Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

It is the last day of 2015. This afternoon we will be watching the Clemson game with friends then getting ready for a fun dinner out with one of our favorite couples, followed by champagne, er sparkling grape juice, at midnight. I'm very happy to close the door on 2015 and open the door to a new year.

2015 was bitter sweet for us. I looked back at my phone for photos of the year. As you can tell from the frequency I posted this year, it was certainly not a very photogenic year. There were not a lot of picture-perfect moments in 2015. But, it was still a big year for us.  
In January and February, we had a lot of crazy weather, which allowed me lots of late evenings sipping wine in my favorite pajamas due to many snow days off and weather delays from work.

Corey traveled a lot this year so we celebrated Valentine's Day at home, relaxing with a delicious surf and turf dinner courtesy of our own kitchen.

Sweet Riley turned five in March. As always, there was a pup cake to celebrate. So few birthdays our pets have so I always say just spoil the heck out of them.

During my spring break from work I started a little patio refresh project of restaining our patio furniture and recovering our cushions. I thought we were going to have some restful spring mornings to sip our coffee out back while Riley rolled around in the grass. I was wrong.

Just a few days later, we got the news that my father-in-law had a very aggressive brain tumor and we all dropped everything to head to Florida. He and my mother-in-law moved to the Jacksonville Mayo clinic and my husband started working from home in Florida when he wasn't traveling the Carolinas for work. I didn't see him much and just knew things would calm down and be better at the end of the school year.

I finished the year with my 3rd graders. All of them went on to 4th grade and I packed up my room for the summer. This was a trying group of students but probably one of the groups that is nearest and dearest to my heart. On the last day of school, the day before I was scheduled to return to Florida, my father-in-law passed away. It was only eight weeks after his disagnosis. My husband was able to be there with him and he was able to go in his own home, which was a blessing. 

My dad was honored at the South Carolina state house with a major award in his field. I was able to go to the ceremony just before my flight to Florida.

We spent some time in Florida with my mother and sister-in-law then came home for a few days before traveling to New Jersey for my father-in-law's memorial. This was the hardest day of the year by far but it would be remiss not to include it. So many people are not close with their in laws, but mine quickly became a second family when Corey and I got engaged and married. A lot of days have been hard since this day, especially as Baby Girl's arrival grows near.

After receiving some really disheartening news at my annual visit, I had a lot of anxiety about if Corey and I would be able to get pregnant. The spring had been really busy so I was plain exhausted most of the month of June. I went out of town for a work conference the first week of July and complained to my mom about how bad my PMS and cramps were. Turns out it wasn't PMS after all! I took at least seven pregnancy tests that day just to be sure.

I shared the news with Corey that night and then our parents two weeks later.

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe we've been married that long. So much has happened in three years and I love Corey more and more each day. Looking at these pictures makes me so nostalgic...and also makes me really miss my vBarre instructor at New York Sports Club.

I returned to school and welcomed a new class of third graders. This is year six for me. 

We shared the news of Baby W on social media.

After house hunting for months, we found what we thought was "the one." The heartbreak this house caused ended our home search temporarily and we are staying in our current home until some time after we are settled with Baby Girl.

In September, we learned Baby W was a little girl. I took an afternoon off to do a little shopping with my mom. If the events of earlier in the year taught me anything, it's that work comes second and regardless of the pressure you may feel to be present and perform, sometimes you just need to tune it out, let someone else handle it, and go to lunch with your mom.

Baby Girl made an appearance. I am in awe pretty much daily of how big the bump is getting.

I went to Homecoming at my college and got to spend some time with a few sorority sisters. 

We celebrated Corey's birthday and his mom came to Charlotte to visit with us. I've promised that I'll stop using the numbered birthday candles...but continue to make this delicious coconut cake.

I caught the worst stomach bug ever the weekend of Halloween. Instead of being out and about in this shirt, I spent the day in bed.

In November, we celebrated my birthday and then traveled to Naples, Florida for Thanksgiving.

Back at home, I decorated for Christmas and even had all my shopping done very early. This never happens. 

Our sweet neighbor brought Baby Girl a tree of her own. You can see more of or decorations here.

We made some nursery progress and Riley practiced his guard dog skills.

Christmas break from school arrived and I spent a lot of time with this sweet boy. Then, my in-laws arrived for the Holidays.

We hosted a great Holiday dinner for both families at our home. We got to spend some time with Corey's mom and sister while they were in town and relax at home. Now, its time for the Holiday decorations to come down and the Baby decorations to finish going up.

Welcome, 2016!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas in our Home

I have been in such the Christmas spirit this year. Even before Thanksgiving. I am just too giddy that for all the Christmases to come there will be a little girl in our home to share them with. This time next year there will be four stockings on our mantle - of course you know Riley has one of his own!

I love Christmas but I don't do it super big. I just like a beautiful tree, a beautiful table, and lots of little touches around the house. Outside, we just do wreathes on the front windows and candles at night.

