TBB Asks: Giving Thanks

I'm a day late, but I like the TBB Asks posts, and wanted to participate in this month's questions!
1. Have you ever kept a Gratitude Journal? 
Yes--I did in college and then one time since. I've found that it helps me start looking for the positive little things in every day when I'm getting overwhelmed by the hard/heavy things.

2. Hosting Thanksgiving at your house? 
Yes, about 4 or 5 times we've hosted at our place. Some of my favorite memories of MG, myself and our parents.
3. Favorite Food from The Thanksgiving Meal? 
Stuffing and squash casserole that my mom makes. And I love sweet potatoes!

4. What one thing in Nature are you most grateful for? 
Trees. I love all of the different kinds, the shapes of leaves, how they change. And the fact that they give us oxygen to breathe is a pretty great thing too.
{via}
5. Pumpkin Pie: Yes or No? 
NO! I'm an apple pie girl. The consistency of pumpkin pie just gets me gaggy.

6. Traditional Cookbook: Yes or No? Sometimes...usually I find my recipes on Pinterest, but I've gotten a few from cookbooks before, like Chrissy Tiegen's Cravings--yum!

7. Oven Baked or Deep-Fried Turkey? 
I've never had a deep fried turkey but I could imagine it tastes wonderful.

8. Thanksgiving Leftovers: Yes or No?  
Duh. Leftovers are the best!

9. What is one household product your most grateful for? 
My Doterra essential oil cleaner that my friend Shay sent me. It's safe, smells good, and gets the job done!

10. Are you most grateful for home cooked meals or restaurant meals? 
Both, depending on the day. I especially love a home cooked meal when someone else is cooking it for me as opposed to me doing the cooking, haha

If you haven't, get out there and VOTE today! Virginia doesn't let us vote ahead of time, so I'll be standing in line, making my voice heard today--make sure you do too!

WHW: Happy Halloween!

Happy Wednesday and Happy Halloween, friends!
I hope your weeks have been off to a great start and you're ready for some trick-or-treating (or visits from trick-or-treaters) tonight! MG and I will be taking our cute little parrot out for some trick-or-treating in our neighborhood tonight!
Mine started with getting back home from Minnesota on Monday (we all survived flying with an 18 month old--alllllll the praise hands), and jumping back into work on Tuesday, which had me super exhausted, so I'm still kinda recovering from our 4 day weekend away.

We had a jam packed weekend with our friends that I'll recap soon. For now, look at this adorable photo of the four kids together! It was the best :)

In the meantime, link up and share with Jessi and I what's hap-"pinning" with you!


Weekly Wins: Minnie-So-Da

Happy Friday!
This week was a pretty fantastic one, made even better by the fact that we are currently on our way to Minnesota for our annual trip to visit our friends. Nothing makes a week better than having a short work week, a long weekend, and seeing good friends.
Pray for us that Ella is a doll on the plane. We're waking her up early this morning to make the flight so we could have a cranky pants on our hands at some point today.

Let's talk about some wins for the week:
~Having the best friends--I'm blessed!

~Speaking of friends, I got to see my girl Lynn this past weekend when she was in town! Catching up over chips and guac like no time had passed at all--the best :)
~Getting a new book recommendation, and loan, from a friend (hoping I can finish my current read semi soon so I can dive into this one).

~Ella has made it through the week without a cold (just regular daycare runny nose!) Praise!!

~I had a meeting for work on Monday that got out early and let me scoop up my baby girl and head home early!
~A beautiful 70 degree day in the middle of the week...wish we could get a few more of those!

~Getting to see our friends, and their three kids this weekend, plus a parents night out and Sunday Night Football at the Vikings game!
 from last year's visit
~We found a new bar that Ella can't get into, so now we can actually store our wine and liquor and glasses, without fear of a little someone getting into it. Plus we got it on a great sale at World Market, and it goes with our dining room table so well! MG was a master at putting this beast together!
~Ella cracked us up this week by taking bubble wrap from a package we got, laying it down, and laying on top of it! Then she'd say "night night". I love this kid.
What are some of your wins this week?

Tasty Tuesday....on Wednesday

Yeah, I had started this post in preparation for Tuesday, and well, we see how well that worked out! But, I'm here today!!
The temps are dropping rapidly here in Virginia (seriously we went from summer heat to early winter's chill), and that calls for some cool weather recipes!

