Swing Forward

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Last year around this time I saw this quote on Chelsea's blog and it has stayed with me as one of my most favorite quotes about August of all time.

Ready for an unpopular opinion? I am never sad to see Summer go. And I know this makes some of you very frustrated.

Just this weekend I saw an Instagram post where someone said she might lose it if she saw one more post about Fall while it's still August.

While I haven't started celebrating all things Fall just yet, I know I'm just a few short weeks away from fully embracing it. This morning I bought my first Fall themed t-shirt and I just may wear it all through the month of September and definitely through October. I got this one from Lost Bros Trading Co. because who hasn't wanted to be a Sanderson sister at some point or another?

I love everything about Fall. The occasional rainy day (because really, that's all that we get here in California in the Fall), football, crockpot recipes, flannel, and pumpkin everything. I am so ready to swing forward into cooler weather, and boots and beanies.

This year is even more special than the rest because I get to see everything that I love about Fall through the eyes of my baby. There isn't anything that I can think that sounds more fun than making a big deal out of all of my favorite Fall things because it will be our first time experiencing them together.

Last August around this time I was lounging away in Mexico until I took that fateful pregnancy test in a resort bathroom and my world got flipped upside down. Now, I have this perfect little life in my hands that I can't wait to share everything with.

My favorite time of year is right around the corner and I'm not just ready to swing forward, I'm ready to fly.

Which camp are you in?

Stand Up, Speak Out

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I've never been one to "stir the pot" so to speak.

I've generally been the type of person to avoid any and all confrontation, because I simply don't enjoy it. I sat through last years political ups and downs and kept to myself. I watched as arguments ensued on social media, people passionately posting their opinions, whether or not it was the "popular" one (was there even a popular opinion in the election? maybe not)

And still I kept to myself. Looking back, I think that it partially had to do with the fact that I wasn't paying close enough attention. Our government was turning into a public spectacle, a joke, and if our own politicians didn't want to take it seriously, than why should I?

I did my part, I voted, and I waited along with everyone else while I held my breath and watched them announce Donald Trump as our new President. And I cried for myself, and for our country, and for the baby that I would be bringing into the world in just a few short months.

It won't be that bad. I told myself over and over again. And yet, I've watched as the problems have continued to escalate and still, for the most part, I've stayed silent.

But I can't stay silent anymore. 

I am in absolute outrage (as I've found myself thinking more than once in the past months) over the last week.

I am horrified and saddened by the recent events in Charlottesville and I am disgraced with the press conference held by Donald Trump this week where he openly supported the actions of the white supremacy groups that injured and caused the deaths of more than one person during the rallies.

I don't want to live in a world where I have to look at my daughter and teach her that hate is wrong, while watching the President of the United States justify hateful actions. 

I have heard over and over this week, "if you ignore it you support it" and I can't ignore it any longer.

I will stand up against the hate in every way that I can because years later when my daughter is in history class learning about this time, I want to be able to look at her and tell her that I was on the side of good. The side that fought against the ugly, and the bad, and the evil. I want to be the type of person now that she can be proud of later.

It doesn't take a grand gesture. It could be as simple as getting your opinion out there in a blog post (which is also incredibly therapeutic). It could be sticking up for someone when you see an injustice occurring, or it could be just disagreeing with someone you're having a conversation with if you think what they're saying is wrong.

If you're not outraged than you're not paying attention.

And if you are, you're doing something right.

Stand up, speak out.

Kensington Grace (Weeks 13 & 14)

Monday, August 14, 2017

1// The coolest baby on the stroller circuit. We got you these sunglasses at the Janie and Jack Outlet (for $5) and because you haven't realized you can take them off on your own, you wear them around wherever we go. 

2// The worlds most perfect crooked smile, a picture I snapped while you were trying to talk to me about something clearly very important. 

3// Babies in bonnets melt my heart. You could take it or leave it. 

4// I bought you a magic sleepsuit to help transition you out of your regular swaddles. The jury is still out on whether or not the magic is going to work for you, although clearly this picture says yes. 

