Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby & Co. Shower

This weekend I helped throw a darling (if I do say so myself) baby shower for my dear friend, Mindy! The shower had a Tiffany & Co. theme and was so much fun to put together!

mindy invite copy

Each guest wore a black dress and pearls, so it was super fun to take pictures!

I forgot my fancy camera (of course), so all of these are from my phone.

One of the other hostesses had an old Tiffany bag, so we put a vase in it and made into a cute flower arrangement.

iphone pics 041414 019

iphone pics 041414 021

It’s a little hard to see, but the banner has pearl beads as the “ribbon.”

iphone pics 041414 024

I picked up the most perfectly coordinated onesie from this shop on Etsy.

iphone pics 041414 025

We used a hair bow for the center tier of the diaper cake.

iphone pics 041414 027

iphone pics 041414 028

The favors were these Tiffany boxes purchased off Etsy filled with pearl sixlets from Party City.

iphone pics 041414 029

We purchased this children’s book about Audrey Hepburn for all of the guests to sign.

iphone pics 041414 030

Even the cupcakes had pearls!

iphone pics 041414 032

iphone pics 041414 033iphone pics 041414 036

It was a perfect day celebrating Mindy’s sweet baby girl!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quarterly Faves

Ha! Since clearly a weekly or monthly aggregation of my favorites from around the web wasn’t happening, I will shoot for quarterly. That has to be a loftier goal.

Sometime last year I saw Megan blog that Melanie Shankle’s book was free on Amazon for Kindle so I downloaded it.

I actually went on a trip for work sans baby, so I decided to read it. Loved it! I was literally laughing out loud on the plane…so much so that Tommy and the people around me were wondering if I was okay. I also shed a tear or two. I just loved it! It is definitely more of a beach read, but I would highly recommend it for all who need a little humor in your life.

While I haven’t read this book yet, I just downloaded it from Audible and am really interested in reading it. 10% Happier is by former GMA Reporter Dan Harris who had a panic attack live on TV and then took a journey to find out how to find peace in his life. From the reviews, it sounds a little light, yet a little deep. I will keep you all posted. 

A few weeks ago my friend April had a baby shower and they had a darling “rain shower” and I meant to take a picture because it was so cute. Of course, the picture never happened, but I came across this image on the Glue Sticks Blog and it was a pretty close replica of what she had. The site has a little tutorial in case you are interested in making on for yourself!

I came across this Etsy vendor called Sweet Melody Designs and just thought her artwork was so cute. It is also super reasonable. It would be perfect for a baby room or gift!

With Easter coming up, this arrangement is super easy and would be perfect for any table! Get the details on Between Naps on the Porch.

Speaking of Easter, Pizzazzerie has these really cute free printables on her site for download.

So if you are in NYC anytime soon, you must check out this shop. Cookie shots. Isn’t that brilliant?

This weekend I am helping to host a Tiffany themed baby shower for one of my oldest and dearest friends! I can’t wait to shower her little girl! She is definitely my chicest friend, so hopefully the shower turns out to be super fabulous! Pics to come!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An 18 Month Update

Per usual, it is so hard to believe my baby girl is 18 months old!!!  She is just a little ray of sunshine and has the sweetest heart in the whole world. Of course, it isn’t all sunshine and roses over here, but more on that later!

Right now Emmy is super into two things:

1-      Babies

2-      Books

She LOVES all things baby. She loves her baby dolls, real babies, kids that are her age that she thinks are babies, catalogs with babies, books with babies – the girl loves a baby! When she sees them (the real ones) she will always give them hugs and it is just the sweetest thing ever. She loves to give hugs, especially to her mama, which is heart melting.

iphone pics 040114 080

As for books, she could read them for hours. Well, only if I am holding her on my lap and reading them. Luckily, she is not super into any one book, so we have a rotation of about 30 that we read.  She was for a while into the book Little Quack Counts that she would wake up in her bed and I would hear her say, “No” (referring to when Little Quack and Widdle see five bees) and then “Yay” when they see their mama! It really was darling. I got her several more Little Quack books for Easter because she loves this one so much.

iphone pics 040114 220

Emmy is also into hide and seek. She will go in our closet and “hide” between Tommy’s shirts and giggle and give huge hugs when we find her. It is just the cutest thing.

