Monday, November 14, 2016

A Day In The Life - Week Day

Happy Monday, everyone! Since I've always loved reading "a day in the life" blog posts, I thought I would start out this week by sharing a day in the life of our family.  Here is our weekday edition with two full-time working parents and a 17 month old toddler.

Average Weekday:
7:00AM: I wake up at 7am and immediately jump in the shower. I literally sleep until the very last second until I absolutely have to wake up. #notamorningperson
7:30AM: Leah wakes up anywhere between 7am-8am. CV get's her out of the crib and changed/dressed for the day. She eats milk and Cheerios for breakfast, and sits on the floor in the living room and eats it while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (rarely), or walks around the house causing trouble (always): putting her hands in the dog food bowls, playing with mommy's makeup, and creating a mess throughout the house that I try to clean up before I leave the house at 8AM.
8:30AM: When CV is ready for work, he puts Leah in her car seat and drops her off at daycare around 8:30am.  The daycare schedule is: breakfast 8:30am, plays, eats lunch 11:30am, naps 1-2pm, snack 3pm, plays, etc. They also have music time, art time, and a variety of other learning activities throughout the day. 
8:00AM-5PM: Meanwhile, I leave for work at 8am and arrive 10-15 minutes late every day. (Oops!) I work in treasury, so my job is a lot of meetings, analysis, projects and more meetings. I usually go home for lunch and let Paisley out and start a load of laundry, or run errands and grab something quick to eat. There aren't a lot of people at work to eat lunch with like at my last job, so instead I make my lunch breaks more productive. 
5:00PM: I leave work at exactly 5pm so I can rush to pick up Leah! (I really do miss her all day!) Right when we get home, I put her in her Step 2 push car and push her to the mailbox to check the mail. She loves checking the mail when we get home.
5:30PM:  I prepare Leah's dinner and put her in the highchair by 5:30pm.  I make all sorts of things for dinner, but it's always something quick because she's always hungry.  Last night, I made these, but Leah was more interested in just eating strawberries for dinner. You win some, you lose some.
6:00PM:  After she eats, we play and wait for daddy to come home from work. 
6:30PM:  Leah takes a bath every 3rd day unless she gets really dirty, so on bath nights we bathe and play in the bathtub and then get into pajamas. (I am always in charge of baths, and CV usually cooks while I am doing that.) If it's not bath night, we either take a walk or have family play time (complete with dance parties) and then get into pajamas.
*BTW: How adorable are these fun bath letters from Nuby!?! We love them!

7:00PM: We always offer Leah a drink and a snack before she goes to bed. This always helps her sleep through the night to make sure she had enough to eat.
7:30PM: We take turns rocking Leah to bed with a sippy cup of milk. She is usually always asleep by 8pm.
8:00PM-9PM: After she falls asleep, then CV and I finish making dinner and sit down to eat. We usually watch recorded episodes of Jeopardy while we eat dinner.
9:00PM: I hand wash all of Leah's sippy cups and prepare her bag for daycare for the next day.  I'm also either washing dishes, folding laundry or cleaning something before we settle down on the couch to watch a little more TV before bed.
10:30PM: I'm finally in bed for the night, goodnight.

So that's an average Monday-Friday at our house. It's very go-go-go and very little time being spent with Leah since we only see her for less than an hour in the morning and about 2-3 hours at night. I guess that's the life all full-time working parents go through.  Good thing for weekends so I can soak up all my time with my sweet weekend day-in-the-life coming soon.

*I wrote a day-in-the-life post before I had Leah. The biggest change is that we used to go to sleep at midnight or afterwards. way could I do that anymore! :)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Five

I haven't participated in a Friday Five in a LONG Time, so please welcome me back as I list five fun things we've be up to lately...
+ Riding a Train:  Leah and I (and our friends) went on the Lebanon Railroad Fall Flyer.  They advertise this as a fun fall event to ride the railroad around Lebanon, but honestly I thought it was a snooooooze fest. I'd much rather do something where Leah can run around a little bit more. I have honestly no idea why it's all the rave, other than getting a "free" pumpkin at the end (admission was $15, so it's really not free) - do people really like to sit and ride a train for an hour and look out the window at trees? Apparently so, because it was crowded.
But there was one fun thing about it?? Having a sucker for the first time. She loved it!
+ Park Fun:  We've been to the park a few times lately to play on the playgrounds and I just love it! Usually we go on the weekends with CV, but I took Leah after work/daycare one day and we had so much fun just the two of us. She loves the slides and swings the most.
Isn't the double swing so much fun???

