Best of 2021.

The best of 2021! 

This year has been even weirder than last, but still pretty amazing in the midst of the pandemic craziness. We’ve got some awesome things to look forward to in the new year. Can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for us.

Happy New Year!!

My love for the Happy Planner continues…

It’s no secret that I’m a huge planner girl. I love planners, I love the accessories, and I love everything about the process of planning out life. Four years ago, I bought my very first Happy Planner!

The Happy Planner helps you keep your life organized in such an easy way, the planners are practical, pretty, and the material is high quality that lasts all year long. I take my planner with me to work everyday, and usually look at it a few times when I’m at home. The planner gets shuffled around everywhere and the durable material and binder rings makes it last all year long with no problem.

In 2018, I bought my first happy planner and haven’t looked back since! And I keep the planners, I don’t know why, but I like to keep them for a few years.

The planner I chose for 2022 is called In Every Season Classic Vertical Planner. I always choose the weekly vertical version. Each planner has 12 full monthly spreads (one for each month), and a two-page spread for each week.

At the beginning of each month, there is a blank page where I put birthdays. I don’t send birthday cards for every single family member, but almost some years! I know the little ones enjoy getting mail, and when I hear feedback on how much they appreciate it, makes it that much better.

For the actual monthly spread, I write all of our monthly bills, and subscriptions on the due date. I’ve always done color coding for each family member and it works great! You can see the different colors on the left-hand side under the notes section.

Here is February blank, not filled out yet so you can see what it looks like. In the notes section, I’ll put important reminders for example, if a bill is almost paid off, or to remember to schedule family photos, things like that.

Each monthly tab is laminated which helps for wear and tear all year long. These planners really do last through all the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I use this pencil / pen case for all my planner markers, pens, pencils, etc. I carry this with me all the time also since I use color coding for everything.

These are the markers I use for the planner. My favorite pens I’ve used for two years now, are the BIC Intensity pens, purchased on Amazon. They write so well, and pass the smudge / bleed test so they don’t go through onto the other planner pages.

These are the Zebra Midliner Highlighter Pens, they are good too, a little thicker than the Bic pens but they are nice.

In the very back of the planner, I always buy these packs of Colored Fill Paper. I use them for things like dates to remember for the next year, or something that might’ve came up this year that didn’t happen before, my husband’s work stuff / paychecks, just random things. It’s nice to have extra pieces of paper to write things down on that you wouldn’t put on a daily page in the weekly spread.

Something new I’m trying this year are these Budget Debt and Savings Classic Filler Paper sheets. We have been working super hard these past few months paying things off, so I thought it would be helpful to try and use these sheets for the new year.

The Happy Planners come in lots of different designs and sizes! I always go with the Classic size, but they also have mini sizes and big sizes to suit your needs. There are also many other items you can add on to your planner such as pens, stickers, pen holders, bookmarks, planner covers, and much much more. Check out all the different accessories here.

This planner has our entire lives in it, and I’d be so lost without it. I’ve tried going the electronic route when it comes to calendars / planners and I just can’t do it. There is something about writing things down, and crossing them off, that helps me plan things so much better. I will always be a planner girl!

Here is a blog post from last year’s Happy Planner Weekly Layout.

The best planner out there, and trust me I’ve tried lots of different ones.

32 weeks.

Yes, the sound effects are totally necessary! Anytime I move, sit, stand, basically do anything I feel the need to make a noise or grunt or something. And if I’m super active during the day, then I’m useless at night. Still managing to exercise in the mornings which is awesome, going to try and keep that up until the end.

Doctor’s visits during the third trimester are very uneventful, other than I have to do an ultrasound every week now. Getting to the doctor every week from here on out is a bit annoying, but thankful everything is looking healthy, which I am overly grateful for. My blood pressure has always been great, never had issues with that thank goodness.

My weight gain has been very good at this point, which I’m very happy with. I still like a crazy person, weigh myself everyday. Ever since I started my keto lifestyle roughly around two years ago, I’ve always weighed myself every morning. I am not doing keto while pregnant, it’s not very good to go low to no carbs, and besides I crave carbs! I know that I’m going to gain weight being pregnant, it just helps me know how much I really am gaining throughout this pregnancy and very happy with the results!

Getting my five to six day a week workouts in, and feeling great! When I say feeling great, I definately don’t feel like my normal self working out but I’m so happy that I’m still moving my body 32 weeks later! Just about everyday, I am doing the Nancy Taylor Prenatal Workout which is pretty easy, gets my heart rate up, and my body moving. I feel very proud of myself for maintaining a workout routine for the most part almost daily. I feel so good after my workouts, which is why I do the majority of them in the mornings unless I’m in the office that day. I feel energized throughout the day, until mid-late afternoon and then I’m pooped.

