Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014 - Norah's First Christmas

Norah had an awesome first Christmas. Not that she really knew what was going on, but I think she did enjoy some aspects of this holiday season. Some of her favorites were looking at the Christmas tree lights, playing with/hearing the sound of wrapping paper, and having Dad home from work so much. She also did seem to get excited about her new toys when we showed them to her, and she's definitely enjoys playing with them. Our favorites are her foam play floor situation (similar) and basically anything that will fit in her mouth. I think we have some early teething going on big time. She got so many goodies that I had to order this toy box. I can't wait for it to come in so we can better organize all her tiny toys.

We kicked off the holiday week with a visit from my sister. It's always fun having her in town and Norah even got to be babysat by her Aunt Paige when I had to go to the dentist. While Paige was in town we ate a ton, baked, watched Christmas movies, and just hung out. It was a perfect visit.

On Christmas Eve we visited with my Dad, Aunt, and Grandma. We exchanged gifts and had a delicious lunch prepared by my Grandma. She sent us home with cookies and eggnog pound cake, which was perfect because I didn't have to make dessert. I've spent almost ever Christmas Eve of my life at my Grandma's and it's nice to carry on that tradition with Norah.

We had to head come around 3pm to make it to Christmas Eve Mass. Of course we couldn't be early since we were so busy that morning, so we had to sit in the very back of the church, but it was still nice. Norah was on her best behavior and got tons of smiles at her cuteness from everyone around us. After church we put her to bed and Will and had dinner with just ourselves.

I prepared this meal in literally 30 minutes and will probably continue to make it every Christmas Eve. I freestyle my mashed potatoes and they always turn out great. Broccoli is pretty self explanatory, and the ham was also a piece of cake. This was my first time making a ham and I got so lucky that it turned out. All I did was cover the bottom of the crock pot with brown sugar, put a small ham on top, covered it with a can of pineapple juice, a ton of brown sugar, about 1/2 a cup of honey and 1/2 a cup of maple syrup, then cook on low for four hours. I also perforated the skin of the ham before cooking and basted throughout. It was perfect for the busy day we had and we had plenty of leftovers for breakfast and another dinner.

Christmas Day we kind of lazed around the house, as Will and I had already exchanged presents. That afternoon we spent the day with his parents, brothers, and their wives and kids. It was a blast and dinner was delicious. We all got some great gifts and it's always fun to see all the kids open their presents.

I cannot get over how small she looks next to all her cousins!

The only sour spot in all of this was that Norah had a fever the day after Christmas. She absolutely would not go to bed at Will's parents on Christmas, and I don't know if this is because she was just off her routine, or because she was getting sick. Here it is three days later, and she has no more fever thank God, but is still struggling to get back on schedule. We've had some crazy nights the past couple of days, but I'm just glad she doesn't appear to have the flu or something like that. We had to skip out on two more Christmas celebrations which stinks, but I didn't want to take any chances with her a) getting sicker or b) getting even more off schedule. This baby likes to be put to bed in her room, by 7:00pm, and there is just no getting around that!

Despite being sick we snapped lots of pictures since she was so smiley.

Overall our Christmas was wonderful and one we won't forget. We're looking forward to spending the next week at home, enjoying all Norah's new things, and having Will home from work. How was your Christmas?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

no shame in my Christmas game

I thought I'd post one more time before the holiday, because I'm just feeling it. For the next few minutes. Heck, maybe few seconds… but hopefully few minutes, I'm in my most favorite state of being. Christmas music playing. Tree and angel are the only lights on in the house. Reading blogs. Red win in my holiday wine glass. Baby is in bed, dogs are calm, and husband's on a beer run. I may very well just have cheese and crackers for dinner.

I say no shame, because I have a serious shame/guilt complex these days. The holidays really make us reflect on how wonderful (or not so wonderful sometimes) life can be. Luckily for me, it's a reminder I am so, so blessed.

But with that realization comes questions.

Why am I so happy and warm and full of happiness over my little life when some people cannot catch a break? I beat myself up over that for some reason, and I'm not sure why.

Why am I so cliche? Why do I love all the things that I do?

