Saturday, March 28, 2020

LOFT New Arrivals

It's kind of a tricky time we're in. Are you shopping, or no?

I'm still on the shopping train, but I'm being much more particular than usual, knowing that I may not be able to return things or that charges will sit on my credit cards for a while until I am able to make returns. I just can't help myself really, the sales have been insane.

At Loft right now, it's 50% off everything with free shipping, including Sneak Peak items that NEVER go on sale. I had to hold myself back because all of the spring stuff is so cute. I ended up ordering the floral Lilly-lookalike dress (the cut is so flattering, I have a similar one from 2017 here. Size down, I'm in a medium!), the striped sweater, the knit kimono, and the wide leg sweats. These things are SO freaking soft, like the softest things ever (I also have their sweatshirts) and I'm really looking forward to having a pair of lounge pants where it doesn't matter that they're too short for me. I also was just laughing with Jeff that apparently the gaucho pants that were so popular in like 2006/2007 are back, just rebranded as wide leg crops now. They were super popular at my college for two years, girls would wear them to the gym, with a sorority tee for class, or dressed up with heels and a tank to go to the bars. I'm clearly v pro their return.

Here are all of my picks:

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday! Phew, what a week, am I right?! Definitely looking forward to not trying to work a full day everyday while also taking care of Mia this weekend.

I'm still sharing "finds" here, because hey, we could all use something fun to look at right now! But I wanted to provide a caveat. If you're shopping online right now, make sure you check the return policy in case you're in an area where you can't go to stores or the post office to make returns (especially from places like Amazon!). There's nothing worse than being stuck with an item that isn't quite right for you!

That being said, I'm still doing lots of online shopping from Nordstrom - their return policy is incredible!! Basically you can return anything, anytime, no questions. I right now have an arsenal of dresses I ordered for a friend's wedding so I could try options at home and have no issues with returns.

And here are my finds for the week!

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Weekend Style

Sweater and Jeans (similar) - Old Navy / Jacket - J.Crew / Sneakers (more sizes here) - New Balance

Whew, quite a week! As my sister keeps saying, "Lemon, it's Wednesday." 

Like many of you I'm sure, we had our daycare announce on Friday that they'd be closed through the end of the month. Jeff and I are both working from home, so we're trying to balance watching Mia and staying on top of our jobs. Luckily I work for the best company ever, so instead of focusing on how many hours I'm working, they've been encouraging me to take the time I need with Mia and still take breaks for my mental health. 

I'm also very grateful that Mia is still at an age where we don't have to plan activities or worry about being bored. The only games we need to play are "chase" and "hand things back and forth," and Mia is perfectly happy to walk in circles around the couch for half an hour straight. To stay sane, we've also been going for walks every day for some fresh air and a change in scenery. 

Okay okay, enough rambling about our current situation - I know you've been hearing about it enough!  

Let's talk about the outfit.

The sweater

I had been really wanting to try the whole "cardigan as a sweater" trend (groundbreaking I know) and decided to hop in with this inexpensive version from Old Navy. I've seen a ton of these sweaters around, but a lot of them are super cropped or really low cut, neither of which really flies with my body type. I ordered this twice to get the right size, and ended up in a tall large. It fit perfectly, that is, until I accidentally put it in the dryer. Noooo! Now I would say it fits more like a regular large. So my suggestion would be to get the tall size even if you don't usually wear talls, because it will likely shrink. 

The jeans

I'm back on a light-wash jean kick now that spring is peaking its head out! I bought this pair last year and am still very in on them. They are a slightly higher rise than I usually prefer, so these are definitely not a "comfy lounge" kind of jean, more of a "change into sweatpants as soon as you walk in the door" jean. This pair is obviously old, but here's a similar one. It had bothered me all last year that this pair was a little too wide and long at the ankle, so I actually took some scissors to them and now am much happier with them! If you want to cut the ankles of your jeans, I suggest looking in a mirror and marking the length you want. 

