Life Lately

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Happy Wednesday! It's hard to believe we're halfway through another week, not to mention more than halfway through the month of July. I'm grateful we don't head back-to-school until September, though I know a lot of districts go back next month! What about where you live?

Life has been busy lately, but in a good way. We switched from school schedules to summer mode pretty easily and have found our groove with what I feel is a good mix of extra curricular activities for the girls to look forward to and plenty of free time to just play, explore, splash around, and be a kid. Maybe even a little time to be bored. ;) 

Hadley turned THREE earlier this month and we celebrated with a princess-themed birthday party, at her sweet little request. We invited friends and family to join us for brunch, and about a half hour into the party we had a very special guest: Rapunzel! She had such a great time and is still talking about her party. I know how special she felt!

Not part of her party, but we started the day with sprinkle pancakes!

My chalkboard handywork. ;) I tried.

Princess everything for our little princess.

I turned 32 a couple of days later and we celebrated in my favorite spot: the beach. We played in the sand, ate crab fries, pizza and ice cream, and rode rides on the boardwalk until it was time to head home for bed. I love living within easy day-trip distance to the shore!

I feel like I also owe you guys a Layla update. If you weren't aware, our beloved senior golden retriever had a scary episode of Vestibular Disfunction (basically vertigo) back in March and there were a few very difficult days that followed. She couldn't walk and refused to eat, and as you can imagine, I assumed the worst (and it wasn't pretty... many tears were shed). BUT I am so, so happy to report that Layla girl has been mostly back to herself in the months since. I know she is not a young pup anymore, but I am just so thankful that she recovered and we are able to enjoy walks, playing outside, and plenty of snuggle time.

Shared this on IG - I have the cutest stalkers.

What else? Lots of pool time, yard time, family time, trips to the movie theater and we are starting to think a little about back-to-school. The girls and I went supplies shopping on Monday armed with the list we received at C's kindergarten orientation, and so many of my mom dreams came true in that moment. It was surreal and so fun to see C picking out her own pencil box, scissors, glue sticks, water bottles, etc. She's pumped!

Hadley got a splash pad (similar here) for her birthday and it's been a huge hit!

I've also been majorly nesting already, with the urge to organize all of the things and I couldn't resist a few things for baby girl that I came across lately, like these $5 booties, Hearth & Hand pillow for her nursery, and the softest multi-purpose cover ever.

I hope you've been having the best summer so far, whatever that "best" looks like for you. Have you traveled? Made a point to relax? Tried something new? Seen family and friends?

PS: Stay tuned for this week's Friday Favorites! I'll be sharing a select number of things for women that I love from the always-anticipated Nordstrom sale. I own most of them, so only sharing what I truly would recommend (and a few wish list items that caught my eye). See you then!

Pregnancy Update | 28 Weeks

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How many weeks: 28 weeks! Hello third trimester!

How big is the baby: Babe is the size of a large eggplant, about 2.25 pounds.

Total weight gain: 9 or 10 pounds

Maternity clothes: Of course! Sometimes I can still squeeze into non-maternity dresses, depending on the style. Love this one (which I'm wearing in the photo above!) and this one!

How is sleeping going: It's ok. I ended up getting a full length, $10 body pillow from Target to replace my old, flattened maternity pillow and it does the trick. I find myself switching sides a lot, but overall I can't complain!

Symptoms: I feel really good most of the time, but I've had some recent sciatica (ouch!), which I've never experienced before. It must just be the way baby girl sits sometimes. Also a touch of restless leg syndrome is coming back at nights, which I experienced with Hadley's pregnancy.

Best moment this week: A healthy 28 week doctor appointment, hearing her heartbeat, feeling and seeing her move a ton!

Cravings: Not craving anything too strongly right now. Just lots of sparkling water to keep hydrated in this July heat!

Aversions: Still some meat. Not really in the mood for chicken. 

Gender: Another girlfriend! <3 

What I miss: This might sound cliche, but this is probably my last pregnancy so I'm just trying to soak it all in... even the sometimes uncomfortable parts. 