My mom made a gorgeous wreath for my front door several years ago and I purchased an adorable wooden reindeer from the side of the road on my way back from HomeGoods a couple weeks ago. He now sits by the front door next to my dead mums that I completely failed to replace with anything Christmas-y. Its been warm in Charlotte but rainy so I didn't venture outside to take photos of our outdoor decor.  

Inside, we have stockings hung from the mantle and a couple decorations beside the fireplace. I really need to do a garland on the mantle and intend to each year and just never get around to it. Next year, perhaps.

I enjoy a few little touches downstairs.

Our tree is in our sunroom, which I love. It is so pretty there, especially from the kitchen and dining room. I made the bow topper last year and bought this tree skirt to replace one I used last year that had absolutely nothing wrong with it. I just couldn't help myself. Reindeer are my favorite and I did snag it on cyber Monday on sale.

All my gifts were purchased and wrapped before December 1st. That is a Christmas miracle because I am usually a procrastinator.

I picked up a table runner at Homegoods. I have been looking for the perfect one for several years and really love this one. Right now, I still have our regular linen placemats out and will switch them to silver chargers after breakfast on Christmas days.

I made the centerpiece from florals from Hobby Lobby, a box of cranberries from the Pottery Barn outlet several years ago, and crystal trees from Target. The votives were a gift several years ago. Because our downstairs is so open, a smaller, lower centerpiece works best.

Upstairs, I keep it very simple by just changing out the throw pillow on each bed. I found these at Nordstrom Rack last year.

In our guest room, I added a little white Santa for on top of the vintage desk that my grandmother gave me.

My sweet neighbor bought a mini tree for her daughter's nursery and sent one over to me as well. It has been so fun to decorate it and see it in baby girl's room each day. This is also the only natural tree I've ever had so I've been carefully nurturing it to be sure it doesn't die before Christmas. 

These decorations combined with some cinnamon vanilla scented wax for my Scentsy and a few Christmas candles is how we do the Holidays in our home. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Bumpdate: 27-30 Weeks

How far along? 30 weeks. Only 10 to go!

Weight gain: Fifteen to eighteen pounds depending on the day - we have really caught up! 

Cravings: Clementines, guacamole, and warm cookies with milk

Anything making me nauseas/queasy? Not at all!

Stretch marks: No! But I had the biggest scare after one of our Christmas parties last week. I had come home from work, showered and gotten ready, and then gone to a party for some of Corey's clients. I was wearing a black dress and maternity tights and had just reapplied my Bio Oil and Belly Butter before leaving. It was so late when I got home and I'd slipped into my pajamas in my closet then went into the bathroom to wash my face and looked in the mirror and I had a long, deep line running from the top of my belly to the bottom. I completely freaked out because I was sure it was a stretch mark. Closer investigation showed there was one on the other side also and that it was in the exact spot where the seam of my tights had been! Ha! 

Maternity clothes: Yes. Aside from a few long tunics, Pikos, and flowy dresses, I am wearing exclusively maternity clothes.
29 weeks

Wedding rings on/off: On. I added this one this time because I am starting to have swelling in my feet and legs so hands might be coming?

Sleep: Hit or miss. I need to wake up several times a night to go to the restroom and have a hard time getting comfortable. Tons of lower back pain after I have been asleep for any length of time. I just keep telling myself in 11 weeks or less I can sleep on my back again.

Exercise: I'm still walking and doing 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme yoga. I just feel like my muscle definition is totally gone and want to get back to normal with working out. 

Movement: Yes! Mornings around 10, mid afternoon, and evenings are her most active time. I have an anterior placenta so not all movements can be felt on the outside yet although Corey is able to finally feel some of them! We went to see the Hunger Games and she kicked almost the entire time so Corey had so much fun laying his hand on my belly and feeling them. It may have been more exciting for him than the actual movie. 

Gender: Baby W is still a little girl - at least to our knowledge! We are having a 3D ultrasound for fun right after Christmas. 

Symptoms: Exhaustion, bigger boobs, heightened sense of smell. Occasional sciatic pain and round ligament pain. A little bit of swelling if I didn't have a chance to sit down at work. We've had a couple instances where I could only get one boot on...or off. No swelling in my face or hands yet though, thankfully. 

27 weeks 

Best moment this month: Continuing to work on the nursery. It is so fun to prepare it for her. Also, decorating for Christmas knowing there will be four stockings next year (Riley has one of course) and going shopping for her with my mother-in-law while in Florida for Thanksgiving.

Worst moment this month: I really can't think of one. It's been a good month. There have been a few really stressful days due to this being a busy time at work but I have no serious complaints. 

Looking forward to: Sharing her name with you all, Christmas, and baby showers in January. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Entertaining with Wine Chateau

I think it is safe to say that I love wine. In my opinion, there is little else that tops a glass of red wine while snuggled on the couch at the end of the day. This is just the epitome of contentment and relaxation. When Wine Chateau, an upscale online wine shop, asked that I do a review for them, I completely jumped on the opportunity.

