Mama's wish list

Come on. Let's call a spade a spade (am I old for saying that?) The cute "gift guides" that I keep seeing in blog land are clever disguises for "here is what I want".  It is fun to look at them, get ideas for everyone and of course, do a little dreaming myself! Typically, my list has a LOT of clothes on it. But this year with a bun in the oven, things are a little unique. If I handed my list to Santa today, here is what would be on you have any of them or have them on your list?

Canon Elph 330 HS camera- Everything I've been looking for to complement my DSLR. Wifi capable, smaller, good in low light. Thanks to some amazing sales on Thanksgiving, I have a feeling it might be in Santa's sleigh already ;o)

Plush blanket- We need another layer on our bed in a color that won't get destroyed.

Infantino Sash Mei Tei carrier- Since I returned the Moby, Ergo, and Bjorn last time around, I'm hoping this is the answer for wearing Baby Boy around this Spring.

Mooseberry iPhone case -Since my monogram changed, it is time I update the phone. And I love this wintery case!

Adobe Photoshop Elements- I've been wanting it for a while and finally the price has been cut in half. I hope to make lovely mood boards (instead of inserting one picture at a time into blog posts) and help bring the photos of my kid(s!) to another level. Advice?

Maternity pajamas- I have no link for these because I can't find anything that doesn't make my blood boil. Long sleeve tees and knit pants, anyone? And for a reasonable price? 

Hunter boot socks-  Love my Hunters, and I'm excited to make them transition from rain to snow boots!
No Slip Sparkly headbands-   I think these will do the trick for rushed mornings. Who doesn't love a little sparkle? I like the silver, black, and gold.

A few Winter reads- The girl who fell from the sky, The book of lost things, Sarah's key, The pillars of the Earth, and Kite Runner have been on my must-read list for a while. I will never be able to read all of these any time soon, but it is nice to have a book ready to go when I have some time.

Charming Charlie anything!  Have you been yet?  It is the perfect place to find gifts for every girl on your list. I love it because everything is organized by color and accessorizing is such an easy way to change your wardrobe. And since I'm not buying clothes right now...

Clump Crusher black mascara- Thanks to Kate, I have a new favorite beauty product!

Starbucks gift cards- They are like gold. I actually deleted a gold watch off of this list and added this.

And the seasonal chocolates! Holy caloriefest, this is my favorite time of year for treats like Ghiradelli squares, Peppermint Hugs, Ferrero Rochers, and the new Dove Peppermint Bark Promises.

So there we go, a few of my favorite things and perhaps some ideas for you and your girlfriends!

Tips on Hosting Thanksgiving

You'll see, we like our gold dots this season.

I have hosted Thanksgiving several times now, and I really wouldn't want it any other way. I love having people over and decking out the house for special events. It is pretty easy when you have a tiny house:) PS- I consider Thanksgiving the first day of the Holidays, so yes, I do a little hybrid of Christmas + Fall decor...sorry to this guy.

Most of you have probably hosted before, but I thought I'd share a few tips on the day after (Black Friday for me= relaxing and avoiding the stores any way I can)...

1. Before it's game time and you are unwrapping that disgusting-looking raw turkey, find out which freaking side is upside down. If not, this may result in domestic disputes and frustrated texts to moms and neighbors. "Breast side up" and "skin side up" do NOT help, Honeysuckle Turkey Inc! (follow up, Matt was of course, correct. The turkey was awesome and I'll be OK making it from here on out.)

2.  Have a kid-free day on "Get er done" Wednesday. Essential. I had enough "help" on Thanksgiving with Larkyn suddenly appearing over a pot of boiling gravy or dropping a 700 ct. pack of toothpicks. Wednesday was pure bliss, as I crossed off item after item and filled the fridge with desserts I was making.
As much as we love them, you really can't get anything done unless they are happily with a sitter!

3. Speaking of that, try a dessert table! If this is your thing. And it is, ahem, definitely my thing. I got a killer deal on all these cute serving dishes that were open-stock (and armed with coupons) at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Pecan tarts: follow a pecan pie recipe, scoop out baked filling and put into mini tart shells that are filled with mini chocolate chips. Bake until chocolate is melted. Oreos: Get a Wilton cookie mold and follow the directions on the back:). Pumpkin gingerbread trifle here. Fruit Crisp here.

4. Decorating...go for the free printables! I googled "free thanksgiving printables" and voila!
Free Thanksgiving Printable Set
All you need is some cardstock, a color printer, and the aforementioned toothpicks.
Keepin' it real by not turning off the football that was really on.

5. Go for the runners and chargers look to avoid a messy (and expensive) tablecloth. I got the gold burlap from JoAnn's (13.99/yard) and the chargers from Target (2.49 on holiday endcap). Clean up was so easy.

6. Don't expect your toddler to eat anything. Make her a plate, assuring yourself that she will eat 0% of it, so that you don't risk disappointment.

7. Crock pot those mashed potatoes! I used to stress over them because I wanted them hot when everyone got there. This year, I made them in the morning and just added milk every few hours.

8. If it is cold enough (and it always is here), use the garage for your fancy second refrigerator. This is where we store drinks and desserts.

Maybe some of this will help if you are hosting Christmas or any other holiday coming up. Hope yours was a good one! Thanks Jill, for the Mr. Senior video.

The Big Catch Up

I am forcing myself to take a sitting break. I don't want to, but I remember this day 3 years ago, I sent myself into my first and only Braxton-Hicks little episode and I don't want to revisit that.

Why today?  WELL, this is definitely one of my favorite days of the entire year.

