this is four (and almost a half)

For the past four years, Graydon has been my everything, my buddy, my baby boy. His brother will be here any day now, but he will always be the one who made me a mom. He is so smart, sweet, and funny. He is so observant and analytical, and I love getting to see the world through his eyes. Our days as a family of three are slowly ticking away, but here are a few of the things I want to remember about my brilliant 4-and-almost-a-half-year-old boy:

Graydon James
Age: 4 1/2 (almost)
Grade: Preschool
Favorite Book: Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

*He wakes me up at 7 every morning, but as soon as we're done with breakfast, he loves getting back in bed and snuggling with his dad while I get dressed and ready for the day.

*His favorite food is anything you eat for breakfast — bagels, eggs, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, scones, toast — and his favorite dinner is "breakfast dinner." He loves breakfast so much that we had a brunch PJ party for his 4th birthday. He has also finally discovered that mac 'n' cheese is amazing.

*He loves spending time at the farm — it is his favorite place in the entire world. He also loves swim class, and was just chosen as the star student of the month. (It's very prestigious, we even got a yard sign that's like something out of Friday Night Lights.)

*He spent New Year's Eve at the farm with my mom and watched all three of the original Star Wars movies. He is now completely obsessed with "light savers," Stormtroopers, and the Millennium Falcon.

*He is already the sweetest, best big brother ever. He loves to hug and kiss my tummy and talk to his baby brother, sing him songs, and tell me what the baby is saying to him. He has big plans for how he is going to help change diapers and read to the baby, and he can't wait for him to get here! He also thinks we should name the baby "Stairs." 😂

*He can be so stubborn and frustrating, but just when he senses I'm at the end of my rope, he'll stop and say, "Mom, I love you so much." Melts my heart every time.

I love you, too, my sweet boy, to the moon and beyond.


countdown to baby: nursery tour!

Only 10 days until my due date! I am so excited to meet this baby, and I can't wait to bring him home! His room is by far my favorite in the entire house — every time I open the door, it makes me smile. The nursery is so cozy and serene, and I love it so much!

The look and feel of the room was inspired by this photo from Pinterest:

I instantly fell in love with the color palette and the hand drawn quality of the mural. A little digging took me to the artist's Etsy page, but since I was going to have to work around a window, I decided it would be best to customize the layout and get the look with paint. I chose a light minty green, Behr Juniper Breeze, for the base color and used four gradually darker shades from the same color family — Misty Moss, Australian Jade, Pine Brook and Secluded Woods — for the mountains. Here's a look at the finished space:

I love the way this room came together! It's so dreamy and calming, and we managed to pull this off with a small budget. The changing table is a Craiglist find that we used in Graydon's nursery, and I found the crib through a local mom-to-mom group on Facebook. The biggest investment was the new glider, but I kept an eye on it and waited to buy when it was on sale. (For product sources and links, scroll to the end of this post!) I kept the rest of the room light and bright, adding in touches of gold, warm wood, cozy textures, and black and white accents. After all, I couldn't do a mountain nursery without a little buffalo check, amirite?

One of my favorite parts of the room is the reading nook. I wanted Graydon to have a special place of his own in the new baby's room, somewhere to hang out, play, and look at books during diaper changes and nursing sessions. The canopy makes this little corner feel so special, and Graydon loves his "cozy area."

I am so happy about the book ledges! I absolutely love books — there is no such thing as too many books — but most of them live downstairs on our family room bookshelves or in Graydon's room in his book bin. I love how the ledges show off the books, though, making them as much artwork as reading material.

I'm still obsessed with my white chair, even though with two cats, two dogs, and two kids it's going to be impossible to keep it clean. At least I'll always have these photos to remind me it used to be white?

Overall I am so beyond happy with this room, and I can't wait to bring our new baby home so we can spend all the sweet, cuddly, newborn days and nights in it together!

Crib // Chair // Ottoman // Rug // Pottery Barn Kids Changing Table (from Craigslist, similar here) // Pendant Light // Mobile // Black & White Pillow // Faux Sheepskin Pillow // Crib Sheet // Fox // Hedgehog // Floor Lamp // Canopy // Bean Bag // Rope Basket // Deer Bust // Book Ledges // Macrame Wall Art // Zodiac Hook // Stools // Plaid Blanket // Hearth and Hand by Magnolia Embroidered Pillow (sold out, similar here and here) // Wolf


countdown to baby: gear guide

When I was pregnant with my first son in 2013, I was so overwhelmed by the registry process. I remember walking into a Buy Buy Baby store for the first time and almost feeling paralyzed. Strollers, car seats, bouncers, burp cloths — there were just so many options. Luckily, with this new baby on the way, I already have a collection of tried-and-tested gear that I know works for my family and our lifestyle, and I wanted to share a few of my must-have baby items for those early newborn baby days.

