Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tips on Traveling With an Infant

 



It's hard to believe that these photos were taken all the way back in June when we took our first flight with Wyatt. Since then, he's flown three more times, and has been a complete champ - even when we faced a seven hour delay on our most recent flight. 

Prior to his first flight, I did copious amounts of research on tips and tricks for traveling with a baby. Not only is this a compiling of what I read, but also what we've learned. I wanted to have a little bit more time to 'research' what the process was like going through the airport/different airports, and see how each separate trip went for us before acting like an expert (which we still are not!). 

Planning 
We tried to select a flight time that worked around Wyatt's schedule. I know this isn't always possible, but if you can try to maintain your routine you will have a happier baby on your hands. We avoided evening flights because we know this kid loves his sleep & would rather wake him up earlier in the morning (5am to be exact), than disrupt his nighttime routine. 

We also opted to purchase a seat for him, and used the Doona through the airport and in the plane - so convenient. Seriously the my #1 baby item.

Since our summer travel was back and forth visiting my family in Wisconsin, I did order several things ahead of time, which I realize isn't always possible with shorter jaunts. Pssst Amazon does indeed deliver to hotels, though. I highly recommend ordering as much as you can and having it delivered because boy oh boy do diapers take up a lot of room.

Packing
I will be doing a lengthier post on what we all packed and traveled with - stay tuned. For the purposes of flying though, here is what I had in my diaper bag and wheelie:

Diaper bag 

For one of the trips I used the ToteSavvy Deluxe Bag organizer insert inside of my handbag to hold all of Wyatt's stuff. On the other, I used this TwelveLittle backpack - each had an upside, it just depends which you think will work best for you. 


Bottles (2)
Water (2)
Formula (extra in case of delayed)
Diapers (4) 
Dog bags
Wipes 
Bibs (2)
Burp cloths (2) 
Gallon ziplock bags (2) - for soiled clothing and to store dirty items in that were used on the plane 
Pacifiers & clips (2)
Blanket 
Purell 
Antibacterial wipes 
Alcohol free antibacterial wipes (for Wyatt's hands)
Kleenex 
Sophie/stroller toy


In my roll aboard carry-on 

Extra wipes 

Extra diapers 

Medicine kit - including Benadryl, Motrin, Aquaphor, Hairbrush, Snot Sucker, thermometer

Baby Monitor

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine 

Two extra outfits

Folder with health records, birth certificate, etc.  


Be sure to dress baby comfortably. Footed onesies are perfect for travel and great for easy diaper changes, as well. 


Ticketing/Check-In
Definitely plan to get to the airport a little early, especially if you're like us and are used to only traveling with carry-ons. Gone are the days, that's for sure!

Like I mentioned, we purchased a seat for Wyatt on all our flights thus far. I know that may be a little extreme and not feasible in every situation or with every budget. That being said, since it had been a while since we had traveled back in June due to Covid (and given the current environment), we felt most comfortable ensuring we had a lot of space for him and separation from strangers. 

With most carriers, children under two who are on your lap fly for free and do not require a ticket. Since Wyatt had his own seat, he did require his own ticket. I would do your homework ahead of time depending on what carrier you are flying, as I know everyone's rules are different. It is fairly simple to locate the "traveling with children" info on all respective sites. The same goes for what you're allowed to check for free, as well as gate check. 

In total, we checked three suitcases, our pack 'n' play, as well as our large everyday stroller. I found this stroller bag on Amazon that was big enough to fit our full size stroller, our Baby Bjorn bouncer, Dock A Tot, and stroller caddy/fan/mosquito net, etc. I have heard some people say that during check-in they occasionally will get agents that request to see what's in the stroller bag. If there are any additional items they may require you to remove them as technically only the stroller flies for free. I'm not sure what carrier(s) this was on, but we didn't have a problem. The pack 'n' play may have counted as a piece of checked luggage (?), but since we were allowed two each, I didn't ask. I've heard that normally most ticketing agents will let baby items fly free of charge. Worst case you pay the price of a checked bag, which is $35-$45. For the ease of having your own items, I think its worth it.  

Since we had purchased Wyatt's seat, we used the Doona on the plane, as well as throughout the airport. I literally cannot sing its praises enough. It is an incredible invention. However, if you have a car seat or stroller that you're using throughout the airport, it can be checked at the gate for free. Some travel strollers even collapse small enough to fit in the overhead compartment, taking out any wait time or damage. We got this one - I can't wait to use it in the future. 

