some time at David's parents so she doesn't both dig up all the dirt and dig up all the seed when we plant it. :)}

Next up on the project front (besides continuing the yard) is painting a dresser, painting and adding legs to a cabinet-thingy to make it into a sideboard or buffet for the dining room, adding flower beds to the front of the house and planting things there, and possibly painting the exterior brick on our house. Lots of excitement to come, in other words!
HG

seven quick takes #57

23 March 2017

23 March 2017
Do you ever sit down at the computer (Kitty likes to call it the "peter") to type out a post, with ample time on your hands, and then nothing comes to mind to write about? I've had that feeling for like a week now, heck half of the posts I've written in the last month have felt like that. Maybe it's just my mom-brain increasing with two kids instead of one, or maybe it's just writer's block - who knows. Anyways an early quick takes seems to be the recipe to jump start writing again, right? :)


+++1+++
This weekend we're going to buy a bunch of dirt. Thrilling, right? As you might remember we got rid of our big tree that was overwhelming the backyard, and last weekend David spent a lot of time digging out the roots that were leftover. We need some dirt to fill in the uneven patches, especially where the stump was, so we're having something like 6 cubic yards delivered in hopes that'll be enough to fill in our lumpy bits, and then possibly build out some flower beds in the front of the house. The dirt is also necessary to liven up the soil in the backyard in hopes we can plant some seed and get a real lawn going back there, since right now it's just a big unhealthy dirt pit.


+++2+++
Suddenly Cora has really gotten the hang of tummy time and lifting her head way, way up! I have recollections of Kate doing exactly the same thing. One day, she just decided she was fine with it and she looked crazy grown up. Cora won't tolerate tummy time for a long period of time, but she doesn't scream bloody murder anymore when we put her down because she's learned how to lift her head up.


+++3+++
Some of you have asked how working from home has gone with now 2 little needy people in the mix. The above photo accurately describes what most days look like, at least in the morning. Kate and Cora sitting next to my desk, Kate either building something with blocks or "reading" to Cora, and Cora cooing away in her seat. Obviously those are the good days. There are also days where I hop back and forth from my desk 20 times in the span of two hours, consoling one or the other who's sobbing for some reason, or nursing the little snacker, or taking 5 trips to the potty in the span of 20 minutes. Usually in the afternoon during naptime I can get them both down for at least one overlapping hour, which is helpful for my sanity. Honestly though, I only work during that hour when I absolutely have to catch up - I usually spend it reading or napping myself so I can bounce back when they wake up.


+++4+++
I caved and bought the Mutu System after talking about it and reading about it for a solid week. I've been doing it for almost 2 weeks now and I already feel stronger in my core, which is such a relief and makes me happy I purchased it. (David thinks it's overpriced, I'm going to reserve my judgement on the price til I'm all the way through.) I love feeling that I can already tell a difference - especially laying on my side in bed.


+++5+++

I've started compiling some yearly home videos for us to look back at in the future (just using iMovie and the stuff we've recorded on our iPhones/camera in the past couple years). I finished 2013 and started 2014 - and even being pretty selective, 2014 is already over 15 minutes long and I'm not even through October. Oh well, we'll enjoy the extra minutes when we're 80 and we can play videos through our brains with just a thought, right? I mean, just look at the cuteness of Kitty in that photo there. How can I not include 8,000 pics?


+++6+++
Spring cleaning. Anyone else feel the urge to literally clean every surface in your filthy house when the weather gets warm? Just me? I've been trying to keep on top of things relatively speaking but there are a lot of things in our house I don't know how to clean or don't feel confident in cleaning. Rugs...do I do the pioneer version and hang them up outside & beat them with a broom? Vacuuming doesn't seem to do enough. Windows on the inside and outside...just vinegar & newspaper, or do I need something more heavy-duty? Wood floors...take everything out and swiffer/hand wash with Murphy's Oil? Help me!


+++7+++
I have much too expensive taste for our limited budget right now. I really want one of these prints from Be A Heart Design for one of the girls' rooms, a little bonnet for Cora to wear for her Easter basket, this awesome denim jumper for the summer, this gorgeous Mary & toddler Jesus illustration...the list goes on. Oh and a double linen ring sling (maybe sage?) when Wildbird has their end-of-season sale.

