Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday // Our 2015 Christmas Card

Every year when the holiday season rolls around, one of my most favorite traditions is sending out Christmas cards. It's something I really look forward to and I think there is something so nice about sending some snail mail this time of year. 

Last year, I ordered and sent out our card before Henry made his debut so I was really excited for our first official card as a family of three. (Well four, counting Lola of course!) For our photo, we ended up using one of the pictures we had taken by my friend Ashley earlier this year. (I was a little worried that it wasn't a recent enough photo and part of me wanted to take a more Christmas-y one. But since Henry doesn't like to sit still for more than two seconds these days, I figured we could just use one of the photos we that we had!) As for the cards, of course we went with Minted once again!


I've ordered our holiday cards from Minted for a number of years now (along with Henry's birth announcements and shower invitations) and I've always been super happy with the result. This year was no exception! It's always tough to choose because there are so many cute designs, but we decided to go with something simple and traditional this year. But what's exciting is that Minted now offers letterpress cards

I absolutely LOVE the look of letterpress and so as soon as I saw it was an option, I knew that's what I wanted to do for our card. (This is the design we chose) The letterpress looks really nice in person, photos really don't do it justice! And then as always, Minted's paper quality is second to none. 

(The only thing about the letterpress cards is that you can't put anything on the back. But that actually made ordering so much easier because I didn't have to stress over what to write...ha!)

Once again, I had both my return addresses and my recipient addresses printed on the envelopes which made sending them out such a breeze - just stick on a stamp and send! (And I'm loving the Charlie Brown stamps this year!) I love that Minted offers lots of cute designs for their envelopes that coordinate with their cards because it makes them feel that much more special.

I know Christmas is in a little over a week, but if you want to order cards (or gifts!) there is still time! If you place your card order today, you can receive them by Christmas Eve, and there's still gifts that will be delivered before Christmas as well. Plus, Minted actually has tons of cute New Year's cards if you want to send a greeting but want a little more time :)

I wish I could send you all a card for continuing to follow along with me through this first year of parenthood. I know my posting has been somewhat sporadic, so I appreciate those of you who have kept reading :) I hope you have a blessed holiday season!

Special thanks to Minted for collaborating with me on this post, but as always, all thoughts/opinions expressed are 100% my own :) 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Henry // Twelve Months


It's me.

(I really couldn't resist)

It's been over a month without a blog post, which I think may have been one of my longest breaks ever. It was unintentional initially, I was just busy with life/baby/holidays/etc. But as time went on, I felt like it might be good to take some time away from this space to see if I really felt like coming back. It's no secret that I haven't had as much time to blog ever since Henry came along, and I didn't want to just keep going through the motions if my heart's really not in it. But the good news is I did actually miss blogging over the past month! Taking some time away made me realize that it's not something I'm ready to give up just yet. I do think that I need to adjust my expectations in terms of what's realistic for me in terms of frequency but I'm excited about some potential ideas for the upcoming year. But I'll probably talk a little more about that in a future post, so stay tuned! Now on to the point of this post...Henry's TWELVE month update!

Although I can hardly believe it, my baby turned a year old a week ago. His first trip around the sun feels like such a major milestone, both for him as well as for Cameron and I as parents. We celebrated with a 'winter ONE-derland' birthday party last weekend and I can't wait to share the photos from that soon. I know I'm (very) biased, but Henry is seriously the best. He's such a sweet, funny, loving little guy and I'm so in love with this stage he's at now. Even though these updates have felt a little tedious sometimes, I'm glad I did them because it's fun to be able to look back and see how far we've come. 

So without further adieu, here's what Henry is up to at twelve months old...

 We had his one year well check last week and it went really well! We actually switched to a new pediatrician that's a little closer to our house and I'm super happy with her already. Henry is growing right on track; he weighed 22lbs 5oz and measured 30.75 inches, putting him right around the 70th percentile for weight and above the 80th percentile for height. (He was also over 90th percentile for head circumference, taking after his parents)  He still only has 4 teeth and there aren't really any signs that he's got new ones coming any time soon. I was hoping to get him a hair cut before his birthday because his hair is getting pretty long and hangs in his eyes sometimes, but I still haven't had a chance, plus I didn't want them to totally hack it before his first birthday party. I'll probably get around to it sometime in the new year :) His hair is still blonde, his eyes are grayish brown, and he still has his dimples he had when he was born. He's also officially walking! 

