Friday, January 29, 2016


In the words of my husband, I was just kind of wildcatting it this week. In other words, there was no structure for my days; I was just kind of going with the flow.

My husband worked second shift this week and so it kind of threw everything off for us and our normal routine. With Nick being home all day until about 2:00 p.m., I spent my time with him and Piper instead of getting any home-office work done. I did, however, ship any banners orders we received from the shop. That's kind of mandatory and that's about the extent of the work I did this week.

I guess that's a little benefit of working for yourself; you're the boss. If you want to take some time off, nobody is going to tell you "no". On the other hand, being your own boss can be tough. Some days I'm very demanding of myself but like I said, not this week. This week I was just wildcatting it.

This ended up being a pretty good week to wildcat it. I started to get sick shortly after my daughter's first birthday party was over last weekend so I didn't feel my best this week. Last night my throat was really hurting. It seemed like staying busy is what was keeping the sickness at bay, but it finally all caught up with me.

With Nick being on second shift, my evenings have been really quiet. Piper goes to sleep sometime between 7:00/8:00 p.m. and so I have a couple hours to myself. Since I've been wildcatting it this week, I just used that alone time to drink wine and catch up one some of my favorite shows. Sometimes being lazy feel so good.

Since we are coming to the end of the month and I was relatively lazy this week, I think it would be a good time Ito evaluate myself on my goals. Instead of breaking down each goal with a narrative on how I'm doing, I will just highlight the goal red, yellow or green.

Red = did not work on goal or no progress made
Yellow = began working on goal but did not stay consistent
Green = success!

2016 Resolutions/Goals

- More in-person Church (and online sermons)
- Lose 50 lbs. (starting weight: 250 lbs.)
- More date nights (twice a month would be nice)
- Sleep more (this one is kind of a joke)
- More calorie tracking

Business (Anything Rustic)
- More craft shows (at least four)
- Monthly book-keeping folders
- Work less with more intention
- Bi-weekly traveling office work (sheetz cafe, starbucks, etc.)
- More scheduled work; less blending personal/work time

- Aim for six posts a week
- Better balance with updates
- Learn SEO
- More recipes!
- More scheduled writing time

The only goal that I want to elaborate more on is my goal of losing 50 pounds. I weighed myself this morning and I'm still at 250 lbs. I had lost a couple pounds when I was consistent with tracking my calories at the beginning of the month but when things got crazy, I dropped the ball on that and gained the weight-loss back. If anything, I am happy to have maintained my weight this month but, I need to get serious about calorie tracking again if I want to meet that weight-loss goal this year!

Readers, did you make any new year resolutions or goals this year? How are you doing? Are you excited to start February? I sure am!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Piper's Winter ONEderland

Piper's first birthday party was a Winter ONEderland! This was the perfect first birthday theme for my January baby.
My husband and I rented out the same hall where we had our wedding reception six years ago, however, we only used a small closed-off portion of the hall for Piper's first birthday party. Oh, if my 21 year-old freshly-married self would have known what we would have been using this same hall for just 6 years later, I think my heart would have burst with joy.

Between my husband and I, we have a fairly large family. A lot of our aunts and uncles haven't had the chance to meet Piper yet, or have only seen her once since she's been born. We definitely wanted to celebrate our daughter's birthday with as much of our family as we could and so we invited our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and all of our cousins who were in town.

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law helped me a lot with the decorating and food planning for this party. I've known for months and months that I wanted Piper's first birthday to be a "Winter ONEderland" theme and those girls really helped me bring my vision to life! After going back and forth between pink and silver and pink and gold we finally decided on a pink and gold color scheme. I am so glad we did!

It's been days since the party happened and I still feel so giddy just thinking back to how wonderful it turned out for my girl. The hall and the decorations were beautiful, sure, but the most important thing about the party was that Piper had fun! Actually, I think she had the time of her one-year-old life, so far!

Piper enjoyed her first tastes of cake; that is, after she was done destroying it to pieces with her hands. She was even so sweet to share a taste of that delicious little smash cake with her friend who came up to visit her in the high chair. It was the sweetest thing ever, and I captured it all on video, below.

The smash cake was my favorite part of the party. I think Piper loved it, too.

