life lately.

Hello again! Besides being buried in snow, I am enjoying my last two weeks at home with {jv} before heading back to work in March. I decided to round up what has been going on in our lives and put all of the random bits I want to share with you in one place. You can skip the parts which don't pertain to your life and dive into the parts that do. I would rather give you one long post than ten short posts, so here goes nothing! xoxo {av}

-My sweet friend, Bree, shared this post recently and it really got me thinking. I had been feeling guilty about not giving up anything for Lent, but this post changed my perspective. Like New Year's resolutions, Lent is a time to make positive changes and get rid of negative habits. This post inspired me to do just that -- during Lent and beyond. 
-I truly thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones who made it through pregnancy with no stretch marks. I made it through 37 weeks of pregnancy without a single one -- only to wake up one morning with what looked like a road map on the underside of my belly. Though I was religious with stretch mark creams and kept my weight gain in control, I have to remind myself genetics are to blame. This post was a particularly encouraging discovery during an early morning breastfeeding session. Stretch marks or not, women's bodies are beautiful things. The end game is the important part -- and I'll happily sport my stretch marks because I am the lucky one to have {jv}.
-Speaking of bodies, this snowy winter is killing my return to running. The cabin fever is real, folks. We haven't found a gym in our new community and don't have a full set-up at home. Until the snow melts, I'll get my exercise carrying all 12 pounds of {jv}. Does that count? ;)
-I was so honored when Monica included me in her round-up of 3 Instagram Accounts to Follow. I loved reading her description of my feed, though I can assure you we still have a long way to go in decorating this new house. (Thanks again, Monica!)
-{cv} and I are both reading French Kids Eat Everything. As a lifelong picky eater, I am determined not to pass along my eating weirdness to {jv}. Though he is exclusively breastfeeding now, time is flying and he will be eating "real" food before we know it. We shall see what the French have to say and how we might be able to employ their wisdom in our house.

-In the coming months, I will be completing a Patio Style Challenge with Home Depot! Look for a post soon about my inspiration for our nautical backyard oasis. Though we still have a few feet of snow on the ground, it is exciting to start planning for warm summer nights out on our deck.
-I am on the hunt for a sturdy yet attractive coffee table for our living room. We currently have a "ghost" glass coffee table, but it doesn't fit in our space anymore. It also wouldn't be ideal when {jv} starts pulling up on furniture later this year. I'm thinking a square leather tufted ottoman would be great. If you have any favorites, be sure to share them below ;)
-Because {jv} arrived shortly after we moved into the house, I didn't have a chance to share much about our build process. I am hoping to share more of that in the coming months, especially for those who will be building once warmer weather arrives. If there is anything in particular that you'd like to hear about our build, shoot me an email or share it in the comments below. I loved the process so much that I would build a house again tomorrow, so I hope I can take the fear away for those about to begin their projects!

-Though they arrived at the end of January, I didn't get {jv}'s birth announcements out until last Friday. (Oops?) We ordered ours through Minted -- partially because of their addressing service and partially because I didn't have the creative energy to do them myself. (I normally design our holiday cards, but we sent the birth announcement in lieu of those this year.) I promise to share a sneak peek of the ones we chose soon!
-I broke down and splurged on a few of these KicKee Pants Footies. Made with bamboo, they are the softest and coziest outfits {jv} wears. Not only do they wash beautifully, they also have non-obnoxious prints and patterns. If you've never purchased anything from, you can get a pretty sweet deal until February 28th (20% off of $50+, 25% off of $75+, $30% off of $100+ with the code FEBLOVE). When he's not in his KicKees, we still love our Old Navy Footed Sleepers -- and were excited to see a few new colors for spring!
-Babywearing is something {jv} enjoys 93% of the time. (The other 7%? Well, let's just say that's the time when he is too fussy for his own good.) We have an Ergobaby and a Baby K'Tan, but I recently added the Solly Baby to the mix. I like each of the carriers for different reasons. The Ergo is great for grocery store runs and longer wears in public. The K'Tan is perfect when {jv} is being a fusspot and I would love for him to fall asleep. The Solly Baby is the most "fashionable" of the bunch. It works well when {jv} wants to be held and a nap is out of the question. (Also, am I the only crazy person with three different babywearing methods?)
-Everyone said babies came with lots of stuff and they were right. We added this BABYBJöRN Balance Bouncer to our "stuff" repertoire last month. After hearing about it from a friend and reading countless reviews, we took the plunge. This bouncer was a bit of an investment, but it is a chair he can use for the next two years. It also packs flat, which will be crucial on road trips. Before we added this wooden toy arm, we made sure {jv} was a big fan. It was a God-sent when I was trying to finish up the birth announcements last week. It definitely gets my seal of approval.
-Seeking advice from you seasoned moms out there: I head back to work in just shy of two weeks. Like many moms, pumping is my least favorite thing to do. Any advice on how to building a supply for daycare when {jv} is on a pretty consistent nursing schedule? He nurses every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day and doesn't have the most reliable of napping schedules, so it is difficult for me to pump during the day. Thankfully, he is sleeping from 11:45 until 6:45 on a pretty regular basis. Is my best option to wake up in the middle of the night? My hope is that you have more creative / less exhausting answers. Many thanks in advance!


