Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentine's Day Gifts {For Everyone You Love}

*If you missed my post yesterday, catch it here. For some reason, none of my posts are showing up in the Blogger feed when I publish them. If anyone has any experience with this, your suggestions are welcome!

Moving on...

We are still fighting off the remnants of the illness that swept through our home over the weekend. Other than a much-needed grocery store trip, we have yet to leave the house. Needless to say, there's been lots of cartoon watching, puzzle piecing, coloring, car playing, and snacking going on in our house. Because none of those things are super exciting or blog-worthy, I've come up with some fun Valentine's Day gift ideas for the special people in your life and thought today might be a good day to share them. If you need gifts, I've got you covered.

Valentine's for Your Man
Valentine's Day for Gal Pals

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Caleb Update {20 Months}


My little nugget is now 20 months old. Just four months shy of 2. Two. Two years old. I'm not really sure how that happened, but the months since his birth just seem to continue to fly by, so I've given up trying to figure it out.

Since the last update I posted, Caleb has grown leaps and bounds. Both physically and mentally. He is a ball of sweet energy all the time, and is the most handsome little thing you ever did see (if I do say so myself). He loves to give hugs and when asked for a kiss, turns his face and offers his cheek. He is a cuddly little roly-poly, and a total bed hog. When he ends up in Mommy and Daddy's bed - which is more often than I'd care to admit - he always ends up turned completely horizontal across the bed, relegating his Daddy and I to the outside corners of either side. Cozy.



In just the last few weeks, Caleb has become a lot more verbal. He can say Dada, Mama, Ellie, more, hello, hey, bye-bye, wow, yay, milk, baba, paci, uh-oh, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Buzz (Toy Story). This is a big improvement over the language of grunts, squeals, and pointing he's been primarily relying on since he started talking. He is a little sponge, and is always attempting to mime the words we say and the facial expressions and gestures that we use. Though we can recognize the words I shared above, he is also picking up new ones every day - I have a running list that I keep adding to. Last night at dinner, he was saying "I'm one" after me (we are working on learning numbers and telling people how old we are). He is constantly pointing at words he wants me to say to him, and is very good at identifying things. He knows all of his favorite characters from his favorite movies and shows (Cars, Toy Story, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). He can identify all the trucks, construction equipment, and animals on his Melissa and Doug puzzles. He knows and and can imitate the sounds that dogs, kitties, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, lions, tigers and dinosaurs make (the "rawrrrs" being his favorite). And he can identify all of his body parts, including hair, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, belly button and feet.

Lately, my little man has been a dancing king. And it's the cutest thing you ever did see. When a song comes  on the tv, he gets up and runs right over in front of the screen and does a back and forth little jig - primarily stepping from one foot to the other - while bobbing his head. It's precious. I wouldn't say he has the best rhythm (which wouldn't be surprising, since his daddy can't dance to save his life), but watching him try is oh, so adorable. He looks to me for approval while dancing, and I always smile and clap, and think to myself how, very soon, my smiles and claps won't mean nearly as much to him. Until then, I'll be soaking up every blessed second.




He loves to play with phones, and will be pick them up and say "Heyyy-yooooo" in the most precious little voice, drawing out the ooooo part until he sounds like a little bassett hound, howling at the moon. He's also into dropping things onto the floor to say "uh-oh", closing doors to say "bye -bye," and playing peek-a-boo to say "hey." He's a climbing master, and will climb anything, anywhere. He climbs on his play table. He climbs the coffee table. He climbs up his high chair. He climbs up and down our bed. He climbs in and out of bathtubs. And according to his preschool and the nursery teachers on Sunday mornings, he scales anything he can in those classrooms as well. Sigh. I fear that B may be right and that we do have a future of stitches and broken bones awaiting us.

For the most part, Caleb listens well to instructions and does what he is told. He is very good at sitting down on his bottom (which they do in preschool, so I think this term is very familiar to him). He likes to run to put things into the trashcan for Mommy - so enthusiastically, in fact, I sometimes wonder what all has ended up in the trashcan without my knowledge. He loves to "help," and adores running into the pantry to pick out his own snack - which is always, always, always going to be fruit snacks if he has his way. He can open doors, which is terrifying. And although he doesn't like to be told no, and sometimes cries when it happens, he does usually obey.



