A Day in the Life {7.9.19}

Good morning! Once again, I’m linking up with Shay and Erika for their monthly Let’s Look and today’s topic was “Your Typical Day” – the perfect time to document another day in the life of our little family right now. I did this back in the fall (read that post here) and I love that it just gives a little snapshot into what life looked like on a random day. It’s funny how there are things in each stage of life that you think you could never forget, yet they somehow do fade over time. I’m thankful I’ll be able to look back on these posts in the future and remember this sweet time at home with just LJ.

So here’s what a regular “day in the life” looked like yesterday! One disclaimer: Justin doesn’t start his new job until August 1 so while he isn’t “normally” home, he is for much of the month of July and we’re loving having him around more!

July 9, 2019

LJ woke us up around 5:20. That’s right friends, 5:20. We have had some rough sleep schedules lately and the fact that we had to share a room with him for many nights of our vacation last week did not help. We’re trying to get him back on track but it’s been tough! I got up to try to coax him back to sleep but he was not having it. Around 6:00, Justin came in to tag in and I went downstairs to start my day.

I like to get a few things going right away when I come downstairs so I emptied the Roomba (we run it at night), started a load of laundry, fed the dogs and let them outside.

I poured myself a bowl of cereal and sat down to read a little bit of The Fringe Hours (I really love this book, although I un-ironically am reading it in super small segments whenever I have time so it’s taking me a while to get through).

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By 6:30, Justin and LJ had come downstairs so I got a bowl of oatmeal ready for LJ. He is becoming much more independent lately and loves to feed himself!

After breakfast, Justin took LJ and I headed upstairs to wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed for the day. My morning “beauty” routine is super simple in the summer – splash my face with water, tinted moisturizer, a little balm under the eyes, deoderant, and contacts. Done! I’m also loving my Baobei support band for this stage of pregnancy – it’s like a sports bra for my belly and really helps relieve the heaviness of my bump throughout the day!

I still hadn’t unpacked from our vacation so I set to work on unpacking our suitcases.

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Justin and LJ had come upstairs and snuggled in our bed. After the suitcases were done I jumped in to join them for a few sweet snuggles. The days are long but the years are short my friends! Take the time to snuggle while you can!

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Justin got LJ changed and I headed down to switch the laundry over to the dryer.

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By 7:35 I was at my computer finishing up yesterday’s blog post and working a little for my stay-at-home-job. (I work part-time from home as an administrative assistant for a nutrition counseling company. You can read a little more about it here). While I worked, Justin played with LJ and fed him some cottage cheese.

Around 8:30, Justin took off to run some errands and LJ’s speech therapist Sarah showed up. She comes weekly on Tuesdays to help with his speech. LJ is totally on track with every other area of development and his receptive language is solid, but his expressive speech is a little delayed. Sarah comes to our house and plays with him and works with him on imitating sounds/words. We’ve only had about 4 sessions so far but I’m already seeing little improvements! I continued to work nearby while they did therapy on the floor. (Please note Macie snuggled up next to Sarah – she loves her as much as LJ does! Haha!)

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Sarah left around 9:30 and I grabbed a little snack (I have to eat a little something about once every 2-3 hours at this stage of pregnancy or I start to feel sick) and LJ and I packed up our things to head to Chik Fil A to meet some friends at the playplace. LJ had fun with his little buddies and I enjoyed adult conversation with my friend Amber.

We left around 11 and headed into Target quick for a few things (Toddler + Target gets a bit chaotic so there’s no picture but you can see the random things I bought ha!) Then home + lunch! Justin had finished up his errands and mowing and was working on yard work but he took a break inside to join us.

After lunch, Justin took LJ upstairs for a nap and I threw the dishes in the sink, put my shoes on, and started my Expecting and Empowered workout. Normally I like to do these first thing in the morning, but since I woke up so early I adjusted and made it my top nap-time priority (while Scout watched nearby).

