Friday No. 76

Friday, February 23, 2018

No. 1 
A few years ago I needed frames for a particular spot in our home, and I had exactly what I wanted in mind. I specifically wanted larger mats with 8x10 photos and white wood frames. The exact proportion I had in mind I could only find at West Elm at the time.. and I really do love them, but the $100 price tag for three frames isn't my normal life. Target now carries almost identical ones and I picked up a few this week after moving the West Elm ones into the nursery. I'm having to hold myself back from buying several more and just hoarding them in case of discontinuation, but I love them and wanted to share!

No. 2

I can't stop won't stop with matching pajamas for my babies. Especially because I'm sure that for May that's what we'll be living in. So I ordered these precious lemon ones for my little people. Beau will get his in his Easter basket I think! :) For toddler + baby.. soooo soft!

No. 3
On Sunday night we had a Valentine's Day dinner with our home group and it was so much fun- all but one couple made it and enjoying dinner together was so sweet! Side note the dress I'm wearing is one of my absolute favorites for pregnancy and non pregnancy. I'm not sure why I'm sharing that because I bought it two years ago and it isn't available.. haha! but you know how every so often you purchase something that just randomly becomes something you can wear all the time? This is one of those!! Even two of my friends wore it to special occasions while they were pregnant last summer. Thank you random Free People dress for being so versatile!!

No. 4
Last Saturday afternoon we played Monopoly with Ben's brother and his best friend and had SO much fun. Notice Ben was drinking some juice from Trader Joe's in a wine glass to make it fancy, haha! It felt so nice to just play a game and not be at all focused on any sort of tv event or technology. It was hard for me to say yes to playing because I felt like I should be using my time better but it was such a fun time!

No. 5 

Probably embarrassing to share this photo but whatever!! I ordered this robe to take to the hospital when Little Sister is born because I wanted something pink to wear, haha. I had planned on saving it and keeping it "fresh" for that but when I tried it on I instantly fell in love and have been wearing it daily. I literally sent this pic to my friend to say that it was one of those days I just needed to put my robe on at lunch yesterday, did not intend for it to make then log but WHATEVER!! Haha! It's a perfect weight.. it's light but still cozy. I'm in a medium and it is still super roomy and comfy with my almost 30 week baby bump which is also measuring a week ahead. :) Highly recommend. I've now become a robe person! 

Our Love Story: Part Seven

Friday, February 16, 2018

Three months later.. your next installment. Oopsie! Let's get this thing wrapped up over the next few weeks, shall we? Haha!

Where we had left off I told Ben that we didn't need to be in contact with each other for any reason. Even with our awkwardness of heartbreak, we still talked every so often and it just wasn't healthy. That semester I totally cut off and it was misery but I poured myself into other things. 

Side note: this is what my room in college looked like at this time.. I just have to share for old times sake. 

I remember thinking that this was truly the cutest room ever and that I had such a knack for styling and design... LOL!!! 

Anyways, I spent my time forming new friendships and just settling into life as a student at A&M. 

Around the middle of the semester the employee of the mission organization who lead our trip to Mexico reached out to me because he was leading a small group of college students on a trip to Romania and wanted me to consider going. I thought about it, prayed about it.. and really felt like it would be an awesome fit. I honestly remember even thinking that it might be a cool opportunity to meet some God fearing boys from other colleges to get over my heartbreak that continued to loom in my life. I specifically remember in this season of life that whenever I had long drives (something I feel like is common in college.. so many road trips!) I would cry and just not be able to escape my thoughts about the situation. I constantly prayed for the Lord to change my heart and help me be over Ben. It felt like something that was holding me back from living my best life, honestly. Why was I so on fire for God and His kingdom yet I spent so much time thinking about.. a boy? It didn't make sense to me at all. 

Thanksgiving break arrived quickly and I'll remind y'all of my close relationship with our youth pastor and their family. I was saying hello to people at church that Sunday and I told Josh about the trip I had signed up for.. and we were talking about the idea of me coming along with the youth group's planned trip for the summer to Seattle with the same organization. Josh said "Okay so I'm not trying to tell you not to go on this trip but I'm curious why you thought it was a good idea for you and Ben to go on the same trip?" What. This was an original mic drop moment. I immediately burst into tears and it was clear I had no idea. I had to hit the road to get back for finals but Josh was like "Breathe.. we'll figure this out." 

