It's Friday!

Three posts in one week? Who am I?!? This post was made possible by the fact that I was home yesterday because Ella was up Wednesday night/Thursday morning from 12-3 throwing up. Our first bout of a stomach virus. Last week was pink eye, this week was stomach virus. Hey...December...I think we're good now! 

I just wanted to take a minute here to thank each and every one of you for reading yesterday, and for those of you who commented or messaged me separately, it meant the world to me to know that I'm not alone and that there are people out there rooting for us and praying for us. I couldn't ask for more. 
Kerry and Joyce specifically, you were a no-reply comment and I couldn't respond to you and I wanted to, so if you see this, shoot me a message with your contact information.

Today marks the last day of school before our Winter Break which is TWO glorious weeks long. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the time off. To visit family, to spend some non-sick time with my kiddo (hopefully), to heal some more emotionally from everything, get in some time with will just be nice without the stresses of work. And one of those weeks I'll get to spend entirely with MG not at work which is always my favorite.

A couple other highlights this week:

~The painting that I talked about on Wednesday is finished and it's awesome! I can't wait to give it to my in-laws.
~Ella knows the song Jingle Bells, and sings along to it (in her own way, but it's obvious she's singing the song) and it is ADORABLE. Especially when she's wearing the necklace of lights/jingle bells and dancing away.
~I've gotten some super sweet gifts and cards from parents and students this week which always warms my heart. I got an email from a mom who expressed how grateful she was for an assessment and report I had done, praised my detail, and how well I've been working with her daughter. It made me feel really good, during a tough week.

~I've had some really fun interactions with my principal in the past week and I feel like she sees me on a different level now, which is actually very awesome. 

~We've had 12 days of cheer at school the past two weeks consisting of ugly sweater days and other festive wear, etc which has been a lot of fun and definitely brought a lot of cheer to my work days.

~MG was given Monday off instead of an early release day, so we get to head to see family earlier than we would have been able to.

Looking forward to some time with my mom this weekend, and making our way to see my in-laws and all of the nieces and nephew for the holidays. Lots of good things to come! Hoping your last minute holiday crunch isn't too stressful, and you've got some wonderful people to spend the holidays with!

With and Without a Baby

This post was supposed to be the one where I announced that we're having a baby and told you the cute story with all kinds of coincidences and details. Instead it's the one where I share that we were pregnant, and at 8 weeks, I lost the baby. 

Everything had been going well with my pregnancy, minus a scare with bleeding which ended with a doctor's appointment where I saw my little baby's heartbeat for the first time. Another appointment showed growth and that things were good. And at what was supposed to be my last appointment with my fertility doctor was when there was silence during the ultrasound. I knew immediately that something was wrong. Then I heard "the baby is measuring behind and the heartbeat is slower than we'd like." Then words like "50/50 chance". Shock, panic, fear, anger...all of it happened.

I was told to keep taking my shots for the next 5 days and to come back for another ultrasound on Tuesday right before Thanksgiving. The longest 5 days of my life. In my gut I had a feeling it wasn't going to be good news and I grieved the full 5 days.

I went to that appointment, and again, silence. I didn't see that tiny heartbeat flutter on the screen anymore. 
I scheduled a D&C for the next day (the day before Thanksgiving) instead of waiting to have my miscarriage over Thanksgiving.
To say we are saddened, upset, frustrated, angry and heartbroken doesn't begin to encompass everything that we felt. The past few weeks have been hard ones, healing ones, and embracing ones. We've been blessed by the outpouring of love that we've received from our friends and family who knew we were pregnant, and also knew that we lost our baby and I feel so thankful for that. I also have Ella who has been such a joy to watch, and has given me something special to focus and love on during all of this. I've tried to focus on the good, but I've broken down. It hits me out of nowhere sometimes. I'm doing my best to heal emotionally, but it's a process.

I share this here for multiple reasons. 1) to explain part of my absence lately. I really haven't felt like blogging much until I'd processed everything. 2) to document another chapter/story in our lives and 3) to speak my truth and let others out there who have had miscarriages know that they aren't alone. The more I've opened up about this, the more people I find out who have had a miscarriage. Which doesn't necessarily make things better, but it helps to talk with people who have gone through it and know what you're feeling. There's healing in leaning on someone else.