At our one year appointment, our pediatrician told us that in this first year, kids get an average of 10-12 colds during the winter months. That's why it's hard for me to remember exactly every little cold Henry gets these days because it seems like he (and all of his little playmates) sort of have perpetual runny noses and lingering coughs right now. Thankfully though, he didn't have any real major colds over this past month, which was good because I had my fingers crossed that he wouldn't be under the weather for his first birthday party. The only other issue is over the past month, he's had some red spots on his thigh that seemed like they could be dry skin or eczema, which he's never had before. He had some really dry patches on his legs too, but the red spots were a little concerning. However, they didn't seem to be spreading nor did they seem like they were bothering him, so I just tried to keep his legs moisturized and figured I'd ask about it at his one year appointment. Well of course at his appointment they had gone away and his legs were perfectly smooth and fine...ha! Which is great, except now less than a week after his appointment they've returned, of course. It's pretty mild though and the pediatrician told me that what I described is probably just dry skin/very mild eczema so I'll just keep an eye on it I guess. But overall, Henry has been a very healthy boy over his first year of life and for that I'm so very thankful :)

(Additional note: I was trying to write this update just to reflect the past month up until Henry turned one. But right after his birthday last week, he came down with a little cold. Saturday, he had a low grade fever, and yesterday morning he woke up with red spots on his face, hands, legs, and feet. I took him to the pediatrician yesterday afternoon and it turns out he has hand foot and mouth disease. Blergh. His fever is gone and beyond the spots, he seems to be feeling just fine thankfully. But since it's so contagious, we'll probably be laying low from now until Christmas which is kind of a bummer. But he's been pretty healthy his first year of life so I really can't complain too much!)

As soon as he figured out how to walk, he's been obsessed with it ever since and loves walking everywhere now. He also loves picking stuff up and carrying it around. He's obsessed with the remote control and tries to get it any chance he can. He loves splashing in Lola's water dish any chance he gets, and is constantly going into the kitchen to try to do it.  He really likes playing with his friends and it's so much fun to see them interact more and more now. He also "plays" with Lola more these days, meaning he'll walk around and she'll follow him and he laughs. He loves seeing how loud he can make his voice, especially if we're in a loud space where it can echo. He loves any sort of cabinet, door, or drawer that he can try and open and he's constantly exploring and investigating. He likes FaceTiming and it's fun that he can interact so much more now and gets excited about it. We've taken him to the kids area at the science museum a few times over the past month and he seems to love that because there are lots of fun, age appropriate things to play with. He also seems like he likes the rain, which is good because we've been getting a LOT of it lately. And surprisingly, he's been pretty good with the Christmas tree and has left it alone for the most part. But there are a couple specific ornaments he likes trying to take off all the time :) He is also completely enamored by anything with wheels! If we're somewhere with other moms/babies, he always goes straight for one of the strollers because he just wants to examine the wheels and try to push it back and forth. We were actually at the science museum on his birthday and there was an older lady in a wheelchair in the kids area. Henry immediately speed crawled over to her and grabbed on to the wheel of her wheelchair and tried rocking it back and forth. (Insert monkey covering eyes emoji here) Thankfully, the lady thought it was pretty funny but yeah, he loves anything with wheels!
I'm having a hard time thinking of any new dislikes for this month. There were a few times that he was nursing where he bit me, not super hard but enough for me to involuntarily go "OW" really loudly and that made him burst into tears. Thankfully though, that hasn't become a habit :) Overall, he's just a happy guy and doesn't have many dislikes. Still not a fan of going in his car seat, having his diaper changed, or having his nose wiped, but other than that, he usually fine with most things!

