Ellie

5 Months- Ellie

Our little love is five months old!

Say whaaaaaaaaat?!


Weight: (Uh, more than 13lbs. I swear I will weigh her tomorrow and go back to fill this in… hahah.)
Eye Color: Blue! Very blue! Getting more hopeful that they stay blue now. One brown eyed baby and one blue eyed baby would be so cool!
Hair: Thin, blonde-red! It’s darker in her mullet. Haha.
Size: 6-9 months. Drew accidentally put her in a size 5 diaper of Henry’s the other day… and it fit. And didn’t leak at all. It actually fit better than the size 1’s I did have her in. Henry potty trained this month, so she has just continued using the box of 5’s that we already had opened. Hahah.

Ellie still LOVES her thumb, and is 100% still a thumb sucker above all else. She even likes to slip her thumb in her mouth in the middle of nursing sometimes.

Baby girl has chunky thighs and pretty eyes, that’s for sure. Her thighs are the same size as her brother’s.

Speaking of her brother… he is Ellie’s BIGGEST love. Little lady really only likes two things consistently- her brother, and myself. And sleep. She’s such a fantastic sleeper, and I will FOREVER praise Jesus for that fact.

Ellie girl is still only a stomach dweller. Like, all the time. Like, you don’t understand. She spends maybe three minutes per day on her back, and that’s it.

Baby girl is officially army crawling rather fast. She rocks back and forth on all fours, and probably only has a few days left before full-blown crawling begins.

Girlfriend can sit up when placed sitting. She is definitely working towards being able to pull herself up.

WE HAVE HAD NO THRUSH THIS MONTH! (Thank you, Dr.Tomlin!)

I’m still thinking we will have a walker by 8 months- possibly 9. Henry crawled a couple weeks before her, but she also pulls up on WAY more things than Henry did at this age.

Looking back on last month’s photos has fully convinced me that the poor little lady is definitely losing hair. It is growing, but is very thin and whispy. (Don’t worry, Ellie girl. Mama’s hair is basically gone too. Again, #postpartumjoys.) Perhaps it is just getting lighter, giving the illusion of being thinner. Also, it is turning red.

No filters on this one, just red hair.

Henry says hello to her every morning, and good night to her last thing at night. He still won’t hold or touch her, but he talks about his “sissy” often, and calls her “I-E-Ass” (Ellie Alice.) Possibly the best thing that has happened all month is his pronunciation of her name (other than him being FULLY potty trained!)

She LOVES when I sing to her. Especially You Are My Sunshine, which I have rephrased to “You are my Ellie, my pretty Ellie.” That can get a smile any time.

“Toofers” are coming SOON. I can see swelling and little bumps, and girlfriend can’t get enough teethers to gnaw on.

The Japanese LOVE her. Since her eyes are giant and still super blue, she gets lots of “kawaii, kawaii” comments while we are off base.

Ellie is MUCH less vocal than her brother was at this age, but she did speak her first word of “mama” this month. Both of my babies said “mama” first.
Ha, suck it, Drew.

And here are some Henryisms for this month, because he is fun too.

The stinker has decided to potty train completely out of nowhere. We had regressed a little bit, but as soon as we stopped diapers, he totally got it. Thank God.

Henry LOVES cars, car parts, and talking about cars. Fire trucks (“pie trucks”), cars, ambulances (“lances.”)

Broski counts to 10, knows how many fingers he is holding up, knows his entire alphabet, and can type in “Blippi” into the search bar of his iPad.

Henry gives thumbs up all the time when he approves of something. It’s my absolute favorite when he does it in response to something a stranger asks.

He brings Ellie her toys all the time. He often likes to drop them on her head while she sleeps. (I’m not rolling my eyes.) 

Man, both of these kids are a hoot. Life is so fun watching them grow.

I forget so often how big Ellie is getting, simply because her big brother seems so much bigger. We are almost halfway through our first year with the little love, and while I love watching her grow, I find myself consistently wishing time would slow the heck down.