If there's anyone out there who needs to know you're not I're not alone. This isn't an easy path to walk. It's a heartbreaking one, filled with tears, and "why us" questions, anger, and frustration. This doesn't define me, but it's also now a part of my story.

I'd still like to share the story of our baby, but perhaps in another post. It was written during that exciting time, when I didn't want to forget a single thing, and I still want to celebrate and commemorate the little being who would have been ours.

{WHW}: Pre-holiday Happenings


Reading....ugh, I'm still reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky, but haven't touched it since we went away for a wedding two weekends ago and were kid free. Really hoping to get some reading in this winter break.

Drinking....water, tea, and cough medicine. Ella got pink eye for the first time last week, along with a cold. Luckily the pink eye didn't spread but the dang cold did and now I lost my voice.

Eating...we tried two new recipes this week: Shrimp Linguini Alla Vodka and it was really tasty and Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Instant Pot--also a hit! 

Anticipating.... the beach picture gift for my MIL and FIL which will be finished tomorrow! I asked the art teacher from my school if she could do something like the pic from Uncommon Goods that I posted about before and she hit it out of the park. The last updated picture I got from my friend was this and it is SO good! 
It's coming along SO well!

Spending....alllllllll the money. Last minute gifts, getting things on sale for myself (hi Loft), and we have Cooper's annual vet appointment this weekend which will be a kick to the wallet. parties. We went to our friends' housewarming/holiday party last weekend and hired a babysitter. It was a late night out, but we had SO much fun (including flipcup lol--who do we think we are?) which of course meant that Ella woke up at 540 am the following morning which she hasn't done in well over 8 months. But the partying was fun. We got to see my SIL the other weekend for a bit when we dropped Ella off for the weekend so we could attend our friend's wedding in NY. Ella had a great time, we had a nice weekend away, and enjoyed celebrating with our friends! Luckily family time is coming up again this week.
Watching....The Handmaids Tale. We just started it on Sunday and wow are we sucked in! The first night I had vivid dreams about it ALL night long.

Finally...sent out our Christmas cards. I under-ordered this year and then we had a snafu with the labels when they printed, but they finally all got out this weekend. Next year we'll probably get a professional family photo together, but for now, this works.
Excited...that MG and I booked a little spring break getaway for ourselves, and miss Ella to Florida. It's months away, but nice to have something to look forward to, especially someplace warm! Ella's latest antics. Downward dog across the ottoman and couch, in addition to jumping back and forth from one to the other.
Tomorrow I'm opening up and getting really personal on the blog. For now, link up with Jessi and I below about what's hap-"pinning" with you!


I confess that...

... I had a post ready to go last Friday for my Weekly Wins and then totally forgot to add the pictures and post it. And then I planned to post it on Tuesday and the same damn thing happened. So, tomorrow will be a combo of the last two weeks (assuming I can get my act together)

....I'm way beyond excited that Vanderpump Rules is back. 

....I've been meaning to bring bagels in for Ella's teachers (and all of the other teachers that help throughout the day) for a while now, and haven't been able to get my ish together in order to get us out of the house in time to pick them up. Until Tuesday! I remembered right after Ella had gotten up, so I placed a quick order on my phone, got us out of the house 15 minutes earlier than usual (a feat in and of itself) and picked up 26 bagels and cream cheese for her teachers. They were thrilled and the extra effort was worth their smiles.

....Ella bit another kid at school the other day because they were playing with a toy that she wanted. Really hoping we don't have "a biter" on our hands and this was a one time deal. 

....I haven't changed the sheets on our bed since we hired cleaning people because they do it for us when they come every other week. And it's glorious.

....Ella is enamored with these light up reindeer that our neighbors have in front of their house, and I've used them as a bribe to get Ella to do stuff like put on her shoes and coat to go to school. I told my neighbors they may need to leave the reindeer out year round haha.

...speaking of Ella being enamored....she's started learning her classmate's names and the one I hear the most is "Liam!" Last week I heard his name on the entire drive home, and yesterday her afternoon teacher said she popped up from her nap, and started saying "Liam". Then at night she was trying to call Liam on her phone. Liam also said "Bye Ella" when I went to pick her up. It's the cutest thing!
....we went to see Santa this past weekend and it happened to be the same Santa that Ella saw last year which was fun. Except this year she wasn't having it unless I held her. #stage5clinger
What are you confessing?

