Friday Favorites + Lucky Finds

Friday, March 29, 2019

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Friday... it's good to see you!

How has your week been? We've had a pretty good one here. Layla's condition has improved so much, the weather has warmed up a bit, and I'm just generally feeling energized and hopeful. :) The girls and I were looking at pictures of last spring and summer yesterday and I realized all the fun that we had. It's amazing how many more options there are for kid and family fun when the weather is nice. The grass was green, the pool was out, we were picnicking and hitting up playgrounds, taking trips, going to the beach. Bring. It. On!

What are you up to this weekend? We're kicking things off later today by heading to opening day of one of our favorite local farms/play areas with our friends. Tomorrow looks really warm, so I'm sure we'll be outside for most of the day. Sunday it gets cooler and rainy, but that's fine with me because I have a brunch and shopping date planned with one of my girlfriends (Hi Bec!) -- her birthday is tomorrow, so it'll be fun to celebrate and catch up.

On to this week's favorites:

+ I shared my first pregnancy update on the blog yesterday!

+ Have you watched Amy Schumer's new special "Growing" yet on Netflix? If you haven't, you need to. It's even funnier than her other stuff -- I was literally crying.

+ Made this yummy tortellini soup earlier this week -- the easiest weeknight recipe!

+ I've been using these cord hair ties all the time lately. They're especially good for thick hair, I think -- they really hold everything well!

+ I ordered these shoes from Target a couple of weeks ago (they're having a BOGO 50% off sale, so now would be a great time to try them) -- perfect for slipping on & chasing kids around.

+ I recently finished the book Where the Crawdads Sing and have started reading Michelle Obama's Becoming. Crawdads was so vividly written and touching. Becoming is both relatable and inspiring so far. What should my next book be? 

+ I really appreciated this piece about "navigating a special needs encounter" on Cup of Jo this week, written by a mother of a child with special needs. As my kids get older and have more questions (and more interactions with kids of all ages, stages, and abilities), I find these perspectives so valuable.

+ J.Crew Factory has some cute new stuff right now. Do we think I could pull this t-shirt dress off super pregnant this summer? (Say yes and I'll love you forever)

+ Have a wonderful weekend!

Pregnancy Update | 13 Weeks

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Happy Thursday afternoon, friends! 

Thank you so much for all of your sweet words and warm wishes for our newest and tiniest addition! We're so excited about this little babe, and it feels so good to be able to share our happiness openly. It also feels good to be able to share all that goes along with it, like how we came to the decision to have three kids, maternity style (or lack thereof, at the moment!), products we love (and new ones we'd like to try!), 3rd row car shopping, nerves... you get the picture. ;)

Before I get to all that, though, I thought I'd start with a quick update on this pregnancy. I'm 13 weeks, so officially in the second trimester (right? or is it 14 weeks? ha!) -- and feeling good! The first trimester wasn't too hard on me. I had some days of exhaustion, a couple of strange aversions, and a huge appetite but other than that, life as usual! I'll be sharing more about the background, how we found out, how we told the girls, etc. as the weeks go on. I apologize in advance for all of the pregnancy/baby talk that will take place here over the next six months -- I promise I'll still talk about other things too!

Baby #3 Pregnancy Update | 13 Weeks

This is the only bump pic I have so far, which I shared on IG stories. #thirdkidproblems

How many weeks: 13 weeks as of Tuesday

How big is the baby: Baby is the size of a lemon!

Total weight gain: 2 pounds

Maternity clothes: Oh yes! Maternity pants along with stretchy pre-bump pants, mostly normal shirts so far

How is sleeping going: Most nights it's fine, besides getting up to use the bathroom once or twice. Last night I woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep -- not so fun!

Symptoms: Just tired and some headaches here and there

Best moment this week: Feeling little flutters

Cravings: I've had some strong cravings! Caesar salad, french fries, meatball subs, cereal

Aversions: Nothing at the moment. During the first trimester I struggled with my morning coffee a little (the horror!), but when I switched back to iced coffee it helped.

Gender: We haven't found out yet! Any guesses?!

