Tuesday, November 24, 2015

All Things Peppermint

I'm not sure if it is the pregnancy, or my excitement for the holidays, or simply my 'old age', but I am absolutely obsessed with all things peppermint lately! There is just nothing quite as wonderful as the clean smell of peppermint, especially when it is accompanied by stockings hung over the fireplace and a twinkling Christmas tree. I have rounded up a few of my peppermint favorites, and I recommend that you indulge in every single one of them. Give me all the peppermint!

1. This lip balm is perfect for giving you that sweet taste of peppermint, and I could not love the ingredient list more. It is available at Target, so snatch it up! I absolutely love the 'tingly' feeling you get from mint lip balms, and the fresh breath doesn't hurt either!

2. Once the holiday season starts, I basically have a candle burning whenever I am home. I just love a warm, cozy, delicious smelling house! Twisted Peppermint is one of my favorite Bath and Body Works scents, and you can bet I am whipping this baby out ASAP. I should also note that this scent comes in all of their lotions, body washes, had sanitizers, you name it. I actually have a tube of hand cream on my desk year round!

3. Philosophy products are absolutely fantastic, and I cannot get enough of their candy cane body wash. Once again, delicious smell, great lather, and leaves your skin feeling cool. I have read reviews that say this is actually a great product to use in the summer because it is so cooling. See, you CAN peppermint all year round ;-)

4. While I love me some Starbucks and the red cup (because I just like red cups and don't get my panties in a twist over whether a snowman is etched into it or not), their peppermint mocha is NOT the best. Sorry, I said it, and sorry, but it's true. For those of us in the midwest, Caribou Coffee and their Ho Ho Mint Mocha is where it is at. We have as many, if not more, Caribou's around town than we do Starbucks, so when the holidays roll around, I am all about Caribou and their drinks. If you ever are in the neighborhood of Caribou Coffee, I strongly urge you give their mochas a try, they are the absolute best!

5. These babies are back on the shelves, and are about to be in my belly. I always love the seasonal flavors that Oreo puts out, and umm cookie, peppermint, cream? Need I say more.

My obsession with peppermint is at an all time high, and I am #sorrynotsorry about it. The holidays are all about family, traditions, and a bit of indulgence, so join me in jumping on the holiday bandwagon and buying everything on the shelves with the word 'peppermint' on board!

*affiliate links used

Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday Deals and Steals!

Happy Monday everyone! We had a pretty low-key weekend around here. Aside from sneaking out to watch my high school team's dance show, we ate pizza, made a Saturday night Target run, ate nachos to go from our favorite local bar, and watched the Vikings vs. Packers game. I may have spent all day Sunday in leggings and a baggy shirt, obsessing over my current pregnancy state where I in no way look pregnant, but do look like I have been hitting the holiday treats hard. Baby bump, you have my permission to make yourself known, and baby 'pudge', be gone. #thanksnothanks

Instead of recapping a boring weekend of nothingness, I figured I would bring you some of the best sales and deals around that I have stumbled across! I think it is sad how 'Black Friday' has become 6pm on Thanksgiving day, which I never have and never will participate in. With that being said, I do love to hit up the stores on the day after Thanksgiving simply to grab a coffee, look at the pretty holiday things, and perhaps grab a few fun items I snatch for a deal. All other purchases happen online, because who has time for crazy crowds and crazy lines. So, today I am not bringing you a marked down television or a camera you will have to fight in line for. Instead, I have put together the best deals I have seen at my favorite tried and true stores that I shop at year round.

1. Target

Oh Target, how I love thee. Always one to have great deals, Target has a few this week that cannot be missed. First, sweaters for the family are all 40% off. Ladies who work (or SAHM's who need options), this is your change to scoop up some cardigans or cute and cozy sweaters for CHEAP. This is a great time as well to stock up for your little ones. I have seen some absolutely adorable Oshkosh for Target options that I am dying to add to Jackson's wardrobe.
Another can't miss deal happening right now is 20% off of toys! Many toys are already on sale, and that additional 20% off cannot be beat. I found this piano for Jackson and regular price before discount is the same as on Amazon, and then taking that 20% off and 5% off with my Red Card? Happy mama over here!