The jacket

I'm still so excited every year when it warms up enough to put this jacket back in rotation. You may  remember that I specifically classify my jackets by temperature, and I would say this one works from about 50 degrees to 65. J.Crew has been really going in on sales this past year, so definitely don't pay full price. I'd wait until you see it at least 40% off. I got a tall xl in this coat, and it's slightly oversized but in a good way - I love that the sleeves are long enough for me to give a little roll! Touches like rolling your sleeves (or a front tuck on your top) make your outfit look more intentional.

The sneakers

These are, by far, my favorite sneakers that I've owned as an adult. My feet just keep getting pickier and pickier in terms of what they find comfortable, and a lot of sneakers end up rubbing my ankles weird or the tongue is uncomfortable. Not these! The whole shoe is like a sock, with a stretchy, soft piece that goes all around your foot and laces on the outside. No tongue! I also love the little leather details, it makes them look slightly elevated over your average sneaker. 

I hope you have a great Wednesday, enjoy your social distancing and stay healthy!! 

Sweater and Jeans (similar) - Old Navy / Jacket - J.Crew / Sneakers (more sizes here) - New Balance

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Monday, March 16, 2020

My Best Tips for Working From Home

My WFH outfit from Thursday - Jacket / Similar Blouse / Similar Jeans / Similar Shoes / Bracelet

I've worked from home exclusively for the past two years for my corporate job, and it honestly took a bit of an adjustment period. With so many people being asked to work from home right now thanks to coronavirus, I thought I'd share my top four tips for working from home:

1. Find a routine to start and end your work days

Working from home can very easily take up your whole day if you let it. It's easy to roll out of bed and start working (or just grab your laptop and start working from bed!), but that isn't healthy for you, mentally or physically. Because of Mia, I have to get up and take her to daycare every day before I start working, and it really helps me separate my leisure time from my working time. If you don't have a kid or a pet, figure out a reason to leave the house, whether it's grabbing coffee or just going out for a quick walk. Head out at the end of your day too when your workday is over to help clear your mind.

2. Work where you want, but take video calls in a professional setting 

I get it, you're at home and you work just as well from your couch as you do from a desk. Heck, I'm writing this while reclined on the couch! But, if your job requires taking video calls, head over to an actual table for the call. It just isn't professional to turn on your video camera if you have your laptop balanced on your lap, and it honestly changes my opinions about coworkers if they appear unprofessional over video chat. Let's not even start about the guy who took a call laying in his bed last week (cringe!). While we're on the subject of video chats, try to choose a location that doesn't have a lot of background noise (you know, so not out on your front porch) and that has decent lighting so people can actually see you.

3. Get fully ready for your day before you sit down to work

I certainly hope you're at least brushing your teeth before you start your work from home day, but my recommendation is to fully get ready before sitting down at your laptop. Take a shower, do your hair, put on makeup, and pick out an outfit you'd wear into the office. I spent a good deal of my pregnancy working from home in my pajamas, or thinking I'd wait until my lunch break to shower. It really did affect my workday, and made me feel less focused and less productive. It's all about getting in the right mindset to work from home.

4. Put blocks on your calendar to eat 

People seem to fall into one of two camps when they work from home. Either they snack on basically everything they can find, or they forget to eat. I usually fall into the forgetting to eat club, which is pretty incredible considering how much I like food. I just will get in a zone and want to finish "just one more thing" and then before I know it, it's 3pm and I'm HANGRY. Whether you're trying to control snacking or need a reminder to step away from your desk, put blocks on your calendar for breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break. That way you'll have boundaries as to when you're allowed to eat, or have that time carved out to step away from your computer.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

February Budget

I share my clothing budget here every month. My budget per month is $350, which may seem like a lot to some people or a little to others, but for me feels just right. I include all of my clothes, coats, shoes, and accessories in that budget, but not athletic gear, pajamas, or intimates.

Whew, and goodbye February!! I know a lot of people hate February because it's cold and gray and whatever, I always enjoy it between Valentine's Day, my birthday, and now getting ready for Mia's birthday! Her due date was in February but she decided to wait until March to make an appearance (much to 41 weeks pregnant Kristina's chagrin). Her party is this weekend though, and I spent the past month thinking about and prepping it so it was a major part of February.