Pro tip: I suggest getting a travel bag that comes from the same manufacturer as your stroller or car seat. A lot of times they will have protection plans. At the very least, your ensured you items will actually properly fit, and hopefully a few smaller odds & ends. 

 
TSA/Security 
If you're traveling with a stroller like we were, TSA will make you remove baby from the stroller and carry him/her through the metal detector. They will also have you place all items, including the car seat/stroller, on the belt to go through scanning. 

Bottled water can be brought through security if it's for formula. You can also have medicine, food, or juices over 3oz if they are specifically for baby/children. 

Be sure to check out the TSA's traveling with children page - I found it really helpful. 

Boarding 
Definitely take advantage of boarding early. It takes a while to get baby and all your things situated. 

Also, if you're traveling with a stroller and/or car seat, you'll want that extra time to collapse them and gate check at the end of the jet bridge. Note: be sure to get your gate check tag for these items prior to boarding. 

In-Flight
I made sure to always feed Wyatt right as we were taking off. If it didn't coincide with feeding time, I would just give him a little (about 2oz) so that it could help his ears with the pressure.

I purchased a new stroller toy ahead of time so that he had something new/exciting to play with, which he enjoyed. I also made sure to pack Sophie for him to chew on and play with because she's familiar. Other than that, I connected his pacifier to a clip and had a spare on hand - I had no intention of dealing with the filthy airplane floor. The clips are great for connecting to toys, as well. 

Be sure to have layers, as it can get just as cold for baby as it does for you. I always like having his muslin blanket on hand for this reason, and also because it soothes him. Since he doesn't like hats, I made sure to just keep the canopy of the Doona up at all times to keep the air off of him.



I would love to hear any tips and tricks you have up your sleeve for traveling with children! 



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Hospital Bag Packing List


It's hard to believe that I started writing this post back in January a few days before Wyatt's arrival, and that I'm just getting around to posting it now! Phew, where does the time go?! I definitely still wanted to share this with you because I figure there's at least someone out there as desperate as I was looking for a concise list of what to bring the the hospital. 

When researching what to bring, I not only referenced books and talked to my doctor, but I read several dozen blogs to see what other women had brought. I found it helpful when they would list what they had packed, and then include an update on what they didn't use, or what they wish they had brought. To be honest, there wasn't one thing I didn't feel like I had. Mind you, I didn't pack a suitcase, I only had a wheelie for both Wyatt and my things (packing cubes are a must). Maybe it was all the research I did, or the fact that when they say you could show up at the hospital with nothing, it's actually kind of true. 

After going through it and spending nearly four days in the hospital (4 hours in triage, 19 hours in labor and electively staying an extra day), I feel confident in saying that this hospital packing list is bulletproof!

The list below is everything I packed. I've put * next to items I didn't end up using. Even though I didn't use them, I would still suggest packing them as everyone's experience is different, and you never know what you may need/want.  


Purse

Longchamp bag (large to fit postpartum items)

I wanted to use this bag as I knew I could easily throw it in the wash when I got home to get off all the germs. I actually ended up using laundry bags that the hospital had/the diaper bag 'gift bag' they gave me to put my postpartum loot in. I highly suggest taking everything you can with you, and don't be shy to ask for more. In a separate post I'll share my postpartum must-haves with you. 

Admin Info

ID/Wallet

Insurance Card

Folder for Documents

I felt like this was probably the most important thing I brought with me. I had no idea how many things are thrown your way when you're in the hospital - newborn handbook, documents, newborn identification, verification of birth, info on how to order your baby's birth certificate (yes - you have to order it, which was news to me), and lots more. It really was overwhelming and hard to take everything in, especially given the fact you just birthed a baby. That being said, having this folder was a life saver, as I wasn't just throwing things in my bag when we left and losing them. I'm still using it to organize all his info, making everything easy and convenient from day one! 

Birth Plan*

My birth plan was not detailed at all, but I was told to simply bring a one page print out that I found on the hospital's website. The only thing I included was that I wanted Adam to cut the umbilical cord, and that I wanted my son circumcised. Besides that, my only 'plan' was happy, healthy baby. To be honest, no one ever asked for my birth plan or what it was. They did however ask questions before they did anything, so it was a catch 22.  I suppose if I had greater detail I could have easily shared it with the nurses/doctor, but that wasn't the case. 

