Binge-Worthy | What We're Watching

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Not sure about you, but a question that seems to always come up amongst my friends is: are you watching anything good? It's nice to unwind at the end of a long day with a good (or even just a purely entertaining) show or movie. I grew up hanging out in the den and watching a show or two with my family at the end of the day. Not much has changed!

Well, except for the fact that one day Steve and I realized that cable was silly expensive and we didn't watch 99% of the channels we had access to. So in true millennial fashion, we cut cable and turned to subscription services for our TV/movie fix. Currently we only subscribe to Netflix and Disney+ (because kids) but at various times we've also had Hulu and HBO subscriptions. I think we're the only people on the planet to not have an Amazon Prime subscription. I'm curious: do you have cable or do you rely on subscription services too (or both)? 

Anyway! All of that leads me to chat with you about what we've been watching lately. I'd love to hear your recommendations, too!

Netflix Binges

You: Creepy, addictive, will keep you binging (and guessing) even when you can barely look.

Inside the Mind of Aaron Hernandez: Entertaining and interesting for those who are into true crime; disturbing and sad nonetheless. I was mostly interested in hearing about how the physical trauma Aaron's brain endured from playing football might have played into his crimes, but they only briefly touched on this at the end.

The Stranger: Again, strangely addictive. Not the best acting, but it will keep you watching, and my heart was actually racing in the later episodes of the series.

Love Is Blind: Unrealistic "reality" show about dating/love and the question, "is love blind?" and yet wildly entertaining for some strange reason -- I am currently watching and can't tear my eyes away. 

The Pharmacist: I thought this documentary about the opioid crisis would be more interesting and have more to it, but I found it pretty boring and draggy.

Good Girls: I actually watched this first on regular TV (we still have a few major broadcast channels via antenna) and loved it. Really entertaining and funny! Recommend.

Workin' Moms: Often really funny and a little sad at the same time. This show follows a group of mom friends all navigating their own families, roles as moms, professional lives, relationships and more.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You: Follow up to the first movie, this one is definitely cute and entertaining and worth the watch. I liked the first one more, but if you need something light, give this a try.

Unbelievable: Really, really good. Steve and I can rarely find a show we both enjoy (what can we say, opposites attract?) but this one was so well acted and the story kept you invested in getting to the truth.

Dead to Me: Did not expect to like this one but it was actually a pretty fun (albeit dark) watch. 

Friday Favorites | Thinking Spring (In February)

Friday, February 21, 2020

Is anyone else already thinking spring? I know I can't be the only one. Honestly -- and I think I've mentioned it before -- I always start to think spring in terms of plans, clothes, decorating, pretty much everything beginning in January. By the time the new year rolls around, I am ready to say goodbye to any brief winter we've had and plan on sunshine, warm weather, fun plans and happy colors in my closet and house.

Here are a few early spring lovelies I've spied:

1. Crossbody Saddle Bag | This is my favorite purse brand for a few reasons: the quality is incredible, you can personalize your bag with your initials (subtly embossed in gold), and it's not as well known as some other brands so you don't see it absolutely everywhere. I've been carrying one of their bags as my primary purse aside from my diaper bag for over six years.

2. Tortoise Sunglasses | I'll admit, I'm not a sunglasses girl. I have one pair at a time and wear them until they break or I lose them. ;) For that reason, I'm not one to spend a ton on a pair of sunglasses. This neutral pair is only $17 and I love the lighter tortoise for spring/summer.

3. Floral dress | This is a bit of a splurge, but hello, how cute. If you have a bridal shower or another fun spring event, I don't think you can beat this pretty button down dress. That color combo is warm weather perfection. By the way, who else has shopped at Tuckernuck? I recently purchased something for the first time from them (on mega sale + free shipping!) and was very happy with the overall experience.

4. Mary Jane Flats | Do you own a pair of Rothys? In the blog world, they're talked about a lot and the reviews are pretty amazing. I'd love to hear if they're as comfortable and versatile as everyone says! This new style caught my eye. That bow!

5. Patio Set | This Serena & Lily inspired patio set (at a much more reasonable price than Serena & Lily) is amazing and I sort of desperately want it for my actual kitchen. But really, I do.

6. Door Mat | I have been on a door mat kick, apparently (I shared this one from Anthro last week) -- but I had to share this one because I had a lot of questions about our current door mat (which is this one) and this Target version is so similar!

7. Lemon Wreath | Not sure if lemons will be a thing this spring, but in my eyes they already are! I bought an almost identical wreath from Homegoods and it's patiently awaiting the first day of March when I will deem it appropriate to officially declare winter over and decorate with all of the spring things.

8. Embroidered Tee | This t-shirt is currently en route to my house (snagged during Loft's recent 40% off + free shipping promo -- you all know how I feel about paying shipping). I spotted it a month ago and knew I needed it immediately. "I'll be by the sea" -- yes please!

Are you thinking ahead to warmer, sunnier days like me? What's on your spring wish list?

