Thursday, April 20, 2017

Five Days New


We got home from the hospital on Sunday, March 12th, and my friend Lauren came over on Tuesday morning to capture some photos of sweet baby Olive, five days new. We wanted to take some relaxed pics at home just loving on our girl, and I'm so happy with how they turned out. I will treasure these forever! And these photos also make me kind of laugh, because anyone knows that a few days after giving birth (and having a c-section nonetheless!) the last thing you want to do is put a white dress on and take photos casually lounging in your bed...but Lauren really made me feel beautiful and I'm SO happy we did it, despite my first inclination that I wouldn't want to have photos taken feeling puffy and in pain post-birth. I think it's probably impossible to not feel this way, but let me be the one to tell you- TAKE the photos. I always feel like that in the beginning and those first weeks are the pictures I love the most. You never get that time back and having it captured is so special. I didn't do newborn photos with us in the frame with either of the boys and I really wish I did- it's so special to see the way Hank is looking at the baby and how tiny she is in our hands. And those feet! So, so sweet. Lauren also took some traditional newborn pics and those are amazing too, and something I wish I had done with Henry and Charlie as well. Luckily I was crazy about photos back then also so I have a ton, but if I could go back I'd totally do this with each baby. 

I'm really looking forward to sharing more about our transition from two to three kids, Olive's arrival, and our new normal very soon. In the meantime, here are a few of the photos Lauren took on Olive's second day at home.

xoxo

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Current Favorites

see my Madewell jumpsuit here- and check out the (amazing) Shopbop sale details below too! 

I think some of my favorite blog posts to read are "favorites" posts. It's always so fun to see what other people love- and I've found some of my most favorite things through other women sharing what they're into. Here's my current list- very random, but hopefully you find something great, too!

1. Sakura Bloom Theory Sling

I've worn all of my babies in Sakura Bloom slings but this new one I recently picked up is my all time favorite. It's one of their Theory slings (in Birch) and only do I love the neutral color but the bamboo/linen material is to die for soft. I love wearing Olive in it every single day, and it's currently my babywearing go-to, as shown above.

2. Big Little Lies

Have you seen this series on HBO yet?! I loved the book (super fast, fun beachy read), but the television adaptation was just bananas. So good. Don't read this article unless you've watched, but it's an excellent write up. I enjoyed so much about the show- the cast is amazing, the acting is spot on, and the entire vibe of the show is just addictive. If you've yet to watch, add it to your weekend to-do list! I bet you'll love it too.

3. Ingrid & Isabel nursing items

These have been my favorite things this time around post-baby. Their drop cup nursing tanks, stretchy pants, I've been loving all of these things for lounging around in comfort at home. And although Olive and I have been adventuring out here and there, most of our time is spent at home, snuggling in bed or on the couch. In both of my previous pregnancies, I always struggled with finding comfortable postpartum clothing I actually wanted to wear those first couple of months, and I'm grateful to have found this brand! One big plus is that Shopbop is having a huge sale this week, so if you stock up on the essentials (or fun non essentials too!), you'll save a ton of money. The sale actually begins tomorrow but Sometimes Sweet readers are able to shop early and get 20% of all orders under $500 and 25% off all orders over $500 with code "EVENT17." Yes!

4. Hail Merry treats

If you follow me on IG you know I've been sharing about Hail Merry deliciousness here and there on my Stories. Not sponsored but I can't get enough! Everything they make is so delicious, and their Cookie Dough bites are sooo good. Vegan, gluten-free, etc. I am neither of those things but I love them nonetheless.

5. Rainbow Kitten Surprise

Wait, what? That's the name of the band, and it made me laugh the first time I heard it too. But they are the BEST. Check them out on Spotify or whatever music player you use, and listen to these songs first: First Class, Devil Like Me, and Seven. In that order! Those are my current top three faves...and let me know what you think too!

6. Bassinet style stroller.

Seriously, how did I live without one of these before with the boys? It simplifies taking our daily walk because Olive doesn't have to be strapped into her carseat and instead can lay down and snooze away in the shade. I LOVE the one we have (Orbit Baby, no longer made), but I know there are a ton of brands who make bassinet style strollers. A new "must" for me!

That's it for now! Happy Tuesday. xoxo

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Peace of Mind


So this is a sponsored post. But to me, it's really SO MUCH MORE than that. It's a PSA of sorts, really, and I would have shared this 100%, even if it wasn't in collaboration with the brand. Some of you long time readers may remember me talking about the Snuza here and via my old Hello Giggles column. That was almost six years ago, and since then that type of technology has come a long way. Meet Owlet.