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I like to listen to a podcast while I workout and yesterday I listened to “Mom Brain” while I worked through the lower body day. I’m really thankful for these workouts to keep me on track during pregnancy because this is a hard season to get to the gym consistently. LJ was refusing his nap (another fun part of our sleep journey right now…) so after some quiet time upstairs, Justin took him outside where he was setting up some patio furniture while I finished up my workout.

Around 2:00, I finished up my workout and sat back down at the computer to get a little more work done for my job. Around 2:30, I went to get LJ from Justin and brought him inside for a snack. My little desk area is situated right by our living room and playroom so I put Daniel Tiger on in the background (no shame in my mama game!) and LJ played happily by my chair and watched a little TV while I finished up work.

Justin had a work-related meeting around 3:30 so when he left, LJ and I headed outside with the dogs to play. It was a gorgeous, HOT day! We played with trucks, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, t-ball . . . all the toddler activities ha!

We came inside for water and to get a break from the sun around 4:30. I quickly folded laundry and responded to a few personal emails.

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Oh and in the interest of keeping things real around here, LJ had a pre-dinner tantrum because, you know, that’s what happens when toddlers boycott their naps.

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Justin made it home by 5:00 and we started getting things around for dinner. He fired up the grill while I chopped up veggies. We had some friends come over for our first meal out on the patio followed by a walk around the pond. We had a great time hanging out!

After they left, it was a quick bath for LJ, get him in pj’s and down for the night.

I showered and got ready for bed quick. My night routine is also pretty simple but I added a few things like a charcoal mask and actually rubbed some belly oil on the bump. I honestly think stretch marks have more to do with genetics and I know I’m lucky to not have gotten any with either pregnancy, but about 1x a week I still rub oil on it just to keep it soft and smooth.

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Justin and I watched a few episodes of New Girl on Netflix while he gave my little preggo feet a much needed massage.

Then it was off to bed! So ends another day in our life. 🙂

 

 

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Virginia Vacation 2019

Good morning!

Last week, Justin, LJ, and I loaded up our minivan and headed east to visit his family in Virginia. His parents have a timeshare at a resort there and we were excited to get to spend lots of time with Justin’s parents, his sister, brother, sister-in-law, and our nephew and nieces. It was a wonderful week full of lots of fun: swimming, fireworks, games, and just spending lots of time together. Rather than a full recap, I thought I’d just share a few pictures that give a glimpse into our week. I honestly didn’t take a ton of pictures because I was absorbed in family time but these at least give you a little look at our week. Enjoy!

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LJ absolutely loved getting to hang out with his six-year-old cousin. They are the only two boy cousins (for now – we’ll see in August if another one is joining!) and their bond is just so so sweet. Our nephew dotes on LJ and LJ wanted to do everything that he did. Look at how cute this little reading moment was! ❤

We spent a LOT of time swimming and hanging out with the kiddos at the pool. There are currently 4 cousins ages 6 and under so it was fun to see them interact and play.

One day we spent the morning at a little children’s museum and even though there were SO many cool activities for little ones, LJ mostly just wanted to hang out at the train and plane tables. He knows what he likes! I honestly think he could have stayed there all day and happily played. 😉

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We stopped for ice cream after the museum – LJ loves ice cream just like his mama!

No missed workouts on this trip. I’m thankful for Expecting and Empowered which kept me on track with a couple workouts in the gym and a few cardio stroller walks in the morning.

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Another day, another pool. 🙂 LJ loved this pool because it had a nice big shallow place for littles and he loved running in and out of the water. I just love how he’s perched here on his little sibling – nothing like a 32 week baby bump to use as a seat!

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This is a side note, but I gave this stuff a try last week and loved it! It gives just a hint of a bronzy glow, which is nice because I never wear makeup to the pool, it goes on smooth, doesn’t feel greasy, and it doesn’t have lots of yucky ingredients. Win win!

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Pool time with my babies. I’m so thankful that I’ve had a pretty enjoyable third trimester so far and felt great during the vacation.

We spent a day at the waterpark, which LJ absolutely LOVED. He had so much fun sliding, splashing, floating the lazy river, and just playing. It was such a great day!

