The Transition

I officially finished my second week back to work after maternity leave, and we are getting the hang of things. I say we, but really I mean me. Parker loves daycare and is great with all sorts of new people. It’s Mom who has taken some time to getting used to everything.

Obviously, the hardest part about returning to work is going from being with my little peanut all day every day to spending 8 hours a day away from her. Luckily, we found daycare that I feel very comfortable leaving her at and feel she is truly getting one-on-one attention. Originally, I swayed toward an in-home daycare, but we ended up enrolling her in a daycare facility, and I could not be more pleased. Finding daycare was a nightmare, but that’s whole other post…

What I’ve learned, however, is the separation anxiety from being away from her is just the beginning of the at-home to work transition. It’s definitely not easy, but there have been a few products that have made it a little bit smoother.

1. Clothing: The healing process after childbirth is extensive. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, there are tons of changes happening with your body. Upon returning to work, I was still dealing with these changes. Not only was I trying to dress a body that I still wasn’t completely confident in, but my incision from my C-section was still very sensitive. Wearing regular pants was hard because the buttons and zippers would rub and make it uncomfortable. But I stumbled upon a pair of awesome pants at Old Navy that were professional looking for the office and comfortable enough to wear with a healing belly. Thank goodness elastic waist bands are in! The style is called The Stevie, which is stretch knit. I purchased a pair of burgundy pants and a pair of black and white polka dot pants, and I love them both

2. The Little Things: As if breastfeeding wasn’t enough of a challenge, keeping up with your milk supply at work is a whole other issue. Now if you’re fortunate enough to work at an office that has those fancy lactation rooms, this point might not apply to you. But coming from someone who pumps in a storage closet for a little privacy, I found just a little something that made me feel more comfortable about pumping at work. They are called Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes and make cleaning up after pumping a breeze. Plus, they make me feel refreshed before returning to my desk.

 

3. A Little Cuteness: I invested in a few extra cute and girly office supplies to get me excited to go to the office each day. I hung a new calendar that had monthly inspirations, and I started with a fresh legal pad that was decorated with flowers along the top. And each morning (that I don’t go to Starbucks), I bring my coffee in a color block Kate Spade mug.

The second challenge is our new morning routine. Let me preface this by saying I have never been a morning person in my entire life, and now I am learning to be one. Actually, I am learning to live on 5-6 hours of sleep a night instead of 9. I should be incredibly grateful that I am, yes, getting a full 5-6 hours of sleep a night with a newborn.

I used to be able to get up, shower, get ready and be out the door to work in 45 minutes. I had my routine down, and it was easy peasy every morning. Now, I block out about two hours to get out of the house. And this morning, I was still 15 minutes late. Why? Because everything is different with a tiny human. As much as you plan and prep, there’s always a hang up like the hiccups she got this morning right before I was about to put her in her car seat or the blowout she had the other morning.

And the third challenge, which I mentally addressed prior to her arrival but emotionally feel now that she is here, is weighing the pros and cons between working at staying at home. I truly don’t think I could be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. First of all, I give them a lot of credit. As wonderful as it is to spend all that time with your children, it’s a lot of work. There’s juggling the different schedules of multiple children and making sure you’re planning and executing quality, interactive activities. Not to mention unless there’s a Target run involved, she speaks to nobody over the age of her oldest child until her husband returns home from work. That being said, I also crave a schedule, getting up in the morning and going somewhere, and I have always been motivated to have my own career. But when you start looking at how much you’re paying for daycare and how many hours you are spending away from your little one, it just doesn’t seem entirely worth it. I work over a third of the month just to pay for daycare. that means I spend roughly 7 days of the month working just to be able to afford to be away from her during the work day. Seems a little messed up when I’m missing out on valuable time when she’s growing, developing and hitting milestones. Thus, I’ve decided in a perfect world, I would be a part-time working mom.

For now, it’s back to work full-time for me! As much as I miss Parker during the day, I am getting back to something I love. I love working events, I love planning and prepping, I love being creative, I love weddings and I love love. And that makes doing something so hard just that much easier.

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Little Princess Lair

Photo compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.

I had so much fun creating Parker’s nursery! A friend came by the other day and made the joke that I took my party decorating skills and used them in my home. It’s so true! If you have an eye for creating pretty and cohesive designs, it easily transitions from creative space to creative space.