He's growing out of his 12 month clothes and moving up to size 18 months, but still fitting ok in brands with 12-18 month sizes. (And he's up to size 80 in Hanna Andersson) He's still in a size 4 shoe I think, but now that he's officially walking, we need to go have his foot measured again. He's also still in size 4 diapers and we're still using Honest Co. 
Still nursing and I'm so happy we made it to my goal of a year! That feels like a huge milestone and there's a part of me that can't believe we made it this long. Honestly, after those first few difficult weeks, nursing has been super easy and I'm so that we were able to make to stick with it because it's been a great experience. I was trying to nurse him at least 4 times a day, but as we got closer to his birthday, there were a few times that it seemed he only wanted to nurse 3 times a day. So now that's what we're doing moving forward and we'll eventually continue to taper down as time goes on. His eating seems like it can be a little hit or miss because some days he'll eat a lot and then others he just wants to feed everything to Lola or not eat, but I guess that's pretty normal. He seems to love sweet potato pancakes, bananas, smoothies, any sort of meat, and things I make for dinner like shepherds pie, spaghetti squash with meat sauce, and soup/chili. (Still not a big fan of green veggies but we're working on it) We're also starting to introduce some cows milk and so far he seems to like it!

This past month, he definitely started to majorly transition to one nap. As much as I would love for him to take two naps a day, having him take one longer nap in the middle of the day seems to be much easier to plan around schedule wise vs. two naps that were kind of moving targets in terms of time he'd go down/duration. Henry usually goes to bed sometime between 8:30-9 and he was sleeping straight through the night until at least 8am, so I'm really thankful for that! We don't have a super complex bedtime routine, basically he gets dinner, then a bath (every other day in the winter usually though so that way his skin doesn't get too dry), and then I take him up to his room to read him a story (and even if we read other books, we always read Goodnight Moon - it's kind of an odd book as this article points out, but something about the rhyming and repetition is strangely soothing!) and then nurse him. He used to fall asleep at the end of nursing and I'd just put him in his crib, but now he's usually always awake when he's done nursing, so I've been reading to him after we finish nursing, and then putting him in his crib awake. I'm hoping this will help make the transition easier once we eventually stop nursing before bed! He's definitely a great little sleeper and will usually only fuss a little when I put him in his crib before immediately conking out. When he goes down for his nap usually depends on when he wakes up in the morning/what we have planned for the day, but he usually goes down somewhere between 12:30-2 and then he'll sleep for anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours.  He did have a little bit of trouble sleeping when we were traveling to New York over Thanksgiving; because Cam and I were in the same room as him, he'd cry to get out of the pack and play when we'd put him down at night. But once I finally got him to fall asleep, he slept through the night until morning without a problem. He also seemed to take two good naps a day in his stroller while we were there walking around, so that was great!
Favorite Things:
He got quite a few new toys for his first birthday so he's been having fun playing with everything so far. This toy lawn mower is already a favorite though! He loves this tambourine and this gear toy that he got for presents from my family while we were in NYC. He enjoys books a lot and I love adding new ones to his collection (this one and this one were some recent favorite additions). He really likes to drink out of straw cups the best, and so far we've had the best luck with the Munchkin ones.

He is loving climbing these days and I could not get him to sit down in that chair for the life of me so it's probably good we're stopping with these monthly photos :)
-Started letting go of things and standing without support on 11/19
-He took a step or two prior but he really walked for the first time on Saturday 11/28
-Once he started walking, he hasn't looked back and very quickly progressed to being able to walk around the whole house/for long distances without falling
-He took his first trip to NYC and did great! He rode on the subway, went to the Children's Museum, and played with his aunt and uncle's cat :)
-He had his first Thanksgiving (as well as a friendsgiving with some of our Hike It Baby friends)
-We completed our second HIB 30 Challenge and managed to get outside and walk over 30 miles in November!
-Henry is really vocal and has a couple of words under his belt. He says mama and dada all the time and he seems to understand their associations which is so cute :) He also says go, tries to say Lola (he says a two syllable word that sounds like he's trying to say it), and sometimes says no. He's been saying these for awhile (I just forgot to mention it in his last update!) and he's just recently started saying "uh oh" when he drops something now. I am excited to see all the words he's going to learn in the coming year!
-Henry's started pointing a lot this month which is so cute :)
-He had his first experience at the Christmas tree farm, and even though this is technically his second Christmas, it feels like it's really his first one since we were still in a newborn fog during the holidays last year.
-He's gone to some first birthday parties of a few of his little friends that also have December birthdays! I feel really lucky to have made friends with a handful of moms that have babies that are really similar in age to Henry (as in a few days apart) and it's been so cool to watch them all grow over the past year!
-He had his first birthday party, complete with his own smash cake :) More pics to come soon!