+ Trick or Treating: We did a little trick or treating with cousins this year. It was so cute seeing Leah pick a piece of candy from people, and also fun watching her ride in a wagon with her cousin.
+ Bubbles and Dance Parties:  Two of Leah's favorite things are Bubbles and Dance Parties. We had fun with these every day while we were in OBX, and continue doing them at home.  Leah's favorite song right now is Meghan Trainer - Me Too. She will dance her little diaper off when she hears that song.
+ TV Shows: And I must end with talking about two amazing TV shows that I am hooked on this season! Because after all the park adventures and dance parties when Leah is sound asleep, CV and I usually plant ourselves in front of the TV, so I'm glad I found two shows I love.  
- This Is Us: If you haven't seen it yet, please go On Demand and start watching them from the beginning, the first episode made me cry happy tears so hard.
- Secrets and Lies: If you like mysteries, this show is SO GOOD. Again, you must start it from the beginning of this season (it's a new story with new cast every season), I seriously look forward to Sunday nights now so I can find out what happens next.
And both shows are on regular TV so you don't need cable or Netflix!

Thanks for joining my Friday Five post.
What have you been up to lately???

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Second Annual OBX Vacation

If you follow me on instagram (jaxvollat) or snapchat (jvollat), then you already know I've spent some time recently vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX). I thought we were going to have to cancel our trip last minute because our vacation was the week after the Hurricane hit - but luckily it didn't hit OBX too hard. We saw a lot of flooding while we were there, but luckily OBX was still in great shape for visitors.
We vacationed here last year with my husband's family...and we all returned again this year to celebrate my FIL's 70th birthday and have a second annual OBX family vacation.

Like last year, we rented two homes on the beach. Each home has 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, 3 refrigerators, theater room, 12 televisions (which always seemed to be on football), shuffle board, pool table, arcade game, heated pool, hot tub, and walking distance to the beach!
I about luxury! We are so lucky we get to stay in such nice homes.
Every day, I took a walk on the beach by myself and it was so nice to breathe in the fresh air and listen to the waves! Definitely my happy place.
 Our days mostly consisted of eating breakfast with the family, playing with bubbles/toys/cousins/dogs, swimming in the pool...
...going to the beach and watching the waves or the family play Frisbee or wiffle ball...

...eating lunch, watching football, going out to dinner - or having a big group dinner, playing shuffleboard/pool/watching more football, watching the sunset, and then making s'mores or sitting outside around the fire pit at night.

Some of my favorite memories from this vacation:
+ morning walks on the beach
+ finding a huge conch shell in the ocean
+ watching leah play with bubbles
+ leah having fun in the pool with Bebe
+ a fun lunch date with CV and Leah at a Mexican restaurant
+ beating CV and his cousin in shuffleboard
+ Matching family T-shirts
+ Ghost Crab walks
+ Italian dinner to celebrate the FILs birthday

It was the perfect escape from our regular work week....and it reminded me how important it is to take vacations to unwind and recharge.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Be a Pineapple

Be a Pineapple:
Stand Tall. Wear a Crown. Be Sweet on the Inside.
Ya'll, I am completely obsessed with Leah's Halloween costume this year. For being a store-bought costume - I really feel like I got the BEST one of the bunch. I mean...what's cuter than a pineapple???
She had a "truck-or-treat" event at her daycare last week, so she had fun walking from car to car to collect a few pieces of candy (which I ate in the car on the way home). We also did a little bit of trick or treating on Halloween night with a few cousins - I couldn't miss the opportunity to show off her adorable costume and get this mama some more candy. haha.
And just incase you're wondering, last year Leah was a ladybug. See here. We didn't get to trick-or-treat last year or go to any parties since Leah was recovering from HFM, so I'm glad this year will be more fun.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween.
Follow us on snapchat (jvollat) or instagram (jaxvollat) to keep up with our adventures...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Cincinnati Fall Festivals and Making Friends with an Alpaca