Here's what I've been cooking in my kitchen lately:
For those of you with an Instant Pot, this recipe is a must! Stuffed Pepper soup! I lowered the pepper amount because it gave it a spice to it, that I didn't think Ella would like. She devoured it, and so did we!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup--home made. This is a tried and true recipe for me--one I bust out every year when the temps get cooler. We eat ours with croutons and rye toast and butter. It's the best! Time consuming, but so delicious (and even better when it sits for a day or two).

Cauliflower "baked potato" Soup: This one is a great dupe for a baked potato soup, but without all the carbs, and you get a healthy dose of veggies in each bite! I think you could adapt this to the Instant Pot with a little bit more chicken stock. Anything with bacon bits is a win!

Here are a few recipes I want to try now that it's warmer:

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole--this just sounds like it's packed with all kinds of deliciousness

Chicken Bacon Ranch Baked Penne. It doesn't look healthy but it makes my mouth water just looking at the pic.
Swedish Meatballs. I've wanted to try making these for a while, plus I think it'd be a good change up from our easy crockpot meatballs (which we have on rotation almost every other week).
What are some recipes you bust out as soon as the weather turns colder? Share them with me so I can add them to my list!

Link up and share what's hap-"pinning" with you!


Confessions

It's been a LONG time since I've done a confessions post (or, let's be honest, any post not on a Wednesday), so I wanted to get back on the train and do one!

I confess that....

....since my work took away my access to blogs, it's made it really hard for me to read anything in any free time that I have at work, or draft posts. So that's why I've been MIA a lot. And when I've gotten home lately, I have minimal to no energy to write a post, I just want to veg out and watch tv or read my Kindle.

....I can't resist buying cute clothes for Ella. And I always seem to think she has less than she actually does, until I go to put away the new stuff and remember all of the other stuff she actually does have.
Her new Fall/Winter coat is the cutest thing ever!


.....speaking of Ella's clothes, I'm sad that she's growing out of some of her cute summer outfits (and the weather isn't allowing it anymore). There's something about seeing that little body in the cute clothes that just gives me the warm fuzzies.

...my best friend announced her pregnancy a couple of weeks ago and I'm over the moon excited for her and her husband. And the fact that they're having a girl so Ella will have a mini bestie in Virginia Beach!
.
.....Ella's kisses are my fave.

....Loft pissed me off by changing their return window to 30 days from 45 days. It used to be 90 then 45 and randomly now it's 30 days. So I got half of my money back for a shirt that I didn't want because I returned it on day 43. Jerks.

....I was pleasantly surprised to get a note from my principal in my work mailbox, praising me. In addition to a compliment she gave me in front of parents, and thanking me for a good meeting. It's a wonderful feeling to feel appreciated and valued, something I haven't felt by my admin for a while.

....the most recent findings about climate change from the U.N. scientists terrifies the hell out of me. And the appropriate response isn't "well, it's too late now, so we may as well keep doing what we're doing." I wish our elected officials would start doing things to protect us and our future as opposed to undoing everything for corporate greed.

What are you confessing?

{WHW}: Lately....

Lately I'm....

Reading: Beneath a Scarlet Sky and really enjoying it so far!

Eating: Soups! With temps in the 50s and 60s this week, we've got soup on the menu twice. Broccoli Cheddar and Cauliflower "baked potato" soup! Alllllll the yum!

Drinking: Smoothies. More yum!

Thankful: for my tribe

Grateful: that a day off of work yesterday happened to get me out of a tough IEP meeting, for the time being 

Feeling: hopeful and loved

Excited: for our annual trip to Minnesota coming up, seeing our friends, and the Vikings game of course!

Dreading: flying with an 18 month old. (Also feeling like I may not be above whipping out an iPad to entertain her for the flight for our sanity and everyone else's. No judgement.)

Watching: Suits...we are just burning through the seasons. And Poldark is back!

Enjoying: that Ella now gives me kisses when I drop her off at preschool by leaning in and going "mmmmm" and then blows me kisses too. #ohmymamaheart


Link up with Jessi and I below and share what's hap-"pinning" with you too!



{WHW}: He's Back!!

Happy Wednesday friends! 
Last Friday was a really exciting day for us because MG got home from being in Thailand for 10 days. It was tough being a single mom for that long (praise all of you single moms, and moms with husbands who travel a ton or work insane hours), but we made it through. The evenings of nicely prepared, healthy meals were kinda thrown out the window for fast and easy (and still semi-healthy) because cooking with a 17 month old is just not easy.

