Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Onward to October Goals

Now that our big order has been filled, I'm playing catch-up with things like birthday deliveries (for birthdays that happened weeks ago), doing all of our laundry, and catching up on sleep... sweet elusive sleep. Actually, laundry and sleep will probably take a while to get caught up on; especially, sleep.

Right now we are going through the 8 month sleep regression with Piper. It's a thing, I guess. Who knew? Not me. Anyway, we've been battling this regression for a week or two now but last night was probably the hardest night of it, yet. My husband and I have both been up since about 2:30 a.m. with Piper. Let's just say all the coffee is needed today; all of it.

Today is the last day of September. Wow! This month came and went so, so fast.

With tomorrow being the start of a new month, I have decided to take this opportunity to refocus on myself and my weight loss goals. My goals for September got pushed to the back burner, and that's okay. September was a wild and great month! I sought out grace for myself this past month and now I'm ready to work toward some October goals.

{october goals}

  1. Keep a photo food journal - you can follow my photo food journal and see exactly what I'm eating each day at I created this new account for my photo food journal. I got this idea from Katie at RunsforCookies. It has really worked for her! I love trying and sharing new tools that we all can use for our weight-loss journeys. As for myself, I think the extra accountability (and knowing that other people can see what I'm eating) is really going to help keep me on track!
  2. Run a sub-15 minute mile - it's been a while since I've had a running goal. I started running again last week and my initial mile time was 15:49. I forgot how motivating it can be to work toward shredding seconds off that number, and I feel so good afterward, too!
  3. Drink at least 64 oz. of water per day - this is a far cry from what I really need to be drinking (120 oz) but I think I need to work my way back up to that amount. This goal seems much more reachable to me right now, and so I'm going with it!
Readers, what are your goals for October? Do any of you have a photo food journal you want to share?

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Light in the Woods

Finally! I can share the great news that has been keeping me so busy {and making me so happy} these past few weeks. But first, let's backtrack a bit.

As you may know, at the beginning of this year, two life-changing things happened to me and my family: I gave birth to my first child and, I left my career as a paralegal to stay at home with her. What an amazing journey this year has been for us all (and it's not over, yet)!

Along the way throughout new motherhood, I found myself missing the rewards of my past career, a job well done and all that jazz. So, about three months ago, I began to actively sell some handmade items from my very own Etsy shop "Anything Rustic". My husband, Nick, and I enjoy anything rustic, and so came the name for the shop! 

Nick has been making my personal rustic decor dreams come true for years now. After receiving many requests for his talents to be shared with others, this little online store was formed. Both my husband and I enjoy designing and creating rustic treasures. Anything Rustic's Etsy store is a place where we can showcase both of our talents and share the product of our work with the world!

One of the first items that became an instant hit in our online shop was our line of handmade burlap banners. We got the idea to make and sell burlap banners back when we were making our own decorations for my baby shower last year. I wanted a "baby girl" burlap banner and I wanted to make it ourselves (it's more special that way, right?). Wouldn't you know it, the "baby girl" banner is now one of the top sellers in our online shop! How special; the banner that began it all.

Now, fast forward 3 months since our first burlap banner sale and that brings you to present day. The great news that I have to share today is that our handmade burlap banners are now available locally at "The Light in the Woods" art and gift shop in Edinboro, PA!

"The Light in the Woods" is a local art and gift shop that specializes in unique and hand-crafted pieces by local artisans. The space that the owner, Jessica, has made for her shop is beyond description. When you walk into "The Light in the Woods" you are surrounded by such beautiful pieces. Her quaint and tranquil shop is one of my new local favorites (and not just because my banners are available there, trust me). Shopping at "The Light in the Woods" is an experience that you'll remember!

This past week, my husband and I have been working on filling the initial order for "The Light in the Woods". If I had to describe what that looked like this past week, I'd have to say we've basically been making the balance of "work" and "play" look like an art form. While working from home is not without it's challenges, it is extremely rewarding. Thankfully, we have great support from our family. Without a minute to spare, the order for the shop was filled and this dream of ours has become a reality!

Locals -- please consider stopping out to the "The Light in the Woods" in Edinboro! I promise you won't regret it (and tell Jessica I said "hi")!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy 'bout Friday

It's Friday! I'm pretty happy 'bout that. 

Here are some reasons why I'm happy on this Friday:

1. I woke up to a clean house (and coffee)!
2. I ran a mile and walked for about 20 minutes during Piper's nap.
3. The sun was shining, it was warm outside and I got to stretch for a bit by the pond this morning.

