2018, WRAPPED

It’s been quite a year for us. Recapping some highlights I want to remember.

In October 2017 we closed on our house, and we spent the next 6 weeks painting every possible surface: every door, wall, cabinet and trim got a shade of white. In December we moved in, and more projects started. It seemed like almost every weekend from December - June was spent on updates. Some memorable ones: tiling the kitchen backsplash, subway tiling the shower, floors in both bathrooms, designing Trey’s room (which over the course of the year turned from gender neutral nursery into full-on toddler boy) and perhaps my favorite update of all: the playhouse. My favorite make-from scratch-furniture item was/is our 10 ft. dining table.

We got to play a lot too. Some memorable trips: celebrating Grammy’s 90th in Palm Springs in February with my whole extended family, just Daniel and I to Andaz in Scottsdale in April, Leavenworth with Daniel’s side of the family for my father-in-law’s birthday, two trips to Almanor in July and September, and a fun trip to Napa for another family birthday in October. So many good memories from those trips.

The highlight of the year was finding out our second baby is on the way. Best news! The fall was a thick fog for me of morning sickness and trying to get through the days, but I continued to be active, and I think that’s what saved me this time. My sickness lingered longer, but wasn’t nearly as severe as with my first. I got out for a one mile walk, every single day, even on my toughest days. Sometimes, all the relief I got that day was that 20 minutes of moving. I am well into my second trimester and finally past the sickness, and mostly am just so grateful to get to carry life again.

Trey was an early talker (and I am a pediatric speech therapist), so we got to watch his language explode between 18-24 months firsthand. I work with so many children who are delayed, so it’s always shocking for me to see him so far above developmentally average for his age. He started a new preschool/daycare part-time in January 2018, and has absolutely thrived. We are so thankful for all of it: for him, for his teachers, for work I enjoy, for such good care.

After maybe a two year hiatus, I started running again. In April, a group of friends were doing a squat challenge together, and I decided I am not really a squats kind of girl, but I really enjoy walking and running. I joined our thread, and my challenge was running a two mile loop in our neighborhood, a couple times a week. It turned out to be the single most game-changing factor in my motherhood, work, self-care, and overall outlook on life. In May I upped it: I could do either walk one mile, or run two miles, but I had to log at least one mile, every single day. I am so proud to say, from May 1 to December 1, I did it. There were months in the summer where I was stringing together two mile runs consistently, and I was possibly in the best shape of my life (even moreso than when I was running half marathons, because I was doing it so consistently), and then months in the fall where I barely got in a one mile walk when I was so sick. But the fact that I was doing it every single day really helped. It just became part of my daily routine. In total, I logged somewhere between 210 - 420 miles. This is so crazy to me. Possibly my most active year, ever. And I started almost halfway through it.

It’s December now, and the dark, cold, and rain has set in, and many mornings the frost and ice on the ground has made me nervous for a fall while pregnant, so I am not sure how this is going to look in the winter months for me. I do have a gym membership, I just prefer to be outside. The winter is an entirely different conversation for me altogether and I am still working out my plan for this one.

Things we are looking forward to in 2019: welcoming this baby. It’s going to be a big year and I am so excited. I love the baby stage and I loved those early months with Trey and I am so excited and overwhelmingly grateful to get to do it again.

A couple trips are in the works for us and I am really looking forward to those as well. Some pre-baby and some post. I will be taking a longer-than-average maternity leave (for this country) and am grateful for that. Trey will start preschool in the fall. Our house projects will slow. I will spend a lot of time nursing. I am looking forward to all of it.

Thanks for being here. Wishing you a joyous holiday season and great start to your new year.

OUR 2018 CHRISTMAS CARD

Holiday cards! I live for these. Absolutely love them. Love designing them, writing them, getting them, decorating with them, seeing the changes in our family and friends’ families year after year, all of it.

But also, I want to recognize that many things about holiday cards can feel stressful. The photoshoot (if you choose to do one), getting everyone to look at a camera, dealing with the tantrums and emotions of toddlers and/or multiple children and babies, the picking of the photo, the design, the getting the updated addresses, the mailing. It can feel…overwhelming, to say the least, not to mention expensive. I get why people opt out. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take as much stress out of the holiday card as possible. Here is how that went for us this year:

We traded a photoshoot with a friend (at their generous suggestion, not ours), who is an actual, real-life, full-time, professional photographer. (Thank you, Joe). How I feel about that is this: I tried so hard to return the favor, and good luck editing your batch.

We spent the morning on a ferry ride, and it was mostly just fun to hang out and catch up. We got photos as a bonus, but it did feel very non-stressed, not the point of that Saturday morning. We also happened to get great weather which is kind of like winning the lottery in the late fall in Seattle.

