Postpartum Favourites

Okay new mamas! Existing mamas! Mamas everywhere! I have learnt a few things in my first couple weeks as the new girl in town (mama town that is). Everyday I feel like I am getting used to this new job, finding my way through the haze. Of course, there are many set backs that reduce me to tears. I went to meet my dad for lunch and burst into tears when I could not figure out how to bring the stroller back up from it’s folded position. I also sobbed hysterically for no reason at all in the shower on a few occasions during the first few days. I am pretty sure I did not do anything in there like wash my hair or use the valuable time wisely. Just cry! I just think your hormones are ALL OVER the place in that first week (and maybe still are a tiny bit) so you can’t be held accountable for such outbreaks. That is the justification I am sticking to anyways.

I did however discover a few valuable tie bits of information during this crazy time. The main thing I am learning is if it is easy, do it. For example, my converse sneakers that slip on and do not require laces, on my feet any time I leave the house. They are just that easy. Sleepers and onesies that do not go over the infants head, my go-to outfit for Hallie lately. Sure they are all adorable. But the fuss she makes when I try to pull a onesie over her head and get her squirmy arms into the armholes, well no thank you at 3am at least! Learning some of these little valuable lessons made me want to share some of personal favourites with you. These are certain items I would say are essential during those first couple weeks, when adjusting to motherhood.

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1.) Size LARGE BKR Water Bottle. I picked up mine from a local boutique in Vancouver however you can order them directly from the website, or from one of the many retailers that carry them. I LOVE these water bottles. They come in all sorts or awesome colours and the handle is great for hanging from the stroller even with a mommy hook. We have a lot of stairs in our house too so this size works perfectly for when I head upstairs with Hallie and want a good supply of ice cold water on hand.

2.) The Bobbi pillow! This pillow as been a huge support for feeding time (no pun intended haha!). You can purchase cases for them in so many different cute prints too. Just don’t let the Hubs steal it for bedtime like mine has. He insists it is more comfortable than our pillows on our bed, which I am sure it is. But still…..

3.) My brother gave me this swing for my baby shower and I am so happy with it! I have it in a slightly different colour scheme but I highly recommend it. It is the Graco Duo 2-in-1 Swing and Bouncer. Also known as the magic chair, the lifesaver and the ultimate babysitter while mum manages to brush her hair and teeth sometime throughout the day. I love this as a swing and as a chair. So does Hallie!

4.) Nurser bottles – when I first went out to buy these, I was overwhelmed by the selection and had no idea what to chose. I was told, wait and see if your baby likes the brand. This seemed a little crazy to me so I committed to the Tommy Tippee set. They seemed like a great size and were affordable. Hallie seems to do quite well with them as long as they are slow flow – any faster and she gets the hiccups. I also love the Avent brand. I only have one that I received as a sample but must get more. They are exceptionally slow which also means a smooth night for mama (less gas for Miss Fussy here). Either way I think both are great options.

5.) Alright, lets get comfy ladies. Look good while we are doing it too. I will admit, there are days where 3pm rolls around and I am still in my pi’s. Not sure how this came about but it did! For those slow moving, chaotic days, I have settled on some trusty pieces from Target. All of their pyjamas and lounge wear are so comfy, affordable, and super cute. I stocked up before I had Hallie and am so thankful for it. I have many options I can just slip into and do not feel ashamed when the postman knocks on the door and I am in my housecoat still. Hallie ain’t the only comfy one round here!

6.) I mentioned above that my little one happens to get rather gassy. It is probably her adjusting to formula. My doctor recommended Gripe Water and I finally got around to trying it out. Wow did I have one happy baby! Did I mention that I was happy too? We slept! 3.5 hours solid for the first stretch and another 3.5 following that feed. It was glorious. I felt like an entirely new woman at the 6am feeding this morning.  Gripe Water, you are my new best friend.

7.) Along with the late nights, early mornings, and all things in-between, it is only normal for the bags to start appearing under our eyes and for the normally glowing skin to look rather drab. Mine was for sure! My mum is notorious for bringing over samples from beauty counters at Sears. When she gave me a handful of Clarins products, I fell in love with this particular Face Gel. It is a cooling gel and makes your skin feel incredible. The dark circles seem to have subsided as well. I will still be a Lancome girl however this is a fantastic contender!

8.) I mentioned above the easiness of sleepers… these ones are amazing! They are by Emma & Jack – again another Sears special from my mum. They are so great though that I stocked up on about ten of them. Hallie doesn’t seem to mind spending the whole day in them sometimes either. Pretty cute too – birdie and elephant prints are our favourite!