The first thing you notice in her room are these 3D flowers. They were the foundation to her nursery design. Often times, these types of creations are used as a photo booth backdrop or behind a head table. But I also noticed on Pinterest that people were using them in their house as well. Through Pinterest, I found ForeverPetalsbyVee and could not have been more pleased with the product or customer service of this seller. I sent her a digital swatch of the color scheme I was going for and within two weeks, the flowers were sitting on my doorstep shipped from San Antonio.

From there, I just had fun with all the girly elements and chose a few different prints to mix and match for depth. I incorporated stripes, some dots and a touch of scallop. Of course I had to make sure there was some personalization too. We hung a wooden monogram on the wall, had an accent blanket monogrammed to hang on her crib and ordered a personalized crib sheet. The sheet was is from Carousel Designs. They have all sorts of cute bedding that is totally worth checking out. And with all her monograms, I feel like I am single handedly keeping The Southern Rose in business.

I know I am committing a crime because all the personalized items won’t be able to be reused with our next child, but we did try to be strategic in the selection of the wall color and furniture. We decided to go with grey walls and white furniture because it could easily transition from female to male if we happened to have boy next.

I might have gone a tad over the top, but when you spend time in the middle of the night in the rocker and change countless diapers at the changing table, the extra fluff seems completely necessary.

Oh, and I know I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but the lamp was one of my greatest purchases for her room. Originally, I bought it because it was cute and matched the color scheme, but what I didn’t realize is that it’s a touch lamp. Since the outlet it’s plugged into isn’t connected to light switch, the touch lamp has been a blessing when you have full hands.

 

Product Info:

-Curtains: Twill Light Blocking Curtain in Pink, Target

-Crib: Little Seeds Rowan Valley Linden Standard Crib in White, Wayfair

-Dresser: Little Seeds Rowan Valley Laren 6 Drawer Double Dresser in White, Wayfair

-Rocker: Delta Children Middleton Nursery Glider Swivel Rocker Chair in Cream, Target

-Wall Art: 3D Flowers, ForeverPetalsbyVee

-Wall Art: Wooden Monogram Painted White, The Southern Rose

-Lamp (Not Pictured): Turned Table Lamp Touch Control in Mint, Target

-Bedding: Crib Blanket, The Southern Rose

-Bedding: Customized Crib Sheet in Blush, Carousel Designs

-Paint: Tin Lizzie, Sherwin Williams

Surprising New Mama Products

Alright, alright. I know my world is revolving around babies lately, but since I have this platform and have been trying out tons of new products, why not share right? I hope all my soon-to-be mamas out there appreciate this.

I have compiled a list of products and supplies that I wouldn’t have thought of right away or even knew existed that have been integral in the first few weeks of motherhood:

1. Kimono Onesies
I did have to laugh when I figured out what the name of these onesies were, but these have been a lifesaver when dressing our little one these first few weeks. First of all, it makes it super easy to check on the umbilicle cord stump (sorry, there’s really not a better word than that to describe that…) before it has fallen off. Plus, having a newborn in November in Missouri has been a bit crazy because the weather changes from 60 degrees down to 30 degrees overnight or throughout the course of the day. These onesies are super easy for layering and plus, they have the mittens for those crazy sharp newborn nails.

2. “Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year”
I had a baby shower that requested all guests bring a book instead of a card and, of course, my dermatologist friend gifted a medical book. At first, I found it fitting that she brought it, but I’ve also discovered it was one of my favorites I received. As much as I appreciated “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and “Goodnight Moon,” I have almost read this guide from cover to cover. I would actually recommend reading the majority of the book prior to your baby’s arrival, but there’s also a great month-by-month section that reviews changes in your little one each month. I’ve soaked up an abundance of knowledge from it as well as learned a few things I was doing incorrectly as a new mama. Thanks for the advice, Emily!

3.  Booby Boons Lactation Cookies
Not going to lie, but I would never have eaten a lactation cookie had they not arrived on my doorstep in my bump box. I thought I would give them a whirl. First of all, they are the perfect sweet treat when you’re trying to slim down. The serving size is three cookies, and they’re only 170 calories. They are made with no artificial preservatives or flavors and use yeast, oats and flax. The flavor I tried was cocoa quinoa, and I would highly recommend it! As far as enhancing milk production, I can’t confirm or deny if they’ve actually helped, but this mama’s milk is flowing, so there’s a possibility they might have!

