Archive for the 'Pregnancy + Motherhood' Category

pampering gift basket for mamas

Pampering baskets have been a big hit among my group of mama friends lately. One person usually organizes and sends out an email with ideas and everyone responds with their contribution to avoid duplicate items. I think they’re such a fabulous gift for showers, hospital visits after baby, gender reveal parties, birthdays, or just because. It’s so fun to open so many small, useful, and luxurious items.

With Mother’s Day coming up, yet another great occasion to give a mama a basket, these are some of my favorite luxuries. Most range from $5 – $25. And any of these on their own would make such a thoughtful gift.

1. Mood music / Itunes gift card – After Lincoln goes to bed and the apartment is quiet, turning on music helps me transition to the more relaxed version of myself. When the Amelie soundtrack plays, it feels as if the Eiffel Tower is right outside my window.

2. A favorite book or magazine subscription – Most nights I work, but if I need a night off, there’s nothing like indulging in poetry or curling up with a favorite book or magazine. Poetry Magazine, Kinfolk, and Anthology subscriptions make such lovely gifts.

3. Tea – It’s impossible to be stressed while drinking tea. My favorite right now is Mint Melange by Mighty Leaf.

4. Candle – When you have a little one, that poop smell sometimes lingers way too long even after all the trash is taken out. I go through these candles so fast. My two favorites are Paddywax Basil Cucumber and Williiams Sonoma Fleur de Sel. They are natural and don’t sting your nose.

5. Healthy treatsThese raw, vegan coconut macaroons from Whole Foods are delicious. They’re guilt-free, satisfy your sweet tooth, and so good with tea. But you get bonus points for homemade treats like a jar of granola or healthy cookies.

6. IOU Cards – Ok maybe I’m a bit biased, but these are pretty awesome. :] Promising to do any of these things for a mom is amazing, but babysitting is gold. Pure gold. Time to herself or time alone with her husband is the best gift you could give. You will definitely earn favorite person status.

7. Gift card to a bookstore, coffee shop, nail or hair salon – When she finds herself with some free time, she’ll have a plan of action. You can pair this with a babysitting IOU!

8. Gift card to your favorite restaurant, cocktail lounge, Ticketmaster, or any other date night experience – On the rare occasion she and the husband are out by themselves, they want to do something really cool. Pair this with a babysitting IOU too.
photo credit of the Columbia Room in DC – Max Cook.

9. Leisure Book – Because date nights don’t happen as often as they did pre-Lincoln, when we finally do have one, we want to do the best thing possible on that night and then we can’t come up with anything. Too much pressure.
A little book like this with recommendations from friends would make such a great gift for parents who love to explore and experience their city. There could be a section on date nights out, date nights in (like dinners to make, games to play, movies to watch), and solo outings too.

10. Dry shampoo
11. Fancy soap
12. Cuticle cream
13. Lipstick – NARS Niagra is the only fun lipstick I’ve found so far that I don’t feel ridiculous wearing.
14. Aromatherapy shower tablets

posted by christine in Gift Guides,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (3)

baby essentials [months 9-12] and what we’re still using at 12+ months

A good chunk of yesterday was spent de-baby-fying. Probably over half of the items listed on these baby essentials posts are now either in storage or lent out to friends who are expecting little ones. It was time for me and my Brest Friend to part ways.

We really only purchased a small handful of new things during the 9-12 month timeframe. Along with those, I’m taking an inventory of everything from months 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 that we’re still using today at almost 14 months.

baby essentials after the jump…

posted by christine in Baby + Kids,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (4)

12 new mama essentials

Just a few things I found helpful in my first year as a mom…

1 // We purchased a normal diaper bag, but quickly transitioned to a backpack. I don’t carry around nearly as much as I thought I would, so I just needed a small bag that would allow me to be hands-free. I used a simple Baggu backpack, but this one by Stone + Cloth is on my wishlist.

2 // Especially early on in the first year, it was inevitable that during an outing I would somehow get dirty – milk stains, spit up, you name it. For fancier outings or when I was just tired of wearing sweats to the park 5 days in a row, I loved having a go-to patterned silk shirt to hide mishaps and feel well put together. Silk button-downs are classic, can be dressed up or down, are always flattering, and the buttons allow for easier nursing.

3 // A jewelry box staple – studs (nothing for little hands to grab) that go with everything.

4 // Cups of tea are the bookends of my day. I make a cup in the morning during Linky’s first nap before reading the Scripture and then at night to unwind and start working. I never really had much tea before this year, but it’s become almost a prompt and a reminder that during the time I am drinking it I need to focus, think, and relax. And I try to sip it slooooowly. My favorite is Mint Melange and I’m also loving this ginger tea recipe.