Pediatrician Info

Clorox Pads/Wet Wipes/Sanitizer/Kleenex

Starbucks Gift cards for Nurses

Ask your doctor ahead of time what the hospital's policy is on nurses gifts. I brought five $20 gift cards, which worked well because the nurses couldn't accept anything above a $25 value. Do I think you need nurses gifts or baskets? No. But I do think it's nice to have an option if you really feel like someone made a difference in your baby's delivery/your labor process. 
 

Electronics

Phone Cord

Extension Cord*

Multi USB plug

The hospital had lots of outlets, but this made it easy to plug everything in and have it in one place. This has eight USB outlets, and I had it on the tray table that was next to my bed - highly recommend for ease and convenience.

Portable Fan

I bought this fan to attach to Wyatt's stroller when it's hot out. I'd read that it was helpful to have a fan on hand for all the sweats, hot flashes, etc. accompanied with labor. I actually didn't end up using it, but do think it's worth bringing, especially if your room doesn't have it's own thermostat (luckily ours did - lifesaving)! 

Portable Speaker (create playlist)*

White Noise Maker

I've had this portable travel white noise maker for years, and know it's one of the baby/new parent 'must-haves.' It was great to use during the day/night to block out all the hospital noise. 

Baby Shusher

This noise maker makes "shushing" noises. We put this in Wyatt's bassinet for some additional noise. I honestly haven't used it since (even though I know everyone swears by it, we haven't utilized it), but it was nice to have at the hospital, but honestly not necessary. 

Noise Canceling Headphones/Earbuds*

Diffuser with Oils

This may seem like the most ridiculous thing, but due to the fact that we were at the hospital so long and I was in labor for what felt like forever, the oils were nice and made the hospital not smell so antiseptic. Also, the one I bought has multi color lights, which was a great night light so we could turn all the overhead ones off pre/post Wyatt's arrival. 

Mini Tripod/Light*

The only reason we didn't use this was because the hospital actually had an in-house photographer come around when you were in your recovery room. I wasn't expecting that, so I had prepared ahead of time because I wanted to capture some of those initial moments together. 

 

Bedding/Bath

Pillow

Blankets

 These items were hands down the best things we brought. We brought only one pillow for me, but two Barefoot Dreams blankets for each of us, which brought me a lot of comfort and at least felt like home. Plus it was nice to wrap Wyatt up in it with my after his arrival. The hospital provided additional pillows, linens, towels, etc. for both of us, so that helped too! We also just hand carried these in once we knew we were being admitted, and I brought trash bags to put them in once we left. 


Clothing

Labor & Delivery Gown with Pillowcase*

I bought this set with a cute matching pillow case (so over the top), but I wanted to have the option. Honestly I may have put it on when I first got there, but things moved so fast and before you know it you're hooked up to IVs etc. making it challenging to change. Also, the labor & delivery gowns get dirty!!! so you really want to be changing/throwing them away as much as possible.

Fuzzy Grip Socks

I wore my own, but also wore the ones from the hospital. I honestly didn't really feel like I needed them. Skip! Bring slippers!! Best decision I ever made....and I added these to my bag as we were walking out the door!

Pajamas

This nightgown (pictured above) I brought was amazing. I wore it one day, and the matching bathrobe another. In all honesty I wish I would have brought two of the nightgowns. I also wore it a lot when I first got home, and still do  - it's insanely soft and comfortable. I highly suggest clothing with easy access - not only for breastfeeding or skin to skin, but because the nurses are coming in to check on you/check you out what feels like non-stop. 

Bathrobe (pictured above)

Going Home Outfit

I bought this Hill House dress specifically to wear home from the hospital, and it was perfect. A little on the pricey side, but I knew I wanted something special and comfortable that I could wear again. I recommend to any new mama to plan to go home wearing a dress - postpartum diapers, underwear, etc. are no joke and are bulky. If you want to pack even less, you can always wear home what you wore to the hospital. 

Flip Flops

Sports Bra/Ace Bandage*

I chose not to breastfeed for several reasons, so I was told to bring a good fitting sports bra to help suppress my milk supply. I did not end up using the ace bandage (which I was told to have on hand for even more added pressure - who knows). I didn't actually wear a bra my entire hospital stay, but did when I got home during the day to help dry up my supply. 