So this past weekend we enjoyed having MG home. Ella's face when she saw her daddy NOT on FaceTime was priceless!
We ate in Friday night and went to the park in our neighborhood. Saturday morning we went for a walk since it felt like a crisp Fall morning, and by afternoon it was a hot summer day again. We headed over to our friends' house for a Fall party, and Ella enjoyed devouring Doritos, running around their backyard, and making friends with another little girl named Ellie. Our friends got the most amazing BBQ, and had cider sangria (it was so yum!) and other delicious eats. So we gorged and then went home to tuck our little busy body into bed. 
Sunday morning we just ran errands and Sunday afternoon we met up with friends at our local produce place because they have a great section for kids and tons of pumpkins. It felt anything but Fall standing in the sun, sweating our tails off, but Ella loved seeing her boys for the first time in a while.
Afterwards, we went to dinner at Yardhouse and the kids had a blast being together complete with jumping on the booth seats, hugging and giggling. At the end, our oldest friend Jude said "I love you so much Ella"...it was the sweetest.
We;ve got some exciting things coming up, but that's what's been hap-"pinning" over here recently--link up with Jessi and I below and share yours!

{WHW}: Weeks Are So Long

Hey friends...
Is it me or is the week dragging? I actually feel like every week is really long this school year. Maybe it's still adjusting to the schedule, etc, but by the end of some weeks, if I try and think about something that happened earlier, I have a hard time remembering if it happened this week or the week before. 

It probably doesn't help that Ella's got another runny nose, that apparently made it hard for her to nap yesterday at preschool. As in, she didn't nap. At all. So early to bed for her last night, and I started feeling a scratchy throat on Monday night and ended up going to bed early that night myself because I was just beat. Hoping we can keep the full blown sickies away!

I'm already looking forward to the weekend (which, at this rate, will probably happen in about 2 months haha) for a ton of reasons. 
It's a short one today because honestly, I'm just tired.  Hoping your week is going faster than mine! 
Here's a pic of my sick cutie pie from this weekend, because I can't resist :)
Link up below and let us know what's hap-"pinning" with you!


{WHW}: It's Falllllllll

Happy WHW, friends!

It's been a really busy start to the week (something that seems to keep happening) so I'm recapping the weekend way late, as usual.

Friday after work, MG and I had planned to go out to dinner with Ella, but she had a pretty epic meltdown as we were getting into the car, so we scrapped the plan and ordered pizza in instead. She was kind of cranky and fussy the rest of the evening off and on, so bedtime was very welcome when it came.
In the meantime, we play with milk cartons...because toys are just boring
Saturday was Clarendon Day in Arlington, so after a trip to Costco (because that's a Saturday activity when you're in your 30s), we headed over to meet up with our friends and their twins and check everything out. Luckily the weather held out for the most part, with a couple of sprinkles. The kids got some of the street food (they eat better than we do I swear!) and Ella enjoyed stopping and dancing to the music at some of the booths. 
We snapped a picture of the three amigos before we headed home for nap time.
That afternoon it was still nice out, and the first day of Fall so we took Ella to a nearby playground. Apparently every other family in the area had the same idea and it was way crowded, so we went off on one of the paths nearby and had a little Ella photo shoot before heading home and having dinner.
Sunday we ran errands in the rain just to get out of the house for a bit, and then settled in for an indoor day, and football. 
My fantasy football team is pretty terrible this year, which sucks after winning last year.

Other random updates:
MG and I have also started watching Suits and are totally into it.
Ella has started saying 'snack' (she says "nat"), and my name has now moved from "mama" to "mommy". Also, "mommy" apparently also means "give it to me" lol.
If you saw my Insta-story, you know that Ella also enjoys playing "night night" where she lays on the floor, we put a blanket over her and she says "night night". This kid. I love her to pieces.

Anyway, that's whats been going on here, with a TON of rain to accompany things since Sunday which has made for a pretty dreary week so far. 
Hoping your week has had sunshine and fun! Link up below and tell us about it!


Round Two

I'm kind of writing this stream of consciousness, so forgive me if it doesn't make sense.

If you missed it, the other week we went to our fertility doctor and decided that if I got my period, we'd be moving forward with the process, which I did get.