2. Gap

Thanks to my Gap card, I was able to score deals this weekend with early access, but for Black Friday this year, everything is an additional 50% off! There are a few exclusions, but really Gap is great with their sales, and lets you stack deals. I bought Jackson this jacket a month or so ago, and this weekend it was at the sale price I paid, plus the additional 50% off! Did I order another one, with plans to return one with the original receipt and get $20 whole dollars back? Why yes, yes I did. I am powerless to a good deal! The 50% off will kick in the end of this week, but even now they are offering 45% off, so the deals will last all week!

3. Old Navy

This Gap owned company is also rocking the 50% off everything sale this coming weekend. They are a little more strict, excluding clearance, everyday deals, and a few other promos. Still, great deals for sure. Jackson has one of these half-zip pullovers, and I got him two more (cardmember early access, sign up for real!) for only $5.50 a piece! You cannot beat that.

4. Express

They are allusive with their black friday ads, but for the past few years, Express has run the fantastic sale of having everything in the store 50% off. This is a great time to stock up on sweaters, basics like t-shirts and tank tops, or Christmas gifts for your man! Last year, I snagged a super nice watch for the hubby during the sale, and at 50% off it was a deal that could not be beat!

5. Amazon

First off, if you don't have Amazon Prime, get it, like now. They are already running daily specials, so it will require regularly checking in, but fortunately it can all be done while wearing cozy holiday flannels and sipping coffee by the fire!

Linking up with MegBiana, and Ashley today!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Pajamas Shopping Guide

 Those of you who know me know that I am absolutely powerless to baby pajamas. Like, sometimes I barely have enough basic shirts to get Jackson through the week, but he has enough pajamas that he could go three weeks without an outfit repeat. It might be a problem, but I don't care. There is simply nothing cuter than a baby tushy in a pair of pajamas. I stocked up on a few pairs of holiday pajamas on clearance last winter, scoring them all for about $3 a piece! I of course tried to justify that I would not have a need to buy him any more pairs this holiday season. Ha. Ha! If I could witness myself saying that last year, I would give a single eyebrow raise and tell myself 'whatever helps you sleep at night'. We may have all of the pajamas shown, plus a few extra of those 'clearance' pairs. I just can't help myself. I think these are all great though, because none of them scream CHRISTMAS so loudly that you would have a hard time justifying wearing them in March. Besides, I am sure Jackson has a whole list of things he can do at 2am outside of the holiday season that in his toddler mind would qualify as 'Oh What Fun'! ;-)
// 1 (old, similar here) // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 //

I would love to know what pajamas you are dressing your littles in over the holidays! If any of you know of a blog hosting a 'PJ party linkup' please let me know, I would love to see what other cuties are rocking this season!

 Linking up with Annie and Natalie for Thoughts on Thursday today!

**affiliate links used

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bumpdate: 13 weeks

Another week down! I remember with Jackson once I got through the first trimester, all of the 'teen' weeks seemed to just fly by. I was 12 weeks, and it seemed like I blinked and was up to 17 weeks. While I will be sad to not indulge in wine next week at Thanksgiving dinner and hot buttered rums at Christmas, I am excited that the next few months are so busy, because I think it is going to help make the first half of this pregnancy fly by!

