Ch-ch-changes (and Happy Father’s Day!)

You may have noticed I made a few changes to the blog yesterday. Nothing big, just a new background color and header, but still felt the need to acknowledge them. I know posts have been few and far between lately, but I will be back to my normal posting soon. I promise. We’ve had a lot of change over here in the past couple months, with A LOT happening in the past couple weeks, and it’s taken me a little while to get used to it all.

Honestly, I would probably just write about it all today, but it’s Sunday, and I’d rather bake a special dessert for my husband instead. John is flying back from Mexico today, and I have a few sweet surprises for him.

Speaking of, Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there! I hope each and every one of you have a great day, and maybe get a new necktie or some handmade pottery and/or other craft.

We will back to our regularly scheduled parenting stuff tomorrow.

HSM’s Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s day is around the corner, y’all! I am ashamed to admit prior to having Amelia I never thought much into Mother’s Day. I know, I know, I’m a terrible daughter. I mean, I love and appreciate my mother every day, but now having a child myself, I am way, way, way into Mother’s Day. Not so much because I love presents and cards and flowers (well, I mean, I do), but because I am into showing my love and appreciation to the mothers in my life way more now that I too am a mother.

I know gift giving can be difficult, and because of that, I have put together a neat little gift guide. Fellas, if you are looking for ideas, chances are something on this list will work (I am into almost everything on the planet at least a little, and I am very much a typical “girl”, so chances are something on this list will work for your leading lady). Mamas, feel free to forward this to your man, use it for ideas for your mom or MIL (or important mother figure in your life), or even buy yourself a little something. You deserve it!

Almost everything on this list is less than $50, because I know I am not the only person that needs to pinch their pennies, but everything is lovely and thoughtful, and a lot of it is even useful. A lot of it is also frivolous because sometimes gifts should be.  Don’t say I never did anything for you.

For the Coffee Lover

Adorable coffee cups (Like these, these, or these)

A French Press. I LOVE COFFEE. I seriously have two coffee makers on my counter, but I don’t have one of these, and the more I read about them the more I want one.

For the Tea Drinker

Ridiculously cute, vintage tea cups (use these, these, or these for inspiration)

A tea kettle. I always made my tea in the microwave (all the hard core tea drinkers are gasping in horror right now), until John got me a tea kettle for Christmas. I won’t say it changed the way I drink tea, but it is adorable and nice to have.

Loose leaf tea/infuser (I love this robot infuser and want him for myself!)

Tea brewing system. John got me this Tea Forte tea brewing system for Christmas, and I love it. It’s a really convenient way to make loose leaf tea!

For the Wine Aficionado 

Wine glass charms (How stinking cute are these? I am seriously in love with them.)

Stainless steel wine glasses. Summer is upon us after all, and summer is the season for picnics, outdoor concerts, and camping. While I am not above drinking wine out of a Dixie cup, every now and then it’s nice to look cool and classy, no?

In-bottle aerator. You know, if you care about things like “letting wine breathe” instead of just immediately chugging it out of the bottle. Oh, is that just me? Never-mind then.

For the Foodie

Spiral Vegetable Slicer. Making your veggies look like pasta is ALL THE RAGE on Pinterest right now, y’all.

My Family Cookbook. Better than a box of recipe cards.

For the Stylish Mama

Fun jewelry! Not necessarily even nice jewelry, just something fun, like a cool statement necklace or chunky bracelet.

Birthstone earrings. Especially good if she already has a pendant or ring with your kid’s or your birthstone.

A cute clutch (pair it with an invitation for a fun night out if this is given to your wife, hint hint)

A subscription to Stitch Fix (I haven used this for myself, but I really want to, and I have heard great things about it. You could also do BirchBox or Ipsy if makeup is more her bag).

For the Artsy-Fartsy Mama

Fun, original artwork. Etsy is a great place to go for stuff like this! I myself am partial to this, this, and this.

DIY something with your kids. Pinterest is filled with easy crafts to do.

For the music lovin’ mama:

CDs. Does anyone actually buy CDs anymore? If she has a band she buys all the singles on iTunes for, get her a few of their CDs, especially if they have older stuff she doesn’t know. Or rebuy some of her favorite CDs from high school or college, especially if it’s band you both loved and the songs have significance.

