Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Questions For the Start of a New Year

Good morning! 

Today is my "Monday" - I was off yesterday with Teddy for MLK day.  I scheduled a follow up with this allergist to see if he has outgrown his egg allergy, which meant lots of poking for him.  To ease the pain of that situation, we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo beforehand and had a trip to Wiener Circle.  It was a blast, to be honest.  Freezing cold, but a blast 😀. Two weeks now until we find out if he can enjoy some egg casserole with the rest of us! 

I heard about this list of Questions for the Start of a New Year on The Lazy Genius Podcast.  I guess I listen to a lot of Podcasts now?? Let's dive in. 

1) What is my favorite memory from last year? 

I can't pick just one.  While 2021 was not what I think a lot of us hoped it would be, our family did have a lot of good times. I would say my favorite memories all revolve around some little trips we took:  Holland, Michigan and Mackinaw Island in the summer, Maine and Gatlinburg in the Fall.  

2) What was the most restful thing I did? 

Um... took A LOT of naps? Seriously. So many naps. I have a love/hate relationship with naps. I love them because I feel like I wake up a new person, so much more rested and ready to conquer the rest of the day. On the other hand, I hate the "productivity" I feel like I am losing while I nap. 

3) What is the most energizing thing I did?

Riding the Peloton! We got a Peloton bike in January 2021.  I have enjoyed the heck out of that thing. I always say it's like an exercise video game.  My favorite instructors are Robin and Cody.  

4) What am I glad I tried? 

I'm going to cheat here and say I am glad that I tried...putting Teddy into Tae Kwon Do.  It's hard to believe that he only started last Spring because it has become his absolute most favorite thing. 

5) What relationship brought me joy? 

Making friends with some of the parents at Teddy's school and also at my kids' extra-curricular activities.  

6) What experience brought me joy? 

Long walks outside periodically to listen to Podcasts were definitely a sweet spot.  Other than that, I would say see #1 😀. 

7) What was my favorite place? 

In the middle of the year, some days I would go and work at a coffee shop here in town called Coco & Blu. Sometimes the change of scenery for a yummy drink and a quiche will do me good. 

8) What was my favorite outfit?

Ooooo this is fun. I am now the proud owner of a lineup of cozy sweaters.  Give me a cozy sweater and a pair of Wit & Wisdom jeans, with either my UGG boots or my new Marc Fisher boots, and I am a happy girl. 

9) What was my favorite book/show/movie? 

I really did not do a good job of keeping track of the books I read in 2021. I enjoyed reading Isaac Mizrahi's memoir - IM. That was a good one. 

So many good shows!! I loved Mare of Easttown and right now, I'm enjoying And Just Like That.  It feels like a warm hug from the past. 

Movie? Kids movies... at the movie theater. Encanto. 

10) What was my favorite part of the day? 

Always the early morning, first sip of coffee feeling. 

11) What has changed in me that I am proud of? 

Keeping an open mind. 

12) What made me laugh?

The Big Boo Cast (my favorite Podcast) & Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Also, tons and tons of funny things said by my little girl Joey. 

13) What was something that felt hard at the beginning of last year but is easier now? 

Accepting the constantly changing news and protocols on COVID-19? 😂

14) What am I glad I finished? 

Potty training Joey Lucy!!!!!!!!

15) What is something I'm really glad happened? 

Teddy's 5th Birthday Party - Superhero Extravaganza 😀. Christmas spent with lots of family. 

16) What did I miss? 

Working downtown surrounded by work friends.  

17) Who did I miss? 

See #16.

18) What made me feel like myself? 

Getting my hair done at my favorite salon (Salon Buzz).  That is probably a vain answer, but it's the truth. Nobody does blonde like them. 

19) What words would I use to describe last year? 

Not what I expected, but lots of good. 

20) What words would I use to describe myself in the past year?


21) What mattered most last year?

Keeping home the "safest" and most comfortable place.  

22) What didn't matter as much as a I thought it would?

Perfection - sometimes done at 90% is better than striving for 100%. 

23) What did I learn about myself in the last year?

