Weekly Wins

Happy Friday! So thankful that the end of the work week is here so I get to spend some quality time with my loves this weekend!

This week had some wins, so let's recap:
~A great weekend trip to the Poconos with my in-laws last weekend. The only thing that could have made it better was if it was longer.
~Between Wednesday and today I've planned Ella's 2nd birthday party, reserved a party space, ordered invitations and confirmed with over half of the people we're inviting that they can come. Check-check-check!
~Got some local honey on sale from a local garden/produce business which we love. Picking it up this weekend, along with maybe some things to plant for Spring to spruce up the outside. Hoping the honey will help alleviate some of the allergies this area is known for in the Spring.

~I was supposed to have a girls' night dinner with my friend Kel last night but the weather and traffic around here yesterday were monsoon like and awful so we rescheduled for next week. So it was a bummer it didn't happen, but a win that we've got it on the books for next week.

~MG and I are toying with going to Europe this summer for a bit. Some things need to be worked out, but the prospect of it is exciting!

~Ella starts her MyGym classes this weekend--I know she's going to love the class, and it gives us something fun to do together on a Saturday morning!

~My best friend had a really bad scare this week and ended up at the hospital overnight (I'll leave out the details for her privacy) but ended with much better news than we were preparing for and she's back home with her beautiful baby girl! Thank goodness!!
Hoping your week had some wins, too! 

{WHW} Lately + Poconos

Happy Wednesday, lovies and the first day of Spring!!!! Let's chat about what's been hap-"pinning" lately...
Eating:....This week's menu consisted of Shrimp Feta "Dip" Pasta, Chicken Penne Pesto Pasta, Salsa Chicken in the Crockpot and Stirfry

Drinking....water as always, but MG discovered this container of Starbucks iced coffee at the grocery store for less than $5 and it's the perfect delicious drink for the afternoon on the weekends, especially as it's been getting warmer.
Reminiscing....about our weekend in the Poconos with my in-laws and family. I tried skiing for the first time and with the help of my husband and my brother-in-law, managed to learn a bit, and eventually made it down without falling down (or into my brother in law haha). Ella got lots of time with her cousins and aunts/uncle and grandparents. We had family dinners in, hot tub time, and just lots of time to relax and spend time together. It was the best weekend and ended way too soon! 
Boulder Field--miles of boulders!



Buying....Probably too many clothes for Ella for the summer. And I took advantage of Old Navy's 50% off on Monday and bought some stuff for myself and for her. We'll see how they all turn out.

Watching....Summer House now that it's back (I dislike Jordan hardcore--super douche), Married At First Sight (really blah about the couples this season), RHONY (feeling kinda blah about it also), and MG and I started watching New Amsterdam which has been good.

Reading...I finished Becoming by Michelle Obama and I enjoyed it so much. I didn't know much about her childhood, or how she and Barack met. It was interesting to see their journey and to read such a wonderfully written book from someone who I truly admire. Now I need to find another book to get into!
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Wishing....for Spring weather to get here and consistently warm up. I don't need it to be hot-hot at this point, but 60's and 70s would be a-okay with me as opposed to starting the mornings in the 30s still.

Annoyed....with Nordic Track. We bought our new exercise bike less than 3 weeks ago and have already had to call two times for replacement parts. And all they've offered us is a mat to put under the bike to make up for it. Really not loving the quality of this bike so far.
Grossed Out by....white snot. I worked with a preschool aged student this week who had white snot coming out of his nose. SOOOOOOO gross.

Needing...to figure out what we are going to do for Ella's birthday. How is she 2 in almost a month?!?!

What's been hap-"pinning" with you lately? Link up and share with Jessi and I below!


{WHW}: Bdaying It

Happy Wednesday folks!

It's been a super fun week already, mainly due to the fact that my birthday was on Monday. For the last three years my birthday's been different since it always surrounds the loss or the anniversary of losing my dad two days prior. This year, though, was a little easier to focus on all of the good, instead of getting overwhelmed by the sadness.