 4. I made a slow cooker meal that made my house smell like fall all day long! Apples, cinnamon, honey and pork; so good!
5. Piper was a happy girl today! She took a couple good naps and we had a lot of fun playing on the floor in her nursery. She loves the rug in there!
6. My husband didn't have night class and so he was home at normal time and we got to eat dinner together, at the table, with Piper!

7. My husband and I are taking Piper to her first football game tonight! I've been looking forward to this since last year when we would go to games while I was pregnant with her. Tonight will be a special night! We are so blessed to have her with us.

Readers, what is making you happy on this Friday?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I Owe You an Explanation

My updates here have been few and far between these past couple weeks. I promise I have a really good explanation, I just can't tell you yet. The big reveal should be coming soon... like, this weekend soon.

I've been working really hard these past couple weeks and, playing even harder; fair week was a blast! The only hint I can give you to explain my absence is that our business {Anything Rustic} is about to expand in ways we couldn't even imagine.

Since I have been working and playing so hard, my goal of losing weight has not been on my high priority list. I gained a couple pounds throughout fair week and that was to be expected. I have been in survival mode for most of this month, trying to have as much fun as possible while growing our business, too. But let me tell you, starting your own business from scratch with an infant at home is not for the faint of heart. I'm working nap times and past bed times. I've been burning the candle at both ends of the stick, if you will. Thank God for my supportive husband and family.

Losing weight will become a priority again, it really will, but I am giving myself some grace right now. I didn't expect I'd have this much trouble losing weight, but I also didn't expect God to bless me with such great opportunities with our business this first year. Grace; not perfection. That is what I'm seeking.

I promise, I'm not going anywhere -- I hope you won't either.
Stay tuned for more, hopefully this weekend or early next week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Piper's First Fair Week

Fair week is over. What a special week it was for us!

That family photo in the horse barn makes me laugh every single time. Taking pictures with an 8 month old is as good as is gets. So, so funny!

During fair week, Piper really let loose. Piper's favorite part of the fair was the animals. She squealed more times than I can count. She is usually quiet and reserved in public, but not anymore. Fair week changed her, and I have to say, I love her little personality!

If you remember, I got a picture last year by the tractors at the fair while I was pregnant with Piper. Here's our tractor picture, this year.

The weather was beautiful each day we visited the fair (which was Tuesday - Friday). Piper really enjoyed herself. I'll never forget how she would yell and squeal with delight as we strolled her around the fair grounds. My husband and I had so much fun pushing her around! She makes us laugh so much.

Piper turned 8 months old yesterday. What a fun age for her first fair week, and next year I know she'll enjoy it even more. 

We are having so much fun showing Piper new places this year, especially the ones that mean so much to Nick and I.

Piper's first fair week has come and gone, but it's a week we will never forget!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Our Sixth Wedding Anniversary

This anniversary is a little more special than the rest, for one big reason; we are now parents! This morning, on our anniversary, we woke up to a happy baby kicking her feet, wailing her arms all around and saying "da da da da" with the biggest smile she can give. We all love to snuggle together in the big bed on Saturday mornings; this morning being extra special for us.

Parenting together has been our greatest adventures, yet. This past year, we have been there for one another through the thick of parenting a newborn, and now, infant child. To have the one you love by your side through labor, delivery and beyond is a feeling and experience like none other. We have never felt more connected, more committed and more in love than we have this year with our baby girl, Piper Grace.

It is amazing to watch our little girl grow and know that she came from our love; a love that began so many years ago. Here is our story, one that I will be happy to share with our little girl one day.

My husband, Nick, asked me to be his girlfriend in 6th period English class on November 19, 2003. He was playing his guitar when he asked me. I said yes, and when the bell rang, I ran down the hall with my friend jumping and giggling. I thought it was the happiest day of my life.

Nick dressed up and brought me flowers to work when he picked me up for our anniversary celebrating one year of dating. He was old enough to drive, and I was allowed to go with him. He was wearing cologne and drove us in his mom's red car. When we got in, he had a CD playing our song. As I sat next to him in the car, listening to our song play; watching him drive me to dinner; holding flowers that he had bought for me in my hands, I thought it was the happiest day of my life.

