cozy clothes for your every day.

cozy clothes for your every day.

Since our little one was born, I have been rocking babyGap for great pieces which hold up well with frequent washes. As a result, I pay close attention to Gap's sales. When I needed to hit a threshold for free shipping, I snagged a top for myself in December...and I am so glad I did! I bought this top and have since purchased it in every available color. It may be because I'm home on maternity leave, but I don't put on jeans every day. I normally aim for cozy and cute. The eight pieces above would still make me feel put together -- and I wouldn't be scared to answer the door while wearing them.

The best part? Would you believe it if I told you that everything in the collage above was under $65? Well, it's true. I could hardly believe it. I will admit that I am a Lululemon addict, but it isn't exactly budget-friendly. I am so excited to have found another option in the comfy clothes world, which won't completely break my budget if I want a top in a few colors. 

Cozy is a relative term these days -- and the impending blizzard may be influencing my word choice ;) I hope I'm not the only person who is reaching more for my activewear than my jeans. Where else do you like to buy such cozy (and cute) clothes? Share your secrets! xoxo {av}

the first month survival guide.

a survival guide for your fist month at home with a newborn via @luvfromafar!

I can't believe it, but {jv} is already five weeks old! We survived the first month relatively unscathed, albeit a bit sleep deprived. {cv} and I count our lucky stars that he has been a happy little guy so far. I thought I would share a few of my favorite baby products from our first 30 days as parents. 

As a few qualifiers, {jv} is exclusively breastfeeding, which means I can't personally contribute to the bottle or formula discussion. I also think the choice of diapers is incredibly personal (based on budget and preference). We have budgeted to use the Honest line in our house, but it may not be for everyone. (I will say that the Honest diapers are worth every penny though: we experimented with a few other brands and found the stink defense to be best with Honest ;) Again, these were the things that worked for us, but there are endless options out there. Please add your first month favorites to the discussion in the comments section below!

Aquaphor Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo: {jv} had a serious case of baby acne from the end of his second week through the end of his fourth week. (A mother's hormones cause this lovely phenomenon -- don't worry, we keep him clean!) All my research (and our pediatrician) said that the best treatment was to do nothing. (Crazy, but true.) The pediatrician mentioned we could wash him with a mild soap, if we didn't want to feel so helpless in the acne game. After even more research, I discovered this Aquaphor wash and we have loved it in our house. It is fragrance-free and extra gentle. I don't know if the Aquaphor cleared up the acne or if it was just patience, but {jv}'s skin is now much more clear!

Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths: These easy wipes offer a quick refresh for baby's face. They are not cheap, but they are worth having in your newborn arsenal. I would often use them before we had a last-minute visitor to give freshen him up a bit -- without going through the entire bath process.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: I struggled in the beginning to get {jv} to latch. After my first night at the hospital, I asked my parents to grab my Brest Friend from home. Once I had this pillow, I was able to master the right angle for {jv} to get the latch he needed. This pillow felt like a set of training wheels when getting used to nursing. I didn't love the buckle on the side in the middle of the night, so the next option below quickly moved in as my go-to nursing pillow. 

Dr. Brown's Gia Nursing Pillow & Cover*: The angled design of this pillow and its overall girth helps make every feeding so much easier. I didn't go with the fan favorite Boppy because it felt so big for such a little baby. The cover is soft, durable, and washable and a few etsy shops even sell more personalized options. We jokingly refer to it as my "shrimp", but it is truly one of my most beloved baby items.

Baby K'Tan Breeze Baby Wrap Carrier: Recommended by my favorite local children's store, this is my go-to wrap for getting things done around the house. After reading the instructions, putting it on makes perfect sense. {jv} gets nice and cozy -- and it reminds his mama of the good ol' days when he resided in my belly. While wearing the K'Tan, I can do laundry, unload the dishwasher, and complete other tasks without worry, which does a lot for feeling like you're getting something done. As an FYI: it is sized, so it is more specific to one parent or another.

Ergobaby Performance Collection Baby Carrier & Infant Insert: We also purchased the Ergobaby, so {cv} had his own carrier option. (I can use it too!)  Thankfully, it requires minimal assistance when loading your little one. The clip in the back is the only real difficulty for me. {jv} falls asleep almost instantaneously after he's in the Ergobaby, which makes any excursion much easier.

Patagonia Hi-Loft Down Sweater Bunting: This is only applicable for those of us in colder climates, but I found one of these buntings on eBay and never looked back. When we have {jv} loaded in the Ergobaby, he can still wear this. It is like he is in his own little cocoon! My only suggestion would be to not overdress your little one before you put him or her in the bunting. It is extremely warm and can cause your little one to get a bit sweaty. We typically put James in a basic long-sleeved onesie, then pop him in a pair of pants and socks when we've arrived at our destination. He may not be a style plate on those days, but he's warm!