5// My bright eyed beautiful girl. You are incredibly difficult to take pictures with but do better when I'm taking pictures of you. 

6// Clearly questioning how you fell asleep with me holding you and woke up in your dock a tot. 

7// You are putting EVERYTHING in your mouth and drooling like crazy lately. Could there be a tooth coming on?

8// One of your favorite things to do is to sit in front of the mirror and look at yourself. I love that little smile. 

9// I call this your bumblebee look. We packed this outfit as one of your options for coming home from the hospital. Who would have thought that it wouldn't fit you until three and a half months later? Silly mom and dad. 

Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Let's take a quick survey.

Question 1: Do you want to breastfeed your baby? Yes? Great! I think you should do it.

Question 2: Are you having problems breastfeeding your baby? Yes? No worries, ask for help or look into other options.

Question 3: Do you have no interest in breastfeeding what so ever? Yes? No problem! There are other ways to feed your child.

And there you go, my opinions on breastfeeding. End of blog post.

Just kidding.

But in all actuality, my breastfeeding journey has gone a little something like this so far. I've known from the start that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. For one, it's free so yay to that.

When I was in the hospital right after having Kensington I was visited by a lactation consultant who was 10/10 one of the least helpful people I think I've ever met. Maybe I didn't ask the right questions, maybe she was in a hurry, all I know is I felt like I was pretty much on my own to figure out how to feed my baby and that was going to have to be that.

Let me tell you ladies, it was hard. Like, really hard. Kenzie had some issues latching for a little while to the point that she was getting milk but she was also (TMI warning) making my nipples bleed. I was almost at my breaking point so many times and I just felt like crying. I knew she was feeding but I was in so much pain that I thought about throwing in the towel early on.

Daniel being the wonderful, perfect husband that he is went to the store and bought me every product he could find that might help. Nipple covers for her to latch onto, creams, gel pads to help heal, etc. Once we got past the initial soreness, then came the next struggle, production.

I wanted to be able to produce enough that I could feed her and get some in the freezer for later down the road once I started back at work. I knew I was asking for a lot, and so I started using the breast pump every chance I could to keep my production up. I felt like nothing was working (I even drank alcohol-free beer because brewers yeast is supposed to help) and I did the best I could to just continue feeding her as needed and pumping when I could.

Finally we hit a groove. And then I got mastitis. If you've never heard of this, it's an incredibly painful breast infection caused by clogged milk ducts. I'll just tell you, it hurts. And it gave me a nice 102 degree fever which made holding the baby up to my chest for any period of time so incredibly uncomfortable. So we did the only thing that made sense for us at the time, we introduced formula.

I started giving her a couple of formula bottles a day and breastfeeding the rest of the time (or pumping and bottle feeding) we were lucky to have a baby that would take any bottle although now she sometimes fights it if I've been breastfeeding more often.

I found myself feeling bad at first for choosing to give her formula when I know how beneficial breastmilk can be for her, but then I thought, what the heck?! I'm feeding my baby and I'm doing what's best for all of us. End of story. Her doctor has been so impressed with her health since she was born, she is getting more then enough to eat between the formula and myself, and I am probably breastfeeding 3-5 times a day around my work and sleep schedule.

And for us, it works. Your breastfeeding journey may look completely different then mine, or you may decide to skip the whole thing altogether. And that's okay. The important thing is that you're feeding your child, in whatever form that may come for you.

So, my thoughts on breastfeeding are as stated in the beginning of this semi-rant. If you want to, awesome. If you can't, no problem. Do what is best for YOU and your family and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

My Most Used Infant Items

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

As first time parents we have inevitably purchased things that we have absolutely loved having for Kensington and things that we thought we would love and didn't use, or totally hated. 

It's all trial and error, especially in these first few months, but one of the things that really influenced my registry and my purchases before the baby got here was reading about other people's experiences with some of the more popular items.

We're three months into this parenting thing now and I'd like to think we've got a pretty good handle on the things that have, and haven't, worked for us so far. 

What works today might not work tomorrow and we're on a constant learning curve, but I thought I'd share a few of the things we would definitely buy again for our next child, and some things that we wouldn't. 