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Mommy and baby spent lots of time floating the lazy river and it was wonderful!

LJ is super into exploring right now and he loved finding little treasures (aka rocks) outside and point me in the most interesting direction. I can just hear his little mind going “come on mama!”

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Reading material for the week. This was an excellent read that I’m excited to review in my monthly post!

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At dinner one night, the restaurant had a little fish pond and our nephew was so sweet to hold LJ up so he could see. Melts my heart!

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We loved our time away with family – it was such a great week of memory making!

June 2019 Book Reviews

Good morning!

I can’t believe another month has come and gone. How is it already July!? Summer is absolutely flying by and I have mixed feelings about it. One the one hand, we get to meet baby at the end of summer! On the other hand, I don’t want to wish away any of this amazing warm weather. This week Justin, LJ, and I are vacationing with Justin’s family in Virginia so I’m just going to post my book reviews and get back to enjoying our week!

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

The premise of this book was very intriguing to me: ten years ago, a girl went missing in a small town in North Carolina and she was never found. In present day, another girl goes missing and all the same suspects from ten years ago are still around. The story takes place over the course of two weeks, but the kicker is: it is told in reverse. We start at Day 15 and work backwards to Day 1.  I think I liked the concept of reverse story-telling better in theory than in reality. Typically, as things are revealed to characters, they are also revealed to readers; in this scenario, I knew that there was a lot of information that the characters obviously knew on Day 15 that was being withheld. It actually ended up making the first half of the story seem very slow and a little confusing. Around Day 7, I felt like more and more relevant information was being revealed and my interest level grew, although there were things that happened in “earlier” days that almost confused me further because nothing in the “later” days hinted that they had happened. It just wasn’t really my kind of storytelling, and I ended the book feeling like I needed to reread the story to really understand all the things I missed (but I honestly just didn’t even care enough to do that this time). That being said, there were some twists and turns that I did not at all see coming, so if you like unique storytelling you might want to give this one a shot.

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

The Forgotten Room by [White, Karen, Williams, Beatriz, Willig, Lauren]

I love Beatriz Williams and have re-capped several of her books before, so I was excited to learn that she had co-authored a book with two other authors. This story centers around the Pratt Mansion, a glamorous house built in Manhattan in the late 1800’s and follows three women and their experiences in the house throughout history. In particular, each woman has unique encounters in a very special and mostly unknown attic room. So what was interesting about this story is that through the alternating stories of Olive (1890’s), Lucy (1920’s), and Kate (1940’s), you almost immediately start to form conclusions about how these women are connected. Even though their connections to one another weren’t very surprising, there were aspects of what exactly happened to each woman and her relationships and connections (with men in particular) that kept me guessing until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a great historical fiction but I will say that it left me a little heartbroken. These characters all became so real to me and I knew that they couldn’t all necessarily have happy endings; the story I connected with the most was not one that ended how I hoped. Nevertheless, I did really like the book and would recommend it to my fellow historical fiction lovers!

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

A man is found dead in the middle of nowhere in the Australian Outback. No one knows how he ended up stranded in the unforgiving, and ultimately deadly, heat with no shelter except a small gravestone. There are virtually no clues and only a bunch of questions. As his family tries to process his death and find an explanation, we find that things aren’t always as they initially appear. I took this book along with me on our Bahamian Babymoon, but since I dove into The Clockmaker’s Daughter first, Justin ended up reading it before I did. I thought it’d be fun to have him share his take on it before I give my thoughts. So here he is with his blogging debut! 😉

“Overall The Lost Man was a fun vacation read for me.  It kept me wanting more because the story began with little to no background and the death was revealed very early with again, little to no information or leads.  The author is apparently, so Sarah tells me, known for incorporating the environment/mother nature as a key element in her stories.  As someone who has never personally experienced the Australian Outback, I found her details quite exciting.  Anyway, as the story goes on, you are given more and more present time clues as well as important historical information about the atypical family and their atypical relationships. The book had a good pace and unlike a lot of other reads does not wait until the last 20 pages to drop bombs of the most exciting of details. Of course it has its ending that you wouldn’t have expected, but it wouldn’t have been a publishable story without that…am I right?  Thanks for having me on your blog today Sarah.  I’m sure this is just a one hit wonder type deal (or more like one and done, no hit or wonder about this…)”

Ha! Thanks babe! I honestly don’t have much to add. As with her other novels, Harper uses the environment like an actual character. It made me want to constantly have water next to me while reading because the hot, dry landscape just seemed so real and so very desolate. Throughout the story I formed a bunch of different thoughts about what happened, but I was still very surprised by the ending of the story. I was hooked from start to finish!