What I'm looking forward to: Scheduling my c-section and knowing her birthday (ahhh!) in the next week or so, finishing the nursery, nesting, even more movement. :)

Friday Favorites

Friday, July 5, 2019

Happy Friday! Hope your fourth was fun and safe (and hopefully dry so you could enjoy some fireworks!). We spent the day barbecuing with family yesterday; a perfect way to spend the day, in my opinion. :) On our 1.5 hour drive home, C stayed awake way past her bedtime looking for fireworks. We got to see so many different displays as we drove! 

Sending you into the weekend with some recent favorites: 

1. Easiest Slime Recipe from Brittany @ The Snyder Family

The other day on her Instagram, Brittany over at The Snyder Family shared a two-step recipe for making your own slime, and I couldn't save it fast enough. My girls love slime, but the store-bought stuff ruins everything it touches and I am not a million-ingredient recipe type of gal... so this was perfect! Head over to her IG to check it out. C & H each got to pick out their favorite color glue (C went with sparkly glow-in-the-dark orange and H chose shimmery pink) and went to town.

2. Stasher Food Storage Bags

I might be the last to this party, but I scooped up this Stasher snack bag the other day after my friend (hi Jaime!) suggested it and it's fantastic. We go through about a million plastic snack bags a week, so I love that this option is much more environmentally friendly, budget friendly, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and freezable. C will be bringing a snack every day to school with her in the fall, so this will definitely come in handy. We got ours at PBK (free shipping!) but they also have them at Target and some other places.

3. A Baby Sprinkle

Last weekend, we threw an intimate little baby sprinkle for my wonderful sister-in-law who is expecting her second son this month. We're so excited to welcome a new nephew! We kept things easy with a light but tasty lunch menu (Wegmans catering for the win) and a soft blue, white, and yellow color scheme. I brought some blocks from home to decorate, and we all wrote a little message to the new baby in a Dr. Suess book (love this idea as a keepsake). Have you been to or thrown a sprinkle? I think it's so much fun celebrating each new little life.

4. Summer Fun

We've been enjoying the unstructured days of summer. It's always a little nerve-wracking going from a set schedule to a much looser one, but I actually think it's just what we needed before all of the craziness of full time school, fall activities, and a new baby. What have you been up to so far?

5. Have a great weekend!


Your New Go-To Baked Ziti Recipe

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Happy July, friends! Can you believe how quickly the summer is going already? I always feel like the 4th of July is the midway point of summer. Before you know it, it's back-to-school prep (and, in our case, BABY time!). 

Though this isn't necessarily a summery recipe, it is a classic that I've been meaning to share with you for a while. Baked ziti has always been one of my favorite dishes -- I mean, can you really go wrong with noodles, sauce, and cheese all baked into gooey goodness? 

What I love about this baked ziti recipe, though, is that it includes even more delicious flavor (and nutrients) with spinach and sweet Italian sausage (or hot Italian sausage, if you prefer a kick!). It has been our go-to ziti recipe for years now and is always a hit. It requires some hands-off prep time because of the homemade sauce that simmers in the crockpot for hours before you add it, but I promise it's worth it. I wish my image was prettier, but a food blogger I am not. ;) Enjoy!

Let's Talk Names

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Aren't names interesting? I mean, think about it. Our parents decide on a name they like and they think will fit us and the family we are born into, and we are (usually) called it for the rest of our lives. Sort of crazy, right? And then, if and when we become parents ourselves, we are given the same responsibility. So... how do you choose? I would love to hear how you've chosen names for your kids: have you gone the route of passing down meaningful family names? Did you use a traditional baby name book/website? Did you use the name you always thought you would, or change it at the last minute?

I was supposed to be Carolyn or Kimberly, but when I was born my parents looked at me and pivoted. And, of course, now I can't picture being called anything but my name.

I often get questions about my own kids' names. They're on the more unusual side, though not unheard of -- and actually, Hadley's name is becoming a bit more popular I think. 

