Today

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I’ve been quiet around here, but today I had to speak my mind. I wanted to document my feelings on this important election. My heart is heavy. I never thought that this could happen, and that makes me feel even worse.

I’m not looking to debate or fight. This is my opinion.

I got very little sleep last night. I cried in bed as I listened to my innocent baby boy sigh in his sleep. I feared for our future. I felt unsafe.

Last night’s results have made our role as parents much harder…it is up to us to instill respect and love of all humans in a world where our leader does not do the same. We took many steps back in the rights of the LGBT community, minorities, women, those struggling with mental health issues, and special need citizens…not to mention the respect of all human kind in general.

It is heartbreaking and I will continue to push toward correcting it in my own way. You can do the same, spread love, volunteer, donate, build a community…

Today is a new day, together we can do this. We can teach love, kindness, hope, and acceptance: that choice has not been robbed from us.

 
 
 
 

PSA: Back it Up!

Three Monday’s ago I woke up and began my day like every other week day morning. I sat down at my 2009 Macbook Pro with a strong cup of coffee and was ready to start posting updates on social media for my job. My laptop was turned off, which is odd, I usually always just leave it on. I thought perhaps it had done an automatic software update in the middle of the night. I turned it on and waited. As my computer was approaching the end of it’s dear life (7 years is ancient in Apple terms) I stepped away while it did its slow start up. 

When I came back I was met with this on my screen:

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Panic set in. 

I stupidly restarted my computer and messed around with it, googling home fixes on my phone, for a good 3 hours. I was in denial. I didn’t want to go to the Apple store. I thought I could just fix it up myself. Now I know, if you are met with the screen of confused doom, pack up your computer and go straight to the Apple store. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go. The more you mess around with your computer, the worse the damage gets. 

And like a totally basic 30 something woman I compared my life crisis to a Sex and the City episode – the one where Carrie’s computer crashes and she has nothing backed up and it’s told in parallel to the death of Miranda’s mother.

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I finally made an appointment and dragged myself to the mall. Ryan was off work, so he and Wyatt joined me. I still was hopeful that the geniuses at Apple would fix me right up. We sat up at the bar, anxiously waiting to hear my computer’s fate. They guy next to me had a similar issue. When his genius came back out with his fully fixed computer and chided him to back up his work everyday, I sighed with relief. Everything was going to be okay.

When my “genius” came out I was ready with my whole sob story of what happened and what I already tried to do to fix it, trying to sound like I knew what was going on. The young and confident boy (he was really young!) said, “Okay, let’s just open it with our diagnostics tools”. Two minutes later he matter-of-factly said “Yep, it’s your hard dive. It’s corrupted. And since your computer is more than five years old, we don’t service it anymore.” I stared at him blankly. He stared back. “That’s it?” I whispered. He proceeded to talk to me about the importance of backing up while I held back tears. It’s a little too late for a back up reminder buddy. You’re called a genius, why can’t you fix it?!!?!

He handed me a business card for a company in California that retrieves files from corrupted hard drives cleverly named, Drive Savers. I started to cry despite Ryan whispering to me , “Don’t cry in here, babe.” 

“But…but…all my baby’s photos are on there! I’m self-employed, all my work files are on there!” I was very upset that the kid didn’t respond with any sympathy. To him I was the idiot 30 something who didn’t back up her computer for 7 years. I could see him internally rolling his eyes at me. 

I packed up my sad little laptop and exited the store like a sad puppy with her tail between her legs. Out in the car I called Drive Savers to learn about how they could help me. When they quoted me anywhere between $1,200 to $3,200 I wanted to vomit.

Instead, I bawled. I felt like I was mourning. Everything was on that computer. There was no way I couldn’t try to get it back. Mourning the potential loss of every single photo I took.

I love taking photos in take pride in editing them and saving them and documenting everything. How could I let this happen? I emailed my boss and told him I wouldn’t be able to get much work done this week because one I didn’t have a computer and two I didn’t have any of my files. Luckily he was extremely understanding. 

Drive Savers overnighted me a fed ex box to ship my computer away in and I purchased an external hard drive so they could back up my hopefully restorable files on it. When the shipping box arrived the next day, I packed my dear little Macbook Pro into it like a coffin and shipped it away wishing for the best. 

A week later I got the call. Most files were redeemable! And my credit card had a profound balance on it. 

I’m not working on a brand new I mac and lovingly staring at all of Wyatt’s newborn photos comforted by the fact that I now have three back ups of everything. 