She can say so many words! Each day there is a new one! This morning she was able to identify most animals in the books and the sounds they make (cow, lamb, puppy, bunny – the sound to her is “hop” J, cat and duck). One of the cutest things is that at Julie’s she participates in circle time with the big kids. They all go around the room and say their name and favorite color. We started asking her at home what her name was and for a good few weeks she would say “Pink.” And then if I asked her favorite color she would say “Pink!” She gets so excited about it. Now it is hit or miss as to whether she will say her name as Emmy or Pink. It really is darling. She is also really into the word “apple” right now.

iphone pics 040114 158

Another milestone is that I am no longer Mama, but Mommy. She says it all.the.time. But I love it and it is so sweet. She loves her mama. If I am there, I am the only one who can do anything for her. And I mean anything.  But I so love being her superstar. No one else is this into me! Smile

iphone pics 040114 217

Though I should be paying attention at church, Emmy always does some of the cutest things. We NEVER make it to the homily at mass, so we usually end up in the cry room during the bulk of church. The past two weeks there have been kids her age (which, of course, she calls “baby!!!”). Each time she has just given those kids the sweetest hugs. I love that she loves to show affection. This past week I was so proud of her! There was a picture of Jesus that she kept pointing to and saying “Geesus” and then took the little boy’s mom’s hand and pulled her over to show her Jesus. Then she turned around and started pointing at the cross on the wall saying “Geesus” again.

iphone pics 040114 109

I just love this sweet stage and age.  I love that her little smile and personality. This is truly a fun stage.

Now, as mentioned, my precious baby does have a little bit of a sassy side, too. Emmy had a rough month 16-17. Yowzas. Not going to lie, there were some TOUGH days. I am not sure what was going on – we will blame it on teeth like we do everything, but truly once her 16th tooth came in, she was a whole other baby.

iphone pics 040114 014

During this month of…shall we say….undesirable behavior – she straight up refused to have Tommy or anyone else remotely near her. If he would come close, she would push him away and say “no.” We had a lot of talks about how hitting hurts. J Of course, at Julie’s she remained an angel child. Sigh.

No was the word of choice for the month and sleep wasn’t as great. Oh, and the clothes and diaper changes – horrid. Like dreaded them, terrible. Kicking, thrashing and screaming were pretty much the norm. So that was fun.

iphone pics 040114 207

Since the tooth popped through, she is generally super happy, though still not really into diaper changes (I have resorted to bribing her with her paci – or as she calls it – momo) and have to read her a book to trick her into getting dressed, but overall pretty sweet behavior with some toddler tantrums thrown in daily here and there.

We have hit a spot where washing her hair has become a challenge. She does not like me to get the water out of her hair. I have to go through this elaborate routine of getting her hair wet with a washcloth so she doesn’t actually know that I am doing it, then hold her over the bath tub and use the cup to get the water out of her hair so as to avoid her eyes.

iphone pics 040114 062

We just love our precious girl. Everything is more fun with her in the world. I love seeing the park, the zoo, even our front yard through her eyes.

While, she is becoming much easier to understand and communicate with, I am totally needing some mom advice.

1-      How did you get your child off the bottle? Emmy takes one at night and sometimes one during the day. She will drink milk from a sippy cup at Julie’s, but straight up refuses to take more than a sip at home.

2-      During her rough patch, Emmy went from sleeping from 7:30 until 7ish to waking up every day at 6. She will play in her crib until 7, but will not stay asleep until 7. I have tried moving her bedtime up, moving it back and everything in between. I mean it may just be what it is, but I would love for her to wake around 7 each day vs. 6. 6 is early, y’all.

XOXO, friends!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekly Faves (that I only post every couple of months)

This week I posted on my Facebook page this article, Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’ (Why I hate Sheryl Sandberg),  that is a must read for all working moms. I loved the tone of the author and she  hits on so many things that we as women (over)do. In full disclosure, I never read Lean In, but I find it hard to believe that someone with a full time nanny, chef at their disposal and millions of dollars can really relate to me. Just sayin’.

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Iowa Girl Eats. She has very doable food and I especially loved the idea of this really simple thirty minute meal (that includes cooking time) of Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan. It only has four ingredients and is a five minute prep, so this is my kind of after work meal. I haven’t tried it yet, but it is definitely on my menu for next week.