  1. Pump after each feeding as well - if there's anything extra you can save it up!

  2. JV is adorable! I look forward to seeing the Home Depot patio challenge and what you come up with!

  3. Aww thanks for the mention, Ali! So glad to hear you are all doing well and can't wait to keep up with the behind the scenes of your home :) xox

  4. Hey (Maria here)--Pumping at work is definitely a labor of love, but it can be a nice way to still feel close to your baby.I'm sure you know all of this, but basically, your pump is not nearly as efficient as your baby, so you have to work hard to keep your supply up, so diet is key---I would eat oatmeal for breakfast as well as one 'milk maker' cookie a day ( If I felt my supply drop, I would add Malta Goya to my diet (a totally disgusting drink found in the Spanish section of the grocery store that helps boost supply). There are also supplements you can buy at whole foods. And drink TONS of water. Timesaver tip--if you keep the pump parts refrigerated, you don't' need to wash them between pump sessions. I could keep going, so message me if you want more tips. Also, you should definitely be using a hospital grade pump if you are pumping several times a day. Good luck, but at the end of the day, it just matters that your child gets fed, so don't let yourself go crazy over it. :-) Also, can't wait to hear about your building process! And about exercise--it will happen, I promise. The first year is so crazy. Do what you can, and trust me, eventually, it gets much easier to find the time. Especially when you first go back to work, it can feel really tough to get exercise in because your time with your baby feels so limited...just trust me when I say, it really does get more manageable. (apologies for the essay)

  5. I've been meaning to do a post like this but haven't found the time to sit down at the computer, blogging with a baby is much harder than I thought, especially when you're nursing! But this post also made me feel better because I literally just sent Henry's birth announcements last week glad we're keeping on the same schedule ;)

  6. I have exclusively nursed two (one to two and the second is ready to turn one) as well as worked full-time. I always pumped after our first awake feeding and that milk went stright in the freezer. I started that around week 3 and had a huge freezer stash by the time I returned to work. However I never had to tap into the freezer stash since my baby refuses bottles and I pump every three hours while I am at work NO MATTER WHAT. And currently I donate all of that milk but it would go in bottles or sippies if she would take them. It is a labor of love but one I am happy to do for her! You will rock it I am sure. But definately pump in the AM most milk. Pump about 1 hour after the last feeding.

  7. I am currently exclusively pumping and the only way I am able to pump during the day is to have Camden on a schedule. He typically takes a longer nap in the morning and one in the after noon, so I try to pump during these times. I set my alarm for 5am every morning to pump before he wakes and I pump right after he goes to bed at night. You may want to enlist help from your hubs to feed him with a bottle while you pump during the day or the last feeding at night. That way he will start to get used to taking a bottle as well. Good luck!!

  8. great recap! sweet baby james is absolutely adorable and growing up soooo fast! can't wait to see your patio style challenge results! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  9. My husband made a DIY Ottoman that was no-sew and is baby-friendly that you might want to check out, and it was also featured on a new DIY Network show! Good luck! :-)

  10. I would say check out Ethan Allen for coffee table inspiration. I love that they are still a Made in USA brand and support artisans. Maybe they'll inspire you as well - and maybe you'll even get one?!

    What you said about cabin fever has hit me the past two months as well - more work zapping all my free time and energy though. I thought you might love to know about two apps I downloaded and loved - they are really inspiring and kicking my butt by giving me at-home workouts. They play great on my iPad or iPhone... one is called Workout Randomizer which uses a spinning wheel to help you figure out your workout routine and the number of sets - includes video of how to do each workout if you are unfamiliar with them and don't require any tools (maybe a set of hand weights?), the other is from the same trainer (Trish Blackwell) and is called Ab Randomizer. Same premise but concentrating on abs. REALLY motivated me when I've been stuck at home.

    Great to read up on a catch up from you!

  11. I loved this post! I'm pretty behind on reading blogs, as you can tell! Anyway, I saw on Facebook that you're off maternity leave. Good luck getting back into the swing of things! Your little guy is just darling and I love the shots of your home! Keep 'em comin'! (when you have time, of course!) :)

  12. *Hi!* I am only now just reading this so I hope that your first couple of weeks back to work have been as smooth as possible. When I went back to work, the first thing my bubbly baby boy did was go on nursing strike, which is apparently common for babies who are lazy bums and realize that nursing is more work from them than drinking the same nutrient filled goodness from a bottle. I was forced to up my supply to keep up with him. It's called power pumping and my supply went through the roof after doing it for about a week. Between power pumping and getting up between 2-4 (I know!), I was able to bank some milk in the freezer too. We eventually got back onto a good schedule of bouncing back and forth between nursing and pumping but I am here to tell you that 10 months into this, I hate the sight of my pump. Now that the baby is eating more real food, he nurses less and has bottles. OK so now that I rambled on about this, and you likely already have it covered. I just want to seriously tell you, Do whatever works for you and your lil' stud muffin. Nursing and pumping are labors of love and it's HARD. You're doing awesome, I'm sure of it! *hugs*