Backing up my hard drive was always something I said I’d “do tomorrow” about. Stupid. Do it. By an external hard drive. By some online cloud storage and do it today. 

Introducing: That Darling Boutique

On Friday I teased about a big announcement. I’ve been holding my breath all weekend, excited to tell you: I’ve gone and done it! I’ve opened my very own Etsy shop. I’m happy to introduce my new baby, MY store: That Darling Boutique.

I am open for business and am selling handmade ribbon pennant banners, high chair banners, tie banners, name banners, as well as all sorts of invites and other party stationary available for digital download. 

I’m full of fear, excitement, anxiety, and joy! This has been a long time coming. It’s something I’ve talked about for at least 4 years, but my fear of failure and the fear of starting always got the best of me.

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Earlier this summer I hosted my brother in law’s girlfriend’s baby shower. I know that most people roll their eyes at showers – at the tedious decorations, the details, the food, the silly games, the ceremony of opening gifts, but I love them.

I believe we should always jump on the chance to celebrating with loved ones. And regarding showers; I believe that supporting other women as they enter a new chapter in their lives should only be met with grace and joy. 

So, when I was asked to do the decorations for my soon to be niece’s shower I jumped on it! I couldn’t wait to pick out a theme and get started crafting.

It’s relaxing for me, creating something beautiful with my hands. I find pleasure in knowing that although this decor will only be temporary, the smile it may bring to the guest’s face or the added unique burst of color it will add to a fun celebration makes it all worthwhile. 

So I decided to open up a shop. To share my lovely custom designs with everyone.

Each piece is made with love and each piece can be custom-made. I soon hope to receive messages like, “I’m throwing a whale themed party, can you help me out?” Are you that person that is too busy to handle the details of a party you are hosting or just don’t know where to begin? Let me help!

In the meantime I’ve been working away on creating a variety of banners. My living room is full of ribbon and it just makes me smile!

Life is always worth celebrating! Whether it’s a birthday, retirement or graduation party, bridal or baby shower, or simply a fun summer get together, why not make it extra special? Why waste your money on vinyl or cheap paper decorations when you can get a quality custom-made piece (that you could also use again and again?) for just a little bit more money? 

Please check out and share my shop

And also follow along on Facebook.

I’m offering 15% off any order for my “Grand Opening” with the code “celebrate15” until August 15.

Thank you so much for your support!

Summertime and the Living is Busy

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Remember when summer was all about, lounging around in your PJ’s all morning, lazy days at the pool, reading through a pile of books, and catching fireflies at dusk? Those were the days.

Ever since we returned from our beach vacation it feels like our lives have been on fast forward and I’ve barely been able to catch my breath, hence my absence from these parts. Summer is home of the longest days yet they are flying by!

Here’s a few updates from the MacDonald household:

  • Working from home with a 10 month old is like working 10 jobs at once. I feel like I’m the Queen of Multitasking yet everything always feels half done.
  • Wyatt is growing up SO fast. He’s constantly on the go and I swear he will be walking any day now. He keeps me on my toes as he wants to get into everything. He thinks the word “No” is funny. Other things he thinks his funny; chasing Maggie around the house, pulling all the books of book shelves, pulling out the toiletries from under the bathroom sink, dumping at the dog bowls, feeding Maggie all of his food, banging the TV remote on everything, and blowing raspberries on my thighs. 
  • It really is the most fun age yet though. His sweet and curious personality is contagious and each day we learn something new together. He’s such a mama’s boy!
  • I’ve taken on more responsibility with my new job; and I absolutely love it. For those that don’t know, I work for a non-profit orchestra that focuses on music education in underserved school (a cause close to my heart) It’s amazing working a job that I truly feel connected to. I’m so much happier now than I was just two months ago. 
  • After Ryan got his job offer we started the daunting task of shopping for a house. Only to find out a week later that the dream of owning our own home will be one that will have to continue to be on the back burner for a while longer. Turns out that my income cannot count toward our total household income because I’m self-employed and have only been working this job for two months AND they count one’s TOTAL student loan debt (not the income based payments we make on Ryan’s astronomical student loans). I keep telling myself that good things come to those who wait. 
  • We are experiencing some very HOT days lately and I”m so thankful that we have my Pop-Pop’s pool to go to. Wyatt loves the water and never wants to get out. 
  • Lastly, I have a special announcement I will be making on Monday!! (not pregnant) I’ve been very busy behind the scenes and can’t wait to share what I’ve been up to with all of you! Stay tuned!

