Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In 2014 We...

This year has been crazy eventful to say the least! I love writing these posts each year because it gives me a chance to reflect on all that's happened over the course of the year.

For a look at previous year-end recaps, click on the links below: 

And now here's a look at what we've been up to this year:

In 2014, we...

Had a girls' weekend in Charleston

Announced we were pregnant...
...and then shared the story behind the picture

Laughed about my students' reactions to my pregnancy announcement (p.s. I just reread this and it might be one of my favorite posts of the year... oh how I miss those kids!)

Celebrated my step-dad's retirement
Wrote about time with family and how cool we are

Shared embarrassing photos of Matt and me from when we first started dating

Let Tally announce that we were having a BOY!
Talked about bathing suit shopping while pregnant
Flash-backed to our honeymoon
Went on our babymoon
Completed Ryan's Nursery

Celebrated our nephew's second birthday and our dog's first birthday

Had my first baby shower and an impromptu date to the Fox Theatre all in one day
Went to Piedmont Park and ended up at Bark in the Park at Turner Field all in one day

Had a family shower and a friend shower
Got baby advice from my 5th graders

Shared pictures of our master bedroom makeover

Shared truth from the mouth of an 8 year old

Went on a beach trip
Wrote a post about the first day of the next stage
Went on a lot of hikes, but this one was one of our favorites... and so was this one

Shared my thoughts and confessions as a pregnant person and did an experiment in what our future kids would look like

Answered questions about our marriage, blogging, my routines, and answers to questions from my former students

Sat front row at a Braves game!

Watched our due date come and go.
Introduced our son, shared his birth story, and pictures from our hospital stay
Took Ryan's newborn photos

Spent Labor Day Weekend in Monroe
Celebrated our nephew's 6th birthday
Went to Chattanooga with a 7 week old

Posted about the non-highlight reel of our lives

Spent a weekend in Greenville with our 3 month old and dog
Celebrated Ryan's first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
Took pictures with Santa
Shared our Christmas card and family photos

Had a reunion weekend in Clemson

Celebrated 7 years of marriage

Celebrated our sweet baby niece coming home!
Enjoyed some day after Christmas fun

Here's to a great 2015!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

14 Favorite Finds for 2014

I am so excited to share this list with you today along with Elizabeth from Teaching Sam and Scout.

Reading other people's lists of favorite things happens to be one of my favorite things (some say I'm a marketer's dream... it's true), so be sure to check out Elizabeth's list too for 14 other favorites!


Keurig K75 and Coffee Pod Drawer
I got this exact Keurig as a Christmas gift from Matt's grandparents last year. And, because they know me well, they also got me this coffee pod drawer so that I had a place for all the k-cups. :) I like the drawer better than the towers because the k-cups feel more tucked-away. ...and I might like that they can all face the same direction in the slots because I'm crazy like that).
Here's what it looks like:

I have two new favorite brands of k-cups that are oh-so-delicious. I don't know about y'all, but I really like flavored coffee, but don't love for it to be too strong or too weak. And since getting the Keurig, my only disappointment has been that I wasn't able to get a cup quite as full as I did when I brewed my own without it tasting too weak.

So insert New England Coffee MEDIUM Roast French Vanilla k-cups. These are SO good! The big difference though is that they come inside a regular coffee pouch bag (inside the box), so I felt like they were supposed to stay in there and therefore didn't put them in my nifty tray (which, for a particular person like me, is a little bit of a bummer since I then have to find a spot for the box instead of emptying it out and recycling it right away (I'm crazy... I'm fully aware).

The other delish brand I've found is Starbucks- have you heard of it? Kidding. I know it should have been a given that these would be good... and stronger... but again, I like flavored coffee. So NOW, Starbucks has these three flavors that I LOVE! (Or maybe they always have and I'm just now noticing?)

Yum, yum, yum. The only downside is that their boxes have 10 or 16, as opposed to most brands carrying 12 or 18 for the same prices. Figures, they're Starbucks.

Solly Baby Wrap
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. I love this thing. Love, love, love it. It's apparently much thinner than the Moby wrap and also has a pocket that the entire wrap folds into when you're not using it so that it can stay in your diaper bag without taking up too much space. I have the gray one and the yellow one.
The creator of the wrap has a YouTube channel where she shows you how to tie it. It's really not hard at all. You can check out her website here and the video tutorials here. She even has a video to show you how to nurse in the Solly Baby, which I actually did while we walked about Rock City on our Tennessee trip- pretty convenient if you ask me! And much less obvious than wearing a nursing cover- in fact, it just looks like you have a sleeping baby wrapped up and covered. So yes- I highly recommend this wrap!