.... And then I proceeded to be really in denial about the situation and talk to almost nobody about it over the next month. I just processed I guess. It's pretty out of character looking back but I just needed to sit and dwell in this information. At this point I knew 8 or so students were going on the trip. Five would travel together from DFW. Groovy. I knew that the way airplane seats were assigned was in alphabetical order so I imagined it was pretty likely that Strader and Todd were seated beside each other for a long flight to Europe. Lots to process. I wondered if I needed to bring it up to Ben or not. Finally after a really hard Christmas holiday, I reached out to him and told him we needed to talk. We were both in and out of town over break so really the only time we could meet was back in College Station. We were both driving back on the same day so literally completed the drive separately and then met at a park by his house and I told him my discovery. 

I don't remember a ton about this conversation except for the fact that in later years Ben told me that when I told him he was like "okay cool so this is my wife!" Haha. I think in this conversation it also came out that Ben was considering going to Seattle too. The trips were almost back to back. Just five days at home in between two and a half weeks of travel. What a weird situation. 

Over the course of the semester we started talking again. It got to a point where we would text all day every day. We played words with friends with each other (haha!) and I specifically remember stopping responding to texts at a certain time of night so I could respond the next morning and ensure that we'd talk for another day. We met up about once a week or every two weeks and I didn't tell anyone about it because I didn't want to get my hopes up. 

One pivotal time we met at Starbucks because Ben had felt strongly lead to apologize to me for how he ended things and how he gave me so much heartbreak and so little closure. It was a really good conversation. I don't exactly remember what we said but we agreed to leave the status of our relationship up in the air and not talk about any of it until we returned from the trips. 

So.. we went to Romania. I can't remember why or now but we decided to take photos of this little plastic squirrel toy in all of our destinations... so make note of that in some of the photos. I was really passionate about not sharing any of our back story with anyone on the trip. It felt immature and dramatic to me and so basically we just appeared like two weirdos from the same hometown who clearly had some sort of relationship but weren't dating. No one ever asked me but I'm sure they wanted to.. we had so many rich conversations over the course of that week. 

Some of these photos are also from Budapest.. where we spent a few days at the end of the trip. It was honestly a great time and we enjoyed each other's company, and the company of everyone else on the trip. I was right, and we sat side by side on most of the plane rides. It was fun because I had grown up taking international flights, and I got to share a lot of those memories with Ben as we traveled. 

Towards the end of the trip our leader who had become a friend to all of us asked me while we were walking through Budapest.. "So you realize that when you get married one day you and Ben won't be able to be friends anymore.. unless you marry each other? Why haven't y'all considered that?" (paraphrase from my memory haha!) This was his way of saying okay girl the gig is up what's the deal... so I told him all of it. I remember him being like "Well I have an excellent feeling about this!" 

We got home, had a few days to recover, and I was loving every second. We were getting so much time together and it honestly felt like a dream come true. 

Going into this trip I felt the same way about the other one.. I was going to remain tight lipped about what was going on. Even though several people on the trip were my dearest friends. Looking back that is so weird, haha. On the flight to Seattle I sat by my friend Susan and her personality is very tell it like it is... the second we sat down she was like "okay spill." So I did. It ended up being really good for me that she knew what was going on and could be supportive of me throughout the week.

This time Ben and I were placed in the same group, so we spent the week side by side sharing the gospel with people, handing out food to the homeless community of Seattle, etc. I have a really sweet hard copy photo that someone took of us sitting together with a homeless man talking to him. I'm not sure where that is, actually. But we had a really good week, lots of growth individually, and together. 

And... we'll stop there! :) Promise you'll be hearing more in less than THREE MONTHS! Haha!! 

Our Trader Joe's Favorites

Monday, February 5, 2018

We go through on and off spurts of shopping at Trader Joe's.. and right now we're on a major ON! I do love the convenience of grocery pickup, but the experience of TJ's is so wonderful. They always give Beau a snack and mama gets to shop! My friend Lisa posted about what they like to buy there recently so it inspired me to share what's on our list as well! Some of these things are healthier than others. Some available exclusively to Trader Joe's. Some we buy every time, some we buy as a treat.