DockATot - We used this for a means of co-sleeping in the first couple of weeks rather then using a bassinet outside of our bed. I love the DockATot because it's small enough to go anywhere with us (and it has) and it was so easy to transition her in the dock from our bed into her own crib. I'm just sad that she's getting too long for it at just three months and I wish that the Deluxe size could be used for a bit longer at the price we paid for it. 

Swaddleme Original Swaddles - I bought a TON of swaddle blankets (all different brands) for Kenz before she arrived. I used them for approximately two weeks or so before I switched to these Swaddleme velcro swaddles. These were 1000 more convenient and cheaper than pretty much all other swaddle options out there.

Infantino Pond Pals Play Mat - Kensington spends at least an hour on her play mat throughout the day. With all the colors and shapes she constantly has stuff to look at and she has the best time. I suggest buying the deluxe option with the music!

The First Years Newborn to Toddler Tub - In my opinion this is the perfect choice for an infant bathtub (and we tested a few). This can fit in a double sink or bathtub, has a mesh hammock for newborns to be laid down into but can also be removed to double as a toddler tub. Plus it's only $12, win.

Owlet Baby Monitor - I mean it when I say that if I had 1000 kids I would one of these every single time. No, I am not being sponsored by Owlet to tell you this, but this product has given me so much peace of mind every single night since Kenzie was born and I am seriously obsessed with the way this works. The only downfall I see is the price, BUT they do offer a monthly payment plan (which we used) and it was so easy and worth every cent.

Baby Briefcase - We received this as a baby shower gift and it has been awesome. Such an easy way to keep track of all of Kenzie's most important documents, I'd definitely recommend buying.

Vtech Audio Monitor - Between this and our Owlet I never have to worry about leaving Kenzie in her crib to sleep. The sound on this thing is amazing.


4moms Bounceroo - I was really disappointed in this product. At almost $100 dollars I expected more than just a vibrating seat. We could have easily purchased the same thing for $25 dollars from another company.

Puj Tub - I have mixed feelings about this baby tub. My biggest complaint is that Kenzie was so small in the beginning and trying to keep her upright and still clean all of her was difficult and really could only be done if there were two of us to help.

Ergo Baby Carrier - We have NOT mastered the art of the Ergo baby carrier. I don't think I could put it on if I tried. I'm also very small and it just seems so heavy and big when I try to use it. I very much prefer our Solly Baby Wrap over the Ergo.

Homedics Sound Machine - We may get more use out of this as she gets older but for now the fan in her room on the sleep setting has been the perfect amount of white noise.

Wipe Warmer - I love the idea of this and am seriously considering using it to hold face wipes for me, but we had to stop using it for the baby wipes because every time, without fail, Kenzie would pee on her changing table if the wipe was warm. Don't ask me what thats about, its just the way it worked.

Let me know what you think of this list! Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on these products? What were some of your favorites in the early baby months? 

Making the Most of the (End) of Your Summer

Friday, August 04, 2017

I am not, and have never been, a huge fan of Summer. Honestly we could just skip the whole thing and I'd be perfectly content.

I'm sure this partially has to do with the fact that California doesn't experience Winter in the same way that other states do, so when I say I'm alright with skipping Summer that pretty much just leaves us with slightly less warm days and a little rain here and there. And that I could go for year around.

Every time that August hits I've really reached my peak of Summer time enjoyment and I am so ready to ring in all the Fall things that lead us into the end of the year aka the best time to be alive.

So, since we're heading on our way out of Summer (at least in my eyes) I thought I'd share some things that you can do to make the most out of what's left of yours.

Make s'mores. Make them in your kitchen if you don't have access to a bonfire. Or, buy all the supplies for s'mores and eat them all individually.

Go to a drive-in. Does your city still show movies at the drive-in? Ours doesn't exactly, but we do have movies in the park and it's kind of the same thing. Bring a blanket and hit the dollar store for all of your favorite movie snacks.

Take a road trip. With your friends, with your significant other, with your kids, it doesn't matter. Just get out there and see something new.