Y'all. I cannot talk about this thing enough. It's seriously the most amazing invention ever. I run it everyday and only pull out our other vacuum when there's a mess in a specific area. It is worth every. single. penny. And right now the one we have is on sale!

Portrait Lens
Matt got me this portrait lens for Christmas and I have loved playing with it this past week! I'm still not great with it for all shots, but I will say that it makes taking up-close shots that blur the background and look professional really easy. Like this one of one of Ryan's Christmas gifts:
Pretty fancy looking, right?!

Amazon Prime
If I could buy my groceries off of Amazon, I'm pretty sure I would never enter another store again. I buy everything off of Amazon. And the free, two-day shipping and free returns make it so convenient! You can also share the account with other people if you want to split the cost because you can save multiple addresses and payment methods. It is such a time saver! And most of things I buy have a better price on Amazon anyway, so it's a win-win.

Matt and I got Netflix this year and have loved watching different tv series that friends of ours have recommended. The two most recent shows we've watched are Parenthood and House of Cards. We're on season 5 of Parenthood and are all caught up on House of Cards and waiting for it to come back on after the winter break. There are tons of great shows, movies, and tv series on it though. Including my personal all-time favorite, Friday Night Lights. I think it's definitely worth the $7.99/month!

I love washing my face with my clarisonic. It's almost like you're giving yourself a daily mini facial. It has a timer that runs for 60 seconds and pauses three times during those 60 seconds to let you know when to move to the next section of your face, and and then it shuts off when the 60 seconds is up. It cleans really well and makes my face feel smooth and refreshed.

Rodan + Fields Tanner

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about my favorite sunless tanners, and this one was the winner. I use it every few days during the winter time to avoid that lovely "hue" my olive skin gets in the non-sunny months. It's honestly the best sunless tanner I've tried- no smell and a smooth, even color that's quick and easy to apply.

Plus White 5-Minute Teeth Whitening Gel
I have really sensitive teeth, and I'm pretty impatient, so teeth whiteners and I haven't gotten along well in the past. But with as much as I love coffee (and red wine), my teeth get a little dull if I don't brighten them up once in a while. I love this gel because 
1. It takes 5 minutes. 
2. It doesn't make my teeth hurt even a little bit
3. It's cheap
I bought this starter kit on Amazon and also buy the replacement gel from there too. I use it about twice a week while I'm getting ready and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Love it!

Noggin Stik Rattle

This little rattle might be Ryan's all-time (haha, okay it's been less than 5 months, but that is his entire toy-using life so far) favorite toy. It's especially great at night because the light changes from green to red to blue and is extra bright at night (obviously), so it keeps him occupied when we're driving home in the evenings. The thin handle is perfect for him to grasp, and the bottom has a mirror for him to look at. He also likes sucking on the little ears.  Anyway, it's fantastic. Trust me!

I am so thankful to have a MOPS group that meets right by our house. It is such an encouragement to meet with other moms twice a month and have speakers and mentor moms share their own experiences from the early stages of motherhood.
These are a few of the ladies at my table from our first dinner in October. I've only know them all for a few months but feel so connected with them already!

If you're a SAHM or work a flexible schedule and are looking for an outlet like this, check out the MOPS website and see if there is a group near you!

I LOVE this panini maker! It is so easy to clean and makes a quick lunch feel just a bit fancier. Our go-to meal is the basic grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, but we've fancied it up a time or two with some other panini's as well. This is definitely one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. For a list of my others, click here.

14. Meiomi Wine
I was introduced to this wine by our former next door neighbor who brought us a bottle with a meal after Ryan was born. I love my red wine, but this one is extra tasty. It has since become my "fancy" wine that I buy for special occasions. It is so, so good!

Haha... this was unintentional, but if you know me at all, you know it's quite fitting that this post started with coffee and ended with wine.

Okay, your turn! I want to know what your favorites for 2014 are! Seriously, even if it's the most random snack that you can't get enough of lately (several food items almost made this list as a matter of fact), I want to know! Leave me a comment below so I can check out your favorites too.

Happy almost new year, friends!


Monday, December 29, 2014

5 month photo shoot

For Ryan's 5 month update and to see other pictures from the past month, click here.

Tally was really trying to work his way into every picture this go around as you'll see:

haha... sweet Tal wouldn't move, so he made the stats pic. :)