5 // After the not-so-fun few months of postpartum hair loss, hairs started sprouting back up. There are few things more annoying than hundreds of baby hairs with a mind of their own, especially along your very visible hairline. On a whim one day, I used Andrew’s hair gel, and I’ve been using it ever since to tame them.

6 // This little planner helps me remember what day of the week it is and have some semblance of a schedule. Every night before bed, I make a prioritized list of tasks that should be completed the next day. I’m lucky if I cross off 1 or 2 things – I’ve been carrying over some to-dos for months. But you know, at least I don’t forget them.

7 // We probably wouldn’t eat some days if it wasn’t for this. I can make dinner in the early morning before the day gets too busy, I can go outside with Linky while it cooks, and we have a warm meal by the time Andrew’s home from work. I also really like the recipes in this cookbook. The lamb braised in brandy is probably one of the best lamb dishes I’ve had.

8 // To record all the little moments that fly by way too fast.

9 // In those first couple months when baby is eating every 2 or 3 hours around the clock, they always say sleep when baby sleeps. That sounds a whole lot easier than it actually is for many reasons, but one of them is that it is really really difficult to sleep on command. I could fall asleep on the toilet, on the table while eating, no problem. But once Linky was asleep an imaginary timer started ticking and every second I couldn’t fall asleep, I was losing precious time. Then Andrew started playing this album and it lulled me to sleep every single time. I think it’s safe to say it ended up being an experiment in classical conditioning, because to this day, if the songs play randomly on our playlist, I feel my body involuntarily surrendering to sleep.

10 // I walk miles at a time in these Bloch ballet flats and (fingers crossed) have not yet had one blister or discomfort while wearing them. They go with everything and of course, slip on easily for when you’re running late (always at our house).

11 // I consider these black pants my uniform. I wear them all the time – they’re comfortable, hide dirt, and go with everything. They’re just the perfect rise too and don’t always have to worry about covering my back.

12 // Nursing bras were great in those first few months, but then I just wanted to have a normal bra without the extra hooks and flaps, that was soft, and that I could wear out but also sleep in. Gap wireless bras fit all the criteria – love them!

See the entire list on Luvocracy too.

Oh, and having a great tutorial on covering dark eye circles is always handy. :]

. . . .

What did you find invaluable as a new mom? I’d love to hear!

posted by christine in Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (2)

a party for pickle. with just us. it was a happy day.

We wanted to spend Lincoln’s birthday together – just the three of us – to soak it all in. We started new traditions – played with balloons in the morning, made funfetti pancakes, looked through photos from the past year, opened gifts, danced with our party hat on, ate grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles, and lost count of how many times we sang the birthday song. Oh and there was a Linky-sized cake involved too. He tasted the chocolate, made a face, then proceeded to use it as body paint and had the time of his life. I think he likes birthdays.

posted by christine in Baby + Kids,Holidays + Seasons,Marriage + Family,Parties + Entertaining,Personal,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (4)

a golden birthday

My Sweet Boy,

Today you complete your first trip around the sun. Your bright and gentle spirit has brought more joy to our family than we know what to do with. Most days we deal with it by squeezing your face and kissing it ’til you tell us to stop. And sometimes until way after you tell us to stop.

We’ve taught you some pretty cool things like how to high-five and bop your head to hip hop music, but you’ve taught us to smile more and have more fun, find beauty and wonder in all the little things, and have loads of patience.

It’s a pretty big treat when we get to see your quirky sense of humor. Like when we call your name and you smirk, but don’t turn to look at us. You mostly smile and chat, sometimes ponder and reflect. On the rare occasion you’re cranky and start whining that annoying whine (when you make your tongue vibrate against your top two teeth), it’s nothing a walk outside or a swing on the swings can’t fix. You wave hello and goodbye to the other babies in the park and you love to make friends. You’re not walking yet and you’re ok with that. But you can if you hold on to things along the way.

Cars are your favorite. You like to ride in them and you say “brooom brooom” when you spin the wheels on your toy car. You love One Fish Two Red Fish Blue Fish and Dinosaur Roar. You practically shriek when you see them. We read them so much I’ve learned them by heart and they’re magic too, you know. I recite them when you try to crawl away from diaper changes and the words stop you in your tracks and you comply. You love Dear Zoo too. You carefully turn each page, open the flap, then look at me to tell you the animal and the sound it makes. When we get to the monkey you say, “Ah ah ah.”

When you play by yourself, you try to stack a couple blocks or throw around your soccer ball, but mostly I find all your toys thrown out of the pen and you flipping through your books. You’ve made an exception for your new maracas though. You shake those a lot and yell/sing. Your favorite game is Where’s Linky? You squat below the top of your play pen and even though you know we can see you, we pretend to look for you under couch cushions and furniture while saying, “Where’s Linky? I don’t see him.” You wait and wait, giggling. Then you pop up, eyes and mouth wide with anticipation and we say, “There’s Linky!” Laughter of sheer delight follows. It’s our favorite game too.