That I can be really hard on myself, and I need to work on that. 

24) How do I feel about myself after this last year? 

The only word that comes to mind is OK 😂.  See #23. 

25) How do I want to feel about myself next year?

I suppose a good goal would be "better than OK" 😂. 

26) What do I want to bring from last year into this year?

Traveling to some new places domestically with my family.

27) What do I think will matter this year? 

Keeping the faith and always having a hopeful mindset. 

28) What habits/rituals/rhythms do I hope for? 

Exercising in the mornings, "eating the frog" after that (getting my most important work task out of the way first thing in the workday), and outsourcing/delegating/automating as much as possible for things that suck a lot of my time out of my days. 

29) What do I want to finish/start? 

    a. Finish? More books - maybe one a month. 

    b. Start? Blogging again ✅

30) Based on my last year, what advice would I want to give myself moving into this year? 

Your happiness should not always be based upon everything going as planned/expected. 


Wow!! I cannot believe I answered all 30 questions. If you read all my answers, thanks for being here! 

Have a fantastic Tuesday!



Monday, January 17, 2022

Joey Lucy is 3

Good morning! 

It's been a long time since I have blogged.  I love reading blogs, and I still do read my favorites every morning, but I'm not so sure how many other people are still stopping by to read these things. 

So...if you are reading today - hi! 


I need to send a huge shout out to Dusten Modjeska for recovering my blog!! It got lost for a minute there.  He found it.  Thank you!!

P.S. I am not going to filter my pictures for my post...welcome to 2009... you're welcome 😉!


Since we last spoke here, we have welcomed our little girl and a whole lot of other change into our lives.  

Josephine Lucy Miller was born on a negative temperature day in January 2019.   I still feel awful that I have give this girl a birthday right after Christmas, especially since she was an IVF baby and you think we could have timed it better. It took me quite a while after having Teddy to feel ready to have another baby, so when I was ready, I just had to get it done and not worry about the timing of her party day.  

In the spirit of catching you up, since my last post, I have also changed jobs.  I left private practice after being with the same firm for 10 years to go in house for an insurance company.  It has now been over two years with that company and I still feel that I have been very lucky for this new opportunity.  

We are still (STILL! UGH!!!) dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic and I have switched to almost exclusively working from home, which has been a huge blessing for my kids, but it's also been an adjustment for me personally.  I started going back into my office once a week sometime towards the end of 2021, which I have really enjoyed.  Going into the city, while not really necessary to get my work done at this point, gives me a totally different energy! 

We still live in the same house. I adore our neighborhood, everything about it.  I would like to get some more space on this house, maybe even my own office, but that is a conversation for a different day (talk to my husband, please 😅).

Now that we have caught up.... my purpose for coming on here today was to share a little bit about Joey's third birthday with you. 

On the morning of my kids' birthdays, I like to decorate a little bit and give them their gift(s).  (I always get a balloon garland and a banner on Etsy!)

Joey is super into playing bakery, always serving us cake and cupcakes, so we got her a little Patisserie with a cart (huge success!). Apparently, it was a pain to put together, but I would say it's been worth it. 

Joey's daycare does a great job of making their birthdays special.  A special sign/banner, blow up birthday cake, presents, friends...and cupcakes, of course! 

After daycare, we had Oma & Uncle Steve over for pasta (from Nino's) and.... more cake! 

Saturday morning, it was our girl's party day!  She loved her Paw Patrol bow and necklace (shocker...also from Etsy!). 

Joey's favorite place in Arlington Heights is BerryYo Frozen Yogurt. My mom (her "Oma") started taking Joey to BerryYo after daycare a long time ago and Joey has become quite the little celebrity there. 

We decided to go with a Paw Patrol theme about six months ago.  It's a miracle she didn't change her mind on that one 😀.

I swear, I tried to keep this party as simple as possible after the Superhero extravaganza we hosted for Teddy's 5th birthday at our house last summer.  Which was incredible.  But nearly put me in the bed. 