The Girls at Ages 6, 3, and 5 Months

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Happy Wednesday, all! I hope your week is going well. We've been finally enjoying some blue skies and sunshine in New Jersey so that has me smiling. Thank you, by the way, for the love for yesterday's post about parenting. It's always really encouraging and rewarding for me when I share my heart and realize just how many of you need to hear the same messages I do. It makes me feel like we really are all in this together!

Life has just been flying by lately as if someone is pressing the fast forward button. The girls are growing and changing so quickly. I guess it's their ages -- six, three, and (almost!) five months are still so little and there are huge leaps in development happening right now for all three. I wanted to document what they're like at these ages for my memory's sake more than anything. :)

Carrington | 6 Years Old

Carrie at six years old is artistic, creative, inventive and curious. She is in a major arts and crafts stage, constantly drawing and creating. There are a million pieces of paper all over the house and glue smeared on most surfaces at any given time, and I can't keep scotch tape in stock here at the house. We call her a "maker" because she will think of something she wants to make, and she'll find the tools around the house to just do it. I admire that, because I feel like I am personally much more of a planner and often lose steam in the execution. She takes after her dad in that she not only plans, but she does -- and she does so with the infectious enthusiasm, optimism, and pride of a sweet six year old.

Carrie is reaching for her independence more lately. She gets dressed completely on her own and prefers to pick out her own outfit (on a daily basis she prefers comfort over fashion, but also absolutely loves putting on a fancy dress or decking herself out in jewels when the mood strikes). She loves to make her own food and help her sisters in any way she can. She is the classic oldest child in that she is a second little mommy, caring and protective as can be, and yet bossy as hell. She's always been my least snuggly kid, but I think being away at school all day has made her crave hugs and cuddles more and I am not complaining one bit. 

Carrie is a homebody and prefers to hang out at home when she's not at school. She loves playing with Hadley and going on adventures. They are always in the back yard pretending something together. Carrie tends to idolize adventurous characters over the typical "princess," which we love about her. She's also a collector. She has about ten different collections going at any one time: rocks, acorns, beads, you name it. Anything has the potential to be a treasure in Carrington's eyes.

This girl is smart and doesn't miss a beat. We can no longer talk about things in front of her that we don't want her to know about, because she will catch on immediately and start asking questions. And she asks the best and hardest questions. She stretches our minds and our hearts, that's for sure. Six years old has been my very favorite age so far and I just absolutely cannot wait to continue to watch this girl grow.

Hadley | 3 Years Old

Hadley at three is imaginative, funny, loving, and challenging. I say challenging with love, because the "terrible twos" for Hadley were not terrible at all -- I knew that three was going to be the age that gave us a run for our money. Hadley has always had an enormous amount of energy. Even in utero, we nicknamed her Hurricane Haddie. This girl is a tornado of love, sweetness, and emotion at three. 

Hadley loves playing pretend with her characters more than anything. She can create a pretend scenario out of anything -- you'll often catch her with a group of rocks that is "talking" to one another if her characters aren't within reach. Usually her pretend scenarios involve a family, and there's always an element of drama in her imaginary world. We say all the time that we wouldn't be surprised if Hadley becomes a movie director someday. She likes to direct what everyone does/says and will stand up to her big sister these days if she wants to play a game her own way. I love that she's embracing her own thoughts and ideas.

Hadley started school in September and I just had her teacher conference a couple of weeks ago -- her teacher described her as a friend to everyone, which I loved. Haddie has always been social and quite extraverted (especially compared to Carrie), saying hello to random people when we're out in public, greeting every neighbor, and making friends wherever we go. She is quick to start playing with other kids wherever we are. 

Despite her outgoing and energetic personality, Hadley is quite sensitive and craves affection. She loves hugs (and she gives the best ones!) and is quick to get her feelings hurt if she feels someone is upset with her. She's also quick to forgive, though. Hadley is such a fun, bright light in our lives and I can't believe just how big she seems at three. 

Isabelle | 5 Months

Oh, sweet Isabelle. This baby continues to be the most laid back, smiliest, easiest baby and we thank our lucky stars every day for the joy she brings to our family. She's adored and fawned over by her big sisters. Truly, there has never been an ounce of jealousy or resentment toward Isabelle and I think that's partly because she just shows so much love to each of us that nobody could ever resent her -- in fact, it couldn't be clearer just how grateful we all are to have her as part of our crew.

Isabelle loves to sleep (all of the praise hands!), be held and snuggled, and be talked to. If you take the time to smile and talk to her, she will reward you with her signature open mouth smiles that light up her face, and she'll probably stick her tongue out at you. She seems really social so far, so it'll be interesting to see if that remains part of her personality.

Right now, Isabelle is loving crinkly toys, lights and songs, chewing on her hands, and being involved in whatever we're doing. She doesn't prefer to be left alone (who can blame her?), and she's happy to just sit and observe as long as she's with her people. She's definitely starting to teeth and her neck/core strength seems to be improving a lot (that 97th% head won't hold her down) -- we're all excited for when she begins sitting on her own! She's still suffering from pretty bad eczema (and scratches it, as you can see by her picture!) so we're on the search for what will help that.

