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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!!):
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.
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:
This week is my last at work before starting maternity leave. There is a
lot to get in order, so my content might be light as I get things into
tip-top shape! On that note, I thought I'd start the week with a visual
musing of sorts: some pretty things to keep the spirits high on this
rainy Monday! Hope your week is off to a terrific start.
In honor of the special day coming up next Friday, I thought I'd devote this Fabulous Friday to some fabulous Valentine's Day themed items. I can always get behind a holiday that touts pink as one of it's main colors and eating chocolate/candy as one of its main activities:
FEELING: Pretty good these days. The end of pregnancy is tiring, but I am still plugging away. A lot of my anxiety has given way to excitement about what's to come. The last few days I have been feeling quite clearheaded actually!
THINKING ABOUT: I have been thinking about how to keep up with the blog in the first few weeks after the baby. Lately, I told myself that if I needed to take a break, I could do it. I have been trying to be extremely efficient about my work before my maternity leave starts (and there has been a lot of it), so I haven't had quite as much time as I would have liked in the evenings to blog. But, each day I feel compelled to share something with you all, and I haven't really wanted to give myself that pass! However, I have a feeling that I might need it in the weeks to come. Will you forgive me? Will you stay tuned if I have to check out for a little bit? (Don't worry, I will make sure a baby announcement makes it on here! My mom says she is going to write it for me. Given her computer skills, I am skeptical, but I appreciate the sentiment.) And, whatever happens, I will be back as soon as I figure out this motherhood thing!
EATING: I haven't actually been eating this, but I am craving cake with an obscene amount of frosting...like it's really calling to me...like really. I am thinking of baking myself a Funfetti cake with Funfetti frosting as a Valentine's Day present. Is that really gross? There is something about that frosting that gets me every time!
WATCHING: Well, I haven't done a Bachelor update! Yes, I am watching this season, and I have to say that The Bachelor has become more like white noise than something I view with excitement. That being said, I do tune in every week because it seems wrong not to; I have watched for so many years! Now Juan Pablo is certainly a looker, though I wasn't sure he spoke English when he was on Desiree's season. He has clearly proven that he does, but I still love it most when he calls himself "El Bach-el-ore." Amazing. He also consistently says "Ai Yai Yai!" when he is really into someone and wants to kiss her. Truth be told, I am somewhat surprised by some of his picks. For instance, I don't see the attraction between him and Sharleen. I can't ever imagine them dating in the real world and her lack of enthusiasm is offensive! If you are going to be on The Bachelor, you have to at least pretend to be excited when you get a rose, right?! Are you watching? If you watch the show and consider yourself a feminist, you have to read this article from The Onion. (Of course, I am also adoring Downton. Love a good quip from The Dowager Countess.)
READING: So pathetic. I can honestly say that the thing I have been reading the most lately is the Pregnant Chicken Facebook feed. What is happening to my mind??? That being said, I am thinking up a list of books I can delve into starting next Friday when I am officially off. I have heard great things about The Goldfinch and The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. Have you read them? I'll keep you posted!
LOVING: I am loving participating in Ashely's Snail Mail Exchange! Yesterday afternoon was rainy and gray, and I snuggled up with a stack of cards, some washi tape, stickers, and pens and markers to do my letter writing! It has been such fun to write and receive cards, to be exposed to new blogs and new people, and to have a reason to run (oh, who am I kidding--waddle) to my mailbox every day! If you are interested in participating, I think Ashley allows new people to jump in each month, so keep your eyes on her blog. (Shout of to the ladies with whom I've exchanged mail: Mae Badiyan, Jenna Laird & Moe Hannan Tufte!) Apologies to my January pen pal--I am a little late, but your snail mail is en route!
BUMMED OUT ABOUT: I wouldn't actually say that I am "bummed out" per se, but I have been thinking a bit about the end of our couplehood. I haven't been enthusiastic about going on dates recently, which is kind of sad given that we only have limited time to enjoy each other's company. I have reflected recently on how much I've enjoyed the fact that we had five + years of married life before baby. It was great. We traveled. We moved across the country. We both started new jobs. We made new friends. We explored new cities. And, while I know that life will be amazing with three, it has been good (really good) with just two. I think it's okay to mourn what was and still be excited about what is to come, right? I am going to try to rally for a little more meaningful couple time while we still have time we can call our own!
LOOKING FORWARD TO: There is pretty much one thing and one thing only that is on my mind these days: meeting my daughter. I can't wait.
I have seen a few of Julie Vos's pieces in the past, but I haven't taken the time to really look through her website at all of her goodies until recently. She designs really stunning, affordable jewelry that is unique and almost looks like something from a Renaissance time... (I am just imagining that--I really have no idea what Renaissance jewelry looks like.) I love her use of Chalcedony, the beautiful blue stone. Check out some of my favorites items:
You should also scope this site because there is a sample sale going on! If you are in the mood for something beautiful and shiny, this is your lucky day!
This isn't a typical Tuesday post, but I got very excited by this artist and wanted to share! As you might remember from last week, I have been thinking about art, and when I came across the beautiful paintings of Britt Bass, I was inspired by the color and texture of her work. The best part? Prints of her artwork are very affordable in her Etsy shop! Woo hoo! And, if you'd like a bit of Britt pronto, download this wallpaper!
As I mentioned on Friday, we have graduated from all our baby classes. There were a lot: Introduction to Newborn Care, Breastfeeding Basics, and Childbirth Prep. On top of that, I have prenatal yoga and meetings with the doula. I am pretty sure I am equipped with all the information one could have prior to having a baby. I have to say that I find it odd that the Newborn Care was one class for three hours, and the Childbirth class is four meetings over the course of a month. It would seem like you would need to know more about how to care for a baby than how to have one, but I haven't yet done either, so I will have to report back. Some things I learned during this baby bonanza:
1. Holding your baby like a football is actually a recommended practice.
2. Some people think it is preferable to use washcloths to wipe babies. These people clearly do not believe in fecal bacteria. These people are not me.
3. Talking about, examining, counting, and generally fixating on bodily excrement will be your new normal.
4. The majority of people who allow themselves to be filmed for birthing videos are (1) unfamiliar with the concept of dermatology and (2) love tattoos, particularly around their bellybuttons.
5. There is nothing less sexy than a fully engorged breast.
6. It seems highly unlikely that practicing "being with your pain" will actually do anything to help me during labor.
7. Women who teach you how to "effectively" get through labor and have no children of their own should be banned from the profession. (This is particularly true when their advice involves imagining eating the most delicious chocolate chip cookie you've ever had while having a contraction and chanting "Mmmmmmm.")
8. It does not make you a bad mother if you would prefer that someone wipe your freshly emerged baby off before putting it directly on your skin...at least I hope not.
9. There is nothing like being in a room filled with heavily pregnant
women, all of whom run to the bathroom every two minutes, all of whom
need to snack at least twice during each class, all of whom are mildly annoyed
that their husbands just have to learn how to "support" them and get to
bring a cooler of snacks to the hospital while they suffer the misery
and agony that is childbirth.
10. You will poop. Someone will clean it up. And this is the most shocking thing of all, apparently you will not care.
Armed with this incredible wealth of information, I am prepared to have a fabulous birth and child rearing experience. Now I just need the child!
(Image Credit: I have also learned that one can never own too many things from Baby Gap.)