{WHW}: Spending Spending Spending

On this WHW, I'm gonna share with you some of the purchases that I made over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales days.
For some reason I didn't realize that Loft Outlet sold clothes online. This is both amazing and incredibly dangerous for me (mainly my wallet). Also because there isn't a Loft Outlet anywhere close to my house, so my normal game of trying it and taking back to the store if it doesn't fit is gonna be a little harder.
I saw this dress and got it in anticipation of a wedding we're going to this coming weekend. Unfortunately it was too baggy on me when it arrived, but I still like the concept.
These two tops and set of earrings are my jam. Can totally wear the wrap top to work, and the other for casual weekends. 
{via} It is SO soft!!
I haven't worn hoops in a long while (hello grabby baby hands), so these will be a fun addition for adult nights out.
I bought MG a watch for one of his Xmas gifts--I actually bought him two because I didn't know which one he would like better, so Xmas will involve a choice (don't you love choices?) Still waiting on one of them to arrive!

Ella's Christmas presents were purchased including this KidKraft kitchen that is likely going to take a small army of very patient individuals to assemble. Read: not MG and myself haha.
On sale for $99 from $179!

And this indoor trampoline that Ella looooooved when we were at our friends' house in MN. Both have arrived and are waiting in their boxes to be assembled. We may need several glasses of wine.
I also got something practical for Ella in the form of a cute pink winter coat from Carters and some leggings. Nothing too exciting but getting a winter coat for $26 is a deal.
This back massager on Amazon was a spontaneous purchase for MG and myself and is absolutely amazing. The heat is great, and the massager actually rotates one way and then switches and rolls the opposite way, so you get worked from different angles (that sounded dirty!)
I've used it on my back (lower and upper) and on my neck and it's been amazing. For $30, it's an awesome gift!
I also ordered our holiday cards which are hopefully arriving today after taking a really long time in the regular mail! I'll share those with you all soon!

I haven't purchased it yet, but my husband and SIL's are thinking about getting this print (or something similar) for my in-laws of all of the family at the beach. Unfortunately UncommonGoods doesn't have a lot of customization for the people, and there would be 14 of us in the drawing. A great idea though, and one I think my in-laws would really like, especially my mother-in-law.
What are some things that you purchased during all of the sales? How much is your credit card screaming right now? haha
Link up with Jessi and I below and share what's hap-"pinning" with you!

{WHW}: Thanksgiving

Hey all--happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you had a nice holiday and weekend with your family and/or friends!

Our Thanksgiving day was pretty low key which was perfect given some things that we had going on. My mom came in the early afternoon and we ate dinner the four of us around 4. It was a smaller spread since MG, Ella and I were heading to PA the next morning for the weekend, but still all the yummies--delicious turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc etc. 

Friday morning we woke up, ate and got out the door by 845 to head to PA and thankfully traffic was light and we made it in 2.5 hours. Ella read her book some of the time, played a little and napped a little too. When we got to Grammy and Poppy's house, she was ecstatic to see them--it was adorable!
We went out for a bit and then my SIL and youngest niece came over to hang out. 
We had pizza for dinner and just relaxed at my in-law's house. My BIL came over later and Ella was ALLLLLL about him (she seriously loves men!)
We had our tradition of watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles together that night as well--that movie never gets old.

Saturday morning I had brunch with my SIL and our friend Dre. We went to a place where we could bring our own champagne and make mimosas which was fabulous! The food was so good that I didn't have lunch that day because there was SO much of it!
My SIL and I went shopping for a bit and then headed back to the house. When Ella went down for a nap, we went to look at some new construction houses nearby that we'd had our eyes on. Not ready to pull the trigger yet, but it is certainly tempting!

That night we went out to dinner for MG's birthday with just the adults while my nieces all babysat Ella. She loves her cousins and it's so cute to see them all together.
We had the most delicious dinner, lots of wine, and a yummy dessert which was a great way to celebrate MG.

Sunday morning we were up and out by 845 again to try and beat any traffic back home which worked in our favor. That afternoon we set up our Christmas tree and decorations around the house, much to Ella's delight. Last year she was only 7 months old and just starting to be more aware of things, but this year seeing her eyes light up when she saw the tree all lit up was so much fun! And she's obsessed with this Melissa and Doug advent calendar that my mom got for her.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend with family, which was what we all needed.