9.) Henry could not understand why I registered for so many of these. I think he is beginning to understand. Carter’s blankets are perfect for anything. Whether we are feeding, swaddling, cuddling or changing, you need like five on hand. Because the other five are in the laundry covered in pee and other special substances brought to you by Miss Hallie Marie. These are my preference because they are affordable, super handy, and come in all sorts of fantastic prints. You can never have enough!

I hope you enjoyed reading up on my favourite products that I have discovered on this bumpy road to being a new mommy. Again, these are just my preferences that I have personally found to make life easier at times. No matter how big the mess, I just gotta look down at this tiny bundle of joy and none of the mess matters. Have a great afternoon everyone! XO

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Sleep…… A Distant Memory

I am still playing a little catch up here and have so much to share. Before I get to our weekend recap, I wanted to touch on how we are coping with sleep here at the Hayward House. Or should I say lack of sleep. Little Miss Hallie here is pretty good too! I have been told a few different things from different people about establishing a sleep and feeding schedule. As a new mother, I am trying to get a routine down yet at the same time, kind of letting her take the lead. After all, she has only been in the world for ten days.

I dare to say that Hallie is a full time formula fed baby – I only hesitate because many mothers get mad as hell when you tell them that. I had medical issues that prevented me from fattening the little one up so it was for her well being that we make the switch. So far it is going quite smoothly too. She is putting on a normal amount of weight and seems to be a happy little bunny at every feeding. (If we could get more regular poops, momma would be a happy bunny too – by the way, I never thought I would become so interested in poop!) It could be the formula helping her sleep too. She needs to eat between every 3 and 4 hours and like clockwork, this girl will wake up with perfect timing for meal time. That puts us at three feedings per night. I should probably thank my lucky stars that she sleeps in between and is fully content with the formula. That doesn’t change the fact though that you need to very quickly adjust to sleep deprivation (a form of torture in many places!). I guess over the next few weeks I will get used to it. It also doesn’t matter how tired I am at 3am and how many times my head bobs. When she smiles (which is most likely passing gas and not a smile at all), I am hopelessly in love with that little babe and forget all about how exhausted I am. I have included a couple fun photos below. Karma, our pup also had to adjust to late night feedings. As a big sleeper herself, she has now taken to being quite miserable in the mornings and burying her head under any blanket close by. Poor thing. She does however seem to be SLOWLY accepting the new kid on the block. The darker shot of Hallie I just love; apologies for the poor photography but it was very late and I was taking it with one sleepy eye open. She looks like she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. So worried! The next shot is my precious new cup from my friends boutique, Wishlist. In this case when the photo was taken it was just a very much needed strong cup of joe. So darling though and I can’t wait to try my hand at some homemade versions for Christmas gifts. Lastly, a bit of Halloween fun for Hallie! The onesie was reduced to pennies at Babies R Us so I couldn’t resist. She looks like an eighties aerobics teacher here but festive nonetheless.

I hope you other new mommas are getting enough Zzzzzzzz’s out there. If you have any tips, send them my way!

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Baby Girl Has Arrived!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are enjoying yours as much as I am enjoying mine. I have seriously been meaning to get on this computer for days now and write a post however I have been somewhat busy…. Baby Girl has arrived! Last Thursday morning we welcomed our perfect little girl into the world, Hallie Marie Hayward. Weighing in at a large and surprising 8.5 pounds, she looks like her daddy right now and even has his hair. No ginger kids yet… for now anyways. They say it could fall out but for now she is a blondie brunette. She is just so stinkin’ cute too. I lose track of time just watching her! Okay, in the third photo she slightly resembles the Dalai Lama but still, melt my heart!!

FullSizeRender unnamed-1 unnamedSo I guess a little story time is in order for how Hallie entered the world! I would like to preface her birth story with one round of applause for all the mamas out there who have given birth without any drugs. You women are warriors. I never intended to take on childbirth without the drugs anyways but I do have a new found respect for you. Well done.

So everything began I guess last Wednesday. I woke up that morning feeling a little funny. I was a bit crampy and just felt different in general. Not to mention that since Thanksgiving, my belly now felt like it was somewhere in-between my legs and weighing a ton. When that kid ‘dropped’ I sure felt it. It felt like all of my organs were dropping actually. I did get through the day though and has bedtime approached, I began to think this child is coming real soon. 2am, contractions started. Not too bad but definitely uncomfortable. I nudged Henry and he groggily told me to go back to sleep as my water had not broken and they were probably false alarm contractions. As he drifted peacefully back into slumber I glared at him and vowed I would kill him right there and then. Instead, I went down to the kitchen to make some tea and Google ‘at what point should I go to the hospital’. It appeared that everything they taught us in our one day birthing class went right out the window. After about 45 minutes, I went back to wake Henry. The contractions were 7 minutes apart and I was in agony. After reading the pain all over my face, he quickly got up to call the hospital. Their answer? Take a bath and eat some toast. Not exactly what I had in mind but I went along with it. Twenty minutes later we were getting ready to go. I must have started feeling a bit delusional because along with my hospital bags, I shoved a blowdryer and a tea cup into my purse. “I will need these” I explained to Henry who just shook his head.

