So it seems like it was ages between blogging about Christmas and then jumping into Valentine's Day. But really it was only a two week break, it just felt so much longer. I forget how much I love and sometimes need this blog and online community. Having the time off makes me want to come back to this space more intentionally when I can.
// Since the last time I shared about life happenings, we made our trip out to the east coast to see about my husband's possible job transfer. While my normal self would usually take the opportunity to write a whole post about the trip, I find myself quiet about it.
The trip was good but hard. I was much more emotional than I thought I would be and plus I was getting over a bad case of the flu. On top of being pregnant, it was a little crazy. I will share some posts on the touristy things we did as well as share about our weekend trip to Washington DC. But besides that we are still processing everything. We have not made a decision yet and there are still some big unknowns we are waiting to hear about before we decide.
The trip served it's purpose - we were able to get to know the area, check out where he would be working, figured out where we would want to live, and really just get a feel of what life would be like there. There are a lot of great aspects about moving but the whole moving away from family part is so hard. Once we make a decision, I will share more details. But until then we don't know much and are just waiting on when that decision will be made more clear. It is hard to wait but it is helping me appreciate each day that we have here in our current home and life.
// The baby seems to be doing well. I am now at eighteen weeks and we hope that we will be finding out the gender at our next appointment! I am feeling a lot better - over the morning sickness and my three bouts of winter time illnesses are finally over. It was a long winter of feeling sick but with the sun coming out and warmer weather appearing here in Sacramento, I think I'm starting to get a bit of spring fever! I almost feel like a new woman!
You may also notice in the above photo that we are no longer sleeping on a futon! What!? I know. It's been a good six years on that baby but once I got pregnant I needed a real mattress. So we switched our futon with our guest bed. The bed is just slightly smaller than the futon which is why we hadn't switched it earlier. But it really makes a difference and having a real bed with a headboard makes our room look even better!
It is one of those things that we did early on, before many people knew about the pregnancy. So now it just feels like old news. I will try to take some proper photos of it to share. But if anything, you are now informed!
// Besides that, our back fence blew over in a storm while we were out of town. It is still in process of being fixed. Then our hard rive crashed along with a series of other family mishaps that included needing my husband's help in fixing. I have been switching up the house again, using what I have, but making the space feel more bright and colorful. And so in a nutshell, that is what I have been up to the past month and why I have not been posting on a regular basis.
It is a reality that I will eventually have a baby and will not be able to keep up with the blog like I used to. But please do not let my silence fool you into thinking I have walked away. I will be around sporadically, which really is how I have blogged for years. But there is a piece of me that struggles with being away too long. Partly from a professional, I have to keep up my pageviews way, but also I miss this community sort of way as well.
I promise to never leave my blog for Instagram - something so tempting at times. But if I can rationalize wasting time on Instagram, surely I have the time to write a real blog post!
So anyways, all this rambling to say, this is what life has been like these days and I look forward to continuing to share this journey of an unknown upcoming year - finding contentment, creativity, and joy wherever life ends up taking me! xo
This last weekend I hosted one of my favorite little gatherings of all year, an annual Ladies Valentine's Tea. It is a fun excuse to have a completely girly party to celebrate this lovely time of year with girlfriends.
The party is on a Saturday morning so I serve a brunch themed menu. After years of hosting this gathering, I have settled on a few recipes that I love. This year I added in chocolate dipped strawberries.
Doughnut holes and fruit kebabs are also always so easy and pretty to serve.
This year's decorations were one of the simplest I have done, but perhaps my favorite. I picked up a few party decorations for around $20 (mostly from TJ-Maxx) to give the tea a completely new look. I was really happy with how it all came out.
I used white dishes and paper goods to make each setting more festive. My collection of Anthropologie mugs also added a little extra color to the table. These hanging paper party decor came in a pack and I hung it exactly as it was pictured on the packaging! Why take the extra effort when the work is already done for you!?
The flowers were supplied by my mom. She was so sweet to splurge on the "trendy" flowers she knows I love from the flower market.
It really is amazing how lovely just a few jars of flowers can be!
Another favorite element was this XOXO balloon banner I found at Target for $5! I was surprised and quite pleased at how big the banner ended up being. Such a statement piece on the cheap!
To continue with the menu, I made this favorite oatmeal bake recipe (which can be made gluten free with GF oats).
Yogurt parfaits are also always a hit. I made them a little smaller in these cute dessert bowls. I find that more of the food gets eaten when everyone can get a little bite of everything.
I picked up a box of strawberry velvet cupcakes to make. They were unimpressive (meaning nothing special) but still looked cute! Brent and my nephews are happy to indulge in the leftovers though!