So let's get to some highlights:
~getting a babysitter for Saturday night, and heading out to Ocean Prime in DC for a super fancy and incredibly delicious birthday dinner complete with wine, lobster bisque, salmon (for me) and filet (for MG, which I had a bite of and omg good!) with a side of truffle mac. And then creme brulee for dessert, plus French press coffee. We were SO full, but it was SOOOOO good!
~seeing our friends and their daughter Saturday for lunch at our house. It was cute seeing how much she has changed, and also seeing Ella excited for baby Gracie to come over.
~hearing Ella name "grandpa" unprompted when she saw a picture of my dad. Even though she's never met him, she knows who he is.

~Sunday started off dreary but turned into a really nice, 60 degree sunny day. Perfect for getting out of the house, taking Ella to the park, and meeting up with some of our neighbors.

~I got out of work a little early on Monday, my actual birthday, due to a teacher workday training ending early.

~Coming home to daylight and sunshine, my smiley girl, gifts from MG, a homecooked dinner by him, and a delicious chocolate and chocolate mousse cake...I couldn't have asked for more!


Books, books, books!

I've really been making it a point to get in some reading every day, because I was missing it so much., and one week I managed to finish three books and start a fourth! So I've got a few more books to share with you for Show Us Your Books this month!

Beneath a Scarlett Sky by Mark Sullivan

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Brief Goodreads Synopsis:
"Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours."
MG listened to this as a book on tape and raved about it and Goodreads had over 4 stars so I dove into this book. It's about WWII and typically I get sucked into these type of stories--I was engrossed in Unbroken. 
I'll say that the story for this is pretty incredible, but the downfall for me was that there was so much time spent giving SUPER details that I found myself skimming parts just to get through. The story was interesting for sure, but I just didn't fully connect with the main character. So much of the story seemed like the main character just happened to be at so many pivotal points in history that I actually forgot that this was based on a true story.
Towards the end of the book, I literally was skimming because there were just too many details.
Overall I'd give this one 2.5 out of 5 stars.


The Honeymooner (A Paradise Bay Romantic Comedy Book 1) by Melanie Summers

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Goodreads synopsis:
"Twenty-nine-year-old workaholic Libby Dewitt lives by the motto ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ She’s finally about to start her dream life with her steady-as-a-rock fiancĂ©, Richard Tomy. Together, they’re the perfect power couple—right down to the fact that he’s agreed to use their honeymoon to help further her career in mergers and acquisitions. But ten minutes before the wedding, her dreams dissolve via text message. "

I actually didn't realize it until after I read the book, but this is the same author as The Crown Jewel which I recently read and wrote about in my last Show Us Your Books. I really enjoy how light her writing is and how easy her stories are to read. Definitely a perfect little rom-com beach read, or something to break up a heavy read. It was a cute, sweet story and a delight to read, but no major literary genius here...and that's ok.
I'd give this one 4 stars for a sweet light-hearted read.

Verity by Colleen Hoover
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Part of the Goodreads synopsis:
"Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish."
It becomes a suspense and a romantic kind of thriller. The book kept me engaged the entire time, despite being very dark! I read this one any chance that I could because I wanted to find out what was gonna happen next. 
I'd give this one 5 stars

How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker
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Part of Goodreads Synopsis:
" Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better? " 

This book was given to me by my friend at work, and I picked it up when I finished Verity. It took me a bit to get into the book--I didn't connect with anyone in the family really. But once Emery gets on the reality show, the story picked up and became more interesting. It was a light, easy read (one I did in 2 days). I'd give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
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Goodreads Info:
"A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . ."
The gist of the story is that a couple is next door at their friend's house for a dinner party, and they leave their 6month old baby at home, taking the monitor with them and checking on her. Except when they go home, she's gone. And the rest of the story is a bunch of twists and turns that keep you turning the pages.
My SIL gave me this book and once I started it, I could not put this book down. I read during nap time. I read after I put Ella down to bed. I read during the few min before work that I had, because I had to find out what happened. Coincidentally my friend was reading it at the same time that I was--so we were texting each other back and forth about it for the 2 days that we read it.
I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

On the Eve of Three

Tomorrow marks 3 years since I lost my dad. It's crazy to me that it was 3 years ago already. It feels like it was just yesterday, but also like so much has happened, especially when I consider that Ella wasn't in the picture when we lost him.