Here are the stories: neither are family names, just names we liked and "felt right." We literally flipped through a baby name book at Barnes & Noble when I was pregnant with Carrington and when I spotted her name and suggested it to Steve, we both liked it right away and that was it from then on. The only other one we had considered before finding her name was Eva. I love that it's different without being hard to pronounce, and that she has a nickname she can choose to use. We probably call her Carrington and Carrie equally as often, and she'll answer to both without blinking. It just fits her! If she had been a boy, she would have been Owen Xavier.

As for Hadley, I had heard her name in the time since having Carrington and loved it. When we found out she was a girl, it popped into my mind right away. The only other name we considered for her was Arden. Here's how we decided which was meant to be: we had Carrington say each. When she said "Hadley" she pronounced it "Haddie" (which is still her nickname!), and we just knew that was the one. If she had been a boy, she would have been Maxwell Dean.

By the time you have the third baby of the same gender, it gets a bit tough to choose a name! By that time, you've already chosen four names you love: two first names and two middle names. When we found out this sweet baby was a girl, it took some brainstorming and searching to find her name (which we are keeping a surprise until she's born). Steve and I both have pretty strong opinions on names and would shoot down each other's suggestions. We did both like Alexandria, with a nickname of Andi, and thought that would be the one. But the more we considered it, the more it just didn't feel like her. It's funny how you can just get a feeling either way about someone you haven't even met. Her name was one that wasn't even on our radar, and yet once we said it out loud, that was it!

Some of my favorite names, besides my own kids' names, are:




Maxwell (Max)
William (Will)

Your turn! What are your kids' names and/or some of your favorite names? I'd love to hear! 

Weekend Favorites

Saturday, June 22, 2019

How is your weekend going?

Ours has been great so far. The sun is finally shining (and it looks like a beautiful week ahead!), we enjoyed the annual Parade of Homes in my hometown yesterday, and spent plenty of time outside today exploring, playing at the splash pad, and eating Chipotle. YES PLEASE.

I'm a little late to Friday Favorites but I still have a few things I want to share with you, so Weekend Favorites it is:

This 103 year old woman is #goals. (Love her advice on life & marriage!)

Have you guys checked out the Hatley brand for your kids? The stuff is crazy cute. I like to peruse the sale page. ;) This would be so cute for the first day of preschool, and these are adorable. (PS: Right now they are also having 30% pajamas and swim)

This sweet story had me tearing up. Love this idea, and I think we'll copy it!

These Tory Burch dupes are super comfy (I have them and have walked a ton in them). Look for them at TJ Maxx, where they're just $16!!

Have you tried chocolate covered Craisins? OMG.

If you are way ahead of the game and have started thinking about backpack shopping for back-to-school, there are a few styles from Pottery Barn Kids on major sale. I think C would love this one.

I seriously could not love Amy Schumer's completely transparent view into early motherhood more. We need more people to be this honest! (Also, I've already talked about it, but if you haven't watched her Netflix special "Growing" yet, please do so).

Have a peaceful Sunday!

Summer Work Wear: 8 Pieces to Try

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Want to hear a secret? One of the things I miss most (okay, maybe the only thing I miss!) about working in an office environment is getting dressed. ;) I actually love work wear. In fact, I'd probably be way more productive working from home if I got dressed in professional clothes every morning. Contrary to popular belief (and, of course, depending on what field you're in and the dress code), work wear doesn't need to be drab, uncomfortable, or expensive.

Here's the proof! For all those who do work in an office environment, I've come across some amazing, affordable pieces lately while browsing. What do you usually wear to work? Where are your favorite places to shop for M-F staples?

To the Dads + How Loss Evolves

Monday, June 17, 2019

How was your Father's Day weekend? 

We celebrated our very favorite daddy in the world with breakfast in bed (cinnamon streusel muffins, bacon, and coffee) and gave him the gift of a relaxing day. ;) Oh, and some socks and his favorite chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches (try them at your own risk!). Later on in the day we went to Iron Hill for dinner, followed by a quick trip to Home Depot. We picked up a sample of this paint color for the nursery and Steve painted a big swatch on the wall. So far, I like it!

