Friday, November 21, 2014

Fabulous Friday: On Being Beautiful

The other night I was taking a shower and gazing down at my post baby body. I've always been hard on myself about my physical appearance; in fact, I've been mean in the way that a person can only be to herself. Anyway, instead of cataloging my flaws and all the ways that I'm not as fit, or as toned, or as tight as I used to be, I was thinking about how I feel beautiful. 

It's funny because I had set out to write a post about "body after baby," but everything I wrote felt silly. I was writing about flab and losing the baby weight, and having this different relationship with my physical self, but never in those posts did I think about the other side of a post baby body, the beautiful side. And, actually, that beauty has nothing to do with physical appearance.

When I see my daughter smile at me, I feel beautiful. When I see myself through her eyes, I'm pretty close to perfect.

Now, does this mean that I actually look particularly beautiful these days? No. In fact, some days I look a certifiable hot mess. I have all these crazy baby hairs growing where my normal hair is broken. My stomach has not returned to what I now appreciate as my pre-baby abs. Somewhere along the way, I completely lost my butt. (If you see it, let me know.) I have dark circles that I never used to have. In fact, I swear I am getting wrinkles. Maybe you can't see them, but I know they're there. But, I could honestly swear to you that when I am playing with Nevie, and she is laughing at something I did or said, if you held a mirror up to me in that moment, I would fully expect to see my very best self staring back.

To her, my physical appearance is completely irrelevant. She doesn't care what I wear, how soft or hard my body feels (in fact, I imagine that soft is more appealing to her). She doesn't care if I wear make-up or pretty clothes, if I have my nails done, and even (I hope--sorry about all those early morning kisses, Nevie) if I've brushed my teeth because I'm her person. When she cries, she needs her mom, and it doesn't matter if I'm wearing a stained sweatsuit that hasn't been washed in days or an evening gown. Mom is mom whatever she looks like. I'm her person: her comfort, her reassurance, her constant.

There will probably come a day when my appearance will matter to her. One day when she is a teenager, I'll be the mom whose appearance either reinforces her status or threatens it. I'll never forget the horrible thing I said to my own mother once when I said I wished she looked like this other girl's mom (who, by the way, was a complete airhead and all around rather dreadful person). I remember my mom seeming hurt, but, of course, my fourth or fifth grade self didn't understand why. Now I do. I hope my daughter never says that she wishes I looked different, or dressed differently, or acted differently, but I also know that day will come. As Tina Fey so beautifully puts it in her "Mother's Prayer for Her Daughter," "When one day, (my daughter), calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister/ Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into the cab in front of her friends,/For I will not have that shit. I will not have it." Yes, I am sure that day will come. But, for now (and hopefully another good ten to twelve years), I'm her everything.

I am perfect to her. And there is something about looking at a truly beautiful little person who you created that can make you feel damn beautiful. And when she looks at you with her huge blue eyes, and puts her hands up for a hug, well, game over. Frankly, it makes me feel stunning. It's one of the most fabulous things I've ever known.

Friday, October 10, 2014

To My Friends About to Have Babies

Dear friends,

I am thinking of you as you enter this new phase of life, and I wanted to tell you a few things. Nothing I can say is going to prepare you, but maybe you'll read this after a sleepless night and feel a little consolation.  That's what I hope.

So, I want to tell you about where we are seven months later.

Let's start with a little dose of honesty. The other night we were at a hotel in Maine to celebrate our friends' wedding and Jeff said to me, "I don't want to be one of those guys who married a nice, normal woman who then had a baby and turned into a freak." This was a bad night, and that happens every now and then.

At that moment, it was three in the morning, and I was literally pacing the hotel room, and I may or may not have been crying. Exhausted from the trip, I just couldn't settle myself and get to sleep. Insomnia had struck again. That's a hard thing that's happened to me since I've become a mother. Let's face it, there are lots of hard things that happen when you become a mother.

You see, I used to be a worrier. If worrying had been an Olympic sport, I would have comfortably taken bronze. I was no gold medal winner. I know some of you who are; I'm not naming names. No, I was never quite that intense, but I worried. In the past seven months, I think I have been clawing my way up the medal stand.

Being a mom is all the things everyone says. It is every cliche and adage and trite throwaway remark. And none of those things even touch what it's like. It is the most isolating, rewarding, amazing, frightening, awe inspiring, insane thing that's ever happened to me. But the other thing I've realized in these months is that it gets better. So much better. Maybe it didn't look like it that night in the hotel room, but it does.

I don't mean to plagiarize, but I can't recall where I read this article in which the writer says about parenting that it doesn't actually get easier, but you just get better at it. Seven months later, I feel that. I was eating dinner the other night, at the table, with my husband, while my daughter was sleeping, in her crib (I just named each of these things explicitly because they are amazing to me), and I thought aloud, "All those nights of eating take out salad in shifts while we rocked a crying baby for hours and hours on end seem like a different life." I wondered during those long nights if I would ever start to feel like myself again, if my life would ever feel "normal" again. And now, seven months later, I can report that I do, and it does (albeit a new normal on both fronts). Yes, I still sometimes act crazy. And yes, I worry. A. LOT. But, I am deeply in love and happy in a way I didn't know about before I had Neve.

I was perusing Instagram the other day, also known as the wellspring of images to make you feel lesser, and I happened upon one woman's account who had also just had a baby. She was dressing her little guy in full cashmere ensembles while wearing the ubiquitous Valentino rock-stud flats (she had to trade in the heels now that she is a mom) and touting the figure of a fifteen year old boy a month after giving birth, and she kept captioning her photos with gems like, "Loving every single second of motherhood." and "This is bliss!" (in her monogrammed pajamas with a full face of makeup), and "So in love...". I wanted to punch her through the iphone. As Glennon of Momastery fame says, "Being told in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I am not in a constant state of gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong." Let me tell you, my friend, every moment is NOT bliss. And successfully and joyfully carpe-ing every diem is pretty much akin to enjoying a root canal. But, boy do some moments take your breath away. (Sometimes because you feel like you just got punched in the gut and other times because you cannot fathom how a tiny human being was brought into this world because of you, and through you, and is now slithering (because she isn't crawling yet) around your living room giggling, and growing, and looking at you with her huge eyes like you are her whole world (which, essentially, you are), and smelling like the most delicious thing you've ever known.)