As always, follow along on Instagram to follow along with our every day moments! 

2015: In Summary

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The best way to sum up my year:

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From finding out I was pregnant on January fourth, to growing a baby for nine months, and finally meeting him on September 7, this has been my best year yet. I’m excited to see what 2016 holds for our little family. 

I wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy New Year! 

 

Wyatt: One Month

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On Wednesday, Wyatt turned one month old!!!

I can’t believe that it has been one whole month since our sweet baby rocked our world and I became a mother. Sometimes it feels like the days and weeks went by in the blink of an eye. Other times it feels like Wyatt has always been a part of our lives. 

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He is changing so much every single day. Each morning I feel like I’m greeted by a new baby. He’s becoming much more alert and focussing on our faces and voices. He’s growing long and filling out and his hair is getting thicker. You can tell that he is learning to process something new each day and loves to explore his new world. 

This first month has been full of emotions. I keep telling people that the highs are high and the lows are low. It’s so overwhelming to expereince this strange and wonderful love that I’ve never felt before. Add in a mix of exhaustion and anxiety and hormones galore and you’ve got a hot mess of a new mama. I think I cried more than Wyatt during our first week at home. The first few weeks really are all about survival, but here we are, one month in and everyone is alive and healthy.

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I hope to continue blogging about things other than motherhood, but this is where my life is right now. I try to spend any extra time I have snuggling up with Wyatt and really enjoying my 10 weeks of maternity leave before going back to work. Until I have some more time these updates are all I have. 

Wyatt had his one month doctor appointment today so we got his new stats:

Weight: 10 pounds 2 ounces (55%)

Length: 22.3 inches (74%) 

Hair: Dark brown

Eyes: Blue

Nicknames: Wy, Wy Guy, Buddy, Little Man, Mr. Bud

Likes: His floor mirror, laying on the ground and kicking, eating, being sung to, looking at picture books, taking walks, watching mommy make faces, being in the moby wrap.  

Dislikes: Getting changed, getting into his car seat, sleeping in his bassinent at night. 

Clothing and Diapers: Our little guy is still wearing newborn clothes and diapers, although he is a little too tall for most of them he’s too tiny for the next size up.

Sleep: At night he sleeps in the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper attached to my side of the bed, but he prefers to fall asleep on my chest. He sleeps soundly in his swing or pack n play during the day, but for some reason refuses to be put down in the bassinet at night. Therefore, I’m not getting much sleep – around 2-3 hours a night, with a few lucky 6 hour nights thrown in because Wyatt must feel guilty some nights.

Feeding: He still hits the boob every 3 hours (or less during the day.) He’s a very good little eater and I’m so thankful that breastfeeding is going so well. 

Play: Wyatt has about 45 minutes of “active” play time a day. He spends it on his activity mat staring at himself in the mirror, focusing on his favorite panda toy, or looking at books with mommy and daddy. His favorite is Brown Bear, Brown Bear. He also loves to be sung to and be “danced” around. He loves to stretch out and kick his little legs out. 

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What I want to remember:

Wyatt’s cute newborn coos, gurgles, and other sounds. We have one very vocal baby! He makes SO much noise while he is sleeping that I’m constantly jumping up thinking that he has woken up, but no, he’s just carrying on grunting and snorting in his dreams.

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The way Maggie gets concerned over him. Yes, she’s also madly jealous, but she also loves him. 

Sometimes after he sneezes Wyatt does this adorable baby sigh, “Ahhhhh”. I’ve tried so hard to catch it on video, but have yet been quick enough to do so. 

The way his eyes open so wide when he’s looking at me and the tight feeling I get in my chest when I know that this is my whole world. 

The soft baby snuggles and him sleeping peacefully on my chest. 

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How tiny his little fingers and toes and everything else is.

The feeling that I’m doing something right  in the way that he really needs me right now. I try to remember that one day he won’t need me as much and I’ll treasure these days that he’s attached to me.

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Dear Wyatt,

You’ve filled our lives with so much love. I can’t imagine this world without you. I know this month has been scary for you. You have so many new things to think about (eating, pooping, burping, looking at everything) but I hope you know that I am here to always keep you safe and love you.

You are my newest best friend and I can’t wait to continue exploring the world with you.I never knew my world could grow both larger and smaller, but you’ve really altered my perspective. So, we really will be exploring a new world together. You are a good sport as Mommy and Daddy learn what your different cries mean and the best way to take care of you.