But you know what. I don't really care. I love Pottery Barn and Michael Kors and Starbucks and Home Goods and flannel and Uggs and all the rest of the crap that every other overgramming, newly(ish)wed, new mom, 20 something loves… and I don't care.

MAYBE just maybe the reason EVERYONE loves all of that stuff is because it is freaking AWESOME.

Just a thought.

So this holiday I hope everyone gets their Basic on, because I know I will be, and I will love every minute of it!

And because no post is complete without a picture… Love this little lady!

Happy Christmas

I wanted to pop in and post an "official" Merry Christmas to the blog world, and all the friends I've met through this avenue that I am so thankful for.

We have been busy little bees around here. Shopping, baking, cleaning, visiting with family, and getting spit up on frequently. And I wouldn't have it any other way :) I plan to be back soon with a recap of our holiday and Norah's first encounter with Santi Clause, but until then...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Motherhood: 15 weeks in

So we're about three and a half months in. I'm typing this pretty hastily as I want to finish the thoughts in one sitting, and I'm pretty sure baby girl is going to wake up at any moment.

Welp, so far, so good. Being a Mom, specifically a non working Mom, is everything I thought it would be. But also a million things more. As far as tiredness goes, there are good days and bad days. Sometimes I'm just a little tired (today). Sometimes I'm completely and totally crippled with exhaustion. Luckily those days are coming less and less, but I know as we get into teething, experience growth spurts, and down the road deal with things like potty training, we may see more of them again.

I'm excited for the warm weather. While it's still a ways away, now that N is becoming more of a little person who likes to see new things, I am excited to take her to the park and explore more of the world. Luckily this winter hasn't been too bad, but I know it will come, and she's much too little to enjoy the snow or really anything that comes along with the winter months.

Being a parent is harder intellectually than I expected. Feeding decisions. Nap schedules. Is it ok that my baby is CONSTANTLY trying to watch the TV if it's on? Should I ask people to stop touching her face with their germ covered hands, or am I being paranoid? What's the best way to spend our day now that she isn't sleeping for most of it? Can the dogs lick her? Is her head too flat? The list goes on. Do any of these things even matter?  The hard part is figuring that out.

Parenting is also a lot scarier than I ever expected. I am terrified of how I would feel if something ever happened to her or any member of our little family for that matter. People are tough and resilient, but life is also so so fragile. Obviously I don't sit around and dwell on the bad things that can happen, but when the news as negative as it is, and with people suffering all around us, it's hard to ignore how blessed we are, and how quickly so many of those blessings could be taken away. I pray every night for our safety and health. I think as long as we have what we do now, if I never got another "thing" again, I would be ok. Even if I lost certain "things", I try to just be thankful for our home and Will's job and know that that is all we really need. It is easy to get wrapped up in want. Do I want new furniture and to get more rooms painted and to have the backyard landscaped? Absolutely. But none of those things will make me a better Mom or wife or person, so I try to look at it that way.

I love my daughter more than any mother has ever loved a child. I'm sure everyone feels that way but I absolutely believe that I do. There are so many events, big and small, that have happened in my life that have led me to being her parent. I know all of the lessons and heartache and learning experiences were put in my life to help me to be the best Mom to her I can be. And realizing that gives me so much peace with so many things in my past that I have struggled with until becoming a Mom. I can't wait to spend what I hope are many many decades being the Mom of the most beautiful, personality filled little person I have ever seen.

I think that's all for now. Three and a half months in isn't treating us too badly!

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Family Christmas Pictures

I was trying to wait until we got our cards out to share these, but I just love them to much and cannot wait!

This year we met our photographer at a studio instead of taking pictures outside or at our home. Normally I don't really like studio photography but this was definitely the exception. Perfect for Christmas. I like these so much I may buy one on a canvas to display the entire year.

For your viewing pleasure, a few lot of my favorites. Love my little family so, so much.



My little reindeer (insert laughing emoji).

 This one may be my favorite.

Monday, December 8, 2014

a little weekend recap

Just wanted to pop in and update that we had a fabulous weekend.

