holiday gift guide: for the workplace


without further ado, the final gift guide for this holiday season. this is for all your favorite co-workers. even though I might be out of the professional workforce, we still have holiday gifts to shop for mike’s team. it seems a lot of the gifts we receive are focused around alcohol (not complaining), but for that reason we try to stray from that category to make sure people are not inundated with bottles of wine or liquor they might not drink.

  1. mark & graham: anything and everything from here is a great choice. you have tons of options in all different categories and can personalize the gifts which adds a special touch. does your team travel a lot from work? consider one of the leather roll-ups to keep chargers, air pods, etc. all sorted. the possibilities are endless here! if you do want to go the alcohol route, kick it up a notch with one of these adorable wine bags.
  2. entertaining plates: we know the holidays are all about entertaining! I like to give something bought with a little something homemade. we love these plates and dipping bowls from macy’s and bought them for mike’s team members that are married or have families. we’ll make christmas cookies and fill them up!
  3. alphabet cheese board: I love these from pottery barn and they are a steal right now! add a cheese knife and a pretty bow and call it a day! this will be something they use during the holidays and beyond.
  4. holiday plaid mug: similar to the entertaining plates, buy the mug and fill it with something yummy! coffee lover? maybe a gift card to starbucks or a local coffee shop. tea drinker? a favorite loose leaf tea and steeper. not sure? go for a hot cocoa bomb or hot cocoa mix and marshmallows.

some other ideas that I have loved doing in the past: buy a few winter scarves on black friday deal from old navy or gap and tie them around a cozy scented candle. one year i made homemade lasagna in keepsake baking dish (this is because i like to cook, am italian, and had the extra time. don’t think this will be happening this year ha!) also, don’t underestimate the enjoyment of an Amazon gift card, especially this year. that’s what all the under 30/single crowd will be getting on mike’s team! we’ll toss in some cookies too, but we know of all the things they want, they will use this the most.

holiday gift guide: 5 gifts for the developing baby

i’m back with another gift guide, this time with ideas of what to buy for the young babies and toddlers that are both fun, but also strategic. i say strategic because they are fun enough that they won’t know they are actually working on their fine motor or gross motor development. most of these are based off of recommendations from our PT and OT…

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  1. fisher price laugh & learn piggy bank: i will start by saying, we do not have this (yet), but brady AND landon love to play with it when our OT comes to the house. there are two versions and this is the one she recommends most. the reason being is that this one is less complicated for the littlest of hands and minds, yet open ended enough that it will grow with your baby into toddlerhood. initially you are developing fine motor skills and an understanding of cause and effect. then as they master entering the coins into the piggy bank, you can work on counting, color matching, sorting, etc. see how it can work for years with your kids?
  2. fisher price sit-me-up: we have this one in the owl theme for brady and it has been my new favorite seat. this seat isn’t as long lasting BUT it works early when you are working on head and neck control. ever have the baby that is sick of tummy time or lying on their back, yet can sit totally unsupported? we did! and i wish we had it with landon too. it’s more supportive, comfortable and entertaining for the babes!
  3. kinetic sand: i love the idea of a sensory bin, yet hate the idea of the clean up and managing that comes with it until they learn the “rules.” if you want to start easy, this one is a good option. kinetic sand is a breeze to clean up, fun to play with, and provides tons of sensory input. landon can sit and roll balls or make shapes without much need for intervention. most of the time i plop a gathre mat under the bin just in case, but 99% of the time i can easily clean up the spilt chunks off the carpet.
  4. peg board: this one is another OT favorite for fine motor development and open ended toy. this is a great tool for brady at the current moment in his development, but it’s a fun toy for landon too. he loves building the towers with the pegs and doesn’t know he is actually mastering some fine motor skills without knowing it.
  5. the nugget: before i get started on this one, let me preface this with saying you will NOT have it in time for christmas. the demand is so high right now and they are completely out-of-stock. we are still waiting to snag one (i should have ordered it a month ago, but hesitated because i didn’t want to store it for that long and now i am kicking myself. as soon as it is back in stock, you better believe this is coming to our house. this is the big gift for both boys. why? for brady, he needs different surfaces to encourage crawling and to help with that gross motor development. for landon, he LOVES to crash and burn. now he can have a safe place to do it. this will grow with them for YEARS. forts, imaginative play, jungle gym, flips, etc. and when not in play time use, it’s a couch for reading, movies, homework and more. catch my drift here? we cannot wait to have this!