So, my dearest friends, there are nights when you will wonder if you'll ever sleep. There are nights when you won't sleep at all. There will be days when you think you've lost your mind, or your partner will think you've lost your mind, or you will think that you'll never be "yourself" again. There will be moments when it will all feel like too much, especially if you are doing it far away from family and support. But, just remember that you'll get better at it. And it is so normal not to wear cashmere robes and feel like every waking second of your life is bliss. And that doesn't make you a bad mom. That makes you a real mom.

And remember that every time it feels like too much, there will be that one second, or that one hour, or that one day when your baby will do something that will make you feel like you were never really living until you knew her.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Little Thing Called Guilt

Before I had a child, I seem to remember hearing people talk about this constant feeling of guilt that is associated with child rearing. The first few months of parenthood, I did not have this experience. My child was breathing, eating, making dirty diapers, and generally coming along just fine. I figured I was doing everything "right." I was trusting my instincts and going with it. I didn't read parenting books. I didn't obsess over every little thing. I was actually a pretty chill first time mom, if I do say so myself. Until I wasn't.

I noticed that this change in my approach to parenting came around the same time I went back to work. The night before my first day, we had a horrible night. The baby was up every-single-hour. I probably nursed her four times (admittedly, mostly to get her to go back to sleep). The next morning, I started work bleary-eyed and determined to figure out how to get my baby to sleep better. I decided that now that I was working, I couldn't do this up every few hours thing. I needed to be rested to function, and I was in a full blown panic. So, I started soliciting opinions. Of course, when it comes to babies and sleep, there is no shortage of opinions. Various colleagues of mine suggested everything from full blown cry-it-out (as in shut the door and don't go in until morning) to "just let her be and keep waking up with her every time she wakes until she is three" (or ten, or twenty five, as the case may be). I decided the next night that I would start sleep training. And night weaning. Throw that in the mix too. When I got home that evening, I took to the internet in my quest to find the perfect solution. Every site claimed that every other method of sleep training (besides the one they were touting) would do permanent damage to the baby. I internally debated the pros and cons of every approach for hours. I told J. that we were going to try one particular method only to take it back a few hours later. By the time it was bedtime, I was completely exhausted from thinking about sleep. Beyond that, I was feeling guilty.

I was feeling guilty for not having sleep trained my baby already, and at the same time I was feeling guilty for thinking about sleep training my baby.  No sleep was part of the package I signed up for, right? So, why couldn't I just suck it up?  I was feeling guilty for going back to work. I was feeling guilty for wanting to go back to work. I was a hot mess of guilt about almost everything. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Oh. That's what all those people were talking about."

Being a person who has generally always had a good understanding of how to be successful, parenting has opened up a whole new world of uncertainty. There are a million and ten ways to be a good parent. There are a million and ten ways to raise a child. The one common denominator of every approach is that no one way is the "right" way, and that is so different from so many other things I've done in my life. No parenting book, no website, no advice gleaned from well-meaning friends can tell me how to best raise my daughter, how to be the best mother to this particular little girl. When people say that being a parent is the hardest thing anyone will ever do, I think that part of the reason for this is because there is no road map. It's trial and error, but the stakes are unbelievably high. When I think about the fact that any choice I make might impact this little person for the rest of her life, I pretty much want to call it a day right then and there. The pressure is stifling. I wonder if the messages I inadvertently send her will affect her in ways I can't anticipate. I wonder when those messages start getting conveyed. I wonder what those messages are and will be. I wonder and question myself on a daily--scratch that--hourly basis. And, I imagine that this is just the beginning of the doubt, and uncertainly, and guilt that comes with being a mother. I don't have a conclusion for this train of thought because I think that to be a parent is to feel guilty. Is there any way around it? If there is, please let me know.

P.S. I also feel guilty about the fact that it took me about two weeks to publish this post, and that I couldn't think of a way to wrap it up on a positive note (because this is a blog, and it is supposed to be chipper, right?)! Does it never end?!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Best Baby Buys for The First Few Months

Recently, I wrote an email to a friend about the products that were most helpful to me in the first few months of motherhood. I thought I'd share my picks with you in case anyone is expecting or looking for a shower gift for a friend. Certainly, there are millions of baby products out there, and I've only tried a handful, but here's what I'd buy again and what made those first crazy months a little bit easier. I will do another post on great items for new mamas, so stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, buckle up for one epically long list!

To start off, we used the book Baby Bargains to read reviews and compare products. It was an absolute lifesaver when I had no idea where to begin. I can't recommend it enough!


Stroller: We went with the Uppa Baby Vista stroller. They are definitely on the pricey end of strollers, but I feel like it was worth it. It handles like a dream, has a nice big basket below, and comes with a bassinet for tiny babes and a nice big seat for babies and toddlers. We also bought a car seat adapter so that we could clip the car seat onto the stroller base. This is terrific if the baby falls asleep in the car, and you don't want to transfer her to the stroller seat. You will probably also need a newborn insert for the stroller seat if you plan to use it in the beginning months. I now need an umbrella stroller for travel, but the Vista has been great, and I know we will be using it for a long time.

Car seat: We went with the Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat. I think it's very popular because when I went on my daycare tour every other person there had the exact same one! You would also want the newborn insert for the car seat, but this one comes with it! While you can use a seat belt to strap in the seat, I would advise the car seat base. We got one in CA and one in CT because the seat just feels so much more secure when it is on the base.

