Asher is 7 Months + Family Pictures… Finally

Words.  That’s typically the space filler I use when I begin to create a blog post as I add images in first.  Then I usually go back and fill in what I want those words to be.  But today I’m at a loss… what words are there in the English language, or any other language for that matter, that can precisely communicate with you the joy my heart feels being a wife, mom and putting family first.  None.

So…. pictures instead.  And how lovely they are.  As I type this Asher will be 7 months this week.  My heart.

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Our photos were taken by Wedding photographer, Debra Eby.  I met Debra while lunching with her, my friend and team member Serena and another talented photographer Emily A. a few weeks ago. We had actually all been at the opening of The Conservatorie in St. Augustine a week prior but didn’t realize it until we posted photos on Instagram.  So… to actually BE social (like… in person) and start meeting wedding vendors in Northeast Florida we scheduled a lunch date and now I have a family photographer for life.  Yay.

She took hundreds… here are some of my favorites.

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With all the amazing technology and crazy talented photographers out there today, every family should have the treasure of family photos like these.  Best investment I’ve made.  These beauties will be gracing our Christmas cards this year and nearly every wall in my house.

 

21 Must Have Baby Essentials for New Moms

Here we are and it’s already mid March.  Where does the time go?  I’m coming up on the three month mark as a new mom and I wanted to share some of my favorite baby products that I absolutely could not have lived without these past few weeks.  When I created my baby registry I didn’t have a clue where to start.  The lady at Babies R Us didn’t help either.  She said “just register for everything… you never know what you’ll need.”  Excessive much?  I think so.  I’ve always been one to keep it simple so that’s pretty much what I did while prepping for Asher.  And, I’m glad I did.  I picked products that I read about in baby magazines and heard about from friends and I can honestly say I would 100% recommend each and every one of these items below a million times over.  So, if you’re at a loss on where to begin your baby registry, I’ve outlined 21 must have baby essentials new moms need in the first few weeks and beyond. 

21 Baby Essentials for New Moms

1.  Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper.  The greatest invention for new moms everywhere.  This bassinet butts up against your bed so that baby is within “arm’s reach” of mommy at all times of the night.  I love it because I can see Asher whenever I open my eyes and I don’t even have to sit up to feed him at night.  If you only buy one thing, buy this.  I got mine at Buy Buy Baby.  Sidenote:  I discovered this product from a qtr page print ad they had in Fit Pregnancy magazine.  And people say print advertising is out.  Whatever. #printlives

2. City Select Stroller by Baby Jogger.  I am a stroller snob.  I had originally picked out the Uppa Baby and Stokke strollers but common sense got the best of me so I opted for a regular Graco Jogger stroller that I found online.  Once in the store and saw it in person I realized it was too heavy and cumbersome so I returned it and the salesguy at Buy Buy Baby recommended the City Select Stroller over all the brands they carry. And… they carry a lot.  This thing is the Mercedes-Benz of baby strollers.  It’s beautiful, rides so smoothly, has a minimalist color scheme (nothing too outrageous), easily converts to a 2-child stroller, and has the largest storage basket of the other comparable brands.  It’s not cheap at about $499 + extra $100 cost of the bassinet but it’s soooo worth it.

3. Brica Car Mirror.  Makes driving with baby much easier when I can see his smiling face staring back at me.  Comes in black and tan.

4.  Diaper Dekkor.  This diaper pal does it’s job… keeps the stink of diapers contained.

5.  Udder Covers Nursing Cover.  Great for nursing in public (NIP as the cool kids call it) with it’s neck strap and and sturdy neckline that make it easy to look down and see baby while feeding. Pretty much any nursing cover without a sturdy neckline is useless if you’re really trying to be discrete. But then again you know how I feel about the whole “discrete nursing thing”.. see here.

6.  Maxi Cosi Prezi Infant Car Seat.  The SOFTEST, most comfortable carseat on the planet.  Seriously.. just go into Buy Buy Baby and rub your hands on all the carseats in the store.  Nothing compares to how soft this thing is.  Asher loves it and mommy loves it because of it’s clean, simple design and basic color scheme.

7.  Seventh Generation Baby Wipes.  These are organic, fragrance free and super sturdy.  They are the thickest ones I’ve found and most importantly they do the job while being gentle on baby’s bottom.

8.  Changing Pad.  Save your back and your wallet buy buying one of these and putting it on your dresser to change baby.  I don’t think a changing table is necessary. If baby has a dresser… just pop this on top.  I use it multiple times a day.

