Holiday Essentials

After over a week of beautiful sunshine, we finally had a rain filled day, typical of Vancouver. It was a little blah here in the Hayward House as well. I am completely sleep deprived this week as Hallie has decided she would like to be fully awake from 4am until  6am. Oh and scream bloody murder. It’s been swell for my splitting headache that just won’t quit. She was doing really well through the night too. I think it has a tiny bit to do with her formula change – we had to change brands due to the fact that Target only had expired boxes on the shelves – wtf?! I was extremely disappointed; how are earth are you supposed to stay brand loyal when the company cannot even deliver the product? Anyways, that could have something to do with the fact that Miss Hallie is a bit cranky. So with the rain and the gloominess of the day, we decided to push through and cheer up. Time to decorate for the holidays! I dug out all of the boxes last week so that the craft room downstairs now look like santa’s workshop blew up in there. It is a challenge to do anything with a newborn, as many of you know, but I did manage to pull out some of my favourite ‘Winter Decor’ pieces.

Winter decor Definition: My way of sneaking up holiday decorations without pissing off my husband too much. He is a December baby so his birthday always got overshadowed by Christmas. This is why, I believe, he does not like Christmas Jingle Janlge, in any form, until way too close to the actual big day. His rule for me is nothing before December 1st, however if he had it his way, nothing would go up until a week before Christmas Day. Not on my watch! Hallie and I have been rocking to the Christmas Carols for a good couple weeks now. All of this made me resort to Winter Decorating. This consists of lots of neutral pallets, shades of white, shimmers of gold and silver, and anything to do with Winter. This includes fake branches and snowmen of course. I have actually grown to love this tradition and may even go as far to say that I prefer this style now to the typical red and green. It feels super festive without going overboard. While playing around with some table setting arrangements, I came across my most recent holiday purchases and thought that I should probably share my current holiday essentials. Below are some new purchases that I am totally looking forward to enjoying this holiday season. What are your seasonal faves?

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Most of these items were scooped up on my jaunt to Seattle a couple weeks ago. For Baby Girl, Carters had the most adorable collections featured for the festive season. I can’t wait to get Hallie into these girlie ‘overalls’. The hat has already been a necessity from BabyGap, the Scottie Dog security blankie (Carters) is already snuggled into her arms and she is white knuckling it every chance she gets. Target was my go-to for entertaining friends. I am loving their collections from Nate Berkus and the Threshold Collection. The galvanized bucket is perfect for filling with ice and frosty beverages. The little gold ramekins are going to pair nicely with the Nate Berkus side plates and their black and gold motif. These plates were on Oprah’s favourite things list of 2014 and I couldn’t resist them. We are big appetizer people so I will be putting them to a lot of use over the next few weeks. Lastly, there are a couple items I picked out for myself (it’s amazing that once you have a baby, you immediately would rather shop in the baby section than for yourself; their clothes are just so darn cute!). Forever 21 is great for grabbing cost-friendly socks, tights and winter woolies. The socks and the toque are from there and though the quality translates to only lasting for a couple seasons, they will work just fine. Too cute for words too! J Crew has a great selection of knit sweaters, as always, and are the perfect source for finding good staple sweaters that you can pair up with everything. This Black and Heather Grey polka dot knit can easily be work with jeans, my leather skinnies, or even a dressy skirt for holiday cocktail parties. Super versatile. Last but certainly not least, Target had a pair of quilted black boots for an irresistible price. I may have way too many boots but I can always find room for one more pair.

This time of year is the best! I do love Thanksgiving but really, Christmas time takes the cake. I am so excited to have our baby girl here to experience it. This year might be a bit tight money wise but I truly do have everything I need. I am crazy in love with my husband, have the most perfect daughter in my arms, and a warm and cozy home to sleep in at night. Though I may post about the fun stuff (baking, crafting and shopping) this is the time of year to remember what is important in life; family. Can’t wait to share MY family’s holiday fun over the next couple months with you. It’s going to be so much fun!

Baby Nursery

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! Many of you are likely still enjoying it if you took an extended weekend with tomorrow being a holiday. It’s been an action packed weekend for me as I took off to Seattle with a couple girlfriends to see Oprah (Post to come soon, I promise!) but I got home last night and now it is just quality family time for the next two days. Just the hubs and I and the little lady. Oh and lunch with my dad tomorrow so that should be great! Little family catch up time is in order.