Forever thankful for these quiet, cozy, “little” days with these two. Life is good, y’all.

 

 

 

DIY

DIY $10 Rustic Coat Rack

We have been in major cleaning and renovating mode around our house this winter, or at least as much as you can be while living in a rental. I picked up a couple boards just to play around with about a week ago, and then the next day stumbled upon these gorgeous little rustic-farmhouse style hooks at the dollar store here in Japan. Everything in the store is 100¥, equating to around 88-90 cents in USD, depending on the exchange rate. Honestly, this rack only really cost me a total of about $8-$9, but I rounded up because I already had the screws and stain that I needed.

Here’s how I made a super easy 30 minute coat rack with a $3 board, $1 hooks, $1 stain, and a couple screws I already had at home!

Materials

The Shelf

  • (1) board

    Homac has this 1×4 board for around 390¥ if I remember correctly. I chose pine because I’m cheap, and basically every type of wood will warp in the humidity. I also just really like the way pine looks when stained. If you invest in a little thicker or heavier wood, it will probably be less likely to warp.
  • (1) jar of wood stain

    Daiso has the stain that I used for 100¥ (around 90 cents). I chose walnut because I like a more rich brown color vs warm stains. One board won’t even put a dent in the jar, so you’ll have it for future projects. You could probably do 5-6 racks with one jar.
  • (7) hooks

    Seria has these hooks for 100¥ each (just a little over $6 for all 7 that I bought.)
    You can space them out more and use less hooks, or put them closer together and use more.
  • (14) small screws

    Just make sure the screws are shorter than the thickness of the board. I used 3/4″ screws. If you want to keep things uniform, I would recommend using an iron-colored screw. I chose to use regular silver screws, because I already had some iron paint. (Bought that at Homac for a separate project- but it is a little more pricey- somewhere near $10 for a jar.)

Mounting

There are a number of ways you can mount a coat rack safely on the wall. Because our particular home in Japan has studs that cannot be drilled into, I consistently hang heavy things with drywall anchors and screws. Pay attention to the type of anchors you use- each anchor is rated for a certain weight bearing load.

  • (2) large & long screws
  • (2) washers
  • (2) drywall anchors

Step-by-step

1. Stain your board

This is with one layer of stain vs the unstained wood. I added one more for a slightly darker look. It’s definitely personal preference for me, but I like to stain using paper towels. I feel that paint brushes or sponges leave uneven coverage with stain, and I hate ruining rags with stain.

2. Line up your hooks

I chose to space my hooks around 3.5″ apart, with a little over a couple inches left on each end of the board. Line up your hooks in a manner that looks good to you, then measure to make sure everything is lined up evenly.
Each hook is about 3/4″ above the bottom of the board.

3.Drill pilot holes

If you need a small drill bit, I bought this one at Daiso for 100¥. I use it for any project that I need a super small pilot hole for.
This will keep your wood from splitting and make sure your screws are going in the right direction. The pilot holes do not need to be deep at all- just enough to guide a screw to where it needs to go.

4. Screw your hooks on

Shown are my silver screws here. I then just took a small piece of paper towel, dipped it in my iron paint, and brushed over the top of them.

Voila! You have created a $10 coat rack that will seriously clean up your entryway. Check out my before and after below, too!

Soooo much better, right?!

For mounting, I chose to drill two pilot holes- one at each end of the board, and fasten the rack to the wall with a washer, screw, and drywall anchor in the wall on each side. After hanging it, I could probably use one more solid mounting point in the middle of the board too- but I’ll save that for another day, and will keep the load on it light until then.

I love finding ways to make something for a fraction of the cost that you could purchase it new for. Plus, you can say that you created it all by yourself.

Happy creating!

I’ve got a couple messages about products shown in the photos, so here are the links if you are interested!

Buffalo Plaid Rug
Use code “7P6RZTTR” to make it $7.99!

Thin Throw Blanket
Duck Boots
My boots originally came from Kohl’s, but they are sold out. I linked some that look almost identical from Amazon with good reviews, and they’re like $40 cheaper than I paid!
Hunter Boots
Galvanized Bucket

About Me

10 Streaming Shows You Should ACTUALLY Watch

So, let me explain my reasoning for the title of this post a bit.