You can see all of his monthly updates here
Henry has changed so much over the past year and I feel like Cameron and I just get more obsessed with him every day! I wanted to write some long emotional tribute about just how much we love him, but I can't put it in to words. (Plus, I'm pretty tired...ha!) But we couldn't be more thankful for his joyful presence in our life and can't wait to see what this next year brings!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Henry // Eleven Months

Oh hey there :)

It's been a hot minute since my last post! I swear, once November hits, it seems like life gets busy and time flies through the holidays. I've got lots of other posts I hope to share soon, but since I've been pretty consistent with Henry's updates thus far, I wanted to make sure to get his ELEVEN month post up before anything else. It's pretty hard to believe that I only have one more of these left! Because after his first birthday, I'll still be sharing updates on Henry (obviously) but I'm not going to be doing these detailed posts each months...because let's be serious, ain't nobody got time for that!

These days, Henry seems less and less like a baby and more and more like a little boy. He's still super happy, but he's also developing more distinct preferences. He's seriously so much fun now and I love spending my days with him. I'm just a little in awe of the fact that I'm going to have a one-year old SO soon! He turned 11 months old on 11/8, here's what he's been up to the past month...

Silly boy :)
No idea, but I'll find out for sure at his 12 month appointment next month. I can tell he's definitely getting heavier and longer though! His hair is still blonde, but now it's starting to lay down on his head a little more and isn't as fluffy as it used to be, which makes him look more like a boy and less like a baby. He has some strands of hair that are getting pretty long, so he'll probably need a trim before too much longer. His eyes are definitely looking more brown these days, so they've finally settled on a color :) And as of now he has 4 teeth! Two on the bottom that are all the way up and then two on the top that have poked through over the past month...he didn't have any teeth for so long that it's crazy to see him with these little teefers now! 
Last month, we had to take an unexpected trip to Michigan and Henry started getting a runny nose right as we were leaving. I realized one of his top teeth were coming through so I assumed that's what was causing it...but then it turned into a major cold. Which I caught too, fun times! He was really really congested, which then turned into a cough, and it was just kind of miserable. (Especially since he had a cold the month before too) This one really seemed to hang on and he's just now finally getting over it. Although it seems like this time of the year, every little kid has a constant runny nose and it's kind of hard not to get sick. And then when your kid gets a runny nose, you're in that tough situation of trying to stay home so other people don't get your germs and also needing to get out of the house. I'm just praying the rest of cold season isn't too terribly rough on us! But other than the cold, Henry has been doing well! He never really spits up anymore with the exception of sometimes after he nurses in the morning, he'll be bouncing around on our bed and will occasionally spit up a tiny little bit because his stomach is full I think :)

