favorite books for baby

Not surprisingly, one of my favorite things to do with Lydia is to read books, although at the moment her wiggly self has trouble sitting still for them! While we love the old standards (Love You Forever, Dr. Seuss books, Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc.), I have fallen in love with some new favorites.

Many were gifted to us (I requested books in lieu of cards at my baby showers), and the inscriptions on the inside covers make them that much more special.


Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton 


This book is so silly, but Jim and I looove making the “beep-bo” noise (the word for belly button in this book). We say it and press Lydia’s belly button at the same time, and giggles are bound to ensue! Boynton has some great baby books if you’re looking for some silly stuff!

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal 


Gifted from Aunt Kelsey, Uncle Ben and her cousins Keaton, Lauren, and Cameron, this book is sweet and sentimental and has some very cute illustrations.

Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson & Lucy Tapper


Hedgehugs is sweet and silly, and you’ll never look at mismatched socks the same way again! I also saw more in the Hedgehugs series at Barnes & Noble that I am sure we will pick up soon.

You’re Here for a Reason by Nancy Tillman


An absolutely beautiful message (fairly self-explanatory from the title) paired with gorgeous illustrations make this a treasured book sent from our sweet friends JoJo and Bompa (same people who sent her the Lydia dolly). I would also recommend Tillman’s other books (esp. On the Night You Were Born and Wherever You Are)– they will tug at your heartstrings and the illustrations are truly lovely.

God Bless You & Goodnight by Hannah Hall


The rhyming and soft rhythm of this book paired with the content make it the perfect, sweet bedtime book!

Color Dog by Matthew Van Fleet


This board book is perfect for a handsy little one who loves touching things– there are a lot of textures, colors, and pull-outs for an interactive reading experience! Take note.. there is a bit of potty humor in this one.. but if it makes Lydia giggle, it’s okay by me. 🙂

Happy reading!


lydia’s first easter


our little bunny booty 🙂

Other than being able to be closer to the rest of our family, we could not have asked for a better first Easter for Lydia!

Saturday morning started with an early run for me, since when I got back Jim had to jet out to help orchestrate a work egg hunt and went to swim at the gym after. I used the morning to put the finishing touches on some cleaning and food prep to prepare for our visit from Aunt MaryBeth & Sung!

Jim picked them up after his swim and we enjoyed a lunch of leftover homemade pizza Jim had made the night before. I put Lydia down for her nap and it was time for the Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt of 2017!

Unfortunately, MaryBeth was too eager to help out after lunch and found her basket in the dishwasher! So, we made a few tweaks (she also found one of the clues.. little sneak!), and then the hunt was on!

The clues were as follows (props to my husband for his creativity!):

Oh lucky you, your first clue
But don’t try using your ears
Aw nuts our cows don’t moo– this clue led to the almond milk

Maria’s toy weighs about a ton
we don’t mean your brother
Although he is also one– this clue led to our car, a Honda Pilot

Green thumb, brown thumb
Yummy yummy veggies in your tum tum
Growing things is a family tradition
Especially collections In this condition– this led to the herb garden, specifically the mint where Jim had buried the clue! Of course, this was the hardest one for them to find.

Follow your nose
To wear the smelly one goes
But don’t be afraid
One for you Lydia made– this clue originally led to the diaper genie, but as Lydia was napping during the hunt, we moved it to the bathroom!

This is where your journey parts
Right here smelling of farts
Sung don’t eat the worm
MaryBeth go do what makes you squirm– this clue led Sung to the liquor cabinet and MaryBeth to the dishwasher (she despises doing her dishes!).. we changed it to the microwave and changed the clue at the last minute! 

This scavenger hunt is a tradition that Jim’s dad always did with the kids growing up, and one we are looking forward to continuing!

In Sung’s basket, we gave him a game called QuickWits, which is a fast-paced, fun card game! We spent the rest of Lydia’s nap enjoying some cocktails and playing the game.

When she woke up, she was unfortunately very crabby (I think she has a hard time adjusting when guests are at the house), so we got her outside and got some giggles on the playground to shake her out of it!

After park playtime fun, we came home to dye Easter eggs! I had hardboiled 18 eggs the day before and MB brought the dye kit, so they were ready to roll (pun intended?).


I then got Lydia her dinner and got her down to sleep just in time for our babysitter, Gen, to knock on the door. We made our way out for dinner at Fusion Bay in Collingswood, an Asian fusion restaurant.


We decided to go family style with the meal, starting off with a sushi roll and crab rangoons. The entrees included drunken noodles, chicken pad thai, and creamy sriracha shrimp. The shrimp was phenomenal– creamy, a little spicy, and crispy being tempura fried. The pad thai was also excellent and had a distinct coconut flavor that we loved. We had a Groupon for our meal and would highly recommend the food. The atmosphere was standard for an asian fusion restaurant, nothing fancy but nicely maintained. It saddened me to see how empty the place was on a Saturday night, though. I hope they can get enough foot traffic in to make it work! I am sure takeout would also be an excellent option.

We ended the night by visiting Guimarello’s, a restaurant/bar in Westmont, where we had a nightcap and also were lured into their enticing-sounding dessert menu! We shared a “paper bag”– dessert made out of a chocolate-shaped paper bag with pound cake and fruit and delicious homemade caramel sauce as well as a creme brûlée. Yum!


