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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah 2013!

Well, apparently, this year marks 'Thanksgivukkah," the one time in a very long while that Thanksgiving and Chanuka coincide. Apparently this won't come around again for another 70,000 years, so that's a good excuse to live it up!

Our Thanksgiving AND Chanuka are pretty busy this year--we'll be seeing my husband's family in Philadelphia, my family in Brooklyn, going out to a nice dinner with more family, and enjoying an "at home" Chanuka dinner with delicious sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and a gift exchange with just us and E. It should be a whirlwind!

5 fun things about Chanuka to share with you:

1. Contrary to public opinion, Chanuka is actually a pretty minor holiday in the Jewish calendar--it mostly gets its airtime from being close to Christmas. But minor or not, it's fun!

2. It's a Chanuka tradition to watch the Maccabeats video of the year!  Here's the new one:

3. Chanuka has about as as many spellings as Jews have opinions. Which is a lot. I spell it "Chanuka" since I pronounce it with a Hebrew "ch" (a guttural sound that doesn't really exist in English).

4, Chanuka has awesome food.

There are latkes (delicious potato pancakes, often eaten with apple sauce):

And the above-mentioned sufganiyot (which are heavenly)

And of course, chocolate gelt, or coins!

5. The meaning of Chanuka has many layers to it. We're celebrating the victory of a small group of Jewish fighters against this massive Greek army. We're also celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple and the vial of oil to light the menorah lasting for eight full days. In my own life, it's always been a time to reflect on my personal miracles--see my previous posts on Chanuka here, here, here and here.

To learn more about the meaning of Chanuka, go here.

So tell me, is there anything YOU really want to know about Chanuka?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blog Your Heart: November 2013

Today, I'm linking up with Stephanie Howell's blog your heart post.

Here's Stephanie's description of the linkup: 1. blog whatever is authentic. whatever is truly on your mind and in your heart.

I love this because genuine, authentic blog posts are my favorite to read (along with house tours....LOVE house tours:)). Check out Stephanie's linkup here.

1. I'm struggling with "busyness" right now. There's a lot going on in the next few weeks with family events and Thanksgiving/Chanuka, and there are SO. MANY. ITEMS. on my pre-baby to do list. At the same time, though, I know I need to slow down because 9 month pregnant ladies just cannot operate at full speed:) I also want to savor the last few weeks I have of just me and Ellie, and of having my life under control somewhat! I need to get better at this balance.

2. I really need to eat better. I was doing very well for a while, but I'm at the point where cinnamon buns sound a lot better to me than celery sticks with peanut butter. Except that they don't make feel quite as good and energetic!

3. Continuing on the healthy food train, I feel really bad that Ellie doesn't eat more vegetables. She's gotten into that toddler phase where anything that isn't cheese, a noodle, or a slice of bread is highly suspect. (And I guess that phase can last a while--see above.)  I don't want to force food down her throat, but I also want her to grow up with a healthy view of food and eating something besides noodles.

4. There has been horrendous traffic EVERY SINGLE DAY on my way to and from work. I am really, really, officially, 100% certifiably sick of it. This happens every year at this time and generally gets better after the holidays, so I'm trying to keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel!

5. I get really excited whenever I see newborns/tiny babies lately. They are so small and snuggly and I'm really pumped to meet this little baby soon. I still need to pinch myself that I have not only one beautiful baby, but one on the way! After all that time going through infertility, I could never have dreamed of being this blessed.

And thanks for reading! Check out the linkup, and let me know if you participate!

What's on YOUR heart and mind right now?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life through my iPhone

I realized today that I haven't picked up my DSLR in over two weeks--and I have the cutest little toddler to photograph! I have to work on that, but in the meantime, I love getting a glimpse at our daily lives through regular old phone pictures.

Here's what we've been up to lately!

Sunday family outings to Dunkin Donuts! S has been working busy long hours, so this was a much-needed break in the middle of (another) work at home day.

I've spent a lot of time chasing this one around--hard to even catch a photo!

I also caught this sad face after what I deemed "Nutgate."

Basically, here's what happened:

1. I ate some walnuts
2. Ellie wanted walnuts
3. I explained that they're a choking hazard and only for bigger girls
4. Hysteria, weeping and disaster ensued

Toddlers--good times.

Another added "excitement" to our past few weeks is the fact that we got into an accident and our car was totaled. Thank G-d, everyone is ok and we weren't all in the car, but it was scary and stressful.  Although we would have never chosen to have it happen through an accident, we figured this was a good time to move to a minivan.  So here's the new addition to the Starr household:

I'm still getting used to a new and bigger car, but loving it so far!

And finally, we had a family outing to a wedding this weekend, and made a solid attempt at a group photo.

Toddlers--really not that cooperative!

We also got some funny outtakes.

Case in point:)

What types of pictures are on YOUR phone/camera right now?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Waiting for Baby...

I'm currently 33 weeks. The baby, apparently, is about the size of a pineapple (thank you, What to Expect app!) My due date is a mere 6 weeks away. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was 6 weeks pregnant?