Also a major part of February? PINK! Ha, apparently Valentine's Day really affected me this year. Here's everything I bought this month:

LOFT Boyfriend Blazer: originally $130, on sale + used rewards $67.71, used giftcard $47.71. I've actually been looking for a pink blazer since I saw a friend of a friend wearing one out to dinner like literally three years ago at this point. I ordered this one thinking it would definitely go back, but in person it's so cute! Perfectly relaxed but not oversized, with cropped sleeves that make it feel modern and cool. I dressed it up here for a meeting downtown with our financial planners, but I also am planning to pair it with a white tee and distressed jeans for a cool mix of dressy and casual.
J.Crew Pointelle Sweater: originally $69.50, on sale $41.70. I've been all about finding sweaters with interesting textures lately, and this one fits the bill. Really pretty but a bit more pink in person, and the stitching is very open so you have to wear a nude cami underneath. This is great for warmer winter days or will be nice for transitioning into spring. I wore it here.
Lesa Michele Baguette Ring: $42.00, used gift card $0. Okay so this is kind of funny, but I saw Natasha on an episode of The Bachelor rocking a rainbow baguette ring and immediately started googling to find something similar. I ended up finding this pretty pink/purple ombré instead of a rainbow and it is so gorgeous in person. I don't usually wear any rings but my wedding / engagement rings, but for this stunner I'm definitely willing to make an exception.
LOFT Striped Sweater: originally $59.50, on sale + used rewards $30.99, used gift card $0. I saw this sweater when it was in the LOFT Sneak Preview section months ago and stalked their new arrivals forever waiting for it to show up so I could get it on sale. It looks so much higher-end than it is, the details on it make it feel designer and fashion-y. You can see me wearing it here.
R.Vivimos Bohemian Maxi Dress: $31.99. Okay so this is a bit of an Amazon wildcard. It's by the same company that made the "Amazon Nightgown" dress that was so popular last summer. I wanted to try that one, but knew the silhouette wouldn't work on my body. When I saw this one was available, I decided to give it a try. Does it fit? Yesish. Is it flattering? Yesish. I will say that the fabric is really pretty in person and doesn't feel cheap. If I had come across this dress in stores I probably wouldn't have bought it, but I decided I'd rather keep it than bother figuring out how to return it. I'll definitely wear it over the summer, but it wasn't the best buy. (I actually have a different pattern that is no longer available - mine is more white with blue flowers.)
Old Navy Cardigan Sweater: originally $44.99, on sale $42.00, used giftcard $12.00. I'd been wanting to try the "cardigan as a sweater" trend for a while, so I decided to try this Old Navy sweater with a gift card I realized I hadn't used from Christmas 2018!! I really like the style, it's low cut without showing too much and is an easy way to try out the trend. I originally bought a regular XL, and returned it for a tall large. Then I washed it and wasn't thinking and threw it in the dryer, so now it fits like a regular medium haha. So you can definitely size down, and be careful about washing/drying. I wore it here.
Old Navy Boyfriend Blazer: originally $49.99, on clearance $6.47, used gift card $0. When I was in the store returning the first iteration of the cardigan, I spotted this blazer. There was only one in the store and it happened to be a large tall - it was like fate! It is so cute, and it's a stretchy fabric so it's comfortable too. I wore it here.

Total Spent: $133.40

Okay, so that total is obviously skewed a bit because there were a lot of gift cards involved, but I'm feeling pretty good about it ;) For next month, I'm on the hunt for a dress to wear to a friend's bachelorette party, some new jeans in a non-skinny fit, and some summer clothes for a few trips we're planning.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! After a pretty crazy week at work (is that always happens after a three day weekend?) I am READY for a little breather. Next week is my birthday (!!) so Jeff and I are celebrating with a date night this weekend! I'm not sure where we're going, but I requested a tasting menu so I'm pretty excited.

I was apparently feeling bright this week - here are this week's finds:

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Week's Worth of Outfits

I started taking daily mirror selfies to document what I'm wearing every day, and now I've been at it for more than a week! (Well almost. In putting this together it seems I missed Wednesday. Le sigh.) As you've seen I'm rarely taking full outfit photos these days, so the daily outfits are a fun way to share what I've been wearing without the huge production.