He loves pulling himself up on anything and everything and speed crawling around the house. He loves walking around the house with his lion walker and he's getting pretty good, but doesn't seem interested in walking on his own yet. He still likes being in the Ergo carrier thankfully and seems to enjoy going on hikes with our Hike it Baby group here in Portland, especially since he gets to play with his baby friends after! He goes to the nursery at church for a few hours a week when I'm at my moms' group or Bible study and he seems to love it! He's always entertaining everyone with his smiley personality and likes playing with all the new toys and babies. He's extremely interested in Lola these days and he likes pulling himself up on her...ha! He loves feeding her food from his high chair, and she's a pretty big fan of that too :) He realized that he can really splash when he's in the bath and loves going crazy splashing that's fun :) He babbles constantly and he likes seeing how loud he can yell. He's also a lot more into going to the park these days! He loves going on the swings, but he also really likes crawling on the jungle gym :)
Just like last month, Henry's biggest dislike is the Nosefrieda...we both hate that thing! He's still not a fan of getting his diaper changed and he still doesn't like when I put his sleep sack on, mainly because he doesn't want to go to bed. He's starting to get a little more dramatic and will start to fake cry if he doesn't like something. As he gets so much more mobile, he's also started to take a few more spills and that's not fun for either one of us. I try to watch him as closely as possible, but the way that he's constantly pulling up on things, it's inevitable that he's going to take a few falls. He also loves opening drawers and doesn't like when his fingers get pinched...even though he goes back for more like two minutes later every single time! He also seems like he really doesn't like certain men that we'll encounter when we're out - a waiter at a restaurant, a worker at Trader Joe's and my friend's boyfriend all made him burst into tears just by saying hello to him. I'm not sure if it's the pitch of voice or what, but he makes the saddest face and then starts crying. I'm guessing it's just a phase!

He's still wearing 12 month clothes in Carters, 12-18 month in Gap/Old Navy, and size 70 in Hanna Anderson. It's so much more fun to dress him now because he's standing up so much and you can actually see his cute little outfits! Old Navy and Gap are definitely my go-to's in terms of his clothes, and then I love Hanna Andersson and Polarn O. Pyret for pajamas. He's still in size 4 diapers and we're still using the Honest ones...I just bought some Christmas printed ones and they're darling!
We're still breastfeeding and things are going really really well. I love it and I'm so happy we've been able to do it this long. And although it's bittersweet, I feel like I am really starting to see the end in sight of this journey for us, especially over the past month. He just seems way less interested in it lately, and so I'm hoping it will be an easy transition for both of us. I definitely plan on continuing until he turns one, but after that, I do plan to slowly cut back. As of now, I'm still nursing him 4 times a day - when he wakes up, after his morning nap, late afternoon, and before he goes to bed at night. My pediatrician recommended continuing to nurse a minimum of 4 times a day until his first birthday, but there are definitely days where it seems like he could easily only nurse three times, so we'll probably start to drop one of those mid-day feedings fairly soon after his first birthday. Feeding him solids has been a little more challenging the past month because he discovered this fun new game of taking a bite of something and then sticking his tongue out and spitting whatever he has in his mouth on the ground. (Lola loves this...ha!) I'm really trying to get away from the purees and do more finger foods while still trying to make sure that he gets the nutrition he needs. He eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with occasional little snacks like puffs when we're out. He seems to be liking meat a lot more this month and does well with things like rotisserie chicken, ground beef/turkey, and shredded meat from the crock pot. I try to feed him a good mix of veggies, fruits, and protein when we're at home and try to keep his diet as homemade/organic as possible. But when we go out to eat he already loves bread and french fries like his parents...ha! (Although surprisingly he was not a fan of mac and cheese?) His eating is definitely a little sporadic though; some days, I'll keep feeding him and he wants more and more, while other days he just keeps spitting things on the ground and seems like he could care less about eating. His favorite foods are definitely bananas, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash and I can always get him to eat those :)