Underwear

These pregnancy/postpartum underwear are awesome. They are so soft and seamless. I wore near the end of my pregnancy and postpartum. They're soft and comfortable, and are low rise, which is great if you have a C-section (FYI - I did not). 

Trash Bags for Laundry

They had small laundry bags (grocery bag size) at the hospital, but the trash bags were nice to put my pillow in and our blankets in for heading home. 

 

Toiletries

Dry Shampoo

Headband

So necessary. Whether it's an actual headband or an elastic, bring something to hold your hair back and keep it out of your face. You'll be happy you did when you're pushing!

Hair ties

Facial Wipes

Much easier than washing your face and makes you feel clean. 

Facial Mist

I use this everyday to refresh. I love it. 

Chapstick

Be sure to have a few on hand - the hospital is dry!

Makeup Mirror

This sounds so extra, but it was really nice not having to get up and drag my IV with me to look in the mirror. This one is razor thin and lights up, which is nice and will be great for traveling. I had planned to put on a coat of mascara and concealer on before Wyatt's arrival, but go time came sooner than expected so I wasn't able to, but did have every intention to ha!

Eye Patches*

Mouthwash

I packed all my other usual toiletries - toothpaste, tooth brush, mini shampoo/conditioner, etc. I listed the ones above because I wanted to be sure I didn't forget them. 


Postpartum

Dermoplast/Perineal Spray

Nipple Cream*

Peri Bottle

The hospital will give you one, but this one is so much better and more 'user' friendly. 

Nursing Pads*

Diapers

I never thought I'd be linking diapers or saying this, but these are amazing. Mom's-to-be, buy these! Pricey but soooo soooo soooo worth it, and dare I say kind of cute? Well, as cute as diapers can get. The hospital will have mesh underwear and doggy pee pad pads (yes, they're that big!) for you, but when you get home, these are absorbent and comfortable. Also, they can fit under clothing, which is nice for when you need to get out of the house but still need coverage. 

Stool Softener/Gas X* 

 

Baby

Pacifier

Aquaphor*

Nail File*

Welcome Sign/Pen

We weren't 100% positive on baby's name (we wanted to wait until after he was born to decide), so if you're like us, this is a great option. 

Newborn Nest Outfit 

Highly recommend! This is great to buy for yourself if you're expecting, or to give as a gift. The set includes a crib sheet, swaddle, dress & hat - this was the outfit we had him photographed in for his big debut!

Swaddle (to match Mom)

Onesie/Pants*

Mittens*

Socks*

Hat

Like I said above, we weren't 100% sure what we were going to name baby boy. Funny story - he was 'Ashley's boy' for the first two days of his life. That being said, the ONE name we always agreed on and kept going back to was Wyatt...so I had  ordered a hat with his name on it ahead of time, just in case we went with it. That being said, I had no qualms with leaving it at the hospital had we decided to go with one of the other names we liked. 

Going Home Outfit

Pack something cute and special for this occasion, as you'll want to take pictures! I didn't end up using a lot of the clothing I packed for Wyatt because we kept him in the hospital swaddles the whole time. Doctors and nurses were constantly coming in and out to check on him, so it was just easier to have him in something that could be taken off and put back on immediately. Also, the amount of spit up, pee, and poop was surprising for us as first time parents, so it was nice to just ditch the swaddles and not have to worry about laundering anything or having to throw anything away. If there is a next time, I will most likely bring next to nothing for baby, besides that special photo outfit and a going home outfit. I didn't need toiletries etc. for him because the hospital had everything. If they don't give it to yo right away  you can simply ask, and they'll provide it. 

Blanket for Car

Car Seat/Stroller

We got the Doona as our car seat/travel stroller and I cannot recommend it enough. It's so easy to use, and makes going to and from doctors appointments, out to eat, or running errands a breeze. It's also great for travel (which we haven't done yet!), and is FAA compliant to fit in an airplane seat. Hands down the #1 baby item we own. 

**Chart

The "chart" I'm referencing is the one that the hospital gives you to record baby's feeds/ounces taken, pees, poops, etc. So we didn't bring this with us, it was to remind me to bring it home! It was really helpful the first month because doctors will ask about all the above, and it makes it easier to remember. Also, we had a night nurse and it helped us stay on track and on top of what she was doing, as well. 