  • Pomegranate Seeds (they always have extra good ones!)
  • Teeny Tiny Avocados (these are like gold in our house.. we all love Avocado!)
  • Black Pepper Turkey Bacon 
  • Maple Breakfast Chicken Sausage 
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (the pb is more "whipped" and tastes really different than a normal reese's cup and we LOVE them!) 
  • Black Bean and Quinoa Tortilla Chips 
  • Plantain Chips 
  • Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Carmel Bites 
  • Chicken Fried Rice for an easy lunch or dinner.. honestly Ben eats this a lot more than I do haha 
  • Pastry Pups (a fun appetizer) 
  • Scandinavian Swimmers (swedish fish variety pack.. yum!) 
  • Frozen Gnocchi
  • Frozen Turkey Burgers
  • Shaved Brussel Sprouts 

Honestly we've tried so many things but these are what are on my mind right now, a few too many candies! Whoops! What are y'alls favorites? Their breakfast meats are what can get me to schedule a trip, I always try to have some stocked in the freezer! Beau loves them too! :) 

My 27th Birthday Wishlist

Friday, February 2, 2018

Honestly I keep forgetting that my birthday is next week! In general I'm not someone who is all about my birthday, but it is still a sweet celebration of another year. Two years ago Ben and I went on a special and fun date in between my birthday and Valentine's Day, and so I'm hoping we can replicate that again. Here are a few things I wouldn't mind receiving as birthday gifts! :)

I have my eye on this eyeshadow palette. I'm not super motivated to buy any clothes for myself until after Little Sister is here, so I'm thinking that some new eyeshadows would put some pep in my step! :)

I also need to replace my powder.. this one is what I want to try next!

This might be boring but I really want a spare sheet set for our king sized bed. I just love plain white sheets and I think with the busy season we have ahead with adjusting to two little ones it would be nice to be have an extra set to make the sheet washing process each week a little less filled with urgency.

Right now all I want to do is buy things for my sweet babies.. I'll always happily receive a gift card to The Beaufort Bonnet Company. My younger brother actually got me a gift card from there for Christmas and it was one of my favorite presents because when the second launch of their Spring collection released, I was ready! :)

I like this top and think it would be great for postpartum!

I've honestly had no interest in a trendy pair of mules and then all of a sudden this week it hit me how comfy and easy they must be to wear- I love this blush bow pair!

February Goals

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Whoops! I clearly skipped goals for January, which is ironic because that's the one month when most people who don't usually post goals, do. Haha! I saw something on instagram that said it is January 74th, and it does feel sort of true! It's been a good month for us for the most part, but it still feels like Christmas was about a year ago. We have lots to look forward to this Spring, but I'm trying hard not to wish the time away. The presence of my sweet little Beau really helps with that, I want to savor every second of each stage he is in. It's really hard though, to not want to rush it all to get to the day we get to meet Little Sister! I feel like when I was pregnant with Beau the only thing I knew was baby prep and feeling close to him by those little things in pregnancy, but now I know of the joy at the end of the journey and I just want to meet our girl so bad! I'm so excited and think about that moment all the time. It is just such a gift. I really am having a ton of fun doing baby prep though.. working on the nursery and ordering things for newborn photos and whatnot. I have a feeling February will go quick, but these are the things I'm trying to squeeze in! 

February Goals: 
  • Continue with 2 desserts a week
  • Continue with 30 minutes of some sort of physical activity at least 5 days a week
  • Wash all the clothes that Beau wore that can be worn by Little Sister and hang them in the closet 
  • Finish 90% of the nursery 
  • Enjoy celebrating turning 27! 
  • Keep going on sweet adventures with Beau
  • Finalize Beau's birthday party invitations and stamp and get ready to mail 
  • Start working on some of the decor for Beau's birthday party 
  • Look for a cute swimsuit to order for Beau 
  • Reorganize Beau's closet 
  • Send little Valentines to Beau's friends :) 
  • get two prenatal massages (wahoo!)
  • get our 2017 photo book ordered 

26 Week Pregnancy Update

Monday, January 29, 2018

Also known as first pregnancy update. I didn't think that I would fall into the trap of second child, less updates. I totally have though. In so many other areas I feel like I've resisted this cliche, but here we are. Haha! Lots to share though.

