Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bumpdate: 27 Weeks

The big 2-7! Every day that goes by fills me with giddy excitement, anxiety and fear, shock and awe, joy, cautious optimism, and about a million other feelings! Lately we've had some milestones with being half way done with progesterone shots, the last week of this trimester, and our little man is getting bigger each day and is estimated to be about 2 and a half pounds these days. My big milestone dates are coming up and while I don't want to wish this pregnancy away (I find my heart whispering to my mind over and over: savor! savor! savor!), I am so excited to reach and pass the biggies: 29 weeks when I was hospitalized with Hadley, 31 weeks when I gave birth to Hadley, and 34 weeks, the point at which doctors most likely would not stop labor if it started. Those milestone dates are front and center in my mind.

I feel BIG, folks! I have this theory that I'm bigger now than I ever was with Hadley. Thank goodness for cute maternity clothes, leggings, and dresses. My pajamas make me look like Winnie The Pooh with my belly all hanging out. Haha. Yes, I still puke daily. Honestly, I've spent so many mornings puking over the past two years that it just sort of feels normal now. I've noticed I've been more tired these past 2 weeks than for most of my second trimester. I think bigger baby is catching up with my body. Bring on the naps! I go to the bathroom about a hundred times a day too. Fun times. I haven't had too many cravings, but protein always sounds good: Greek yogurt, meat, peanut butter, eggs. I feel like eating so much in the mornings. I love me a big breakfast.

Little Man moves all. the. time. Truly. I often wake up at 2 or 3 am to a swift kick in the gut or a little pop. AJ can feel the movements from the outside now and sometimes we can even see them on the outside. I love feeling him. It makes me smile when I am teaching and feel a little kick. He starts moving right when I get up and he simmers down a bit during the day (but I'm also super busy during the day, so maybe he is moving and I can't tell), and picks up from dinnertime to bedtime. It has been such a joy sharing this journey with my class. I brought them a sonogram picture a few weeks ago and they were in absolute awe. I have been asked, "Mrs. Steele, how did that baby get in there?" or "How will he get out of your tummy?" Ask your parents is a great response for times like that!!

Thanks to some very generous friends and family, little guy has a stocked wardrobe! Boy clothes are so fun! His nursery is getting its first round of paint this weekend and then we can start really putting it all together. This is probably one of the only times mom and dad will get 100% full say in the room decor (I am dreading the day he asks for a basketball hoop hamper, Paw Patrol bedding, and a Hulk poster or something), so AJ and I are relishing putting a room together our way!

We just love our son so much. We have big plans these last few months and beyond with him. But we know better than most that plans can change. We take it one day at a time. For today he's cozy and active on the inside and that's a good thing. Bring on the last trimester!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Workin' It Wednesday: A Cozy Home

I am super excited about this month's Workin' It Wednesday edition. I'm linking up with Erika and Shay and today we are talking about creating a cozy home!

       While I still love the book, beauty, stationary, and clothes sections of most stores (Target! what what!), I have found that the older I've gotten the more I've been drawn to the home section of stores. This may have to do with all the fun shows on HGTV, the amazing finds on Pinterest, the advent of websites like Etsy or Wayfair, and the increasing importance I know I have personally placed on loving the space I'm in. When AJ and I moved into our house (2 years ago! Time flies!), we had so much fun finding things we liked and making our space our own. (errr, maybe more like I had so much fun. I think you'd have to ask AJ for his honest opinion and I have a feeling he'd reference his love of Ikea cinnamon rolls if you asked him anything about home decor). Last year I wrote a post about the term "Hygge" and how that can translate to your living space. I still love this concept and the ideas and tips involving it. 

I would describe my taste as "comfortable rustic." I love me some natural wood, distressed white paint, pops of color, and big comfy pillows and throws. I also love words on walls and our house is covered in phrases and letters and meaningful photos. I don't love a modern look and if it's "Farmhouse" inspired, then I am all over it. I feel like "cozy" has been fairly easy to achieve in our house because our place is not huge, it feels cozy, and most importantly, it feels like "us." And shouldn't your home feel like you?? 

Here are some tips I have for creating a cozy space:

1. Shop around! We have items from Ikea, RC Willey, Hobby Lobby, Target, Hand-made (thanks to my Father in law!), Macys, Quilted Bear, At Home, TJ Maxx, Etsy, and all sorts of various shops from our vacations. Each piece holds a memory and as someone who enjoys definitive "end points," I have to always remind myself it's ok to not be 100% "done" with the house----it's meant to grow, evolve, and change, as WE grow, evolve and change. 

2. Scents: I love me some Wallflowers. I have one in the dining area and one in our bedroom. I also have scented candles in the kitchen and bedroom. Something about a dreamy smelling home just feels cozy to me. Another great idea for home scents? Bake up a yummy treat! 

3. Plush: I love lots and lots of pillows and blankets in bed and on the couch too. We always have a throw or two on the couch and I cannot get enough of fun pillows. Your home is a soft space to land after busy days and pillows and blankets certainly up the relaxation factor.