I still have random moments that hit me out of nowhere and I tear up or just full on sob. Shows that deal with the loss of dads always get me. Father daughter dances at weddings, I'm a basket case. I miss my dad. I wish he was here to love on Ella, and snuggle her. I'd give just about anything to get a hug from him again.
I will say this. I know my dad's around. He visited me in my dreams a little while ago and this week, I was at home, Ella was sleeping and MG was making his way back from his work trip. I was reading Michelle Obama's book, and I got to the point where she lost her dad. She described a scene that sounded so familiar to what it was like when we lost my dad, and when I finished the section, I closed up the book and decided to go upstairs and dry my hair (having showered earlier and was just letting it air dry some). When I got into the bedroom, I went to my nightstand to get something out, and happened to see a manila envelope at the bottom and couldn't remember what it was.
So I opened it, pulled out the pile of things inside, and right on top, looking me square in the face, was a picture of me and my dad from when I was a baby, a little younger than Ella is now.
It struck me in that moment how perfectly in sync everything was--reading the part about losing her dad,  feeling connected to that story, and then by some weird happenstance, seeing that picture of me and my dad in a long forgotten about envelope. He was letting me know he's here, and it stopped me in my tracks and made me smile.
I went through the rest of the stack of old pictures, cards from MG when we started dating, etc, and at the very end was a card from my dad on Valentine's day. I didn't even remember that I had saved that years and years ago.
It was the perfect reminder that he's here, even when I can't see him. He's here, and that gives me comfort.
That picture is now on my nightstand so I can see it every morning, and every night, because it's obvious that he wanted to remind me that he's here, and that's a reminder that I'll take, every single day.
I love you!

{WHW}: Through with the Flu

It's already the middle of the week but I'm beat! And that's mainly because I was at home, caring for my flu-riddled kiddo. 
Friday afternoon the school sent out an email that flu and strep were running rampant throughout and they were doing a deep clean that weekend. About 3 hours later I got a call from Ella's teacher saying she woke up from her nap with a 103 temp and shivering. 

So, I scooped her up and took her to the pediatrician to get a diagnosis since MG was leaving for a work trip Sunday morning ( because, of course!). He was luckily home by the time we swung by so we all went together which was a good thing bc Ella ended up throwing up in the car (on herself in the carseat) on the way to the doc. She was SUPER upset then. Upon arriving to the doc's office, they gave her a dose of Tylenol which she immediately threw up...this time all over me. Neither of us had a change of clothes, so it was one of those super glamorous mom moments (not!)