As most of you know, I work from home, and basically 95% of my life is spent in my home, in front of some sort of screen. When I am editing, blogging, or messaging, I almost always have Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu playing in the background. Does that mean I sincerely watch all the shows I am playing?
Nope. Not at all.
In fact, I often have to ask Drew what is going on in a show if I am actively trying to edit while watching. He really, really loves that quality about me.
That being said, these are the shows that you HAVE to sit down and actually watch. Watch them twice. Three times. These are my absolute favorites.

These are in no particular order, but if you want to know my top three, they are definitely: The Handmaid’s Tale, Parenthood, and Jane the Virgin. You comes in a VERY close fourth.

Most of these have an amazing storyline that demands your attention, and most have really great casting. I will say that I am an absolute sucker for a great, dramatic storyline that actually keeps you watching- so if you are looking for humor or a show about purging, this list probably isn’t for you. (Although I was motivated out the wazoo by Marie Kondo.)

1. Parenthood (Netflix)

I’ll be real, there aren’t many shows I will re-watch. Parenthood I have seen five times all the way through. That alone should speak for itself. Any time I am looking for a show to watch, I will return happily to this one to watch again.
Funny, serious, and so so gut wrenching. Honestly after watching This is Us, I will still claim that Parenthood is better. Don’t worry, This is Us is on my list too.

2. Jane the Virgin (Netflix)

Ditto to the last description. I’ve seen this series three times all the way through, and it’s not even over yet. I re-watch all the seasons each time a new one is released.

But seriously- this is the only show that I put on my calendar for the release of a new season. I have never watched a series that had me switching between characters being my favorite and least favorite SO often, but this show has such a way of making you love all the love interests, and still hate all the love interests. The series is said to come to a close with the release of Season 5 this March. I can tell you what I will be doing March 27, and it will not involve leaving the house until I have watched the final season.

3. You (Netflix)

I JUST finished the first season tonight, and MAN. It’s incredibly well done. I love a series that is good without completely nude sex scenes or utterly explicit violence. You kept me watching the entire time, and I am very easily distracted normally.
Normally I am somewhat pissed when a show decides to continue on with a second season after a perfect first season that could have ended where it did. But I am definitely hoping for a second season of this one.

4. Black Mirror (Netflix)

This. Show. Will. Mess. You. Up.
Seriously, watch with caution, and I don’t recommend watching more than a couple episodes a day, especially if you don’t process creepy things well. Not quite a horror movie, but definitely super unsettling. We binged Black Mirror in like two days, and it is BRUTAL to your brain.

4.5 (ha). Black Mirror Bandersnatch (Netflix)

This is the newest spin off of Black Mirror, and it is interactive. Without spilling any spoilers, I will say not to JUST watch this once. When you make different choices, you will find different story lines. I watched the second time with friends, and it was so startling to talk about what each of us saw. (You can also let it play all the way through and it will auto-select choices for you, if you’re not feeling interact-ey.)

5. The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Maaaaaan this one is not for the faint of heart. This one is unbelievably dark, very rarely happy, and SO SO good. Deals with some pretty triggering issues, and definitely does not censor anything, so if you struggle with emotional topics and being especially weighed down by heavy issues like rape- you might read an outline of the show before watching this so you can be prepared. I can handle about 2-3 episodes at a time, and that’s it.

But seriously. Best show I’ve ever watched. If these were in order, The Handmaid’s Tale would probably be #1. DYING for the next season.

6. This is Us (Hulu)

I do think this one was hyped up a BIT more than it should have been, but I definitely did not stop sobbing through basically every episode. The further you get in, the deeper the story line goes, the more invested you become, and the more you sob…. like… a lot.

7. The Ranch (Netflix)

Here is the 10% that Drew agrees with. Ha.
If you loved That 70’s Show, you’ll be so excited to see the cast of this one. I love a show that can be rather hilarious, but still carry such an awesome storyline, and this one definitely does.

8. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)

So funny, and such a good story line. To be honest, I likely won’t watch this series more than twice, and this is probably #10 on my actual ranking list of these, but I do look forward to each new season being released. So worth a watch, and you will be hooked by the first two episodes.

9. Sex Education (Netflix)

Fair warning: the first episode of this is pretty raunchy, and the WOW-factor card is definitely played to get your attention pretty often during the show. Of course, being a series that totally focuses on sex, it definitely is an adult-only show, but does get less raunchy and revealing after the first episode. But the storyline is great, it’s really pretty funny, and I am absolutely watching for the next season to be added to Netflix.

10. 7 Seconds (Netflix)

This one is so good. I love a good standalone single season show that I can sit down and watch in one day. This one deals with a lot of issues plaguing America in the past few years, and it’s definitely one that I wasn’t able to look away from while watching.

___

Annnnd here is my list of classics that you should have already watched because I feel like it may be some sort of sin to not include these. No long explanations needed, you have to make sure all of these are on your “watched” list, or unfortunately we can’t be friends. Lots of oldies, but goodies.

The Office (Netflix)

Because if you haven’t seen it at least three times all the way through, I’m not sure I can associate with you.

How I Met Your Mother (Netflix)

I have seen this probably 6 times since high school. Never gets old. Forever better than Friends. (Like 4 of my closest friends will probably unfollow me for saying this haha.)

New Girl (Netflix)

Not a huge fan of Zooey Deschanel in New Girl, especially in the later episodes, but the rest of the cast by far makes the show worth it. If you like a good rom-com, this it’s for you.

Gossip Girl (Netflix)

Just a classic all around. I’ve seen this one 3 times all the way through. XOXO

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Okay, y’all. Here is a solid two weeks of watching (or like 6 months if you don’t watch as much streaming TV as me. Ha.) Go forth, be lazy, and binge away.

Ellie's Outfit of the Day

Yellow Ruffles & Jeans

To satisfy my love for flatlays, and because this girl has more shoes than a 4 month old ever should, I am officially starting a new thread on the blog for Ellie girl’s daily outfits.  I’m a thrifty shopper, so I like to share the things I find for a great price, as well as the things that hold up to the kid-proof test. Anything I share here will be the items I genuinely LOVE.

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 Simply click on each photo below to take you to the product link!

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This color is currently sold out on Rosie Posie’s site, but I linked a grey headwrap that would be SO cute with this, too.

I linked the CutiePat to Amazon, but it and the Paci Clip can also be found on the Ryan and Rose website.

Japan Life Updates · Misawa Guides

Morioka {Iwate, Japan} – January 4-5

Drew randomly mentioned leaving home for a little getaway this weekend, and if I’m being honest, I really was dreading going on Friday night. My husband is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, while I’m a planner. I wanted to have our hotel and train tickets booked a week in advance, and when we didn’t, I assumed we weren’t going. Friday afternoon rolled around, and Drew simply came home from work and asked when we would be leaving.


That’s one of the greatest things about Drew- and just one reason I’m so glad I married him. With two kids under three, he doesn’t even think twice about loading everybody up on a train and taking a fun weekend trip in the dead of winter.

And I’m so glad he thinks like this.

Morioka is a gorgeous little town surrounded by mountains. The weather this weekend was PERFECT (upper 30’s) and we were able to have the kids outside for most of the weekend without worrying. I wore Ellie in my LilleBaby, and Henry rode around in his stroller.

Man, I’m telling you. Traveling with kids is really not nearly as hard as you think. I’m definitely exhausted after this weekend- but when you take the right steps to prepare for having little ones with you, traveling is so much better with them than it would have been alone.

We only spent two days in Morioka, and we visited a few different coffee shops and restaurants (I shared a bunch of them on my Insta Story highlights under the explore Japan tab) but two main things stuck out to me from the weekend.