1. Car Seat
The most important item to have before going into labor is a car seat — you can't leave the hospital with baby without one. There is no one "best" car seat, though. The right seat really depends on the kind of car you drive, how often you'll be using it in taxis/ubers/rental cars, what kind of stroller you plan to use, and your budget. To help sort through the many, many options, I highly recommend this guide. We have a Chicco KeyFit 30 — it fits well in our smaller cars, it's compatible with a lot of strollers, and it's not crazy expensive.

2. Diapers, Wipes, and Diaper Cream
Eat, sleep, poop — that's basically what a newborn's day consists of. Let's talk about the poop side of the equation first. You will need diapers, either disposable or reusable cloth. If you go the cloth diaper route, bravo! I never had it in me to do that, though, and Graydon wore Pampers until he was potty trained. This time around, I want to be a bit more environmentally friendly, so I'm switching to Babyganics diapers. I am a big fan of Babyganics products (including their diaper cream), and the diapers are soft, have a wetness indicator (a necessity as far as I'm concerned), and are chlorine, latex, petroleum, and fragrance free. For cleaning up a messy baby, Costco's Kirkland brand wipes are the best I have used.

3. Footed Rompers
Tiny baby clothes are so irresistible, amirite? It is so tempting to buy all the mini sweaters, jeans, tutus, and dresses, but all you really need for the first several months are footed one-piece jumpsuits/rompers. Seriously, the fewer pieces you have to put on a newborn, the better. As a stylist, I resisted this at first, but trust me — keep it simple and pick up a bunch of these babies. I love the global-inspired prints at Tea Collection, but there are also great options at Target, Old Navy, Carters, BabyGap, and basically anywhere else you can buy baby clothes.

4. Stroller
Just like the carseat, the kind of stroller you need depends on several factors, including lifestyle, how many kids you plan to have (and how close together you plan to have them), and budget. Strollers can be very expensive, with some higher end models starting at more than $1,000, but there are plenty of budget-friendly options that offer lots of features. We have a now-discontinued Baby Jogger City Versa and love it, but if I was buying a stroller now I would get the City Select Lux. It converts from a single to a double stroller, so it's ideal for a growing family. However, I am seriously considering getting a jogging stroller this time around — I have my eye on the Baby Jogger Summit X3 or Bumbleride Speed.

5. Swing/Bouncer
Not all babies like swings/bouncers — my first kid couldn't stand any of the ones we bought/borrowed for him — but I have heard amazing things about the 4Moms mamaRoo and I'm excited to try it with this new babe. It's a high-tech infant seat, used in more than 350 maternity wards, NICUs, and pediatric units across the U.S. to soothe newborns, so it must be good. The price is a little steep, but I got mine used through a local mom-to-mom group at a fraction of the retail price.

6. Bottles
Remember that eat, sleep, poop equation from earlier? When it comes to the eating part, I honestly believe that FED IS BEST. There is so much pressure on moms to breastfeed, which is awesome if it works out! I was super lucky that breastfeeding went well for me* the first time around, but I wanted to go back to work, so that meant giving bottles. It took some serious trial and error to find one that my kid would actually take, so when we found the Comotomo baby bottle it felt like a miracle. This bottle is seriously great, though — the shape of the nipple mimics an actual breast, it doesn't have a million weird parts so it's easy to clean, and the design is on point. 
*Even though breastfeeding went well, pumping was always a challenge for me, so I had to supplement with formula. I beat myself up about it, needlessly — my kid was fine. Just remember, fed is best!

7. Bassinet/Crib/Bedding
Now for the final piece of the equation - sleep! Your baby will need somewhere to sleep, whether it's a crib in the nursery or a bassinet in your bedroom. I love the styling of the Babyletto Lolly crib, and unlike pricier cribs, it actually comes with everything needed to convert it to a toddler bed. (These sheets would be so darling with this crib — I adore a well-designed monochromatic nursery!) If you want to go the bassinet route, I love the clean, modern lines and breathable mesh sides of the Baby Bjorn cradle, but you also can't go wrong with a Pack 'n' Play or Rock 'n' Play.

8. Swaddle Blankets
There is nothing sweeter than a swaddled newborn — especially if that swaddle helps said newborn sleep! Muslin swaddle blankets also make fantastic car seat covers, nursing covers, play blankets, scarves, blanket forts, and more, so you really can't have too many of these babies. I adore the gorgeous prints from Little Unicorn and Clementine Kids, and you can find so many great swaddles at the Spearmint Love shop.