Flu diagnosis came back pretty quickly and we headed to the pharmacy to get Tamiflu and anti nausea meds which took FOREVER. Luckily after getting a popsicle at the doc's, Ella had finally calmed down. Took her back out to the car in a shirt, and her diaper (bc I had no spare clothes for her ughhhh) and covered her in a towel I had in my car and the paper blanket in case she puked again.
Made it home and she threw up again, and again it was on me--so Ella got a bath, mommy hopped in the shower, and then I held her while she shivered away and napped on my shoulder and MG cleaned up the messes everywhere. Luckily she slept the night away (13.5 hours!). And the next morning she was only really miserable when she woke up. The rest of the day she was acting totally normal, eating and drinking fine, and you'd never have been able to tell she had the flu. She was extra snuggly and did fall asleep on me around 11 which never happens, but those were the only signs she had anything. 
Her temp was 103 Sunday morning again which meant that I'd have to keep her home on Monday since she had to be 24 hours fever free. MG left Sunday morning for his trip, but shortened it so that he could get back by Tuesday morning. (He is a trooper I tell you--he flew to Israel for a meeting--left Sunday morning, got there Monday morning their time, had a full day of work and meetings, and hopped back on a plane that night and made it home the following morning! He didn't sleep in a bed the entire time he was gone. I love that man).
Pedialyte popsicles (or "pock-a-bulls") were a HUGE hit this weekend
So, we had a lot of time at home and we were both going stir crazy come Monday. Ella woke up with no fever and hovered around 99 all day without meds. My friend was super sweet and dropped off Chik Fil A for lunch for us and threw in a craft activity so that we could have something different to do. Thank goodness for friends!

So Tuesday morning I got ready like I normally would for work, and crossed my fingers when I took her temp in the morning and let out a sign of relief when it was 98!
she doesn't actually use a binky, but plays with it every now and then
Pulling into the ps lot, though, I wondered if school was closed because almost no one was there. No other 1's kiddos were there and there's usually 1-2 others by the time Ella arrives. Her one friend Alex's mom texted me Monday saying her daughter ended up with flu, strep AND croup. Ella's teacher and bestie Liam had been out earlier last week. So...it's definitely running the course through the school.

So, all that is to say, thank goodness for the flu shot she got. Thank goodness for a mild run in with the flu. Thank goodness for sick leave. And thank goodness for Spring to almost be here because I need this cold and flu season to be OVER! Get your flu shots, kiddos!

Anyway, that's what's been hap-"pinning" here. During naps, I've been reading Michelle Obama's book Becoming and I just adore her. I'm about half way through and really enjoying it. Other than that, I'm caught up on tv, and I'm pretty sure Ella needs a detox from electronics (tv and my phone) because we were in survival mode being stuck inside.

Hopefully you're illness-free! Share what's hap-"pinning" with Jessi and I below!


Weekly Wins: Hello March!

Happy happy Friday, friends! This would have been the first week in about two months that I've had a full work week, but we got a 2 hour delay this morning due to some incoming snow today--we'll see if it turns into a day off.
The week felt really long this week and add in the fact that I'm fighting off a bit of a head cold and that just made things a little more tiresome.
But, there were still some wins for the week!

~My bestie had her baby girl on Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning! She's adorable!! Even more fun, on the bestie level: I went into the hospital 10 days before due date and had Ella 9 days before due date. So did my bestie. Ella was 7lb 5 oz at birth, and so was my bestie's daughter. Their lengths were an inch apart. We have the exact same car, in the exact same color. Does it get more best friend than that?? :)
So so happy for her!!

~We were able to get a really great special on MyGym classes for Ella, including an open gym session (which she loooooved) and a free class last weekend where we met another dad and little girl who had recently moved here from Michigan. We have a playdate set up with them (including the mom who just wasn't at the class) next weekend!

~Super fun double date night out on Saturday with our friends Gary and Hanna who are expecting a baby come August. It was fun for an adult night out, trying out a new-to-us restaurant, and having fun with our friends. More of those need to happen.

~I picked Ella up at preschool on Wed to find her sporting a ponytail! She rarely lets me put them in, and it lasts for about 30 seconds before she takes it out. This one lasted a few hours and it was super cute!

~Ella's preschool had a little fundraiser on Tuesday night at Chuck E Cheese for the church she goes to, so we made a last minute decision to go there, order pizza, and let Ella play. She met up with one of the girls in her class and they were ADORABLE together! Ella ran up to the teachers when she saw them, giving hugs all around, and had a blast playing and wandering around. Plus, we didn't have to cook and we were supporting her school. A win all around!
~You guys, I read FOUR books in one week last week! FOUR! I can't remember the last time that I did that, but it was definitely before Ella was born.
I'll have some to share for Show Us Your Books this month :) 

~Our new rug for the bedroom came last Friday and I think it looks really good in our room! I always worry about ordering things like this online because you never know how it will look in person, or in your space. I think it really anchors our bed in the room.
Hoping you had some wins this week, too!