Volunteer. Tons of people volunteer during the holiday's because everyone wants to help out during that special time of year (and that's great) but volunteers are in high demand around this time of year, so ask around and see where your help is needed.

Garden. Or just buy a cute little window plant for your bedroom.

Spend a day at the beach (or pool or just on your porch) reading a book. The library is just full of great options.

Try a new flavor tea. I recommend the pineapple black tea from Starbucks. Yum.

Paint your nails bright colors. Save the darker colors for October or November.

Buy all of the bikini's while you can get them on sale. Put them away unworn until next year so you'll have fun swimsuit options that you forgot about.

Go wine tasting or check out a new brewery. There's not much higher on my list of things I love then ice cold rosé on a hot summer night.

Start planning a trip for next Summer. Save up and make it happen.

How will you make the most of the end of your Summer?

More or Less August

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

More... tea Less... coffee (but only for a little while longer) Have you tried the Pineapple black tea from Starbucks yet? Yum!

More... baby achievements (that's what Daniel calls it when Kenzie does something new) Less... sleeping baby.

More... husband time Less... Daniel being away for training.

More... summer fruit Less... processed foods.

More... pool time (if I can convince the baby) Less... staying inside.

More... eating at home (I just got my first Hello Fresh box to try!) Less... take out for one.

More... preparing myself for the wonder that is Fall. It will be here before we know it!

More... working on Kenzie's baby book.

More... patience at work for the things out of my control.

More... reading (something I've totally been slacking on but need to get back to).

Less... procrastination.

Less... spending money for no reason.

Less... making excuses.

What's on your more and less list this month? 

My Life Is...

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

My life is... waiting for calls and texts from a husband (often) sent away for his job.

My life is... watching the same shows on Netflix over and over again. Not because there isn't anything better out there to watch, but just because I really love the ones I've already seen. Friends reruns, I'm talking to you. 

My life is... finally finishing my coffee after re-heating it three times before noon.

My life is... long walks around Target when I don't need to buy anything but just want to feel happy. inside.

My life is... extra snuggles at night from a baby who doesn't like to take naps during the day.

My life is... waiting for summer to end so it can finally be Fall and I can wear all the layers.

My life is... spending entirely too much money on baby clothes that I know Kenzie will probably only wear once or twice ever.

My life is... sitting in LA traffic for two hours to get to a place that should be 25 minutes away.

My life is... getting to read lots of books before they come out because my parents have a really cool job.

My life is... late night snacking because I either (a) didn't find time for an actual dinner after work or (b) needed to satisfy my sweet tooth before I went to bed.

Tell me some things that make up your life.  

Kensington Grace (Weeks 11 &12)

Monday, July 31, 2017

1// All the heart eyes for your first swim suit with the ice cream cones on it. 

2// Sleepy smiles right when you wake up are the worlds greatest, ever. 

3// I asked you to smile for your day and you were more than happy to do so. 

4// No to pool days. No to sunshine. No, no, no. Summer is just not your thing. 

5// In LOVE with you in yellow and bows and lace. Just give me all the girly things. 

6// Solly baby wraps make our walks to the mailbox 1000 times more convenient. Also, they work pretty great for baby and mom dance parties. 

7// Couldn't tell if you were whistling or blowing kisses, or both. But your lips are in the most perfect round shape. 

8// You're strong enough to sit up on my lap to look at the pictures in your books and you absolutely love it. 

9// The play mat is still your happy place. You could lay on it and talk to the fish and turtle attachments. 

At three months: 

You: Smile big whenever anyone talks to you, love being danced around and sang to (the happy day playlist on Spotify is your fave), still skeptical about getting kisses, love making bubbles with your mouth, just started holding your rattle (and licking it like an ice cream cone).

Me: Trying to slow time down and realizing how quickly this growing up stuff goes by, cherishing all of the sweet sweet baby cuddles, getting better at getting things done quietly while you're napping, becoming a pro at getting out of the house more quickly and with less unnecessary stuff.

You are our whole world, darling girl!