9.  Baby Born Baby Sitter.  Probably the second most used item besids the co-sleeper.  This bouncy chair goes everywhere in our house.  It’s super lightweight, easy to clean and it bounces with baby’s movement.  Asher sits in this chair while I shower, while we cook in the kitchen, in my office, in the yard.. everywhere.  And it grows with baby.  Not cheap, but worth it in the long run.

10. Nasal Syringe.  No need to buy, the hospital will send you home with one. I use this every day.

11. Burp clothes.  You can never have too many.  I have burp clothes sitting on every chair and piece of furniture in my house.  They’re great for spitup and drool clean ups.

12.  Baby Aquafor.  Great to keep baby’s skin moisturized and protected at the first site of diaper rash.

13. Gas Relief Drops.  Otherwise known as miracle drops.  These magic little drops help to ease gas and move it along.  I keep a bottle in my purse and by our bed at all times.

14.  Swaddle blankets.  While I did not swaddle Asher (he hated it and I felt like swaddling made me miss his hunger cues)… these light weight blankets by Aden and Anais are soft and handy to have around.  They aren’t bulky so they roll up easily to stick on in the diaper bag, have on a chair, cover baby at night, etc.

15.  Lansinoh Lanolin Cream.  The only thing that keep my nipples moisturized and pain-free during the first few weeks of breastfeeding.  I’d say don’t try to go for the plant-based nipple creams either… they aren’t as thick and don’t work nearly as well as this stuff does.

16.  Baby Tub.  I’m not partial to this particular one… it’s the one we got, but any baby tub will due.

17.  Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers.  For moms looking for the best organic diapers… this was the best option I found.  I tried Honest Diapers but Asher got a rash as soon as I put them on… so I opted for these and they are wonderful!  Super soft, no fragrance and they hole a lot in!

18.  Sound Machine.  Sounds of the womb and white noise drown out distracting noises and help baby sleep!

19. Noodle and Boo Baby Bath Products.  If only you could bottle up the sweet smell of baby and sell it in an all natural lotion free of chemicals and parabans….. apparently you can.  Noodle and Boo Baby Bath Products are hands down the BEST baby lotion and baby wash on the planet.  Not only do I love the cute packaging (see sucker for pretty packaging in my bio), but the fragrance is soft and sweet and derived from all natural ingredients, and there are no harsh solvents, sulfates and parabens included.  People.. that Johnson and Johnson garbage they sell is full of preservatives!!!!  Opt for this stuff.. I even use it on me!  You can’t get it at the big box baby stores so buy online here.

20.  Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  Disposable nursing pads are the only thing that kept me dry when my girls were leaking like crazy. And yours will leak like crazy too.

21.  Motherhood Maternity Nursing Tank Tops. Pretty much the only thing I wear anymore these days.  And why? Because it’s convenient as all get out to upclip, whip it out and feed baby in an instant. They are great for momma’s mental state of well being because the ruching on the sides makes them fit great and they accentuate your assets that start showing back up when the baby weight comes off.  DO NOT buy the nursing tanks at Target.  You will feel like a friggin frumpy monkey.. they have no shape.  You can get them here.

The one thing I neglected to add here was a rocking chair.  That’s because you should NOT DO what I did and buy a rocking chair.  Biggest mistake.  Instead BUY A GLIDER.  We bought an expensive rocking chair from Pottery Barn and I hate that thing.  I finally broke down and ordered a new base from an upholstery supplier that makes it a stationery rocker and now I can handle it.   It’s ghetto as can be, but at least now I don’t rock into the wall every time I sit in it.

And there you have it.  Besides baby clothes, I can’t think of anything else I truly needed during the first 6 weeks of sweet Asher’s life.  This was it.  As he grows and his needs grow I add to our baby gear arsenal as needed.

Something I missed?  Mamas…. what products do you recommend to new moms that I haven’t listed here?

The Great Divide: Breastfeeding Moms VS. Everyone Else

There is a silent war happening right under your nose, yet you’d never know it…. unless you were a mom.  It’s a war over breastfeeding and I find myself right in the thick of the controversy feeling incredibly annoyed by the issues surrounding my boobs and they’re intended purpose on this planet.  To feed my child.

During my pregnancy the thought never once crossed my mind that I would do anything else but breastfeed Asher.  I’ve never really been around a breastfeeding woman before, so I didn’t have much to go on, but I felt pretty confident that that was the route God intended for me or any other woman so I would give it my all and hope for the best.  Thankfully, I’ve been incredibly blessed with a baby with a great latch, an over supply of breast milk and no sore nipples thus far.  I know many woman who have not had the same luck.