{WHW}: Recipe'ing

Happy Wednesday, friends!
As promised, I'm sharing the super super easy and reeeeeally tasty meal that MG made last week from Damn Delicious.
Originally the recipe was for beef and broccoli, but we changed to chicken because I'm not as big a fan of beef. So, choose to do whichever you'd prefer (and know that it works for both).
What You Need (it looks like a lot, but it's mainly things for the sauce, that you probably have on hand if you've made any Asian dishes before):
~2/3 C soy sauce (we do reduced sodium)
~1/2 C chicken stock
~1/4 C honey
~2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
~2 Tbsp brown sugar
~1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (or 3 cloves)
~1 Tbsp sesame oil
~1 Tbsp corn starch
~1 tsp Sriracha
~1 tsp ground ginger
~1/4 C water
~1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (*we left this out so that Ella could eat it without it being too spicy)
~1 Tbsp olive oil
~1 lb chicken breast cut into chunks (or flank steak thinly sliced)
~1 head fresh broccoli, cut into florets

What You Do:
1. Mix all of the ingredients from above through the red pepper flakes (if you're using them) in a medium bowl for the sauce ( soy sauce, chicken stock, honey, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, minced garlic, sesame oil, corn starch, Sriracha, ground ginger, water, red pepper flakes). Set aside.

2. In a skillet, add the olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the chicken (or beef) and cook through.

3. Add in the broccoli and the sauce you mixed. Stir until it thickens and the broccoli softens some. We cooked ours longer so that it would be easier for Ella to eat, as opposed to typical Asian dishes where the broccoli is a little more crisp.

4. Serve it however you like. We did ours over brown rice and the sauce just soaked into it all and made it delicious! 

This made 4 meals for us, with some to share with the kiddo. I didn't take a pic of the finished product in the bowl, with rice, because I ate it too quickly! Oops!

Super quick (about 15 minutes) and incredibly tasty, for the win!

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


Weekly Wins

Happy Friday! It's been a quick week here with a long weekend and some snow day/delays--but there's still been some wins and it's been a bit since I counted up the wins.

~a 2 1/2 day work week, which included a family snow day at home since the govt was closed in DC as well. Family snow days are the best!

~took advantage of the snow day at home to organize Ella's room, pack away old clothes, put stuff away in the attic, and get another donation pile ready! (And have a quick trip to ChikFilA because YUM!)

~feeling like parenting hasn't been very hard this week. I'll probably bite my tongue real soon on that, but Ella's been so fun and happy go lucky recently, which is a nice change from some of the toddler mood swings that were happening frequently in the past weeks
~making an investment in health this week, buying our new exercise bike, which comes today. Looking to get a ride or two in this weekend to get back on the horse--or bike :)

~my FIL booked a cabin in the Poconos for the family next month for a long weekend as a surprise for everyone. Looks like I'll be trying skiing for the first time and lots of time with the fam :)
~getting to see my mom on Monday, and watching Ella get SO excited when she heard that "grandma was coming"...and then the next two days hearing her say "gamma!" and look for her around the house
~finishing one book and starting another one that a friend lent me a while back. Sneaking in reading whenever I can get the chance!

~MG found a new recipe this week and cooked! And it was deeeeelicious (and super simple!) Will be sharing soon
Chicken and Broccoli (instead of Beef and Broc)

~good news on some test results

~a double date night on Saturday with a couple friend of ours--babysitter coming, and we're going out for some adult time! In addition to a meet up with some other friends of ours Saturday during the day--lots of fun stuff this weekend! :)

Hoping your week was full of wins, too!