Thankfully things are much better after the sleep regression we went through last month! He was able to get back on track with his schedule, and didn't seem quite as thrown off when we went to Michigan in October as he did when we went in September. He woke up a little earlier for Daylight Savings Time, but thankfully that wasn't too terrible for us. He consistently sleeps through the night and I'm so thankful for that :) For some reason, it seems like we've been putting him to bed later lately (between 8:30-9:30) and he's been sleeping in until 7:30-8ish most days...I think he's just so much fun in the evening that we're not in a huge hurry to get him to bed, and he seems to be fine with it! His nap schedule isn't quite as consistent anymore though, which is a little frustrating but we're both just going with the flow. He used to consistently take two naps a day, but now it's kind of hit or miss, especially if he sleeps in a little later in the morning. If we're home, I'll usually try to put him down for a morning nap somewhere between 9:30-10ish depending on what time he woke up. But lately he's been staying awake in his crib and not falling asleep until after 11 and then sleeping until after 1! So those days, getting him to take an afternoon nap is kind of tough. And then my moms' group/Bible study is at 9:30, so pretty regularly he's going into the nursery during what would be his morning nap time, and so he'll usually fall asleep on the car ride home. We do still have days where he takes two good naps in his crib, but it's definitely not as consistent as it used to be. I don't really want to go down to one nap prematurely but I'm just going to follow what it seems like he wants!
Favorite Things:
He loves books and his two favorites right now are Good Night Moon and Little Blue Truck. He also likes drinking out of a straw cup and those seem to work the best for us. He's still loving his musical lion walker, and he's also really liking playing with this piano. (We took the seat out and so now he can stand and play with it!) I feel like we don't have too many new favorites this month because I've been trying to hold off on buying things since we have both his first birthday and Christmas coming up next month!

I used to take a photo of him on the rug, but these days he is way too on the go for that! I literally had to hold him down with my foot to get this one...ha!
-He got his top two teeth and they broke through while we were in Michigan!
-He had his first (and second) pumpkin patch experience :)
-He celebrated his first Halloween! We dressed him up as a monkey and he looked sooooo cute!! We actually didn't end up doing anything on Halloween because it was pouring rain here and he still had a cold, but he was able to wear his costume a few different times before the end of October :)
-We made a play area for him in our kitchen, and it's been hugely helpful! It has a baby gate and foam tiles so it's a safe space where he can crawl all around and play independently without causing mayhem or me worrying he's going to hurt himself.
-He started really waving and clapping this past month! It was so adorable because for a couple of weeks he'd always go right from waving to instantly following it with clapping, probably because we'd always clap for him when he waved...ha! We're working on high fives now and he's starting to get it :)
-We finalized plans for his first birthday party and already ordered and sent out invitations. I'm not going to go too crazy with the Pinterest-y party planning, but I do have some fun ideas I hope to incorporate. Most of all, I'm just excited to have a fun day celebrating his first trip around the sun!

I know it might sound really strange, but these days Henry feels less like a baby I'm taking care of and more like my friend...ha! He just has such a sweet and fun personality that I genuinely enjoy the time we spend together. I look forward to when he wakes up from his naps, I love taking him grocery shopping, and it just feels like he's becoming so much more of a little person all of the sudden. Cam and I just look at him sometimes and can't believe we're so lucky to be his parents! So as bittersweet as it is that he's almost a toddler, I'm so excited to see more of his personality develop!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall // My TJ's Pumpkin Picks

Happy Friday everyone!

If you've been following along with me on Instagram, you'd know that I've been out of town for the past week; my grandfather passed away so we were in Michigan for the funeral. And although we were there for sad circumstances, it was actually a really nice visit with family. I'm hoping to share more next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a more lighthearted post with you today!

It seems like over the past few years, the whole pumpkin trend has really spiraled out of control and no place is that more apparent then at Trader Joe's. They literally put pumpkin in EVERYTHING. But I'm a marketer's dream and so if anything is seasonal, I feel compelled to try it. Plus, I've been on a real Trader Joe's kick the past few months, and it's where I've been doing a lot of my shopping lately. And although they have lots of staple items that I love (and will probably do a separate post on that soon!) they're also really good at constantly bringing out new things as the seasons change. Since it's going to be November this weekend (craziness!) I figured I had better share my pumpkin picks before they start disappearing from the shelves and getting replaced by Christmas stuff!

Here are some of the things I've tried so far...


Pumpkin Ice Cream
This stuff is so delicious! The reason I like it is because it's just pumpkin flavored, not pumpkin spice - so many pumpkin items go wayyy too heavy on the spice and end up tasting like a scented candle. This ice cream though is sweet and creamy and seasonal without being gross. Two thumbs up!

Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls
These are a perfect fall treat, and the ginger cookies are the perfect compliment to the pumpkin ice cream. I'd definitely give these things a try just because it's such a unique and delicious flavor combo!
Pumpkin Cornbread Mix
I made this recently to go with chili and it's definitely on the sweeter side, which is not bad, but it's just something to be aware of. I liked it better than I thought I would, but it honestly seems like it would be a better breakfast item vs. trying to pair it with a savory dish.

Pumpkin O's
I've been feeding these to Henry in lieu of  puffs lately and he seems to love them! The pumpkin spice flavor is a little too strong for me to want to have a bowl of them, but they're a good snack!

Pumpkin Body Butter
This stuff is super think and moisturizing, perfect for dry winter skin! But you have to really like the smell of pumpkin spice because the scent is super strong. (It also has a vague banana scent to it as well) Cameron's allergies are super sensitive to scented stuff like this so I can't put it on often, but it's definitely a cozy scent that's perfect for the fall/winter months.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
I didn't necessarily think this stuff was bad, it just wasn't all that good. The pumpkin spice flavor is fairly strong and there was just nothing special about it.

Pumpkin Biscotti
These were way too heavily spiced for my taste and I literally felt like I was eating a piece of potpourri. I would not recommend them unless you are crazy about pumpkin spice. 

(I actually haven't tried the chips/salsa yet, but I'll share on Instagram if I end up really liking them!)

Other pumpkin standouts?

These pumpkin succulents are a basic white girl's dream because they combine two very blogger-y things (pumpkins and succulents) into one adorable package...and for so cheap too! I have one on our dining room table that was in the photo of my pumpkin haul, but these are so cute that I thought they deserved their own special shout out. Plus, they last forever so they're the perfect item to keep on display all the way until Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am not a huge pumpkin pie person but I love me some pumpkin cheesecake. Costco actually makes a really delicious one that I usually request, but last year I discovered that this one from TJ's is also pretty delicious. Plus, it's about half the size of the Costco one so it's perfect for a seasonal dessert for a smaller group anytime in the fall.

Last but not least, these Pumpkin Joe-Joe's were a little sweet/overly spiced for my taste, but they were still pretty good. They're the type of thing that would be perfect with a cup of tea on a fall day :)

Finally, the winner of my Minted giveaway on Instagram is:


Thanks to everyone who entered! (And for all the great Christmas cookie ideas!)

Now as far as I'm concerned, all this pumpkin stuff has been fun...but I'm ready for the stores to break out the peppermint items ASAP! I'll have to do an updated TJ's favorites post for the holidays :)

PS: This post was not sponsored in any way, I just really love Trader Joe's and fall :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Holiday // Celebrating with Minted + Giveaway!

Ok, so I know I just posted pumpkin patch pictures...but today we're jumping ahead to the holidays!

I know it may seem a little early, but December will seriously be here before we turn around...eeek! The holidays are generally such a busy time of year that it really makes sense to start thinking about them now. One of the things on my to-do list that I really look forward to each year is Christmas cards. I love sending them, I love getting them, and I just think it's such a nice tradition. And when it comes to holiday cards, no one does it better than Minted! They've got the most gorgeous designs, their paper quality is amazing, and all the little extras they offer (like super cute recipient addressing) is just the icing on the cake. I've used them for my Christmas cards for the last few years (along with Henry's birth announcements and baby shower invites) and have always been so pleased with the results. They recently released their 2015 Holiday Collection and there are so many beautiful options! I really don't know how I'm going to choose this year, but here are a few of my favorites...

 Styled Agate

Love & Laughter

 Merry Holiday


Some of my favorite cards that they offer are the ones that celebreate a big life event. Whether you have a new house, are newly married, are expecting, or have a new baby, Minted has you covered!

As a new-ish parent, that last one is so good :)

I could seriously put at least twenty more cards in this post because all of their designs are so lovely. And with the convenient option Minted offers to purchase your cards now and provide the photo(s) later, there's no reason not to get a jump on your holiday card while it's still pumpkin season! That's why I'm SUPER excited to be giving away a $100 credit for Minted to one of YOU! I decided I'm going to try something a little different with this giveaway and so instead having you enter here on my blog, hop on over to my Instagram for details on how to win! (It's super easy to enter, so definitely check it out!)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Henry // His First Fall

Happy Monday everyone! How was your weekend?