I called in Happy Kids Chicago to do 30 minute dance party with Chase & Skye, picked up cupcakes from Deerfield Bakery, and ordered Papa Johns.  Is there really anything easier or more reliable than Papa Johns?! 

Party hack for you, I always get bouquets from the grocery store and split them up into multiple mason jars for centerpieces. 

One game changer about this party was that BerryYo helped out so much.  They put together gift bags, helped me decorate before the party, coordinated and ran activities for the kids at the party, and even helped me box things up and take them out to my car after the party.  I mean... wow! 

If you have young kids, these character rentals really seem to make the party and you get a lot of bang for your buck! 

Don't @ me about all the sugar, okay?!

I almost cannot believe we pulled this party off.  It really did feel like so many factors where playing against us.  But, we did it!

Some more party hacks for you:

1) Listen to the "How to be Awesome at Everything" Podcast - she has some awesome episodes about throwing kids parties.  Also follow her on Instagram @lindsayscloud because she has highlights of her kids' prior parties.  

2) SAVE things from your kids' parties... I have re-used so much over the years at future parties, you would be surprised. 

3) Dollar tree for the balloons!! Seriously!

4) Dollar tree first before going to Party City.  And you can make that stop the day before the party, then you will really know exactly what you need and how much of it to buy!

5) Have your pizza place double cut your pizza (if it's triangle slices). Perfect kids' sized pieces! 

6) 11AM is the best party start time, in my humble opinion 😉.

Thanks for stopping by to read today! 



Thursday, December 6, 2018

Newborn Baby Favorites

Hi Friends!

In case you didn't know, we are expecting a baby girl VERY soon!

I swear I have had amnesia about what I need to have around the house for a newborn baby.  I stumbled upon a list of items I made for a friend buried deep in my outbox, so I thought I would share.

First and foremost, I am obsessed with Moms On Call as my go-to resource for everything schedule, health, and parenting philosophy related.  I bought the set of 3 books before Teddy was born and used their schedules like my bible. They also have a super helpful app you can download (schedules) and following their Instagram is amazing too.  I am not positive if it was the MOC schedules or just his nature, but Teddy was an amazing sleeper and still is to this day.  Their health guides (common illnesses, etc.) were also great to alleviate some postpartum anxiety when little problems would come up with Teddy as a newborn.  GET THE BOOKS! :)

Feeding: Teddy wasn't having wet diapers at the hospital, despite all my efforts to feed him and getting help from the lactation consultant at the hospital.  I gave him some ready-to-feed formula (see below) to supplement until my milk came in.  I tried hard to nurse him once that happened, but he was falling asleep every dang time and he was simply not getting enough to eat because of it. I made the hard decision to exclusively pump and it was a total rollercoaster.  I pumped up until we went on vacation at 8 months, then used a frozen stash for about another month, then switched him to Baby's Only Organic formula (no, it is not for Toddlers) until age 1. He had no problem transitioning to regular milk at that point.  I am hoping nursing goes better with Baby #2, but I know there is no way to plan for what may happen, so I have to be open to all options to get her fed!

Preemie Nipples - get in case you have a chugger. 

Bottle Brush (buy 2, you have to replace often)

Similac Ready to Feed 2 oz Bottles ( just have for right when you get home from hospital so that you can give baby something easy in a pinch until you figure out how breastfeeding goes or what kind of formula you want to give baby)

PackIt Cooler (available in all types of patterns, designs)

High Chair (we didn't start using until about 5 months)

Green Sprouts Burp Cloths

Bibs - you'll want something with a waterproof backing to start like these

Medela Sterilizer Bags, I went through tons - get 2 to 4 packages. 

Medela Quick Clean Wipes - buy two packs. 

Long Handle Spoons (you won't use until between 4-6 months).

Bowls - we just use little bowls we have on hand that can go on the microwave. 

