Merry Christmas, friends!

Hey all! I've completely forgotten about blogging over the past week or so, but wanted to pop in and say hello to everyone before the holidays. I know a lot of people are already off work or traveling or just out doing festive things but MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you! :) 
This time of year is so special and we have been soaking it all in the best we can. Despite the craziness this time of year can sometimes bring, I'm so thankful to be celebrating another Christmas with Jared and with all our various family celebrations this coming week/weekend. I wish everyone the very best and look forward to catching up with everyone next week. Although, that could change to catching up in 2016 if the Bengals keep winning... 
Christmas + Football = One Crazy Erin ;)
Still dreaming of that Super Bowl!

The Weekend Before Christmas (What?!)

I don't remember how I ever blogged five times a week and actually came up with that many things to talk about! This week flew by in a flash and I realized, "Oh yeah- I haven't really blogged have I?" It's probably just normal this time of year for a lot of people so I'm not beating myself up over it ;) I already have a huge list of goals and ideas for the new year so hopefully that fresh start in January will bring extra motivation. Until then, here's a laundry list of what's been going on this week:

Jared and I seriously passed around that gross cold for a good two and a half weeks so I'm glad to report we are both finally over it and are healthy humans again. Whew!

We've changed our mind on vacation a dozen times and still haven't settled on anything. Originally we were thinking a big trip out west but with a little one on the way we've decided against it. We want to go somewhere new (preferably) but trying to keep it within driving distance. And if we are traveling in March, I'd like to head South to chase at least a little bit warmer temperatures.... Decisions, decisions!
And no, Punta Cana is not an option again. I wish!!!

We celebrated my Mom's birthday this week! We grabbed dinner with my parents and then they even loaded up some furniture from our guest-room-turning-nursery to take with them. They're the best :) Also- my dad is now down 34 pounds and counting since September, I'm so proud of him! I look forward to comparing last year's Christmas photos with this year's.
Christmas 2014

I'm practically counting down the minutes until my sister and her family get in town for the holidays! Cannot wait to spend some quality time with them and especially see my niece open gifts this year. At 2 1/2 I feel like that's the perfect age for Christmas excitement :)

The treats at the office this time of year are ridiculous. I guess everyone feels bad that we're stuck there so much in December so they bring in cookies and cupcakes and chocolates to pass the time?! Seriously- I must resist them!!

Hope everyone is having a good week! I'm looking forward to a fun weekend with Jared, finally. Our colds are gone and we have no obligations except dating each other :) I can't wait to spend the weekend before Christmas together doing whatever we want before the hustle and bustle of next week.

Football vs. Christmas

In case you avoided all sports and social media over the weekend (or just don't care!)- our beloved starting quarterback is done. Fractured his thumb in Sunday's game and will be out a few weeks at best, but it's likely that we won't get to see him return this season at all. Yes, I'm crying inside.
Source- USA Today

Yesterday at work it was eerily quiet. We all walked around with our heads hung just a little bit, with a little less pep in our steps than we had last week. It's like the life has been completely sucked out of our offices. To some it might sound silly. Being this intense over a sport. A game, if you will. But football is our life! It's our job! And our winning team was doing things this year that they hadn't done before. The stars were aligning, post-season wins were looking really, REALLY promising.

I can't completely jump ship and proclaim that life is over and we're done for- but we've got some TOUGH weeks ahead of us. Our backup QB will do his best, and all of Cincinnati will be cheering him on- but he's still a backup. He's still not the guy who's been leading our team all season long and rocking at it. So while I mourn Andy Dalton's fractured thumb injury for a little while longer, just know that I haven't completely given up hope in my team this year. That will never happen.

The past few days I've been so wrapped up in football land I kinda' forgot that Christmas is like, HERE. It's tough to juggle football life vs the holidays in December. Hard to believe it's only 10 days away, especially with this warm weather and rain we have going in Ohio. It feels more like Spring right now! But I know the chills and the snow aren't far behind.