How far along? 13 weeks, 5 days
Gender: Wouldn't we all like to know!
Total weight gain: Still sitting right about my regular weight. Don't ask me next week after I get my hands on a few bags of the holiday Lay's chocolate covered potato chips, though..
Maternity clothes? Nope, but I will tell you some days bloat (don't get me started on the many beautiful symptoms of pregnancy) is so real that throwing on my maternity leggings and calling it a day sounds like a dream.
Stretch marks? No. Still have a full baby belly bar that I have decided I might as well start using now! In case any of you are considering trying one out during pregnancy, the one I have half used from my last pregnancy (1.5 years ago) is STILL perfectly fine and did not dry out at all!
Belly button in or out: In
Exercise: I managed to squeeze in a few runs! On one of the gorgeous 60 degree days, I even took Jackson with me, which may have been a mistake considering my usual route consists of two HUGE hills. Mama was gasping for air by the end, but we made it.
Best moment this week: On Sunday my sister in law and her new baby were over, and for the first time Jackson, who usually ignores him, really took an interest in the baby. He even reached out and tried to pet his head and touch his hair, it was so sweet. And when Oliver cried, Jackson just wasn't quite sure what to do or think, it was so funny! I am excited to see him finally noticing babies and being sweet with his cousin, it makes me so excited to see him become a big brother!
Miss Anything? Would totally love a strongly caffeinated beverage. A Diet Pepsi sounds like heaven. And sleep, but I blame my first baby for that problem.
Movement: No, but for some reason I feel like I will definitely feel movement sooner this pregnancy. I felt it around 17 weeks with Jackson, so it is exciting to think we probably aren't too far off!
Food cravings/aversions: Puppy chow, and fruit. Eating lots and lots of apples lately! Chicken salad pita sandwiches have been on my radar too. Anything cold and crisp sounds fabulous!
Symptoms: I still get the occasional bout of nausea, but it is usually very short lived. Otherwise bloat, fatigue, and the inability to go to the bathroom most days. Sorry, probably TMI, but all of you ladies who have had babies know exactly what I am talking about!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Coffee still gets me sometimes, but for the most part I am back to drinking it every day. I also had a delicious powder drink one morning (thanks to symptoms mentioned above) which had me feeling disgusting after. I didn't think I was going to keep it down, but I prevailed.
Labor Signs: No, no, no.
Wedding rings on or off? On.  
Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty happy, but there have been some more work events this past week with some late nights, and I am definitely feeling it. It is hard when you have those weeks where you feel like all you are home for is to eat and sleep! I am looking forward to a more laid back week this week.
Looking forward to: Figuring out a dress to wear to Holly Ball! I have never gone, but thanks to my job with the Foundation, I am required to work it this year. Which means I need a nice dress to wear. Darn. My biggest stress with this is that I will be 16 weeks at the event, and while I am guessing I won't have a 'bump', I may have enough going on to make people question how many doughnuts I have been eating for breakfast. I am right in those tricky weeks when you could see huge changes in your body, or little to no change, which makes finding a dress difficult! I am thinking as long as I stay with something with a high waist that is loose and flowy, I should be good to go!

Today, I am linking up with Holly, Jenn, and Jessi!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Our Weekend

Once again, how is it already Monday!? It is dark, gloomy, and rainy here today, and is projected to continue to be this way for the next few days. Ho hum. We had absolutely gorgeous weather all weekend though, so I really can't complain!

Due to working some really odd hours and long days last week, I only had to go in for a work meeting on Friday for two hours or so, and had the rest of the day off. Mike and I had an 'afternoon date' and ran into town to check out appliances to start brainstorming what we want for our new houses. Let me just say, I never thought I would be so excited about the refrigerators. The double doors and pull out freezers are brilliant, and HUGE. We also realized when we are drafting our official house plans we are really going to have to put some thought into the kitchen and how we lay things out. Range separate from oven? On the island or by the window? What layout will make the most sense to make cooking as easy as possible? So many decisions ahead of us!!
After appliance shopping, I demanded we stop for a treat, and saw that Dairy Queen has a peppermint oreo blizzard out! Obviously me (and baby) had one. Because now I can justify these things, right? I swear, being pregnant during the holidays might be a bad idea..
Friday night was a lazy night in. We ordered a pizza, watched some cartoons, and called it a night.

Saturday, me and the little guy decided to hit down for a Sam's Club and mall run. He fell asleep on the drive in, and proceeded to sleep nearly the entire time we were in the mall. It was seriously perfect and the most relaxing shopping trip I have been on in ages. Of course, I got my e-mail telling me that all signature lotions were only $3 in Bath and Body Works, and I basically gravitated there without realizing what I was doing. The place was a zoo, but Jackson continued to snooze and clearly didn't mind.
That promo, coupled with some fantastic coupons, resulted in me walking away with all of this for only $25!
BEST DAY EVER. I will now officially say I am set on holiday candles this year (and possibly the next five years) so I am calling my candle shopping done.
In Sam's Club, we strolled through the toy section and stumbled across this mini grand piano, and Jackson just lit up. 
Christmas present, perhaps? It was so cute, and he would have sat there pressing the keys all day if I had let him!
Once we got home, we went out on a nice long walk, enjoying the 50 degree weather (which is fabulous for November in Minnesota!). After our walk, Jackson and his daddy ran around the yard outside playing and just had so much fun. I am a little nervous for this winter, because nothing makes that little boy happier than being outside. Clearly, all of the excitement and fun of the day was a bit much for Jackson, because this happened during dinner...