Breastfeeding Specific Items:  
{Before I even start this list, one of the best pieces of advice I got from a friend (thanks, Stacia!!) was to TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR NIPPLES, from DAY ONE!! You need to baby them like you're babying your baby.  I exclusively pumped with Teddy, and I would put my boob-ease (see below) on both BEFORE and AFTER pumping, then I would always use a nursing pad to cushion before putting on my nursing bra. I never had problems with blistering, etc. and I was lucky enough to avoid mastitis.}
Pump (Medela Pump In Style) - if you pump a lot, consider renting a hospital grade pump, like the Medela Symphony (you probably won't know if you'll need a hospital grade until she's born and you see how much you will be nursing versus pumping). 

Medela Car Adapter (lifesaver!!!!) 

Hands Free Bra (get two): this one is the best

Boob-ease - I preferred this over Lanolin.  Use it every time you nurse/pump.  If nursing, you can apply after to soothe nipples.  If pumping, apply before and after. Get two pots of it, one for each floor. This is all natural and does not need to be wiped off before feeding/pumping

Lanolin this stuff is good (get two tubes - one for each floor).  I think it's good to have Lanolin on hand.  It has other uses besides a nipple cream, you can use it on chapped baby lips, for example. 

Nursing Pads - these Lansinoh ones were my favorite. Use them to prevent leaks, but also for comfort on your nipples.  Change them often.  Buy lots. 

Breast Friend if you plan to nurse, people swear this is better than the Boppy. 

Soft Shells are amazing when your nipples are sore.  

Breast milk storage bags - I swore by the Kiinde Twist, Lansinoh are cheaper. 

If you use the Kiinde system this organizer was great for initial freezing. 

Nursing tanks. 

Nursing sleep bras. Get at least two of these, more if you can. 

Nicer nursing bras - the cake brand at Nordstrom is nice.  If you can tolerate an underwire nursing bra (some say these give them clogs), Nordstrom will take any bra you want and alter it to make it a nursing bra. 

Milk Snob nursing cover, doubles as a car seat cover, etc. 
Baby bath tub - this Angelcare one worked great for us up to 6 months. 

You'll want a padded kneeler to save your knees. 

Bath thermometer - keep the temp between 90 and 100 degrees. 

Bath toys, little duckies or something. You don't need a ton. 

Hooded Towels (lots!!) & wash cloths (lots!!).  Keep a warm washcloth on baby as soon as you put him/her in the tub, drape it across belly to keep warm, trust me! :) 

Get a very mild soap/shampoo - I would recommend this Eucerin or Honest Company (available at Costco!!).  A little goes a long way. You don't want to use a lot of soap on them, their skin dries out VERY fast. 

Soft baby brush & comb - use the soft brush on her head every bath and scrub a little to avoid cradle cap. 

Slather baby in lotion after every bath, trust me! Don't forget the cheeks. I am obsessed with this Eucerin lotion, which I still use on Teddy nightly.  We go through tons, so if you like it, stock up. 

Diaper cream - I would suggest Desitin extra strength.  They have it at Costco!! 

Aquaphor, get some. 

Vaseline - get a big tub. 

Diaper Genie - do yourself a favor and get two, one for each floor. Stock up on the bag refills, you can apparently buy them at Costco, but I have never seen them at ours. 

LOTS of wipes & diapers. I swear by Pampers Swaddlers diapers, but everyone is different. The Kirkland brand wipes at Costco are very good and mild on skin. 

Skip the wipe warmer, if you don't get baby used to warm wipes. Baby will tolerate cold ones and you avoid issues when you're out and about and only have cold wipes. 

Changing pad & cover.  Get a soft cover like this one.   

Cheap, old fashioned, cloth diapers (like the Gerber ones at Target) - use as extra burp cloths, to clean up messes, for under baby when changing diaper. 

Diaper caddy like this one - good to have for downstairs. 

Diaper bag - I have this backpack, which I love. 
Baby monitor. You will want a video monitor.  Our first one was horrible, I am looking to buy this Infant Optics monitor for Baby #2. 

Rectal thermometer - (we used this one). The only way to accurately take an infant's temperature is rectally. They don't mind it. Watch your pediatrician do it once. You can buy little alcohol wipes to clean the tip and put a little vaseline on before use.

Shopping cart cover like this, because shopping carts are gross. 