Sunday: Errands and lots of baby cuddle time

Monday: work from home

Tuesday: Baby play time then work from home

Thursday: Baby play time then work from home

Friday: Valentine's Day party at Mia's daycare, then work from home and Valentine's Day dinner with Jeff. Eventually found shoes. 

Saturday: Shopping, brunch with girlfriends, then baby hangs. Saw my jeans in the mirror, whipped them off and cut an inch of the bottom before I snapped this pic. Might still take off a little more. 

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Five Random Things

Happy President's Day! I found out at about 3pm on Friday that my office was closed today for the holiday - three cheers for a surprise long weekend! I love a good trip over a long weekend or one in the summer with lots of barbecues and parties, but this unexpected long weekend without plans has been so nice. I ended up going out for brunch with some girlfriends, saw some of Jeff's family, and had my sister's family over for a playdate. Today we're thinking we might head out to visit Jeff's grandma, but we're mostly just planning on hanging at home.

Matching my mini for her school Valentine's Day party! Here is my sweater, her dress, her bow, and our little tassel garland

I had a random thing I wanted to share on Friday night, I started jotting things down and suddenly I had basically a whole blog post written. So here are a few of my current favorite things, in no particular order

1. Pinterest! Okay so this is like SO 2011, but I have been all over Pinterest lately. It's funny, when Pinterest was new I went on all the time, but then their algorithm came into play and they stopped showing me my friend's pins and I basically stopped using the platform. But now all of the sudden I'm all over it again! I’m currently planning Mia’s 1st Birthday (it’s an Alice in Wonderland theme!) and a pool party bachelorette, plus I’m pretty sure I volunteered for another party that I can’t even remember. I know this sounds like some people’s nightmare, but I love planning parties (you can see the Sprinkle and Rustic Animals baby showers I threw!) and looking at all of the inspiration on Pinterest is so fun!! If you're looking for some Pinspiration, you can follow me here.

2. Cheer! Okay, so I know that like, everyone and their mother is talking about Cheer right now but you guys, I am obsessed. In case you haven’t heard of it, the docuseries on Netflix follows a team of college cheerleaders as they prepare to compete in the national championships. I’ve watched the entire thing through twice, and I still can’t get over the crazy routines. I also am obsessed with the cast and have been semi-stalking them on Instagram - get it Jerry!!

3. New Hairbrush! I know I talked about this before, but I FINALLY decided to upgrade my hairbrush after using the same one for literally fifteen years. You guys, I think I bought my last brush because I was moving out of the house for college and couldn’t share with my sister any more! (P.S. is it weird to share a hairbrush with your sister? It’s just now occurring to me that it might be weird. Although, we also shared A BED for a few years when I was in middle school and we were remodeling, so maybe the hairbrush is less weird.) Anyway, I can’t believe the difference the new hairbrush has made. My hair has a ton more volume, even on day two, and it’s shinier too. Plus this brush helps my hair stay straighter at the ends versus flipping in various directions. I got the 2 inch size and I would definitely recommend! The only downside is that the bristles are a little scratchy on your scalp if you brush too aggressively. I was thinking this morning I might put together a post of the current hair products / routine I do because I've been getting some questions about it lately - is that something you would be interested in seeing?

4. The Office Ladies Podcast! If you watched and loved The Office then you will love The Office Ladies. The actresses who played Pam and Angela recap an episode every week, and often have guests or have talked to cast and crew to get behind the scenes details on every episode. They can get a little goofy and annoying sometimes (like your mom arguing with your grandma about why a notecard is better than a notepad) but the detail they go into makes me want to go back and watch every episode again! I'm currently inundated with Bachelor podcasts, but I make time for this one every week.

5. The Masked Singer! Have you seen The Masked Singer? It’s basically a singing competition for celebrities, but they’re in these giant costumes so you have to guess who is singing. I remember hearing about the first season and thought it sounded completely ridiculous, but then Jeff made me start watching last season and I'm definitely hooked. The clues they give every week to help you guess who might be singing are really fun, Jeff and I spend every episode debating who the singers might be. The costumes are also incredible and hilarious. The whole thing is so fun and doesn't take itself too seriously, definitely an easy mid-week watch.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday Finds

Happy Valentine's Day!