Surviving "Single" Parenting and a Target Giveaway!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Last weekend Daniel left for his summer training for the National Guard. Originally when he signed his contract with the guard after active duty I was told that he would be gone one weekend a month, and two weeks out of the summer. But alas, one weekend a month turned into one long weekend a month (aka usually Thursday-Sunday) and two weeks in the summer turned into four.

So here we are with two and a half weeks left of his training and I've already learned a few things along the way about how to survive "single" parenting.

During our first week alone my parents had to leave for a business trip and my mom is usually the one to watch Kenz when I'm at work in the afternoons. I had a babysitter lined up, which of course fell through because why not? Have you ever heard of Murphy's Law?

Anyway, I searched high and low for a sitter, ended up having to take two days off of work and finally found someone to watch her for one afternoon.

TIP #1: Always have a back up for your back up. I was so grateful to find someone to watch her for at least one of the days during that week but when I think about it I should have been better prepared. What if my normal sitter (aka my mom) gets sick last minute? Start searching early for people you would trust enough to stay with your baby, even if you don't necessarily plan to use a sitter right away.

This totally goes along with the first tip, but creating a community has been a huge help for me while I've been alone so far. I know that even on the days I have work, I can bring Kenzie in for a visit and she will be surrounded by a billion people who want to hold her and spend time with her. These are the same people that I know I could call for any reason to come help me if I needed anything at all. If you don't have family close, and work isn't the most kid-friendly of places, start looking for local moms groups and start building that community.

TIP #2: Stock up on the necessities ahead of time. One big thing that Daniel did that helped me so much before he left was that he went out and got me all of the essential things I would definitely need in a month but didn't necessarily think about. He bought trash bags, baby formula, coffee, dish soap, and of course all of my favorite snacks. When I needed something last minute it helped knowing that I probably already had it at home because we planned ahead as much as we could.

TIP #3: Prioritize. Start learning the difference between the things you need to do and the things you want to do. For example, I need to make sure that our bills get paid at the beginning of the month. I want to have all of our laundry cleaned, folded, and put away at all times. Sometimes somethings got to give and it helps to know what is really necessary and what you may need to put to the side for a bit. I'm always willing to push the laundry to another day for the greater good ;)

TIP #4: Don't be afraid to ask for some time to yourself. Because I spend half my day at work, I generally want to spend the other half with my kid. But when I've had a long day and she's overly tired and we've both just had enough of it all sometimes it's completely necessary and ok to ask for just a couple minutes of time to yourself. You don't want to feel grumpy, trying to soothe a grumpy baby, I'm telling you it just isn't a good situation for anyone. Just take those few minutes to reset and you'll feel 1000 times better.

TIP #5: Document! Make every moment a big deal. One of the hardest parts about having your significant other away when you have a little one is knowing how much they're missing out on. I try to make everything that Kenzie does a big deal that way she continues to do it and I can take tons of pictures that I'll be able to show Daniel once he finally gets home. I hate the thought of him missing out on anything at all, and especially in a training like the one he's in where we have no means of communicating, it is more important then ever for me to write down special moments or take a ton of pictures of things while they're happening so I can recall them and fill him in on every detail later.

And now for some fun! Because Thursday's are almost Friday so I think that's a pretty great reason to celebrate.

I have teamed up with some amazing bloggers to bring you a giveaway in celebration of Coffee With Summer's 3rd Blogiversary! We're giving away a $200 Target gift card! Everyone can use an extra $200 to Target!

To enter, complete as many tasks as you can in the Rafflecopter form. Enter fairly. All entries will be verified before a winner is chosen. US only. No giveaway accounts allowed - they're automatically disqualified. Again, enter honestly and have FUN!

This giveaway is not sponsored by Target and it runs from 7/27 - 8/3. The winner will be chosen and announced by 8/4.

Good luck, and happy Target shopping!

Weekend Highs and Lows

Monday, July 24, 2017


High: Went to Jiffy Lube to get my oil changed and found a Groupon for $49 dollars (instead of the normal $75) for the kind of oil my car needed. Yay for small adult victories.