These antibacterial wipes are amazing. Wipe down high chairs, toys that fall on the ground, etc. 

I personally think these pacifiers are the best for newborns.  Don't be a hero, use them! :) 

Have some infant tylenol on hand, you can call the doctor for dosing. 

Have some infant benedryl on hand, you can call the doctor for dosing.

If you exclusively breastfeed, you need to give Vitamin D drops daily, ask your pediatrician about this at your initial appointment. 

Other things we used on occasion were Lotramin AF (for bumpy diaper rash with doctor's approval), 1% hydrocortisone cream (used on drool rash, get doctor's approval). 

Nose Frida is a MUST HAVE.  Don't waste your time with those stupid bulb syringes.  Get the extra filters.  BE BRAVE!!

Saline Spray

Cool Mist Humidifier this one is good. We use ours every night in his room.

Baby mittens - use to prevent baby from scratching her face. You can also use socks. 

Baby sunscreen & bug spray - just good to have on hand for summer babies. 

Toy for car seat/stroller (one that attaches) 

You definitely need a play gym - we loved this one.

Sophie la Giraffe here, do not submerse in water or she will get moldy. 

Teethers like these Razberry ones or ones you can freeze. 

Pacifier clips.  You can also use to clip toys, etc. 
Strollers/Car Seats:  
There are many amazing options.  I do recommend a travel set. Buy two bases if you have two cars for the infant seat. To give you an idea...

We bought the NUNA PIPA car seat and Nuna MIXX stroller. 

Skip a jogging stroller unless you are a runner :)

An umbrella stroller is a great thing to have for traveling (like on a plane...). 

Get a stroller organizer for your phone/keys.

Car set cover - shade them from the sun.You can use the milk snob (see above). 

Take your car seat and base to a fire station or other location to check that it is installed right. Taking one car in is fine, you'll get the idea. 

Car mirrors like this one, buy two (one for each car). 

Window shades like these

I love these stroller blankets. 
Pack-N-Play: we love our Graco one, set it up in the living room and use as a diaper changing station when they are little



Bouncy Seat (any kind will do, just make sure you have one!)

Baby carrier - I would recommend this Ergobaby for a summer baby. 

Floor tiles like these are nice to have. 

Jumper like this, they won't use until 4 months at the earliest. 

Nursery/Sleeping:  We had Teddy sleeping in a mamaroo for the first two weeks and the pediatrician was horrified and told us it was SO unsafe and we needed to move him to his crib ASAP.  Eeek!! We bit the bullet and put him in his crib, swaddled, at two weeks and never looked back. Best decision ever.  This time, I have borrowed a bassinet for the first couple of weeks and then we will see if we are ready to move to the crib.
Crib & crib mattress - I feel pretty strongly about this mattress, but it's pricey. We did buy an extra mattress cover in case of a middle of the night mess.  

Breathable fitted sheets - these aden + anais were my favorite. 

Dresser and/or changing table. 

Gliding/rocking/reclining chair with a pillow and supersoft blanket. Make sure to have a little table next to it for water, a light, etc. for you. 

I wish we would have registered for a bassinet. (We have borrowed one from a friend this time!! Thanks, MB!!) 

Different swaddles - definitely get HALO Sleepsacks (buy 2 in Newborn & 2 in Small) and we also liked the SwaddleMe ones. 

Noise machine - we have loved this one


Baby hangers if you have a closet - get lots, they are cheap. 

Swaddle Blankets these were my favorite. Have several. 

Boppy Lounger is fantastic for naps and lounging when they are really little. 

For under 3 months, we lived in onesies and sleeper pajamas. Have a few fun outfits, but mostly, you just want baby to be comfortable. 

Baby socks.

Get a weather-appropriate hat for walks outside. 

Teddy was a summer baby, so this time around we are in a totally different ball game with a January due date.  A winter must-have for babies is a Bundle Me for the car seat, that way you don't have to worry so much about putting baby in super warm clothing when you go out.

I hope this helps someone out there, or maybe you can pass this on to a friend!