9. Baby Carrier/Wrap
Last but not least, having some sort of wrap/baby carrier is key. Even if you don't plan on getting dressed or leaving the house, having your hands free to do things like eat, let the dog out, go pee, wrangle your toddler, etc. without having to put your baby down is so helpful. I prefer a wrap for wearing a tiny newborn and a soft structured carrier for an older baby. Solly Baby makes gorgeous wraps, and it's a super-cool, woman-owned company, which is always a bonus! I also had an Ergobaby original carrier the first time around, but I recently sold it (thanks, local mom-to-mom group!) and upgraded to the new Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier. It has four carry positions and can be used with babies as little as 7 lbs. without an additional infant insert. I can't wait to try it with this new baby!


countdown to baby: hospital go-bag packing list

I am 37 weeks pregnant today, officially full-term! Baby could arrive any day now! Graydon was born exactly one week before his due date, and I was completely unprepared. This time, rather than throwing together a hospital go-bag in between contractions, I started prepping all the essentials ahead of time. Everything is basically packed and ready to go, minus a few last minute things that I use day-to-day. Here's a peek inside my bag, with a full packing list below!

Hospital Bag Packing List

For Mom:
1. Flip-flops/Slippers
2. Cozy Socks
3. Nursing Bra/Nursing Pads
4. Nursing Pajamas/Robe
5. Underwear*
6. Maxi Pads
7. Going Home Outfit**
8. Toothbrush/Toothpaste
9. Shampoo/Conditioner/Dry Shampoo
10. Bobby Pins/Hair Ties/Headband
11. Deoderant
12. Contact Case/Solution
13. Glasses
14. Lip Balm
15. Hand Lotion
16. Nipple Cream
17. Face Wash/Moisturizer
18. Makeup
19. Any other toiletries you need to feel human
20. Saltines/Rice Cakes***
21. Wallet/I.D./Insurance Card

*You will be wearing pads for at least a month after baby is born, so invest in some cheap, comfy undies, like these.
**Your body will still look about 6 months pregnant when you leave the hospital, so pack maternity clothes.
***Immediately after Graydon was born, I couldn't keep anything down except super mild, easily digested snacks. I will be forever grateful to my mother-in-law for showing up at the hospital with Saltines.

For Baby:
1. Diapers/Wipes
2. Swaddle Blankets
3. Hat
4. Going Home Outfit
5. Sibling Gift (a little something to give your older kid/s, from the new baby)

For Your Partner:
1. Toiletries (toothbrush, deoderant, glasses, etc.)
2. Extra Clothes
3. Slippers/Flip Flops
4. Pillow/Blanket
5. Wallet/I.D./Insurance Card
6. List of people to call when baby arrives

1. Cell Phones (loaded with music, apps, etc.)
2. Camera
3. Chargers for all devices
4. Magazines/Other light reading
5. Gift/Thank You for nurses

For the Car:
1. Infant Car Seat
2. Towel/Trash Bags (to sit on in case water breaks en route to the hospital)


friday favorites

We are officially in the final countdown to baby — due date February 28!!! I had what is (probably) my last shoot before maternity leave earlier this week, the nursery is almost ready, the baby clothes are washed and put away, and it feels like this little guy could be here any day now! Before life turns into nothing but babybabybabybaby, I wanted to take a quick minute to share a few of my favorite things right now. 

I know I'm late to the party with Living Proof, but I picked up this travel set for myself when I was Christmas shopping, and OMG this stuff is amazing. The shampoo and conditioner smell so good, and I feel like they actually clean my hair (unlike some other high-end hair care products). And the dry shampoo is a miracle, especially on mornings when I need to get Graydon out the door for preschool and I don't have time for a shower and blow dry. (Just make sure to do the dry shampoo BEFORE you get dressed so you don't look like you dusted yourself with baby powder.)

I am so excited for season two of The Handmaid's Tale (premiering April 25 on Hulu)! The first season of the show was SO GOOD, and in anticipation of the new season, I'm rereading the book for the I-don't-even-know-how-many-th time. Margaret Atwood is a genius, I can't recommend her work enough. Read it if you haven't already!!!

This candle...just one sniff is all it takes to fall in love. It smells like the lushest garden, with notes of honeysuckle, plum, rose petals, jasmine, gardenia, lily of the valley, carnation and green leaves. Each Simply Curated candle is hand poured in Grand Rapids, Mich., 100 percent phthalate-free, and the gorgeous glass vessels make great barware once the candle is done.

All of the above are awesome, but honestly, at 36 weeks pregnant, my absolute favorite thing in the world right now is getting cozy AF and going to bed. This nightgown from Target is so, so comfortable - I went up one size to accommodate my expanded belly, and it gives my more generous pregnant bust the support it needs. It's stretchy enough to pull to the side for nursing, but there is a maternity version with drop-down cups that I will probably add to my rotation once baby is here.

And speaking of being comfortable — at 36 weeks pregnant I'm definitely in the as-many-pillows-as-possible phase. I currently have five full-size pillows on my side of the bed. My main pillow, the one I lay my head on, is from Casper, and it is the Most. Comfortable. Ever. I'm obsessed with it. I normally wouldn't spend that much on a pillow, but hey, I'm pregnant, I deserve it, right?

Cheers to the weekend!