Carrier: We got the Beco Gemini carrier. This has been awesome while traveling this summer, and I would recommend it. I didn't realize how much babies love to chew the straps of these things, so I wish I can gotten the chew pads. I do plan to order those so I can throw them in the wash and not have to wash the whole carrier.

Wrap: I picked the Solly wrap mostly because it was so pretty, the packaging was lovely, and I liked the organic fabric. It was wonderful when N. was tiny because I could wear her around the house when trying to do dishes, laundry, my makeup, etc. and she could happily nap on me. She was too heavy for it (in my opinion) rather quickly, although apparently you can keep wearing it for a while. Once she reached a certain weight, I preferred the support of the Beco.


Swings and Things: My sister-in-law bought N. a beautiful bassinet, which I put her in when we returned home form the hospital. In short, I was delusional. Babies like to be held, and really N. just needed something a bit more cozy in those early days. When she got to be closer to 8-10 weeks, she transitioned into her bassinet. For the first few weeks, she slept in her mamaRoo (with the newborn insert), which I loved because it felt safer than a traditional swing because, when reclined, the baby is not slumped over, which can block her airways. I still pretty much obsessively watched her when she slept, but I think she was safe in this. As she got older, the mamaRoo was great for keeping her happy when I needed my hands free for a moment. At almost six months now, she is too long for it, and her little feet dangle over the edge (but she is quite a big baby), so that gives you a sense of how much time you might get out of it. We also got her a Rock 'n Play at my parents' house, and she really loved that. I didn't let her sleep in it, but she enjoyed being in it for a little quiet time or while we were eating at the table.

Crib: We went with the Babyletto crib, and I absolutely love it. It looks modern and cool, and it transitions into a toddler bed. N. is happily sleeping in there as I write this this. Yes, this is a miracle. My grandma gave us beautiful sheets and a quilt from Serena & Lily, and the quality is amazing.

Swaddling Blankets and Sleep Sacks: We used the Aden + Anais swaddling blankets. I foolishly thought that N. didn't like to be swaddled in the early days. Big mistake. Thank you to my friend Erin who told me to just do it already! It changed N's sleep quite a bit when she was happily swaddled. When she was a bit bigger, we transitioned N. to the Halo Sleep Sack, which was easier than swaddling with the blanket, but which she would not stand in the early days. I also found the Easy Swaddle by Aden + Anais to be terrific. Now we are using the Sleep Sack without the swaddle.

Black Out Curtains: When babies are tiny they can pretty much sleep in any conditions. As they get older, they definitely need more quiet and darkness to sleep well (or at least better as I am not the one to ask about how to get a baby to sleep well). At my parents, our room was quite bright. Since being home, N's room has blackout curtains, and it appears to be helping her sleep a bit longer in the mornings. I am now madly in love with my blackout curtains, and I would definitely recommend them!!

PJs: I bought lots of PJs with snaps, but I would highly recommend zippers. In the middle of the night when you have to change diapers, it is much easier to zip the baby up than to try to see the snaps, particularly if you are trying to keep the lights off. (I never wanted to turn the lights on, so I bought these little lamps, which were handy.)


Diapers: I cannot advise you on what type of diapers to buy. My daughter blows through all of them. Sad face. We've done Pampers, Honest, and right now we are going with Huggies. These have been the best of the three, but I think that different diapers work differently for different babies. At least it seems that way! (I have been going with the Pampers Sensitive wipes.)

Changing Table: We have a changing table that we fashioned ourselves. It started with an Ikea dresser. We attached a changer top and pad from Land of Nod to the top. Then, J. added hooks on either side where we hang the tub. I love that we outfitted this to meet our needs. We even spray painted the knobs gold.

Diaper Pail: We went with the Ubbi because it is metal, so it doesn't odors. In addition, you do not need special bags for this pail; you can use a regular trash bag. That adds up to savings even though the pail itself is a bit more than some of the plastic pails. (Plus, it comes in lots of cool colors, and I read somewhere once that the Kardashians endorse these--if that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what it.)


Tub: The First Years tub is cheap and amazing. N. loved it from from the get go. You cannot beat the price, and it works from the newborn size up to a much bigger baby. It also worked in our sink and now sits in our bathtub. I highly recommend it.

Towels and Washcloths: I went with Aden + Anais towels and washcloths. They are great, but for a newborn, I would recommend a smaller washcloth like these. I received this towel as a gift, and it is literally the cutest thing I've ever seen. Buy one for a shower gift. It will be a big hit.

Soap and Lotion: I originally bought the Mustela products because I wanted to be all fancy like that, and they are very nice, but I was given a sample of the Noodle and Boo line, and I became obsessed with it. It smells like heaven. Yum.


Pacifiers: At first, N. wasn't very interested in the pacifier. But, thanks to the persistence of my mother-in-law, it is now my favorite baby item and the all time savior of my sanity. I have been using the Avent pacifiers. Now that N. sleeps unswaddled because she is rolling, the WubbaNub is terrific because it gives her something safe and little to hold on to while she is sleeping. Plus, they are cute, which doesn't hurt. I also highly recommend the pacifier clip!

Bottles: We tried a few different bottles for feeding her expressed milk (starting with the free ones they give you at A Pea in The Pod), but N. didn't care for them. Luckily J. found her these bottles that are cool looking and which she takes very easily. I also just got her a teether made by Comotomo, which she seems to love.

Nursing Accoutrements: If you are going to be a nursing mom, I highly recommend a nursing cover for feeding the babe on the go. While I personally think it's fine to whip out a boob if need be, most people are more comfortable with a little privacy, so I went with this cover by Bebe Au Lait, and it was great in the early months. Now it is honestly more of a hindrance, and N. claws at it when she is under it. If you are pumping, you cannot beat the Medela Pump in Style. From what I understand, this is the Cadillac of pumps. Go big or go home, right?