On Friday, I got together with 6 other women who live in our little development for dinner at Coopers Hawk. It was our second year doing this around the holiday season. We ended the night with a trip to the bar and a nasty headache the next morning haha. I had an amazing time and honestly wish there was time for these kinds of dinners every week. I seriously hit the jackpot with neighbors (Hi Katie!), and the fact that all our little people are around the same age makes it even better. Can't wait for Norah to grow up with so many little playmates, and I hope that we all continue to live here for many years decades to come.

On Saturday me, Will, and the baby just spent some time together at home watching Christmas movies and hanging out. I also went and got a much needed hair cut. I get split ends like crazy, and hadn't been since JULY. My bangs are finally growing out, and I love the way it turned out.

Sunday we had our family Christmas pictures taken. I can not wait to get these bad boys back. The background was gorgeous and I was really happy with our outfits. Fingers crossed there are some winners for our holiday cards and so I can put up some more family photos around the house. As usual, Norah stole the show. Shout out to Willow Crowns for the most amazing headband that matched everything perfectly.

The pictures were early, and we spent the rest of the day cleaning and just hanging around the house. It was the perfect slow weekend before all the Christmas hoopla is underway.

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 5, 2014

some updates

I've been a little MIA on the blog lately so I thought this was a great time to pop in and give a mini update to what exactly we've been up to.

1. Christmas is in full swing at the G household. We're decorated, shopping is almost done, and our Christmas pictures are Sunday. I have to admit, I'm slightly overwhelmed doing all of this with a baby, but it is also so much more exciting with a baby. Definitely looking forward to showing off Norah to lots of family she has yet to meet over the holidays.

I am weirdly obsessed with these plates.

2. Thank God for Girls Nights. Tonight a bunch of women from my neighborhood are getting together for dinner at Coopers Hawk and I'm beyond pumped. I even picked my outfit out yesterday, and it's hanging in my closet. You'd think I'm excited to hang around adults or something ;)

I l-o-v-e spending all day with Norah, but until she learns how to talk, it gets a little lonely. Facebook can only take a girl so far. I am also in the midst of planning a get together with my BFFs for right after the holidays. I don't think we've all been together since July, so this is much overdue.

3. I love Baby Legs. We don't exactly own any yet, but I know when I get them I will love them. Norah is pretty tiny in some departments so clothes fit her so strangely. I think these will fix a lot of our sizing issues. I love putting her in tights so this is a similar mindset. Placing an order today. I'll report back with how the work out.

4. We (as in me and Norah) have been working on tummy time and sitting on her own lately. The Bumbo has been broken out, and she has even pseudo rolled over (kind of) a couple of times. She needs a little help, but we're getting there.

5. We get about a trillion catalogues in the mail a week, and being as neurotic as I am, I just have to look through every single one. Personal Creations really has some cute ornaments right now. I am loving these customizable ornaments, and just might have to add one to our collection.

That's all for now. TGIF!

Linking up today with Christina, Darci, Natasha, and April!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

some laughs and an opportunity to be awesome

I can't believe it's been WEEKS since I've posted anything besides Norah's 3 month update. Yikes.

What have we been up to you may be wondering? Nothing and everything. Thanksgiving was wonderful, and we are ready for Christmas. I didn't schedule our Christmas pictures until this coming weekend, so who knows if we'll get cards out, but aside from that all our holiday planning is going swimmingly.

I wanted to stop in today and share a few awesome things I've found on the internet lately. I am on my phone at all hours of the day and night since a) I am getting very little uninterrupted sleep and b) I'm with a little person all day who doesn't know how to talk, so I need some connection to the world. This allows me to stumble upon all kinds of awesomeness online.

Like this video. Anyone who went to college away from their home town I'm sure can relate at least a little bit. Freaking hilarious!

And I know I am late to the game on this one, but celebrities reading mean tweets literally had me in tears. The edition below I find especially comical.

Also, this parenting website never disappoints. I love a good sarcastic read and the writers from Scary Mommy say everything every parent is really thinking. This post on unwanted parenting advice is pretty wonderful.