4. The Touch Lamp
This one I actually purchased on accident…well, kind of. I purchased it because we needed a lamp for the nursery. The overhead light on the fan was too bright for middle of the night feedings. So, I went to Target in search of a cute and inexpensive lamp option. I chose this one because it was simple and matched the nursery decor. I brought it home, plugged it in and realized it was a touch lamp meaning you could touch the lamp anywhere on the base, and it would turn on. Before baby, I thought it was a nice feature. Now, I’m in love with it. If your hands are full with the little one, a pacifier, a burp cloth, etc., it makes turning on the light super convenient, especially because our light switch doesn’t connect to the outlet that we plugged it into. It was a surprisingly awesome product!

Bey Bey Shower

Hello, everyone! I have been a bit MIA the past few weeks on the blog because we welcomed our little one into the world on Thursday, November 16th! It has been the biggest blessing as well as most challenging aspect of our lives, but we have enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully you can understand why there hasn’t been a post in a while.

But on Sunday, I attended a baby shower that is so worth blogging about! My friend Nancy is due in February and as a Queen B lover, her sisters threw her a Beyonce themed baby shower. Yes, you read that right. Nancy was the Queen B for the day, and this “Bey Bey Shower” was nothing short of insanely creative. Take a look!

First of all, here is the invitation I received in the mail. Needless to say, I was dying when
I opened it up because I loved the theme so much. Not only have I never seen it before, but Nancy loves Beyonce, so it was the perfect fit. Hats off to the lovely hostesses for the creativity!

Upon arriving, we were greeted with customized glasses to drink out of at the shower all labeled with different song lyrics. I choose a line from “Run the World.”

Most of the decor was centered around B’s “Lemonade” album including vases filled with lemons that adorned the table and lemon-infused water.

Nancy also rocked a crown made out of lemons, and only she could look adorable wearing it. Plus, she conveniently matched the color scheme without even knowing.

We played a game where guests had to guess the song based on a short snippet that included the word “baby.” You would be surprised how much Beyonce uses it in her lyrics! From there, we celebrated and showered the mama-to-be and her little one with gifts, laughs and well wishes!

The Bump Must Haves

I’m going to preface this post and say it has nothing to do with event planning. But since I have such a great platform to share info on, I thought I would share some of my must-haves during pregnancy as I near the end of my nine months of prenatal bliss.

I know lots and lots of pregnant women right now and like myself, a lot of them are going through this for the first time. Between my own trial and error as well as having a subscription to the Bump Box (thanks, Mom!), I have been able to try a variety of products for soon-to-be moms. Here are a few of my personal favorites that are completely worth the investment!

1. Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
I’m not going to lie to you. At first, I thought this was an overpriced body pillow. I mean, really? A pillow “specifically made for pregnant women” that is priced $60-$80 depending on the brand you select? Seemed like a little bit of overkill. I debated and debated and ended up deciding not to purchase one. But after receiving one as a gift, my world from 11:00 PM until 7:00 AM completely changed. I was about 20 weeks pregnant when I first started using my Snoogle, and it was comfortable at the time but the more I grew, so did my appreciation for the shape and design of this product. It has made a huge difference in my ability to sleep at night, and with a washable cover, it has made it easy to keep clean and even transport with me on a few trips (yes, I am that girl). I wouldn’t say it’s a necessary purchase right away, but definitely as you grow, your love of this product will too!

2. Under Belly French Terry Jogger Pant from Motherhood Maternity
This is one I am kicking myself about! I wish I would have purchased these pants months ago….and in every color they offered. I am mainly a fan of over-the-belly pants while pregnant because I am carrying so low that everything is more comfortable that way. And even though these pants are not designed that way, I could live in them. They are made of the softest material and can transition into postpartum life as well.

3. Glow 9 Organics Belly Butter
I tend to be very weird about body butters. I don’t like the consistency of them because they’re so greasy and thick. But when you’re stomach is growing as quickly as it does during pregnancy, I wanted to ensure I was doing what I could to eliminate the possibility of stretch marks. This product wasn’t quite as thick as other body butters I tried, and although I’m not necessarily an all-natural or organic girl, I appreciate that all the ingredients were good for baby and good for my skin.