If you have a baby, or you're having a baby, you need this amazing device. In fact, I wish I could make SURE each of you had one. Before I was pregnant with Olive I had the opportunity to check Owlet out via some trade shows, and I knew it would be a necessity for us. I'm someone who has a hard time sleeping when baby is sleeping- I worry about everything, and if it wasn't for Owlet I would literally be up 10x a night checking to be sure Olive is breathing. So using Owlet was a no brainer for us- and perfect timing, they came out with a brand new version (the Smart Sock 2) just in time for our little gal's arrival. We have been able to use it since birth, and it's been a major game changer. In a nutshell, the Owlet is designed to notify you if your baby's heart rate or oxygen levels fall below the preset zones, sounding a notification if either happens. It's very simple to use- you place the sock/monitor on your baby's foot (this new version allows placement on either foot), press the base station, and there you go- you're tracking your baby's heart rate and oxygen, which you can check in and view via their app, screenshot from my phone below. 


It's funny with a third baby, and especially working in the baby industry, we've already tried so many "new to us" items, and many of them have been total no-gos. But Owlet has been such an easy thing for us to integrate into our routine. It's quick and easy to put the sock on, and the tech lovers in us really enjoy the app and how simple it is to use. We never had the opportunity to try Owlet's previous version, but I've learned the app has actually been vastly improved, with a new sock design, increased Bluetooth range (12x!), just to name a few upgrades with the Smart Sock 2.

You guys, I cannot stress to you enough what a wonderful, wonderful thing it is to not stress about Olive in the middle of the night or anytime she is asleep. Peace of mind is truly invaluable and that's what the Owlet gives us. Hank and I have been telling anyone and everyone who will listen how much we love this thing, and it's just the icing on the cake that I'm able to partner up with them to share about something I believe in so much. I sincerely hope if you are a parent, an expecting parent, or if you have a parent (or baby!) you love in your life, you share this with them too! 

xo

This post is shared in partnership with Owlet.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Parenting With Your Partner


13 years. We were just kids when we met, but right away Hank and I were "together." It's a pretty amazing thing, moving through your late teens and entire twenties with someone, and right into your thirties. So much change happens in that time period- I feel like you really get to know yourself so well- and having a partner along for that ride means you get to experience all of that with someone else too. Hank and I sometimes talk about how lucky we feel to have grown together during that time, instead of apart. Really, it would have been easy to do- and like any couple we've had our ups and downs- but no matter what at the end of the day, we choose each other, and that makes all the difference.

I think one of the most beautiful but equally challenging things a couple can go through is having kids together. It's HARD. Life as you know it changes immediately, and suddenly, a new team is formed. And sometimes the kids against the parents, depending on the day! ;) But I can remember the first night we brought Henry home. We had no idea what we were doing. There were tears (from all of us I think), but I also remember this moment around 3 in the morning where we had just changed yet another diaper and found ourselves laughing at this new life of ours, suddenly surrounded by poopy diapers and a crying baby and breastmilk everywhere. One day in. And it'll be seven years this fall! It's been on my mind a lot as we've navigated through these first days home with Olive. I can think back and recall some of those hazy times with Henry, our brand new family of three, and it makes me smile to look back at those youngsters who were suddenly parents. It had been just us for so long, and there we were, figuring out these new roles- not only as Mom and Dad, but as two people parenting together.


As time has gone on it's been such a trip to go from parenting a newborn, to parenting actual KIDS. And now, three of them (we don't have a good photo of the five of us yet, or we'd all be up there in the pic!). We joke a lot now and say how now the "real fun" starts- the hard stuff. The baby stage was overwhelming at times and awfully trying at others, and I can already see up ahead to the big stuff. We have so much to figure out. We have to lean on each other a lot, and sometimes we totally feel defeated at the end of the day after parenting the boys. "Was I too hard on him?" "Did I handle that right?" "Why on Earth would he do that?" And it's a relief to me, every single day to be able to look to Hank for support and to be able to talk things out and navigate this world of parenting an almost 4-year old and a 6.5 year old. Add in our new baby and I feel like we've spent these first two weeks dividing and conquering everything from lunches to burping Olive to trying to keep the boys quiet at bedtime...and I know this is just a preview of our new normal. Overwhelming at times, and kind of crazy...but oh man is it awesome.