So, whats the problem? You see, the single biggest issue I’ve encountered is when and where I can feed my son.. Outside of the comforts of my home.  What’s appropriate?  Really.. I ask myself this over and over… what is appropriate? Appropriate?  Since when is the question of appropriate even a thought when it comes to nourishment for children?  That is the question.

I’ve honestly never encountered anyone tell to me directly about whether a woman should nurse in public with or without a cover a cover, but there are videos, blogs, forums, and articles all across the web on this very subject and the consensus to me is that the entire community of breastfeeding moms feels they are looked down on by most and have to defend their right to FEED THEIR CHILD whenever and wherever they want.  And now, because of all this I find myself having a complex too.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no boob barin’ hippy…. in fact that image is the very mother I felt so disconnected with during my pregnancy.  I was down right having an identity crisis, because I could never see myself as a mom breastfeeding… because I barely SAW a mom breastfeeding before.  What is wrong with this country?

I’m sure there are some of you who are thinking that the use of discretion and modesty while nursing in public should be used, but let me be the first to tell you that breastfeeding mothers are not exhibitionists.  We’re just moms.  And when you pair “modesty” with the breast…. it makes the correlation more sexual than life sustaining.  Truly “breastfeeding” and “modesty” shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence.  Are you modest when you eat?   That question doesn’t even make sense!

I simply don’t understand a world where society is okay to be bombarded with lingerie catalogs, nudity in movies and reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public (for goodness sake people… I saw a girl in the airport reading this book!), but it’s not okay for a woman to breastfeed her child in front of you.  #makesnosense

Breastfeeding is an extension of a woman’s pregnancy.  Just as that baby grew safely in its mother’s womb, breastfeeding continues to nourish and grow that baby outside of the womb.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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One of my favorite images floating around the web is that of Victoria Secret model, Gisele Bundchen breastfeeding her child while being prepped for work… or what looks like work since she is a super model after all.   This image brings together the very fact that so many people neglect to get:  Breasts are for sustenance and sex.  And that’s okay.  Here a woman who has become synonymous with the ultimate sex symbol uses those same knockers that sell millions of bras and panties each year… to feed her child.  Shock! Gasp!

So how does one remain cool when they encounter a boob buffet?  The trick is to alter your personal awareness and reaction of breasts for each specific encounter.  When the Victoria Secret catalog comes in the mail, breast feeding is likely the last thing on your mind.  So on the flip side, when you see a mother breastfeeding in public… banish that thought of Victoria’s Secret (or relative sexual image) and admire the very beautiful, completely natural sight.  Train yourself to differentiate between the two.  We’re a pretty sophisticated society… I’m certain it can be done.

I have to know, what is your opinion on breastfeeding in public?  Let’s get this discussion going and put this issue in the past for once and for all.

What is This Love?

I set out to write this blog recapping my first month of motherhood six weeks ago and yet as I cross over into the seventh week of writer’s block, I’ve yet to be anywhere near finishing this post.  I simply cannot find the words to adequately express the transformation I’ve experienced since Asher’s birth.  And, while I’m not quite sure I’ve found them, I do know that I’ve found a new me.. and I like her so much more.

Here are just a few of my recent “a ha” moments….

Love struck.
You see, I am a self-proclaimed lover of love.  Call me a romantic, sentimental type, but when it comes to all things close to my heart… all I need is love.  So, you’d think that since this baby grew inside of my belly for 10 long months… closer to my heart than anything before in my life, LOVE would have been the one thing I would have been prepared for the most.  Wrong.  This love is not like any other love I’ve known.  It’s an earth shattering, spidey-sense connection and complete and utter rapture of my heart not one pregnancy book writes about.  Why is that?!  I told my sister Emily that if I knew being a mom felt so amazing, I wouldn’t have put building my business over building my family for so long.

I have become an overnight expert.  Somehow.
A few weeks before my due date I asked my friend Serena who had just had a baby… “how did you know what to do? Did you read a book?” This just makes me laugh out loud!  I was so worried that I wouldn’t know what to do once I had Asher, but as soon as that boy popped into this world, God turned on the mom switch in my motherboard and I haven’t felt in the dark once.  Weird how that happens.  It’s funny.  Before baby, I used to encounter countless people who would over share parenting advice and child rearing woes to the point that it became annoying. ANNOYING.  I am one of those people now.  It first started with the second-by-second playback of my labor to my two sisters prepping them for their future children (which I’m certain they are now scared for life because of) and continues with each pregnant lady I see in Target.  All I want to do is share with every pregnant girl I see what products worked the best, what I couldn’t live without, what was a waste of money and so on.  Stop. It.  Heather.