For the design, I went with Postable, who I’ve used before, when Trey was 6 months. (See that card here.) I absolutely love this company and think their concept is so brilliant. I use their (free) address book to keep my addresses up to date throughout the year, and when I need an updated contact I can press one button and it emails my contact for me, and they enter their contact info, saving me mulitple steps. Genius. You can also use their address book without using their cards - just as a way to keep yourself organized.

171D1208-07BE-472C-91D8-C0EEB9CF75C2 copy.jpg

I picked my design, edited the card, and wrote a little something about our year on the back. That Christmas tree photo was taken at a local Christmas tree farm, and I followed the same formula I usually do to get the majority of our family photos, which goes like this: I bring my big camera and tripod, set the 10 second timer, and run for it. Free photoshoot! We got this in about 5 takes since the battery was dying and the boys were over it. But we got it. Done and done.

The feature I love the most about Postable is not only will they address your cards for you, but they have an option to send them out for you. This saves me hours, and I don’t have to lick a single envelope. Some people love the art of handwriting the addresses and writing a note, and I get that, so you can also choose to have them sent to yourself. But in this season of life, anything that saves me time around the holidays is a win for me.

Love love love these. Happy holidays!

Thank you to Postable for partnering with me on this post.

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR MOMS

If you’re shopping for a mom in your life (or creating a list for yourself!) here are some gift ideas of things I love or have my eye on. Because every mom deserves something special at Christmas.

FOR THE MOMS WHO LOVE THE KITCHEN

A set of beautiful, one of a kind, handmade ceramic mugs and bowls by Karen Dawn Curtis. Pictured are the Pasta Bowls and Happy Cups in Spring Day Blue. The color is more of a neutral gray and it is really beautiful in person. I love that each one is handmade, direct from the maker, and that no two are exactly alike.

Looking for a way to use less plastic, help the Earth, and add beauty to your kitchen? Enter Goldilocks wraps, a small business out of Canada that has changed my leftovers and storage game. These wraps are made of cotton and beeswax, and they work just like plastic wrap. They can also be molded into reusable baggies by pinching the sides together to stick. The prints are as cute as can be and as a bonus they smell amazing, like honey. On sale through cyber Monday.

Other kitchen/home items: I also have my eye on the Magnolia Table cookbook, Love & Lemons, and Homebody.

BECAUSE EVERY MOM DESERVES A LONG HOT SHOWER

Can you guess what these are? Shampoo and conditioner bars by Unwrapped Life. I just recently discovered them, and they are another small company out of Canada doing great things for people wanting to live more plastic-free. The company prides itself on being the perfect mix of “luxury and sustainability,” and they are totally natural, lather amazingly, and are great for you and the environment.

FOR THE HOSTESS/RENOVATOR

05A0AAB1-BEFB-46F2-9789-9A0AE22C5588.JPG

Wireless warm light bulbs by Philips Hue. I get that lighting may seem like a “boring” Christmas gift, but no home decor item is boring to me anymore after fixing up our house. We love these because they’re wifi enabled, which means no drilling needed to install dimmers or lighting, especially in rooms that aren’t already wired (hello, old Seattle homes). In addition to brightness, we can also control the color temperature, all from our phones. (Would make a great gift for a hard-to-buy-for techie dad too.)

FOR THE ORGANIZED MOM (OR THE MOM WHO WANTS TO BE

2C85DBA0-450D-4627-A0F0-1F4AEA74AF0A.JPG

I loved this diaper bag, and my favorite organizer insert fits in as well. Tote Savvy released a holiday edition in red, and they are running a sale from now through December 10th, up to 45% off, no code needed. This is the Mini size, the larger one I use in my Madewell Transport Tote for everyday. I really love the organization they provide in big, catch-all bags.

FOR EVERY MOM

A pedicure at your local nail salon (with babysitting included!). I love this indulgence and the time to myself.

My all time favorite (and ethically made!) white v-neck tee here. (Link is to the main page, search “The Cotton V-Neck”, it’s $15 and I wear size S.)

An Apple Watch or other step counter or fitness tracker. I got mine as a gift for Mother’s Day and have absolutely loved it. It’s been a game changer in my everyday fitness motivation.

The coffee mug that keeps your coffee hot for hours. Hello, mornings with small children. Have not tried but heard good things.

Grace Crafted Home, for gifts for the home that give back. My mom got me a Grace Case subscription, the clothing collection, and it’s a seasonal subscription of beautiful, fair trade items.

Essential oils are all the rage. You don’t have to buy the fancy ones though, I’ve heard great things about this kit (and look at the reviews!). They also have a diluted kids’ line.

If shes’s a La Croix fan, an at home sparkling water maker would make sure she always has something fizzy to drink on hand.

These are my favorite leggings of all time.

Our go-to grandparent gift. Get $10 off (a free book!) by clicking here.

Ordered this over the weekend at at the recommendation of a friend: a comfy bra for everyday, and stretchy enough for nursing (I picked up the true body scoop neck, on major sale).

Happy shopping!