I have been very intrigued by online wine shops and clubs for some time. The idea of having wine shipped right to my door is just so appealing and convenient. And what a great way to try different types. I was so happy to try out this service. However, immediately after committing to the review, I learned I was pregnant and would clearly not be partaking in as much of the wine sampling as I originally thought.

Wine Chateau asked that I send them a recipe I enjoyed cooking and offered to pair it with some of their selections from their shop. I sent along this recipe for chicken marsala from the Food Network. It is one of mine and Corey's favorites to make and such a crowd pleaser when entertaining.

Wine Chateau sent a box of three bottles of wine. You do need to show proof of age and be present to sign for the box since it contains alcohol. I always wondered how that worked with online wine clubs. This would be the biggest deterrent for me with my work schedule but when Corey isn't traveling, he works from our home so he was there to sign for the box with no trouble at all.

I received three bottles of red selections. I think red wine goes well with marsala but at first thought it was very bold of Wine Chateau to not include a white for this chicken dish. However, they knew exactly what they were doing because the selections paired perfectly and were all delicious.

Even at first glance, I was impressed because the bottles passed my initial test right away - no fake corks and no twist off tops. I really hate how so many wines, even nicer ones, are switching to these. Real corks just make so much better of an impression so I was really pleased with this. No skimping in the cork department.

We invited a few friends over for the evening and served a salad and crusty rosemary bread from our bread machine to accompany the chicken marsala. Everyone was so pleased with the wine selections for the evening. I was able to have a few sips and already plan to reorder the Pinot Noir and Cabernet in the photo above towards the end of my pregnancy to build up a post-baby stash. It was such a fun way to try a few different wines we had not tried before and was perfect for entertaining. Placing a regular order also eliminates that last minute run to your local wine shop or Wine and More when expecting friends for dinner.  I highly recommend giving Wine Chateau a try for the convenience and selection. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bumpdate:Weeks 23-26

How far along? 26 weeks. Baby is about 14ish inches and approaching two pounds. Only two weeks to go till the third trimester.

Weight gain: About ten pounds. 

Cravings: Lots of veggies, fresh fruit and milk and cookies.

Anything making me nauseas/queasy? Lots of things but nothing predictable. I will be talking about wanting something specific for dinner and then by the next day the thought of that food grosses me out. 

Stretch marks: Not yet. Still applying Bio Oil and Belly Butter every day both morning and night. 

Maternity clothes: Yes. I am wearing several maternity tops and maternity t-shirts for under cardigans and scarves and such. I can still wear a number of regular dresses and tunics. I have been wearing maternity leggings at every opportunity but of course have real maternity pants for work.

Wedding rings on/off: On. 

Sleep: It is a little better than in past weeks but I'm also dead tired every night after work so I am sure that helps. There are many nights I go to bed before 9:00. 

24 weeks

Exercise: I'm still walking and doing 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme yoga. I feel much looser, though, so I am ready to get back into more intense workouts. I really admire women who are able to continue their regular workouts all the way through and honestly always thought I would be like that because I did have a really strong background in working out, but my body has been telling me I am overdoing it on a lot of days.

Movement: Yes! In the morning, mid afternoon, and bed time are Baby's most active times. I can feel her movements getting much stronger and there have been a couple times I felt positive that I felt it on the outside but never in the evening when Corey was home. I'm really ready for him to be able to feel her, too.

Gender: Baby W is still a little girl - at least to our knowledge! We think we have a name but I just want to make sure we are positive before I share it. I'll be sharing it on the blog, through, in a fun little collaboration I did with CheerCracker.

Symptoms: Exhaustion, bigger boobs, heightened sense of smell. Pretty typical symptoms. I've also started having some ligament pain and there were two days this week that my feet and ankles got terribly, painfully swollen. Apparently, I need to sit down more and drink more water. Hearing this made me have a complete meltdown and start to cry because these are two things that are just nearly impossible for teachers. I am now getting an extra restroom break so I am able to go every three hours but that isn't really enough to start drinking more water and sitting down when you are in charge of 20-23 eight and nine year olds just isn't going to happen. It did completely go away over the weekend when I could drink more water and take it a little easier but if anyone has other tips for dealing with swelling, they would be very much appreciated. 

Best moment this month: Seeing the nursery start to come together. All the big things are here but there is still much to do and we don't have a lot of the "necessities" (mattress, monitors, changing pad) yet. I'll be sharing it soon but if you missed my inspiration board, you can find that here.

23 weeks

Worst moment this month: I caught a stomach virus the night before Halloween. It was miserable. A child in my class had it and I ended up getting super sick and dehydrated. It did pass within 24 long, excruciating hours. By my follow up appointment two days later, all was back to normal and Baby didn't seem as if she had been bothered by my around the clock sickness whatsoever.

Looking forward to: The Holidays. I'm really looking forward to the time off and spending some time with family.