Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dear Asher: 7 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy seven month birthday! A lot has happened this month. You've gotten two more teeth and you started to roll! Poor you though; all of these changes must have been hard for you because you were a lot more unsettled than usual. You still had plenty of smiles to give though.

Not only are you rolling, but you're also up on all fours and "scooping." You can move backwards a little bit, but still haven't figured out how to go forward. And, you can stand while holding on to furniture. Any day now though you'll be on the move.

I love your big, slobbery kisses. You reach for my face with both of your little hands and plant one right on me. I hate to admit it, but I kind of like the fact that you save these for me. You're very stingy with kisses for anyone else. Sorry daddy.

We are experimenting even more with food now. You're still not really eating a ton, but you love trying new foods. At this point we give you whatever we have--including pickled ginger and lentil stew. You do so well with new flavors and textures. Your sister is even getting into the act. She loves feeding you Cheerios.

We love you and can't wait to see what the next month brings--including a hair cut, probably! Happy 7 months Asher!

Read about Zahara at this age:
Dear Zahara: 7 Months

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tips to Save Time in the Morning

I've been back at work for just over a month now, and it's going pretty well. Some things are better than I thought they would be, and some things are harder than I thought they would be. I'm still figuring out how to balance work, the kids, my marriage, my friends, and me time. I'm not sure there's a right answer here, but I thought I'd pass on a few tips that have helped me so far. I'd love to hear from other working moms about how you do it.

The best tip I have is do as much as you can the night before:

Put out my clothes
I have to get up at 5:30 on the days I commute to work. That is already way too early for me. Picking out my clothes, including accessories, saves me time and energy in the morning.

Make lunches
Dan and I have always been in the habit of bringing our own lunches to work, and we've always made them the night before. I can't imagine trying to do this in the rush of the morning.

Pack the car
Every night I put my water bottle, my work bag, and a jacket (if necessary) into the car. In the morning, all I have to grab is my pump bag, my lunch, and my tea.

Organize last-minute items
My ice pack for my milk cooler and my thermos of hot tea can't be put in the car the night before. To keep it simple in the morning, I put out my cooler with my empty bottles on the counter. I fill the kettle with water at night and put the thermos and a tea bag next to it. Then, in the morning I add an ice pack and make my tea while eating breakfast. It's easy to then throw those items in the car before heading out.

Keep my makeup in the car
Don't worry, I'm not putting on mascara while driving. I do, however, wait until I get to the work parking garage to put on my makeup. I don't wear a ton anyway so it only takes a minute, but for some reason it's easier to get out of the house without doing that one step.

Dress the kids
Ok, this one might be a weird one, but we dress the kids in their clothes the night before. For Asher it's a no-brainer. He's still wearing onsies, so it really is no different. For Zahara, it started when she wanted to wear a dress to bed one night. When we saw how much easier it was in the morning, we were hooked.

So, those are some of the things that have made it a bit easier for me in the morning. I'd love your tips though. Any clever routines you've got going? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

We Bought a House!

 Guys, big news! We bought a house! And it's our dream house!

Technically, we bought a lot and will be building the house. Even crazier, right? I mean, we're not building it ourselves, but we do get a lot of say in to what the final product looks like. 

We had been casually looking for homes for the past year, and really ramped up our efforts over the past couple of months. Our current house is great, but we just need more space #firstworldproblems. The top of our wishlist included a back yard, a playroom, and a guest room--none of which our current house has. This house has all of that, and more! A soaking tub; a giant, open living room/dining room/kitchen; a mud-room; an office...I could go on and on.

Not only is the interior of the house going to be amazing, but we're really excited about the lot itself. It backs up to an HOA parcel that is a big, open green space. There are already some big trees there, and the builder planted a ton of new trees too. One day our view will be a lovely wooded area with a nice creek. The neighborhood has a ton of great features too, like the three swimming pools, including a baby pool and a water slide! There are big sidewalks and lots of pedestrian-friendly features. Every time we go there we see tons of people out walking. I grew up taking walks after dinner with the family, and I can definitely see continuing that tradition with my kids.