So far we have four separate Christmas gatherings on our calendar, four days in a row at that- with Jared and I hosting the final one. As we get our menu together and party-prep I have to know- do you have a go-to holiday appetizer or side we should try out? I've got a rough idea of what we want to make but would love to try something new as well. Suggestions welcome :) Hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far! 

There are Always Highlights

This week's been a rough one. I try not to be one to complain too often (at least not here on the blog) but sometimes life just gets you down in the dumps. After all the fun of last week, this week has certainly made sure it was anything but. I got Jared's yucky cold and have been feeling pretty miserable this week. And you know how when you don't feel good EVERYTHING else seems about 10 times worse than it is.

So I've been whining and coughing my way through one of the most demanding weeks at work I've had in awhile. The Bengals are currently at the top of the division so playoff prep is in full force over here. Sure, anything could still happen but it's very likely the Bengals will host at least one playoff game here- and we're hoping for two games! Between that and one of our biggest rivals coming in town this weekend (Boooo... Steelers!) it's been a headache.

Are you tired of this nonsensical ramble yet? Because I am! I really am. I've been no fun this week and now that I got that rant out of the way I did want to share the highlights as of late. There are always highlights to be found even when a crummy week hits you head on.

Highlights include:

Those new appliances. Seriously guys- I might just turn into Rachael Ray. That's how inspired I feel. Jared makes fun of me because I've been greeting them every day when I get home. "Hi, new fridge!! Stove! I love you!" My life is changed and the recipe section of this blog might just blow up soon!

Wrapping presents. Our tree is just so much prettier with boxes and bags all wrapped underneath.

Reaching the 2nd trimester. HOLLA! It just feels like such a feat! PLUS, the date we'll find out the gender of the baby is officially on the calendar and I am absolutely counting down already. Now where's my glow?

Getting our Christmas cards out in the mail. I "splurged" and got some cute address labels this year which made them more fun and less work ;) I love checking our mailbox this time of year, too!

Christmas season in general. Despite being sick this week, I still enjoyed some hot cocoa in my Christmas pjs, looked at lights and watched The Santa Clause with Jared. I think we're on track to watch more movies this holiday season than ever.... not mad about that!

Now everyone just pray I can hold it together long enough to enjoy at least a little bit of my work's Christmas party tonight. Happy Thursday! 

A Little Baby Update

I definitely don't want to overload my blog or my friends with pregnancy/baby related posts but since a few people have been asking I figured I'd spill some details today and get you all caught up on the biggest secret I've ever kept. If this stuff doesn't interest you feel free to skip right on over it- I'll be back to food and football and everything else the rest of this week ;) Plus- the only photos I have today are via Snapchat. #2015yo

On October 1st I took a test and saw THE faintest line ever show up. It was so incredibly faint that I carried the test to practically every room in the house comparing lighting and trying to decide if I was crazy, pregnant or both. I was convinced it wasn't there, but still picked up a digital test later that day and made myself wait one more day before testing that one. Digital tests are EXPENSIVE, no way I was risking a "no" just by taking it too early!

October 2nd confirmed it all. That digital test read "pregnant" and I waited about 30 seconds before telling Jared. A week earlier I'd bought him a new Bengals shirt, as I typically get him something new from work each season- but I'd also picked up the onesie that I used in our announcement pictures. So I went and told him I'd gotten him something new and showed him the shirt and then said, "And this is for our baby." At first he laughed it off, because I've been known to purchase a baby item or two when I see a good deal. But then I reiterated, "No, really. The baby we're having." He was so surprised and then excited- it was awesome. I will never forget those moments!!

October 20th I had my first appointment to confirm pregnancy and they were pretty sure I was 6 weeks along, but that would be confirmed a couple weeks later with our first ultrasound. Jared set me up with a massage package at a local spa with a note saying I was going to be a great mom. Things are feeling REAL!

October 23rd we were able to take those quick announcement photos thanks to my brother-in-law and that would be the photo we'd use to tell our parents, siblings, grandparents and eventually some friends. We told both sets of ours parents over that weekend and BOTH grandma's-to-be already had baby gifts for us they had stashed away for 'when that time came' haha. They are all so excited :)

November 3rd was the first ultrasound and OB appointment. Got to see our tiny little blobby baby. Heartbeat was 160 and measuring exactly 8 weeks.