What I miss: Afternoon Starbucks runs

What I'm looking forward to: Our 3D ultrasound in a couple of weeks, finding out the gender so I can really start dreaming/planning :)

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites. xo

Life Lately + This Week's Menu

Monday, March 25, 2019

Happy Monday, all! 

How was your weekend? Heck, how was your past week? I am feeling refreshed and excited today because I'm coming back from a week-ish hiatus (it was a tough week, which I'll get to more below), and I have a ton of fun content ideas stored up and ready to go. Looking forward to sharing with you!  

Instead of a typical "weekend recap" post, I thought I'd share more of an overall "life lately" post explaining a little bit about why it's been quiet around here, what we've been doing and enjoying, and - of course - our weekly menu. 

+ Pregnancy Announcement! 

So probably the biggest excuse for my radio silence lately is that I've been busy (and tired!) growing a new little human! ;) I announced over on Instagram last weekend (send me a request if you'd like to follow along!), but had yet to announce here on the blog, so... here we go again! We are all so excited over here. The girls are over the moon and love looking at the sonogram pictures of their new little brother or sister. I'm feeling well and will be 13 weeks tomorrow! Almost to the second trimester already! Stay tuned for a full Baby #3 post/pregnancy update coming later this week. 

+ Layla girl.

With the highest of highs inevitably seem to come some lows, and we've had a rough last few days with our sweet golden girl, Layla. Last Wednesday evening her body collapsed as she was attempting to eat dinner, and she couldn't use her back legs for about a half hour. We thought it was probably a seizure (she's had a couple of those in her 13 years, which isn't that uncommon for her breed) and she seemed ok that night. The next morning, she couldn't stand up and wouldn't eat and we knew something was very wrong. We took her to the vet that morning and their best guess at diagnosis (after over two hours of checkups and blood tests) was Vestibular Disease. It's basically like vertigo for dogs, and can be caused by a middle ear infection, old age, or something worse -- which I can't seem to stop thinking about, but I won't even go there. They did say one of her ears seemed suspicious, so we put her on an antibiotic for that and brought her home to rest. Thursday was rough, and Friday was worse. She could barely walk, we had to carry her everywhere, she wouldn't eat, and the worst part -- she just seemed depressed. It was terrible to watch. I held it together all Friday while with the girls, and then Friday night I just lost it. We felt too close to the end that day, and it all happened so abruptly. 

Happily, Layla made some improvements over the weekend and can now walk pretty easily (although she's still staggering and needs to be carried up and down lots of steps), is eating her meals so long as we mix rice in, and is generally acting more like herself. I love that pup so much -- she's been by my side since I was 19. I know nobody can live forever, but I want my first baby to be comfortable and happy for as long as possible. I'll keep you updated on how she's doing! In the meantime, if you have any experience with Vestibular Disease, let me know. Thank you so much for your thoughts and well wishes for our girl.

+ Porch updates.

One of the things I first loved about our house is the front porch! I grew up with one very much like it and have so many memories of doing homework out on the rocking chairs, taking all sorts of pictures out there, and just people watching/reading/relaxing on the porch. Our porch has been sitting mostly empty for 2.5 years, but we recently added two black rocking chairs with some outdoor pillows and a fun new spring wreath for a mini makeover! This coming weekend, Steve plans to power wash which will really brighten it up. We're using the plant stand I had as a table between the rocking chairs for now, but the plan is to makeover an outdoor table we already have and use it there, and put the plant stand back by the door with either a fern (the only thing I can really keep alive) or some colorful flowers. Do you have a front porch? 

+ Weekend happenings.

Besides mostly staying home and caring for the pup this weekend, C got her hair cut on Friday and the girls and I tried a new pizza place next door for a spur of the moment lunch afterward. It was so tasty! I love discovering new places. On Saturday morning, C and I left bright and early to attend one of Steve's cousin's bridal showers for a few hours, so that was fun. C felt so grown up, putting the cloth napkin on her lap all by herself and drinking orange juice out of a glass. ;) Meanwhile at home, Steve and Hadley had a Barnes and Noble date. Lucky!