As you all probably know by now, my own dad passed away when I was a little girl. Days dedicated to dads, big occasions, his birthday and the day he died always put me in a reflective mood; though as I grow older, the feeling seems to have evolved into a mix of both sorrow and gratitude. The more life you live, the more you grasp all the life that your parent is missing out on by not being here. But you also gain a sense of gratitude for the life they did live (instead of just what you and they missed out on), and the unique ways they continue to live on through you and, if you have them, your children.

What most people don't realize about losing a parent as a child is that, even though it happened a long time ago and your memories of your parent might be few, the loss of one of the people who helped to create you -- whose genetics literally live on through you -- continues to grow and change as you do. I've found it feels like peeling back layers of an onion; there's always more about life and loss to be discovered and worked through.

For instance, even though it's been over 25 years since I lost my dad, the other day I was driving to a store and heard a song that made me think of him. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I thought about what he must be feeling and thinking in certain moments. Or, I'll think of a time he was silly as a parent or a time he was exasperated as a parent and I'll identify on a whole new level with him. I'll think, "I get it, dad!"

He was a good one, and I'm grateful for the onion because if I keep peeling, it not only means discovering new layers of loss, but new layers of life.

I'm also grateful for all of the wonderful men who have been part of my life: my brother, my uncles, my father-in-law, my mom's boyfriend. They all add unique joy to my life! Hoping you were able to celebrate the special men in your life this weekend, no matter who they are.

Friday Favorites | Life Lately

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Happy Saturday! I can't believe we're halfway through the month of June. I took a little break from this space while we were away on vacation last week and had every intention to check in earlier this week, but last day of school activities kept us busy! 

I thought I'd pop in today with a little "Life Lately" version of Friday Favorites (a day late!) with some snapshots of what we've been up to. How has June been treating you?

1. Our Beach Week

We spent a fun and almost entirely sunny week in our favorite nearby beach town last week, and it was awesome. Yes, there are always challenges to traveling with kids (even when it's somewhere that isn't far away!) -- both girls had to take a couple of days to adjust to sleeping somewhere else, and naps were thrown off at first. I wrote a post touching on this topic a couple of years ago. But the opportunity to get away and make memories outshines all of that by far to us. We swam in the ocean, built sand castles, ate delicious food and way too much ice cream, explored the wetlands (C even got to talk to real marine biologists!), went to the zoo, and spent precious time with our families.

2. Pre-School Graduation (and a fun find)

We officially have a pre-school grad! Carrington graduated from pre-school earlier this week, and it was such a sweet ceremony. I only cried one time, so I'll count that as a win. ;) In all seriousness, I am more proud of this little girl than I can put into words. She is such a bright light and I can't wait to watch her thrive in kindergarten! 

PS - I picked up this Kindergarten prep workbook in Barnes & Noble the other day and it has been a HUGE hit. C rushes down to it every morning and has spent hours happily entertaining herself with it! They have one for most grade levels, if you have a kiddo who could use a new quiet time activity this summer!

3. Downtime 

During any downtime I've had (read: after bedtime), I've been checking some new shows/movies out on Netflix. I watched Always Be My Maybe with Ali Wong (who I think is pretty hilarious) and it's definitely worth a watch! I also binged Dead to Me, which ended up being way more intriguing than I anticipated.

I think we're going to switch Netflix out for HBO for a couple of months so Steve can (finally) watch Game of Thrones and I can watch Big Little Lies. If you have HBO, what else would you recommend?

4. Nursery Progress

I have been making some major progress in the baby/nursery department and it just brings me so much joy. I'm such a planner by nature, so this whole preparing and nesting part of pregnancy really meshes with my personality, haha. 

My vision for the babe's nursery is: neutral walls (but I am completely stuck on WHICH neutral, so if you have any tips or ideas, help a girl out -- I've been eyeing this or this) with white furniture and colorful, sweet, cheerful accents. I have this crib sheet for pops of color, and plan to switch it out with this crib sheet when we want something softer (or, you know, need to change dirty baby sheets). I just got some wall ledges as book shelves and have a few decorative pieces for her walls, too. I'm excited to share the befores and afters once we get everything fixed up.