One thing I love about Cincinnati is all the fun festivals they have around the city during the Fall season. We have visited three so far, and have at least two more on our to-do list before the season is over, but I wanted to go ahead and share some pictures and tell you a little bit about what I liked (and disliked) at each one. (For my Cincinnati friends..)

This has been my favorite festival so far because I really felt like they considered toddler aged children, so Leah had a lot of fun activities to do.
Admission: It was $9 for me (bought my tickets online for a discounted price) and Leah was free.
 She absolutely loved looking at all the animals, they had goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens, goats, and maybe a few more that I can't remember.
 They had an amazing sunflower backdrop that made the best pictures! (always a pro in my book).
 They had a mini pumpkin patch just for the little kids. (And also had a large one for the adults/big kids)
Their hayride was a little too long for what I wanted (I believe it was 30mins!), so I was thankful they had a cute little 5 minute ride for kiddos.  Any kid under three had to ride with an adult - so Leah and I took LuLu Bell for a spin. It was a fun little ride and so glad they had something fun like this for kids!
They also had other games for kids, like the egg drop race, fun cut outs to take pictures in, they had corn mazes (I believe they had a big one and one for small kids, but we didn't do it), slides, and much more. They also had a market where you could buy fruit, jam, candy apples and etc...and also had one food truck for those who wanted to eat lunch there. 
All in all, it has been my favorite so far.

So far, this one is my least favorite one.  Sure, they have hayrides and corn mazes (these cost extra), farm animals, and all the same stuff a lot of the other festivals have, but I just didn't love it.  
 Admission: Free
Maybe because it was really hot the day we went and we were all sweating, ha, but I really didn't love the set up of the festival. They did have the best animal selection though, pigs, cows, goats, alpacas, horses, chickens, ducks, etc. So we did enjoy looking at all of the animals. However, they (the animal keepers) did seem a little unorganized as they didn't seem to be ready for visitors. When we got there (an hour after opening)...they were feeding the animals and cleaning their bowls and such. I kind of felt like we were in their way when we were there.

 Our front they have big huge piles of pumpkins, but I did notice some were open and rotten...and all of them were dirty...nobody took any effort in washing them down before displaying them. 
(At Blooms and Berries, they had cleaned off all of their pumpkins...they were clean and ready to take home!)
They did have a market that was cute, sold Halloween and fall decor, apple cider, candy, etc. I don't think I saw anything "fresh" though - no fresh apple bundles or baked goods or anything like that. So anyways...this one was my least favorite.  We went last year too and didn't love it. So we probably won't go back to this one.

Another festival we liked...but I would have loved it if we planned it better. Unfortunately, this festival is only for one weekend out of the year, so you'll have to go next year if you didn't go this past weekend.
Admission: $8/adult, Leah was Free
I absolutely loved that they let you in the cages to personally pet the animals.  Leah got to make friends with an alpaca, which was the sweetest animal there. (The alpacas at Shaw Farms were mean and spitting everywhere.) She also got to meet a little bunny named Clover.  They had other animals too (goats, chickens, roosters).
 Now, the part where we should have planned better....
1. It was a long walk up to the sunflower fields and we did not bring a stroller, so we had to carry Leah the whole time.  Next time: Don't forget my stroller. (They don't let you have the stroller on the field, but you do need it to get there!)
2. It was a little muddy on the field and the ground was crawling with caterpillars. Next time: Wear Tennis shoes (one caterpillar bit my foot!)
3. Beware of sweat bees and other insects! (Leah got stung on her hand)
4. They let you walk the fields and cut your own sunflowers.  Next time: Bring scissors!