Toys: Honestly, little tiny babies do not play with toys. They do not do very much of anything. But, when you are ready for something, a play gym is great, even for littler babies because it gives them something to look at, as does a mobile. We found that stuffed toys like lovies were the first things N. took to. We've found some good rattles, but another nice toy that a small baby can hold is the O-ball. We are really just entering the wide world of toys, so I will have to keep you posted on this one.

The more I thought about this post, the more things I thought I could add to the list, but this seemed like a good place to start! If you have any questions, please send them my way. And, if you have any products that got you through those early months, do post a comment so others can benefit from your knowledge!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts

Who me?! I'm an angel.
I had an experience this week that I felt that I needed to share. I strive to keep it real, and I think that keeping parenting real is actually really hard. I know that I want to present the most beautiful pictures of N. with the prettiest outfits and sweetest smiles, but sometimes that ain't what it looks like...okay a lot of the time that isn't what it looks like round these parts, and this particular occurrence was too good not to mention. As I've said, N. is really quite a good, happy baby, and being with her is pretty joyful most of the time, but the lack of sleep over the past five + months is starting to take its toll on me. Tuesday was one of those days when I wondered how it would be humanly possible to go on without a good night's sleep. I didn't sleep well when I was pregnant, so I think I went into motherhood with a bit of a deficit. Then there is the labor. Then there is the first night after the labor when you are beyond tired but your husband is sick so he can't get up with the baby. And then there are all the nights after that when your baby doesn't really want to sleep and appears to be ravenous and eager to sidle up to the all night milk bar that is your body. (I know she doesn't need to eat three times a night to survive. I know I could sleep train...I know. But I haven't done these things--although I think the time might be coming for a change.) You get it, right? I'm tired.

This brings us to Tuesday afternoon. My sister and I took my grandma out to lunch with baby N. On the way home my grandma wanted to pick up some groceries. I opted to stay in the car because the baby needed to nurse (again). So, I'm in the parking lot of the store happily nursing away and enjoying a quiet moment (yes, these can happen while nursing in the car in a store parking lot), and suddenly I feel something warm on my legs. I happened to be wearing all white. This was probably an error in judgement. I am sure you can see where this is going. There was poop. Everywhere. I tried to lift her up, but the poop just kept flowing. She was wearing shorts (also white), so there was nothing to hold the poop in, and it runneth over, and out, and all across the car seats. My shorts, legs, and (let's be honest) underwear were drenched in poop. The car seat was a puddle of poop, and the baby had poop up to her hair line. I got up and carried her to the trunk of the car where I put her down (it is an SUV, so the trunk is raised and very open, in my defense) while I tried to sop up the poo on the car seats. I called my sister who was in the store and who came running out with a hand full of paper towels...I'm not even sure where she got them...because she sensed from my voice that there was bodily fluid of some sort involved in my horror.

Long story short, I ended up dropping trou in the parking lot, wiping myself with her baby wipes, and styling a swaddling blanket as a skirt, before bursting into tears from being so damn tired. It was not my most glamorous moment.

The other day, sweetly and with no malintent, someone without children asked me, "What do you do all day?" At the time, I made something up to sound "legitimately" engaged in worldly affairs. But, to be honest, some days you just deal with the (literal) shit that comes your way, and it takes every bit of energy you have, and that's about it.

P.S. I love my daughter more than anything. During poop-gate she just smiled and cooed. (Even when she was covered in an exfoliating combination of poo and sand from being put in the trunk that hadn't been vacuumed after our beach trip). What a champ.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fabulous Friday: July Loves

I thought I'd share a few things that have been among my favorite odds and ends this summer. This is a varied grouping of goodies, but I'm loving all of them.

J.CREW ENSEMBLE: J.Crew is KILLING IT with their new fall pieces, and I am totally enamored of this outfit and this shirt in particular. Must. Have. It. Stat.

CUTE AS A BUTTON: This is my favorite pedicure color in the summer. It is a beautiful coral shade and goes with lots of things. In the eternal battle of red v. pink nails, Cute as a Button is the best compromise. (Yeah, I know you are all familiar with that battle...).

CIMENT THERMIQUE: Recently my hair has been breaking like crazy. I find little pieces of it everywhere. I am not sure if this is the result of a post pregnancy thing or whether the fact that my baby pulls my hair every chance she gets has resulted in this particular problem, but my hairdresser recommended this product specifically for hair prone to breakage. It is triggered by heat...which I definitely use a lot of to to get my mane to cooperate. I am hoping it helps!

INITIAL PENDANT NECKLACE: My sweet, sweet husband did buy me the beautiful Maya Brenner "N" necklace after our baby was born. I adore it and wear it every day, but when I saw this  little pendant at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, I had to snag it. On the back it says "One In A Million." How true.

BANGLE: If you read regularly, you know I love Margaret Elizabeth jewelry, and this new bracelet that she just started selling is at the top of my wish list! Meg, the designer, also just had a baby. Congrats to her!

EAU MOHELI: This is my new favorite fragrance. I love Diptique. My mom and I visted the store in Paris, and I love the sophistication and subtlty of their scents.

HARMONY THE MERMAID: Blabla Kids honestly has the sweetest little dolls, and my mom bought this one for N. as a reminder of her summer in Cape Cod.

CHEWBEADS: Okay, these necklaces are genius. Chewbeads makes adorable silicon necklaces that are meant to be gnawed on by little baby mouths! So, you can actually wear cute, colorful jewelry and let you baby put it in her mouth. Win win.

