Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday Finds

one / two / three / four / five

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Mia's 5 Month Schedule

I can't believe it's been over three months since I last shared Mia's schedule! I know everyone says this, but really, as soon as you get used to something with your baby it will change. It's so crazy looking back to May and knowing that we were going to bed at 9 (or 10... or 11) and taking hours to nurse her and help her fall asleep. Now Mia goes to bed at 7pm after eating for 20 minutes tops and is happy to fall asleep on her own. And no more late mornings over here, she's usually up in the 6:00 hour instead of 8 or 9am.

We did start daycare a couple of weeks ago, so this a typical schedule for non-daycare days. And as before, this is just a typical schedule. Everything may change based on how long naps last or if we have plans for the day. Or an emergency bath ;) 

6:30am: I'll hear Mia start stirring in her crib (or more likely these days blowing raspberries - so cute!), so we wake up and nurse in the bedroom followed by a diaper change.
7:00am: Playtime on her playmat or in her activity center while I eat breakfast, pump, and try to turn our living area into a reasonably clean space that others might enjoy using.
8:30am: It's already naptime! I usually nurse Mia for a hot second if she seems hungry, then we sing a couple of songs and she lays down in her sleep sack. Sometimes she falls right asleep, and sometimes she complains for 10 or 15 minutes. This nap is typically 90 minutes, but sometimes as short as 20 minutes or as long as 2.5 hours.
10:00am: We wake up, do a diaper change and actually get dressed for the day. Mia will nurse, and then we'll head out for whatever activity we're doing - usually a long walk and a stop at the grocery store. Mia will usually hang out for a bit and then nap in her stroller. I pack formula in these sweet travel containers in case she gets hangry while we're out, because I still haven't figured out how to get enough hands to feed her under a cover in public. I always forget to plan lunch for myself and end up grabbing something for myself while we're out.
2:00pm: We get back home and get all of our stuff back upstairs. Mia will nurse and get a diaper change and then we'll have some playtime.
3:00pm: Mia lays down for her last nap of the day while I pump.
4:00pm: Mia wakes up and we sing or play and anxiously await Dad's arrival home from work.
5:00pm: Dad is home! He plays with Mia for a little bit, and then we start in on baby food! Mia just started cereal last week, so this week we're starting to try other foods which has been... exciting ;) But really she loves food so far and wants to eat everything she can as fast as she can. Dad usually feeds Mia while I prep stuff for our dinner.
5:30pm: More playtime until Mia starts getting grumpy.
6:30pm: Dad takes Mia into the bedroom to change into her pajamas and get into her sleep sack. We don't do baths at bedtime yet, but I know that's about to change as she starts eating messier foods!
6:45pm: I nurse Mia and try to keep her awake to eat as much as possible before bed since I know that will help her sleep through the night. If I feel like I'm not producing enough milk I'll supplement with formula here.
7:00pm: Mia is asleep! I do a happy dance and then we make dinner and hang out before bed - these days we seem to always have an episode of Bachelor in Paradise to watch ;)

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday Finds

Happy Friday! This week was a little crazy getting back into the swing of things after our weekend in Lake Geneva and trying to reclaim and clean the house since we are having a bunch of my high school friends over tomorrow for a barbecue. Mia also caught some sniffles at daycare last week, which turned into a full-blown cold for me that knocked me down for a bit. Mia, however, barely noticed she was sick, so I guess that's a good thing! It's amazing how busy I can feel during maternity leave when my daughter is going to daycare two days a week - like, what am I doing all day? And yet, I'm still somehow running a mile a minute trying to get stuff done. How do all of you working mommies do it?

Here are my finds for this week - so excited about all of the back to school clothes showing up in stores!
one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Girl's Weekend in Lake Geneva

a three day girl's trip in lake geneva, wisconsin

Back in the spring, my sister and I got it in our heads that we should plan a girl's trip somewhere at the end of the summer before she had to go back to school and I had to go back to work. Jeff was actually away for a weekend for his brother's bachelor party, and we started talking about how Ellen didn't end up getting to go on my bachelorette party because she was super pregnant, and decided we needed a re-do! A little time away from the kiddos to rest and recharge was just what the doctor ordered. We had grand plans of flying off to somewhere on the ocean or heading back to New Orleans, but then never managed to actually plan something or buy tickets. But then I thought, we don't have to go very far at all to have a fun weekend! My mom ended up coming along too, and it was such a nice little trip.

If you haven't been before, Lake Geneva is a cute little lake town just across the border in Wisconsin, and is just a 90 minute drive. Lake Geneva used to be where wealthy Chicagoans would go during the summer so there are huge historic mansions on the lake. There is also a small but adorable little downtown with a surprising number of ice cream restaurants per capita. I could see staying for a longer trip if you rented a house outside of town, but really it's great for a long weekend trip if you stay downtown.