The sunflowers were $1/stem or $10/dozen.  I absolutely loved the concept and would love to go back next year more prepared. We didn't go home with any sunflowers...honestly by the time we walked all the way to the field (uphill) we were tired...haha...we took a few pictures, looked at some sunflowers and started walking back down.
They also had hay rides, horse drawn carriages and pumpkins for sale (clean ones!!) and instead of a Fall Market where the others have sold apple cider and jams and such...this one had food trucks (pizza, bbq, etc) and also had a few vendor tents as well.  It was a fun little festival and I would definitely go back.

So there you have it....our three fall festivals so far.
I have a few more fall festivals planned for Leah so I'll be back soon to tell you all about it! 
Cincinnati friends - any recommendations???

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What to feed a 15 month old + Nuby Weighted Straw Cup

For me, creating a nutritious meal for Leah has been one of my biggest parenting challenges. It was easy when she was on jar baby food - but then she started demanding real food.
During the week, Leah attends daycare and they supply a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack for I am only responsible for one meal and a snack during the week which makes it a little easier. But since I work 40hours a week - I need something super quick that doesn't take a long time to prepare.  I figure a lot of people are in the same boat, or need baby/toddler dinner ideas, so here are some things that I normally feed Leah for dinner.
I always try to feed Leah a protein, vegetable, carb and a fruit for her meals.
Proteins: Meatballs, Fishsticks, Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Turkey Deli Meat,
Chicken Nuggets (I get the organic lightly breaded kind), Salmon, Yogurt
Vegetables: Green Beans, Corn, Peas, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes
Carbs: Tortillas, Pita Bread with Hummus, Toast with Peanut Butter,
Crackers, Mac and Cheese, Pasta (she likes cheese tortellini)
Fruit: Bananas, Pears, Mandarin Oranges, Blueberries, Strawberries,
Grapes (cut in half) (basically she will try all the fruits)
So for lunch and dinner, I usually mix and match a variety of these things together to create her meal. Some of these items are just a simple 45 seconds in the microwave (meatballs, chicken nuggets), some of them require a few minutes on the stove (cooking carrots, green beans, mac and cheese, etc), and some of them need some knife time (grapes, strawberries, pita bread) but ALL of them are super easy and makes preparing dinner during the week soooo easy!

I also wanted to tell you about a great cup, incase you wanted to train your little one on straw drinking. We got the Flip n' Sip w/ 360 Weighted Straw Cup for Leah and she quickly learned how to drink from a straw with this cup.  I do think this cup has some pros and cons, though.
PRO: No Spill, Soft Silicone Straw, Easy to Hold, I like the size of it, the 360 weighted straw allows to drink from any angle and reaches low levels of liquid, has a flip top to keep the straw clean, etc!
CON: Hard to clean, several pieces, takes a little bit of time to put it back together.
 I do like things to be easy, so washing this cup seemed like a chore. (However, I do hand wash all of Leah's cups) For those that have a sterilizer or throw things in the dishwasher, this is probably not a problem for you at all! All in all - it's a great cup and Leah really enjoys drinking out of it, so we will continue to use it! :)

And just for fun: here is Leah eating lunch with her friends at Daycare:
What are some quick dinners you prepare your little ones?