It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell

I saw this book for sale in Costco several months ago and, after reading the synopsis inside, made a mental note to add it to my reading list. I recently saw it pop up on another blog’s book review and it inspired me to finally snag a copy from the library. IN this story three girls meet as roommates in college and become best friends/frenemies with complicated relationships. Twenty years later, one of them ends up dead under strange circumstances and their love/hate relationships with one another through the years may or may not have played a part in this death. I’ll be honest, this book was kind of disappointing for me. It had elements of psychological thriller, mystery, murder – all things that I normally am interested in reading about and I wanted to love it. I think my disappointment came down to one major hitch: I hated all the characters. To her credit, Campbell wrote each of the characters to be complex individuals with redeeming qualities and serious flaws. I just didn’t connect with or particularly like any of them. And without at least one person to root for, I kind of just wanted the book to be over.  I kept at it though because the actual death did intrigue me and I wanted to know whodunit – the last 20 pages were honestly my favorite. This book kept me guessing until the very end! So overall, I’d peg it as a middle-of-the-road murder mystery.

What have you been reading lately?

Third Trimester Update

Good morning!

It’s been about 11 weeks since my last pregnancy post so I figured it was time to give a little update. This pregnancy is just flying right along! I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and solidly in the third trimester. If you’re curious about how the first trimester went, you can check out my blog post about it here. I also blogged a “halfway there” 20-week update which you can find here.

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Symptoms/How I’ve Been Feeling

I am thrilled to say that I’ve been feeling pretty good up until this point in pregnancy. My whole second trimester was pretty dreamy – I had tons of energy and felt great! We went on a babymoon a few weeks ago and it was honestly the perfect time in pregnancy to go. Our travels went really well and I was feeling really good so the whole vacation was enjoyable. I definitely feel that third trimester slowdown now. I’m having to listen to my body more and take things a little big easier, and I’m definitely feeling much more tired by the end (or, let’s be honest, the middle) of each day.

Energy/Workouts

One thing I have really loved doing this pregnancy are the Expecting and Empowered at-home workouts. The co-founders do 10-week accountability challenges somewhat regularly and this really helped me stay on track with my workouts. I think this is a BIG reason why I feel so good. I haven’t gained as much weight with this pregnancy and I think these workouts do help me stay fit and strong. I’ve also been trying to keep up with my weekly YMCA cycling classes, although due to our vacation, my grandmother’s funeral, my sister’s wedding, and the fact that the timing of the class is pretty inconvenient for LJ’s current schedule, it’s been harder to consistently make it there.

Food Cravings & Aversions

I’m SO incredibly thankful that this pregnancy is kinder to me than LJ’s was with regards to food. With LJ, I couldn’t drink milk or eat dairy products without feeling sick and I developed some pretty strong food aversions to things like cooked vegetables. This time around, I don’t have any aversions and I don’t get sick from dairy. Hallelujah!

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My appetite is still growing and I find myself needing a snack or small meal every 2-3 hours, so I’m trying to keep lots of healthy-ish options around (although, if I’m being honest, I’m craving all the sweet and salty things!)

Sleep

Sleep is becoming a difficult thing, and that’s been hard for me because I’m someone who has never been able to function well on reduced sleep. I’m having a hard time getting comfortable at night and I frequently wake up tossing and turning. Our bedroom also doesn’t have a ceiling fan (YET…it’s #1 on my list of small home improvements to tackle!) and even though the temperature of the house is the same as it was before, I’m getting so HOT at night. Last night Justin brought a fan up for me and I tried a new configuration of pillows and I actually slept SO much better so I’m hoping that I’ve found the magic formula and my sleep improves a bit from here on out!