And last but certainly not least, and on a more serious note, I stumbled upon an awesome opportunity via the Huffington Post. Apparently there is a program called Become an Elf put on by the USPS, and I'm pretty sure everyone should do it. Basically you just help out Santa by reading letters at the post office that kids have written to him, then go buy the gifts and take them back to the post office, so they can be delivered to the kiddies, from Santa.

You can read the article I found here, and the list of locations is here. More info is available here. This program is offered in about 20 major cities, but there is a way to help online I believe, if there isn't a post office near you participating. I can't wait to go pick up my letters. The USPS says most kids just ask for clothes or necessities, which really breaks my heart.

And that's all for now. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Norah's Three Month Update

Little Peanut,

You are officially a little person. I feel like we really have a baby, rather than a newborn, these days. I’ve become more confident in my ability to understand your cues for what you want and need, so we’ve relaxed on the tracking every detail of the day. I’ve also kind of relaxed on trying to stay on a schedule, as I really think it was driving me nuts more than it was helping you or me. We follow one, I'm just less stressed about sticking to every detail.

The one exception to this is bedtime. You let us know when you are ready for bed each night, which is usually between 7pm and 7:30pm, and once I see those signs, it’s the exact same bedtime routine every day. I think this really helps you calm down and contributes to how great of a sleeper you are for such a young baby. This new early bedtime also allows me to make dinner after you’re sleeping and gives me and your dad a few hours to hang out, so I do not hate it!

You smile and giggle all the time and make the funniest faces. You're getting more and more gorgeous by the day and everyone thinks so…not just me! I cannot believe we were blessed with such an adorable sweet baby. I really wondered if I would miss going back to work, and while I really miss my coworkers, there is no way it would have been worth missing out on being with you all day. I do miss using my brain in a “work” type of way, but I plan to start volunteering soon, so that will hopefully fill that void.

We moved the office upstairs and turned it into a play room for you, and I can’t wait until you can sit up and crawl around and really enjoy all of your toys and books. For now it’s a bit thrown together, but come Spring we have big plans for that space.

You are gripping things with your hands and getting stronger. You’re also talking up a storm, and startle me all the time with how loud and high pitched your shrieks are sometimes. I have no clue how such a big sound comes out of such a little person. If you turn out being loud, you definitely got that honestly.

I can’t believe in just a month or two you can start eating real food and will be sitting up like a real person. It seems like every day you do something new, whether it’s something small like making new facial expressions, or something big like almost rolling over or no longer being swaddled. Time is flying, and while I’m sure one day I will really miss this tiny baby stage, I am so so excited to see what all you do this coming month.

You are the absolute best and we love you more than you will ever know!

Weight: I’m guessing close to 12 pounds. You had a cardiologist appointment a few weeks ago and you were weighing in at 11 pounds that day. We are definitely seeing more chunk on your thighs and cheeks these days.

Height: About 23 inches.

Nicknames: Peanut Butter, Pea, Nor, Peanut Lady, Baby Girl

Eating: You’re eating about 5 or 6 times a day, and take about 5 ounces per feeding. I’m excited to hopefully drop a feeding soon, as it seems you’re starting to kind of push together your final two of the day.

Sleeping: We had a few weeks that were touch and go as far as night time goes, but we seem to be back on track. We stopped swaddling your arms at night and you began sleeping much better, so I think you really are just one of those babies that never liked being swaddled. It helped when you were teeny tiny, but you’re definitely over it.

You are going to bed earlier (which we started because it was clear you were sleepy way before you’re old bed time of 8:30pm). We start the bedtime routine about 7pm and by 8pm you’re out. You wake up once in the middle of the night to eat, and again early in the morning just being fussy. I’m not sure why this is, because you never want anything except your pacifier, and if we move you into our room, you’ll sleep the rest of the morning until almost 8am. Naps are still a little random but I hope to get on a lose routine with those this month.

Diapers: We switched to Target brand diapers and we won’t be turning back. They’re just as good as the Pampers we loved, but way cheaper. We’ll still use the Pampers we were gifted, but I won’t be buying any more for now. You’re still in size one, but I think you will be moving to size two soon.

Clothing: We have finally graduated from the newborn clothing. I could probably squeeze you into a few things but I think it’s time to let go. All those items will be packed up soon to make more room for your three month clothing. The three month gear is still a little lose, but it gets the job done. The exception is 3 month sleep and plays, which fit perfectly.