Okay, that should be enough for now. Linking up with Kelly!
HG

Cora, three months

20 March 2017

20 March 2017



Time is literally flying by with this little girlie of ours. I feel like I just wrote her birth story and she's already 3 months old, how is that even possible? I love watching her grow but I'm already missing the details of when she was an itty bitty baby and that mom conundrum of wanting them to grow up and wishing they stayed small is heavy on my heart, most days.

To the stats! (And for reference, Kate at three months!)

Weight: Going to have to home scale this, hold on while I go do that.
Okay little miss is approximately 16 pounds 3 oz! In their faces, she and Kate look similar in weight at 3 months but Cora has lots more rolls & pudge on her frame overall, and she's definitely heavier. I love me a chunky baby, though, certainly not complaining.

Height: No idea. I haven't perfected the at-home method of getting a wiggly baby to stay still long enough to use a regular tape measure with, and she didn't have a 3 month checkup so I don't know. She's long enough that her torso is officially too long for all 3 month clothing, and just snug at the 6 month sizes so I'm buying 9 month & 12 month stuff.

Firsts this month: We've had a very slight, somewhat hesitant laugh out of her when we're making silly faces in front of her or wiggling her little bunny rattle around and making it pop into existence in front of her, but no belly laugh yet. Lots of eye movement, tracking things, lifting head up during tummy time, all that good 3 month old baby jazz! No progress on the rolling-over front yet and she doesn't even seem interested. I'm fine with that, y'all.

Nicknames: nothing new this month! I call her "sweetheart" or "darlin'" a lot, and Kate's started imitating me when she talks to Cora so that is freaking adorable but otherwise not much new.

Other things to note:
+ Eating: she finally decided to space out her feeds in the last couple weeks, which Mama is very very grateful for. Usually she nurses about every 2 hours, sometimes 2.5 hours when she naps for longer stretches.
+ I think she might be fighting a cold or a bit of an ear infection at the moment, though, because sometimes baby girl only wants to nurse laying down together. I didn't nurse Kate like that at all, but Cora already gets easily distracted while she's nursing, so I have to face her away from everything and really convince her to eat even when she's starving, and laying down seems to be the best way to do that.
+ Sleeping: she was consistently doing only one wake-up for the past few weeks, but has started to get up more than once in the middle of the night again and I miss those days. I think we'll probably try to night wean her somewhat soon because I am a cranky mom when I have a little bit older baby and don't get to sleep through the night. On a good night she goes to sleep around 8:30, wakes up around 4:00 to eat and then sleeps til 7:30/8:00. Last night she was up 3 times - ate at 1:00, fussed at 3:30 so I just had David swaddle her and she went back to sleep no problemo, then ate again at 5:00 or so. I'm hoping that stops soon.
+ I think the above sleep problems are because she's going through another growth spurt, which happened with Kate around this age too. Yay! That means she'll get through it soon, let's hope!
+ Naps: She will either nap in the vibrating seat in the basement next to me in the morning from about 10-11, or upstairs in her crib for a bit longer, then a cat nap from 12:30-1:00, then a long nap from about 2-4:30, and then one or two more catnaps before bed, just depending on her mood and when we put her down for the night. During her long nap she consistently wakes up 45 minutes in and is STARVING, no matter how recently I fed her before hand, but then she goes right to sleep again so I'm totes fine with it. (It also guarantees that I get some true alone time because Kate naps or has quiet time from 2-4:00.)
+ This is all fascinating stuff to you, isn't it? I'm mostly writing it down for posterity's sake because I keep looking back at my posts about Kate at this age and wondering if they're going through the same stuff, and I didn't write enough detail back then! So detail-heavy we are.
+ Kate is absolutely LOVING Cora getting more aware and more with-it from day to day. She constantly is looking at her and telling me, "Wook Mama, Cowah smiwing a me! Awww!" I have high hopes for sibling bonding in the future.


I mean, just look at that perfect face! We love you Cowah!
HG

Scenes from a naptime

15 March 2017

15 March 2017




Naptime around here is a sacred hour (or two). Usually I'm successful at getting Kitty and Cora down at the same time, and I cherish the silence when they're both sleeping and I can get stuff done. Most days I try to read, or get some chore done, or go back to work if I haven't gotten enough done in the morning. I spend some precious moments in the bathroom by myself, without someone shouting or crying, and I have a snack or finish my lunch.