 

Husband

Pillow*

Blanket

Toiletries

Advil

Change of Clothes

Phone Cord

Cash*

Ok, so I had a friend suggest cash because their husband had to use a vending machine for food. We didn't encounter this issue, but we were also at a different hospital, so I'm not sure. Our hospital had a five page menu (!!!) and the food was really good. My food was all included, but spouses have to pay for their food besides the celebratory dinner you were given after baby arrives. 

 

Misc.

Snacks

Water Bottles (x2)*

We ended up bringing about 10 bottles of water with us, not reusable water bottles. I was given a reusable water jug once i was put in Labor & Delivery, which I chugged non-stop. Honestly though, I don't think Adam wasn't offered anything (ha), so we were really glad we had brought bottled water with us for him. Also, on the rare occurrence a nurse hadn't filled up my massive big gulp of water, it was good to know we had some on hand. 


 I threw three things in my bag last minute, like literally when we were walking out of the house, and they probably are the three most important things I brought with me! 

silicone reusable flexi straw. The straw was a godsend. I had the reusable water jug I mentioned above, but it came with a flimsy plastic straw. I have no idea why I threw in the reusable straw at the end, but I'm so happy I did. It was extra long, which made taking drinks of water in between pushes so much easier. 

Slippers. The slippers were nice to have for trips to the bathroom, bouncing on the ball, or just walking around. They gave me a feeling of comfort and home, which was nice. They actually were in the garage in a bag for Goodwill as I had recently gotten a new pair, so I grabbed them last minute and was so happy I did. I left them at the hospital, because lord knows I didn't want those germs back in my house. Next time I would bring a pair of hotel ones so I could toss them, too. 

Extra medical masks. Hopefully for all the mom's-to-be reading this you'll be in a different ball game by the time you have your little one, but masks were a very real reality for us. We were given masks to put on upon arrival and had to keep them on at all times, unless no one was in the room (which seemed like it never happened). I actually had to give birth in one too...so any time anyone complains about mask wearing, that shuts them up really quick. Ha! I am glad I brought extras because it gave us the option to throw out the old one and put on a fresh one each day. 

Leading up to your big day, don't be shy to ask your doctor what the hospital all provides. You can also go to the information desk at your hospital, and they should be able to tell you too. When you're in recovery, don't be shy about asking for more things, or if they have something you forgot. Like I said, they happily provided us with anything I asked for. I also told them I wanted to bring home as much postpartum stuff as I could, and they brought me lots of extras. I took diapers for baby & me, swaddles, socks, mittens, hats, pads, underwear, peri bottle - if it wasn't bolted down, it went in my bag. 

Don't expect to be bored. I read countless blogs where people said they were bored and played games. I don't know what they had going on, but my experience was far from boring. Plus, from the minute you step into the hospital until the moment you leave, your room is like a revolving door. There is constantly someone coming in to check on you and baby. That was one of the biggest things that surprised me.

There you have it! My thorough and long winded hospital packing list. I put a lot of effort into preparing my bag for the big day and doing my research, so my hope is that this makes packing your hospital bag a little easier and less stressful. 




Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Wyatt's Nursery Reveal














Welcome to Wyatt's nursery! 

I am so excited to finally share this special space with you. I started working on this post prior to his arrival, and am just getting around to finishing it up/publishing it now (#newmomlife). When I started brainstorming how to decorate the nursery, I knew I wanted it to be whimsical, playful, and relaxing. I wanted to incorporate boyish touches (blue hues, jungle animals), but also not steer too far away from my personal design aesthetic. It is the room I am going to be in the most after all! 

I loved the theme of my baby shower, 'Tell Me a Story of Africa,' and wanted to carry that into his nursery.  Like my shower, I wanted his nursery to exude an 'Out of Africa' type of feel. Adding natural wood, rattan, seagrass and macramé pieces really helped bring this concept to life. You may also recognize the Welcome sign (which now reads Camp Wyatt), and Born to Be Wild sign from the shower - fun additions, with added meaning!

I worked with Million Dollar Baby for all of the larger items in the room - the crib, dresser and recliner (ie the key items in any nursery). I decided to go with MDB because their pieces are streamlined yet sophisticated, and have an attainable price point. Added bonus: My crib is convertible into a toddler bed, day bed, and eventually a full sized bed. It is also Greenguard Gold Certified, meaning it's been tested for over 10,000 chemicals and passes the most stringent emission standards. It contributes to cleaner indoor air, creating a healthier environment for baby to sleep, play, and grow. 