In the car, Henry had the contractions down to a science. He called out when they were coming twenty seconds before they arrived, telling me to get ready for it. Boy did they come! Increase in intensity they did too. By the time we reached the ER I was almost in tears and breathing like a son-of-a! We made our way to the delivery ward and got settled into a room. They quickly gave me access to all of the gas in the world to get through the contractions but to be honest, it did not work well for me. It made me so sick that I proceeded to throw up violently every time a contraction hit! I thought we were on our way to having a baby when the nurse came to tell us we could do one of two things. Take morphine and gravol and ‘go home’ or go to another hospital, get the epidural and have the baby. They were short staffed and the maternity ward was full so there was a good chance they could not accommodate baby and I. Well let me tell you, neither of these options were going to fly. I took the gravel and morphine. This seemed to stop the throwing up except the pain did not subside. I guess I was showing so much pain that the epidural was ordered on the double. By the time the epidural guy got there (is that what they cal them?) the gravol was kicking in too. This meant while he was sticking a large needle into my back, I was head bobbing and passing out. Delightful I know! I slightly remember Henry fighting back a smile and a chuckle as I groggily cussed. For those mamas out there who have taken a trip to epidural land, you know exactly how wonderful it is! Pure bliss. Numb from the waist down bliss. The contractions continued however I didn’t notice them too much. The gravol continued to do it’s thang I took a nap for thirty minutes. I woke up as the throwing up came back, with my water breaking simultaneously. It was go time! After all of that, it went really fast. I think Henry was more involved than we had intended. The nurse gave him specific jobs of holding one of my legs up. Oh and cutting the cord of course. Before we knew it she was out and in my arms so all in all, I was very blessed with the actual pushing part, it went very smoothly. Some poor women are not as lucky and my heart goes out to you! The delivery nurse even told me I should become a surrogate since I was good at pushing babies out – ummmm no thank you! One thing I can say though is at that moment, with my (chubby) baby girl in my arms, I was filled with so much happiness and overwhelmed with joy. For my next few posts I plan to share the ups and downs of the last week (I felt like a crazy person! Holy hormones!) as well as tricks I have learnt as a new mum and lastly, some favourite products which I have now deemed essential for your first week with a newborn. Stay tuned for baby fun!

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Friday Faves: Fashion Edition

Happy Friday! Except when you are on mat leave, everyday kind of feels like Friday. I especially love them lately because my husband is home by four and I know we have the whole weekend together with no work – best ever! It’s also kind of crazy to think about tonight being possibly my last Friday night being pregnant. Baby Girl is ready to come any time now! Crazy….!!!

I figured lately there has been lots of baking and crafting mentions but very little on my other love; fashion! Fall fashion is the best of all too. I am obsessed with scarves and boots and coats. Anything cozy, I want to be wrapped up in it. Being pregnant, my Fall shopping has been quite limited. I did not want to purchase any more maternity clothes as I would not be getting a whole lot of use out of them for much longer. I also have not wanted to buy non-maternity clothes, as I have no idea how long it will take me to return to something resembling my original size. There were a few things though that I could not resist and I wanted to share them with you.