Sunday we were supposed to attend my cousin's gender reveal party in New York, and I was so sad to miss it, but we couldn't all leave Layla for the whole day. So I was FaceTimed in when the announcement was made -- I'm so excited to welcome a new little nephew to our family! Other than that, we mostly played outside all day since the weather was (finally!) really nice.

+ This week's menu.

Finally, this week's menu! What's on yours? I'm always looking for tasty new dinners to try!

Sunday - Baked potatoes with broccoli, cheese, and bacon

Monday - Crockpot creamy tortellini soup

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Crockpot honey garlic chicken with rice, veggies

Thursday - Beef tacos with leftover rice, and corn

Friday - Breakfast for dinner! Scrambled eggs, tater tots, and sausage

Saturday - Out

Friday Favorites | Lucky Finds

Friday, March 15, 2019

Happy Friday! It has been so quiet here. When life gets crazy, something needs to give, and unfortunately it's usually my "spare time" creative outlet. Booo. I'm hoping things ease up a bit and I can get back to consistently posting!

Did you have a good week? Ours was busy but the weather has started to warm up a bit and that has made so much difference. We went to playgrounds twice after school this week and the girls enjoyed playing outside with their grandparents who came to visit. We even already have a couple of things checked off our Spring Bucket List (which I will be sharing next week!) -- it's safe to say we're ready. :)

Some more favorites from this week...

-Our rocking chairs came (don't mind the porch itself that desperately needs a good spring cleaning)! They are GREAT quality and exactly what we wanted. We also got two of these outdoor pillows for them. I can't wait to put finishing touches on the porch and enjoy it all summer long.

-I made this super easy crockpot corn chowder for dinner one night and it was a hit (with the adults, not the kids -- but, hey, more for us!). To make this even easier, try using a bag of Simply Potatoes with Onions instead of chopping up your own potatoes and onion. Huge time saver!

-Did you see the big Pottery Barn sale going on? I'm tempted to pull the trigger on this bed for Hadley, since she's going to need a big girl bed before we know it. She's been asking for a "pink princess bed" -- be still my heart. 

-Nordstrom is also having a good sale, and these two staple dresses are included: this ruched one with a cult following, and this tank maxi dress. Both are so versatile!

-I thought I'd leave you with these two little faces. The sweetest.

Hope you have a great weekend! 

International Women's Day: What It Means to Me

Friday, March 8, 2019

"Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them." 

I'm sure you've been seeing this quote a lot today, on this International Women's Day. It's a good one, right? I've been so fortunate to know the influence of strong women in my life. My grandmothers: one of whom immigrated to this country and started completely anew in a strange land while raising seven unbelievable children, and the other who was a quiet yet unbelievably steady pillar of strength for her family until the day she died. In fact, it was in her final days when she would have had every right to show fear that my mother's mother comforted me as I, nine months pregnant, cried at her hospital bed. I can't imagine the strength that must have taken, but I've tried to recall it in challenging moments ever since.

My own mother is literally the definition of strength in my eyes. Her entire life, she has always strived to do the right thing. She has always empathized with and stood up for the underdog. She somehow found the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other when she suddenly lost her husband and was faced with raising two young kids on her own. And she always showed up. She always let us know we were loved and gave us every single opportunity that she could to succeed. 

I could go on and on, from my mother-in-law who works as a scientist in a male-dominated field and raised my husband to deeply respect and work best alongside women, to my incredible aunts who have fought their own battles - from cancer to heartbreak - and have emerged even stronger, to my sister-in-law, friends, and colleagues who know what it is to lift one another up. 

Oh yes, I've known strong women.

I know that they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, from all different types of upbringings, with all different kinds of interests and passions and goals, and I've learned that they don't always roar. Sometimes, the strongest women I've known radiate a quiet strength, one that is unspoken but also unquestioned. Don't get me wrong, roaring is great and sometimes necessary, but a strong woman doesn't fit any mold.