Do you love or hate Valentine's Day? I was perpetually single for years and years, but I still liked it for the excuse to wear pink and the candy of course ;) With a baby now we have to pick and choose our date nights, so since my birthday is in a week and a half (33, yeep!) we decided to stay in tonight and go out for a fancy tasting menu next weekend to celebrate both. So tonight we plan on opening a bottle of wine from our favorite vineyard after Mia goes to sleep and cooking up Chrissy Teigen's Lemony Cacio e Pepe. Now that's my kind of Friday!

Here are my finds for the week. I'm especially loving those chewed hems on the white jeans and wishing they came in a tall size so they'd be long enough for me! If you have shorter legs, please buy them so I can live vicariously through you.

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hearts, But Make It Winter

Sweater (also comes in red!) - LOFT / Coat and Boots - J.Crew / Jeans - Madewell / Bag - Tory Burch / Sunglasses - Amazon

Yaaaaaaay, winter! Said no one in February ever. 

I'm not here to complain about winter or anything, because it hasn't even been terrible this year. It's really just that I finally understand what parents have always talked about when they said winter was a tough time to be home with your kids. If we're home too much, Mia starts to get a little squirrelly. She wants to be out and about, no matter the weather! 

Over the weekend we didn't have a ton of plans, so to get Mia out of the house we ended up taking a long walk to Half Acre Balmoral brewery for lunch. You might wonder why we're always taking our baby to breweries, but hear me out. When you are a new parent bars basically disappear from your life, but a brewery is a kid-friendly way to get the bar experience. You can enjoy a drink, but without the loud music or people who are overconsuming. While we were out last weekend, the whole brewery was full of parents and babies or young kids. There was even a set of parents with a brand new (I'm talking a month old, tops) baby introducing the baby to their friends! So cute. And every time we go it's like that. I once saw a mom toting a huge bin of legos into a brewery along with three little boys, clearly intending to stretch out the visit as long as possible. 

We personally love Half Acre because the food is so good in addition to the beer, and they change the menu all the time. If you go, I personally recommend going on a Sunday for their brunch menu - their breakfast sandwiches are always so good! 

Okay, are you ready to talk clothes now? I still get dressed like I always do, but between Mia, the weather, and the current number of hours of daylight I've been having a tough time actually taking pictures of my outfits for you. I'm so glad I managed to take pictures of this outfit though because I have some awesome pieces I want to talk to you about! 

The Sweater 

I usually am SO TIRED of sweaters by this time of the year, but this fall/winter I unintentionally ignored my sweater collection because I was so excited to have button-downs back in my life again (since I was pregnant last fall). Remind me again next year to wait on sweater season until January, since you know, it sticks around until May. 

I also am loving sweater season because I have been in sweater-shopping mode, so I have a few new options in my closet and am not just rotating through the same three every week. This heart textured sweater is so fun. I love that it works for Valentine's Day, but it's so subtle that it will work for the rest of winter too. The slight puff shoulder is also giving me life. While the sweater can go sweet depending on what you wear it with, that detail in the shoulder makes it work for a slightly edgier outfit too. Is this edgy? Okay no but you know, it's a hint of edge and that's just about as far as I go. 

The Boots

Did I want to wear snow boots with this? No, I would have much rather added a pair of mules! But you know, Chicago's icy sidewalks didn't quite allow for that shoe choice. That being said, I'm so happy to have these fur-lined hiking / snow boots in my life. They are slightly elevated over a typical snow boot, which makes me more excited to pull them out. I've been wearing these almost daily for walking Mia to daycare, and they are so freaking comfortable. Not to mention beautiful in person! Mia also tries to put them in her mouth every chance she gets, so I think she's pretty into them too. 

The Hair

Not to toot my own horn here, but was I having a particularly good hair day when we shot these photos? I think it's because I finally got rid of my hair brush after FIFTEEN YEARS. Yes, you read that right. I'd had my hairbrush literally since high school. It was basically completely coated in products and falling apart. I finally decided to make the switch to this one (2 inch size), and my hair has been looking so good ever since! More volume, shinier, and less weird bending at the ends. If you've been holding onto something like my hairbrush just because it still works, you don't have to! Go get that new hairbrush (or you know, whatever YOUR hairbrush is) and don't look back. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. 