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle: {cv} is the superior swaddler in this family, but I can pretend to be with this swaddle from Halo. We discovered {jv} loved the swaddle about halfway through his first month. It works wonders when trying to calm him down at the end of the day. I even use it for nap time on occasion. I like the Pottery Barn options because they aren't so blatantly branded -- and you can personalize them for your little one ;)

Gerber Long-Sleeved Onesies: This is typically what we dress {jv} in when he is wearing one of his Halo swaddles. The mitts on these onesies were also incredibly important in his early days when {jv} would try to scratch at his face. We registered for two packs of these, but I immediately grabbed two more. Having a few of these near your changing table make late night accidents much less frustrating. I just stretch the neck a bit before slipping it over his head -- and he fusses much less during the dressing process.

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper: If I could buy one thing for every new parent, it would be a Rock 'n Play. {jv} has slept in this magical contraption since the end of his first week. (We tried a Moses basket before we transitioned to the Rock 'n Play. I just got nervous he was going to get too close to the sides of the basket and I couldn't sleep.) The vibration of the chair, paired with the rocking motion, help ease {jv} to sleep in a snap. As an aside, we don't currently use the "safety" belt. We just place {jv} in the Rock 'n Play in his swaddle. He is bundled up, so we know he isn't going anywhere. As he gets older, we will definitely revisit this -- but I thought I'd be honest about our methods ;)

4Moms Plush mamaRoo Bouncer Seat + Infant Insert: Not sure whether I wanted to make the investment or not, I scored a mamaRoo on Craig's List. {jv} tends to like the mamaRoo for shorter periods of time, but it works wonders when he is in it. If you've got a smaller newborn, the infant insert is also a must!

Dr. Brown's PreVent Butterfly Pacifiers*: We've tried a number of other pacifiers, but we found that these work best for {jv}. They are smaller than the Avent Soothies and seem to stay in his mouth much better. I never thought I would be the mom who uses a pacifier, but here I am. We didn't introduce it until the second week, but I would have done it much sooner in retrospect. It didn't cause any nipple confusion (my fear) and it generally brought a great deal of sanity in the nighttime fussy hours. He doesn't have one in his mouth constantly, so I'm hoping this helps in the long run. In the short term, I'm just happy they help calm him down when he's fed and changed -- and should otherwise be content.

Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners: Changing table accidents are bound to happen, so these liners will be lifesavers for your laundry situation. You will save yourself from washing the changing pad cover a ton by having these liners handy. 

Old Navy Footed Sleepers: After having success with these in the first few days, I bought them in every available color. I liked that I could dress him in them without slipping them over his head. Plenty of other brands offer this option, but these Old Navy ones are inexpensive and functional. They keep baby's feet covered and also have the optional mitts to prevent scratching.

Baby Connect: If you have an iPhone, this app will be your best friend. It helps us keep track of diaper changes, feedings and more. {cv} and I can both access {jv}'s profile to add activities. When the hours all run together, this app is a tremendous help for keeping your head on straight!

Beyond baby goods, there are a number of things which helped me survive as a mom in that first month. I'll save that for another novel of a post ;) If you're pregnant, I hope this post can help make those first thirty days more tolerable! If you're not in the mom stage yet, you can pin this post for future reference. For the experienced moms out there, I'd love to hear what else helped you make it through month #1. The first month may be a blur, but these products definitely made our lives easier. More to come soon! xoxo {av}

*Dr. Brown's sent me a lovely care package after {jv} was born. My opinions of their products are completely honest -- and I do prefer them to other brands we've tried. I wouldn't have shared them otherwise.

the birth of baby {v}.

Since I voraciously read birth stories before our little bundle arrived, I thought long and hard about sharing mine here. After much deliberation, I decided to share it -- just as much for me to remember as for you to read. We approached birth differently than two type A folks normally would. {cv} and I did not take any birthing classes, so we didn't come into the labor process with an elaborate plan. We simply wanted to bring one little life into the world, in whatever manner it took. Our experience was generally uncomplicated and pleasant, something for which we are incredibly grateful. Little {jv} made his entrance with the perfect amount of fanfare. Here's our story...

My parents arrived from Indiana 24 hours before James was born. Ironically, they arrived 15 minutes after I tested positive for this pregnancy back in March. I joked our little one wouldn't arrive until they did, but little did I know it would come true. I texted my best friend before I went to bed that night, saying something didn't feel "right". They always say women know their bodies better than they think. I just never thought I would be able to foreshadow the events of the next few hours.