5. Blog/Instagram Updates

I've been plotting some blog/IG updates to celebrate The Lucky Lifestyle's two year birthday! Stay tuned for those, plus a couple of giveaways to celebrate. Chasing a dream ain't easy in this season of life, but like the saying goes: If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse. I can't wait to share what's new!

6. Bonus! 16 Years

This past week Steve and I celebrated 16 years together! Just for fun, here are a couple of throwback pictures of us as teens.

Look at that Princess Sofia-esque dress! Hope you have a great weekend.

Friday Favorites & Lucky Finds

Friday, May 31, 2019

Today is a GREAT day! It's Friday, it's sunny, and the beach is imminent. ;) What more can a girl ask for? Did you all have a good *short* week? It was a stormy one here, but we made the most of it. I can't believe today is the last day of May! 

Today I'm sharing my favorite moments and finds from this week (and beyond -- I've shared a few of these on Instagram lately!). 

1. Muffins with my girls. It's funny how sometimes the seemingly small moments turn out to be the most cherished. This was my favorite moment from the week! Enjoying muffins and apple juice with my sidekicks (a KIND bar and iced coffee for momma) at the Starbucks in Target before grabbing a few things. I was immediately reminded of the quote by Annie Dillard, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." To me, it's these ordinary moments filled with simple joy that are the building blocks of our lives. 

2. Trying out the scarf trend (scarf found here). Have you all ever ordered something online, and the store sent a bundle of things along with your order that you didn't order (or pay for)? That just happened to me with a Target order I received. Along with what I paid for, they sent a few t-shirts. I brought them into my local store and explained what happened, and the woman looked so happily surprised that I would bring them back that it surprised me. Anyway! I guess I got a touch of good karma, because when I went to buy this adorable hair/neck scarf from Old Navy it rang out at less than $1.50 when I was fully prepared to spend ten bucks! Long story short, I think this is a fun and inexpensive way to spruce up summer outfits. 

3. A perfect tank top for ladies with baby bumps (or not). One more fun Old Navy find! It's been a struggle to find tops that fit my ever-growing bump. They are either not stretchy enough, or not long enough, and have you seen most of the affordable maternity tops there are out there? Pregnant people haven't given up on life, y'all! Anyway, I found these tanks at Old Navy and they fit perfectly. So comfy and can't beat the price!

4. Summer skewers. This is the most random favorite, a snap of part of our Memorial Day dinner (and I actually don't like shrimp, but we do these with chicken a lot during the summer!). Do you guys grill kabobs once the warm weather hits? It's such an easy and yummy dinner. Grab some nonstick skewers, like these, and get grilling.

5. Jasmine hair. If you know me, you know styling hair is not my strength. I need to step up my game a bit as a girl momma x3! These Target hair-ties I found in-store (I can't find them online!) recently make me look like a pro, and Carrington is obsessed with her colorful Jasmine hair. ;) 

5. Statement Earrings. Since I'm hair-challenged, I love a statement earring to make me feel a little fancified (I think I just made that word up) for nice events. Love these, another Target find. Bless that bullseye.

6. Is three kids the most "stressful" amount to have? Well, I hope not, ha! But this recent TODAY survey showed that moms of three are the most stressed. Which is funny, because I feel the least amount of pressure heading into having our third than I did having our first or second. If you have three kids, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! 

Also, this quote from the piece is spot on: "But the big secret of mom stress is that a lot of it comes from within. 75% of moms said they stress more about the pressure they put on themselves to be perfect than they do the pressure or judgment they get from other moms." 

7. My favorite lipgloss. If you haven't tried NYX butter gloss, get to it. It's inexpensive, the colors are great, it smells and tastes good, and goes on like - you guessed it - butta. From left to right the colors I have and use all the time are Creme Brulee, Angel Food Cake, and the clear lingerie gloss.

Have the best weekend!

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