BARE SKIN: I know that I've written about loads of beauty products, but this Bare Skin by BareMinerals is amazing. I can't believe how glowly and lovely it makes my skin look. And, while I don't generally think you need a particular brush for this sort of thing, this brush helps the product go on evenly. As far as foundation goes, Bare Skin is reasonably priced, and if it were twice as expensive, I'd still want to buy it.

WUBBANUB: I bought one of these little guys a few months ago, but it wasn't until recently that N. started loving her. Now we cannot go anywhere without lamby. And, because she is rolling like a champ, she can't be swaddled any more and being about to hold her little lamby while she sleeps helps keep her hands off her face.

STYLO YEUX EYELINER: My sister was wearing blue eyeliner a lot, and I tried it out a few days ago, and I love it. I have blue-ish eyes, and this color liner makes them pop a bit more than usual. I think I might be a convert.

Feels good to get back in the groove!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Life Lately: The Update

Here I am again! Boy, I have not been true to my word, but the blissful summer days of playing with the babe are starting to dwindle, and I am thinking of what life will be like when I return to work in the fall (albeit part time). She will be in day care (for at least part of the day), and with that comes some uninterrupted work time. I was so ambitious, and I truly thought that I would get back to blogging in about two weeks after her birth. No problem, I thought. What else am I going to be doing? Boy, was I wrong. I would say mine is a relatively easy and good-natured baby, but babies are a lot of work, and there is no way around that. Now I have a much better sense of what I actually have time for and what I want to prioritize in my "free" moments. I think that the fall will bring with it some time to get back to the things that I've (rightfully and happily) neglected during the last five months. I have been talking to my good friend about what I might want to do with the blog, and our wheels are turning. This is to say that perhaps instead of less...maybe what's coming down the pike is actually much better! Stay tuned as I figure out just where we are going with this little bloggie baby. And, to those of you who have checked in on my sporadic posting and sent your comments, I am so appreciative. To the others of you who keep asking me what's happened and where I am, I'm here, and I'm not going away just yet!

This is what's been happening lately. I have been in Cape Cod for almost two weeks again, and it is just truly my happy place, and, beautifully, it is also baby's happy place (seemingly). When we walked through the door this last time, she was gleeful, and she learned to roll over here, and went swimming in the Atlantic here, and had a little non-christening christening here last weekend. I wanted to share about that. I knew I wanted to have something to celebrate her birth, but I am not religious at this point in my life. The ritual of a baptism seemed like a nice thing, but more for the opportunity to have family come together, to officially name her godparents, and to celebrate her entrance into our family. So, we planned a small ceremony on the beach with only our immediate family. I asked a friend who is a minister and chaplain to perform the ceremony, and we all gathered at the Cape to welcome N. The day was absolutely beautiful, she behaved like a total champ, and she looked like a million bucks in her totally Cape-ified Lily Pulitzer ensemble with her flower crown. One of the best things we did was ask each family member present to write N. a note with a promise or hope for her future. Many of the sentiments brought me to tears, and I can't wait for her to open them someday and know how deeply she has always been loved. That weekend was a really beautiful moment in my life, and I will look back on that day with great fondess for many years to come.

This past weekend, we spent with friends who have a baby two months younger than N. What a wonderful time we had with another couple who is in the same boat we are! No need to apologize for screaming, explosive pooping, spit up stained clothes, or the fact that it sometimes takes two hours to leave the house. It was totally relaxing, and we plan to make it a tradition!

This week brings us back to CT and my parents' house. This summer has been a tricky one because of J's work and having the new baby, and being with my family has been a total joy. While I know that San Francisco is beckoning me back soon, I am planning to soak up the love (and HELP) in CT for a little while longer.

Oh, and requisite blogger question...who has hit up the Nordstrom sale? Love this time of year!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Musings: Currently...

I thought that a "currently" post (even though I used to do them on Thursdays) was in order to catch you up on what's been happening in baby town my life. 

THANKFUL FOR: I am so thankful that I have summers off. This one was an extended summer as my maternity leave bled into the summer months with the exception of two weeks during which time I was back at work at the end of May. Having five and a half months to bond, figure out how to be a mom, get my bearings, enjoy my growing girl, and spend time with my family is absolutely priceless. This time away from so many things in my life has been precious beyond measure, and I am endlessly thankful that I have the luxury of having this time. I know many people don't.

FEELING: This is a total cliche, but I am feeling I did not give birth to a good sleeper. She is getting better, and she has good nights, but, no, we are not sleeping through the night. I actually hate when people ask me how she sleeps because it is as though she should be sleeping through the night at this point. Honestly, I think lots of babies don't sleep through the night at four months, but when people ask, I start to wonder if there is something more I should be doing. I never could have imagined that five uninterruprted hours would feel like a luxury, or that a human being could survive on so little rest. (Note to pregnant mamas out there: invest in a good under eye concealer. It will become your saving grace.) The worst thing that has happened recently is that I've developed some intermittent insomnia. There is nothing more tormenting than knowing my beautiful babe is sleeping soundly while I lie there staring at the ceiling. Has this ever happened to any of you?

THINKING ABOUT: I am starting to think about what it will be like to go back to work. I'm only returning part time for the next year, and I think that this is a great compromise that will allow me to still keep a foot in my career and to spend lots of time with the baby during this incredibly formative time. I do want to go back to work, but I wonder what it will be like to leave my baby with someone else. She is going to go to a daycare in our neighborhood, and I have no idea what that adventure will be like. I don't know how it will feel to know that someone else will get to cuddle her and perhaps even see her have certain "firsts" while I'm not  there. On the other hand, I do truly believe that for me, personally, I will be a better mother to her if I continue to work; I am not sure that I could stay at home full-time. In this set up, I feel like I can truly capitalize on the wonderful time I will have with her while maintaining a little grown up sanity!

EATING: There is nothing like a swirl of chocolate and vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles to say "summer." I've probably had one too many of these, but damn are they good. Mmmm mmm mmm.