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The scarf was an easy choice. You do not need to squeeze into it like a pair of skinny jeans. This forest green tartan infinity scarf was a fabulous find at Street, owned by Below The Belt. Reasonably priced too. I know I could very well make a scarf like this but by the time you purchase the fabric, you sometimes wonder which is the better route to take. The coat was a bit of a larger purchase and I think I have a tiny bit of buyer’s remorse, simply because I haven’t been able to wear it yet. The warmer weather we are having and the very large baby bump have prevented me from even wearing it once yet. I am sure with the cool weather quickly approaching, I will fall in love with just as I did in the store a couple weeks ago. It is a London Fog Tartan Duffle Coat (Yes, I love tartan) from Hudson’s Bay. The toggles are totally adorable too! Finding a hood on a tailored coat is next to impossible as well so WIN! The tiny ‘H’ was a gift for my anniversary back in August from Henry. He gave it to me on a beautiful chain and it’s from Pandora. I am considering this new still as I haven’t worn it. Why you ask? It is to symbolize our daughter’s first name. I couldn’t wear it without everyone bugging me and asking me what it meant. I am a horrible liar and would blush crimson when asked so I put it away for safe keeping until she is born. So very soon it will hang around my neck! Sorry – her name is even a secret to you! The next couple pieces are perfect for layering. I love Aritzia’s camisoles and wear them in all colours under just about everything. I picked up these Thigh High socks from Free People and they are the comfiest things. I cannot get enough of soft, lounging clothes for around the house – especially ones that still look good! The purse was a recent purchase at Target. It’s by the brand Merona – Target has a huge selection of Merona bags. I loved the gold hardware and the pocket structure on this particular bag suited me perfectly. Lots of little compartments yet all totally functional. Plus it looked good. Oh and did I mention there was a sale? Target just makes me so happy. They also have a fantastic selection of wrap coats by Mossimo at Target. They are the perfect layering piece for cooler Autumn months  and the patterns are fantastic. I love this Aztec like print and there is a red tartan one that I have my eye on too. (Or perhaps I do not need 2 tartan coats…) I found these gorgeous ballet slipper flats at Urban Outfitters. They were a great price, are comfy and look super sweet on. Due to my (always) swelling feet, I will have to wait until Baby Girl arrives to wear them regularly. At the moment my feet look like chubby sausages in them. Soon though! Lastly, who doesn’t love a pair of printed leggings. They are everywhere right now and some of the patterns are so fun. This pair is from H&M and will be my go-to pants, along with a few others, all season long. SO EXCITED to have Baby Girl and fit back into some of my Fall Favourites! It is the most wonderful time of the year. Well next to Christmas of course!

Enjoy your LONG WEEKEND Friends! Stay tuned for some Thanksgiving highlights real soon. XO

Baked Goods For All

Okay… so the nesting is in full force! But seriously, who can resist when there are so many delicious recipes out there. Plus when you have a trusty steed like my red Kitchen Aid Mixer, it makes everything so simple and fun. I only use it for basic mixing so far. I would love to get my hands on some of the fixtures that can be added on to her (yes She is a she). They have pasta makers and sausage stuffers, you name it Kitchen Aid has thought of it. Absolutely my favourite brand.

After all of the freezer cooking, it was time to indulge in something sweet. The winning recipe of the day was the Pumpkin Spice Cake. It turned out perfect! I had a random recipe on a scrap of paper so I have no idea where it came from but I will include it here:

Pumpkin Spice Loaf (I say cake because I didn’t have loaf pans, only cake pans, so that is how it turned out!)

- 2 cups pumpkin puree

- 2 cups white sugar

- 1 cup oil

- 4 eggs – I used fresh from the farm and I honestly think it was a big contributor to how good these turned out!

- 2 cups flour

- 2 teaspoons baking powder

- 2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans OR cake Pans (9″ is what I used) and YES the recipe makes 2 which is awesome! I gave one to my mum – 2 cakes in the house is simply wrong…right?! Mix together well the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Pour into loaf pans and bake for one hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let rest on cooling rack. I used a store bought Buttercream Frosting for mine but I think you could get creative here and try a few different kinds. A real heavy cream cheese frosting would be nice, sprinkled with some pumpkin All Spice would be a really goody. I may do that for Thanksgiving next week!

Thank you to whomever gave me the recipe! Sorry I cannot give credit where credit is due. I have also included a couple photographs of two other tasty treats that were a result of this afternoon.

S’mores! These don’t really have a recipe but they are easy as pie. Spread out Graham Cracker Cookies on a baking tray lined with tin foil. Don’t forget the tin foil as they can get a little messy! Next goes chocolate. Sweetened baking chocolate squares work well here but this time round I used chocolate chips. Next I layered Mr. Christies Chocolate wafer cookie. Probably not necassary but who really cares?! On top of that goes as many mini marshmallows as you can fit. Last I swirl some maple syrup on each of them and pop them into the over. Keep an eye on them as they melt fast. You want to pull them out when the marshmallows are just browning and you can see the chocolate melting. It’s a very fine line so be careful!

Next up, Chocolate Pretzel Turtles! Another quick and easy treat that can get a little messy. Line your baking tray with tin foil. Spread out pretzels and pop a Rolo chocolate onto each. Put your tray into the oven and keep a close eye! Now if there is a secret to not letting the caramel leak all over the baking tray, please let me know! I have yet to make a batch where I don’t loose half the caramel in the baking process. As soon as your chocolate has softened and your caramel is everywhere (hopefully not for you!) pull them out of the oven and place Smarties or Reese’s Pieces on each of them. I chose orange Reese’s in honour of Halloween coming soon. Let them cool and then go to town! These also make a great little favour for parties or gatherings. I put a few into clear little bags and tie with twine. My guests always rave about them!