No worries, he rallied and woke back up, but I still had him down for good by 8, with enough time for me and Mike to watch an episode of the OC.

Sunday, we woke up and went to church! We haven't been in a few months, partly because of laziness and partly because as Jackson has gotten so active I think we were kind of nervous how he would sit still. But he was so well behaved yesterday. Aside from a few babbles and throwing of toys on the floor, he couldn't have been better. We are going to have to start getting there more regularly, especially with Advent starting so soon! After church, we went home, went for another walk in the gorgeous weather, and little man crashed for a solid three hour nap. Those three hour naps are far and few between, so I took full advantage and painted my nails for the first time in months, did some homework, prepped dinner so all that was needed was to throw the pan in the oven, and whipped up a batch of puppy chow. Oh, and of course did laundry. Most productive nap time ever?

After nap, we watched the Vikings (who won again!), did lots of playing, and capped the night off with The Walking Dead. All I can say is, finally they gave us something to 1. keep hope alive, and 2. have me absolutely dying to see next week's episode!

I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend and is ready to tackle the last full work week before all of the holiday madness officially begins!

Linking up with MegBiana, and Ashley today!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday to you all! This week was a busy one over in our household, and I am more than ready to settle into the weekend and do some relaxing.
I also want to thank everyone for their kind words on our announcement earlier this week! We are so excited to be welcoming another little one into the family. I am already dreaming of the sweet moments I have coming in the next few years watching my babies grow up together :-) One negative of being happy is that when I am happy, I like to shop. So, while it may not be good for my bank account, I have plenty of favorites going on this week!

1. This cable knit dress.
I love the colors, I love that it is work appropriate, and I love that it comes in regular, tall, and petite! I am curious to see if the material is stretchy, because I now definitely look for 'room to grow' in my clothing when considering the winter and early spring months. I am usually between a medium and large at Old Navy, so I am thinking I will just air on the roomier side and it will work just fine!

2. I will be honest, I am quite the minimalist when it comes to makeup. My regular combo is some eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. That's it. For ages, I didn't put anything on my face, ever. In the past year or so, I really have noticed the difference in my appearance, and just whether or not my skin looks 'dull', by putting on a CC cream and this under eye concealer. The first time I put on the under eye concealer, I was shocked. It covers things up so well, covering those bags and dark circles, and you just can't beat the price point. Any of you ladies who are looking for a way to brighten up your look with minimal effort, this product is for you!

3. This adorable hat. I have refrained from buying so far, but this cute piece is on sale this week, and I think I will finally be pulling the trigger and picking it up. I just can't resist the adorable pom on top! These mittens look great too. I am so glad stores are carrying more mittens vs. gloves, because gloves just do not do the trick in Minnesota winters! While I am one of the last to say this on repeat, does Target not absolutely knock it out of the park with their products? They always take things that are trendy and so on point, and bring it to you at an affordable price. I officially sold my soul the day I opened my Red Card.

4. How adorable are these cotton leggings for lounging around the house during the holidays?!

They come in so many colors, and I love all of them, but the snowflake holly berry is my favorite. Really though, I just don't know if there is anything better that cute, cozy pajamas that are festive and fitting for the holidays. I am officially in Christmas mode. #sorrynotsorry

5. Of course I always have favorites pertaining to my little guy.
How absolutely perfect is this sweater from the Gap!? Of course, I love nearly everything the Gap has to offer, but this one takes the cake. I am thinking this will have to make it into Jackson's holiday wardrobe this year. Because I have officially cut myself off from buying him anymore Christmas pajamas (at 7 pairs...)

Linking up with the ladies below as always today! I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and weekend!