I've tried to link just about everything, but if there's something you're interested in that isn't linked, let me know:)






Monday, January 18, 2021

Pregnancy Q & A - Volume 2




I'm currently 39 weeks, so I figured it was time for another (and most likely the last) pregnancy update. If you're interested, you can read my first one here

Overall pregnancy has treated me really well, and I definitely do not take that for granted. Honestly I felt pretty fantastic until about 36 weeks. From then on I just struggled with being out of breath and getting used to being, well, bigger. Heartburn has been a big part of my pregnancy, as well, and over the last two weeks the struggle has been real getting pants or shoes on. 

Nights have been sleepless for a while, and bathroom visits are countless. I remember thinking a few weeks ago that I couldn't pee more, but boy was I wrong. I feel like I visit the bathroom 10x+ an hour. LOL! Anxiety has officially set in since baby boy's arrival could be any day now. Truly, I think that's been the hardest part for me, the 'not knowing.' What I do know is that we couldn't be more excited for his arrival, and have everything ready and waiting for him. 




Any updates on the baby's name?
No! We've narrowed it down to a handful that we like, but we're still waiting until we meet him to make the final decision (not much longer)! 

Do you have a birth plan?
Birth plans are just that - plans. Nothing is set in stone as there are an infinite number of scenarios that could arise during delivery. I've been told that 90% of the time most birth plans are thrown out the window, so instead of getting my mind set on something, I've decided to just focus on what matters most, which is getting baby out safely. What my 'plan' does include is my doctors name and number, requests for the umbilical cord and cord clamping, as well as skin-to-skin, and lastly medical intervention. 

Will you have a baby vaginally or via C-section?
As of now the plan is vaginally, but honestly I'll do whatever is necessary when the day comes.

Do you plan to get an epidural?
Yes.

Are you scared about giving birth?
Eh, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about having a baby. The pain sounds excruciating, but women have been doing it for eons, and I know I'm as mentally and physically prepared as I can be. I'm actually more scared for postpartum recovery and all that it entails. 

Do you plan to breastfeed?

I do not plan to breastfeed for a number of reasons, but the main one is due to medication I take for my arthritis. In order to have a happy, healthy baby, mom has to be healthy, as well. This means taking my meds and feeling my best are important. There isn't enough data out there showing how much of the medicine is excreted into the milk supply and the effects it may have on a baby. Also to be honest, I don't feel the need or desire to breastfeed. That is what's best for me. 

There is so much emphasis and pressure put on breastfeeding which makes no sense to me. I could care less what anyone else chooses to do or why - it is their body, their child, their decision. All this does is causes us to judge ourselves and second guess our decision(s), which isn't fair and is completely ridiculous in my opinion. A fed baby is a happy baby. Bottom line. 





Will your family be coming in to see the baby?
Yes! We will have both our parents come in after we get settled in and have a routine down.

Will you have a nanny/help?
We are getting a night nurse that will come four nights a week from 7pm-7am. She will start as soon as the baby gets here. This initial help was the #1 recommendation we received from all our friends. They said it is the best gift you can give to one another. Not only will it help give us time to recover and rest a bit, but we've been told they're a great resource to have on hand, and can show you how to do everything 'newborn.'  

What stroller are you getting?
We have the Doona to use as a car seat/travel stroller, and also the new Silver Cross Wave as our everyday stroller - it's stunning! 

 What diaper bag will you be using?

I'll use purses that I have (most likely my Goyard GM tote), with a Tote Savvy insert. I also got a backpack that's a diaper bag from Silver Cross that matches our stroller. I like it because it's masculine enough, which makes it great for dads too!

What have you been using to prevent/help with stretch marks?

I was using Saje Mother's Wellness Oil at night, and absolutely loved it. It smells delicious and goes on thick, but not sticky. Once I finished the bottle, I started using the Earth Mama Belly Butter and Earth Mama Belly Oil that I had on hand. I honestly am not sure whether they've made/will make a difference, but we'll see.  

Do you plan to share your registry?

I am happy to do a post on this if it's something you're interested in. Let me know!





How much weight have you gained?

Just under 25 pounds. 

How have you stayed so motivated?

To be honest I'm not great at relaxing. It is very hard for me to just chill and do nothing. That being said, there have definitely been times, especially over the last few days, that I've had to force myself to just stop. 