Where we stayed: 

I looked at a bunch of hotels but we were booking pretty last-minute so there weren't a ton of options. I ended up finding a room available at The Cove, and once we realized there was a huge pool with a bar it seemed like a no brainer. The hotel itself was interesting because parts of it seemed super dated (hallways, balconies, etc), but our room was actually updated with a gorgeous bathroom and pretty hardwood floors, plus a little kitchenette for keeping all of our wine and snacks. We booked a studio suite, which had a queen and a pullout couch, which ended up being perfect for three people. The pool was crazy busy every day with people out drinking all day every day and live music, but it was still very family friendly with lots of kids running around. The location was also perfect, we were one block off of the beach and just a couple blocks from the main downtown area.

What We did: 

When you're in Lake Geneva, you have to get out on the lake! We booked a Jazz Dinner Boat Tour with Lake Geneva Cruise Line to have dinner out on the water. The boat left from downtown at 7, and we got to cruise through the whole lake while having drinks and dinner. There was a little bit of history about some of the big mansions on the water, but for most of the ride there was a live jazz band! The food is nothing to write home about (my sister said, "Oh, it's like wedding food") but the sunset views and music more than made up for it.

We also spent a surprising amount of time shopping downtown. I thought Marigold was so adorable, and ended up buying a set of cute minimal Christmas plates at C.R. Goodfinds because apparently I'm the kind of person now who buys sets of Christmas plates while on vacation. We also did a mini wine tasting at New World Wine Shop (you can just walk in and taste things for free), and I'm pretty sure my sister tried every kind of beef jerky at BJO. We also got ice cream twice from Scoops because it's vacation and calories don't count ;) But really, it was so good we had to go back for round two.

And then obviously we spent a lot of time at the pool! We thought we were going to go for a walk around the lake too, but a thunderstorm blew through so we ended up having a couple of drinks at Hogs & Kisses instead. My kind of exercise ;)

Where We Ate: 

We stopped in for lunch at Oakfire right when we got to town, and got the last table on the upstairs balcony with an amazing view of the lake. We split some apps plus a pizza and a salad, and everything was so good. I'm basically always pro burrata, but the calamari was so good!

We went for dinner to Sopra and it was packed. I made a reservation two weeks in advance and was so glad I did because we saw people being turned away at the door. My sister and I both got the duck, and it was so good I wanted to lick the plate!

Joni's Diner
I realized once we wandered in that I actually have been to Joni's before, and that diner breakfast didn't disappoint! The menu is small and standard, but everything was really good! Probably because it was covered in butter ;) It's a fun place to visit too because it's a vintage diner from the 1950's so it's really old school and cool inside.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Motherhood Monday: On Starting Daycare

Mia started daycare last week, and we are slowly adjusting over here. It's such a funny thing, to go from spending literally every second with your baby to only seeing her an hour in the morning and an hour at night. It has been a hard adjustment for me and a very easy adjustment for her! I just wanted to share a little bit about why we chose daycare for Mia, the process of getting into a daycare in Chicago, why we're starting daycare now, and how it's been going.

Why We Picked Daycare

Deciding what's best for your child is such a personal thing, whether it's staying at home, hiring a nanny, or finding a daycare. My mom stayed home when I was growing up, I think she was a full-time SAHM for 16 years! For me, it was an amazing experience and something I hoped I'd be able to do for my kids someday. But as Jeff and I talked it through, we weren't sure it would really work for us based on the lifestyle we want. Jeff went to daycare starting as an infant and he thought it was really good for him. Who knows if it's related to daycare or not, but Jeff is a much better sleeper than me and has a better immune system, and 100% has better social skills 😂Obviously all of that can't be from daycare, but I like the idea of our kid being adaptable and learning from the get-go that everything isn't always about her. I also liked the idea of Mia being able to socialize with other kids all day. I also wanted her to experience some of the Montessori concept if I could, because I went to Montessori pre-schools growing up and know first-hand the amount of independence kids gain from it. And while every nanny or babysitter is different, I've heard some true horror stories from some of my friends which made me nervous about having one person alone with my child all day. A nanny also might make more sense if we had more than one kid, but based on pricing for daycare vs a nanny in Chicago, for one kid it was less expensive to do daycare.

Finding a Daycare in Chicago

Once we decided we'd be doing daycare, it was time to dive into the craziness that is the Chicago daycare scene. We started looking back in November when I was six months pregnant, and it turned out we were already way late. I don't know when other people start applying to daycares (the day they find out they're pregnant?) but every place we looked at had at least three kids in line ahead of us for our same start date. It turns out the spaces are really competitive to get, so the recommendation is that you apply to three or four daycares and pay a non-refundable $50-100 fee at each to put your name on the waitlist. Then you just pray (and annoyingly badger via email) that a spot will open up when you need it.

We ended up applying to five places back in November/December/January for a mid-August start date, and in June I started hearing back from each place that they definitely wouldn't have a place for Mia. I was starting to freak out that no one would have a spot available for us and we'd have to scramble to find a temporary babysitter or figure out how Jeff and I could take enough time off of work to watch her.