I did however want to make time today to finally share some photographs of Hallie’s room. The nursery was completed back in September though I only managed to take some decent photos last week. I LOVE her room. I could hang out in there all day. Often, we do! The inspiration came from my fondness for woodland creatures. When I started working for Anthropologie, I fell in love with whimsical characters from the forest like little owls and furry foxes. I wanted to feature these animals in Hallie’s room, but in a subtle and elegant way. I am also quite obsessed with different shades of white. These two components set the grounds for where I would start designing. Next I wanted to choose a color pallet. Many were shocked that I went for a neutral scheme and not beautiful girlie pinks, knowing that we were having a little girl. I didn’t really care. I knew I wanted the different whites I had chosen, pops of gold, and possibly one or two more primary colors. Last Winter one of our windows at Anthropologie featured hot air balloons. My display coordinator generously gave me three of these handcrafted balloons and that is where my final choice of including the color blue came from. The balloons are honestly just so darn adorable. They suit the room perfectly and when we are in the rocking chair, Hallie just loves gazing up at them. She also loves the glimmers of gold on the wall and in her crib. Certainly is her momma’s kid! For the gold letters on the wall, I bought inexpensive wooden letters from Walmart and spray painted them gold. Take special care when selecting your letters though. It wasn’t until we had them up on the wall that I realized I had chosen one ‘L’ that was a different style to all of the rest of the letters. Hello baby brain! I took know notice and probably looked at those letters a hundred times over the summer. Oh well, gives it character I suppose. We hung them with twine to keep in tune with the rustic vibe that had developed within details in the room. Gold dots also popped out of my favourite Anthropologie cushion and the fitted crib sheet that I bought off of Easy. We refinished an old dresser, sanding it down and giving a fresh coat of paint. I then added gold sleeping fox knobs, also from Anthropologie, to give it a whimsy feel and to tie into the rest of the gold in the room. I adore the animal heads I bought from Anthropologie (it’s just so easy to shop there when you work there I swear!) which we filled with rustic branches and perched them on the white shelves. Henry insists these animal heads would be scary to a baby but I know in fact it is just he who is afraid of them. Hallie will love them just like I do! We also stocked up on cute stuffed animals that also might greet you on your forest adventures. Lastly we added texture to the room with the flowing white curtains and the fluffy white sheepskin. Oh and the plush furry throw in the rocking chair. I love soft fabrics, can’t you tell! The rocking chair is a favourite as well; it was the rocking chair that my husband was nursed in as a baby by his mother. Having items, especially furniture, with a bit of a story is such a beautiful component to add to the room. I can’t wait for Hallie to grow in this room, and as she develops to start noticing and enjoying tiny little details that I put there especially for her. It’s our enchanted forest where we get to spend time together and get to know the other furry creatures that dwell there. Even our dog Karma likes to chill on the sheepskin rug while we rock.

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Must Have Baby Gear

Baby Gear

 

I was so excited to write this post because I truly love so many of these products. Okay all of them. They make life with a baby so much easier. When I was pregnant I was constantly Googling First Baby Must-Haves and Essentials for First Time Moms. It was extremely overwhelming because everyone has their opinion on what they think is best. Honestly, I think if you just randomly pick one of the many reputable options and commit to it with a good attitude, it will be your essential as well. For example, with the nursing bottles. Everyone had a different opinion on the best brand. The lady at Babies R Us said ‘let the baby choose the brand she likes’. Sorry but the baby doesn’t know how much the bottles cost. Eventually I just picked a brand of bottles and committed to it. Those bad boys are working out great and I think it’s because the baby doesn’t know any different. This exact same logic went along with many things like the carseat, stroller and baby monitor. How is one to narrow down such a giant selection? Even looking at reviews can be biased. Maybe that maternal instinct kicks in early and you simply just KNOW what to pick. I am not sure but in my case, it came down to picking something that looked good and in my price range (which happened to be on the low side). In the end I am extremely happy with the pieces I chose and am not quite sure how I would get through many days without them.