WATCHING: This summer my go to shows have been The Real Housewives of the OC and New York. (And The Bachelorette, of course...STOP. (Inside joke for those of you watching...)) This is shameful, and if I must watch TV, I should be watching something more high brow, I know, but I do love this trash. I have also been watching the new season of Orange is the New Black. The great thing is that watching trash means I can just sort of pay attention and not actually miss anything, which definitely works for me.

READING: Oh my lord, it took me about four months to finish one book! Unbelievable! I read Bringing up Bebe, which is about the wisdom of French parenting. Again, it did not tax the intellect any, but it helped during those nights of insomnia in the last few weeks! I have finally started Wild, which I meant to read a long time ago and never did. I can honestly say that at this point in the book, I am not seeing the allure of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. Perhaps I will figure it out as I get further along...

LOVING: One of the most fun experiences I've had this summer was taking Baby N. to the beach. She absolutely loved the water. Over the weekend, we went in my aunt and uncle's pool, and again, she was thrilled to splash around and recline while I pulled her around on a float. I am so excited that she is a water baby, and I love watching her laugh and giggle. I can't is so darn cute.

BUMMED OUT ABOUT: I am really bummed out that I don't live in a commune. Weird, I know. But, this summer has shown me that raising a child with lots of other adults around is so much better, easier, and more fun than doing it alone. This summer, my sister has been with me almost every day, and that has been an absolute game changer. She couldn't love N. more if she were her own, and the thoughtfulness, care, enthusiasm, and energy she brings to Auntie-hood have blown me away. Also, when I am in my parents' house and my siblings are around like they were this past weekend, it is such a joy to watch everyone play with the baby, and I don't feel harried, stressed, and at the end of my rope. Aside from the fact that we don't sleep at night, each day feels filled with fun and amusement. San Francisco is a relatively isolating place for me to live with no real help around. While it has been hard to be away from my home there for the summer because you are never quite as settled when you aren't in your own space, I know it would have been exceptionally hard to be at home, alone with the baby all day without any family or many friends around to break up the time. I am bummed that I can't do this great communal living all the time! I know I've mentioned this in the past, but I am definitely pushing my bros and sis to think about the family compound for our future!! (Only half kidding...)

LOOKING FORWARD TO: The crazy thing about having a little one is that you never really know what tomorrow will bring. She might master something new that she's never done before. She might laugh at something she suddenly finds funny. She might make a sound that turns a room full of heads. And that is really unbelieveavle. Every day, you learn a little more about this person who is a part of you, but is becoming more and more herself each moment. I am looking forward to all the tomorrows during which I get to know my sweet girl and watch her learn about each and every thing in this wide world.

Sheesh-I know this was a lot of baby, but I warned you! Is there still fashion to be had? Decors to make one swoon? I'll have to look into that... Hope you had a great July 4th weekend!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Musings: I'm Still Alive

Hello, world. I'm still here. I know I checked out for a bit...okay, much longer than intended, but I am still alive and kicking. I have been thinking about this blog a lot during my leave, and I have often wanted to come, and sit, and say something, but my life and everything in it has changed rather dramatically. I just haven't found the time to surf the net, discover new cool things, and make collages. I am in absolute awe of those bloggers who have a baby and can still do outfit posts and scour the interwebs for all things beautiful. I don't know how they do it. Bless their hearts.

Not only is it a time thing, but it is kind of priority thing too. I still love clothes, and baubles, and beauty, but that love feels a lot more peripheral. Now find me a Baby Gap, and I'll drive 50 miles to check their sale rack (honestly--best bargains ever and cutest clothes) because baby clothes are my new jam. That being said, when I have thirty minutes, I don't really scan for content for grown ups the way I used to.

And, I think that's okay. I think maybe I can still blog. But, like me, this blog might have to change with the changing times. Maybe there will need to be less posts and maybe there will need to be some mommy stories. Maybe I'll write more. Maybe people will stop reading, and maybe different people will be interested in what I have to say now. Because my main squeeze, Miss Nevie, takes a heck of a lot of time and energy...but, look at that face!! Geez. Such a peach.

Let me tell you a few things about this gal. First, she is high energy. She loves to be entertained, to meet new people, to flirt, to play with her bug toy (she just loves that thing), and she has newly discovered her love of water. She giggles when you dance with her. She thinks it's the bees knees when her dad carries her on his shoulder. She is a fan of Eric Carle and Goodnight Moon. She lets me dress her up and coo over her...most of the time. And she only takes good naps when someone is holding her (hence the limited time for computer use!).

And I've become one of those know the ones who bombard social media with pictures of their child because they think their child is the cutest thing the world has ever known? Yeah, I'm that person. I've wanted to block those people from my Facebook/Instagram feeds, and now I'm probably getting blocked by my friends. Sorry, guys. I can't help it.

So, it feels good to sit down and check in. The long and short of it? I am going to come back to blogging, and we will see what happens. Posting won't be as consistent as it used to be, but it sure will be better than it has been recently! At the very least, I can always entertain you with pictures of my cute baby. Please don't block me. :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fabulous Friday

I thought I would reemerge to celebrate Fabulous Friday! This radio silence was not planned, but, as my friend said to me yesterday when I had to keep changing the time we were set to meet for breakfast, babies are the universe's way of reminding you that you ultimately have no control over your own life! So, sometimes the best laid plans fall by the wayside. I thought I'd give you a little peek at what's been happening in my life lately (while Neve sleeps in her carrier...on me...the only way she will ever sleep.)

A little over seven weeks ago, I was putting the finishing touches on this room:

And I was imagining a little person wearing things like this:

And then suddenly I had that little girl in my arms, and she was so tiny (relatively speaking).