Walking and continuing to workout is something I've loved having the ability to do during my pregnancy. It has helped me clear my head and just escape and not focus solely on the baby, baby stuff, to-do lists, etc.. Although I'm working out less than I was, I'm still getting in something active about four days a week. Some days that's going for a 2-3 mile walk, or going to barre class at 5:45 am (pregnancy insomnia is real)! Other days the most I can do is trail behind Adam and Safari on our neighborhood walks, but something is better than nothing! 

Continuing to eat healthy has also been important to me, although I certainly haven't deprived myself of anything whatsoever. I am still having dessert every single night, but luckily my other cravings have been more on the nutritious side - apples, oranges, and peanut butter! 

I also think I've stayed motivated and focused on getting things done because I know there'll be a lot less time for me once the baby arrives. I won't and haven't been beating myself up over the small things, but if I can work ahead on something now, I figure why not. 

Are you nervous for how Safari will react when the baby gets here?

Safari definitely knows something is up, and has gone back and forth from being attached to me to ignoring me. We'll be taking her to her daycare/boarding when we go into labor and most likely will leave her there for ~ a week while we're at the hospital and getting settled in back at home. I'm a little worried for how she's going to act/transition, but have so many friends that had pets before they had children, and have been told to expect a bit of regression (pottys in house, acts up). We're prepared for it to take time, but I know that even when baby boy is here, Safari is bound to still get a lot of 1-1 attention. 

Will you be sharing the baby's nursery?

Yes, sometime soon! I have wanted to make sure all the finishing touches were done before sharing it. It's been such a labor of love and is truly my favorite room in the house. It is incredibly charming and so relaxing. Stay tuned!

What are you most excited for?

Honestly, I am just excited for him to get here.....and to not be pregnant anymore. Like I've said before, I've been very lucky to have a smooth pregnancy, but I'm ready to have my body back to myself, and to sleep on my stomach again! I'm excited for this new chapter and the thought of my little family and Adam as a dad makes me smile. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

My Baby Shower!




Last month we celebrated baby boy with the most wonderful (and Covid safe) baby shower. Although our plans had to pivot because of the pandemic, and then inclement weather, the day was one that I'll truly never forget.







Venue

Baby boy's celebration took place at the most charming venue, Thirteen48, which is located in the Heights. Thirteen48 is a historic home that is now an event venue specializing in intimate gatherings and 'micro experiences.' The house is really unique and has so many quaint details. They have a spacious back patio, as well as a large front yard and wrap around porch. The photos speak for themselves. 

The owners of the venue also do event planning, as well as creating, designing and building custom pieces. The majority of the pieces in their space - from chandeliers to tables - were crafted by them. I loved this because it meant I could commission some pieces that not only would add to the day, but ultimately I could take home with me after and use as décor in the nursery. Among those pieces were the 'Born to be Wild' macramé sign, and the Welcome Sign (which will be replaced with his name shortly)! 

I knew having a safari themed shower was definitely what I wanted for baby boy. I fell in love with Africa when I went on my first safari in Kenya and Tanzania when I was 10 years old, so the theme seemed inevitable.  I wanted it to be different and not babyish or immature, but to exude a more 'Out of Africa' type of feel. When I discussed this with the team at the venue, they came back to me with the perfect design concept - 'Tell Me a Story of Africa.' The details read: "Lots of greenery with pops of color in teals and orange to remind us of sunsets on the plains. Lighter creams and gold will be used as accents to reflect the majesty of the African Safari. Animal décor elements will be brought in using 3D painting on acrylic that is simple yet playful. Styled around the idea of a children's book about an African Safari.' Swoon!  



Making Our Shower Covid Safe 

Having a very special and unique baby shower was something I've always wanted. Plus, with the year that we've all had, an excuse to celebrate was certainly in order. Due my autoimmune disease, coupled with the fact that I'm pregnant, safety was of the utmost importance to me. When I started brainstorming of what I could do for my baby shower that would be safe for me, as well as my guests, a few things came to mind (including not having a shower at all - the thought broke my heart). Due to our mild climate this time of year, I knew having an outside shower would thankfully be possible. I also felt as though it was appropriate to ask guests to wear masks. It may not be the cutest look, but I knew it would put my mind at ease. 