Nick got accepted to a school 7 hours away from home. We took turns driving to see one another at least once a month for two years. When he graduated in 2008, I drove down to attend the ceremony with his parents. He was finally coming back home! We were going to live together when he returned. I thought that was the happiest day of my life.

On October 19, 2008, Nick drove me to the beach during sunset, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I thought that was the happiest day of my life.

On September 19, 2009, the double doors in the Church opened, and I saw Nick standing at the end of the isle. I squeezed my fathers arm as he and I began to walk toward Nick. All of my family and friends were there. My dad gave me away to Nick. We exchanged vows, and kissed. We became husband and wife. I thought that was the happiest day of my life.

On May 15, 2014, we found out we were expecting a child. I wrote him a note telling him that there was a surprise for him in the oven. I put the positive pregnancy test in the oven and closed the door. When he got home, he read the note and gave me a hug. I asked him what he thought it was, and he said "meatloaf" with a big smile on his face. I told him it wasn't meatloaf and to go check it out. He opened the oven door and look at the test for a few seconds. Then he looked back at me and said "are you serious?!" I shook my head and cried happy tears and he came and hugged me. He had happy tears, too. He said, "Is everything okay? Should I sell my truck? Are we going to be okay?". I just laughed as he went through his turn with the panic stage and reassured him that it was all going to be okay. I thought this was the happiest day of my life.

On January 21, 2015, After a hours of labor, I was rushed for an emergency c-section. Our baby was in trouble, and we were so scared. I starred at my husband and just kept saying in a weak voice, "I want my baby, I want my baby, I want my baby." I had to have said it about 50 times. I said it until she arrived, until I heard those beautiful first cries. I know people say this all the time, but it was truly the best sound in the entire world. My baby was here, she was breathing, she was safe. Piper had beautiful dark hair, and full cheeks. Her cries were strong, and music to our ears. Once she was taken back to be weighed, I looked at my husband and cried "that's our baby, that's our baby". He had tears in his eyes, and was choked up saying, "yes, yes." I thought that was the happiest day in my life.

Each of these instances are just a glimpse of the love we share. I have considered each of these moments, and many more unmentioned moments with Nick, to have been the happiest moments of my life. While it seems to be typical for people to consider their wedding day the happiest day of their life, I absolutely wouldn't stop there.

As you can see, I thought many of the special days mentioned previous to our wedding were the happiest of my life. I didn't know then how much more there was. How much more I could love him.

Love is so mysterious. Just when you think that you couldn't possibly love somebody any more than you do in one given moment, your love then grows. Nick has shown me more love in a moments feeling than some people get to see in a lifetime. I am complete because of him. I thank God daily for our love; for giving him to me so early in life. I pray daily for a long life with Nick, the one who always makes me smile. The one who makes me feel complete.

Happy Anniversary, Nicholas. The best is yet to come.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fair Week is Back

Fair week is here; fair week is here!

Previous "fair week" updates from the past couple years can be found here:
Pizza Slice as Big as Your Head (2014)
Fair Time (2014)
Quick Fair Update (2013)

Photo from last year's fair. Evan, myself and a growing Piper (in my tummy)!

Last year, I was pregnant for the fair. That was... awesome! This year, I am 7 (almost 8) months postpartum and I have been over-indulgent with food for about all 7 of those months. This week is fair week. It could possibly be one of my most favorite weeks to look forward to each year! Over-indulgence during fair time is kind of a given. I'm not even going to try to restrict myself, otherwise, I will over-indulge even more. I really am going to get back to business, but fair week is not the week to do it.

After years of attending our local fair, I have narrowed down a few fair-favorites and I basically know what I'll be eating when I visit.

Dinner: Gyro or  Pizza (slice as big as your head)
Dessert: Peanut Butter Milkshake

Cheese fries, Pepperoni Balls and Deep Fried Oreo's may also make an appearance in exchange for the dinner or dessert listed above. Fair food... it's horrible, horrible, horrible, but it's just so good! And, it only comes but once a year.

My husband started his last year of school this week (five years really flew), and so he will be missing the first night of the fair, as he has for the past couple years. His night class is on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Next year will be an exciting fair week since Nick will be with me for the entire week! Did I just type "me", I meant to type "us"... he will be with "us" for fair week.

This is our daughter, Piper's, first "Fair Week"! Having Piper with us during fair week is really, really special to us. After all, it was at the fair (about 13 years ago) when I first realized that I loved Nick. The fair has always been a special event for my husband and I; we even got married on the Saturday of the fair (and our 6 year anniversary is this Saturday the 19th)! The fair; our small town; my little family... I love living here! My heart is so full.