Ours was pretty low key with Saturday's Michigan game vs. Michigan State being a low point. (If you saw SportsCenter at all this weekend, you probably heard about it. Basically we lost at the very end on a crazy play and it was super disappointing.) We did end up going on a hike in the Gorge yesterday though and that was great! I shared a few pictures on Instagram, but the fall colors were out and it was so beautiful. I'm looking forward to (hopefully) getting in quite a few more hikes before the weather really starts to cool off! Today though, I wanted to share a few photos from last weekend/this past week from my "real" camera; I have seriously been terrible about taking pictures with anything but my phone this past year since it's a lot easier not to worry about lugging along with camera when I'm dealing with Henry. But I whenever I do take the extra time to take photos with the actual camera, I'm always happy I did. So in the spirit of fall, here are some recent snaps...

Before having a baby, I always really enjoyed doing seasonal things...but now that we have Henry, it is a million times better! Fall is my favorite time of year and he is at such a sweet age right now so I'm really loving being able to do all these fun things with him. Growing up in Michigan, the big thing to do in the fall is go to the cider mill and get cider and donuts. When we were in Michigan last month, we were able to do that (I posted some pictures on Instagram) and it's special to think about carrying on these seasonal traditions my parents did with my sister and I with my own son. For Cam's family, their tradition is going to the pumpkin patch and so it was really exciting to be able to take Henry for the first time last weekend. My husband's birthday, his brother's birthday, and my niece's birthday are all within a few days of each other so that's when we usually go. (I've posted about it before here, here, and here) I completely blanked on getting any pictures of Cam with his chocolate cake because I was too focused on taking 384952 pictures of Henry, but it was a really fun day!

Henry borrowed the hat from his cousin Lucas for a few pictures :)
Cousins, who are all getting big so fast!
We had a warm sunny day for our visit!
Cameron is having so much fun with Henry these days, seeing them together is the best :)
Cam and his brothers
Pumpkin chunkin' canons...I have a feeling Henry will probably get a kick out of it in a few years
First patch picture as a family of three!
I wear the baby, he does the heavy lifting :)
Cam's parents love getting lots of pumpkins :)
These pumpkin pants kill me...I couldn't resist!
He's was having a lot of fun checking out the pumpkins...
...until his mom wanted to take too many pictures and then he was done. Ha.

Last week, I went to check out some of the pumpkin patches a little closer to Portland with one of my friends and her little boy, who is conveniently also named Henry. We had hoped to beat some of the crowds by going during the week...but it was actually super empty and they weren't serving any food, so that was a little bit of a bummer! But we still had fun and I couldn't resist taking more pictures of my little pumpkin in the patch :)

Henry is normally super happy but he was not in the mood to give me smiles...

 Such a little stinker!
We tried getting some pictures of the two Henries together and that didn't go much better. Both boys were so distracted by everything in the pumpkin patch plus it was super sunny and warm (seriously this is the summer that will not end out here on the West Coast!) and so it was hard to get a picture of them both. I tip my hat to children's photographers because it is definitely not easy to get two babies to look at the camera at once!
I think this is the best once I got and my Henry looks super pissed off. Ha.
Crazy to think that next year they will be running around the pumpkin patch!
My friend Amanda did get some cute pictures of me and my boy though, so that's always appreciated!
 Brace yourself kid, you've got many years of pumpkin patch photo sessions ahead. 
 This is his new favorite expression lately and it cracks me up :)
Pumpkin drum!

 He was super intrigued by the whole pumpkin stem situation
For reference for Portland folks, we went to Kruger's out on Sauvie's Island and they had great pumpkins...just don't expect much else if you come during the week! (Although the grounds are pretty and Sauvie's Island is just a generally beautiful spot) I also happened to swing by Bella Organic as well just to compare and that was really nice as well!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful October!


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