So many people love you, Wyatt. You have a huge circle of support. I hope you can feel that love.

I want you to keep growing and changing and I can’t wait to see your personality develop and to be rewarded with your first smile. Yet, I want you to stay little forever. Love you, wy guy! You are the best gift I can ever imagine.

Now time for picture overload!

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Local Celebrities: Tell Me About Your Town

Every month, my good blogger friend Amanda from Amanda Moments, hosts a fun link up called “Tell Me About Your Town” and this month I’m co-hosting with her!

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When she first introduced this link up last Fall I knew that I wanted to co-host one month. I’m connected to so many bloggers across the country (and the world!) and this is a fun way to hear personal regional stories and learn interesting quirks about towns from all over.

This month we are talking about local celebrities or claims to fame.

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I live in Lancaster, PA and our region’s biggest “claim to fame” is the Amish community that is settled here. I can’t tell you how many times during college or when I lived elsewhere in the US that I had to utter the words, “No, I’m not Amish” after telling people where I was born and raised. 

Every year Lancaster attracts about 8.3 million tourists. They come in droves to gape at the thousands of Amish living a plain lifestyle. 

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No electricity, no cars, no modern farm equipment, no phones, and dark, heavy plain clothes are the norm and fascinate many tourists. There are countless horse and buggy tours, ways to explore working farms, and of course lots of shopping for Amish made crafts, woodwork items, and food. Now that it is summer, tourist season is officially upon us. They are so easy to spot, just watch for the cars driving 15 MPH on 55 MPH county roads!

Other than the Amish culture, Lancaster isn’t known for too many “celebrities”. But here are a few historical and pop culture celebrities from my neck of the woods:

Historical:

James Buchanan: (1791-1868) 15th President of the United States

Charles Demuth: (1883 – 1935) Painter

Robert Fulton: (1765 – 1815) Engineer and inventor of the steamboat

Milton S. Hershey: (1857-1945) Chocolatier and founder of the Hershey Company

Thaddeus Stevens: (1792 – 1868) U.S. Representative ardent abolitionist whom assisted Abe Lincoln

Pop Stars:     

GLEE: Jonathan Groff guest-stars as Jesse St. James in all-new episodes of GLEE premiering Tuesday, April 13 following a special expanded episode of AMERICAN IDOL on FOX. ©2010 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patrick Ecclesine/FOX

Jonathan Groff:

Actor and singer, got his start originating the role of “Melchior” in Broadway’s Spring Awakening (which I saw when both he and Lea Michelle were both starring). Went on to star in Looking, The Normal Heart, and Glee. Also known for voice work on a Disney movie you may have heard of, Frozen. 

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Taylor Kinney:

Most famous for being Lady Gaga’s fiance. She’s been spotted all over town grocery shopping and dining at local restaurants. Maybe she’ll have her wedding on some farm here? No, probably not. 

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Andy Baldwin:

Known as the bachelor on season 10 of The Bachelor. I don’t know, never watched any season of the Bachelor. 

Taylor Swift:

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And this is a bit of a stretch but since she is technically from Wyomissing, about 30 miles north of Lancaster..but CLOSE ENOUGH and because she’s my ultimate favorite I have to include her. I just saw her on Saturday night in Philly for her 1989 tour. As always she put on an amazing show and thanked her “hometown” audience endlessly for getting her to where she is. Videos from Saturday night! 

Taylor Swift Concert in Philly June 13, 2015 from KatieMacDonald on Vimeo.

The movie, Witness 

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So the one time our town had a big brush with fame was when the 1985 Harrison Ford movie Witness was filmed here. People rushed into town to stalk him and Kelly McGillis and it was a big deal. 

Even my brother got to brush shoulders with a star during the filming of Witness. Our neighbors and family friends owned a restaurant downtown at the time. Lukas Haas’s parents, the cute little Amish boy from the film, liked to hang out at their restaurant/bar.

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Our friend invited his parents to bring Lukas over to play with his daughter and my brother. So my brother ended up playing in his sandbox in our backyard with Lukas. The same Lukas Hass that would grow up and be part of Leonardo DiCaprio’s modern day “brat pack” (they actually called themselves the Pussy Posse) of celebrity bad boys. Eric doesn’t remember the incident. 

This is what he looks like now:

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I’d love to hear about celebrities from you town! Please join in on the link up (it will be active for the whole week) by copying the below image and adding your link below!

Amanda Moments

Not a blogger? Simply leave a comment and tell me about some claims to fame from where you live!

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