1.) Brica Rear Facing carseat Mirror – This was an item I registered for my baby shower but did not receive. I though ‘oh well’ it is probably not too necessary and never got around to buying one myself. After Hallie and I’s first road trip out to see the doctor, I immediately decided it was essential for me to see her face in my rear view mirror while driving. It was actually hazardous NOT to see her as I stressed the whole drive in wondering if the tiny seat belt straps in her carseat were choking her. Now that I have one of these mounted in the car I am so happy that I can glance back and be completely reassured that she is comfortable (and breathing). Mind you her cuteness is still distracting while driving!

2.) Crane Humidifier ‘Tear’ – I bought this guy at Babies R Us mainly because it was so darn cute but also because so many New Mommy Blogs insisted it was essential, especially when they get sick. Hallie is now just over 2 weeks old and already has a stuffy nose (WTF?!) so I am going to start using it in her room tonight. Hoping it will help her poor little nose. It sure helped me in the last trimester as I got very stuffed up, as many very pregnant mommas do.

3.) Medela Electric Double Pump - Ahh the breast pump. We did not get along. Some things are just not meant to be. I am loving pump free life though, I must admit that. For all pumping purposes though, this one wins hands down. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and who does not love the fancy backpack that it comes in. Super handy. The price is high but if you are going to be pumping, I recommend this one. Throw it on your registry and maybe a few friends will go in together!

4.) Amerigo Stretchy Baby Wrap by Mamankangourou – Hallie and I are still getting used to this wrap but we love it! The fabric is super soft yet sturdy and the navy and stripes actually look kind of cute. I have not checked out the DVD yet with all of the positions so we have just tried the little newborn snuggle. It works great though! Hallie just snuggles right in and I am able to use my hands, baby free. I can do wonderful things like sterilize bottles and even type on the computer! Two of my priorities right now, honestly hah. There are many options out there (Moby, Boba, Happy Baby Wrap) and I am sure they are all wonderful and functional in the same way. Go out and get yourself one (commit to a brand remember?!) and make life easy. I even tried to make one; turned out perfect but for the cost of the fabric, it cost the same to buy new. I guess I should also be honest here and say that I bought mine off of Craigslist for $20.00. Baby stuff is all the same: You NEED it and then as soon as you don’t need it, you want to get rid of it ASAP. Check out your local online consignment like Craigslist and I am sure you will find one dirt cheap.

5.) Phil & Ted’s Carrier Bag – I was against many baby bags from the start. Many of them I found to be a little sore on the eyes. I wanted to get a nice Lululemon bag that I could use for everything. I always believe if you need to buy a super functional bag (like said baby bag) get one that will look good with whatever you are wearing. I showed Henry the Lululemon bag I was after and he quickly squashed that bug. Guess $200 was too much. We swung by Target just to check things out and agreed on this bag. The Phil & Ted’s brand is durable and because it is black, will look okay with everything. Also it appears to be very unisex so Henry has no objections carrying it. You might laugh but these are important factors to consider! Well they were for me =). This bag has perfect compartments, side mesh pockets for water bottles, secret mommy pockets for all of my lip glosses (because I need to carry 20 of them for some reason) and a convenient changing mat, already put to use about ten times. I love this bag and am super happy with it!

6.) Tommy Tippee Travel Bottle Warmers – For Formula, these are awesome. You have to be quite careful with how long you have formula made for or how long it is out of the fridge, depending on if it was made from powder, concentrate, etc. These are fantastic for taking a couple bottles on the road with me so that little Miss can get her lunch no matter where we are. The velcro strap handles are great too if I can’t quite fit them into the diaper bag and need to fasten them to the outside or even to the stroller.

7.) Lastly, my pride & joy…. the stroller / carseat – Graco Click Connect Mode Travel System. This product is awesome. It is a stroller with toddler seat / bassinet and has the infant carseat. It was so easy to assemble and literally clicked together, hence the name. It is sturdy, light, and steers beautifully. The carseat is nice and compact, and the stroller folds up and down very easily. You can do it with one hand, often the case when carting around your fussy newborn. This stroller looks good and feels good, what more can mom and baby ask for?!

These are my favourite products right now for Hallie and I. They work with our lifestyle perfectly and make my life very easy. Happy mom happy baby remember? By no means am I saying you should go out and buy these. If you do, you will probably quickly realize why I love them so much. There are tons of similar options out there that will do the same thing. Again, just pick something, commit to using it and I promise, you and baby will love it. Don’t get overwhelmed by the millions of choices of baby crap that you can buy. My girlfriend said it best. ‘There is so much crap to buy for a baby. It’s all expensive and half of it you don’t need’. So be wise and savvy with your choices mommas!