So everyday I'm grateful for my teammate, you know? That's how I think of Hank. We're a team. Supporting each other when we need it, high fiving our victories and celebrating our wins, drawing up our game plan, and sometimes drowning our sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Ha. And my, how times have changed since becoming parents. We have less time for solely each other, but so much more love in all of it. Date night might mean a Netflix movie and Thai takeout on the couch while the boys sleep in their rooms and the monitor hums along with Olive's breathing in ours. It might mean that so much of our conversation revolves around all three kids, what they're doing, managing our family and all we have going on, but there's so much beauty in that. This is our dream. We're living it. And then in those moments where it's just the two of us, and we're laughing about this or laughing about that, walking hand in hand, and just US- those moments are extra special.

And those special moments help. Amidst the beauty and wonder of bringing home a new baby, of raising two big kids, it can get so busy that you forget your base. To feel overwhelmed or upset with the day or the kids or just yourself, and fail to remember that you're on the same team. But we're building something here. We signed on to do it together. We had this dream, this idea of what we wanted for our future, way back 13 years ago when we didn't know what that first "hello" could lead to. And I look back at all of it and feel so so grateful. Grateful to have this hand to hold through all of it, grateful to be growing right along with my partner as we figure it all out together. So how has having kids changed our marriage? It's changed everything, by bringing so much more to our lives as we've grown our family. More happiness, more togetherness, more love, and now as a family of five it's all multiplied yet again as we embark on this new adventure...together.

--------------------

Be sure to check out the creative women in the #TogetherWeMother Series by visiting their blogs below: 



1st photo above by Lauren Ristow.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Packing Your Hospital Bag For Baby's Birth


I've been home from the hospital for about a week- I wanted to wait until I got home from having her to share what we REALLY brought along, because so often I come across these posts that include everything but the kitchen sink and I feel like it's just overwhelming more than anything. This is more of a minimal (yet WORDY!) guide, because that's how I do it. Here we go --

First, you'll want a big bag with some inner pockets. If you got a new diaper bag for baby, that's always a great option. You don't need anything fancy, a good old duffle bag or even a small rolling suitcase will do. I have been using Birdling Bags while traveling for years (and brought one along as Charlie's hospital bag!), and I was so excited when they sent me over a new grey one to bring to the hospital with Olive. It's upgraded, with some new features, and I can't tell you enough- it's SO worth the price. I've had my green one travel all over the place with me and it still looks brand new. They're made in the USA and their craftsmanship is really fantastic. I prefer the Overnighter- it's the perfect size and holds everything I need for a weekend, and was the perfect size for my two-night hospital stay.

Also please be sure to check with your hospital/birthing center to see what they provide before packing. Ours provides almost everything, but I think it's a great idea to check in to be sure of what will be on hand for you and your little one.




Here's what I packed- some things that fall very much in the "extra" side, and others more of a necessity:

Things you need:

Wallet- Be sure to have your insurance card and license, and that your partner also brings along his/hers as well.

Toiletries- I brought body soap, lotion, face wash, face lotion and eye cream. No need for makeup unless it makes you feel good to apply it while there (by all means do what feels good to you!), and I didn't bring shampoo or conditioner because I washed my hair the morning of my surgery and just brought along dry shampoo.

Extra long iPhone cable or portable charger- My new iPhone 7 holds an insane charge, but this was an issue with my previous births- the cord wouldn't reach the bed! Sounds like a silly problem to have and the least of your worries, but being stuck in the hospital for three days is made better when you can connect with the people you love AND take a ton of photos of you and your new baby. Don't forget to clear off your phone/back it up before you come to the hospital so you don't have to worry about making space for all of the new photos you're bound to take.

A filing folder- You'll be getting some special things like baby's footprints on a card, their birth info card, hospital bracelets...and you'll want someplace safe to store these without them getting bent or torn on the way home. They're really great keepsakes for the baby book so I like to tuck them away in a safe spot.

Your "Going Home" Outfit- Being a c-section mama, I needed dark-colored, high waisted, loose type pants that would be gentle on my incision. Palazzo or gaucho pants with a smocked waist are perfect. Pair them with a nursing bra (my milk comes in pretty early so a supportive nursing bra from the get-go is KEY for me- I linked two of my faves), a loose tee and maybe a comfy cardigan. My shoes have always fit coming home, but I know some women's feet really swell (mine always seem to wait until I'm at home), so keep that in mind when choosing shoes. I wore these Birkenstocks.

Snacks- I brought along protein bars, apple and bananas. Our hospital has a cafeteria with delivery, but I liked having quick grab, healthy things on hand too.

A readiness to say NO (if you want to)! I wanted to mention this here. Each time I've given birth, well-meaning people come in and will ask certain things of you and baby- like if you would like to publish your little one's picture and info in the paper, take some free portraits with the hospital photographer, whatever. I remember feeling overwhelmed the first time I gave birth, and I said yes to things I didn't want to say yes to! This time I was happy to say no- no to the newspaper photo, no to the free photo session (Where do the originals of these photos end up anyway? Do they retain the rights?), no to the hospital chaplain praying over my baby, no to support services following up every week with a check in call. Don't feel bad saying no, mama. You do what's right for you and YOUR little one.