**affiliate links used**

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bumpdate: 12 Weeks

Now that we have finally announced (check it out here if you missed it!), I am excited to get into 'bumpdates' to track how things are going! I started these at the very end of my pregnancy with Jackson, and was able to do all of one board before he arrived a month early. Looking back on his monthly chalkboards for his first year of life, I am so grateful that I took the time, because I have the little memories and milestones written down that I honestly wouldn't think to put in his baby book. I have already had so many moments with this pregnancy where I have asked myself "is this when I started feeling sick last time?" "Am I more or less tired this time around?" And the one that I can't believe I forgot, "What was Jackson's heartrate at his 12 week appointment?" I love this little blog space to be able to remember the little details that may not seem like a big deal, but looking back are so special to have on hand!

How far along? 12 week, 5 days
Gender: We won't know for awhile! Every single person seems to be positive it is a girl (except me, who thinks it's a boy, because it seems fitting that my child would purposely be a boy just to prove everyone else wrong!) My nephew who has predicted every baby born in the last 5 or so years to be a boy (and eerily, he was right on every single one) refers to this baby already as if it is a girl, and apparently I should name her Sabrina.
Total weight gain: 0. With Jackson, I lost 3-4 pounds in the first trimester. This time, I have literally sat at the exact same weight from day one. I want to say I was back to my 'pre-morning sickess' weight by my 16 week appointment with Jackson, so I am sure the extra pounds will start showing up any day now.
Maternity clothes? Nope. I am still fitting into all of my normal clothes like, well, normal. With Jackson I didn't even 'pop' until after 20 weeks, but being this round I am going to be doing all of my growing during the cold months where pants are required in lieu of maxi dresses, I am thinking I will make the argument to switch over much, much sooner. My pregnant coworker has also proven that dress code goes out the window and leggings (as long as the bum is covered) are totally acceptable during pregnancy! No one is gonna send a pregnant lady home to change!
Stretch marks? Not yet. We will see if we get lucky again for round 2. I still have a baby belly bar left unopened from my last pregnancy, and will probably start using that and my cocoa butter soon.
Belly button in or out: In. It never popped with my first pregnancy, so we will see this time.
Sleep: If I could sleep all day, every day, I would. Sometimes mid-day, I want to cry because if my head hit the table/floor/desk, I would be out in two seconds flat. All I want is sleep.
Exercise: With being so busy with everything, exercise has been rough in the beginning. It was similar with Jackson, and once I turned the corner on the first trimester I got back in the swing of things, so I am really hoping to do the same and run throughout my pregnancy this time, too!
Best moment this week: Our doctor's appointment last Friday! We had a little scare a few weeks back, and so finally hearing the heart rate strong and steady at 177, I was just so relieved, and finally feel like I can enjoy the pregnancy and not worry like I have the past few weeks!
Miss Anything? The other day I was at a grocery store and wanted a Diet Pepsi in the worst way! I also miss being able to order sandwiches at Subway or Jimmy John's without demanding they heat the meat up.
Movement: Not yet.
Food cravings/aversions: Give me all of the orange juice. Fruit (loving that it is apple season!). California rolls. I had a mean craving for donuts the other weekend, as in I needed an iced cake donut like my life depended on it. Mostly, this pregnancy has been all about the sweets and fresh foods! I would so much rather have a bowl of fruit after dinner than a bowl of ice cream, which I feel crazy even saying!
I am just coming back around to coffee, and just in time for peppermint mocha and red cup season! I was repulsed by coffee the first trimester with Jackson, too, but thankfully both times the love for the java has come back with the subsiding of the morning sickness.
Symptoms: Oh you know, nausea, some vomiting, being repulsed by 98% of the food I look at. However, while I started earlier this time (5 weeks was all I was when the nausea hit), it also seems to have resolved sooner, as I was feeling almost back to normal around 10-11 weeks this time. Of course, that is if you don't count the fatigue. Because I have absolutely been falling asleep at the same time as Jackson most nights (which is 7:30pm. don't judge!)
On another note, if I read a sappy blog, I cry. If I hear a song on the radio that is even remotely emotional, I cry (hello, Macklemore, I'm talking to you). Reading or hearing a sad story? I'm just done. So many spontaneous tears sitting at my desk while reading news articles. Only slightly embarrassing.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Coffee, but thankfully this is on the mend. I will say that even though I became physically sick more this time than with my first pregnancy, I had less aversions and have been able to eat three solid meals pretty much every day. That being said, the foods that have come back up include: donuts from the Mexican bakery on my trip to Washington, orange juice, crackers, and for fun, the simple act of waking up for work has also sent me running for the bathroom.
Labor Signs: No
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! Baby is growing and healthy, I'm almost done with school, my husband and son are my world, and I am just feeling very blessed lately.
Looking forward to: Getting a bump! I took so long to show with Jackson, and while I am in no rush to get huge and uncomfortable, I wouldn't mind having a cute little bump at Christmas-time! 