Little man is the size of a cantaloupe now. But feels like I’m carrying a bowling ball some days! For real, I feel like I’ve got the pregnant lady waddle going on some days. If I do too much during the day, like lots of laundry, cleaning, up and down at work, then I can feel it at night. The belly literally feels like I’m carrying a gigantic bowling ball around and it hurts!

That’s all for now mamas! Stay tuned for a few more final pregnancy updates!

Our 2021 Christmas.

We’ve had some fun with the Elf on the Shelf this year! We call our elf Snitch, and he has had some adventures this holiday season. The excitement of finding him each morning is just the best, some mornings were more boring than others but for the most part it was all a success!

Part of our Christmas Bucket List this year, was to go downtown and do the bumper cars and ice skating. We went in the morning on a weekday, and it wasn’t very crowded. The weather was very cold though! The big kids were rockstars at ice skating, Hadley tried it at least but wasn’t a huge fan after she fell twice. She loved the bumper cars, so much fun!

We played Christmas card games, matching and go fish. I keep this set of cards in our Christmas bins, and we only play it during the holiday season to keep it special.

We take turns putting the angel up on the tree, we keep a handwritten list inside the angel container to keep track. This year it was Natalie’s turn, but she wasn’t at the house when we put the tree up so she let Hadley put the angel up in place of her. Growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa did the same thing with all of us grandkids, took turns putting the angel up. Love the little memories we are creating for our kiddos.

The one and only Black Friday purchase we made this year was a mini Keurig maker! I made this little corner of the kitchen a coffee / tea area. Kevin is a one cup of coffee kinda guy, and I like my chai tea latte’s!

Something about a clean kitchen before I go to bed makes me so happy. I try very hard to clean off the counters and dishes before bed, because waking up to a clean kitchen is just the best for me.

I’ve not written a blog post about this, but for two years in a row now I’ve made my own holiday planner for the season. It helps me keep things organized and it’s festive too!

Another Christmas Bucket List item is to make Christmas cookies! Since I’m 30+ weeks pregnant, I try not to stand for long periods of time so this year Hadley did a lot of the baking herself! I sat at the kitchen table, and basically told her what to do, and she did it all herself. She’s going to be a great baker!

Hadley and I got our Christmas mani/pedi done the week of Christmas! We knocked out a lot of our Christmas bucket list the two weeks before Christmas. She loves to get her nails and toes done! It was her idea for the blue snowflakes, and we loved it!

Kevin loves to make fires, and we did a lot of them during the holiday season. Hadley loves to watch and help him make the fires. He would make a fire every night if he could!

Another Christmas Bucket List item, go to the Festival of Lights! We ended up going with our cousins and had the best time. It was cold, but not super cold where it wasn’t enjoyable!

We made it to see Santa just in time before Christmas! This Santa is THE best around, he used to be at the Macy’s downtown but when they closed he moved a little further away. We drive about 45 minutes to see him each year, but he’s so worth it. He takes his time with the kids, really talks to them and makes them feel so special. Plus, he has his real life reindeer outside to see before you see Santa!

This was our first year going to the Coney Island Christmas Night of Lights! It was really neat to see, but not sure we’d go every year. The car line was about 2 hours just to get in to see the lights, then about 30-40 minutes of lights, and then you are done. So overall, almost three hours in the car! My god I had to pee like three times, thank God for portalets!

We celebrated our Christmas two days early this year, due to Kevin having to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So we left out the traditional cookies and milk for Santa!

Santa came!

We always make a big breakfast before we open presents, I know it drives the kids crazy but that’s what we do. And by big breakfast we have pancakes, biscuits, mini cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage, goetta, eggs, donuts, orange juice, and chocolate milk. And when I’m not preggers, mimosas!

Christmas Eve night we went to my brother-in-laws house. We surely missed Kevin, but he was busy literally fighting two fires. One was a car fire, and the second an apartment fire. The second fire photo above is my husband kneeling down at the door.

Christmas Day was just Hadley and I at home. Snitch the Elf left her a goodbye note, saying how well behaved she was and he’ll be back next year. And in summer clothes of course, this girl was born to be by the water. After dinner, we did a little movie night and she picked out Santa Clause 2 and we had popcorn. If only Dad were home to make us a fire!