4. Get some fresh air: I love love love having our windows open and having fresh cool air in our home. And being pregnant, I am always hot, so I have the feeling the windows will be open most of the fall! 

5. Soft Lighting: I'm not a huge fan of overhead lighting and I much prefer lamps and dimmer lighting options. I even love to have the lights off in my classroom and have the natural sunlight flowing in. I found a creative soft lighting option for Baby's room that I'm so excited to set up. Lamps, candles, and soft lights are my jam. 

6. Decorate for the Seasons: We don't have a whole lot of room to decorate seasonally (oh how I would love a mantel!), but I do like to mix up some small things as the seasons change. Fall deco is my fave, but I also love my spring decor and of course Christmas!

7. My number one home decor tip: You do you. Don't worry about being a slave to one certain style or look. Your home is not on Pinterest or in a catalog. It's your nest, your haven, your sanctuary.....fill it with things that inspire you, make you smile, and work with your lifestyle. Your home will always feel cozy if you feel comfortable, relaxed, and inspired when you are there. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Day In The Life

It's been a long time since I've done a day in the life post! If you want to check out past editions, click on the "day in the life" category to the side and you can see the old ones.

I tried my best to document the whole day. These are so fun to look back on. Enjoy my Monday!

I wake up at 6:00 and hang out in bed for ten minutes or so checking my email and trying to wake up fully! I finally hop out of bed with the urge to puke....which I do. It's clear I need to eat something so while I used to get all ready and have breakfast before heading out the door, now I eat first to keep the nausea at bay. On my way downstairs, I catch AJ leaving for work. Yes, he really does leave most days around 6:30-ish. Here he is with his new "grading tote" that I think looks like he's carrying a refrigerated heart or something!
 I have one of my fave breakfasts: orange juice and oatmeal with peanut butter, raisins, and cinnamon. I surf the web while I eat (and baby is jumping around this whole time!) and go get upstairs to get ready a little before 7. I make the bed before I get ready and watch 90 Day Fiancee as I finish off my hair and makeup.

That gray monstrosity is my beloved pregnancy pillow and we rolled our rug up because darling hubby didn't want me tripping on it during one of my many many many middle of the night bathroom visits.  

I try and make it out of the house by 7:45 and today I made it with a few minutes to spare. My drive takes about 15 minutes. And for my friends who think there is no life West of State Street or South of 21st, I present to you Mountain View Corridor! So far this road is pretty traffic-free and I hope even with new development it sort of stays that way.

I arrive to school and check my email and get ready for the day. I have been on the hunt for some cute signs to label my seasonal books and found these cute ones. I go through some of my November curriculum files to pull out things to ask my teammates if they'd like. I try and do copies/curriculum about a month or so ahead (some years I'm better at that than others!). About an hour later, I head outside to bring my class in. The morning goes by quickly with Weekend in Review, phonics cards, a math lesson, and snack time.

 Before I know it, it's 10:30 and time for recess. I don't have recess duty today (yahoo!) so I munch on some banana bread I made yesterday, get some papers organized for the week, and get Centers set up.

During Centers I have a parent helper which is really nice. I worked on some phonics skills with some groups and in another group we finished making their "Sentence Buddies," aren't they so cute?
Finally it's time for lunch. I eat with my team and we chat about our weekends and submit the copy requests for the November items I pulled in the morning.
The afternoon is a blur of me getting formally observed during a shared reading lesson (one of four for the year) and we had a healthy choices assembly for Red Ribbon week that was really cute. At this point there was about an hour left in the school day and we worked on a spelling worksheet and handwriting. The last ten minutes of the day we worked on our Christmas songs for the program.

After school I made some copies, organized some papers, got ready for Tuesday and was out the door around 4:15. I stopped by the dry cleaners on the way home to drop off AJ's shirts (we normally take them every 3 weeks or so). At this point I'm pretty hungry so I reach for my go-to snack: Triscuits and hummus. I get in my fully comfy zone: sweatpants, face mask on, contacts out, and chill for 30 minutes finishing the 90 Day Fiancee I started this morning. I then put together our lunches for Tuesday and start working on Wednesday's "Workin It Wednesday" blog post. AJ gets home from the gym around 6:00 and we eat dinner (leftover steak fajitas from last night). We both clean up the kitchen and AJ sets about doing some lesson planning and I head upstairs.

I ended up talking on the phone to one of my college pals for an hour or so (oh how I love reconnecting with girlfriends and picking up right where we left off).

Around 8:00 AJ and I head into baby's room to take some measurements and online shop for a wall decal. We price them out and end up deciding on and ordering one. Yay! I can't wait for it to arrive. It'll look so cute on the wall above the crib.

After that I wanted to update some frames in our house so I ordered some new photo prints last week and finally put them in the frame tonight.