And because I am now wrangling pregnancy with another little to take care of, here is the status of the chalkboard moments after the picture above was taken:

Today, I am linking up with Holly, Jenn, and Jessi!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Jackson: 15 Months

After dedicating a year to our sweet milestone tracking on the chalkboard, I decided monthly updates just weren't quite necessary anymore for our little guy. Of course, we love tracking his progress and what is happening, but while lots of new little milestones seem to be reached every day, it didn't seem like something that couldn't be stretched out a bit. I am thinking updates every three months at this point is a sweet spot to be. Enough to learn a lot about what is going on with the little guy, without bombarding the world with chalkboard updates every other day ;-)

Height: 33.5 inches. 99th percentile.
Weight: 28 pounds. 97th percentile.
Milestones: He has turned into such a little person over the past few months! He took his official 'walk' across the room on Sunday, September 20th at 13.5 months, and it has been go, go, go ever since. He knows how to crawl onto furniture, coffee and end tables not excluded, get up and down stairs, and open and close cupboards. He became fascinated with the spinning tops on the garbage cans at my in laws house, and many a toys, remote controls, and baby moccasins were thrown in. Most of the items were retrieved, but we have officially lost a shoe and a few toys that I am certain are gone forever in the trash. He also loves to brush his teeth, which is great because it saves me some time in the mornings while getting ready as it keeps him entertained. 
He isn't much of a talker, of course 'mama' and 'dada' are regulars in his vocabulary. He really likes to babble, so while we know he recognizes a lot of words and responds to everything we say, sometimes it is hard to know whether 'babababa' means bottle, bubble gubbies, or ball. He is super quick to respond though, and can be instructed to put his 'toes' in his socks, his 'legs' in his pants, and as soon as I say give me your arm, he sticks them right into his jacket, even knowing to switch his bottle out of one hand to the other so both arms can go in. It is so much fun being able to talk and give him instructions and know that he understands and grasps what we are saying!

Sleep: I have just accepted the reality that we will never sleep again. Shortly before making the move out of our house and into our in-laws, Jackson started waking up at night and wanting to come into our bed. We agreed we would address this once we moved, because we figured the change would mess him up as it was. However, his sleep has not improved, and he has wound up in our bed every single night for at least two months straight. He did, by some miracle, manage to sleep through the night one night last week, but unfortunately that appears to have been a fluke, rather than a new trend. Some nights having him in our bed isn't so bad, and he sleeps like a rock. Other nights, we get kicks to the head, slobbery kisses at 3am, and baby babble and grunting from an entirely awake little man. We even removed the front of his crib and put in a guard rail to see if he would feel less confined and we could lay by him to get him used to falling asleep in there, but mom and dad are lazy and don't usually have the fight to make him stick it out..one day, we will figure this out. But I have no idea when that day will be. On one positive note, we do always manage to at least put him down to start the night in his crib, so we haven't reverted to 100% co-sleeping. I'll call it 50/50.
 Best Moment: We have so many sweet moments with our little guy over the past few months. Watching him learn to walk and those precious wobbly steps was just the best. Becoming more interactive and watching him learn so much, so quickly is amazing to watch. And dressing him up at Elvis and enjoying Halloween was an absolute blast!
Worst Moment: I would just really, really, really like to sleep. Also we just had our first ear infection with a 103.5 temp. Not fun for anyone, but thankfully we are on the mend!
Health: Last week's ear infection has me feeling so grateful that he doesn't get sick often, because sick babies are NOT fun. He was just so sad and clingy and whimpering, and nothing seemed to help except snuggles. 