 

 

Bloglovin!

I have known about and been connected to Bloglovin for a couple years now but have never really looked into the depth of it too much. I recently signed up THIS blog specifically, instead of just utilizing it to find other blogs that featured posts similar to my interests. So now I am a part of the Bloglovin world too. Please check out the link to Bloglovin below and see how you can easily follow me on there, as well as other fantastic writers! It’s awesome for searching new sites to get addicted to I promise. =)

Click Here —-> Bloglovin 

 

Halloween Recap

I tried and tried and tried all week to get our Halloween pictures of prep and activities up on the blog and throughout these attempts, learnt a valuable lesson. Settle for getting through tasks and projects about hallway for now. Be prepared to go back to it later. With a newborn, I am finding I start a lot of projects and leave them halfway through because Hallie needs me. This is obviously more than okay! That little lady is all that needs attention right now. Crafts can always wait. However, it was rather interesting to me that it took me about 3 hours to make a batch of cupcakes as I kept getting pulled away. Needless to say finding the time to post these pictures was a challenge too. Today is November 1st (time is flying!) and I have a sleeping baby beside me so it seemed like a perfect time to jump on the computer.

I had many great intentions for the month of October, Fall and Halloween. With the arrival of Hallie, only a fraction of these to-do’s actually happened. We decorated the house quite early which I was so glad we did. Henry built this beautiful dining room table which I LOVE to create festive table settings on. This prevents us from actually eating at it but who cares when it looks so fun. I love to play with levels and heights and different textures when making these sort of centrepieces. For this one we played around with ghoul and zombie heads, glitter pumpkins, creepy candles and potion jars. I especially love the crow. He reminds me of Sleeping Beauty and Malifacent. She was so bad ass! I also adore the cream pumpkins from Michaels Craft Store. I had planned on painting some designs on them or even dipping them in glitter but in the end, that just didn’t happen. I still think they make an appropriate statement though. We used washi tape from Target to make the miniature bunting banner which we hung above our t.v. Henry did a great job of stringing up pumpkin lights on the front deck and he decorated the whole front stoop area with carved pumpkins, cobwebs and caution tape. Again, the effort was only half there as we are both so sleep deprived and exhausted. Even our pumpkin carvings look sad. But we tried and will do better next year (BIG haunted house plans!). Lastly, those three hour cupcakes actually turned out tasty and pretty darn cute. Oh and one trick I found to ensure I get around to doing something; set it up. We tried to carve our pumpkins like three nights in  a row and life happened to get in the way. So one afternoon I pre-set the carving station and we eventually had some fun doing it that very evening. Commit to follow through was the secret I guess. Next year I want to be much more on the ball and we are going to start the ‘Great Carve’ tradition. Pumpkins galore and we will do it outside where we can make as much mess as we want in the crisp Fall air. I am sure Hallie will be at the age where she loves to toss around pumpkin guts!

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For Halloween night, Henry and I still wanted to dress up even though we were not headed anywhere. Well maybe him more than I. I rocked out my Halloween pumpkin shirt that I made and was quite happy with it. I wanted to support his excitement though and get right into the spirit. We settled on Jack Skelington and his girlfriend Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. He looked better than me. Actually he looked great! We had a couple costumes for Hallie too. We managed to get her into the Candy Corn costume which was beyond adorable. She fell asleep mid photo shoot though and we didn’t have the heart (or energy or patience) to go through putting her into her Pea in the Pod costume. Sleep was rare for her yesterday so we took it as it came! She must have shared the same excitement we had for Halloween and just couldn’t shut her eyes. =) Our dog Karma also got into the spirit in her pup cowgirl costume. She loved it and got very excited every time the doorbell rang. We didn’t get a ton of trick-o-treaters but the little ones who did come by were so darn cute. I may have handed out some extras to the real cuties! In the end, a very low key yet very fun evening with my fun little family here. Now that we have gotten October out of the way, we can focus on some Winter crafting (my transitional decor so that Henry doesn’t realize I am secretly decorating for Christmas). Bring on the holidays! Happy Halloween everyone! Until next year.

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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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