4. Bella B’s Tummy to Toes Cooling Leg and Foot Cream
My job requires me to be on my feet for long periods of time, and even though your body adapts to its changing shape, this product was a must for long wedding days! The product is more of a gel than it is a lotion, but it offers the cooling effect of Icy Hot while still being completely safe for baby. I’m sure my husband hated the site of the bottle because when I brought it out, it was almost always guaranteeing I would be requesting a foot and leg rub. But ladies, let me tell you. This product works wonders for tired and achy legs and feet!

So there you have it! If you are an expecting mama, these would be my recommendations for making it through the nine months making sure baby is nice and safe and still pampering yourself a little. Happy shopping!

 

Little Pumpkin Is On Her Way

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to sneak in another blog post this week. Our final baby shower was very much seasonally themed, and I absolutely love it! I am such a fall girl — crisp weather, boots, pumpkin spice flavored things, coffee…I know very basic.

So when I received the baby shower invitation that said “A Little Pumpkin is on Her Way,” I couldn’t help but be even more excited than usual! This shower was hosted by my sister-in-law and mother-in-law, who are both extremely talented when it comes to hosting. Here are a few insights on some of their fun pumpkin and baby-themed ideas:

These flower arrangements are some of my absolute favorites! I’ve coordinated a few October events at work that used pumpkins as the vases, so I loved the cute spin on these ones that used white and gold-painted pumpkins with soft pink and white flowers because they incorporated both the fall and baby themes.

It had been awfully warm prior to the shower, but the weather cooperated perfectly and dropped to the high 50s for the shower day. The timing was convenient since a lot of the menu for lunch consisted of different soups and sandwiches. There was also delicious “she’s ready to pop” kettle corn and small, bite-sized desserts.

And because all baby showers have to have a beautiful diaper cake, my mother-in-law put her creative touch on one and made it all fall themed as well. She used diapers to construct the base of the cake and then adorned it with burlap, small pumpkins, orange ribbons and bows.

I know I’ve said this with EVERY one of my baby blogs, but I can’t tell you how blessed we feel to have such amazing people in our lives as we start this new season with our newest addition!  Let the countdown begin…

Don’t Put Grandma Solely in Charge of the Kiddos

This is something I’ve witnessed multiple times just over the past six weeks or so as I’ve been coordinating weddings at work. The Mother of the Bride only gets to partially enjoy the wedding day because she spends much of her time distracted by grandkids.

Now don’t misunderstand me. Every other day, it’s perfectly acceptable for Grandma time, but I feel terrible when Mothers of the Bride or Mothers of the Groom don’t get to fully enjoy their role because they are also on babysitting duty. Usually this issue stems from one or both parents of her grandkids taking part of the bridal party. Therefore, when Mom and Dad are up at the head table, who is in charge of their little ones? Here are a few suggestions I have.

  1. If the in-laws are invited to the wedding, put them in charge of the grandkids. This worked out great at our wedding because our nephews were able to be part of our wedding as ring bearers and tear up the dance floor at the reception, but my mother-in-law was able to enjoy the day as Mother of the Groom. Instead, my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law was on Grandma duty.
  2. Hire a baby-sitter to watch after the kids. This might sound strange, but if the in-laws aren’t invited to the wedding and there isn’t quite the perfect person to watch after the kids, hire a baby-sitter to come to the reception to watch after them and be in charge of taking them home. This can also be a great option for family members who have small children but also want to stay a little later at the reception. The sitter can be in charge of a handful of kids.
  3. Don’t bring the kids to the reception. I know this option isn’t quite as easy to do, but depending on the kids’ age, it might just be easier to take them home between ceremony and reception to be with a sitter, so Mom and Dad can enjoy the evening and Grandma isn’t on duty. This might be a necessity if the reception isn’t kid friendly.

Far too much, I’ve seen the Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom not being able to sit and enjoy dinner because she’s running after little ones down the hall. Or, she almost misses the first dance because she’s in the lobby consoling a screaming baby.

It’s not fair to these moms because they’ve spent a lot of time and energy planning the big day with their son or daughter. Not to mention, they are probably helping to pay for the event too. In addition to the bride and groom, she is a hostess as well, and she should have the opportunity to soak up the special moments of the day, mingle with guests and not have to leave early to take kiddos back home.