Next month will be a big one because we'll be introducing solid food to our sweet Belle. Every month brings a million changes and developments when they're this young, so it's fun to think about how much she'll grow in just a short time. Although since she's my last baby, I'd be happy for her to slow it down juuust a little. ;)

My wildest dreams have come true with these three daughters of mine, and no matter what comes our way, I feel like I've won the lottery every day. Truly. I am so grateful and excited for our future with these girls.

The Extraordinary Ordinary

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

To those in the thick of parenting: have you ever looked at photos of people traveling the world, or accomplishing something that makes a really big, loud, or noticeable impact and thought: that's extraordinary. Then your thoughts are interrupted for the hundredth time by little voices and you glance down to your own milk-stained shirt and, well, you feel anything but extraordinary.

In the day to day -- the sticker-covered, messy day to day -- when we are on the front lines of tantrums and more time is spent talking about bodily functions than we ever thought possible and at least 40% of our day is spent pouring milk... it becomes easy to believe that what we're doing is ordinary. Sometimes painfully so.

And it's because, honestly, the work of keeping humans alive is far from glamorous. It's not always pretty to look at and often not impressive to listen to.

But damn, it is important. 

Because while it doesn't draw crowds or a million likes on Instagram like the perfectly filtered photo of an exotic adventure, raising babies into children and children into adults is indeed important, honorable, and admirable work. Work during which you find your very heart has somehow grown. In all of the moments that seems so ordinary, you are actually building a family; a group of people who provide unconditional support for one another, whose love and stories will be passed on and on. You are building a legacy in those mundane, exhausting, so not glamorous moments. And if that's not extraordinary, I don't know what is.

We've been groomed to believe that something is only special if it looks that way, but we all know by now how deceiving appearances can be. Still we ask ourselves: if we don't look our best, and sometimes don't even feel our best, how can these really be the best years? How can this work be impactful if its everyday truth doesn't appeal to the masses and it doesn't look pretty from the outside? Are we extraordinary if we're not recognized for our tireless work? Are we extraordinary in our sweatpants, with our hair tossed up, and small arms wrapped around our necks?

I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't take care of ourselves or go after the other things we dream about, whether they be work or life-related. Of course we should. I know I still have dreams I hold dear that aren't related to my role as a parent, and I haven't given up on them. I still want to travel, to see sights that take my breath away, to experience new and interesting people and places. I want to accomplish certain goals professionally and creatively. Those values haven't gone away and I hope they don't for you either. I hope you realize they don't have to.

But if you find you just can't do it all in this season, or it's not your time to fly to the other side of the world, or you're not publicly awarded for your hard work as a parent (there is no employee of the month plaque that I'm aware of) -- please just know, even when you couldn't feel more ordinary, you are anything but. 

Friday Favorites: Things I'm Loving

Friday, February 7, 2020

We made it to Friday, friends! 

Today we're celebrating a very special birthday over here. I'll give you a hint: we are celebrating the only person in our house who is not a girl. Ha! Happy Birthday, Steve! This is the seventeenth birthday I'll be spending with you, and I hope it's your best one yet. I bet you never thought, all those years ago, that there would be four sets of girls' arms around you giving you birthday hugs. ;) We all love you so much and can't wait to have a delicious dinner out tonight!

Besides my husband ;), I'm also loving some other things this rainy Friday and I thought I'd share with you:

-This doormat is the prettiest I've seen and has me thinking Spring!

-I signed up for online Barre classes and HOLY I am so sore. I'm really excited about keeping up with them, though! I've wanted to try Barre for a while and this was a great, realistic way for me to check it out.

-My colleague Katie just wrote this article for Romper about caring for sick kids during this never-ending winter, and it is so. true.

-I got a sample of this honey mask by Farmacy in a recent Sephora order and absolutely loved it. I'm not usually a big mask person, but this one was amazing!

-Did you guys see the viral post about the different ways that people think? It's sort of blown up the Internet. Do YOU have an internal monologue?

-Fellow parents! Gymboree is coming back and I just got an email that they will have FREE SHIPPING on their website. This is huge, as I refuse to pay shipping, haha.

Wishing you a fantastic (and sunny!) weekend ahead!

Monday Coffee Talk | 5 Ways to REALLY Achieve Your 2020 Goals

Monday, February 3, 2020

Welcome Monday and February! A new week and month, so what better time to talk about fresh starts?

Did you make resolutions for this new year? I talked a little bit in this post about how I decided to do things a little differently this year in terms of resolutions. Instead of setting big, general resolutions for 2020, I decided to break it down into monthly goals. I figured that, especially in this crazy stage of life, my resolutions might feel more attainable if I broke them down a little and took monthly steps to reach them. For example, instead of "purge the entire house of junk" you could say, ok, in February I will donate old clothes from our closets. In March I will find some large items to post for sale. In April I will have the kids help in identifying what toys they don't play with anymore.

Before we tackle our goals, let's lay some ground rules for ourselves, shall we?

Tomorrow I'll share my personal goals for February, and I'd love to hear yours!
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