Cool old vinyl

Make a mix tape! Fill it with songs that mean things to her, to you, to you both, and to your kids.

For the Nerdy Mama (I told you I would have something for everyone)

Harry Potter nerds: This, this, or this, all awesome.

Doctor Who nerd. I never was able to get into Doctor Who, but even I still find this, this, and this cool.

Supernatural nerds. If you can’t get Jensen or Jared to make a personal appearance at her house, this or this is a good consolation prize.

Random things from around the Internet that I think are cool

Because who doesn’t love cheeky embroidery. I would want any of these in my house.

Personalize your voice sound wave. This is just plain awesome.

I feel like even a brown thumb like me could handle the moss in this adorable, recycled wine bottle terrarium.

Beach lover? Then she needs this!

If you are willing to spend the big bucks, this “A History of Existing Life” framed print is awesome.

These engraved, stackable rings are beautiful, but again, cost a lot of money.

My favorite online places for gifts: Etsy, Amazon, and Uncommon Goods. Sale sites like Zulily, One Kings Lane, and Rue La La are also great, but products often have short shelf lives and long shipping times, thus requires forethought.

Also a good idea: Hire a photographer for a family session, and whip up a cool gift certificate (this is pretty easy in almost any desktop publishing software, and there are plenty of free templates online). Most moms wish they had more pictures of them with their kids. I for one am always saying we need to do a family portrait session, but never seem to get around to doing it. Bonus: Everyone knows at least one budding photographer that needs material for a portfolio, so you can even do it on the cheap.

And don’t discount the power behind homemade cards and breakfast in bed, either!

Happy New Year

So, this is a little late, I actually started writing this yesterday then got side tracked. Then when I was trying to finish it while multitasking (translation: Holding my fussy, teething toddler), A smacked my keyboard and deleted the post. So I had to rewrite it this morning, but Happy New Year anyway! I hope you all spent your New Year’s Eve and Day doing whatever it is that makes you happy. For me, that was watching the ball drop while drinking champagne on the couch in yoga pants, and reading and playing and movie watching. Bliss.

2013 was definitely A Year for us. If you had asked me last year this time if I saw myself sitting where I am now (on my couch, staring outside at almost six inches of snow and counting), I would have laughed at you. But I am where I am, and I’m pretty happy with it (snow not withstanding). We both started new jobs, watched A turn one and learn and grow so much, and moved 1000 miles away from home to Indiana. 2013 definitely had ups and downs, but overall it was a great year, and I think we are starting 2014 in a great place. I’m ready to see what this year has in store for us.

I’m not doing any fancy resolutions or goals this year. I’m keeping it pretty simple: Be healthy, be happy, write more (not just for this blog, but in general, going to try to get back into freelancing and maybe some short stories), read more, drink more tea, and enjoy my life. I think I can handle those. What are your goals for the new year?

(It’s still snowing, by the way.)

Back to normal

Well, hello there! I hope you all had a merry Christmas or happy holidays, or happy whatever you celebrate. If you couldn’t tell by my lack of posting, December kind of kicked my ass this year. Between the shortened holiday season, a chaotic travel schedule for John, colds for everyone, and a whirlwind of holiday visitors, I haven’t had a lot of down time since the beginning of the month.

So what did we miss? We celebrated my birthday. I’d love to say I turned 27 in style, but instead I celebrated with pizza and diet Coke, which is pretty good in my book. John’s Dad visited the weekend before Christmas, and my parents were here all last week. It was so nice to see them, but it’s nice to have my quiet house back.

And of course, there was Christmas, the juggernaut of the month. A’s second Christmas was tons of fun. It was also the first Christmas John and I celebrated at our own house, so it was a very special milestone for us. A still doesn’t understand Christmas or Santa, but she still got excited when she saw her stocking and the presents. She went straight to them. What were the big hits this year? The Sesame Street cell phone, Elmo car keys, and the playhouse are getting the most play right now, but she also loves her new push toy and the Sesame Street foam floor puzzle she got.

Right now I’m in that “holiday hangover” stage, where I’m just trying to recover from the excitement and exhaustion. Honestly I’m ready for New Years to just get here so things can get completely back to normal, including regular posting.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I love this time of year. It is hands down my absolute favorite time of year. I love everything about December. I love Christmas cookies. I love Christmas musics. I love holiday specials on TV. I love cooking for people and entertaining. I love fires in the fireplace. I love candy canes and peppermint anything. I love stockings, Santas, and reindeer. I even love the cold and snow (as long as it isn’t too much). I love getting Christmas cards. I love it all. All of it makes me feel warm and cozy and happy.