Finally, at 8:30, I curled up with a bowl of Halo Top and some TV By 9:00, I was upstairs reading and ready for bed. Whew! A fun Monday. Thanks for following along!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What I'm Loving Lately

Hi There,
   It's been a while since I've done a "What I'm Loving Lately" post! And this is a jam packed post because there's a lot that I'm loving!
I LOVE this quote and it reminds me how important it is to reflect on the positive things we're loving lately! 
1. Fall TV: It's back and the DVR is getting quite a workout! Shows I'm into:

-Shark Tank--returns on a new night, Sunday!
-Keeping Up With the Kardashians---I've come this far with this crazy bunch, I have to keep going!
-Vice Principals---I have a love/hate relationship with this show. When it's funny it's really funny, but it doesn't really know what it wants to be.
-The Good Doctor---This just premiered last week and I enjoyed it, I think I'll stick with it.
-This is Us----the best. Love it.
-Teen Mom---see the description above for the Kardashians
-Counting On---Ok, I am normally a fan of the Duggar franchise but this season is snoozeville. I don't need to watch the 4th Duggar girl try on wedding dresses or attempt cooking with her new hubby. But I'll keep watching because it's a great show to fold laundry to.
-Meet the Putmans--Anyone else watching this insanity on TLC? A family of 24 who all live together. This one reeks of sexism but I'm just so intrigued by giant households, I keep watching with fascination.
-The Mick--I love this hilarious, inappropriate slapstick comedy
-The Little Couple---I've been a devoted watcher for years, I love watching this family grow and change.
-American Housewife---One of my fave sitcoms. I adore Katy Mixon the lead actress
-NBC Sitcoms that recently premiered: Will & Grace, Great News, and Superstore.
All this on top of my usual diet of Dateline, Law and Order: Menendez Murders, Leah Remini's Scientology show, SNL, the occasional Food Network show, and 20/20? Well if there's a girl up for the challenge it's me. The return of fave shows is always a Fall Favorite!

2. Cooler Weather Cooking: Last weekend we made chili in the crockpot and today I've got Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin, quinoa, and Maple Roasted Carrots going on. Oh yes. And to add to the fall kitchen fun, I made a pumpkin coffee cake this morning. Yummy! We stopped by At Home yesterday (one of my very favorite stores) and I found this fun kitchen mat, too. I just love this time of year. Cozy, chilly, comfy, and delicious.

3. Grocery Store Finds: I have discovered some new things lately at the grocery store that I'm liking. First off, Tessa Mae's dressing. I read that this is a Whole 30 approved dressing (I'm not doing Whole 30, see above featuring "pumpkin coffee cake"), but I love this dressing and my fave is the poppyseed. I am enjoying these Sargento Sweet Balanced Breaks packs. They come in a few different varieties and have things like dried fruit, nuts, cheese slices, banana chips, yogurt chips, dark chocolate chunks. They've been my go to after school snack lately. Of course I could make my own snack packs, but these are already portioned out and easy. I've tried a few recipes for Overnight Oats before and enjoyed them, but I've recently discovered these Quaker Overnight Oats cups. Just fill with milk at night, refrigerate, and then the next morning they are good to go. I like to microwave mine for a minute or so. The next item isn't a food one, but I am loving Biore's self warming charcoal mask. My skin's been looking a bit lackluster lately, and I've used one of these masks twice in the past week and love how soft my skin is after.

4. Good Books: My reading has seriously slowed down since school began but I've been really enjoying Elin Hilderbrand's "Identicals" and this week Melanie Shankle's book Church of the Small Things debuts and the description alone has me anxiously awaiting to dive in: What do cooking dinner, driving sugar-buzzed junior high girls to a soccer tournament, and being nice to that coworker who perpetually gets on your nerves have to do with making a lasting impact? In Church of the Small Things, Melanie Shankle reminds us that God does extraordinary things in our most mundane moments of faithfulness. Through her hilarious reflections on being a mom, wife, and writer, Melanie helps us embrace a meaningful life as we find the beauty and the laughter that lie right beneath the surface of every ordinary, incredible day. God uses the smallest acts of faithfulness to love and influence the people around us—and sometimes that looks a lot like packing sandwiches for lunch, working in a cubicle, or playing tea party one more time even though you feel like gnawing your arm off. -From 

5. Baby Steele's Nursery: This nursery has become my new hobby. If I could just design nurseries all day, that would be great. I can't wait to show you all the finished look. We chose a paint color finally, purchased a light fixture, ordered his crib bedding, purchased an ottoman for our nursery chair, and more. My huge list of baby "to do's" has been cut in half and I just can't wait to pull a Joanna Gaines and hang pictures and fluff pillows once it's all ready. I never got to "finish" Hadley's nursery and pray that this time around I will be able to. We did clean out Hadley's things last week after over a year and that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. We are saving every bit of it. I know she'd be thrilled to share her space with her little brother, but it was still so so hard to do. I had been putting it off and am glad the actual act of taking things down and packing things away is behind us. We put it in an upstairs closet for easy access because I know the moment will strike when I just feel like going through it again. And that's perfectly okay.
Lumberjack Beavers?! Why yes, we did HAVE to order these sheets for the crib. Not a want, a need, really. 
Those are just a few things I'm loving lately! I have some plans to do a recipe post, a Bumpdate, and a "day in the life" post soon. What else would you all like to see on the blog?  I want to write what you want to read! Thanks for reading.

Savor Your Sparkle,