A new recipe to the party were these ham and cheese rolls that I will be sharing the recipe soon. Sooo good!
Before the party I had an itch to move the house around again. After the holidays, the house started feeling stark and very neutral. I think with the coming of spring, I was craving more color again. So I moved the book shelf back to it's original spot which also ended up opening up the dining area quite a bit.
I also put together a few new gallery walls which I will share in more detail sometime soon. Can you spy our baby in this one?! My nephews are really excited about the baby. The oldest hollers at me that he found more pictures of the baby. It's the cutest.
For drinks, I served cranberry and orange juice mixed with club soda and some fruit infused water.
In our living room I set up tables for our craft. We had a nice little fire going along with a few more decorations.
We made painted mason jars (for holding flowers, pens, etc). There are a million tutorials online, but I'll be sharing how we ended up making them...again in another blog post soon (I have my work cut out for me!).
Now it wouldn't be a tea without tea, so in the kitchen I also had tea set up along with coffee in the Keurig.
This was the first time that we really used our dining room in our new downstairs set up. I was pleasantly surprised how cozy and comfortable it felt. It helps when there is good company and plenty of warm sunlight coming in! But it was really enjoyable to sit and soak in our new dining space. Thank goodness - because I don't think Brent wants me switching the rooms again any time soon!
After we ate, we got crafting!
Here are a few of the finished jars. So springy!
All around, it was a lovely party. The morning went by fast and I was more exhausted than years past (thanks pregnancy!). But I am grateful for the community, yummy food, and excuse to be creative.
As I thought about it more, I realized that not only is the actual party enjoyable, but I really love the process of preparing. Curating my decorations, setting the table, and planning the menu are all creative aspects that keep me throwing these parties. I admit it can be exhausting at times but having a place to gather friends in a pretty setting always outweighs the work for me.
Happy Valentine's Day! xoxo
See previous Valentine's Tea Parties here.
This last Christmas was a unique one. In the months leading up to getting pregnant, I thought it would be fun to be pregnant at Christmas. Until I got pregnant and I was pretty much sick the whole time. I am sure in years to come I will look back fondly at this exciting season but in the moment I literally was just trying to get through it.
Let's just say there was a lot of Gilmore Girls watching and eating on the couch. I don't think we have eaten at the table in months.
I always try to do something fun with my nephew during the Christmas season but all I could handle was driving to look at Christmas lights and making some really lame sugar cookies. I bought a roll of refrigerated cookie dough, cut it into slices and let him decorate them with sprinkles and chocolate chips. Of course, he didn't care or notice a difference but it was definitely a low in my creative abilities! Also, during this pre-belly-popping but nothing fits stage, I went ahead and bought myself a new sweatshirt and sweatpants. They are pretty cute. But definitely super comfortable. I am calling it my new mom uniform and you will probably find me wearing it through February!
Both on Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve, Brent and I do our own thing since the actual holiday is spent with family. This year we went with take out instead of cooking!
We enjoyed some cookies from neighbors for dessert. I usually bake for our neighbors and friends but this year I just couldn't. I felt so terrible but knew realistically it would be too much. I decided six faithful years of holiday baking surely gets me a year off!
This year was also extra special because we hosted my side of the family for the first time. I have been looking forward to the chance to host for years and this year we finally got to! We decided to announce the pregnancy to our family on Christmas. So for my family, I made these paint pen mugs and set them out for coffee.
It took everyone awhile to finally get it, but seeing their reactions was priceless! Then seeing them drink their coffee or tea all morning from their mugs was really sweet.
For breakfast we served bagels with bacon and eggs and my sister in law brought cinnamon rolls and fruity sugar cereal (as requested by Brent and my brother!). It was simple but tasty allowing us to just enjoy the morning (I cooked the eggs and bacon ahead of time and then put them in the slow cooker to keep warm).
Now that my nephews are both a little older, it was so fun to see them enjoy their Christmas gifts. They are the sweetest.
Kids are so silly sometimes. I love this series of photos of my nephew holding his new t-shirt with his chin!
It is always a joy to sit back and take in having all of my family together in our home.
Some of our extended family showed up a little later for breakfast and hanging out.
We also celebrated with Brent's family later in the day. His family arrived in shifts over the course of the next week so each sibling got their announcement mug in their Christmas gift. My sister and brother in law were very excited for us. It was really sweet. They are also expecting their first baby in a few short months.
And while I was making all those mugs, I thought I would make one for Brent and I from Santa. He left a silly little letter for us. :)