Eating: This has become a definite challenge over the past few months. Our once fearless little eater who would try anything now loves to throw food on the floor, spit food out, and throw tantrums if anything with red sauce makes its way onto his plate. String cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, clementines, and strawberries are staples in this kid's diet. I at least give us credit for making sure he is getting a lot of fruit in each day, because he just loves fruit. He also likes cheerios, fruit snacks, teddy grahams, and any kind of potato chip. He will try new foods, like tator tot hotdish, if he is out of his high chair, sitting on my lap, and eating off of my fork. Whatever works, right?
Teeth: He is still rocking 8 teeth, four on top and four on the bottom. I am thinking our next round of teeth can't be too far off, as he hasn't cut a new tooth in at least 2-3 months. I am happy to know that his sleeping really can't get much worse, so I would say if there is a time to cut those new babies, it would be now!

Our sweet boy really is at such a fun age. No-no has become a regular saying in our house as we work on establishing boundaries, but he is still so sweet and innocent, it is hard to get mad at him. He loves to do something 'naughty', hears us say no, flashes a smile and adorably sit down and wait all of five seconds before trying the naughty task again. He is definitely learning. He loves Wallykazam and the Bubble Guppies, and also loves to watch the Baby Channel early in the mornings for Hide and Seek, Peek a Boo, and the Notekins (which creep everyone else in the house out). He loves to run across the living room to be picked up for a hug and a kiss, just to be set back down to play, as a sweet little reminder he has some lovin for us. He loves to play peek-a-boo by pulling his blanket up and covering 25% of his face, all the while smiling a sheepish little smile that he is unaware we can see. Early in the morning or before nap time, he loves to crawl over, 'sing', and smother us with obnoxiously slobbery kisses. Nothing makes him happier than laying on mommy's chest and watching cartoons together. He is the sweetest little man, and we are having so much fun watching him grow and learn. We love him more than words can say, and cannot wait to see all of the things that he continues to learn.

Monday, November 9, 2015

And then there were...

Selling our house and deciding to build was big news. Totally big news. Completing grad school exactly one month from today is big news, too. But really, I have other, even bigger news. News that pushes that other stuff to the back of my mind because it pales in comparison. It is with great joy and excitement that we are finally able to share..

We are adding another little bundle of love in May! To say that our hands have been full over the past few months would be an understatement, to say the least, but we are so very, very excited and blessed that our family is growing by one (just one, confirmed by two ultrasounds!). We cannot wait to watch Jackson become a big brother, and for our hearts to grow to love another little one! Stay tuned for more updates on how we found out, how we shared the news with our families, and our plans for welcoming baby Stang #2!

Linking up with MegBiana, and Ashley today!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's Hap-Pinning

Today, I am linking up with Jenn and Jessi to share what's 'hap-pinning' lately!

My pinterest has been a whole lot of photo ideas/sharing..

Christmas inspiration (which obviously started happening well before Halloween)...
My latest fashion/beauty inspirations, because I love some liquid leggings and think I need to color my hair/am totally missing my long hair that I am in the process of growing back out..
And most importantly consuming my Pinterest has been house ideas! We have a floor plan picked with a nice sized kitchen, as well as two-story!!! ceilings over the living room, my absolute dream. As much as I love a lot of the house trends right now like white cabinets and dark trim, I also want a house that will stand the test of time. I realize you can have a kitchen that is stylish, while still being classic medium oak and classic countertops. I am loving all of these ideas and cannot WAIT to start seeing it all come to life in our new house.

I always love to see what everyone else has been pinning lately, and am hoping this week involves lots of holiday cheer and sparkles!

Business Casual on a Budget

There is nothing more exciting than getting that first 'big girl' job. Monday-Friday hours, weekends and holidays off, and benefits. What, you mean I actually get paid on days I take off? Don't mind if I do. Of course, the newness wears off, the job starts to feel like just that, a job, and you realize that the three fabulous outfits you purchased and forked over big bucks for will only get you through half of the work week.

I have come to find that building a business professional wardrobe is not a task that you accomplish overnight. A select few of you may be lucky enough to go on a shopping spree to build said wardrobe, but most of us have no money before we start our first real job. Which makes sense, because real jobs are where you start to make a real living. Life before real jobs usually equal yoga pants and a hundred shirts from PINK, am I right. Ahh, those were the days. Nevertheless, I have found that there are certain places that have versatile pieces, at great prices, that last. There is nothing worse than investing in a new piece, only to have it fall apart less than a year later. If you are in your 20's, chances are you will be working for many, many (I'll stop at saying many twice, because when I look at how many years I have to work until retirement, I get mildly depressed) years, and you want your pieces to stay with you for as long as possible.