Social: You are always in a great mood anywhere we take you, and seem to like being out and about. I try to limit your outings to just a couple a week, for just an hour or two at a time, so I think not pushing our luck with being out all day every day really helps. We spent your first Thanksgiving at your Grandma and Papa’s yesterday, and you were great there too. One new thing we experienced while spending the holiday with lots of family was you not wanting to go to anyone else except for me. Normally you are calm no matter who holds you, but on Thanksgiving you just weren’t having it. I don’t mind at all and will take any chance I get to hold you, since a lot of times when we are at home, you seem to prefer to be in your swing or laying on your play mat. 

Likes: Swing, specifically the sheep on the swing's mobile, Kick and Play Piano Gym, the Christmas tree and lights, anything bright/shiny, your elephant lovie who we call “Ellie”, and your bug toy that hangs from your car seat.

Dislikes: Honestly you don’t seem to hate much of anything. Medicine time is probably your least favorite of the day, and you do not appreciate being held in certain positions, but nothing crazy.

Firsts: First Thanksgiving! You’re starting to try and roll over. I also got you to laugh with my Donald Duck voice, and that was the first time you actually laughed because we were trying to make you by doing something funny. It was awesome and your Dad was there to see too. First trip out in public with just you and Dad. Road trip with Mom to Chicago to see your Nana and aunts.

Mama: Absolutely loving being home with you and all the fun things you’re starting to do. Looking forward to sleeping through the night again one day, but besides that I feel like we pretty much have a sense of normalness back in this household. I’m also experiencing severe “Mom Brain”. I had pretty rough “Pregnancy Brain”, and never had the best memory, but things are at an all time low right now. I have to ask your dad the same question 10 times before I remember, have lost a NUMBER of items that I would never normally misplace, can’t remember words, the list goes on. I’m especially bad with dates/times. I can’t seem to remember when we have to do anything or what time we have to be anywhere, no matter how many times we’ve done it before or talked about it.

Daddy: Loves you to death. He is super hands on and helpful, as suspected. I don’t think anyone would every question how much he loves you and loves “hanging out” with you. He is very helpful with all the to-do’s that come with having a baby, even when he has long days at work. We are lucky ladies!

What we're looking forward to: Your first Christmas is definitely the number one thing we’re looking forward to right now. That, and just experiencing more firsts.

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 on Friday

I thought I'd pop in today to link up for 5 on Friday. As usual, we're thrilled over here that it's Friday. A few things that are getting my gears going right now…

50 Shades

I read it. I didn't love it. But I certainly didn't hate it, and I read the whole trilogy, soooo I guess I did love it? Anyhow, the trailers that have been coming out don't look as terrible as expected. I have no clue how they're going to stay true to the story. I feel kind of gross admitting this, but I can't wait to watch it! I know if I go see it with Will he will do nothing but make fun of it the entire time (just like he made fun of it the entire time I read the books), so maybe a girls night will be in order.

Operation Play Room

I am trying to not spend money, but I can't help but pin 100 things a day I want for the play room we're creating for Norah. Below are some of my wants for the room, and here is my entire play room board. I am so excited to have this magical little space for her.

Old Navy

I'm almost over shopping anywhere else. I've gotten some awesome stuff there lately! Really great prices, long sizes, cute clothes, and I don't have to leave the house. Can't beat it. A few of my favorites.

Living Room Issues

It is the greatest challenge in my life right now trying to figure out how to get our TV above the fireplace without a) having wires everywhere or b) drilling/cutting a million holes into the wall because frankly we're just not that skilled if you ask me. Please tell me someone has a solution to this?? It is really throwing off how I want to arrange our furniture, and even worse, ruining where I want to put our Christmas tree. I will figure this out before 2015. Hopefully.

Cute Overload

Obviously, I saved the best for last ;) I swear she gets cuter every day! A few snaps from our week...

Baby Uggs are the cutest. We were gifted two pairs for this little fashionista!

TGIF! Linking up with Natasha, Darci, April, and Christina for 5 on Friday.

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