 

getting real.

i don’t want this to be a long winded post, but it just might. there has been a lot going on over here as we are in final preparations for this baby (and the holidays) and things are starting to get real. real, real.

so far, little bug has passed 3 BPPs and 2 NSTs. i go friday for my NST this week – i am praying that he will be awake so the appointment can be somewhat quick. i just can’t be on that monitor for an hour anymore…NOT okay. seriously contemplating rolling into the OB office with ice cream and donuts to get him to do some flips for us while i am there. come on little man, please cooperate!

in all seriousness though, things are getting real. we are two weeks from Christmas and three weeks from meeting our baby (should everything stay the course). this blows my mind. to sum it all up, i am stressed. i am trying to get everything done in time and i am quickly realizing, that won’t happen. not only because there is not enough time, but also because my body is not having it. between the braxton hicks contractions, low back pain, and lightning crotch (sorry for the crudeness, but this is a real thing and what it is commonly known as), my body is trying to tell me to stop.

but how do you stop? how can you stop? most of the week i am a one woman show with a toddler who wants to play and be held. an almost 30 lb toddler that needs a bath every night, lifted and lowered into his crib for naps and bed, constant diaper changes, and up and down the stairs. aside from theย physical stress of being this pregnant with a toddler, i still have to assemble the dresser and organize clothes in the nursery, finish Christmas shopping, wrap gifts, pack a hospital bag and about 100 other things i intended to do before the holidays. looks like 90% of this will have to wait. my body is just saying NOPE.

the physical stress is draining. the emotional stress is equally as draining. as we approach the final weeks, i am confronted with a lot of fears and unsettled feelings. some days feel like i am back at week 13 when we learned the news about our special little dude. some days i battle those ugly feelings and then i feel guilty for being back in that space. this baby doesn’t deserve that. i also struggle with the feelings of adding another baby to the mix. my time with Landon will be different and that makes me feel sad at times. Landon doesn’t deserve a distracted momma.

i am also facing the fear of this delivery – the actual physical delivery of this baby. my first labor was pretty awful. Landon was too big for my body and we didn’t know it. this lead to a number of complications and interventions including a vacuum assist, episiotomy, and shoulder dystocia. sparing you any more of the gory details, let’s just say it was traumatic for me, mike, and baby. at the end of the day, everything turned out okay, but it very easily could have been a much different outcome. i know we will have a better understanding of little bug’s size due to all the growth scans we have, but there is still an element of error and unknown. i don’t want to go through that again and i don’t want to put another baby at risk like that again. every night i pray for a safe delivery. we’ll decide in the coming weeks how we plan to go about delivery when we get a clearer picture of bug’s size.

to end on a more positive note, God is working His magic. i would not be able to get through this without the love and support of my husband. for him, i am eternally grateful. my little family is my everything and they get me through the toughest of days. and my friends – man, am i lucky. the constant check-ins and texts really mean the world to me. i don’t know what i did to deserve all of you, but thank you.

remember when i mentioned we took family photos that were disastrous? well, our photographer is SO talented, she captured some really beautiful gems (snack cup and all, because this is real life people)! not only is she talented, but she is also an incredible human being. God put Rachel in our life for a bigger purpose and He’s already showing us why. Please check her out if you are in the Atlanta area (and tell her I sent you)!

Photos: Perfectly Bliss Photography

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