We haven't started construction yet, but we have been selecting some of our finishes. Today we spent three hours in the design center just choosing tile and flooring! I'll do a separate post on all of that later. Suffice it to say that you'll be hearing a lot more about this later.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Asher's Nursery Wall

All the jokes about the second kid are absolutely true. For the first kid, you put so much time and energy into doing everything "right" for your kid. You find all the right books, get the best crib, the best stroller, the toys that will make her the smartest. You decorate the nursery with a wonderful theme that will allow your child to grow and develop even while she's sleeping. The second kid gets hand-me-down everything and, if he's lucky, at least one family picture that he's in. Poor Asher.

You won't go as "all out" with your second kid as you did your first.

You may remember the love and care I put in to Zahara's nursery in Harrogate house.

Well, I can't change everything, but I can at least try to make Asher's room a little nicer. Here's Asher's new gallery wall.

I went simple with this wall. I bought craft letters from Jo-Ann's using a 50% off coupon, and wooden animals and arrows from Target. I painted them all using leftover paint from previous projects. I ordered the canvas of Asher using a Groupon, and mom and dad bought us the gorgeous family canvas. Shout-out to Dani for helping me figure out the configuration.

Dan painted the room a while ago, and it really makes the space so much cozier. The rest of the room still needs work, but at least I have something nice to look at while I'm nursing him in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

MGM National Harbor and Fish

The MGM hotel and casino recently opened DC's National Harbor, which is around 45 minutes away from us. I've been eagerly awaiting this development since the first announced it. Dan and I aren't big gamblers, but we do enjoy the energy and entertainment that a casino brings.

We had such a fun night out with friends. We started with delicious cocktails at Jose Andres' restaurant Fish.This might have been the best gin and tonic I've ever had. It was so fresh and light. And it better be the best at the prices they charge!

Dinner was just OK. The food was decent, but not the best we've had. I really like Jose Andres and have eaten at many of his restaurants, but this one is not my favorite. There are not a ton of kosher-friendly options, which was strange at a fish restaurant. It's mostly shellfish. Our friends got the scallops and enjoyed them, but in the future I'd come for the drinks and then dine elsewhere.

After dinner we ventured out to the casino. The lobby is stunning. It was nicely decorated for the Chinese New Year (year of the rooster). These sculptures are made out of fresh flowers!

There's no buffet here like there is at the Vegas MGM. Instead, they have an upscale food court. It looked pretty good, actually. There was a patisserie and a sushi stand mixed in with burger joints and Starbucks. When we go back though, I want to eat at the Voltaggio Brothers' Steak House. I know that it's a steak house, but it looks like it had plenty of vegetarian choices. And after eating in Brian Voltaggio's restaurant Volt, I know he makes a mean veggie meal.

The casino itself was really nice too. There are a ton of slot machines and tables. The tables were too rich for our blood though. Most of them were $25 or $50 minimums. We also saw a few $100 and $200 tables. No thanks. We stuck to the video poker and the penny slots...haha! Kim actually won $50, which was fun.

It was such a great, adult night out. Can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Thoughts by Z

We can't help but giggle at some of the things that come out of Zahara's mouth. Here's a sample:

Thought 1:
Z: Mummy, when you give me hummus, it is the worst day ever.

Thought 2:
In the back seat of the car after I picked her up from school:
Z: I really missed you.
Me: Thanks! I missed you too.
Z: No, I was talking to the Cheerios.

Thought 3:
Z: When I grow up I want to be an artist who paints and sails a boat.

Thought 4:
While cooking pasta with me:
Z: This is really mysterious.
Me: Why?
Z: Because it is invisible. The pasta is under the water.

See previous Thoughts by Z here