Just like last year, Piper and I will be taking my little brother to the fair early so he can enjoy Ride-A-Rama. The only difference is that last year, Piper was in my belly. It's going to be a little noisier for her this year.

I took Piper for a stroll around the fair grounds last evening (before it opened) to give her an idea of what she's in for this week. According to the forecast, we are in for a beautiful, warm week ahead. That will just make things even better for our visit!

I am really, really excited for this fair week! This is probably the most exciting fair week for me since last year (when Piper was in my tummy) and 13 years ago (when my tummy was filled with butterflies) while falling in love with Nick.

Happy Fair week, all! If you don't hear from me again this week, I will be sure to update next! Also -- you can check out my Instagram for any photo updates along the way!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Piper Grace: Seven Months

Our baby girl is turning 8 months old soon, and so I believe it's time to finally get her 7 month update up and out there.

Piper Grace really took our hearts by storm this month. She said her first two words: Mama and then, Dada. She makes the cutest faces when saying both mama and dada; she even combined them once for a "mama, dada" double heartwarming session. We can't even explain what it feels like to hear her say those words. There are no words for that feeling!

Piper is completely able to sit up on her own with no assistance, however; I do like to keep some pillows or our boppy around her just for the occasional tip over. She gets way too excited at times and just flies backward with little to no warning. She is getting better at catching herself, though.

Girlfriend still dislikes being on her tummy, and so crawling is definitely not happening anytime soon. We are more than okay with that! She is so determined, I know we will be non-stop once she is mobile. Thing is, once she learned to roll from her belly to back, tummy time became non-existent. Anytime I put her on her belly, I imagine her saying "NOPE!" as she rolls instantly onto her back (and subsequently tries to sit up). All Piper wants in life is to sit up and look all around. Can't blame her for that! She's a curious little princess.

Piper absolutely loves to be outside! I am not quite sure how she is going to deal with the impending cold weather and our (way too long) winters. Piper is most content sitting directly in the grass, where she can pull the grass out and examine every little piece. During Labor Day weekend, Piper sat with us in the grass for literally two hours at my in-laws; just picking at the grass. She was so quite, other people forgot she was even there! If her binky wasn't in her mouth, though, she also enjoyed putting said grass right into her mouth. She may have eaten some grass when we weren't looking. She's a sneaky one, that sweet girl.

Piper has tried a lot of different purees since turning 6 months old. Her favorite foods are green beans and sweet potatoes. She still only has two bottom teeth, but there are four more that are about ready to make their debut. I believe the top two made her have a runny nose a couple weeks ago. That broke my momma heart but we got through it, and she was still a happy girl despite it all.

During Piper's seventh month with us, it also became time to transition her to the crib. Up until this past month, she had been spending her nights and her naps in the Rock N' Play. This was great for her earlier months as she had been born with GERD. Now that she has seemed to grow out of GERD, it became time to transition to the crib. It didn't take her too long to get use to the crib. We took the front off and pushed the crib up next to our bed. It's basically just an addition to our bed now. We'll keep it like that as she gets use to sleeping in it. Piper also needs to be swaddled still, and so I'll want her sleeping next to me (in her crib) until we break her of the swaddle, too. We aren't going there yet, though. She's still our sweet "little" baby, after all.

This past month, Piper also spent the night at her grammie's for the very first time. My husband and I took that time to go out and have fun with friends. We didn't get much sleep ourselves, as we were out until the wee hours of the morning. We had so much fun! However, the next time Piper goes over to grammie's for a sleepover, my husband and I agreed we'd try to catch up on some sleep, too! That sounds wonderful right about now.

This past month we went on countless walks; we went to a couple car shows; we went to a baseball game; Piper had her first trip to the zoo, and; she had her first visit to an amusement park! With Piper being this age in the prime of summer, it was a lot of fun for all of us!

Her favorite toys right now include her bunny, a monkey rattle and her one-armed cow, "Lucky". (Lucky lost his arm during a run-in with a dog earlier this month. Nick fixed his arm all up and we're glad to say that Lucky will be just fine.)

Piper Grace, I have loved watching you grow. This month alone, you have grown so much! We love showing you our world, and watching your reaction to new things. I couldn't imagine my world without you. Piper, you make everything so much more fun and so much more beautiful. I love you, baby girl!