The day before Thanksgiving. The day before the holiday season starts! The anticipation of weeks ahead causes me to lose my mind, be the first customer into JoAnn's and one of the first at Target, and leaves my house looking like the mafia came in search for a wad of money and only found Karo syrup, baker's twine, and last year's Christmas cards. It is a disaster. But tomorrow, I will have all kinds of pictures of our "finished product" Thanksgiving, and I can't wait!
OK, one sneak peek. Thanks to Desiree and Erin for fueling my lust for this fabric...

In the meantime, Larkyn is another month older. We have resorted to a LOT of phone pictures lately, which I hate. I've been too lazy to plug in and download pictures, and thus, the search for a wifi-capable phone has begun.
Helping make "solanya", or lasagna as we say

She has become an avid kitchen fan, putting on her apron and getting a chair the second the sees me preparing anything. Especially if she gets to crack the eggs.

Potty training has moved from the floor potty to a princess seat on our toilet, but we are not looking at a diaper-free nap or bedtime anytime soon. "Weekend potty training method", again, you lie.

She is picking up phrases here and there, like "WAIT- hold on..." and requesting "Snowman songs" for Christmas music. Because I am a holiday freak show, we have had the car radio on Snowman songs for about a week.

She talks about "Bay Brudder" and thinks he is in her belly, which is a little odd/cute. She calls him Alex, which is nowhere on our list, but she seems to think so. Speaking of "him"...
Our bathroom at the cabin. Why don't phone cameras have self timers?

We are 24 weeks along today. He is the size of a cantaloupe and super active when I lay down for bed or after I eat. My shopping is at a standstill, while we have no nursery nor really any room for anything new. Over the holidays, I'll have to write about the things I'd like to have the second time around...

Over the weekend, we moved in to our second year of marriage by celebrating the our first anniversary at Hocking Hills. It was a luxuriously lazy experience (have I labeled myself lazy twice now? Hmmm) that involved a stack of magazines, football watching, reading Gone Girl in 24 hours, and a constant fire in the fireplace. The 2 day break from home was perfection, and I am so grateful that my parents could watch Larkyn and our friends and family could tag-team the animals! I even forgot the camera at home, so this is all I have to document our trip. We will be making another parents-only trip in the future, that is a promise.

Hope you all have a fun, warm Thanksgiving tomorrow. Slow down and enjoy it!

Year One

A year ago today, Matt and I surprised everyone by going out to the hills and getting hitched. I love surprises. It was a gorgeous, unseasonably warm day on 11.18.12 (unlike tonight as I am writing this, the wind is 65 mph and the tornado sirens are big).

On a trip to Walgreens to pick out a card last night, I hated all of them. I sat on the floor, reading each one and realizing that anniversary cards are a LOT trickier to pick out than birthday and baby shower cards. So, I thought I'd come here, to my writing space, to write my own anniversary message to my husband of one year.

My even-keeled, relaxed other half. It is so easy for me to get worked up when the day starts to fray away into disaster, but you remind me that life will go on if Larkyn doesn't nap, if the dog tracks in mud, or someone pees on the floor (could be anyone, really).

You are your daughter's hero, and I am so excited for our little guy to look up to you one day soon. You are the dad who always thinks about your child first. Even though that makes me crazy when I want to control the situation, I know you just want her to be happy.

As a man of few words, I hang on every word you say. I know, being the total opposite, that most of what I say probably goes in one ear and out the other while you filter out all the nonsense. But somewhere in there, I hope you have caught on to just how much I love you.

We made it through the first year and have lots of exciting moments in the near future. Can't wait to share them with you...


It all begins with a Peppermint latte

This post was stewing in my brain early this morning, at 5:30 AM. It was not pretty. I went to bed mad, I woke up mad. You know, just those moments that build upon each other...a full day of work and then coming home to dogs peeing/pulling food off the table, toddlers on the verge of being sick/adjusting to the time change, a few zingers exchanged between spouses, and oh yes, supposedly "putting my feet up to relax" as pregnant women are instructed to do.

Not. Reality.

Anyway, I was fuming this morning and almost got up to write what I felt. Then, I checked my Instagram (you know, part of everyone's morning routine) and saw this:


OK. Everyone has bad nights. Or weeks. I couldn't start the day out being resentful, especially after seeing this. So, the post idea changed a little bit.  Instead of listing what is making me mad (who the hell wants to read that?), here is what is gearing me up for what has always been the most special time of year for me...

1. I started my morning by getting my favorite drink of all time, a Peppermint Latte, from Starbucks. Pshhh, pumpkin spice.
This is what I wanted to do.

2. My backyard is totally yellow. Our silver maple is makin' it rain with its vibrant leaves!

3. I got to take a little peek at Baby Boy today. He was relaxing on his side, legs crossed, just looking at us. Stay mellow, little guy.

4. I am doing a lot of fantasy shopping lately. Because we have no nursery, I (virtually) decorate the whole thing, then don't buy any of it. Also, I've been searching for the perfect Christmas gifts for Larkyn. When I ask her, she wants a "ball" and a "puckin" I have one more year to pick out her gifts myself.
Carousel Designs bedding I have been eyeing

5. We are getting Christmas card/maternity photos taken on Monday. I have outfits picked out for 2/3 of the family.'ll be another last minute shopping trip to find something.

6. We go on our anniversary trip in 2 weeks! I can't wait to read, hear silence, and have some much-needed couple time.
You've been on my list for a year. It is time we meet. From

Some days, you need someone else to snatch you from the dark side and shove a peppermint latte in your hand. That happened to be Callie on Instagram and the barista. Find something to be grateful for every morning. If nothing else, at least you aren't this lady...

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