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Christmas won’t be the same this year, but we’re making it through. I’m wishing everyone a happy, and healthy time with the ones you love the most.

Blessings at Christmas
“May the blessing of joy abide within you; May the blessing of peace rest upon you; May the blessing of love flow out through you; May all the blessings of the Lord be yours at Christmas and in the new year.” — Author Unknown

Friday favorites.

Our 2021 Christmas bucket list is finished! Not much time to complete every item, but we’re sure going to try to do as many as we can! Bucket list link here.

Exercise is still a major part of my routine, especially while being pregnant. It’s helped tremendously my mood, my health, and just feeling good overall!

We’ve been having so much fun with Snitch the Elf! One night this week, he was taking a ride down the banister. It’s so fun to experience Christmas through Hadleys eyes, makes everything so much more magical!

Reached the 30 week mark in my pregnancy! Some days I really wish for a cocktail, but that can wait a few more weeks right? Little man is the size of a bunch of broccoli. It feels weird to be in the 30 week mark now, time is just flying by!

We have lighting under our cabinets in the kitchen. We turn them on at night sometimes and it just gives off this cool glow. Lights are from Amazon.

We still need some larger items for little mans room, but I’m starting to get more of the smaller items. Things like baby wash cloths, sheets for the pack ‘n play, a lamp, and a cute little sign. When I found this sign with “little man” on it I threw it in my cart immediately!

Happy Friday! Looking forward to this weekend. Today is my daughters last day of school and then she’s on Christmas break. Up for this weekend is, a basketball game tonight, baking cookies tomorrow, and the big kids come on Sunday! Have a great weekend!

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Our 2021 Christmas Bucket List.

Here it is! The 2021 Christmas bucket list!

I know there’s not much time until Christmas, but it’s done and it’s ready to be checked off. If we don’t get to all of them, which we probably won’t, that is perfectly okay. It’s something our family looks forward to every Christmas, especially Miss Hadley. And I look forward to picking things to do, and drawing them!

Here are the bucket list items:

  • Wear Christmas jammies
  • Decorate the front porch
  • Mail Christmas cards
  • Christmas mani/pani
  • Take a drive to look at Christmas lights
  • Bake cookies
  • Buy a strangers coffee
  • Have a Grinch themed meal
  • Holiday movie marathon
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • Visit / take a picture with Santa
  • Bumper cars at Fountain Square
  • Go to the Festival of Lights at the Zoo
  • Donate a toy to a kid in need

We’ve already started some of the things on the list, need to cross some off. But we are excited for Christmas, it’ll be here before we know it!

Do you and your family do a bucket list for Christmas?

Friday favorites.

The elf on the shelf has been going strong this week! The elf is such a great motivator for getting ready for school in the mornings. I think her favorite one this week was movie night!

Sent our Christmas cards out this week! Read more about who we used here.

We finally put the angel on our tree! The kids take turns every year, and it was Natalie’s turn this year but she’s been busy with sports and hasn’t been here for a few weeks so she let Hadley put it on for her.

Starbucks to help make the workday go by faster! Chai tea latte is my favorite.

My work planner for 2022. I use a planner for work, and a different one for personal/home. I can’t imagine having lots of work things in my personal planner, I like to separate personal life from work life.

Hadley’s school has homemade gingerbread kits you can buy. We made this the other night and she went to town. They used a small milk carton from school lunches, and glued graham crackers on to it. Super cute and so simple!

29 weeks! Little man is moving and groovin in my tummy. Feeling him move everyday is such a cool feeling.

We hang the Christmas cards we receive in the mail on the basement door. Since the door is in the kitchen, we see it everyday so it’s the perfect spot! Love seeing all the photos and cards each year.

Miss Hadley sleeps just like her Daddy, all crazy and spread out. She’s the best sleeper though. Girl loves her sleep!

Happy Friday folks! Another busy weekend sort of. Movie night tonight, soccer game tomorrow, and then a birthday party for Hadley tomorrow night. And Kevin working lots of overtime. Single mama for the weekend. Have a good one!

Our 2021 Christmas card.

Each year, I feel like I use a different company for our cards. I like trying out different cards, because their are so many varieties to choose from! For this year, we used Walgreens and I was very happy with how they turned out. I love the saying, I love the colors, and I love the three photo options.

The name of these cards from Walgreens are Jolly, Messy, Happy Christmas. The specifics of the card we used is glossy photo paper, size 5×7, and plain white paper envelopes.

As you can see from the above photo, one of my favorite parts of writing out Christmas cards is decorating the envelopes, which is why I always get the plain white ones. I always use some sort of washi tape on almost every single envelope that gets mailed out from our house. Even boring bills get washi tape!