Low: (dramatic story time) Literally one of the worst things to EVER happen to me in my life happened on Friday morning. I had just put the baby in the car before we were going to get the oil changed and I had to put something in the trunk. Suddenly I felt something hit my shoulder and it kind of tickled like maybe my hair was brushing my neck and I went to kind of push it back. But it wasn't my hair. It was in fact a GIANT (like half dollar sized, not exaggerating) spider that fell from somewhere above me. It was what actual nightmares are made of and I watched it fly through the air when I hit it and it landed on the floor and disappeared. So now I can never park in my garage again and I'm also my fear of spiders increased by 1000 percent so I'm pretty sure I'll never get over it.


High: Stranger Things trailer released and it is SO GOOD. Is it October yet?

Low: Nothing really. I spent most of the day watching Disney movies on ABC Family Freeform (still think the name change was stupid) and then my sister brought me Chick-fil-a for dinner so, win-win.


High: Booking my first two paid photo shoots for Kensington Grace Photography! Yay! And snapping this adorable picture of baby K.

Low: Getting absolutely nothing done because that sweet-faced baby refused to go down for a nap without being held all day long. By 6:00 she was so exhausted she practically put herself to bed for the night and by that point I was pretty exhausted myself.

What were the highs and lows of your weekend?

Five Things Making Me Happy Today

Friday, July 21, 2017

1. Days off in the middle of the week. Daniel has been away for some military training and the babysitter I had lined up for Kensington while I was at work fell through. I had no other choice but to take a couple of days off to be home with the baby and it was so nice. We took naps, went to the pool and I was able to get so much done around the house in between play time. I wish every week looked like this one!

2. Babies in bathing suits. Yesterday I took Kenzie to the pool for the first time, and she HATED it. She didn't mind being under the umbrella where the sun couldn't touch her but she second I dipped her tiny toes into the pool water it was over for her. We bought her this Cat and Jack swimsuit from Target and she looked as cute as could be. 

3. The Fall talk has begun. Have you heard it floating around? I don't know what was up with this week but everywhere I looked I saw a different tweet about getting ready for Fall and I love it. I've never been a huge fan of Summer and even more so now with the baby I can't wait until it's cool enough for us to go spend some time in the park or taking walks. 

4. The response to my photography page has been amazing. I mentioned earlier in the week that I recently decided to finally launch my photography page, Kensington Grace Photography, and I'm so glad that I did. I've already booked two photoshoots in the upcoming weeks. Go check it out and let me know what you think, I'd love some feedback!

5. People who go out of their way to help you. As I said above, this week the babysitter that I had lined up for Kenzie had to cancel on me. My mom, who usually watches her, is away on a business trip in Seattle and Daniel is in training. I called everyone in the family that I could think of but I couldn't find anyone with the free time/ability to watch her for an afternoon. Finally, I went to another resource, a friends mom, and she was more than willing to help me. She even moved around something that she had going on in the afternoon so she could be here as long as we needed her.

On top of that, my office was incredibly understanding about me not being able to make it in for two days. My mom always says it takes a village to raise a child, and I'm feeling so grateful that my village is made up of the best people.

I'm linking up today for Five on Friday! What's making you happy today? 

A Well Rested Babe and One Happy Mama

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I started back to work a couple of weeks ago and I swear there is one question that I get asked every single day, "are you sleeping at all?" This is usually followed by some giggles, as if we're all in on some private parent joke and they know that theres NO WAY I could possibly be getting any sleep with a new baby in the house.

Now, I'm not sure if I'm putting out some vibe that tricks people into thinking I'm not getting enough sleep, or maybe it has something to do with the fact that since Kensington sleeps so well at night she is bright-eyed during the day (leaving me little to no time to get ready before work) but people seem genuinely surprised when I tell them that by two months she was generally sleeping around 7-9 hours straight through the night.

I'd like to attribute this to a little bit of being blessed by the sleep gods, and being lucky to have a baby who is naturally a content little sleeper no matter where she's at, but there are also a few things that we routinely do that I think have helped keep her down at night. I would like to start out by saying that we did not read any books about baby sleep schedules (I tried one and it read like a school textbook and put ME to sleep just trying to get through it) and we are first time parents so we are by no means pros at this. This is what worked for us, but ultimately you may need to try different things to find out what works best for you and your little ones.