How I've felt:
  • Honestly this pregnancy has had a lots of ups and downs as far as how I'm physically feeling. At first I felt like I felt better than I did with Beau.. but now I can't tell if this time around has gotten a lot worse or if it's just harder because I'm taking care of Beau during the day and trying to be present for him, therefore draining my energy and ending up sick. I'm still taking Diclegis (nausea medicine) and my doctor said there's no reason to stop. She said she thinks I'm probably just one of those people whose body can't handle the hormone changes and just gets really sick. I always laugh when people say they think that morning sickness is a gender wives tale, haha! For me it just means, hey you're pregnant! Still throwing up at least a few times a week, and the medicine makes me extra tired. It's been hard emotionally too as so often I have felt inadequate and like I'm "surviving not thriving". That sounds so negative but it's kind of true. Lots of things have felt like an uphill battle and I haven't been good at all at juggling the plates. That's a reason why my blog has taken a backseat. During times I would usually work on it I'm just plum exhausted. 
  • It's been emotionally hard feeling like I'm not balancing things well, not taking care of all of my responsibilities well. For me, that ends up with feelings of frustration and stress and low self esteem. I need to kick this in the booty- big time! His grace is sufficient!
  • SO excited to add a new member to our family. I know this seems like a major contradiction to all that I've just shared but I can't wait for Beau to have a sibling. Our excitement for her is so multifold.. but I'm not worried about the transition for Beau at all because he LOVES people and other children. I feel like her presence is going to be such an encouragement to him and to us. In our family group text when I see pictures of our niece and nephew playing together I've found myself sad because of Beau not having that.. but in a few months he will! As for managing two children? I'll figure it out. I've done a few things to prepare for this.. like always Beau used to eat breakfast right when he wakes up. Now I've started pushing it back to 30-45 minutes after he wakes up and has his cup of milk. This has helped him be less picky at breakfast, AND will give this mama time to feed sister before he needs attention in the kitchen too.
  • I have sooooo many feelings about welcoming a little GIRL into our family. We've always hoped and dreamed for the presence of both genders of children in our family. I'm so confident in how God knits together families with genders, ages, age gaps of children... but this is just something we've dreamed of. But throughout the beginning of this pregnancy SO many people kept telling me I was a boy mom. That that's just who I am and so that's what this baby would be. I don't think anyone meant anything by it but I really am in a groove of what it feels like to love and care for a precious little boy. So I'm in this limbo between crazy giddy excitement over a daughter- and not just the excessive amount of bows and sweet outfits I've been buying in change of season sales- but in the meaningful joys of having a daughter. I will probably share more over time but this relationship is something I'm extremely excited to experience for the first time. Yet, then the fear creeps in of knowing how much I have loved having a boy. Working on our sweet girl's nursery, choosing a verse to pray over her life, buying some sweet clothes, etc etc have been really fun for me to get ready. 