Monday, September 26, 2016

100 Things to Throw Away + CLOSET SALE

One thing about me that you didn't know.....
I LOVE getting rid of things!
Whether it's throwing something in the trash or giving it to charity. I LOVE IT.
Is that weird?
I've just always hated clutter and don't like to keep things that I don't use or doesn't fit, etc. So of course when I stumbled upon this blog post about "100 Things to Throw Away", I knew I wanted to share it on my blog.
Here are some of the things that need throwing away in our house that I can't wait to get rid of.
Some will be harder than others!
  • Old makeup/ones that you don’t use much 
  • Old nail polish 
  • Movies you don’t watch anymore (we have a ton of movies, planning to take them to a resale store to see if I can exchange them for cash)
  • Old manuals to electronics
  • Ticket stubs
  • Cards given to you with no sentimental value
  • Old t-shirts/ones you were given for free that you don’t wear
  • Unsubscribe from email subscriptions you don’t absolutely love
  • Old magazines
  • Boxes that you aren’t using to store anything in
  • Purses you don’t use
  • Old shoes 
  • Clothes that don’t fit you right now (that's why I'm having a closet sale - see at the bottom)
  • CD’s (yes, I still own CDs!)
  • Old paint
  • Soap/shampoo/conditioner from hotel rooms
  • Tissue paper/gift bags/bows that you’re going to “reuse”  (this is actually one thing I can't get rid of, we have so many but I really do think I will reuse them!) :)
  • Unused vases (eeek, another one that will be hard to get rid of, we have sooo many though)
  • Extra tupperware containers
  • Unused stationery, stickers, sticky notes
  • Books you have already read
  • Extra sets of headphones
  • Old prescription glasses
  • Loyalty cards you don’t use
  • Free samples
  • Excess decks of cards
  • Extra decorative pillows
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic forks/knives/spoons
  • Empty shoeboxes
  • Ornaments that have no sentimental meaning
  • Crafting supplies you bought for a project but don’t use anymore
  • Belts you don’t like
  • Hats you don’t wear
  • Random containers/jars
  • Extra matchbooks
  • Old, raggy towels (CV uses these outside, so we will keep ours!)
I've already started cleaning out my closet, and guess what?! I have a TON of dresses that I don't plan to wear again (some still have the tags on). I'm even getting rid of my beloved dress that I wore at my rehearsal dinner. I LOVE this dress, but I just don't know where I'd wear an ivory lace and pleated dress in the future? (If you can think of somewhere, I'll keep it!)
So please...stop by my instagram closet and SHOP so I can declutter my closet!
I hope this little list and my closet sale inspires all of you to clean up and declutter! :)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

15 Months with Leah

Leah's 15 month doctors appointment was yesterday so I thought I'd update the blog with all of her new measurements and what she's been up to the past few months.
15 Month Update:
Height/Weight: 19.0 lbs (20th percentile) and 31 inches long (65th percentile).
(She was 17 lbs 8 oz and 29.5 inches long at her 12 month checkup).
Diapers: Still in Size 3, Pampers is the only brand we buy. She wears Baby Dry during the day and the Pampers nighttime diapers over night.
Clothing: She is in 12m and 18mo clothing. She can still wear some 9mo pants, but I'm about to pack those up. Also a lot of her 12mo footed pajamas are too small so I'll be packing those up too this week. We are just now getting her 18mo pajamas out.
Eating: Leah still loves whole milk and demands it throughout the day!  She's still eating 3x a day and 2 snacks as normal. I'll post a separate blog about her favorite foods.
Teeth: Leah is cutting her 5th tooth right now, and I think 6th isn't far behind as I can see it coming in.  Now she has 3.5 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth.
Health: Leah has had several ear infections, but luckily she was all clear at her appointment yesterday! Also, if you remember her last appointment she had another issue - well that has completely cleared up too! She had a clean bill of health - except for some minor eczema issues.
Social: Leah took her second trip to Nashville last month to meet sweet baby Ansley. We had a lot of fun with my besties and their babies!
We also played at the Blue Cocoon several times with other friends. Once we met my friend Amanda and her twins, and another time we met my friend Alison and her kiddo. We love that place!

 Development: Leah stood for the first time and took her first step on August 6th! And by Labor day weekend, 4 weeks later, she was walking like a pro!
She is so good at sign language too. She knows the signs for "eat", "milk", "more", and "all-done" and uses them all the time! She uses "all-done" when she's done eating, done taking a bath, done playing, done getting her diaper changed. Ha. She's so smart.
She's also learned how to blow kisses (the most adorable thing ever).
Words: Leah can say mama, dada, doggie, uh-oh, bubbles and her variation of "shoes", which she calls "dough-doughs". She can also nod her head "yes" and shake her head "no".
Likes: shoes, waving, riding in her car buggy, bubbles, throwing a ball
Dislikes: getting shots, sitting in grass
If you want to read on previous months, here are the links:
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven| One Year