Sleepless, Selfless Me.
I have NEVER been a morning person. Never.  So, a few weeks before I had Asher I slept in on a Saturday morning until 11:30a.m.  I remember thinking to myself in disparity “Well, I won’t be able to do this any longer soon, so I’ll enjoy these last few fleeting moments of teenage-like sleep sessions.”  I was actually sad that I wouldn’t have these ridiculously lazy days to waste away. My sleep deprived self is looking back on that conversation with my self in disbelief.  What a selfish, shallow thought. I have more energy now taking care of two human beings (me and Asher) than I ever had just caring for myself.

There is a new boss in town
One of the greatest discoveries being Asher’s mom has shown me is that a life lived for others is a life lived.  Before baby I was a workaholic.  And, while I don’t consider that a bad trait, it somehow became my only trait.  My parents always raised me to keep my eye on completing college and having a successful career so I never stopped to see myself as a mom.  And really, up until the day I found out I was pregnant I still hadn’t put myself in mom shoes.  Relating to other moms has always been a weird thing for me because I couldn’t understand all the women I knew who put their careers aside to raise their kids.  I get it now.  To see my son learn new things everyday and to be the ultimate source of survival for him is the most gratifying feeling in the world….nothing compares.  While I won’t be ditching the board room for the play room anytime soon, I have found a whole new source of joy and responsibility no business could have ever given me.  I know my schedule will never be the same and I’m okay with that.  When I told my parents I was pregnant my mom said “Let the sacrifices begin” and honestly, I’ve never been happier to put my wants and needs aside for someone else before.

This kid is one cool cat isn’t he?  😉 Asher Car seat

 

 

Asher’s Classic Baby Boy Nursery

Now that Baby Vreeland has been officially introduced as Asher Jordan Vreeland, I’m excited to share with you his classic baby boy nursery I’ve put together while anticipating his arrival.

Andrew and I’s personal design style is very neutral and simple so I set out to create a classic boy nursery free of brightly colored characters, patterns and trinkets and focused more on classic boy things and tried to incorporate items with meaning behind them.

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The crib and dresser are from Ikea.  While we frequent Restoration Hardware for our furniture though the house, I was determined not to go bonkers buying expensive nursery furniture.  The dresser used to be in our master bedroom but since we recently moved and are using another piece, I figured it’d be great to double as a changing table too so I just purchased the crib to match.  That crib was less than $300 with the mattress and all!  I did, however spring for a soft sheet set from Restoration Hardware with a simple flax strip and baby blue sheets.  Adore them.

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Those “boy” things I incorporated in the decor all have meaning behind them too.  Andrew is a lover of animals and sailing, great at golf, tennis, surfing and works in aviation so I used him as my inspiration.  Above I found this mobile on Etsy of handmade fabric birds and the colors matched this ABCs print that includes all those “boy” things too.  Perfect color match.

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The eagle is the mascot of Andrew’s alma mater Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.  This print was given to Andrew a few years ago from his mom for his birthday.  And those shoes were Andrew’s when he was a baby.

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The rocker I did splurge on.  I got this from Pottery Barn, but chose to save $500 by buying a poof from Restoration Hardware to rest my feet on instead of getting the matching ottoman.  Win win.  The great thing about this piece is that once Asher grows up we can easily move this piece into the living room and it will match our regular furniture.  You can switch out the legs too to make it a regular chair.

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I have an unhealthy addiction to stuffed animals so I could not pass up this giant teddy bear for my reading corner.  😉

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The cluster of wooden items hung above the dresser is kind of a funny story.  Andrew had accumulated these over time in hopes of using them in some decor in our house but I could never find the right spot for them.  They were piled together in our move and I noticed how the colors worked so well together and all the “boy” things fit perfectly with my theme for a sophisticated baby boy nursery so we screwed them into the wall and bam!  they look great!

But…

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…WHO really brings a newborn baby home from the hospital and lets him sleep alone in a nursery?  Not this girl.  For Asher’s first stages of life, we’ve found this little corner in our master bedroom to be the best mini-nursery for him complete with co-sleeper that snugs up to my side of the bed for easy access during the night and I’ve stuff the pockets with every easy-to-dress-him-in outfit for diaper blowouts, blankets, towels for diaper changing and of course… diaper changing supplies and bin.  Simple dimple.