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I’ve also been trying to listen to my body if it needs a nap. It’s hard for me to take a break mid-day because LJ’s nap schedule has been inconvenient lately so when I finally do get him down, I want to tackle my to-do list. I’ve had to remind myself that growing a human is the biggest thing on my to-do list right now and if I’m feeling tired and worn down, I need to listen to my body and rest! The other day Justin was home and I was able to take a nice long nap to recharge and it was heavenly and made the rest of my day go much smoother. I’m going to try to make sleep and rest a top priority for the remaining weeks.

What I’m Looking Forward To

Justin has been able to feel baby kicks and we’re getting SO excited to meet this little one!  I’m looking forward to getting a few things around for the nursery. By this point in pregnancy with LJ I was mostly done with his nursery, but with this baby, I haven’t done a single thing. Second child problems, right? I plan to have baby sleep in a bassinet next to our bed like LJ did for the first 6-8 weeks so a nursery isn’t urgent, but it does help build anticipation and help me feel a little more prepared.

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Boy/Girl Predictions

A friend of mine swore the Chinese gender prediction chart was accurate with all four of her pregnancies, so we looked it up and the chart told us we’re having a boy. Who knows! I still have no gut feeling or mama sense, so it will be a genuine surprise either way.

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LJ’s Awareness

LJ still pats my belly when we ask “where’s the baby?” and he’s started GIVING IT KISSES. Oh my heart. It is just the sweetest thing. I’m so so SO excited to see him in the role of big brother. My in-laws came to town this past weekend and brought a little book about a kid getting a new sibling so we’ve been looking through it with LJ. I still think he has zero awareness of what any of this actually means, but it’s just so sweet to spend some time prepping him as much as we can.

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As for the fur babies, they definitely have no idea what’s about to happen. But if their love of LJ is any indicator (they mostly love that he drops food, hence Macie waiting patiently for a sample of donut above ha!) then they will be awesome siblings to this baby too!

Misc Stories

Baby has a (most likely) birthday! My labor with LJ did not go as planned, and long story short, after laboring 25 hours with incredibly slow progression, I still hadn’t quite progressed to 10 cm dilation. I essentially got “stuck” at 9 cm for 5 hours and baby’s heart rate was starting to be concerning. Ultimately, Justin and I along with our doctor agreed that a c-section was the safest way to get him out. My doctor is not opposed to me trying a VBAC, which I initially very strongly wanted. The more we discussed the pros and cons, it became clear that because of the way my body progressed last time, I’m not exactly a stellar candidate for a successful VBAC. We made the decision as a team to schedule a c-section, but if I go into labor before then, we will let things progress first and see how labor goes before jumping right to a c-section. While a VBAC is still possible, I am mentally preparing for another c-section. So, unless baby has other plans to join us earlier, we will meet our little one on August 23! Having an official date in mind makes it seem so soon! Just over 8 weeks left – ahhh!!!!!!!!!

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Oh and also…passed my glucose test! Thankful for that nasty drink to be over! 😉

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I plan to do one final pregnancy recap before baby makes his or her debut – stay tuned!

Simplified Guest Prep

Good morning!

We have a big weekend coming up in a few days: after seven years of schooling and residency, Justin is finally finished with all his career training and has a graduation celebration on Sunday. To say we are excited is a huge understatement!

Justin’s parents are coming into town for the weekend and it got me thinking about our overnight guests. I really don’t stress out too much preparing for guests to stay with us because there are a few things I have already put into place, and today I thought I would share some of my little tips in case it helps anyone else simplify their guest preparations.

I want to note that we do have a dedicated guest room used solely for guests (although there may come a time if we have more children where we have to use that bedroom for kids). Even if you don’t have a separate guest room, many of these tips can still help you think through simplifying preparations for guests.