When it came to guest count, we did a 'staggered attendance.' The shower was divided into three one-hour increments where only 10 guests were present at once. Even though we had use of the entire interior and exterior of the venue, we were able to keep things completely distanced that way. The original plan was to have the shower be on the back patio, but as it turned out, rain blessed us on our special day so we had to come up with  change of plans the night before. 

We decided to move as much as we could to the covered wrap around porch on the front of the house. I specifically wanted to be outside for my own peace of mind, so we set up my Lioness Den just off the entrance of the house. This 'den' was designed so that I could have a socially distant perch (haha) to greet everyone and talk to all my friends, but also to ensure that I could safely maintain a significant amount of distance away, as well. 







I was situated on the far left side!


Vendors

One of the things I love most about Houston, is how many fantastic creatives and fantastic small businesses there are here. In addition to Thirteen48, I was also able to work with several other vendors for the shower. Of course the venue outsourced to several people as well, but I wanted to give a shout out to the ones I specifically worked directly with:) 

I came across Pretty Baked on Instagram and instantly fell in love (and awe) with their incredible one-of-a-kind letter and number cakes. I knew I had to have one at the baby shower! I shared with them the theme of the shower, as well as the invite and couldn't have been happier with the BOY cake they created. The attention to detail, including animal print chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate safari animals made the cakes almost too pretty to eat....almost. Get 10% off orders over $50 with the promo code ASHLEYN.




Christina, the owner of BITES, and I met last year and had an instant connection. Her passion for her craft is obvious to see, and she truly aims to please - a true perfectionist. She goes above and beyond, and her cheese and charcuterie plates were certainly an instant hit at the party. Luckily since I was the host, I got to try all three uniquely crafted plates she created, and she was kind enough to have a tray waiting for Adam and I to take home with us, as well! She offers everything from individual (and Covid friendly!) 'bites' like we had at the shower, to gift boxes, platters and grand over-the-top spreads. 





I am a huge fan of the carrot cake from Dessert Gallery, and have been visiting their bakery on Kirby for years. Since I found out I was pregnant and have been craving sweets non-stop, I cannot tell you how many cakes/slices I've eaten. Since they've been a large part of my pregnancy, they had to be part of my shower. 
   
I wanted to add an additional 'sweet' to the food spread, and thought cupcakes from their bakery, as well as cookies and cake pops as party favors, would be a great addition to the party. The custom cupcakes they created literally matched my shower invitation. Be sure to look closely - isn't it amazing? The cookies were perfectly on trend for the day as well, and I couldn't get over how sweet the little animals were. 




I've been seeing marquee letters pop up everywhere from weddings, to birthdays and of course, baby showers. I loved the idea of having some at my baby shower, and also thought it would be a great way to 'welcome' guests to the event. Alpha-Lit was fantastic to work with, and even with the rain, they ensured that everything worked seamlessly, and were incredibly professional and easy to work with. The OH BABY letters certainly made for a grand entrance and a great photo-op!




I've worked with Minted for years, and cannot rave about the company enough. They always offer something special and are so easy to work with. Although they're not local, I've created a close relationship through my blog, and I love how they go above and beyond.  

I've used them for everything from our Christmas cards, to our wedding invitations, to the drapes, lampshade and pillows in baby boy's nursery (be sure to check back soon for my reveal). For the shower, they not only created the invitations, but they also did the 'Thank You' stickers for the candles that each guest received, as well as our 'Thank You' cards, and goody bag tags.  





My Dress

No special day is complete without a special outfit, of course! My dress was made by David Peck, which should come as no surprise to any of my avid readers, followers or friends. David has created several outfits for me for special occasions over the years (ahem, my wedding dress), so it was a no brainer finding an excuse to work with him again. 

Although a sequin gown may have been a bit untraditional and unexpected for a daytime baby shower, it made me feel like a princess. When you're pregnant, let me tell you, you'll take any opportunity to feel nice/good in your body. I also wanted to really "celebrate" the big day since we've all missed out on so much in the last year, that I figured a fancy dress would just be the icing on the cake. 

We picked out this gorgeous material that complimented the décor, but could definitely be worn to any event in the future. David created a silhouette that was not only figuring flattering, but comfortable, and he completed the look with a coordinating mask! 




"A baby makes love stronger, the days shorter, the nights longer, savings smaller, and a home happier." Having a chance to celebrate baby boy and this milestone event in our lives was truly a joyous and special occasion. 

If there is any detail I didn't cover or question you have, please let me know! 



 

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