Also- I know many parents bring along all sorts of things from noise machines to playlists to make their delivery room peaceful and homelike. Keep in mind that I had a c-section, so many of the birthing items another woman may need, I did not! :)



Other items you may want to consider-

Pajamas- So this is a new one for me. I see post-birth photos all of the time with these beautiful mamas in these cute pjs and think to myself, what?! How and why would they wear that? But this time I wanted to try and bring some along, just to see if I would indeed wear them, rather than just keep on the hospital gown my whole stay like I usually do, and let me tell you, I actually preferred them (I got a pair of these Eberjey pajamas). The morning after my c-section I got in the shower in my room at the birthing center, removed the dressing from my incision, put on these pajamas, and felt so so much better. I went up a size to accommodate my belly and nursing, and I am definitely sold. It was so easy to just open up the pajama top rather than fiddle with the hospital gown buttons over and over (it's so hard to get them matched up after you unsnap them!), the soft pants went high up over my incision, and I feel really good and dare I say CUTE when visitors came. Looking cute not being the focus at all, but it did feel good to feel fresh and clean in my own clothes. If I was to have another baby I would totally bring them along again. And best of all because they're in a bigger size they're perfect for postpartum days at home. I did try out two options- Target has much cheaper set, but they pilled after one wash and looked pretty bad, where these did not which led me to feel like they were worth the investment. Tip: get a BLACK pair, in case of any blood leakage, which you may have, and be prepared that these WILL get breast milk or formula on them, and god knows what else. Yay for washing machines! ;)

Robe- Another "extra" item I wasn't sure I would actually use, but I would put this robe on over my pajamas when we had visitors. I was there for three days so I enjoyed having these little bits of home with me, and I am continuing to wear the robe now. Easy to feed baby if you're nursing, a nice comfy layer, and just a very cute loungey thing to throw on for visitors at the hospital or in those early days.

Nursing pillow- I have brought along a nursing pillow for each birth and have always loved using it. It saves your back and neck, and just makes things more comfortable whether you're feeding in bed or in a chair. If you're not nursing, this can also be used by you or your partner for easier bottle feeding!

Slippers- I do not bring along slippers, but I know many women do like having their special pair from home. I personally don't like to bring home any germs from the hospital floor so I keep my slippers at home and instead wear the Totes-like slipper/socks they provide so I can throw them away when I'm done.

Things you do NOT need:

Underwear and pads- The hospital will provide you with mesh underwear (trust me you will want to wear these, and they accommodate the huge pads you will have to wear too). Make sure you ask for some of these to take home and wear them those first few days! They're so comfy and if you're having a c-section they're invaluable as they will go right up over your incision. You throw them away after wearing them once, so no worries about bleeding on them. Another thing you don't need to bring- pads. Some women like to bring their own Depends, but I didn't and just stuck with the hospital pads. Also be sure to ask for some to take home and grab the squeezy bottle if you're allowed to also! You'll know exactly what I mean once you give birth! ;)

Water bottle- The hospital will most likely provide you with the mama trophy, a big plastic jug with a bendy straw! I loved this thing, and especially love it now that my water bottle of choice is a heavy Hydroflask that feels dangerous drinking over nursing Olive's head!


Things baby needs:

Carseat- You cannot leave the hospital without it!

Baby's "Going Home" outfit- Bring this in MULTIPLE sizes! I brought two sizes, because I just wasn't sure what size Olive would be. With the boys I always brought the Newborn size, and 0-3 just in case. I'm not sure why, but with Olive I thought to bring along the Preemie size (up to 7lbs) just in case and I'm so glad I did. She's a little peanut, born at 7lb 2oz and dropping down a bit after birth. She was swimming in the newborn size and the preemie was almost too big also. I was thankful I had thought to grab it. And a quick tip- be sure it is a two piece- I find these are easier to manage, especially with a snap-top/kimono style tee. Here's what Olive wore home.

Other items you may want to consider:

A special hat- I knew I wanted a hat with a big bow, which our hospital does not provide. So I ordered this one on Amazon and LOVED it. It was the perfect size, much stretchier than the one the hospital did provide, and a really adorable keepsake.

Swaddle blankets- I only used these to take some cute photos in the hospital, so these are a total extra, but I recommend bringing one along just so you have it. The birthing center we delivered at provides blankets, but you cannot take them home, so we also used the swaddle blanket we brought to cover up her legs in her carseat leaving the hospital.