After being a late bloomer and not getting his first tooth until 12 months, Caleb has sprouted a mouthful of teeth over the last few months. His molars are in, and he is now getting some of his other bottom teeth, on either side of the middle two bottom ones, which have been there for a few months. He has had his upper incisors and middle teeth for several months now, but the middle ones still have not caught up to the incisors, so sometimes when he smiles or laughs, he looks like a baby vampire. Silly baby. He makes the absolute funniest faces, and his little grin can light up a room in no time at all. He is an absolute doll, and just the sunniest little man in the world.



Like most children, he loves to be chased and tickled, and could play all day long. He is obsessed with cars, trucks and trains and knows the sounds they all make. He also loves books - his current favorites are "Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site," "Steam Train, Dream Train," and the Toy Story books, of which he has two.

He is truly a big boy now. He goes to bed on his own in his crib with very little prompting - which I thought would never happen. It was like a switch flipped one day, and that night, around 8 pm, Caleb just decided that he would be going to bed by himself from that point on. Not sure why it happened, but I have to say that I am thankful. He prefers to sleep on his tummy, with his precious little booty up in the air. He also likes to brush his hair and teeth himself. I always have to help him a bit to make sure that it gets done correctly, but I usually let him try first before I go in and "clean him up." 



In the coming months there are a couple of transitions that I am dreading a bit:

1) The big boy bed transition. Which is going to be happening soon. I love that bedtime goes so smoothly, and worry that moving him from his comfy little crib into a big boy twin bed will disrupt this nighttime routine that we have gotten so used to.

2) Potty training. With the new baby coming, I have a feeling it might be a while before Caleb shows any interest in potty training. We've started talking about it, and have even sat on the big potty a couple of times, with no results. Caleb does wave his little hand in front of his nose in a "stinky" motion when he has a dirty diaper, but otherwise, does not seem to be bothered by having a wet or dirty diaper.

3) Saying bye-bye to the paci. Some people have said that Caleb is too old for a pacifier. I disagree. He is still teething. And until he is done teething, I am not even going to try to get rid of that beloved thing. But the closer he gets to being 2, the closer I know we get to the day that we will have to let the paci go. Which will make for a sad baby. And a sad mommy. 



And that's what's going on with our little man lately. I feel like in all of the excitement, hustle and bustle of the pregnancy, I've neglected to update on Caleb as frequently as I used to. I guess that will most likely be the case from now on, especially when Caleb starts sharing the spotlight with a little sister. But, I never want to forget what an amazing blessing he is. And how awesome he is in general. I want to remember every teeny tiny thing about him. I love each and every one of them. He is my most favorite person. And the best gift I have ever been given.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Little Bright Spots {Weekend Review}

Well, another weekend has come and gone. B was once again on call (though for the last time until March, thank God). And Caleb and I were - once again - sick, sick, sick. I am so ready for this winter to be over already. It seems like we just can't stay healthy lately, and at 26 weeks pregnant and unable to take anything to remedy the constant colds, I am definitely ready for spring and warmer weather. Despite being a bit more down-and-out than normal, the weekend held several bright spots that I just have to share.

On Friday morning, I woke up with a bit of a tickle in my throat. It had been raining all night, was cold and grey, and our heat had been pumping, so I figured I was just a bit "dried out," and didn't think much more of it. Especially after Caleb and I ate breakfast, as it seemed to go away completely after that. After breakfast, Caleb and I bundled up and braved the rain for a play date with our sweet friends at a local indoor jump place. When we first got there, Caleb clung to me and didn't even want to be put down, much less try jumping on any of the inflatables. However, we migrated over to "Under 3" area, where the slides and inflatables were much smaller, and I put him inside of one, and he did great. I spent the rest of the morning chasing him around and looking forward to what was sure to be a long naptime.