What I've done/ordered: 
  • I booked our newborn photos before I was even 12 weeks! Originally my bestie Meredith was going to come out to take our photos, but then she had a joyful surprise pregnancy of her own. She's due about a month behind me. So she did a ton of research for me and found a photographer locally that she thinks I'll be happy with, and I agree. :) Can't wait for some beautiful images of my two babies. 
  • One of the first things I ordered for Little Sister was her baby book. I loved pouring over Beau's in the evenings before his arrival, and I'll start hers in February. I've been so incredibly pleased with the style and setup of Beau's book, so getting the same one was a no brainer decision. I love that they released a pink one just in time for us having a girl!
  • I am GIDDY about the prospects of matching my babies. I almost think that boy-girl coordinating is sometimes cuter than straight up same gender matching. I love how you can have a slightly different version of the same thing. Who am I kidding? It's all cute!!! I've ordered two sets of matching pajamas- from TBBC (boy + girl) and Kissy Kissy. And I also ordered a matching set for me and little sister! Y'all know I'm a sucker for nice pajamas.. so I'm really excited about these
  • Speaking of things I'm a sucker for.. our girl already has two outfits for around her first birthday oops #1 and oops #2!
  • I did get her this strawberry bubble for this summer- one of my very favorite pieces I've picked up for her so far! 
  • I've been SO into working on the nursery. I have such fond memories of working on Beau's and then being so excited to show it to him for the first time.. I love it. I would spend tons of time in his nursery just daydreaming about him and sitting with my feet up, and now Beau and I usually spend at least a little while playing in sister's room too. Those memories of just enjoying the nurseries in anticipation are so great. I shared before that this is the bedding set I chose (in white), and this weekend I finally picked out a crib sheet (the floral one!) 
Normal Pregnancy Post Things:
  • Stretch Marks- Nope! I've been using this cream as a prevention though.
  • Maternity Clothes- I'm living in these maternity leggings, my two favorite pairs of maternity jeans (here and here) and flowy tops. Counting down to when I can wear dresses every day!
  • Weight gain- Came on a little bit quicker this time but is about the same as with Beau. With him I stopped gaining after 31 weeks, so I'm hoping staying active will let that be the same! 
  • Movement- This little girl is moving like crazy! She's sitting up a TON higher than Beau was which makes me not super hungry towards the end of the day. 
  • Baby Size- My app says the size of a Napa cabbage!
  • Looking forward to- my baby shower in a little over a month! :) 
  • Food Cravings- None, really! Just simple meals honestly. Water, fruit. Beau and I are both loving smoothies. :) 
  • Sickness?- Kinda already covered this joy above haha! 
  • Labor Symptoms- Nope! 
  • Sleep- Sponsored by the snoodle pillow. Seriously I would sleep terrible without this. I'm so grateful that for the most part I sleep good during pregnancy. 
Hoping to be better about sharing updates the rest of pregnancy! :) 

Updated Skincare + Hair Products + Makeup Favorites

Monday, January 22, 2018

In case you're interested, these are the products that I've been loving recently. I mixed up a TON of skincare and I've loved it so much. I've really seen incredible differences. And as you'll see, there are several makeup products I'm really wanting to try soon! I'd love to hear y'alls recommendations too! :) 

Cleanser: Tula Purifying Cleanser
This cleanser totally fixed my adult acne issue, even during pregnancy. I love it and will never change using it now that I've seen how amazing it is. What I love too, is that I consistently read the same thing on big and small blogs, on Facebook from random people, etc. Everyone loves this!

Exfoliator: Beauty Counter Nourishing Cream Exfoliator
I use this about three times a week, and feel like it always perks up my skin.

Mask #1: Tula Exfoliating Mask 
This is basically gold in my humble opinion. It always clears up a breakout and if you don't have it in you to do the full mask, it works great for spot treatment as well.

Mask #2: Clinique Moisture Surge 
This winter my skin has been so dry that I feel like I've been lathering this stuff on constantly. It's so nice because it's an overnight mask so I can just put it on and go to sleep and feel like I'm being productive.

Moisturizer: Tula Hydrating Day & Night Cream

Eye Makeup Remover: Cheapy von Cheap 
Target brand + a cotton pad gets the job done!

Lip Balm: Sara Happ
I heard about this on one of my favorite youtube channels, and it's worth the price tag for sure.

Lip Exfoliator: Fresh
Ben got me this for Christmas and it's completely solved my chapped lips problem. I love it.

Oil: Brightening Facial Oil
In a crazy sale I got one of these free and now I'm addicted. It's so incredibly luxurious and honestly has made all the difference with my skin over the past few months.

Things I'd like to try: 
  • Tula Cleansing Oil 
  • A New Eye Cream: A lot of eye creams have goodies in them that aren't pregnancy safe so I haven't used one while pregnant. I'd love your recommendations for when I'm on the other side of pregnancy! 
  • Lip Sleeping Mask: A longtime blog reader recommended this to me and I've been dying to try it.
  • Fresh Rose Face Mask: I've heard this is amazing!

Liquid Eyeliner: Revlon
Simple and gets the job done! Also, looks like there's an Amazon coupon for this right now at the link.