My mom, mother-in-law, Nick's aunts and our dear friend, Mindy, all contributed to the amazing food spread at the party. We had a chili bar, cheeseburger soup, meatball subs, a deli tray, a hot chocolate bar, punch, cookies, and a s'mores bar!

My sister-in-law, Lee, made the most amazing cupcakes for the main dessert. She also decorated the dessert table like a winter wonderland dream.

While the food was amazing, the company was even better. I can't tell you how much love we felt with so many people around us as we celebrated Piper's first birthday.

The morning of Piper's party, I went up into her closet to go through her memory box. I pulled out her little hospital hat and her hospital blanket. I breathed them in and I sobbed. They still smelled like the hospital, even a year later. My husband walked in on me crying with the hospital hat and blanket in my hands. He smiled and helped me put them into a frame along with her birth announcement, and her hand and foot prints from when Piper was only a week old.

Quite like this entire first year, Piper's first birthday party came and went with what seemed to be a blink of an eye. Thankfully, my mom hired a photographer for the celebration so that we can keep the wonderful memories from the party frozen in time.

My big, beautiful baby girl is one year old. Praise God! I pray that this next year with Piper will be just as wonderful and just as blessed as the last.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Piper Grace: Twelve Months

As I sit here, getting ready to write Piper's one year update, I can't help but become a little emotional.

When I think back on the day when Piper was born, I thank God for the doctors and nurses who saved her life and helped bring our joy into the world. After 9 hours of labor, unexpectedly, Piper's heart began to fade away. Hearing her heartbeat fade on the monitors and being rushed by medical staff was the scariest moment of my life, but, the most amazing, most raw and most happy moments of my life soon followed.

Our little miracle, Piper Grace, was born via emergency c-section at 6:30 p.m. on January 21, 2015. {You can read her full birth story, here: Piper's Birth Story.} I praise God every day for our baby girl, and on her birthday especially. Our baby is healthy, she is here and she has been here for a year. We are so blessed. 

We celebrated Piper's birthday this past Saturday. A full recap of the celebration deserves a post all on it's own. I will share that with you all, soon.

At 12 months old, Piper's personality is unmistakable. She is wild; she is daring; she is independent; she is funny; she is sweet; she is a foodie; she is an animal-lover; she is Piper Grace.

This year has been the best year of our life. While Nick and I are both a little sad that Piper is growing up so fast, we are also excited to continue living out the best years of our life with our little girl. We are so looking forward to this next year with our girl, especially. These are truly the days of our life and we are cherishing them just as so.

Piper Grace has been sleeping well in her nursery (when she isn't teething). I just put my finger in her mouth yesterday to find that she actually has TEN teeth in there. Last I checked she only had eight teeth but now it feels like she cut her first molars and she's got two more on their way. My girl is a teething champion! I think we are all looking forward to getting some more sleep once Piper's mouth stops hurting so much.

Piper is saying words left and right. I don't think I could even list all the words she can say but I'll try. She is really good at mimicking us. She can say "mama", "dada", "light", "hi", "hey", "nom nom", "more", a few different animal sounds and my husband and I both swear she copied me the other day and said "destruction" only it was more like "de - du - chon". We laughed so hard! This girl loves destruction. If you've got a block tower built, be prepared for it to be knocked down if she's in the room. No block tower left standing!

Piper is eating just about everything now with the exception of some fruits. She has always loved vegetables! Nick says that she is a savory food lover. Piper loves meats and veggies and breads of all sorts.

We are starting to wean Piper onto milk tomorrow (wish us luck)! My mama heart is a little sad about the milk weaning but I think that she is more than ready for this next step. I just fear that once she's onto milk, my days of holding her and feeding her a bottle will be coming to an end. I so love our time together with her in my arms. She's been able to feed herself a bottle for quite some time but she still lets me hold her while she drinks it. She even lets me feed the bottle to her most feedings. I love it!

Piper took her first steps the night before she turned one year old! It was more of a step-step-step dive. She walks all along everything she can these days. She holds onto my finger with one hand and will walk me all around the house. She isn't completely independent when walking (which I'm happy about) but she's starting to venture out a bit. She likes to scare mommy and stand on her own for a few seconds before falling down on her butt. She thinks it's funny. Our days are numbered. 