So I'm back to trips to the doctors' office for bloodwork and ultrasounds (thankfully, far fewer than a regular IVF cycle), talking out financials with their adviser, ordering medications and shots (ughhh the dreaded shots)...planning my life and work around these appointments. Despite having gone through this, or something similar before, it's not easy. All of it is emotional, and draining, nerve-wracking, etc.

I've reached out to a few people who I went through everything with before and even some friends who haven't, but were there for me through the experience the last time and for the most part, everyone has been really supportive, empathetic and compassionate which is all helpful, even in the smallest way. Does it fix this for me? No. But it does make me feel just that tiniest bit better, supported, and ultimately loved.

In the face of someone dealing with this, just be supportive. Lend a listening ear, arms for a hug, comforting words.

I know I've written a post about the things TO do, and things NOT to do when dealing with a friend who is going through infertility, but I'll mention this:
The appropriate response to someone telling you they're going through this is never "I'm pregnant" or "The process is awful" (two actual responses I got). Even if you're pregnant, there are better times to share that information. And we all know the process is not the easiest, most comfortable or fun...but no one needs to hear that "it's awful." Thankfully I have other friends who have gone through this and have shared how NOT awful it is, which is helping to rest my fears and lessen my anxiety. They're both still there, trust, but I'm doing my best to focus on the positive. Because the scary, "awful" thoughts are already there.

Knowing that we got beautiful Ella from this process gives me hope.
Seeing my friends go through this process and have their babies gives me hope.
Having support and love from friends who have and have not gone through it gives me hope.
Looking towards the positive, while working through my feelings of fear and worry.

Anyway, if you've read this far, thank you. I promise all of my blog posts will not be fertility related, but given this season I'm in, it's definitely been at the forefront. I look forward to the day where I can put the fertility thoughts in a box, shut the lid and put it on a shelf in my brain for memories. Until then, one day at a time....

{WHW}: Weekend of Twins!

Happy Wednesday--once again I'm recapping our weekend way late, because I just can't get my act together to do it earlier sometimes (most of the time!)
Anyway, our weekend was one that had no plans and ended up being packed full of plans. I kind of like it when that happens.
I got home from work on Friday to what I "lovingly" have dubbed my 'baby making kit'...aka the meds for our next fertility cycle. There were way too many needles in there for my liking.
Our friends Gary and Hanna came over and brought pizza Friday night from a place near their house and it was SO good! Ella ate an entire slice of pizza herself and then carried the crust around the dining room, taking nibbles out. She also decided to move from my lap, onto the dining room table and do a dance. Lord, let this not be a sign of things to come in my daughter's future hahah.
waiting for our friends to arrive
Saturday morning I spent 2.5 hours at a Labcorp waiting to have my blood taken. Let me tell you, this is NOT how anyone should spend their Saturday morning. If you saw my Instagram stories, you saw the lovely (sarcasm) gentleman next to me who decided to pick his nose with his index finger and flick it on the floor. I'm lucky I didn't vomit right then.

MG took Ella to an indoor soft playground and they had a blast while I was being tortured. The cute picture updates helped ease my torture. Slightly.

That night our friends with 2.5 year old twins came over and we grilled up hamburgers and chicken. Ella loved having two older friends to watch, run after and play with! I will say, it is an incredible feat how quickly three children can ransack toys and create utter mayhem, but it was fun to watch. 

Sunday morning Ella started getting another runny nose (our third for the daycare season so far!). We ran errands, had lunch and watched some football while she napped, and then I FINALLY got to meet up with Rachel of Cubicle Couture, her husband, and twins who were in town for a wedding. Luckily the weather was amazing (considering it was supposed to be pouring all weekend) and we grabbed coffee, walked down to the water front and let the kids run around. We got lots of questions about whether they were twins/triplets because they were all dressed in similar colors.
It was really fun to see these three together since we went through the IVF process together, and Rachel had her babies 5 days before I had Ella. And for all of the talking and texting we did through the process, it was great to finally meet face to face, with our little miracles in tow.
Prior to it being taken out, Ella rocked one of her big southern girl bows that she got from Jess@The Newly--finally hair long enough to support this haha
One of my new fave pics of her
So, our weekend of twins was complete! We picked up Chipotle for dinner on the way home, and had  a quiet night in, getting ready for the week ahead. 

Hoping your weekend, and your week so far, have been good, too! Link up with Jessi and I to share what's hap-"pinning" with you!