For the front of the envelopes, I hand wrote the addresses using a red and green Sharpie. The exact Sharpie used is the, 37002 Permanent Markers Ultra Fine Point which can be found here. The addresses have been blurred out for privacy. Next to each address, I used a green Christmas tree stamp.

Super happy with how the Christmas cards turned out. It’s one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season! I keep track of how many I send, who I send them to, etc., each year. When we were first married, I think I sent out like 90 something cards! After not getting 90 something cards back, I decided to cut down a little bit on how many we buy.

Do you send out Christmas cards every year? I just love it!

An adventure is about to begin.

Yay! We have the best news to share. I feel like I’ve been keeping this secret for soo long, but we wanted to wait for the right time to share on here. By now most of you have probably seen our pregnancy announcement on Instagram, but if not…our family is growing! We will be having a sweet little baby come February!

As this blog has been a place of documentation for this life, it’s only fitting to write a post celebrating our growing family! So I’d like to share a little about our journey to this place we are at.

HOW WE FOUND OUT

We found out I was pregnant towards the end of June. I was literally one of those women that had no clue I was pregnant, mainly because we were done trying about two years now. I was eleven days late with my period, and thought oh my I better take a test to see. I remember this night distinctively, it was late like 10pm and I took a pregnancy test that was probably left over from my now seven year old daughter. The test was positive almost immediately. Another “oh my” went through my brain. I called my husband at the firehouse and told him over the phone. Yes I know, but I couldn’t keep that to myself all night! He suggested I get another test, preferably one that is brand new the next morning and take another one. Sure enough, the next morning the test was instantly positive again.

I was in shock. Happy, but in shock. Two years prior to this, I experienced a miscarriage. It was tough, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason. After the miscarriage, we stopped trying and worrying about it. I was content with not having anymore kids. Well, two years later surprise! Baby on the way!

It truly feels surreal, and it took me awhile to actually accept that this was really happening. We had just donated 90% of my daughters baby stuff, so we are literally starting from scratch again. The only thing I kept was a pink high chair!

BOY OR GIRL?

We chose to find out the gender super early, at ten weeks! I didn’t know you could find out that early now, but it was all done through blood work. I had some of the genetic and other testing done also which all came back great. It’s a little hard to see, but I made cake pops and had Hadley bite into them to find out if it was a boy or girl. Well….it’s a BOY! We are so excited!

I started taking weekly photos here and there. And you’ll notice none of them are of the side view. I’m not a fan of the side view pregnant or not! Maybe when the belly gets super super round! The 21 week ultrasound was my favorite visit so far, you could really see the little mans head!

THIS PREGNANCY SO FAR

So far, I’m feeling so good! I’m in my third trimester, and finally starting to feel pregnant! It’s been weird, but I haven’t really felt pregnant until the third trimester. I had very minimal symptoms in the very beginning, felt a little nauseous here and there, but never got sick. I’ve felt totally different than with my daughter Hadley. I’ve been exercising just about everyday, some days I might not do a workout per se, but I’ll do something to move my body and get my heart rate up. I know every pregnancy is different, and I’m so grateful this one has been so easy so far.

Cravings have been pretty mild up until the third trimester. I’m craving anything chocolate and carbs. Prior to getting pregnant, I was a huge keto fan and was able to maintain my lifestyle with that way of eating. The second I got pregnant, ground beef which is one of my favorite proteins to eat, was repulsive and I couldn’t even look at it! I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t have to worry about too much caffeine.

NEXT STEPS

Prayers for a healthy baby boy and pregnancy! I cannot wait until birth to find out the gender, I am too much of a planner! We have his room all painted, the crib set up, and the recliner all ready to go. Still need a few things yet, and have started to accumulate some clothes!

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

How are you feeling?
Now that I’m in the third trimester, I’m finally starting to feel pregnant! Weird, I know but it is what it is. Feeling pretty good, have lots of energy until late in the day and then I just want to chill.

When are you due?
I’m due mid-late February! Perfect month, because during maternity leave the weather will be getting warmer, let’s hope!

Do you know if you’re having a boy or girl?
Yes, as pictured above in this post, we are having a BOY! We have a few names picked out, but are not sharing until birth. I like to have some sort of surprise!

Is Hadley excited?
Yes, she is very excited. Some days she’s totally into it, other days she’s not so much. I think with her being seven years old, she’ll be such a great help. But also, I don’t think she knows how much her world is really going to change having a baby around.

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