Foundation: Urban Decay

Foundation Application: Beauty Blender 

Concealer: Beauty Counter 

Blush: Bobbi Brown in "Rose" or Nars in "Orgasm"

Eyeshadow: Urban Decay in "Sin" and "Buck" and "Naked"

Mascara: Too Faced

Eyebrow Pencil: Anastasia

Eyeshadow Primer: MAC in "Painterly"

Things I'd like to try: 
  • Taste Shape Tape Concealer:This stuff is cult favorite, people love it! It's on my wishlist for when I run out of concealer! I also discovered this is only available through Tarte + Ulta so just fyi! 
  • Becca Soft Light Blurring Powder: Lindsey Regan Thorne is absolutely one of my favorite people to follow. She's super down to earth, has incredible style, and is a phenomenal makeup artist. She swears by this and my current powder is about to run out and so this is what I'll be ordering! 
  • Too Faced Neutral Eyeshadow Palette: This is another Lindsey recommendation and ironically I had this exact thing in high school, haha. I do remember loving it, and I think now it'd be perfect for me as an all in one. 
  • Buxom Lip Polish: My last recommendation grabbed from Lindsey's insta stories.. haha. She had the color "Kanani". I feel like a little lip gloss always makes me feel extra polished so I've thought about treating myself to this before my baby shower in early March (I'm so excited!) 
  • Charlotte Tilbury "Magic" Foundation: I can't remember where I saw this recommended. I really have no business trying a new foundation because I like mine just fine but I was intrigued by what I read.. whatever it was. Haha!

Shampoo: Joico 
Conditioner: Joico
After I had Beau my hair was like straw. My friend/hairstylist Rachel recommended this and it completely changed the game for me! Never turning back! 

Dry Shampoo: Drybar
Full disclosure I almost never use dry shampoo but when I do I reach for this one.

Brush: Aveda and WetBrush

Styling: Chi
I have only been using a Chi straightener for years and years and it gets it all done for me! Mine is an ugly color because that's what was cheapest, haha! 

A Reintroduction

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This morning I noticed several friends sharing "reintroduction" posts, so I thought I would do the same, even if it's a bit late.

My name is Victoria Strader. I'll be 27 in February (whoowee!!) and I was born in Paris, France. My British parents lived there for a few years. By the time I was a year old they had moved to the US, but all of my extended family lives in England. I live outside of Fort Worth, Texas. I absolutely love the blend of culture that has made me who I am. I love all things Southern, but am also a die-hard fan of the Royal family. For the most part I have a classic style, something I think is influenced by both of the places that have shaped me.

I married Ben on December 29, 2012. We met the first day of high school at our fish camp, became good friends a few years later and basically I fell in love with him and twiddled my thumbs waiting for him to do the same. I've been blogging through our love story recently and owe y'all a new post. But I'd say pretty much daily, if not every few days, I stop and think how much my life would suck without him. Truly. He's the absolute best and has given me the sweetest life we could dream of. No one is more dedicated to loving God. No one is more dedicated to me and our children. He's just a gemstone. But he also annoys me plenty because we're normal human beings but overall, major gemstone.

We have a 20 month son named Beau William, and are expecting his Little Sister in early May! Being a mama has always been my absolute dream and I really do love every day. So many parts of it come with a learning curve but even on days that I'm exhausted or discouraged all I need is some time cuddling my boy and all is better. I cannot wait for the joy that is ahead with loving my two babies.

My faith is the glue of all of these things. Every day there is hope and light because of Jesus.