Wash sheets immediately

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After guests leave, I strip the bedding and wash all the sheets with my next load of laundry. Then, I re-make the bed so it is ready to go for the next guests. I prefer to get it back to “baseline” right away because then the bed is ready to go whenever guests come, even if I’m not sure exactly when that will be at the time. Plus, if we get last-minute guests, it’s ready to go and I don’t need to scramble to get it ready. It’s one less thing to check off the to-do list in preparation!

Have empty drawers/hangers ready

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I like to have a few empty hangers hanging in the closet and at least one empty drawer in case guests want to unpack a few things. Most guests don’t need to unpack much, but it’s nice to have a few spaces where they can if they want to.

Stock shower with simple extras

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In our previous home, our guests used a hallway bath that would have eventually also been our kid’s bath. In our new home, the guest room has an attached bathroom for guest use only. In either situation, I keep a few extra shower supplies (shampoo, conditioner, body wash) ready to go in the shower so guests have options in case they forget their own.

Toiletry Basket

I keep a little basket with a bunch of commonly used toiletry items in the guest room in case guests forget anything. I let guests know about the basket and tell them to help themselves if they need anything in it, no need to ask for permission. The basket contains contact solution + case, toothbrushes, q-tips, cotton balls, feminine products, mouthwash, a new disposable razor, dry shampoo, lotion, face wash, soap, etc. I just double check it after each visit to see if I need to re-stock anything and then it’s ready to go for the next guests!

Extra Blankets and Pillows

And finally, I keep a few extra blankets and pillows on hand in the guest room closet so guests can be as comfortable as possible. By always keeping these handy, I don’t have to run around looking for another blanket if it’s colder or hunt through closets for spare pillows if a guest needs one. These items are stored in an accessible way so I don’t have to ever waste time and energy gathering them up in preparation and guests can help themselves to whatever they need.

And there you have it! These are things I keep ready at all times so I’m never scrambling to prepare the guest space right before guests arrive. It means that once guests leave, I get all of these things back to “baseline” right away while I’m thinking about it, so the space is prepared and ready to go for the next time. This hugely helps my stress level – I can just focus on straightening up the rest of my home or preparing food or whatever else I need to do before guests come without having to worry about the guest room.

What tricks do you have for preparing for guests?

Catch-Up on Life Lately

Back in May, I shared a little blog post about all the things that we had going on in May/early June. It was a very busy six weeks! Now that we’re through that incredibly busy season, I thought I would use today’s blog post as a bit of a catch up to reflect on life lately.

We moved into our new home and are slowly adjusting to life here. There is still a lot of unpacking, organizing, and updating to do and I’m enjoying dreaming about how we will turn this house into our home. LJ has definitely adjusted to all the space and he especially enjoys and makes good use of his larger playroom.

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Justin and I took a babymoon to the Bahamas. It was the perfect relaxing getaway after all the stress of moving!

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We celebrated my sister with a super fun bachelorette party. I have two younger sisters and my youngest sister and I enjoyed planning and surprising our middle sister with a day full of friends, pedicures with our mom, wine tasting, yummy food, and a somewhat scandalous scavenger hunt. Most of the pictures are for our eyes only but here’s a few from the beginning of our day. 😉

And look at these AMAZING cookies that my friend Amber made for our day! We had some cookies to take along and snack on while we drove to various wineries and then some fun lingerie ones for once we returned back to my house for games and gifts. They tasted as amazing as they look!

In sadder news, my grandmother, who has been in declining health for several years, took a turn for the worse in early June and passed away on June 6. While not entirely unexpected, it was a bittersweet time for our family. LJ and I went to visit her on Wednesday when she was in the beginning stages of heart failure and we had a really pleasant final visit with her. I’m so thankful we had the chance to see her one more time and say our goodbyes. She was a fantastic lady and we’re thankful that there has been an end to her suffering here on earth. Her memorial service was held on June 12 and it was a nice time for our family to get together and reflect on her life and her influence on all of ours. Love you forever, grandma.