After our playdate, C and I grabbed lunch and swung through Target. It was raining and nasty, and I almost didn't go. But y'all. I am SO glad that I did. I got a notice on my Target Cartwheel app that morning for 40% off ALL shoes for the family. It was for one day only. I had a few other things to pick up, so in we went. And then I almost died. Because all - and I mean all - of Target's winter shoes have been marked down to clearance prices now. And with my coupon, I got an additional 40% off of the clearance prices. Ladies, deals like that don't come along often. As you can imagine, I took full advantage. These were marked down to $8.48 in the store. I got the blush pair (for just $5.00!) These suede heels were also marked down to $8.48. I grabbed them in camel (again for $5.00!) And these presh little shoes for Vivi were on sale for $3.88. I paid just over $2.00 for them after the discount. Made. My. Day. 



I picked up some taupe suede Sam & Libby booties as well for just $7.00 (which also came in black), but can't seem to find them online to share with you. I think it's safe to say that I am well stocked on nude colored shoes. But, for less than $20.00, I'm not sorry. 


As you may have noted, the prices online are a lot more than what I paid in store, so my advice would be to check out your local Target for some major steals. Although the 40% off coupon is no longer valid, the clearance prices are still super low in store. And, if you don't have the Cartwheel app, it is definitely worth looking into if you are a Target shopper (and who isn't?)

Friday night consisted of a Chick-fil-A dinner at home on the couch courtesy of the hubs, who got home at a decent hour for once. And then, around 10:00 or so...The dreaded sore throat came on full force. Along with body aches, a stuffed up nose - the works. I dragged myself into the shower and off to bed, hoping that a good night's rest would cure what ailed me. No such luck. When B's alarm went off around 5 am on Saturday morning for work, I immediately started crying, knowing that it wasn't going to be a good day. Caleb had been coughing through the night too, so we were both in pitiful shape. I begged B to stay home (which, of course, I knew he couldn't do) and was just plain miserable. Poor guy stocked us up on bedside juices and gave Caleb some medicine before he headed out, and then called in his mom as reinforcements. She ended up grabbing Caleb at around 9:30 Saturday morning so that I could crawl back into bed, which I did. And did not get back up until 2:00 pm! I cannot remember the last time I slept like that. It was crazy. I woke up feeling a bit better, and B got home shortly after that. He grabbed the mail on the way in, and came in loaded down with fun packages - little bright spots in my grey day. A fun one for a gift exchange post that I will be sharing in the coming week or so, a package containing my new pikos (ordered after this post that I shared last week), and a gift from my sweet friend Jenn, who sent this precious onesie for baby Vivian. Could it be any cuter? Love! Thanks again, Jenn!


Needless to say, the fun packages were much appreciated after such a dismal day. Around 4 pm, we called to check up on Caleb - who was playing and having such a good time at B's mom's house, that she told us to go get dinner and pick him up afterwards. Apparently, I had definitely gotten the worse end of the illness we seemed to be sharing. Realizing that we had nothing in the house to eat, we took her advice. I hopped in the shower and ended up pulling on one of my new piko purchases to head to dinner. So comfortable. And just so you all know, I am not being endorsed or rewarded in any way to keep spouting my love for these - they really are just that good. If you haven't checked them out yet, you need to. 



We headed out for dinner. And were promptly frustrated by an immediate foil to our plans. We stopped by three restaurants in our area, only to find that each one had over an hour wait - one was almost 2 hours. Maybe I'm old. Maybe it's because I am pregnant. Or maybe it's because with B working such long hours and with a toddler at home, we are never out and about at the peak meal times on the weekends so I've forgotten what weekend crowds are like. But whatever it was, there was NO way I was waiting over an hour to eat. No way, no how. Especially not for a meal at a chain restaurant. On a last minute whim, I called over to a small bistro restaurant on the town square to see what their wait was like, and found out there was not one. So, we headed there. And our little Saturday night dinner adventure took a turn for the better when we walked into this beautiful little restaurant, with a live jazz band playing, and the best food we've had in a long time. We had sambal shrimp as an appetizer, B had a spicy jambalaya for dinner, and I went with the fish tacos. With pineapple salsa and spicy aioli. Best fish tacos of my life.