A few other things:
  • Beautiful paper goods are my favorite thing. I live for a good invitation or announcement. 
  • I pretty much only see white, blue, and blush. Just kidding. But those colors are my favorite for sure.
  • We are travel lovers! We truly mix being homebodies and loving exploring the world. I think Beau has already visited 10 countries (there is a note on my phone) and times traveling are our absolute best. I can't wait to plan little sister's first trip abroad! 
  • I love silhouettes and my favorite gift this year was from my brother and sister in law, they had Clay Rice silhouettes done of my niece and nephew for me!
  • I know I'm behind the times but I purchased an insulated tumbler last week and it's radically changed my life and I feel like I'm so happy each day because of my tumbler. Thank you $12.99 30oz tumbler for being my bestie!!
  • My girlfriends are INCREDIBLY important to me. I have two best friends from college who are like sisters to me, and all of the families in our home group are also really like family to us. We're in a season of life where all of our friendships are really close ones. 
  • I love interior design. We're dreaming of building a long term home in the next few years and when we do it's going to be like my Olympics. In the two homes we've lived in I've loved making them ours, but being able to customize everything is going to be fantastic. 
  • My favorite desserts include cookie cake, smores, and normal chocolate chip cookies. :) Currently trying to keep the pregnancy weight at bay with just 2 treats a week though. My husband and I always say we could be extremely happy only eating really healthy- plus desserts and candies. Haha! Fried foods are not my temptation at all, but love me some sugar treats. 
That's all for now! I'd love if you would reintroduce yourself in the comments. I know this is out of comfort zone but so many of y'all have read my blog for years and I have grown to love you as friends. And if you haven't said hi before, I'd love that too!

Linking up with Emily!

Little Sister Strader's Nursery Progress

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

We are the type of people that wake up on December 26 and start wrecking shop on our house, haha. We put the Christmas decorations down, purge things we don't need, and organize. This is our version of Spring cleaning. I know some of y'all might bah humbug this.. but we just love enjoying Christmas and then taking it right down when it's over. This year we truly tore the house upside down because we turned our guest room into the new nursery, and put up Beau's new bed in his room. And we moved around a few other pieces of furniture, too. So it became instant chaos that honestly took us a week to work through, because we wanted to add in a ton of relaxation too! 

The guest room was full of a bunch of storage stuff so soon after breakfast I went in there and spent a really focused 45 minutes and just dealt with stuff. Pile to sell, donate, trash. Execute! The room was a clean surface for Ben to come in and take down the bed. We're keeping it, but just don't have room in this house. We packaged it all up tight and put it in storage for when we have a guest bedroom again one day. 

Next step was painting the room! We went back and forth on if we should hire painters but ultimately opted to not. The color is Behr My Sweetheart, and we're REALLY pleased with it. At first I thought that I might lighten the shade some in an ideal world.. but now I think it's perfect. 

Yay! It felt like such a victory when the room was finished. In between painting we had a quick anniversary getaway, and had lots of other fun things going on. Our break was the perfect balance between productive and relaxing. 

And here's what it looks like now. Well, the bedding I chose did arrive, but not a whole lot else has happened. I ordered a special monogrammed pillow, but it's not in yet. Next will be figuring out art, and adding some more special details! 

On My Radar Lately

Monday, January 15, 2018

I'm baaaaack! You might not have noticed my absence, or maybe you have. I stopped abruptly blogging at the beginning of December because of some family things that took priority, then enjoyed our long Christmas break, and then just didn't feel super motivated to return. Something that felt pretty unusual for me, because I LOVE writing this blog. So I decided to wait it out, and here I am! :)

I thought I'd jump back in by sharing some little snippets of what we've been up to and things I've been enjoying lately!

  • I love that anytime I use instagram stories I get a ton of sweet, helpful responses from people. On New Year's Eve we scrapped our plans because it was icy on the roads that morning and this pregnant mama was scared so we hankered down at Ben's parents' house for the evening and spent the night. Ben was staying up late doing a puzzle with his brothers so I fell down the Whole 30 research train and was chatting with people about their experiences doing Whole 30 while pregnant. We ultimately decided not to do the Whole 30... but we've been eating a lot healthier and minimizing our sugar intake (and dairy!) and so I've been using a lot of really cool resources. The most helpful one that I found was on "Style Your Senses" a blog I've loosely followed for awhile but have recently been OBSESSED with! That link goes to her ultimate Whole 30 guide. We've been eating a ton of Whole 30 meals and honestly the thing about Whole 30 is you eat REALLY good on it. We've loved eating some of the recipes in her roundup. Pinch of Yum has also had some really good resources like this guide for buying products that don't have added sugar. 
  • I haven't done any goal planning for the full year.. it just seems like it's going to be too broken up to me, with a new baby coming in May. (I get more and more excited every day!! Nursery update will be my next post I think!) I did, however, make a list of things I want to be conscious of and accomplish before Little Sister Strader is here. I've already crossed off a few action steps. For my big goal of creating more moments for Beau and I to create joyful memories during the week, we had a step of joining the library. We went last week and got a smoothie, got our library card, played for awhile, and checked out a few books. The guy working at Jamba Juice gave us a bigger smoothie for the cost of the smaller because he thought Beau would like some. Sometimes if things are too cold he just spits it out but let me tell you my child chugged no less than 12 oz of this giant smoothie. He was OBSESSED! So I want to start making him smoothies if y'all have any recipe recommendations for little ones. We had so much fun at the library!! 