I do not like how busy it always is, though. I wrote about it last year, and my feelings towards how rushed the holidays feel, especially now as an adult, haven’t changed. This year is really bad since Thanksgiving was later and therefore the Christmas season is shorter. I’ve learned my lesson since years past and got started earlier this year. I finished getting all of A’s presence by Thanksgiving (I picked up her last stocking stuffer today). I ordered all our nephews’ and niece’s presents on Amazon and just had them shipped directly to their houses (last one done today). I have our Christmas cards addressed and ready to be mailed tomorrow. Our tree has been up since Thanksgiving day, and I decorated the outside of the house the first weekend of December. Really, the only thing that’s left is finishing up Christmas shopping for John. And enjoying the holiday, of course.

You could say I’m doing better at time management. Maybe I’m just getting wiser in my old(er) age (speaking of which my birthday is Wednesday! I love birthdays). I think a good part of it is there is little expectation this year. We are celebrating Christmas here, at our house (my parents are driving up to share it with us), so the chaos of Christmas Eve and Christmas won’t be there. We don’t have any place to be, and as sad as I am to not be home in Louisiana for Christmas, it is kind of nice to not have anywhere to be.

Unrelated but totally adorable: We got our first real snowfall a couple days ago. Here is a video of A reacting to snow.

Awesome soundtrack in the background courtesy of John.

Gratefulness

Happy Thanksgiving! You know, I don’t do the 30 days of Thanks thing on Facebook, because I don’t really care to post that much on Facebook, but I did want to take a moment today to count my numerous blessings.

I am thankful for our families. They have been extraordinarily supportive of us every step of the way, especially during our move this year. I am grateful for their endless love and guidance. I am especially thankful for A’s grandparents. John and I are extremely lucky our little girl has such loving grandparents, and we’re very lucky to have the amazing parents we have. It warms my heart to think how much our little girl is loved by everyone around her.

I am thankful for my husband, who puts up with me no matter how whiny and annoying I can get, which is pretty whiny and annoying. I am grateful for his patience, his love, and his positive spirit. I am especially thankful I married the only man who is able to make me laugh and smile even when I’m my maddest, even if that trait annoys me from time to time.

I am thankful for our friends, both old and new. We’re lucky to be surrounded my such great people, both close and far in proximity. I’m grateful for all of the new friends A is making, too.

I am thankful for all the career opportunities we have now and will have in the future. I’m extremely grateful we both have stable jobs in an unstable career climate.

I am thankful for the house we call home. I am especially thankful for the working heater this Thanksgiving, since it is freaking cold here (the coldest Thanksgiving in almost a decade in Indy, apparently).

I am thankful for our new city and our new state. It was no secret that I was not super excited about moving to Indiana. It’s not a state I ever saw myself living in, but Indiana and Hoosiers have been some of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met. We’re finally really settling in here, and it’s really starting to feel like home. Dare I say it, I am grateful to live here. It’s a beautiful state, a beautiful city, with some beautiful people.

I am thankful for the food in my fridge and pantry. I’m grateful I’m able to feed my family this Thanksgiving, our first Thanksgiving on our own, just the three of us. We’re going to have a modest little meal (the classic Thanksgiving meal, but scaled down, and with a few substitutions), but I’m thankful for my cooking ability to prepare it.

I am thankful for you! I started this blog as a way to document my journey through pregnancy and parenthood, and while I hoped people would read it and laugh or smile or commiserate, I never expected it. I am so incredibly grateful for every like, every comment, every view. Y’all are the best. I love each and every single one of you.

Mostly though, I am thankful for this little girl, who lights my world up with love every single day. photo (73)

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day, mamas! You are all beautiful, amazing and strong, and the world is a better place because of each and every one of you. I sincerely hope you all spend the day doing whatever it is that makes you happy.

As for me, I am enjoying a relaxing day with my awesome husband and kickass daughter. If not for her, I’d have no reason to celebrate today. Being a mom is the hardest, most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I’m so thankful I get to wake up everyday and be her mom.

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