But she started to grow so quickly!  (You might also notice that she no longer has jaundice! At first I just thought she was really tan!)

Now she is almost two months old, and we know our lives are forever changed for the better. (Excuse the bib that doesn't match, but she goes through outfits like nobody's business, so I was trying to eek a little more time out of this one!)

And she is one hearty little babe! In these weeks I have also learned that spit up doesn't stain, so no need to change that shirt, sometimes you might eat and only later realize that you have poop on your hands, that nothing makes your heart ache like hearing your baby cry, and nothing makes it worthwhile like seeing her first smile, and yes, you can run out of room for photos on your iphone. I can't believe I've only know this little person for seven weeks and two days, and at the same time, I almost cannot remember what life was like without her. Ultimately, life with a newborn is tough and beautiful every day.

That being said, I have truly missed filling my blog with things I love and interacting with all of you. While I am now truly aware that I have no control over my life and time, I hope that the cosmos allow me to check in with you all a little more frequently! It's been too long! So, the most fabulous part of this Friday? I actually had time to write this post! Woo hoo!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Musings: A New Year, A New Life

I know that I said I wanted to post two or three times a week. Yeah. About that... I actually had a few half written and edited posts in my cue. But, every time I sit down to finalize something, this happens:

And, of course, she is so cute I don't really mind. But, today is my thirty first birthday, so I thought I owed it to myself to try to do a tiny bit of reflecting in between snuggles, feeding, and diapers.

While I was pregnant, I would often think, "Am I really old enough to be a parent?" Obviously, the answer is yes. At thirty one, I am not even a terribly young mother. Thirty one just seems so much older than thirty to me. When you are turning thirty, it is this major milestone, and then thirty one just puts you in your early thirties. That sounds so...old. Yikes. How did that happen?

I am such a freak about birthdays. I love them so much and always like to celebrate mine for the month of March week leading up to the big day! I talk about presents, and what I'll eat on my special day (invariably donuts), and how I want to celebrate. But this year, I didn't really do any of that. In fact, I almost forgot my birthday was coming. I've been preoccupied...

I thought I was coping pretty well with minimal sleep. I mean I am coping pretty well, but it isn't until I actually try to write something coherent that I realize that performing daily tasks necessary for life and actually using the brain to compose something thoughtful are two entirely different things! When I think about what I'd most like this year for my birthday, it is probably four to six hours of uninterrupted sleep. A girl can dream, right? My goal for this birthday? Sometime this week--publish the two posts I have been trying to finish for two weeks. I'm starting small...

Hope this Monday you are feeling rested and refreshed. I plan to retain some semblance of my former self by celebrating with a breakfast of one (or maybe a few) donuts. That sounds like all the celebration I need.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Musings: Living With Baby

I can't believe I've been away for two weeks! Among many of the changes I've experienced in the interim is my new relationship to time--I have no idea what day it is, what month it is, and what time it is. I started writing this post days ago, but couldn't finish it until last night. I have watched the sun come up more times in the last two weeks than I have in the last (almost-gasp) 31 years. And--in case you hadn't heard-- I have a child! Wowzah!!

I wanted to write a post about what motherhood has been like thus far, but I am realizing that I don't really have the mental energy to compose my thoughts. So many things are swirling around in my brain about how my life has changed, and how I've changed, about what I've learned, and how much more I don't know (and wish I did), but I think that if I try to write about all that right now, it will just be a jumble of non sequiturs, so suffice it to say that having a child is, as everyone says, the most life changing thing that can happen to a person, and I plan to share more about that when I'm running on more than three hours of sleep!

I have been thinking about the blog during this time that I've been away and missing this space, so I would like to get back to trying to blog at least a few times a week going forward. I am going to try to post 2-3 times a week utnil things settle into a bit more of a routine. I hope you'll check back often to see what's up!

The picture above is from an impromptu trip to the beach with Neve, Jeff, and my sister who is visiting us (and basically helping me to maintain my sanity). It was really a perfect day, and little Neve was so peaceful. I can't wait to do that again.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Musings: She's Here!

I am so pleased to announce the birth of my beautiful daughter, Neve (with a short E--have to qualify that!) Gabrielle! You may have suspected something when I went radio silent last week. I thought I still had a bit more time to go, but on Wednesday morning, my water broke, and off we went! By that evening, I was holding this amazing little girl in my arms. The last few days have been a blur of things, but my entire family surprised me and showed up to meet the new addition to the family. My parents, who I did know were coming, managed to find flights and arrive just an hour after Neve did! Then my sister arrived unexpectedly at the hospital the following day, and then the first night we were home, my two brothers and sister-in-law came through the door just as I was about to try to get a few minutes sleep (I almost wrote "before I went to bed," but that doesn't actually happen any more, so I've learned). Things are quieting down tonight as people need to return to work and their real lives while I still can't quite believe she's here. She is really the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

I suppose my blog maternity leave starts now--I'll check in as often as I can! 

Happy Monday. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let's Talk about Push Presents

I know that this idea is crazy to an older generation (although I think they did the same exact thing, but didn't call it by the name "push present"), but I frankly think it is lovely to celebrate the extremely hard work of labor with a little bauble. For some people these presents might be really extravagant (I know this because I was randomly in a jewelry store with Jeff and the woman was trying to sell him diamonds--um, not exactly what we were thinking!), but I know I would like something that is personalized for my daughter. I put together some items of varying prices that I think would be great gifts for a mamma or mamma to be. These would all be wonderful for mother's day, too! Frankly, this jewelry would be beautiful even if you weren't pushing out a baby. You could use any of these pieces to personalize and remember lots of important moments, people, and dates:

I am partial to gold, but lots of these items also come in silver if that is more your style.