Right now looking out at the backyard it's a frigid wasteland, but I'm envisioning a nice span of grass and a book in my hand out there during naptime in the spring and summer (if the bugs aren't too bad). There's laundry and Cora's 3 month photo prop sitting on the dining room table. I keep remembering to put it away when she's sleeping, and the photos should have been taken on Monday and they still haven't been...

David installed a new-to-us wall oven this weekend, found on Craigslist for a steal of $100. The one that came with our house when we bought it was broken, known to us at time of purchase. We hadn't decided if we were going to redo the kitchen right away so the object of buying a new oven kept slipping further and further back, especially after we had seen the price of new ones. Luckily we happened to check on Craigslist one night and there was an oven! In our price range! One Saturday morning later, he had torn the old one out and put the new one in. It's glorious to have a working oven and once Lent gets over I'm going to be baking all sorts of things!

Welp, enough random rambling for today's naptime.
Ta,
HG

Postpartum exercise

08 March 2017

08 March 2017
Notice how I didn't say "postpartum weight loss"...haha.

I've been exercising post-natally for now 6 weeks, doing a combination of Kayla Itsines' BBG (Bikini Body Guide) and running/weights on the off days. (You're technically supposed to do long walks on the "off" days, but I haven't always wanted to just walk so I kind of am doing whatever the heckfire I want, and that gives me a little bit of control and makes me feel like I have some flexibility.)

My runs have been slow and steady and painful. My workouts have been filled with me panting in the basement, trying to catch my breath to do the next exercise. But being active, I've realized, makes me a much happier person to be around. So for that reason alone, I've enjoyed these past 6 weeks a lot. I used to dread exercise, but probably because it's a kid-free hour in my day now, I am seriously enjoying it. The endorphins from finishing a tough workout don't hurt, either - I love feeling accomplished, like I did something hard and I didn't die! look at me go!

my runs have been getting faster, so that's a good thing!
As you might remember, I did a LOT of working out in 2015, starting right about when Kate turned a year old. I did a few different programs in a row: P90X3, Insanity, and then BBG after that. I never did see a ton of progress. Like I've mentioned before, I have hypothyroidism, which prevents me from being able to lose weight easily just because of hormones.  After I got pregnant with Cora, I was determined to not gain as much weight as I had with Kate. Luckily I succeeded, and actual got back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 4 weeks of her birth. So that was a great feeling! I mean, I hadn't gained the same amount of weight and was considerably over my goal weight when we got pregnant, but still. It was nice to be wearing the same size of jeans as before. But I'm not satisfied, not quite yet.

The biggest problem I have with BBG is the ab workouts. I have diastasis recti, at least a self-diagnosed case, and I'm worried every time I do the ab workouts that I'm just making things worse, rather than making them better. I'm thinking of investing in the Mutu System, because my mom-tummy is the most not-in-shape part of me and just rectifying that would be a huge boost to my confidence. (I almost did at the beginning of last year, and then we got pregnant. So I didn't spend the money.) I know Rosie is doing it right now for Lent (such a good idea!) so I can't wait to hear her review. ;)

Although I enjoy the non-weight-loss-benefits of working out, I'm still searching for that magical combination of things that will allow me to lose a few l-b-s. My diet isn't *terrible,* but breastfeeding makes me ravenous practically 24/7 so cutting the amount of food I eat doesn't work. (Plus, the last time I did that my supply had a terrible dip, so I'm not risking that again.) I've been slowly trying to replace my unhealthy snacking with better snacking aka eating Kate's cheese sticks and apples & peanut butter instead of chocolate and cookies.

Anyway, not sure what the point of this post is except for me to complain a little and try to motivate myself to keep going, even if I don't see results. I have to remind myself sometimes that yes, there are goals to working out besides weight loss - happier mood, longer life span, more energy, etc. etc. so maybe this is a part of that.

I'm still gramming if you're curious on a more daily basis how it's going, otherwise catch you on the flip side!
HG

7QT #56: Baptism, trees, and Anthro, oh my!