And when it comes to raising strong women, I still can't believe I've been given the opportunity to raise two of them. What a privilege it is for me to raise daughters. I think all the time about the things I most want to teach them, the things I hope to instill in them. They are forces, already. Smart, strong, brave, inquisitive, innovative, kind, loving, compassionate. I want them to always know their worth, without question. Self-confidence isn't the same thing as selfishness, and it often doesn't look as we would expect it to. It's the unwavering belief in who we are and where we come from that centers us when waters get choppy. It's the inner strength that we turn to when others are cruel, and it's the very thing that allows us to cheer others on -- especially other women. My girls have such a strong sense of sisterhood already, and having not grown up with a sister myself, it's been really special to witness. I wish for them to bring the same love, respect, and care to their friendships with women, and someday to their mentees, and maybe even their own daughters.

Let's continue to root for each other. Let's continue to change the world.

Weekend Recap + This Week's Menu

Monday, March 4, 2019

Good morning ladies (and gentleman? I think I'm speaking just to my husband and possibly my brother here. ;)). How was your weekend? 

I mentioned on Friday morning that it had started snowing, and by Friday afternoon it turned into a full-blown snow day. The girls played outside for a while -- their favorite new thing is eating snow. I cringe a little, but I remember doing that as a kid, so... let them be little, right? Friday night Steve and I headed into the city (Philadelphia) to surprise one of my friends for her birthday! Her husband totally pulled this off and it was so fun to celebrate her at a yummy latin restaurant (and to have a little date night).

H has the right idea about the weekend. Hair up, pjs on, cookies in hand.

Saturday was pretty low key. My in-laws were here in the morning, so we hung out and played and then after dinner Hadley and I snuck out to do some shopping and brought milk shakes home for Steve and C. Sunday morning I picked up a bridal shower gift at Bed, Bath & Beyond and then we mostly hung out and played, cleaned, etc. After H's nap we took the girls to the book store for a little bit. It's one of our favorite things to do, especially on a rainy day!

As with all things technology, I'm very late to the game on this but I finally downloaded the Kindle app onto our iPad and flew through a book this weekend -- Verity, thanks to Danielle's recommendation. Last night I downloaded Where the Crawdads Sing, which has received such phenomenal reviews, so I'm really excited to get started on it. I love reading (and love feeling a book in my hands), but I'm finding the Kindle app to be SO much easier, cheaper, and overall more realistic right now. Such a nice way to wind down at night! I was thinking of doing a book review with some recent books I've read -- any interest?

On to this week's menu:

Sunday - Kielbasa, macaroni & cheese and peas

Monday - Baked potatoes with broccoli, melted cheese and bacon

Tuesday - Tikka masala chicken with rice and leftover broccoli

Wednesday - Chicken enchilada soup in the crockpot

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Pizza & caesar salad

Saturday - Out!

Hope your Monday is off to a good start. We've got this!

Friday Favorites: Lucky Finds

Friday, March 1, 2019

Another Friday finally decides to roll around. ;)

It's the first day of March, and THIS is what we woke up to this morning. Mother Nature, you are a funny thing. I'm planning to take the girls out to enjoy it while it lasts... might as well, right? I think we're all beyond ready for spring, warmth, and sunshine though. These Northeast winters can be so dreary and feel so long. 

Any fun weekend plans in the works? We have a relatively quiet one planned over here, which will be nice! 

To kick off the weekend, I'm rounding up some recent Friday Favorites and Lucky Finds:

-First, thank you for your support for Rosie! You guys loved her feature as our February feature in the Women Who Inspire series.

-I dare you to read this story and not tear up. If you have a pup, consider sending this sweet girl a letter this weekend! 

-These $20 mules are so cute for Spring. They'd go with everything!

-Have you heard of Packed Party? I just discovered it and it has some really fun and affordable stuff. I love this colorful travel bag and this unique tote.

-Love this piece that my friend (hi, Hillary!) recently shared. Can you relate?

-Did you guys hear the news? Vineyard Vines is doing a collab with Target to launch 5/18! The price points seem great. I'll be excited to see what they come up with.

-Target bathing suits/cover ups are buy 1 get 1 50% off! Perfect way to distract myself from the fact that there is a few inches of snow outside.

-Raise your hand if you loved The Babysitters Club books! (This 90s kid raises hand high) They are apparently bringing a series to Netflix

Hope you enjoy a relaxing weekend, friends! 
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