Piper's got all the tricks down. She's been playing peek-a-boo, waving, blowing kisses, clapping, showing us how big she is, telling us what different animals say and she points at her crib when she wants to go to sleep. She's a smart little girl!

Piper Grace. I don't know what I did without you in my life. I don't know what I'd do without you now. You are my favorite part of me. You make me want to be a better person, you make me want to better this world. You show me every day the meaning of true joy, true laughter and true love. 
I love you more than you will ever know.

"Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine

Little one when you play
Don't you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine

If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for

The right to hold you
From your head to your toes
You're so sweet, goodness knows
You are so precious to me
Sweet as can be, baby of mine."

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Typical Day in Our Life

Yesterday, my baby turned ONE! My husband stayed home so we could all spend the day together. We had a great day and we are looking forward to her party this Saturday. I will share more about her turning one and her 12 month update with you sometime next week.

Today, I want to share with you a "day in the life" post. When I went through the results of my blog poll from the beginning of the year, I found that almost every participant wanted to see more "a day in the life" posts on the blog. Wednesday of this week was a relatively normal day in our life and so I decided to take pictures throughout the day to share with you.

6 a.m. - I wake up to sound of Piper crying in her nursery across the hall. I check my phone for the time and I get excited. I may not have gone to sleep until 1:30 a.m. because of some insomnia but Piper slept through the night! This happens about once or twice a week now that we currently have a break from teething and her cold is clearing up.


Most mornings Piper wakes up happy but this morning she was a sad girl. It's okay though because after a diaper change we go downstairs to find that "dada" hasn't left for work yet! That makes for a happy baby and mama.

6:30 a.m. - I make a bottle and a cup of coffee while Nick and Piper share some morning snuggles. They say their goodbyes and I feed Piper while watching the morning news. When she's done eating, she wants to get down and play. I play with her for a while and finish up my coffee.

7:15 a.m. - I put Piper in her pack and play for some solo playtime while I jump in the shower and get ready for the day.

7:45 a.m. - Time for a quick breakfast! I share a Plenti Yogurt cup with Piper.

8 a.m. - Piper sits in her high chair with her water and watches some cartoons while I start planning out my day. Today is production day for my shop so I organize my invoices according to what needs made today.  Piper is laughing at the tv still so I jump on social media real quick to share an ad for the Plenti yogurt campaign I'm currently working for the blog.

8:30 a.m. - I change Piper's diaper and and we play in her nursery for a bit until she starts to yawn and rub her eyes.

9 a.m. - I put Piper in her crib. She's instantly up, giggling and babbling (trying to convince me she's not tired yet) but I leave the room anyway. I stay close, I tidy up our bedroom, make the bed and listen for Piper to go down for her nap.

9:15 a.m. - Piper is asleep! I debate whether or not to have a second cup of coffee but I make the better choice of drinking water, instead. I grab all of my materials to make a couple banners for the shop and get to work. This is the time when I do the naptime hustle because I never know how long Piper is going to nap.


10 a.m. - I was able to get the one banner I needed to get done complete and just in time because Piper is up and ready to play! We play in her nursery for a while. I go back and forth between playing with her and letting her play by herself while I respond to a few messages on my phone. I love it when she plays by herself (with me still near) because I'm always interested in seeing what she finds while exploring on her own. However, I don't think I'll be as happy about it once she figures out how to start climbing. (This in-between stage with her mobility is fun and we're all enjoying every moment of it!)

10:45 a.m. - Piper's great aunt Brenda calls to see what Piper wants for her birthday. We Facetime with her (and her cat) for a while until it's time to go get Piper dressed for the day and ready to eat some lunch!

11:15 a.m. - Piper gets a diaper change and dressed. I let her play in the living room with her toys while I go into the kitchen to make a couple grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Before I know it, Piper is tugging at my legs; she wants up to see what I'm making. I show her the grilled cheese spinach sandwiches and she willingly goes right into the high chair. She eats every last piece of her grilled cheese sandwich and so do I!