Bows- Being that Olive is our first girl, I knew a tiny little bow would be packed in our bag. She only wore it for a few photos, but I'm glad I had it.

Extra clothing- I always throw 1-2 extra baby outfits in my bag. I didn't use them this time, or the times before, but if you're extra ambitious you may want to dress baby in his or her own clothing. Our hospital provides those handy snap tees, socks, etc., and each of my children just wore those their whole stay until they put their going home clothing on.




Things baby does NOT need:

First of all, you could literally bring NOTHING for baby except a going home outfit and a car seat, and be a-okay! But here are the things you definitely do not need-

Diapers and wipes- The hospital will provide these for you, and probably give you some to take home too!

Baby bathtime items- The nurses will give baby their first "bath" (more like a wipe down) and you won't give the baby any sort of bath until they are home.

And here is a list of all items I packed, organized into one list so it's a little more clear:

For me:

Birdling Bag
Wallet for Hank and myself- IDs and insurance cards
iPhone/cameras
Extra long phone charging cable or portable charger
Toiletries
Filing folder for keeping keepsakes wrinkle/crush free
Going-home outfit
Pajamas and/or robe
Snacks
Nursing Pillow

For baby:

Carseat
Going home outfit
Special hat
Bows
Swaddle blanket
Extra clothing

Good luck, mamas! Sending you all happy, healthy birthing wishes.

Let me know if you have ANY questions in the comments below!

xoxo

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekend Links


Hello! It's been over a week since Olive arrived and I have SO much to share about our little sweetheart. I'm getting back into the swing of blogging in the next couple of weeks, but while I've been nursing in the middle of the night I've been bookmarking some good reads that I wanted to share quickly tonight. :) Enjoy!

First, what we can all learn from the abuse on Big Little Lies.

Listen to this: Simply Happy.

And watch this.

The Pope on panhandling.

Mules, mules and more mules. Loving these all for Spring! (hint: sort by price, some of these shoes are beautiful but very expensive!)

I've also been LOVING this brand for Spring/Summer. I got the Bali Jumpsuit recently and it's really cute.

Are you planning on seeing this movie?

Can't wait to bake these paleo muffins.

And speaking of, what a Paleo diet really looked like.

Loving: this top, any of these sunglasses (love this brand), and this button up.

For a cheaper sunglasses option, these are my go-to! They're total Karen Walker look-alikes and I love them.

9 questions that will help you find your dream career.

Wishlist: this bracelet, this dress, and either of these hats.

Why is Silicon Valley so awful to women?

How to declutter your kids' toys.

I love reading about what other people are reading.

And as for me, I'm currently reading this book, and loving it.

The top five regrets of the dying.

We should all be napping more!

And finally, read this: The Disease of More.

xoxo

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

And Just Like That...


And just like that it's the week of Olive's birth. We all can't believe it- I know time is time, but I swear, these nine months went by so much faster than we anticipated. Soon we'll have a brand new baby, two big brothers, a Mom and a Dad who are new "girl" parents, and really a huge shift in our entire world. Four to five. Brand new for all.

I look at these photos and I think back to hiking through the mountains of Switzerland last summer with Hank. We would spend our days in these beautiful places, walking in the greenest greens we've ever laid eyes on, over steep mountain tops, through the most beautiful little towns. We would end our evenings eating big dinners, drinking beer and wine, talking and dreaming about our future. We knew on that trip it was completely possible we would be bringing home something extra so we talked about it a lot. What life would be like with three boys, or with two boys and a girl, how things would change with three kids...how excited we were to grow our family. It was the first time we weren't trying not to have a baby, and all of my heart believed that we really would be conceiving a baby in Switzerland. But even with all of my wishing, hoping, and believing, it was still a shock to see that positive pregnancy test later that summer.


We will never be here again. We will never be days away from meeting our baby, the anticipation and excitement bubbling up every other minute, taking walks with the boys full of talking about what she'll be like, spending my nights reading in bed feeling kicks and turns and little hiccups inside of my belly. This is the last go-round for us, and I have cherished every moment of this beautiful gift. Each pregnancy has been such a special time in my life, and as I type this I'm finding myself getting emotional knowing these few days are a goodbye to that chapter. But more than anything, a much, much bigger hello.

Friday is it, and over these next few days I'm going to focus on paying close attention to these last days. Soaking up every little bit, trying to memorize every feeling. We are so ready to meet this little girl, and my heart is already bursting with the joy she is sure to bring.

Happy birth-week, little one.

xoxo