If there are two things you need to do in Morioka, these are them:

Round 1

If you go to Morioka, especially if you have kids, you shouldn’t leave without visiting  here. Honestly this is where we spent the first half of the day on Saturday, and I could have spent the entire day there. In a nutshell, Round 1 is a massive indoor play arena, with SO many different games and activities to enjoy. It’s like an amped-up Chuck E Cheese that is also fun for adults.

It has like 6 or 7 stories of bowling, batting cages, soccer fields, ball pits, bounce houses, skating rinks, pool halls, and arcade games.

We spent 3 hours in there and could have spent a solid 3-4 more, since we only explored like two levels of the place.

On top of that, it was only $30 for Drew, Henry, Ellie, and me. Once you get your bracelet inside, every game and activity is completely free, and honestly it wasn’t that crowded at ALL. Talk about cheap fun for your kid, right?

There is all sorts of food there, and again in regular Japan fashion, you can buy beer right in the middle of the place. So funny to see the equivalent of an American Chuck E Cheese selling steel cups of beer.

There are lockers on the first floor that you can utilize for free, and since we walked from the train station, we also had Henry’s stroller. Japan is amazing in the fact that we just left his stroller on the first floor by the lockers for three hours, and it was completely untouched when we came back.

Wankosoba

I was SO confused at first when I started hearing about this soba restaurant. I assumed it was just like yakiniku or shabu shabu (which are both all-you-can-eat style restaurants.) In reality, this restaurant was more like a game.

We had somewhat of a language barrier at first- but in hindsight I much better understand how to do it.

The object of the game is to eat 100 bowls of soba. When you walk in, you will see the Japanese people sitting at the low tables, absolutely inhaling bowl after bowl after bowl of soba.

You will walk in, and take a seat at a low table. You are assigned one server who will be at your table for the duration of the meal. The server, as seen above, brings out around 20 bowls of soba at once. These are bite-sized bowls of noodles. As soon as your bowl is clear, they will pour more noodles into your bowl.

Most of the Japanese that we saw eating would swallow each bite of noodles whole, then immediately raise their bowl in the air for more.

You will continue having your bowl filled immediately until you place the lid on your bowl. Once you place your lid on, the game is over.

The object of the game is to hit 100 bowls.

Sounds easy, right? After all, those bowls are teenie, and each bowl is only like one bite of soba!

Wrong. Not a single one of us made it past 75 bowls. I ate a solid 65, and as soon as you hit that wall, you are so done. We made the mistake of buying the regular soba, while Clint chose right with buying the deluxe. When you buy deluxe, they pile your bowls on the table in front of you. With the regular, you have to just keep track of how many you have consumed by yourself. If we go again, we will absolutely choose the deluxe option.

Because we had the hardest time finding this place- it is directly across from the Morioka train station on the SECOND story! Message me on my Instagram account for the direct pin- but if you search Wankosoba, you should find it immediately!
So worth it, although we all almost died leaving that place with how full we all were.

A few random tips:

• If you have kids, I really think it’s worth it to pay the extra $10 for the “first class” Shinkansen tickets. Green car tickets are maybe $10 more per person, and they are SO worth it. Kids are free as lap children until age 3 on the trains almost everywhere in Japan, so we got the bigger, comfier seats, since we chose to have the kids sit on our laps. Henry fell asleep within 4 minutes of boarding.

• If you have kids and plan to stay in a hotel pretty much anywhere in Japan, get a double room. Honestly, even if you don’t have kids… get a double room. We stayed in the New City Hotel (not sponsored), and while it was very very nice, Japanese hotel rooms are TINY. Having two beds was a lifesaver, and allowed one kid to sleep in each bed with us. The last time we stayed in a hotel, we made the mistake of trying to fit into one “double” bed. Unfortunately double beds in Japan are somewhere in between a twin and a full sized American bed. Not quite what you need for two Americans (one of which was pregnant at the time) and a toddler, right?

Overall, it was a fabulous trip. Totally worth the bullet train tickets to not have to brave the snow, and totally worth a little walking to do a few fun things close to the train station! Easy with kiddos, and a blast for everyone involved!