I 've been spending the past few weeks trying to get organized for this little one's arrival. Traditionally, we Jews are too superstitious to do much prep before the baby arrives. We don't have baby showers, we don't paint the nursery, and we don't walk around referring to little "Andrew Joseph" or whatever his/her name will be.  In fact, before I had Ellie, I was pretty sure you weren't allowed to buy anything for the baby before it arrives. My rabbi, however, told me that was not the case, and the tradition is more about the "evil eye" than anything in Jewish law.

That being said, though, I like keeping many details of the baby private. I don't share the gender (except for close family), or the name. I don't monogram clothing (which I probably wouldn't do either way--I'm a Northerner after all:)). I love the mystery and excitement of that not-quite-here little human being that no one knows very much about.

On the other hand, though, I need to have some basics around so that I won't be crazy stressed when I get home from the hospital! Hence, a few baby-related items have come to live with us.

First, this beauty arrived today:

After much debate, we settled on the City Mini GT Double (ours is in black/shadow). And by "we," I mean "I." Clearly:)

We already have these items from Ellie, but I have a feeling they'll get a lot of use:

{Snugabunny swing}

{Snugabunny bouncy seat}

And while I haven't bit the bullet on it, I've heard great things about this baby bath!

{blooming bath}

Mostly, though, I'm alternating between excitement and fear. I can't wait to meet this little one, but I'm also anxious about disrupting our comfortable routines, and what that will be like for Ellie. I worry that she'll be lonely or confused in those first few days and weeks, especially when I'm in the hospital. But I also can't wait to see her as a big sister.

So that's life--a big 'ol bundle of contradictions!

And tell me, from personal experience or seeing others go through it, what's YOUR best advice to someone having a baby?

Monday, November 11, 2013

What I've Been Reading

I'm a book junkie.  Always have been, hopefully always will be! I love reading a mix of genres, flitting from biography to mystery to chick lit to classics. Keeps life interesting:)

Lately, I've been digging into these:

Waiting for Birdy is about a woman expecting her second child while taking care of toddler, so basically my life right now. Granted, her parenting style is very different from mine, but the book is HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud multiple times reading it. Check it out!

This is an old book I read years ago, but I decided to pick it up again given everything I've been reading about this period lately.

Confession time--I AM A MAJOR DORK. I have always loved British history, especially the Tudor period, and have been getting into the roses more recently thanks to this series by Philippa Gregory:

and this TV show on Starz:

So I decided to re-read To Hold the Crown by Jean Plaidy and have been really enjoying it!

And to continue the dorkiness, I'm SUPER excited for this book that I've pre-ordered:)

Moving along from British history, I also ventured into new literary territory by reading a Pride & Prejudice sequel. I am a HUGE P&P fan, but up until now I've avoided sequels/alternate tellings lest they destroy the beauty of the original story. But I recently delved into this:

and this:

Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride is a sequel that actually feels very true to the voice of the original story. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. An Arranged Marriage is a very creative retelling, and while the characters didn't seem totally on target, I liked it as a separate book.

So those are some of the books that have been filling up my shelf lately?

Do YOU have a good book you've read recently?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bump update: 32 weeks

It's been a while since I've written about little baby bump, so I figured an update was in order! This child has already gotten a lot less airtime than his/her big sister, poor thing:)

How Far Along Are You?
32 and a half weeks

Well, yes. Feeling LARGE, feeling the effects of carrying around that extra weight in the front, and my old pregnancy standby--nighttime leg cramps. But it's all good. 

Total Weight Gain/Loss

All normal range, thankfully.
Maternity clothes?
Yes! A few favorite items are starting to get too tight, which is a bummer! I love shopping for maternity clothes (weird hobby over here) but at this point in the pregnancy, I'm saving my money for some post baby outfits, when I know I'll need the body image boost.

Stretch Marks?
Not that I can see! Though I may be too tired to notice them:) 

See above! I've been waking up in the middle of the night EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for no apparent reason. And then I have a hard time going back to sleep.  Add to the that the fact that E has been cutting molars and up a lot this week, and  I'm pretty exhausted!

Yes, lots! Although the second the baby ISN'T moving I start to panic.

Food Cravings or Aversions?
I'm *touching* chicken again, but my true love is still red meat. Also wanting more sweet stuff lately.

We know, but we're not telling!

Baby Buys?
I got a double stroller (the City Mini GT double--you can read my debates on the topic here), a carrier (trying this one--hoping I love it!) and a big sister gift, along with a few other items. 

And because my sweet tooth is out of control, tell me what YOUR favorite snack is!

Friday, November 1, 2013

What I Wish For You

This month's theme at Write. Click. Scrapbook. was dreams, so I thought I'd focus on some of my dreams for our little Ellie.

I tried to make this layout pretty and girly, with little banners and scallops and feminine details.

I added a woodgrain banner from Studio Calico.

It was actually very sweet and therapeutic to write out the things I hoped for her.  I want to create a layout like this for myself and S, too!

To see the rest of the gallery, go here!

Have YOU ever documented your dreams for your loved ones?