Our morning started on an early and groggy note, as Lydia had a tough time getting back to sleep from about 2-3:30am. However, we were determined to make it to the early Mass at our church, Christ the King (the other ones get very packed, and this was the one we knew would work with her naps and also give us time to get brunch going). We got ready quickly (Jim didn’t even have time to shower, shhh!) and made it on time. Lydia did great during the Mass and the altar looked absolutely stunning!


We got home and put Lydia down for her morning nap, and then we got busy assembling deviled eggs, cheesy potatoes, and stuck the ham in the oven.

MB & Sung went to the 9am Mass, so once they were back and Lydia was up from her nap, we did a quick photo shoot and then Lydia opened her Easter basket.


blossoms were the perfect background


fun with auntie!


adorable dolly sent from our dear friends JoJo & Bompa (my best friend’s grandparents)


with her bunny basket.. and Gus’s behind


reading “The Runaway Bunny” to my two girls!

…and then it was time to dig in!

The day was absolutely beautiful, so we were lucky enough to enjoy our meal on the deck. Lydia was clearly loving the no-clothes feast (the picture with her foot up just kills me!). After we ate, we washed her up and put her into one of her Easter gifts– a duckie splash pool!

She clearly loved it! It’s the perfect size for her and for our deck, and I love that the duck protects her with some shade. Aunt MB also brought some bubbles, so she was in her glory. After lots of splash time, our kind neighbor offered to take her for a walk so we could relax for 45 min or so kid-free. Bless her for her kindness.. we were grateful for the offer!

Before our guests had to leave, we enjoyed some Easter dirt cake, which I made with this recipe from Pinterest.


as if we needed more sugar..

We didn’t have any edible grass, so I just cut up some Easter basket grass to add to the decorating.

Then it was time to get MB & Sung on their way on their bus back to NYC. We are so grateful they came to celebrate with us, and will always remember how we spent Lydia’s first Easter with them!! It is so true that having a child makes holidays that much more magical.. I can only imagine what will be like when she is more aware of them. It’s cliche and trite to say that I feel so blessed this Easter, but I truly do. Alleluia, He is Risen!


baby update

It’s been a while since I have written anything about baby! But believe me, it’s about all I think about these days…

Last Friday marked 20 weeks. halfway through already– so. crazy.


baby o!


We saw baby move a lot on during the ultrasound, sucking his/her thumb, putting both hands on the side of his/her face (the tech called that “The Home Alone”…awesome), and as baby was moving it really helped me to register what the movements actually feel like, as they would coincide with what I was seeing on the screen as the pressure was on my belly. Anyway, baby’s measurements are ALL normal, all prenatal testing has been normal, heart rate is good. We are thankful.

I then had a ultrasound inside my uterus (not sure of the name.. but I think you get the picture?). Things looked good there for the most part, except that I have a “low-lying” placenta, which is currently covering my cervix. The tech said that in many cases, the placenta will move up and out of the way as the uterus expands. I’m hoping that since my belly/uterus is still so small, it just has a lot of growing to do. They will check it closer to my due date, and hopefully it will have resolved by then. If not, it pretty much means c-section guaranteed. I’m so, so hopeful I can have a vaginal birth, but I know that healthy baby and me is the ultimate goal. Praying, praying.. up, up, and away, pesky placenta! (not really.. I know the placenta is pretty key!)


Still keeping on! I actually joined a gym a little over a month ago and have been taking lots of classes.. Group Active, P90x Live! (INTENSE class), Group Power.. loving them. I’m to the point where I have to be careful about lying on my back, so I usually just incline a step to do my core work or use a ball. I’ve also gotten back to barre a little bit (not at my gym), and love how I feel during/after that. It’s somewhat obvious enough that my little pooch is a baby belly when I wear tight workout tops, so I’ve started to tell all the instructors and they have been very encouraging. I plan to be that girl hopping around with a basketball stomach if possible! I am not running a ton, but Jim, Roo and I did go for one today and it still felt fine. I’m sure I am slower than usual, but that’s why I no longer track timing on my runs– no need to beat myself up about time.


Still really loving sweet and salty and carby food, and not loving my veggies so much. However, they no longer turn me off, so I make myself get them in with my meals. I made Jim a German chocolate cake for his birthday and, aside from 2 pieces, he and I have tackled the whole thing the last few days… eek.

Confession: MaryBeth and her new boy came to visit over the weekend, and we went out to a BYOB italian place for a special dinner for Jim. I decided I would have a glass of red wine to celebrate. I’ve read a lot about occasional light drinking while pregnant, and I feel confident that a little bit every now and then is not going to affect anything. That glass of Apothic Red tasted SO so so good, but the next morning I felt like I had drank 8 glasses. Probably due to not sleeping well that night as well as having a huge slice of cake around 11pm as well, but it kind of made me rethink wanting that occasional glass. Kind of.


We purchased this crib last week. I initially fell in love with the design, but the reviews were outstanding as well. It is pretty inexpensive as far as cribs go, so I really hope it lasts. Jim assembled it and it seems very sturdy.

We also moved our desk into the room– we will refinish it and put the changing pad on it. It should make for a great (FREE) changing table! It’s already starting to look like a nursery up there!

On a final note, on Sunday night (Valentine’s Day!) I was laying in bed trying to drift off and I felt a feeling in my stomach that I couldn’t place. It wasn’t gas… and then I felt it again. And again. And I finally thought: that’s BABY! So yes, I can definitely say I have felt a lot of movement since then, and Jim has even been able to feel it! I thought it would take a long time to feel it on the outside, but you definitely can. It has made me smile all week when I have felt it.. hiii little one!