Finally at the end of June, I got an email that there was a space opening up at our first choice daycare (a Montessori), but that she would have to start in mid-July to hold the space. I read the email and immediately started crying, both out of relief but also sadness since it was cutting short the time I'm supposed to have with her before I go back to work. I managed to negotiate the start date back a week and have her going just part-time until I go back, but I still was pretty upset about the whole thing.

Our Experience with Daycare So Far

The first day was so rough. Jeff and I walked her there and got her settled with her teachers and everything was great. Mia seemed just fine to be hanging out on the floor with all of the new toys she could put in her mouth, and didn't appear to even notice when Jeff and I left the room. Of course, I started crying immediately! It was just so sad to me knowing that she was going to spend all day with strangers instead of me - I missed that little girl the second we left. Mia, however, had a blast! The teacher showed us pictures from that first day of her playing on the floor with the other kids, smiling in a swing, and even holding her own bottle (which I still can't get her to do at home!). She has been having a harder time adjusting to napping there and has been exhausted every time I've picked her up, but the teachers say she's been pretty happy despite that.

While Mia is adjusting easily, it's definitely still hard for me. I've found that I need to schedule stuff for me to do during the day to distract myself. It's been nice to be able to exercise and get stuff done, but I still miss that little girl! I'm hoping things get easier as we go. While I would have preferred we start a month later, the slow transition from part-time to full-time has been nice, and I'm definitely glad I didn't have to adjust to getting Mia in daycare the same day that I had to go back to work!
Why we're sending our baby to daycare - Kristina does the Internets

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Friday, August 2, 2019

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! I'm especially excited because today I'm heading with my mom and sister on a girl's weekend to Lake Geneva! We've never taken a trip just the three of us so I'm super excited for some lady time and relaxing. I'm already feeling the separation anxiety from Mia, but we'll power through somehow. Jeff has called in some reinforcements in the form of his mom, so I know they'll be just fine.

Here are the finds for this week:
one / two / three / four / five

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

July Budget

Every month I post about my clothing budget. My budget per month is $350, which may seem like a lot to some and a little to others, but feels just right for me. You can read my thoughts on my 2018 budget here.

Bye July! I'm especially sad this month is over, because it means I just have one more month of maternity leave! Wah, where did those months go?! Mia started daycare this week (she had to start early to hold her spot - stupid competitive city daycares!) so it's been an emotional rollercoaster, and it's making the end feel all the more real.

For all of the shopping I thought I did in July, there are actually surprisingly few items on this list - so I'm slightly worried I'm missing something and actually dropped a ton more cash somewhere that I'm forgetting. Not that that's ever happened ;) But really what happened is, I still am confused about what size I am and am still feeling big from the pregnancy so I placed a couple of orders where everything was two sizes too big. Whoops! A lot of fail on my part.

Four of these items are from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale which ends on Sunday (!!!) so if you're thinking of making a purchase remember to snag stuff now before the prices go up on Monday. My full try-on post is here. (Psst I'm still deciding whether or not to keep the pants so they may appear in August's budget, and I don't count sleepwear or winter coats towards my total).

Here's the damage for July:

Halogen Pleated Shift Dress - originally $99.00, on sale $65.90. So excited to wear this once we hit fall, it's that perfect dress that can work for basically any occasion!
J.Crew Factory Eyelet Peplum Tee - originally $45.00, on sale $22.50. I literally bought this because I wanted more items to wear with this bag 😂but it's been great to have in my closet! It's really just a tee but feels more fun than your basic crewneck.
BP Miniskirt - originally $49.00, on sale $31.90. I used to have a bunch of skirts like this in my closet but somehow they all disappeared. These little miniskirts are weirdly the most flattering skirt shape on me, and I love how versatile they are!
BlankNYC Moto Jacket - originally $88.00, on sale $58.90. This was my biggest impulse buy of the sale, but I remembered that this spring I was always trying to figure out a little jacket to wear during weird Chicago temperatures and I kept wishing for a leather jacket. This one is vegan leather so it's really light and stretchy, and the draped front is oh so flattering.
Caslon V-Neck Hi-Low Sweater - originally $59.00, on sale $38.90. This is a great basic for basically year-round in Chicago haha. I love the rounded hem, it's perfect for wearing with leggings!
J.Crew Knit Dress - originally $128.00 on sale $76.80. I wasn't really sure of this and almost didn't order it, but I'm really glad I did, I've gotten a ton of wear out of it so far! It's a slip dress covered by an open crochet knit. It's breezy and fun, but can easily be dressed up too. I've worn it here and here.

Total Spent: $294.90
Total Saved: $173.10

I've been feeling better about my spending lately - I feel like I'm finally starting to figure out this whole budgeting thing! Only been writing these posts since 2014 hahaha. But really, I haven't had a "go crazy" month in a while. I say that because I was looking at my July budget post from last year and I bought about four thousand things. I finally have a handle of what's in my closet and what I need.

I'm not really looking for anything specific at the moment besides maybe some new booties. And I've also been trying to convince myself that I definitely don't need this bag ;)

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