Courtney at Pizzazzerie had a great post on some really cute seasonal party finds at Target and Michaels. Check out the adorable mini-cake stand over on her blog! Squeeal of cuteness!!!!

I loved this easy idea of Land of Nod inspired Silhouette d├ęcor from Our Pinteresting Family. Even if you don’t have a silhouette machine, you could totally just trace the design you want and cut it out and mount it to the canvas. Easy peasy.

On Everyday Cheer last week, they posted a great article on the best app for preschoolers. I still haven’t given Emmy my phone yet to play games (but her grandmas have), so I imagine learning apps are just around the corner.

Thought this gender reveal party featured on Love the Day was super cute. I especially love this cake!

Holidays with a kid are so super fun! I am already ordering Emmy monogrammed shirts for Easter even though she hasn’t a clue what is going on (and it isn’t even lent). I thought this free printable from Tatertots and Jello was a must download.

Let me know any fun finds you have found online. As you know, I am always on the hunt for something new! (I totally resisted the urge there to put in a terrible Easter egg hunt pun here.)

XO, friends!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

For my locals: Major Timesaver Alert

For my Tulsa friends, I have the best timesaver ever – Reasors. (For those of you not from Tulsa reading this, Reasors is a local grocery store with stores across Oklahoma. Even if you don’t have a Reasors, you may check your local grocery store to see if they have the service I am blogging about below.)

I have, on many occasions, used Reasors for staging cute pictures of my child. See exhibit A and B below.

Exhibit A:

iphone pics 1223 220

Exhibit B:

iphone pics 12214 048

“M” and “Em” (Ha…..I am so punny!!!)

But a few weeks ago I took the plunge and used their online ordering.  This is awesome. I make my menu and grocery list, order it all online and then 5 hours later I can pull up and they load the groceries in my car. This is seriously life-changing.

Here is what you need to know:

  • You can only use the service Monday – Friday, so this won’t work for you on the weekend. (Boo – but my business side loves the concept of them being super-efficient and using their employees’ time wisely on the slowest parts of their day.)
  • If you order by 6 a.m., you can pick up after 11 a.m. If you order at 11, you can pick up after 4 p.m.
  • I just call the store on my way home and let them know I will be there soon and they are waiting for me when I get there. My frozen and refrigerated food has been stored, so it is still fresh.
  • The service is only $5. Hello, amazing! I was telling my sister-in-law about it and she said she would save $5 just by not having impulse purchases. So true. Also, pretty sure my hour is worth more than $5.
  • You can also get delivery for $15, but I could literally walk to Reasors, so it always on my way home.
  • If the item isn’t on their site, but you know they carry it (for example, this granola that I love), you can just write it in and they will pull it for you.
  • Also, before I  add the item to my cart, I add it to my shopping list so that in the future I can just shop directly from my saved list vs. having to find the items online.

The site is a little clunky, but if you can figure out Facebook, you can figure out the site.

Sadly, Reasors doesn’t know who I am, so I am not being paid for this ringing endorsement in any way, shape or form, but thought this little review would help my fellow time-strapped, non-grocery-shop-loving friends.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

For New Moms

Breastfeeding. Seriously, this used to gross me out to no end. The word made me shudder. I imagined mother dogs with thousands of tiny puppies at her (dare I say the word) nipples. Gross. But when I got pregnant I said I would give it the old college try and my “goal” was to make it to Emmy’s six month birthday.

Even trying to sum up this journey (because for me it really was a journey) is hard to do. I loved it and was frustrated by it all at the same time. There are many times where I wanted to quit because I didn’t feel like it was working for me, for her or anyone (mainly in the first 3 months), but because I am so hardheaded and when I say I am going to do something, I stick with it.  I soldiered on. In the end, I am really glad we made it to one year, but my goodness had I known how easy it was to warm a bottle of milk (which I know you can’t do, but I can imagine formula is pretty much the same), I am not sure would have made it.

I have several friends who are currently pregnant and I told them I would write out what I did to create a supply before going back to work and what I did once I got back to work. Since I am a sharing person, I thought I would blog about it for anyone who might be interested in the logistics of it. None of this is La Leche League approved, these are my experiences and what worked for me.