12 p.m. - I finally give in to the second cup of coffee. I sip on my coffee while Piper drinks her bottle on my lap. When she's finished, she wants down to play some more. Life as a one year old is really fun; play, play, play. We play with her cars, we read books and we play with her stuffed animals until she ventures away to start tearing up her alphabet mat on her own.

12:45 a.m. - While Piper is playing solo (tearing up her alphabet mat) I use that time to make a call. I hope she stays relatively quiet during the call because I'm calling in to pay a bill. Piper stays quiet throughout the call! She is still playing well so I package up the banner I made from earlier and clean up the rest of my materials from earlier.

1:30 p.m. - Piper starts yawning and rubbing her eyes. I take her upstairs, change her diaper and put her down for a nap. As soon as I start to leave the room she starts to babble and play. I know this trick, so I walk out the door and close it behind me. I stay upstairs within earshot, just in case she starts to fuss. I lay in bed for a bit, watching the monitor and answering more messages on my phone.

2:00 p.m. - Piper is asleep and despite wanting to nap myself (with only going on 4 1/2 hours of sleep), I go downstairs and start the naptime hustle, round two. This time, I use her nap to get some cleaning done. I pick up the aftermath from playtime, put together the entire alphabet mat, I clean up the dishes (from dinner last night and lunch that morning) and I clean all the counters.

2:50 p.m. - I finish cleaning and I think I may sit down to relax until Piper wakes up and just like that, I hear her start to cry. I go upstairs, change her diaper and bring her downstairs with me. We look out the window together. Piper loves to look out the window for fun every day but today we were doing it for a reason. I have a customer coming to pick up a banner around 3:00 p.m.

3:10 p.m. - The customer arrives for the banner. Piper helps me greet them and she plays shy at the door. We give them the banner, they give us the payment and a sweet thank you note along with it!

3:15 p.m. - Piper is starting to get fussy. I call my husband to see what time he will be home. He says that he's leaving work soon and the countdown for "dada" begins. Piper becomes inconsolable for apparently no reason at all. She reaches to be held but then as I pick her up she pushes away to be put down. I try a few different things to make her happy but it just seems like she wants to complain. This goes on for about 30 minutes, then all of a sudden she starts crawling away from me and starts to play. I'm left confused but relieved that she's happy again!

3:50 p.m. - I start looking out for the school bus for Uncle Evan. Piper is so happy to see him once he arrives! Evan reads books to her and they play happily. I finally sit down and relax for a bit while watching them play.

4:10 p.m. - DADA IS HOME! Piper is so happy to see him (and so am I). We catch each other up on our day for a little while and then Nick takes over with the kids. He feeds Piper a bottle and plays with her and Evan for a bit so I can get started on dinner.

4:30 p.m. - I grab some ingredients for an easy and yummy dinner. Chicken sausage stir fry! I usually try to use fresh ingredients when I make dinner but some days the frozen veggies win for the convenience factor.

5:10 p.m. - Dinner is ready! I put a lid on it to keep it warm and go out to join my husband and the kids.

5:30 p.m. - My mom arrives to pick up Evan. After Evan leaves Nick, Piper and I sit down to eat dinner. Nick and I usually share what we eat for dinner with Piper but since the chicken sausage I used was a little spicy, Piper ate rice and black beans instead.

6:00 p.m. - Nick and I take Piper upstairs to play. We have carpet in our room and so we have Piper practice walking and she takes her first couple steps! We continue to play and have fun together until bath time.

7:00 p.m. - Nick gives Piper a bath while I clean up the dinner dishes. Piper loves bath time and Nick has a lot of fun teaching her bad habits like splashing and pouring water everywhere. They enjoy their one-on-one time together and I love listening to them play from the other room.

7:30 p.m. - We change Piper into her sleeper and feed her the last bottle of the day. We read a couple books then turn down the lights and turn on the sound machine. I walk her around in my arms. I put her down in her crib and she fall asleep within minutes.

8:00 p.m. - Nick and I spend some time together. We lay in bed and watch a couple shows. I love having our bedroom back now that Piper is in her own room! Watching tv while being cozy in bed is a luxury!

9:00 p.m. - I write most of this blog post and then it's time for bed!