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Friday, November 29, 2013

Maggie's first Thanksgiving

I will always remember our first holiday as a family of three with fondness. It was the first time we gathered around the Thanksgiving table as parents. A year ago, we were trying to keep Maggie's (growing) presence a secret...something we laughed about with friends this year. We were blessed to share this special holiday with them again!

We celebrated with an evening turkey dinner since Brandon had to work. Maggie and I got up early and drove him downtown. It's always so eerie to me to be on the roads on a holiday. I half expected a tumbleweed to roll through while waiting for a traffic light at Downtown Crossing.

I spent the better part of the day cooking for our meal. Thankfully, I had cooked several turkeys in my lifetime, so I wasn't too freaked out by having an infant and Thanksgiving dinner to prepare. I put the green bean casserole together and made a pumpkin pie the night before. I used my crock pot to make the stuffing for the first time using this recipe. So, all I really had to do was make the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy (plus cook the green bean casserole) that day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

giving thanks

On Sunday we attended the Boston Rescue Mission Day of Thanks. Maggie had the perfect hat for the occasion: a turkey beanie!

She loves looking out the window during car rides (don't worry, the cell phone isn't real).

Monday, November 18, 2013

a peek into the nursery

Maggie's room has become my favorite place in our home. It's warm and inviting and more finished than any other space.

When we bought the house, the room was painted green and yellow with a Winnie the Pooh boarder. The room needed a fresh coat of paint so it could be made over. About a year before Maggie was born, we painted the room a rich chocolate brown my husband spotted in the oops paint section at Home Depot (read more about our paint buying secret). I still love how the walls create such an inviting and warm space.

I chose a gender neutral crib bedding with multi-colored dots while I was pregnant, with the idea that I would either add girly or more boyish touches once the baby arrived (and we knew it was a he or she). Less than a week after Maggie was born, we took a trip to IKEA to find some feminine accents for the room, including a picture frame. 

I had also collected a number of decor ideas via Pinterest on a secret board. One such find was a side table made from a tree stump. I loved the earthy feel a stump would bring to the room and I also loved the idea of making it  a bit of an unexpected piece for a baby's room. 

Above the changing table, I wanted to make a collage dedicated to Maggie's birthday. I put together my first ever embroidery hoops as part of the collage. The floral patterns are from old button-front shirts I no longer wore and the fabric in the hoop with Maggie's name on it also started out as a shirt I wore. The multi-colored frame was from my Baby Shower Fiesta and I was excited to put our first family photo in it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

weekend links

Happy Friday! I'm headed to a conference for work this weekend. I am looking forward to catching up with colleagues and making new connections.

Next week, I'll finally be sharing photos from the nursery. Until then, here's a sneak peek of my favorite corner.

Ever since I saw this book, I can't stop thinking about reading it to Maggie when she's older.

I've mentioned before ankle boots (AKA booties) are finally growing on me and I've drawn inspiration from this post and this one too.

I haven't been cooking much lately, but this homemade pumpkin gnocchi is on my to try list.

Although we're only four months into this parenting gig, I agreed with a lot of the 10 true things about the first year of parenthood.

As a fellow new mom, I'm loving this series. I couldn't agree more; your style changes as a new mama.

I've never been one to spend much time on my hair, so Brooke's post resonated with me.

What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Maggie: 4 months

Maggie continues to grow and change with each day. Sometimes when I look back on photos from when she was born, I wonder how it can be the same baby. Her little face has changed so much in the past four months.

Lately, she seems to smile a bit less and study a bit more. She loves to look out the window she's in the car. She knows our voices and quickly looks around when she hears either mommy or daddy speak.

Maggie still seems to be trying to figure out our dog, Milton. She watches him and lets him sniff her, but she doesn't like being woken up by his barking (and I can't blame her).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

back to work + making it work

It's been more than three weeks since I returned to work. I certainly don't have things figured out and I am going with "one day at a time" mantra, but I'd say it's going fairly well. I am so thankful for Maggie's good nature.

I wanted to share three things that seem to have helped the transition of my being gone for 9 hours a day four days per week. I am so grateful and realize these options may not be available to a lot of working moms, but I believe they have only helped Maggie's time away from me.

For the my first two months back at work, I am working four day work weeks. I read about this suggestion in a breastfeeding book that claimed taking Wednesdays off could not only boost your milk supply but lessen the baby's anxiety about being away from you. I approached my boss about the possibility, focusing on wanting to ease into being away from Maggie (rather than talking about my milk supply...that would be awkward!). He was very supportive and allowed me to take vacation time, rather than working longer days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

We are also grateful to have not only an in-home caretaker, but a family member watching Maggie. This isn't something I was certain would work out and it's only for a few months, but I am so thankful to have my mother-in-law watching my girl while I am at work, especially since we live several states away from our families. Having Maggie in her own home is also aiding the transition and keeping her cortisol levels low, which can be important to an infant. This is not a long-term solution, but I am excited she'll be at least six months old before she enters a more conventional daycare situation.

It's also very important to me that Maggie continue to be breastfed. It has not been easy (I need to write a whole other post about our breastfeeding journey), but I am committed to making bottle feeding work while I am away from her. This has been the biggest challenge of being away from Maggie. Pumping at work is a drag, but necessary. Maggie never struggled to take the bottle and sometimes seems to prefer it. We had to find a way to feed her more slowly so that she would not reject breastfeeding when I'm with her.

As I said before, I am aware our situation is unique and would not have believed it would work out this way a year ago when I learned I was pregnant. I am so grateful for my job and have built a meaningful career I am not ready to part from. I will continue to take it one day at a time, considering what will work for me and Maggie in each season of life.

Do you have any tips for a working mama?

((affiliate links used))

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

looking forward to...

...wearing fleece lined leggings all. the. time. I discovered Marshall's carries Anne Klein for $6.

...receiving packages from my online post-birthday "shopping spree" (I use the term shopping spree loosely, as I used gift certificates and some birthday money for my purchases). It felt like quite the splurge to buy myself several items; it's been months since I shopped for myself.

...getting back into a blogging routine. October was rough, but I am slowly finding my way and balancing my "free time" a bit better.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

return to our engagement spot

Over the weekend, we returned to the spot where Brandon and I got engaged four years ago. It was so special to take some family photos with Maggie in this special place. The weather was just gorgeous and even though we weren't dressed for photos, we had a great time reminiscing and making new memories there.

For details on our engagement you can read about our love story in a previous post.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November: The List

A few highlights from October:
  • Finishing my first 10k in two years 
  • Spending time outside (walking the dog, jogging or just enjoying the beautiful changing leaves)
  • Putting Maggie in a pumpkin
  • Putting some finishing touches on the nursery 
  • Attending game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park
  • Maggie's baptism

My personal goals for November:
  • Plan meals for the week ahead (since returning to work, I have really been slacking on this)
  • Finish a few projects I've started for Maggie
  • Be more organized around the house. I have made some strides to purge things from my closet and I'd really like to maintain order better.
  • Start crocheting again.

A few blog posts + pins I've loved lately:

P.S. Don't miss your chance to win a Target $25 gift card!

It's your turn to share your list! On the first Friday of the month Erika and I share our favorite things from the past month and what we're looking forward to in the new month. It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be long, it can just be what the link-up is: a list.

So grab a button + link up your post below and be sure to check out others' lists!
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