First, the pump. My sister let me borrow her Medela Freestyle and if you are going to pump at all, there is no other way to go. This thing is amazing. There is a battery pack, so you can literally (and please don’t visualize) clip it to your belt loop and walk around with your favorite pumping bra (I highly recommend the Simple Wishes brand) and become a multi-tasking mama. Nothing like Giselle Bundchen…because you will actually be working.

Very Early Days

Before Emmy left the hospital, we were told she had jaundice. It wasn’t bad enough to go under the lights, but was bad enough that she had to eat every.two.hours. I mean, people, I don’t even go the bathroom every two hours and that only takes seconds. In addition, my milk hadn’t come in yet, so we had to supplement with formula. And this is probably what made me breastfeed for so long. The formula didn’t agree with her. So that was fun.

So, the schedule was me breastfeed her every two hours and then pump while she got a bottle of formula. Did I mention fun? And tiring?

Finally my milk came in. And for me didn’t hurt one tiny bit. Truth be told, I didn’t know it was in until an ounce came out when I pumped. I was so thrilled to have gotten something that I immediately dropped it all over the bed. Can I got a collective waaaahhhh from my fellow moms?

I used a heating pad to sleep with over my b’s (the word breast still is super weird) and I think that this is what caused it to not hurt at all. That or I just have a high tolerance for breast pain. It could go either way. I did push the child out with a fully worn off epidural, so I can assure you this wasn’t even in the ball park on the pain scale.

Next, came latching issues. She had no problems at all latching on until the milk came in. My doctor has a lactation consultant in his office who got to see it all as she helped me with a nipple shield (which I ended up using the whole time I nursed) and a syringe of milk. Basically, she would use the syringe with pumped milk and put it the milk in the shield so that there would be milk at the beginning and she would start sucking.

After a full on break down at the doctor’s office since she had only maintained her weight and not gained, he told me that it was okay if I didn’t breastfeed, she would turn out fine and if I did continue, to have someone give her some milk at night because I needed some sleep (clearly). So thus began me sleeping five hours, getting up and pumping and having someone else give her the milk for about 3 weeks until she started sleeping longer.

Building a milk supply

I knew I was going to go back to work, so the lactation consultant in the hospital told me that our bodies produce more milk in the morning, so I should try to work an extra pumping session or two in there.  I was always afraid of running out of milk when Emmy needed it. Probably irrational, but still.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much of mind was consumed with milk (which is funny since I hate milk). So my schedule looked a lot like this:

6:00 a.m. Emmy would wake up for the day and eat
As soon as that feeding session was over, I would pump for 10 minutes and usually get about 4 ounces.

9:00 a.m. feed her again
If we weren’t going anywhere, I would pump again afterward and get another couple of ounces

12:00 Feeding
3:00 Feeing
6:00 Feeding
7-10 she would want to snack all night.

10 – 6 would either feed her or pump in the night and have someone else give her a bottle.

At about 8 weeks old she started sleeping through the night, so I cut out the night time pumping as uncomfortable as that was.  I wanted (needed, had to have) my sleep.

By the time I went back to work, I had an entire freezer full of milk. I almost ended up buying a deep freeze, but made this work.  Basically each day I was home, I could get enough for a 6 ounce bottle or more to freeze.

iphone pics 22813 127

I didn’t realize this, but I was overproducing milk. If I woke up in the night needing to pump, I could pump like 9 ounces in six minutes. When my body figured out how much she needed, I was panicked thinking I wasn’t producing enough. This happened at about 8-9 weeks old  and I pretty much freaked out and started doing things to increase my supply. But in retrospect, I just had way too much milk.

Once she did sleep fully through the night, I did add a pumping session right after she had her last feeding around 10. It made it much more comfortable to go through the night.

Back to Work

When I went back to work, I stuck with a schedule of pumping at the same times I would have fed her at home.  She was taking six ounce bottles at the time and I was not able to keep up at work. However, if I fed her in the morning, pumped right after and pumped three times at work, I was able to get her enough for the following  day and only needed to get into my supply here and there. Once I got to where the frozen milk (at about six months old) needed to be used, I would start to freeze my freshly pumped milk.