Alright! Now that we all have a mild case of diabetes… enjoy!

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Spaghetti Pie Time

Happy Friday friends! It’s feeling very Fall-ish here today in the good ol’ Tricities. That calls for some cooking in the kitchen! My mum is always giving me cooking magazines and she recently gave me the One-Pan Recipes Better Homes and Gardens edition. This magazine is full of fantastic recipes that, go figure, only require one pan! I managed to make enough for two though so that we would have one for dinner, and one as a freezer meal for when Baby Girl arrives. My freezer is actually looking pretty impressive right now! So after drooling over every recipe and photograph in BHG, Spaghetti Pie was too good-looking to resist. I used this recipe here as a guide but gave it my own twist and of course changed up some of the ingredients. For whatever the reason, I cannot stick to a recipe. If I had it my way there would be a giant stock pot and every item in my fridge all mixed together.

An hour later, I had two perfect looking Spaghetti pies! I doubt it really takes this long but I tend to be a little slow these days. Baby brain often has me tackling three projects at once. The part I loved the most about this recipe is how structured my ‘pies’ were. You could literally cut into them with a fork and eat like pie versus the traditional Lady & The Tramp way of eating spaghetti. Not that there is anything wrong with that way either! From my kitchen to yours friends! XO

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Thank FULL Of Goodness!

October Kitchen Post

Well, it’s finally here: OCTOBER! October is probably my favourite month, tied with December. Both months I love, for obvious reasons – the holidays! I am a Thanksgiving nut and also have a soft spot for Halloween! It is seriously one of the best months for cooking, baking, decorating, crafting, all sorts of good times. Not to mention that this is the month baby Girl will be joining us! She will be a holiday lover crafter just like her momma too!

In honour of this awesome time of year, I wanted to share some favourites out of my kitchen. Most are classics but I have stumbled upon some real gems. It pretty much all came from William Sonoma!

Five Apple Cider – I found it very difficult to justify paying $18.95 for Apple Cider however after doing some research, it was not such a bad investment. First reason being, Apple Cider (the real good thick stuff) is surprisingly very challenging to locate. At least in my neighbourhood it is. I searched everywhere! I eventually found a pretty good one – at Walmart of all places! Unfortunately the Walmart one was not concentrate so you plough through it just like regular juice, doesn’t last too long. Which brings me to the second reason of why the William Sonoma brand is a goody – its concentrate! Essentially that means you only add a small portion to water and it goes way farther. Not to mention it’s delicious taste! You get what you pay for.

Mulling Spices – Okay slightly torn here. The Mulling Spices, when heated on stovetop, not only make your house smell seasonally divine, but when added to the cider, simply send you off to Fall Scented Heaven. That being said, these ones are a teensy bit pricey. You could very easily make your own. If you are a crafty one too, there are many adorable packaging techniques that you could DIY and give away as presents! I think I may do this in miniature mason jars for the holiday season. Everyone loves receiving some good ol’ Mulling Spice right?!

Cranberry Sauce – Now to each their own, but personally I like to make my own cranberry sauce. It is a bit of a tradition with my girlfriend Maria. Our first year, we decided to add rum to the mixture (the recipe recommended it!). We then proceeded to drink a lot of rum and I can’t quite remember how the rest of the sauce making day went. A success I am sure! Due to her having 3 babies over the years gone by, and me now preggo with my first, rum has been absent for our cranberry sauce days since. Hopefully at Christmas time we can spice things up again! Funnily enough, I do not even like cranberry sauce on my turkey. I just like making it and canning it into little mason jars and giving it to my friends and family as presents!

Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle Mix – bit of a mouthful today and an even better mouthful to eat! I think it just goes without even saying this flavour is to die for. I will say that obviously homemade is always better but for a mix, you can’t beat this one. The festive flavours make it a huge party for your pallet.

Stuffing – I think Stuffing could really be its own food group. I will often make it on the regular and serve it for dinner with roast chicken and gravy. Who doesn’t love stuffing! I like to make homemade every Thanksgiving and then have some stovetop as a back up because everyone else at the table loves stuffing too. This packet is on the large side and definitely enough to feed a small army – aka my family’s appetites during the holiday season.

 

I hope ya’ll enjoyed reading about these holiday favourites. I will be sure to share some success recipes that I discover over the next couple weeks, as well as our cranberry sauce making due to go down this weekend, sans rum of course. Cheers from my kitchen to yours friends!