After dinner, we went to pick up our little munchkin. Although I was glad for some time to rest that day, I definitely missed my little man, and was very glad to pick him up. He was already asleep when we got to B's mom's house, so we bundled him up for the car ride home and hoped he would continue to sleep. No such luck. He started crying as we pulled into our garage, and didn't stop until he'd had his pajamas and diaper changed, his nose sucked out, a dose of Benadryl, and his paci. Poor baby. His cough sounded worse, and I felt like such a bad mommy for allowing him to be gone all day. I sure needed the respite, but I felt like it came at a cost to Caleb - which was the worst feeling in the world. After all, the best place to be when you're sick is at home.

Despite rallying for a bit on Saturday night, Sunday morning I woke up feeling even worse than the day before. Needless to say, Sunday was a quiet day spent at home. B headed off for another long day of work, and Caleb and I spent most of our day sucking down juices and watching cartoons while playing cars and blocks. And blogging. 


Here's to hoping that we can kick these colds soon and get on about our lives. We have too much going on to slow down for long.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Firetrucks, Bumps, Steals & Deals {Friday Link Ups}

Happy Friday, lovely ladies!

If you didn't catch my post on piko shirts yesterday, be sure to check that out. I know you'll want to stock up when you see the super low prices offered on the site that I shared! And, if you decide to make a purchase, right now you can get 10% off with the discount code thenewly. Hop on it! Now, let's get to the Friday link ups, shall we? To see who I am linking up with today, scroll to the end of the post.

1| Brunch, Firetrucks, and Grandparent Love
Earlier this week, Caleb and I drove up to the Vinings area of Atlanta to have brunch at the restaurant where my mom and I will be hosting my sister's bridal shower in March. The trip was a mixture of things: a chance to spend some time together, a chance to eat some yummy food, and a chance for my mom and I to check out the venue. The food was super yummy (think beignet biscuits a la New Orleans), Hawaiian french toast, egg scramblers and more. And of course, Caleb had a great time getting spoiled by his grandparents. And playing with his mini Melissa & Doug puzzles (which are lifesavers while waiting at restaurants).



After lunch, while my mom and I checked out the room in which we will be hosting the shower, my dad took Caleb outside to run around. After our little walk-through, my mom and I got outside, and saw my dad and C walking over to the firehouse next door. And next thing we knew, the sweet firemen were putting my little man up in the truck, giving him stickers and coloring books, and shining the lights on the fire truck for him. To say that Caleb was a bit awestruck would be an understatement. He simply looked at everything wide-eyed, and was strangely silent the whole time. It was the cutest. thing. ever. 




2| A Cute, Cheap Coat
I've seen this coat on several blogs throughout the blogosphere lately. And loved it. I mean, plaid? Fur? There's nothing not to like. What I did not expect? The price on this baby! It's a steal. Literally. It's like they are giving it away. I don't technically need a coat right now, but at the steeply discounted price, I won't lie. It may or may not have ended up in my online cart. Along with these earrings. Oops.




3| Big Boy Room/Nursery Updates
Happily, the progress continues on Caleb's big boy room and Vivian's nursery. I have been picking up things here and there for both, and getting great ideas for items I'd like to order. The color schemes have been nailed down, all of the furniture has been purchased, or is already in place, and now it's just a matter of getting it all put together cohesively. Well, and cleaning the spaces out. Since Caleb will be moving into what is now the guest room, everything that is in that room now has got to go. Including all of the "off season" clothing that I store in the closet in there - which won't fit into my master closet, despite the fact that it's a good size walk-in closet. This is where I need your help: how do you ladies store your off season clothing? Tubs? Hanging rods? Bags? I need your organizational tips and tricks, so throw them my way!

4| Pregnancy Update
As you all know, I have not been doing pregnancy updates on a weekly basis. The every-other-week posts seem to work well this time around, so I am sticking with it. However, for my own memory's sake, I am taking weekly bump pictures. Here's little Vivi in all of her 25 week, lilac swathed glory! This belly is getting bigger and bigger. And bigger.


As a side note, if you missed my post on maternity favorites from earlier this week, click here for that. I shared some of my must have maternity items, as well as some insight for pregnant mamas on dressing those baby bumps. And saving your dollars while doing it. Winning.