November 9th counts as my first craving, I think. I saw Uncrustables at Kroger (never had them in my life) and could NOT pass them up. I bought a mega box of them and enjoyed them A LOT.

December 2nd I told my department at work. I'd already told my boss since I'd been feeling crummy many days, but the news finally started to spread around the office. It's incredibly awkward telling all your male coworkers that you're pregnant. Had my 12 week appointment after work that day, heartbeat was nice and strong at 152!
Two days after finding out- I'll never be that size again! ;) // The gifts // Our baby has no choice // My real life "bumpdate"

It honestly feels surreal to be writing these things! I've enjoyed watching/reading so many of my own friends and family go through pregnancy that it's crazy awesome to be experiencing it myself now. Overall I have felt really good, which in turn makes me feel super lucky. I've had the normal fatigue of the first trimester and the evenings are toughest on me. I seem to have no appetite for dinner, but then feel sick if I don't eat enough. Luckily, even those small things are subsiding and I'm ready for that second trimester energy everyone talks about. Bring it on! :)

Sunday Scramble

It's Sunday morning. There's a lucky candle burning, buffalo chicken dip in the oven, cold beverages in our (brand new!) refrigerator and my Bengals are 9-2 leading up to today's 1p.m. kickoff. Could life really get any better at this point? Well, yes. A big division win today over the Browns would feel pretty darn good.

At work this past week we've been discussing all the various scenarios of our Bengals and how/when they can clinch their playoff spot officially. There's only five more weeks of the regular season! FIVE. I feel like this season has been flying by but man, I'm anxious to jump ahead to the playoffs and see how my guys do! For any non-football fans reading along, the Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1991 and it seems to be the only thing people can talk about this time of year when discussing our team. I'm ready to WIN that playoff game and then some!

This time of year I'm always buying up tons of Bengals gear for all the fans in our family- which is a LOT. Sometimes I worry that people will tire of receiving orange and black goodies for Christmas, but it never happens! The NFL Shop never runs out of stylish, new gear for their fans. Recently I treated myself to a couple new items that are perfect for tailgating OR "homegating" as well. 

Jared might be sick of seeing this on me, but I can't get enough of this hoody. Comfy, unique from any of my other Bengals stuff and those buttons? SO great. It's cozy and warm plus hides the awkward not-quite-a-baby-bump thing I have going on while still looking game-ready. It works with jeans or leggings, boots or flats- everything!

So if your team is in the playoff hunt like mine -or even if they aren't- be sure to stock up at the NFL Shop for you and the other people on your list this year, too! The push for the playoffs is always the craziest, most exciting time of year for us and there aren't many days I don't wear Bengals gear. Now if you'll excuse me... I've got some cheering to do and my voice to lose today! WHODEY.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday Five.

What a great week it's been- I'm jumping right into my Friday 5 today:

1. Seriously- you guys are the BEST. The messages and love from yesterday were incredible- we feel so loved! It's one thing as you tell your friends and family.. you're generally telling people one by one, or in small groups. But wow- the outpouring from going "public" all at once was truly overwhelming- in a good way. Thank you EVERYONE for all your kind words. Jared and I thrilled... and maybe still slightly terrified ;)

2. Obviously our biggest news kinda' trumps everything but I'm still excited that our new appliances are being delivered today!! We FINALLY bit the bullet and upgraded our ancient appliances with new ones. A fridge with ice/water in the door, a flat-top stove that will cook things evenly and an actual working dishwasher. Hallelujah! Hoping this will motivate me to get back at the meal planning, too.

3. Tonight is our first festive event of the season- Jared's work party! Although I have zero idea what I'm wearing to it yet,  I know it'll be a good time. They always have a lot of fun prizes and casino games with fake money to play. My kinda' gambling!

4.  Our Christmas cards! I went with a new company this year, Photo Affections. I found a deal on Living Social and went for it and I'm super happy with how they turned out. I can only reveal the back of them right now, sorry ;)

5. A free, non-working weekend! Somehow this weekend got here and Jared and I have no commitments Saturday or Sunday which makes me one happy gal. We can play catch-up on a few things, lazy around if we want and you better believe I'm going to start wrapping gifts this weekend! It's always one of my favorite parts each year.