1. JANE POPE Long Bar Necklace: Love this customizable piece. It is really elegant.
2. MAYA BRENNER Asymmetric Mini Letter Necklace: This happens to be the one I am hoping to open on baby's birthday. I've loved this necklace for a while now. It is so delicate and sweet. I can imagine it would be something I'd never take off.  You can add up to four letters on the chain. I think I'd like just one...but you'll have to wait and see which one that is!
3. HOUSE OF HARLOW Medallion Locket Pendant Necklace: I love the idea of a locket, and this price point can't be beat.
4. GORJANA AND GRIFFIN Alphabet  Disc Cuff: I posted this before, but this is great for a push present with baby's initial.
5. JENNIFER ZEUNER Individual Number Earring: Pick out just one or if your babe is born on a double digit day, have one for each ear.
6. ASHA Zodiac Ring: I haven't worn any rings for a while because of some swelling, but I think this piece is beautiful.
7. LULU FROST Code Ring: Again, you could do one number or a stack of two, depending on baby's birthday!
8. TINY TAGS Elle Collection: These seem like a pretty classic gift to mark this occasion.

Today marks one week until my due date! Soon enough! Soon enough!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Beauty: Transform Your Skin

I have to say that I was almost ready to give up on Birchbox. While I have found a number of great products by way of the box, I was disappointed recently with the samples I'd been receiving. They just weren't doing it for me. I thought this month looked like another disappointment. I almost threw this Skin Transformer out, because, let's be honest, I am a sucker for packaging, and I was not impressed with this packaging, but I figured, hey, why not give it a go? When I first squirted it into my fingers, I was skeptical. It was very sparkly and looked rather dark for my uber pale skin. But, I put a thin layer over my entire face (as it is a sunscreen and says it can be used like a primer). Alone, it did look quite sparkly. I then layered my usual foundation, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, over the base layer. Wow! My skin looked dewy and glowly. While the shimmer was too much on its own, it looked lovely under a light foundation. I have been wanting to find an illuminator to mix into my foundation, and this might just be it. Now I may be a believer in the box again...particularly because this new makeup lust is only available through Birchbox. My husband even commented on my skin that day...this stuff works.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Musings: Baking Before Baby

It just so happened that the week before my due date was already my vacation week, so now I find myself at home with nothing to do! This is a very odd feeling because I am used to being quite busy. I know that the free time won't last and that I should enjoy these last days of quiet, but instead I am quite anxious for the baby's arrival, and I would be happy if she were born today! To pass the time, I was trying to think of things I like to do that require little energy and preferably do not involve leaving the house--I have developed a fear of being off somewhere and going into labor, which is probably stupid, but I want to stay close to home, just in case! I plan to try to do some reading. We also are getting the cable turned back on, which is a dangerous turn of events and probably means I won't read at all...and I thought I'd do some baking! Jeff has been cooking meals to freeze, and I feel like I should contribute something to our freezer stash. With people visiting us post baby, I thought it might be nice to have some sweets on hand for tea time! I picked out five recipes I would like to try that are all freezable, but I would be thrilled to hear about a favorite cookie or bar of yours that I could try out!

Here's the plan for the week:

1. Start with the one that is a must have (in case we have an early appearance: Soft M & M Chocolate Chip Cookies

2. Bars are always so nice because they are much faster than cookies: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

3. Ultimate Magic Cookies Bars sound delightfully decadent.

4. Thick and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies would be good to have in case we have a visitor who is not in the mood for chocolate (gasp).

5. My aunt made these Gingersnaps at Christmas, and they were soooooo good. Thought I'd give them a go myself.

I also plan to throw a banana bread in there somewhere. If you have any recipes you'd be willing to share, I'd love to hear them, and I'll keep you posted on the bake-a-thon!

Friday, February 14, 2014

May Your Heart Be Happy

I hope your day is filled with pink and red (and gold) and sugary sweet kisses, and chocolate indulgences, a little romance, some good old fashioned hugs, and any and all reminders of the love you have around you. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Wish I Was Wearing...

Valentine's Day is tomorrow! We are staying in, which we usually do, and Jeff is cooking, which he always does, and he always makes something special--I have been told that I am not having any input on the menu. However, I am in charge of dessert (because I am the only one who cares about dessert), and I have made the executive decision that we are having Funfetti! Not the most sophisticated choice, but definitely what I have been craving. (I will try not to ingest too much of the frosting while I am "baking.")

In all likelihood, I will spend tomorrow night in stretch pants and one of Jeff's sweatshirts, but if I were in more of a physical condition to attempt to look sexy, these are some looks I would love to be rocking (And while we are on the subject, let me tell you that nothing makes you appreciate the body you had like losing it!! Come back to me!!):

LOOK ONE: J.CREW sweater - BAN.DO twist scarf - J.CREW earrings - JOIE pants - LOEFFLER RANDALL flats

LOOK TWO: JULIE VOS earrings - LOREN HOPE necklace (have this and love it)  - BAN.DO bobbies - J.CREW dress - OLD NAVY flats

I would love to sport that silk maxi with a little leather jacket over it, and I am crazy for those Joie pants. They might have to be a post baby splurge. Whatever you're wearing, hope you are planning some fun tomorrow with friends, family, or a hot little date.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hump Day Hopes

I must attribute this title to my sister. She said, "Why don't you do a post entitled "Hump Day Hopes" with a good quotation in it?" Good idea, I say! (I am not totally sure why it is a "hope" except that we needed some alliteration...) Maybe Wednesday Wisdom would be more apt. We can try that title out next week. I spent a while trying to find a quotation that speaks to how I'm feeling this hump day. Hope this resonates with some of you:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

10 Looks to Love from New York Fashion Week

It's that time again! It's New York Fashion Week (Fall 2014). Here are ten looks I love that were spotted on the frigid streets of the Big Apple:

It's all about the cool coats...especially love the hot pink!

1 : 2 : 3 - 8 : 9 : 10