03 March 2017

03 March 2017
Everyone is napping simultaneously (and have been for 2 hours at this point) so I'm going to test my luck real quick and smash out a blog post while I've got the energy and the motivation. Linking up with Kelly for quick takes!

1.
Whoof. Lent. It hit me like a ton of bricks this year, for some reason - I was totally unprepared for its start and feel pretty inadequate in the face of it all. This year David and I decided to give up Netflix and going out to eat, aka pretty much the only two things we do for fun...I kind of wish I were kidding about that but that's what the majority of our free time revolves around, especially on the weekends, and within approximately 18 hours of Lent starting we were already missing it so I think that's a sign it was a good choice.

Instead I'm going to try and do a lot of reading and attempt to keep on top of the laundry, although I'm sitting typing this with two unfolded baskets right in front of me so clearly, not exactly a priority. Maybe I'll blog more too! Who knows where the winds of free time might take me.

2.
Cora Jane was baptized on February 12, and I still haven't blogged about it. It was a great, low-key event with just our immediate families and the priest who baptized her, David's old chaplain from high school Fr. Roza. David's sister and brother-in-law were her godparents, and she was a total champ through the whole thing. She'd try to drift off to sleep right before the next step, and then be rudely awakened by another thing but she didn't hardly fuss or cry. We had pizza & cake at our house afterwards to celebrate!

I knitted her this ridiculously cute (or just ridiculous, if you're of the opinion) bonnet to wear for the car ride over, but I need to find time to finish the straps and tighten up the one side so she can actually wear it. By the time I get around to it, it'll probably be hot so sorry in advance, Cora, if you never wear it again.

Some pictures, how about!



this photo courtesy david's dad, cause we didn't get very many on our camera!

I think I need to sew her some for the spring because she just looks so gosh-darn cute in them, and I have a bunch of fabric burning a hole in my pocket.

3.
In house renovation and improvement news, we finally cut down our huge and almost-completely-hollow-rotten tree in the backyard. If you follow me on Snapchat I apologize for the mountain of snaps I took while watching them, but it was a momentous occasion...and they had to cut the power/internet to do it, so we were twiddling our thumbs at home.

Right now it's a big blank slate, and the grass that WAS there has been mostly trampled on or ruined because of the equipment they drove in and out, so we're debating on what to do this spring to spruce it up. Possibly sod, if we can afford it, or maybe just get rid of everything we've got and seed from scratch. If you've had experience with either I'd love to hear it!

Before...


After!

Weirdly enough, it makes our yard look smaller. I would have guessed the opposite but there's probably some logical math-y explanation for it being the way it is.

4.
Last weekend I spent a few child-free hours shopping and went into the ritzy mall here in Omaha with Anthropologie in it. Guys. GUYS. Anthropologie. I've never been inside before and holy crap, I want everything they have. I mean, I've definitely browsed online before but never seriously considered anything because $$$. Unfortunately I tried on this awesome jumper and fell in love with it, but it didn't come home with me for $130. It was soooo cute though AND nursing friendly AND insanely comfortable.

it was MUCH cuter in person and I can't get the better green color photo to load so this will have to do
So now I'm on the hunt for a cheaper alternative. Even though I have no idea where I'd wear it and it's totally a trend item, I still want one. (Who am I? When these became popular I swore I'd never like them!) This one from Modcloth is cute but I think I like the longer pants look. (Seriously. WHO AM I.)

5.
The babies woke up. But they both slept from 2:00 to 4:45 so I am nooooot complaining. The concurrent nap in the afternoon is truly one of the only things that keep me sane on some of these long, cold days when I have a bazillion deadlines and the toddler is going crazy. I'm desperately clinging to them as long as I can, and dreaming of reading on the back patio in the sunshine for more than just one day a month.

6.
This little babe is a champ and tolerates everything extremely well except chili. I've had it 3 times now since having her and every day afterwards (when it gets around to her) she is pretty miserable. Guess I will have to swear off for a few more months until her stomach settles out a bit.

She's obviously not lacking in the cheeks department.


7.
Whew, I'm getting really tired and David just went to rent Arrival for us to watch tonight so I'm going to end this post riiiiight here. Have a happy weekend!
HG

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