Enjoy your weekend friends!

Whodey Baby!

There's a new little Bengals fan on the way to The Jungle...
football pregnancy announcement
football pregnancy announcementComing June 2016!!

football pregnancy announcement

You could say we're pretty excited about our little Whodey Baby!

Favorite Things {GIVEAWAY!}

It's been awhile since I've hosted a giveaway on this little blog of mine and now feels like the perfect time to do so! A few of my favorite blogger buddies and I have teamed up to give one lucky winner a few of our favorite things. We're all busy shopping for everyone else this time of year, so why not enjoy a little gift all for yourself? :)

I added in a colorful MayBook, plus those amazing Bic Mark-It pens and some neon post-it's as well. If you've read this blog a time or two you know I'm an office supply nerd and those are all must-have's of mine. The notebooks are soft and small, easy to throw in a purse, take on vacation, etc. and the markers are just fabulous. Someone gave some to me as a gift a couple years ago and I am 100% hooked on them.

This prize pack is valued at over $75!! The three other lovely ladies contributed goodies including Adele's new CD, a Starbucks giftcard, a festive mug, gorgeous earrings, fun holiday socks and more! Be sure to check out their blogs as well.

Enter today through Sunday, December 6th at midnight- we'll announce our winner Monday morning! Good luck :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy December!

Happy DECEMBER, everyone! It feels surreal to be saying that right now. Over the past few days Jared and I have been getting out all our Christmas decor and I swear it doesn't feel like a year since we did this last. Definitely not complaining though since decorating our home for the holidays is one of my favorite things to do with Jared.

I love how getting out the ornaments for the tree each year feels like a new discovery. We exclaim with joy over our favorite ones and reminisce about vacations we collected certain ornaments. Every time we visit somewhere new we try to pick up an ornament and I love how special that makes our tree. This year we got to add ornaments from Washington D.C., (another) Hilton Head Island ornament plus two from our visits to the Rock n' Roll HOF and the Football HOF.

It's December 1st and I've got about 90% of my shopping done for everyone which feels GREAT. I always try to get a good start on things but feel like we end up being last minute still. This year I'm ON it :) I'm still working on a few more things for Jared and then I'll be just about done. We also just pulled out 4 brand new rolls of wrapping paper we bought on mega-clearance after Christmas last year that we'd forgotten about. Love the little surprises like that! Now I can't wait to wrap everything up- another favorite part of this time of year.
This month is already packed to the brim with fun and festivities but I honestly cannot wait. Having the shopping done leaves room for more fun and less stress. I've got two holiday parties on the calendar, a day of baking, a Christmas musical/play, 4 separate actual Christmas get-togethers with family and I know there will be more! Bring it on, December- I'm ready to celebrate all month long :)

Much to Be Thankful For

I hope everyone had an enjoyable, festive long weekend! I worked Wednesday, Friday and Sunday but had Thursday and Saturday off- it made for a very confusing and odd schedule but we still snuck in plenty of fun with family and ate entirely too much food.
Love this woman so much!
We spent most of Thanksgiving day at my Mamaw's house- for the first time without Papaw. It was strange not to have him sitting at the head of the table, hollering down for us to fill our plates with seconds and thirds but we still enjoyed being together so much that day. Although we missed him, there are so many amazing things going on in our families to be thankful for. Life truly does go on and we can cling to the happy memories and enjoy our time together. I loved getting to see my cousins and their kiddos and was proud to see my dad who has lost 30 pounds since his birthday in September!!
My Papaw actually made that house! We played with it as kids :)

We rounded out Thanksgiving evening by heading to Jared's parents house for even more delicious food. I only snapped one photo that night- proof that we were in food comas and I pretty much parked it on the couch to watch football after dinner ;)

Our house is almost ready for Christmas. We got our festive candles out and the initial decorating started but Jared came down with a fever over the weekend and wasn't feeling so hot so we'll have to finish up the tree this week once he's on the mend. Hopefully soon!