And then Saturday, we celebrated my sister’s wedding! She was a gorgeous bride and her wedding was uniquely her. She kept things simple with a backyard wedding at my parents’ house and while it did rain and we had to move the ceremony under the tent, we were able to get some pictures before the rain came. It was a fun day and I’m thrilled to welcome a new brother into the family!

And that’s a wrap on life lately! Luckily, things are going to really slow down for us in June and July, which sounds just about perfect. I’m glad we’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy our last few weeks as a family of three before we welcome another little one in August!

 

Let’s Look: What’s in my Suitcase?

Good morning!

I’m once again joining Erika & Shay for their monthly “Let’s Look” link-up and today’s topic is “what’s in my suitcase?” (Previous posts were looks into: our coziest spots, favorite reads, people in our family, pantries, and #ootd). Today’s is a topic I probably never would have considered blogging about (kind of like the previous pantry post) but here we go!

Justin and I recently went on our babymoon and I took a few pictures as I was packing up. This was a beach vacation, so obviously what I pack would be different for different kinds of trips. Instead of focusing on exactly what items went in the suitcase, I just wanted to give a general feel for how/what I pack.

Packing Cubes

I have to give Shay credit for this one, as she wrote a blog post a while back about her love of packing cubes and it got me curious so I decided to try them out. Oh my gosh I LOVE them! They keep my suitcase so organized and I feel like I can pack so much more with them. It always amazes me how much can fit into a cube!

Check this out! Our swimsuits +my coverup packed up nice and condensed.

I delegate one packing cube to all my clothes . . .

. . . and one to all of Justin’s. This helps us keep our clothes separate and makes things much easier to find once we’re at our destination.

The only problem with packing cubes is that it allows me to pack SO much that it’s easy for me to go over the weight limit for checked bags – after one $50 lesson learned on our February trip to Florida, I became much more conscious of the weight and it’s been fine ever since. Just something to be aware of 🙂

Carry On (Divide & Conquer)

Whenever we have to check a suitcase, I always divide out a portion of our clothes to put in the carry-on. I make sure we have at least one change of clothes and a pair of underwear. This way, if our bag happens to not make it on our flight and we get to our destination without it, we at least have something to wear until our bag arrives. For this trip, I set aside a casual and nice outfit and a swimsuit for both Justin and I so that if we happened to not have our suitcase right away, we could still enjoy the first day at the resort. And it all fit in (you guessed it) one packing cube!

The carry-on also carries a small Ziploc bag with the travel-sized toiletries that we absolutely need, such as contact cases and solutions so we’re not stranded without them.

Bags in Bags

I’ve always used lots of smaller bags when packing so I don’t just throw a bunch of loose items in a suitcase. For this beach vacation, I took all our sunscreens and other beach items (travel size Wet Brush, phone protector) into a cute little canvas bag I got for $1 at Target. I double bagged the sunscreen in a gallon Ziploc in case of leaks. I like using this little canvas bag too because when we were at the resort, it made it easy to toss everything we needed at the pool into my tote bag and keep it all together.

I was gifted this monogrammed travel toiletry bag several years ago and I love using it for travel because it keeps its shape so my toiletries don’t get squashed. Plus, it’s thickly lined so if there was a leak, it keeps things contained. I try to keep my skin routine super simple when I travel so I only take the necessities and they all fit in this bag. I use the large bottom portion for toiletries and the top for jewelry.

I also keep my makeup routine super streamlined and simple on vacation and take everything along in my little makeup bag.

I also have a stash of various sizes of Ziploc bags that I use and reuse for things like hairspray, lotion, or anything else that did not fit in another bag shown.

Also, I forgot to take a picture, but when I pack my curling iron, I always bring along my heat-resistant cover (see a similar one here) so that I can pack the iron while still warm if I need to. It’s come in handy so many times!

I’ll fill in our shoes in between all the cubes and toiletry bags, and I also always make sure to take my phone charger, headphones, books/magazines, etc. and fill those in in the front pockets of my suitcase. And that’s about it!

Now all this talk of packing kind of makes me want to take another trip … 😉

What are your packing must haves?