Link up with Jessi and I to share what's been hap-"pinning" with you lately!

When it Hits Close to Home

You see the news stories. Shootings here. Shootings there. Every day it seems like there's another one. Within the last 2 weeks, I can count at least 3.

Two Fridays ago, a man shot up a yoga studio in Florida. And in that studio was my friend's sister who I adore. Who I jokingly dubbed my "spirit animal" at my friend's bachelorette party. She was just up here in Virginia last month with her daughter visiting.
My friend's sister is a mom to a baby girl not much younger than Ella. She was practicing yoga. She's a mom, a wife, a lawyer, a sister, a daughter among many other things. She didn't deserve to get shot.

I typically don't write very political posts here, but when it hits close to home like this, I can't stay quiet.

We need to do more to protect the people we love, and the people we don't even know. Because no one deserves to be shot because they were at a concert. Practicing yoga. Going to school. At work. etc etc etc

No one is trying to take away people's ability to have guns. If you want a gun, good for you. If you want to go hunting, have at it. But you don't need something that will hunt PEOPLE. HUMANS! Mental health is a part of this, but you can't ignore the role that easy access to guns--automatic weapons--plays in this. 

I hear constantly that "it's too soon" to talk about what is happening with the rise up of mass shootings and instead thoughts and prayers are sent. Thoughts and prayers are wonderful, but they didn't stop two more mass shootings from happening within a week of my friend's sister being shot. Thoughts and prayers don't take away the entry and exit scars that my friend's sister will have for life. Thoughts and prayers only go so far. 

The saddest commentary on this is that when we heard about it, MG said "I guess it was only a matter of time before it happened to someone we know." I don't want to live my life like this, and I don't want our kids to live their lives like this. 

{WHW}: Currently in November

Happy WHW, friends! Sorry for being MIA--last week MG had to have surgery on his face to have a melanoma removed (super scary) so I was occupied with that and taking care of him afterwards.
But I'm back and catching up on what's been happening!

Reading: Still reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky. I had my Show Us Your Books post all written and didn't hit publish for yesterday, so maybe I'll get it together for December's! Sorry, Stephanie!
Watching: Married at First Sight Happily Ever After?, my typical Bravo line up (because duh), and MG and I are still watching Suits--up to season 5!

Eating: All the cold weather foods! My crock pot is getting used twice this week to make Crockpot Salsa Chicken, and Meatballs, and we made meatloaf on Monday. Potato Soup coming up tomorrow in the Instant Pot because #ssssouuuuupppp
Drinking: Anything to stay warm. The temps took a nose dive into the 40s and I'm not a fan. Oh, and still trying to be good about my water intake.

Bummed: that our plans to have my mom and my in-laws down for Thanksgiving isn't working out. My MIL is having some complications with a procedure she had done on her leg making traveling painful and not so ideal, so they aren't coming any longer. Instead, we're going to have Thanksgiving at our house with my mom, and then head up to PA to see the fam up there the next morning since it's been a while. 
I'm also bummed about the time change. I HATE getting home and having it basically be dark. No more time to play at the playground after dinner. And Ella WAS waking up at 730 prior to the change and now we are lucky if she makes it to 7. Ugh. Whoever came up with this time change, I'd love to kick them in the nuts.

Loving: hearing stories about Ella at school. When I dropped her off the other morning she saw Miss Sue (who helps her with breakfast) and went running down the hallway to see her. The next morning I walked Ella into the cafeteria and the one teacher said "I'm pretty sure if the teachers weren't here for a day, Ella would be able to run everything" haha. Apparently I've got a little leader on my hands :) Wish I could be a fly on the wall for one day!
Here's a shot from little miss trouble maker this weekend :)
Enjoying: that I already have MG's birthday gift picked out, ordered and delivered (yesterday), and his Christmas gifts picked out, and sitting in an online cart! I'm ahead of the game this year and I love it! Now if only I knew what I wanted, so I could give MG some ideas (because I really have almost no ideas).

Spending: too much money on clothes for Ella. Why can't I resist it??? (Also, she keeps growing!)

What have you been up to? Link up with Jessi and I below and share!  Also, I'm gonna be back tomorrow with a pretty serious post, so stay tuned and come back to read, please!

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.
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!