Jared actually stayed home from a Bengals game yesterday, so you KNOW he must not have been feeling well. At least he got to watch that win from the comfort of our couch- WHODEY :) 

Plan In Color - SALE!

Hey all! I know most of you are out and about shopping or just enjoying the long weekend, but since I'm in the office I figured I'd shout out a quick reminder. Our Etsy shop has a great Black Friday deal going all day today, the biggest discount we've offered yet! 

Now's the chance to stock up for 2016 and have your planner stickers ready for the new year.

Enjoy :)

Thankful Heart

A lot of you might not be around today or the next few days but I still wanted to post about the things I'm feeling especially thankful for this time of year. I hope you're getting more time off than me and spending quality time with all your favorite people :)

Though I'll get just one quick day away from this job, I AM thankful for it. It pays our bills, it's helped us pay off our student loans, the benefits can't be beat and the job security is incredible. 

I'm thankful for social media. Sure, it can be a negative thing if you make it- but it's nice to have information, people, stores, brands and opinions at your fingertips - when you want it ;)

I'm thankful every day for the safety and health of my family. I don't take either of those things lightly in the crazy world we live in today.

I'm thankful for my network of connections. It's amazing how someone you met years ago will be that missing link to getting something done, making a deal come together, etc! Pretty cool how that works sometimes.

I'm thankful for Amazon Prime. Lazy/busy person's dream come true.

I'm thankful for Jared and for our marriage. It is constantly growing and evolving into something better and better.

I'm thankful for a church that challenges and inspires us week after week. I'm thankful it's a place that gives us opportunities to give back in our community as well.

I'm thankful for mashed potatoes--- there, I said it. I've been daydreaming about the ones I will be eating tomorrow for about two weeks now.

I'm thankful for the 28 years I had with my Papaw. This will be our first holiday without him and I've been thinking about him a lot lately. I miss him but I'm so glad I had years and years of amazing memories with him.

I'm thankful for this blog. For the opportunities it's brought, for the friendships it has created and for the creative outlet it provides.

I'm feeling extra thankful this week for all that has been given to me in this life. I need to remember these little things a little more often, I know. I live an easy life and know I'm too quick to complain about minuscule things. Here's to being more thankful year-round.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, friends! 

Jared's Nerdy 30

When I was planning a surprise for Jared's 30th birthday it involved a lot of scheming, a lot of trickery and a little bit of creativity. He'd already made me promise not to do some huge party and I'd assured him I wasn't. I don't think 12 people out having fun together is a huge party, do you? ;) After tossing around a zillion and one options, I landed on hosting a "Nerdy 30" at a local place that just opened up in Cincinnati - Scene75. It's got arcade games, laser tag, mini-golf, bowling, food- you name it, it's there! 

Jared had mentioned this place a couple months prior to it opening so I knew he'd be excited to check it out. I told him we were going on a double date with his brother/sister-in-law and that it was nerd themed. Side story- in college, Jared and I went on a handful of themed dates together. We were poor and there was nothing better to do in our tiny college town so we'd dress up like nerds, emo kids, etc and go out on the town. So, it wasn't too difficult to convince Jared to throw on some nerdy gear for a night of fun.

Once we got there I quickly chatted with a host to "get a table" but then we headed back to a private party room and "SURPRISE!" - Jared didn't see it coming at all, which made me SO happy. It was the perfect group of friends and I know he loved getting to catch up with some buddies that we don't see all that often. All our friends were awesome and got into character as well- I was so proud :)

We had about an hour in the party room to enjoy the (delicious!) food and a cookie cake before we headed out for a round of laser tag and an insane 9 holes of glowing, 3D mini-golf. 

After that we all wandered from game to game, area to area and honestly just had fun attracting a few stares and being the grown-up nerds that we all are. 

The night couldn't have been more perfect. My favorite part of the night was honestly just watching Jared laugh and have a great time with all his favorite people for a few hours. I was so glad everyone was able to come and that Scene75 was so much fun! We will definitely go back again, even if we aren't dressed as nerds next time ;)