Little tip: I will say that eating oatmeal in the morning did help me get an extra ounce of milk at my first work morning pumping.

Luckily, I have an office with a door, so I was easily able to pump at work. I also work in a department with a fridge shared with only two other women, so I would just store my milk and bottles in a bag in the fridge. Full disclosure, what I am about to tell you would be considered a major “no-no,” but I did it and it never harmed Emmy. I didn’t clean my supplies between each pumping session. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Since you can keep milk in the fridge without incident, I figured you can do the same thing with the pumping parts. I had three sets of spare parts on hand and would just wash all three at night (I used one in the morning before work, one at work and one right after her last feeding at night).  Honestly, if you wanted to have even more on hand, it would be amazing.

If you have a shared fridge, I would recommend getting a little mini one for your office or using your medela storage ice packs if your milk could stay cool in that all day.

I started cutting back on my pumping when Emmy was probably 10 months old and I could see I had plenty of milk left and tapered off until after her first birthday.  I actually still have breast milk in my freezer to give her if she gets sick (or if it is about at the six month freezing mark), but now she straight up refuses it.  Luckily, pouring those bottles down the drain isn’t nearly as painful as it used to be!

Supplies:

Medela Freestyle: I already mentioned my pump.  Loved it and would highly recommend it.  The service at Medela was amazing. After pumping so much, the motor went out and they sent me a brand new one overnight with no questions asked. (Little known fact it is actually pronounced Ma-dee-lah. I had always called it Ma-dell-uh. Only figured that out after calling their 800 number.)

Pumping bra. Simple Wishes is a must have. I pumped drying my hair. I pumped in my car (while driving). I pumped on an airplane. This thing rocks.

Booby Tubes. My sister told me about these and at the beginning I would use them to encourage let down. They also worked wonders on clogged ducts. I would heat those bad boys up and then pump and I never had mastitis. Thank heavens. Or breast feeding would have for sure ended.

Breast Pads. I used both the Lansinoh brand and Johnson and Johnson.

Lansinoh Pros: Each pad came in a set that was wrapped in plastic so they were easy to put in a bag without stuff getting on them.
Cons: They were folded down the center and would ripple and look super bumpy if you wore a tank top or other somewhat tight-fitting shirt.

Johnson and Johnson Pros: Were thicker and weren’t folded down the center.
Cons: They had a place indented for a nipple (clearly designed by a man) that you would never need, so you had to like poke your shirt in to get the nipple look to go away. They don’t have plastic around them, so they aren’t as easy to throw in a bag.

I preferred the Johnson and Johnson brand over the Lansinoh, but there may be a better solution out there.

Other things: Feeding pillow (boppy or other brand), nipple shields if there are latching issues (I used avent), nursing cover, heating pad and breast milk storage bags (all of the brands I used leaked – lansinoh, nuk and honeysuckle, so no recommendations there). I never used nipple cream, but I did buy this mother love brand and used it for my lips. Ha!

I think that is it. I am happy to answer any questions and hope this helps someone!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wanted: Reviews

Okay, so I am searching for the best wrinkle cream. Specifically, a magic one that will erase the fine lines that have been appearing on my face due to lack of sleep and caring for a toddler. Does such a thing exist? Because I totally need it.

I recently bought one of these puppies and have used it for three whole nights. I couldn’t spring for the Clairisonic. I am way too cheap. I am sure it will make my skin look like gold, but so far, so good on the $19 version. On the plus side, my baby also loves to put it up to her face, so if things don’t work out for me, it won’t go to waste.

The next item I would love to know about are Livie and Luca shoes. Do you guys have any? We have one pair of Stride Rites for Emmy and they are cute, stay on and fit her great, but, seriously, they are the only cute pair they make. Why do all of their shoes have to be so ugly? I came across these Livie and Luca shoes on Facebook and they appear (from the picture) to be Stride Rite quality, but I wanted to know if you all have a pair and how you would rate them in comparison to Stride Rite. I am willing (sort of) to pay for a nice pair of shoes if I knew they would hold up and stay on like a Stride Rite.

Aren’t they super cute for a kid’s shoe? I love that they are neutral, yet still stylish!

 

Thanks for your help! Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say! XO!

 
Blog Design by Sweet Simplicity