5| New Lip Color
We talked about "go to" lip sticks on the blog not long ago. I have several red/berry shades that I love, and have no desire to find more. However, for every day running around, I am finding myself low on inspiration and wanting to try something new. I need a bit of color to brighten up this winter-white skin, but nothing too garish. I typically go with this colored lip balm, and have been pleased with it in the past. However, I'd like something a little longer-lasting, that I don't have to reapply. Mama ain't got time for all that. Here are a few that I am considering and have heard good things about. Thoughts? Additional suggestions? 




Soft Matte Lip Cream

That's all for this week! Caleb and I are headed to a play date this morning, and are preparing to spend a weekend without Daddy, as B is on call Saturday and Sunday. Sigh. Luckily, I will have a lot to keep me busy, so hopefully the time away from my love won't be too brutal. Wishing you all a very happy weekend. If you'd like to link up for the Friday posts, check out any of the ladies listed below:

5 on Friday with April of A. Liz Adventrues, Christina of Carolina Charm, Natasha of Hello! Happiness, and Darcy of The Good Life.

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.


And Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love.

Momfessionals





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lovely Lilac {Piko Love}

Am I the very last one to jump on the piko trend? I might be. But now that I've tried it, I'm not going back.



Recently, I ordered a piko tunic from pikoshirts.com. At 25 weeks pregnant, I am always on the lookout for cute, stylish tops that will work for both now and after the pregnancy. I learned my lesson the first time around, and don't want to be saddled with a closet full of overpriced maternity clothing that I may or may not ever wear again. Enter, the piko. A magical combination of soft bamboo spandex, fitted sleeves, and a flowy, universally figure-flattering torso. It's every girl's dream shirt.


I chose the tunic style piko to add a bit of length to accommodate my growing bump. And, as you can see, I have plenty of room for Vivi to keep on growing. The tunic piko is the perfect length to pair with leggings or skinny jeans (whether you are pregnant or not) - anything that you may want to wear to ensure that your derriere is covered. Fellow mamas, you can get down on the floor to play with your little ones, chase them around, and bend about with ease in this top, with no worries about exposing your underwear or panty lines, or having to hitch up your pants before you sit. So comfy and practical. At the same time, you can also throw on a statement necklace, like the one I'm wearing in these pictures, slip on some heels, and voila, you're ready for a date night or brunch with friends. It couldn't be more versatile.


Aside from the tunic option, there are plenty of other piko styles to choose from - long sleeved tops, 3/4 sleeve tops, short sleeved tops, v-neck styles, dresses, and more. There is something for everyone. Another fun fact? They come in - literally - every color of the rainbow. I fell in love with this soft lilac color. However, I also have my eye on the bright red shade shown below, along with the mint green, which would be perfect for spring. In fact, if I could just grab a piko in every color, I would. 


Red Piko Long Sleeve Top - Front

Mint Piko 3/4 Sleeve Top

The best news of all? Piko shirts from pikoshirts.com are only $20. Twenty dollars. And their shipping is super reasonable. Gals, this is a deal. Most of these tops sell for $30 or more in boutique stores. This is truly the cheapest price I have ever seen. If you've never tried a piko, or have overpaid for your piko tops at a different store, well, it's ok. It can all be made right. Hop on over to pikoshirts.com and find a style and color to fit your needs. I will be working on building up my collection as we speak. I may have been late picking up on the piko trend, but I am making up for it now. Cheers to flowy and flattering for 2015!


I purchased the piko tunic featured in this post of my own accord, and loved it so much, I wanted to share it and the company I ordered it from with you all. However, as part of a promotion for bloggers, if you all demonstrate your love for pikos as well, I will receive a credit to the store. So, please be sure to leave a comment on my post today, visit pikoshirts.com, and like my photo on IG. I'd appreciate it!:)


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dressing the Bump {Maternity Favorites}

Anyone else notice that there is a major blogger baby boom for spring and summer 2015? A lot of us are pregnant right now. Which means that there are a lot of mamas currently sporting bumps of all sizes. And a lot of mamas wearing maternity clothing.

Having ridden the pregnancy train twice now, there are definitely a few things I've learned along the way. Second time mamas will most likely agree with me on a lot of this. And first timers? Well, take note, ladies. Learn from my mistakes!