Weekly Wins

Happy Friday, friends! Hoping that all of my Carolina friends are doing ok with this storm—everything about it sounds super scary so I’m hoping that all of you are safe now, and stay safe throughout!!
It’s been a bit since I’ve done a Friday post and wanted to talk about some wins, especially in light of the crummy work stuff that keeps happening.
~Ella LOVES her preschool and all of the teachers there. So much so that she has reached for them, while in my arms, twice this week. She doesn’t do this with anyone really except for MG, so that’s a sign to me that she really loves them, and loves it there.
~When my neighbor sends me photos of Ella when she picks her boys up. Earlier this week it was a shot of her, still napping and it made me swoon looking at her all nestled in there!
~I had a dinner date with my friend Mary Katherine who I hadn’t seen since part way through the summer because of our vacation schedules, and then her daughter got sick with Hand Foot and Mouth. It was nice to catch up over sushi and just have some time out together.
~Our friends are coming over to hang out tonight for a chill night in, perfect on a Friday night! Good nights with good friends always make for a good end to the week :)
~Ella is doing MUCH better after getting her antibiotics—allllll the praise hands for this one! As much as it stinks to have an ear infection, you mamas know how nice it is to have a diagnosis that is something treatable and not just a “virus that has to run its course”
~Despite a crappy work situation, I’ve gotten so much support from my coworkers at work, as well as my supervisor and that helps. It may not solve everything, but it definitely feels nice to know that I’m not crazy, and that I have support.
Hoping you all have a nice weekend, and those of you in the hurricane’s path stay safe! Thinking of you all!!!
Tell me some wins for you this week!

{WHW}: Infections and Aggression

Quite the title, eh? That's what's hap-"pinning" this Wednesday in my area...
Ella's preschool called me yesterday in the late afternoon saying she'd been fussy and upset off and on during the day and woke up crying and grabbing her ears. A telltale sign of an ear infection. So I picked her up and whisked her off to the doctor to discover that, indeed, double ear infection. We're lucky that this is only her second ear infection in her life, and hopefully the next one is way far off. Just glad to get some antibiotics and have those start to help ease the pain in her poor little ears.

In addition to that, I'm still dealing with an aggressive administratior, for no reason other than to assert power over me. I won't pretend to understand WHY this is a necessity for this person, but I'm making sure to keep records of everything in case I need to go to HR about it.  It's not in my personality to make waves, but I'm not going to sit back and be treated unfairly for no reason.

At the end of the day, this little girl makes each day brighter, despite all of the BS that unhappy people try and put on others. I'll happily show my daughter what it means to stand up for herself and for fairness.
In the meantime, snuggles make even the crummiest of days that much better.
Hoping your week is better than Ella's and mine have started. And for all of my friends in the South, please stay safe with this storm!!





Rainy Weekend/Cold #2

Happy Tuesday friends…
Pardon my absence lately but my school system decided to block all blogs from being accessed, and I used to do my blogging either before school when I got here early, or during my lunch and now I can’t do either. So we will see how this shakes out.
Our weekend was pretty uneventful overall. Lots of rain (hoping you all in the hurricane’s path are doing alright and staying safe!), and cooler temps on Sunday made for lots of time indoors.
On Saturday went to Tysons (the mall), just to get out of the house for a bit and grab dinner. Macys was having an awesome sale, and I ended up snagging this adorable reversible jacket, and these two shirts for Ella for $30. I tried the jacket on her when we got home to see how it fit (huge of course), and when I took it off, she insisted on putting it back on, so I think we have a success hehe!

We got dinner at Bushel and Barrell around 5pm because we have a kid and no eat early like old people (Sarah, I know you can relate to the old people eating time based on your Insta-story this weekend). The food there was SO good--we got the tots with the cheesy cream sauce and two burgers which were super yum!
MG had to go in to work really early Sunday morning, so little miss and I had a morning of snuggles and fun to ourselves. She finds it funny to wear my socks (and insists on me putting them on her, even when they are on my feet), so I snapped a shot of this hilarity:
Ella also decided to perfect her stacking skills on Sunday and by the evening, she had stacked this set of blocks, totally on her own. I’m not as well versed in baby skill development, but I feel like this is pretty good fine motor abilities for a 16 month old!
Ella started coughing and had the tiniest of runny noses Sunday, and woke up Monday morning coughing a lot but in a good mood. So, here we are, cold #2 for the school year and only week 4 of daycare/preschool.
We made chili at home for dinner, and watched football—the perfect rainy Sunday activity.
Hoping your weekend was nice, and dry!