Other than board book corners your favorite foods are beet hash, oatmeal, and sarmale (much to your daddy’s chagrin). Up until a couple weeks ago you wanted nothing to do with yogurt, but the face you made when we gave it to you was so hilarious, that we just kept giving it to you. And now it probably ranks up there with the top three. You eat most everything else with a good appetite too. Except hummus. We need to work on that. Maybe we’ll try the yogurt method. Despite the amount of food you eat, you’re in the lower percentiles for weight so we make fun of how small you are and affectionately call you Little. When you want more you clap your hands and show off your 5.5 teeth, which I interpret to be your version of the ASL sign I’ve been teaching you since 8 months. You decided to finally start signing back last week. I almost gave up on you.

When it’s time for bed, we put on your Spiderman pjs and you brush your teeth with daddy. He makes your banana toothbrush say “bzzz bzzz” just like his grown up electric toothbrush. And you get a kick out of it. Then we read one of your favorite books and say the Lord’s Prayer in Romanian like mommy did when she was little. Then mommy sings you a lullaby. Your recent picks (based on how quickly you surrender to sleep) include Grassy Grass Grass and Do a Deer. Then you put your arm around Mr. Crocs, start sucking your two fingers, stick your butt up in the air, and drift off to dream and hopefully sleep from 6:30 to 6:30. That’s our time to relax, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss you a little bit.

Pickle, you’re pretty cool and we love you. We pray you’ll grow up to be kind, honest, brave, and true. Happy Happy Birthday!

A love bigger than you could ever imagine,

posted by christine in Baby + Kids,Personal,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (5)

footprint + milestone keepsake book

I’m not really a scrapbooking kinda girl, but wanted something keepsakey and low maintenance to document Lincoln’s first 2 years. I filled out fun facts about his birth and 2012 world events in this book and journal in this from time to time, but that’s kind of a lost cause so I just started recording daily snippets in my One Line A Day book.

Inspired by this, I made a footprint book. And every 2 months or so Andrew and I ceremoniously ink and carefully press a squirmy foot on these pages before bathtime. Then I print out my favorite photos from that timeframe and write Lincoln a letter about his milestones and our adventures. And then I flip to that very first footprint and can’t believe my Linky baby is growing up.

posted by christine in Baby + Kids,Personal,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (2)

be the gift.

I’m so excited to announce the launch of a project/new shop I’ve been working on for a few months now in cahoots with the lovely ladies at Typecase Industries – letterpressed IOUs!

I started IOU to have a pretty way to gift favors for loved ones (and buy cards no one will want to toss). They’re a tactile way to graciously give bits of our time.

The inaugural line, IOUs for New Moms, was born out of my gratefulness to friends and family who, in those first few weeks of new parent delirium, gave me the most caring and considerate gifts I didn’t even know I needed. The onesies and bottles were of course much needed too, but calls saying “We’re coming over to wash your dishes” or “We’re coming over to hold the baby so you can sleep” left me speechless. “How can I help” inquiries were equally selfless, but in my sleep-deprived and overwhelmed state, I never knew how to respond. Where would I even begin? There were a million things to do.

Cue IOUs for New Moms. For all the generous friends and family out there who may or may not need hints for what a new mom needs most – hand-lettered, letterpressed cards she knows she can cash in when everything piles up at once.

I’d love it if you guys checked out the shop and took a look around. These would be perfect for that next baby shower you have on your calendar!

posted by christine in Calligraphy + Handlettering,Gift Guides,My Projects,Paperie,Parties + Entertaining,Personal,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (6)

baby essentials [months 6-9]

Links just turned 9 months last week so we’re on the third installment of baby essentials. This is everything new we added these last three months.

after the jump…

posted by christine in Baby + Kids,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comment (1)

mommy and son shoot by diana marie photography

Sweet Diana was in town back in July and shot these amazing images of me and Links. I love how they capture the moments of quiet simplicity in our everyday. It was so great to finally meet her in person and have the honor of being in front of her camera. So excited she’s moving to the East Coast in just a few months! Hoping we get to see a lot more of her. :]

posted by christine in Baby + Kids,Marriage + Family,Personal,Photography,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have Comments (3)

[mixtape] jazzy disney lullabies

I’ve been in a bit of a lullaby rut lately, singing the same 4 songs over and over, so I put together a playlist for inspiration. Linky should be glad to hear some new tunes this week. These would also double well as fun dinner party music!

All songs are available on Itunes, this playlist was as close as I could get on Spotify.

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posted by christine in Music + Movies,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have No Comments