At roughly 4:15am that Monday morning, I rolled from my left side to my right and felt an unmistakable pop. I leapt (or whatever pregnant version of leaping exists) out of bed, bound for the bathroom. My water broke in true movie fashion. {cv} and I had prepared for a number of scenarios, but my water breaking wasn't one of them. 

We decided to be as level-headed as possible and take showers before making the drive to the hospital. Before we left, I snuck in to tell my parents the news. We took one last "bump shot" in the kitchen -- and walked out of our new home for the last time as a family of two. My contractions flooded in with a vengeance in the shower and became even more regular on our 30-minute drive into town. By the time I went through triage at the hospital, I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced, an improvement of a centimeter (and 30%) from my appointment the previous Thursday. Three other women came in the morning of December 8th; all four of us had our water break at home. (I thought this was an interesting coincidence!)

After a few blood draws and measurements, we made our way up to our Labor & Delivery suite. (I say suite because one of my sweet friends from college kindly pulled a few strings for us.) They started my pitocin drip around 9:30 or 10:00am and the contractions accelerated immediately. By 1:00pm, I had progressed to 6 (almost 7) centimeters and I made the decision to get an epidural. I know everyone has their own philosophies on childbirth. I decided early on that I wanted to be a pleasant patient, which I knew would require an epidural.

Many of these hours are foggy for me, both before the epidural and after. I expected to be able to vividly recall all the events of this day, but perhaps that is nature's way of preventing you from remembering the hard parts of labor. I continued to dilate in the next few hours and progressed to roughly 9cm by 3:00pm. Our nurse encouraged {cv} to run downstairs to grab a quick lunch before the "party" started. When he came back, he found me with a room full of hospital staff in the pushing position. Our little one's heart tones had slowed while I was on my left side and they wanted to get the ball rolling. After a few minutes, things leveled out and they encouraged me to take it a nap before we really began pushing.

Truth be told, I never thought I would be able to take a nap in the midst of all of this excitement...but I crashed. The epidural was managing the contractions well and I slept until 4:45 or so, when I officially started pushing. During the afternoon, the OB on staff confirmed what I already knew (from baby {v}'s movements throughout my pregnancy): our little one was "sunny side up". Most people know that a baby needs to be head down for an optimal delivery. Baby {v} was head down, but his back was to my back -- which isn't particularly ideal in the birthing process.

Even though my labor and delivery team said I was pushing like a champ, it took much longer to bring baby {v} into the world than expected because of this position. {cv} was incredible all day long, but his calming spirit made these hours pass much more easily. I may be an anomaly, but the pushing process wasn't as horrific as I imagined it would be. Getting the baby out (and also finding out the gender) gave this distance runner a goal -- and I work well with a finish line. The epidural also helped immensely in giving me the stamina to proceed. Though we hadn't taken any birthing classes, I didn't need them: nature took over and I did what felt right. Thankfully, baby {v} turned from the sunny side up position as I continued to push, which made a big difference in my progress. I pushed for just over two and a half hours before our sweet baby boy made his entrance at 7:22pm.

The cliché about holding your baby for the first time and feeling all the love in the world for that little person? Well, it certainly applied with James. He was ours: half of {cv} and half of me. I could see a little of each of us the first time I looked at him. After so much prayer for his safe delivery, the relief and joy in holding this healthy little one was exponential. Those whirlwind moments after he was born are infinitely more clear than the six hours before his arrival -- and I'll always hold those memories close. One of my favorites moments? Seeing {cv} hold our son for the first time -- captured in the photo above. My heart nearly burst out of my chest.

(As an aside: My amazing OB was not on call the day of my delivery. On the day of my last appointment in her office, she wrote her cell phone number on her script pad and told me to let her know when I was admitted. (It is still hanging on our fridge.) When she got word that I was ready to push, it was just before her day ended at her practice. Low and behold, she was able to come and deliver baby {v}. Any fears I had about the birth faded when she walked in the room. I still can't believe we were lucky enough to have her there for baby {v}'s grand entrance. She truly went above and beyond in every way.)

If you're still reading at this point, bravo! I honestly can't believe it has been a month since he arrived, though part of me feels like he has always been a part of our lives. We are so thankful that {jv} is thriving outside of that big belly of mine. I have much more to say on his first month, but I will save it for another post. Thank you for being a part of my pregnancy journey and for all your encouragement along the way. I felt like I had an army of support -- and still do.

The best way I can sum up the story of James' birth-day? He was absolutely worth the wait. xoxo {av}

P.S. If you want more photos of {jv}, be sure to follow along on Instagram!