1. Sweater Dresses

These may or may not fly depending on how 'strict' your dress code is, but I cannot say enough about the value of a good sweater dress. Especially for those of us who live in the Midwest, a quality sweater dress is a staple piece in your wardrobe. I love this one here. It comes in regular and long (a tall girls favorite size), and is super comfortable. I wear it with a pair of thick tights, and don't freeze my butt off when I walk outside on lovely subzero mornings. These are really great options to transition through seasons, because they go with tights, boots, heels, you name it. And if we are being honest, I am most comfortable at work on the days I am rocking a cozy sweater dress. I have also found great shift dresses and sweater dresses on the Target clearance racks. Seriously. Do not make a trip through Target without scouring the clearance rack. I have found some of my greatest pieces there.

2. Mid-heel Booties

Ok. I am 6 feet tall. I have avoided any heel greater than half of an inch my entire life because I get enough tall comments as it is. But, last year, I finally gave in. I ordered two pairs of booties with a two inch heel (gasp). Best purchases I have made. They are a nice alternative to my flimsy flats in the winter, and just make my outfits look and feel more polished. I scored both of mine on 6pm online. Zappos has a lot of great options too. The booties are the best.

3. Gap Premium Pants

I have tried many, many pairs of dress pants. Old Navy (I love you), but no. Their pants, at least dress pants, just don't do it for me. Target has pants, but they aren't made for us tall girls. And then I found my Gap pants. They are the best. pants. Ever. The quality is fantastic, they come in tall (again, YAY), and despite not being the cheapest pants around, those Gap coupons are heaven sent. I have found clearance pants that were an additional 40% off, that come to a whopping $21 after all was said and done. You really can't beat that. If you are needing work clothes, sign up for those Gap e-mails. Just resist opening them when you really shouldn't be doing any shopping (it's not easy, but resist girls, resist!) And once you hit $50 shipping is free and all returns are free, so order a few sizes and styles to try out and then return what doesn't work. I love The Gap. Period.

4. Pencil skirts

I love me a good pencil skirt. It just feels more professional and pulled together than just about any other outfit. My go to black pencil skirt was found on sale at, you guessed it, Target. In fact, all three of my favorite pencil skirts come from good ole Target. I also have found some fabulous pieces at Forever 21! It's all about keeping your eyes open for the good pieces when they come. I tend to pair my pencil skirts with a portofino shirt from Express in the winter, and quite often I go pretty casual in the summer and pair them with a nice t-shirt and throw a cardigan on. They really are so versatile, and are a great option on those days when you want to look pulled together and impress the company VP. Because these are the real life things you have to think about now that you're a grown up.

5. Blazers

Ok, a blazer is a must for the business casual lady. Pencil skirt with tucked in t-shirt=cute and casual. Add a blazer and BAM you are promotion material. Ok maybe it isn't that easy, but I have heard more than once to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you feel more professional, that is going to show through and reflect in your performance, and you may just be kept in mind when those opportunities come along. I have found great blazers at Express, as well as The Limited. Many blazers are available in stretchier fabrics too, which I think is fabulous because they are less restricting and feel more like a sweater than a structured jacket.

6. Don't be afraid of the clearance racks!!

Truly, my absolute favorite work pieces have come from the clearance rack. This girl never pays full price (ever), and I have found that a lot of items that I watch eventually end up on sale or clearance. I scooped up my most recent blazer at express for less than $30, when it originally rang in at close to $100. All of my Gap Premium pants have cost $30, or less. And, absolutely 100% hit up the clearance racks at Express. I love the portofino shirts, mentioned above, but full price I find them to be a bit steep. Typically on the clearance rack, these shirts (usually $50-60), ring up for less than $20. People will recognize that you are wearing quality clothing, but they will not recognize what you paid for it! The only thing better than scoring an adorable new piece for work, is scoring it for less!

I always love to hear where other people score great finds for their work wardrobe, so feel free to share any of your favorites!

 Linking up with Annie and Natalie for Thoughts on Thursday today!
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