  • I've added a lot of different products into my skincare routine, so I should probably do a full update on that, but wanted to address one thing really quickly. When I started using Tula cleanser I posted about it in passing and it's been one of the things I'm asked about the most. Months later I still love it, will never use anything else... and have a husband who loves it too haha! The other day Ben got out of the shower and was like "my skin feels luxurious because of the fancy skin care routine I just did. I exfoliated!!" And I was like okay there's nothing in the shower to exfoliate with, haha! Come to find out he just used the face wash but thought his face used very fancy. Haha! Highly, highly recommend. I haven't had to get a new container since I first bought it at the beginning of summer, either. A little bit goes a long way which helps with the price tag. 
  • This time around pregnancy wise, I've felt like my belly has gotten SO much bigger faster. Which is sort of true but also it is about the same size as it was this time with Beau. I can't believe I'm 24 weeks!! Anyway, I've been living in a few things. I don't know how I ever lived without these maternity leggings. My inlaws generously gave me some money to get a few maternity staples so I ordered the leggings, and two of these tops and it's been my uniform. I truly wear the leggings daily, and the tops are such great quality. I think I'll wear these until it gets warm, and then it will be dresses on rotation until we meet our girl! 
  • Speaking of meeting our girl.. I feel like with Beau the anticipation of pregnancy was all we knew so it made it extra fun. We were excited to meet him but didn't know what it would be like so I feel like I didn't wish the time away as much as I am now. It's such a bittersweet feeling because on one hand I want to soak up every second with Beau, but on the other hand I know he's going to be obsessed with having a sibling and I just want to meet our baby girl. I am seriously having dreams almost every night about what it will be like in the hospital. I mentioned earlier that we've been doing a lot in the nursery, but I've also been thinking about things like outfits and swaddles for the hospital, for newborn photos, etc. And ordering some things. Those little things just make me feel so connected to the baby and the anticipation just grows. My baby shower is at the beginning of March, I'm so excited!! I think after that too because there is so much going on it will feel like time is going by really fast. 
  • We usually don't go to the 7:15 Saturday night service at church, but this week we decided it would be fun to take Beau in his jammies, keep him out of the nursery and with us, and just see if he would fall asleep and snuggle us during worship. Ha!! It ended up being such a sweet time. He slept most of the time and when he didn't he sat still and was so good for the most part. I really do think that since he's so social he's picked up on cues for social situations since he was teeny tiny. There are for sure times when he's a normal toddler and is just over mommy having a lunch date and wants to go play but a lot of times he reads the situation. Makes me such a proud mama. Also, that was his last time to wear his sweet little fox jammies, they were a bit snug, so they're going in the box with special things I want to save for our other babies.
  • He's always changing, but right now Beau is all about being where his mama is. This photo is from Sunday when I was baking cookies and he stood right there with his hands on my legs not letting go as I mixed ingredients. I'll also give y'all one guess who dressed him in that mix match outfit.. hint.. it was not me! Haha! 
  • I'll probably do a whole post on things I've been shopping for Spring and Summer with my babies in mind (two! so fun!) but the baby girl old navy section is SO cute right now. Last night I texted my friend a photo of this gingham romper that was marked down to $6 and she responded "FREE!" haha! 

  • The other day after Beau had a quick doctor's appointment, his Granny took us out for ice cream as a treat for him being so good. These little outings always end up being my favorite and I just love spending quality time with my boy! 

That's all for now!! Excited to be back into the swing of things! XO

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