Quality Versus Quantity
As with most things in life, this old saying holds true with maternity clothing. The first time around, I thought I could get by with buying inexpensive things, and purchasing them in bulk. Well, guess what? As soon as I had Caleb, several of my maternity items went either right into the trash can, or into Goodwill bags only to have to be re-purchased again this time around with baby #2. A good example of this: the nursing bras we had a discussion about here on the blog a couple of weeks ago. If I would have spent a bit more to get good quality bras the first time, I probably could have avoided having to purchase new ones this time. This time around, I've made investments where they were needed, and purchased fewer pieces. With less than 4 months to go, I'm very pleased with how I've managed to get along so far. Which leads me to...

Invest in Key Pieces
There are several things you can't get away without buying while pregnant. For most of us, this list will include denim, undergarments, and basic layering items. If you've got a good pair of maternity jeans, a quality maternity/nursing bra, and several thick, long tank tops that can cover that belly, you are golden. Really. Pre-pregnancy clothing like cardigans and swingy tops can be worn over your pregnancy tanks for almost the whole pregnancy. In summer months, maxi-dresses from the normal clothing section can be worn (trust me, and don't waste money on the maternity versions that you can't wear after having the baby). And, as we all know, yoga pants and leggings can go the distance. 

*For mamas who work in a professional environment, a few other key pieces may be necessary: a black dress (or other dark colored business casual shift), dress pants with full panels, dark tights or pantyhose - if pregnant during the winter months, and a blazer that can button over a growing belly are all worthwhile investments (and items that I quickly learned I needed while working and pregnant with Caleb).

Hold Off on Buying Too Early
This is one of the absolute hardest things to do when excitedly anticipating the arrival of a little one. After all, showing off that bump is a badge of pride for most soon-to-be mamas. However, buying too early is also one of the biggest mistakes a pregnant mother can make. You see, that little 19 week bump you think is SO big will be nothing compared to the bump you will be sporting at 36 weeks or so. You truly have no idea how big that belly will be, so the wisest thing to do is wait as long as possible before purchasing anything. Work with what you already have in your closet until you can make it work no longer. And when you do purchase clothing, be sure you give yourself plenty of room to grow. Invest in a belly band or do the rubber band trick to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy bottoms. Order a size up in anything fitted (like tees, tanks and skinny jeans). And read reviews. Read, read, read. I am always so thankful for customer reviews to get a good sense of how items will fit before I purchase anything online - this is especially important while pregnant, when most of your clothing will come through online purchases, since so many stores don't carry their maternity lines in store.

Buy Maternity Only When Necessary
As mentioned above, there are a few key things that you absolutely cannot get away without purchasing while pregnant. However, if you're careful about your purchases, you need less than you might think. After getting rid of so much after having Caleb, I was determined to purchase as few maternity items as possible with baby #2. After all, these items can only be worn for a few months (you will never want to see them again after giving birth, I promise) and tend to be more expensive than normal clothing. So, mamas: be wise in your purchases. Over-sized, flowing tops are in style right now, are perfect for both pregnancy and after, and can found at stores ranging from Target to your neighborhood boutiques. It's great to know that an item you purchase this year will be able to be worn again next year, instead of packed away in a bin, gathering dust, am I right? Size up if you need to. Pay attention to fit - if it's loose in the abdomen area, it's probably a good bet. 

Dress for Your Body Type
By all means, ladies, embrace your bump. But do yourself a favor, and be aware of your changing body as well. Don't let the numbers on the size tags scare you away from buying things that flatter you. Pregnancy can be a bit humbling - after all, you'll likely never be as big as you while carrying a child! - but don't let that get to you. Wear what feels good. Wear what looks good. And wear it with confidence.

On that note, here are a few of my favorite items for pregnant mamas! Some of these are maternity, and some aren't. But all of these things are sure to make you look and feel good:

Maternity Must Haves

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

My favorite 'go to' stores for maternity clothing:

Target

Nordstrom
Pink Blush Maternity
Gap Maternity
Old Navy Maternity

Stay tuned, as later this week, I'll be back to share my most recent non-maternity favorite find that works perfectly over the bump!  


 
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