Sweater (also comes in red!) - LOFT / Coat and Boots - J.Crew / Jeans - Madewell / Bag - Tory Burch / Sunglasses - Amazon

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Motherhood Monday: Mia's Schedule at 11 Months

We're almost at a full year with Mia, it sounds so cheesy to say but I really can't believe it. A whole year of smiles and squeals (and tears and screams too) with this happy, beautiful, rambunctious little girl. I was talking to Jeff the other day about how I can barely remember being pregnant at this point, it feels so long ago.

Around 10 months we started to finally get the consistency in Mia's schedule I've been wanting (or really, I laid down the law!) and now I know when she will nap, when she'll go to sleep, and when she'll wake up every day. It's not an exact science of course, Mia generally prefers to wake up earlier on the weekends when she's gotten two full-length naps at home (as opposed to at daycare, where there's too much fun to be had for napping). As I'm typing this, she's actually sleeping in a little which is always nice :)

7am: Mia wakes up and I nurse her in her room, then we change her diaper and get dressed for the day. Then we head upstairs for some alone time in her playpen. This is the time of day when she's least needy in terms of me being directly next to her, so I take advantage by cleaning the kitchen, prepping her breakfast, and getting dressed. I'm also on a "flex schedule" with work so I can spend more time with Mia in the mornings, so if time allows it I'll hop on my work computer too and shoot off a few emails. ("Flex schedule" basically just means I can start late, but I have to make up time missed in the evenings.)

8am: Breakfast! Mia eats just about everything I put in front of her. For breakfast we usually have yogurt with fruit, but sometimes I'll give her avocado, other fruit, eggs, or cheese. When I'm not thinking I give her yogurt bites, and then she spends the rest of the meal pointing at the yogurt bites asking for more.

8:30am: "Free range" playtime where Mia wanders our living room, crawling into small spaces (I call it #catlife on Instagram stories 😂) and looking for things I haven't babyproofed.

9:15am: I get Mia and myself bundled to go outside, and we walk the 15 minutes to her daycare. Mia loves school and her teachers and often immediately crawls away from me to climb into one of their laps, or crawls off to play with one of her friends.

10:00am: Mia's first nap, which she usually refuses at daycare because she's having too much fun. At home she'll sleep around an hour.

10:30/11am: Depending on when Mia wakes up, she'll have a 6oz bottle.

11:30am: Lunch time! I'm always amazed by the things they give her at school that she will gobble down - chili, sloppy joes, barbecue chicken! Along with fruit and vegetables of course. The report back is always that she cleaned her tray.

1:30pm: Another 6oz bottle

2:00pm: Nap time that she takes no matter what, usually for an hour.

3:30pm: Snack time! At daycare she usually gets fruit, crackers, and cheese.

4:30: Another 6oz bottle - she doesn't usually finish this one anymore.

5:00pm: Jeff picks up Mia from daycare. He usually gets to work by 7 because he's a crazy person (he's done this as long as I've known him!) so he'll take a 4:30 train home to get her. They'll walk home, and I always run to meet them at the door! #thatmom.

5:30pm: Dinner time! Mia will usually try our leftovers from the night before, or if we don't have anything for her I'll typically feed her pasta and chicken with pesto, sweet potato, mixed veggies, and some shredded cheese. After dinner, all three of us usually end up in the playpen. If Mia has missed a nap or is especially tired, we sometimes turn on an episode of Sesame Street to appease her until bedtime. I know, I know, we're terrible. But she loves it so much, she will literally clap and cheer when the opening credits start.

6:15pm: We only do baths 2x a week because Mia has really dry skin and because she usually isn't messy enough to need one. On a bath day, we fill up her little tub and let her splash away. Then we dry her off and lotion her up before pajamas.

6:30pm: Bedtime! We head downstairs for a final diaper change and to get into pajamas and her sleep sack. We used to wait until 6:45 but she would be super crabby when we got her ready for bed. At 6:30 she's generally happier to get into her pajamas. We read her two stories and then it's lights out. One of us will feed her a final 10oz bottle in her room and then put her in her bed. Nine times out of ten she rolls over, sticks her thumb in her mouth, and is asleep by the time I close her door.

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