Supplement formula before bedtime. In the first few weeks after Kenzie was born I was exclusively breastfeeding. However, I was having difficulty keeping my supply up and shortly after having her I ended up getting a breast infection that was giving me a 102 degree fever. The fever made nursing almost impossible and I made the decision to buy some formula to supplement her feedings until I recovered. To my surprise, she started feeding less often because she was much more full from the formula than she was from my breastmilk. If I had known this would have been the case I would have been giving her a small amount of formula from the very beginning. Today we pretty much give her an equal amount of breastmilk and formula throughout the day but we ALWAYS end the night with a formula bottle. Even if she has only two-three ounces before bed it generally keeps her full enough to sleep up to 9 hours if she's really tired.

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! I cannot stress enough how much a swaddle has helped us keep this baby sleeping restfully through the night. When she gets too tired her little arms and legs just flail all over the place and if she isn't swaddled she ends up smacking herself straight in the face and waking herself up. Before she was born we bought all kinds of swaddle blankets and actually the cheapest ones we found seemed to be the most effective. We LOVE these Swaddleme Original Swaddles and they're only $20 for a pack of three. These are the best ones we've found because they velcro and it's so easy to get her in and out of them when she's asleep or awake.

Co-sleep only as long as your baby really needs it. We co-slept for the first 5 weeks or so. Part of it was due to the fact that we were brand new first time parents and we were unsure about ourselves. Another part of it was that because of my labor complications I couldn't safely carry her through the house (for fear that I may pass out) and having her next to me for night time feedings was a much easier solution. And of course, we could hardly bear the thought of her not being in our sight at every second of every day in those first few weeks. We purchased a dockatot and kept it between us on the bed during the night. When she started sleeping for longer stretches, we decided to move her dockatot into her crib and we haven't looked back since. Her room is incredibly quiet and peaceful and we keep a light fan running in there for some white noise for her. We are also sleeping so much better now that we have our bed back.

Take your baby out. We've been taking her out and about since she was a week and a half old. I know this isn't necessarily the popular opinion to do so, but at this point she can sleep anywhere. In fact, she loves taking a good nap in a noisy restaurant or on a trip around Target. She doesn't mind the lights or the sounds and she's pretty content to sleep anywhere we go.

Don't be tricked by the cuteness. When Kenzie has a really long stretch of sleep, she wakes up in the happiest mood ever. The second we put her on her changing table she is all giggles and big smiles for mom and dad. The problem is that sometimes this happy baby decides to make her appearance at around 3:00 in the morning if she went to bed too early, or didn't get enough to eat before we put her down. It can be so tempting to keep her up to play with her when she's in such a good mood, but it can also really mess up whatever semblance of a sleep "schedule" you may be working on for your baby. Keep the lights off, change and feed your baby if they need it, and then soothe them back to sleep so you both will wake up feeling completely rested and ready to play come morning time.

Try all the things. Find out what works best for you, it may be completely different than what works best for us, or someone else you know. Experiment a little because the worst thing that could happen is that you end up tired in the morning because something didn't work out during the night and you can try something new the next night.

How does your baby sleep at night? What tricks do you use to make sure you're all waking up well-rested and happy? 

Kensington Grace (Weeks 9 & 10)

Monday, July 17, 2017

1// You are seriously the most chill baby. You let me dress you up and take all the pictures and when you get tired you just lay your head down wherever you can find a spot for it. 

2// Your dad left for military training yesterday so we spent Saturday having a baby-daddy photo shoot. I love that you look right at me now when I take pictures of you. 

3// Not convinced that pooh bear is your friend. 

4// Another from your daddy-daughter shoot (Check out my new photography page here for more like this). 

5// The most perfect heart shaped little lips. 

6// Happy in your new Harry Potter onesie that we bought at Universal City Walk. It's a few months too big but it was the only outfit choice we had left after you threw up all over a restaurant after your bottle. 

7// Mama's pretty girl. 

8// You have been all smiles lately (close to a giggle) and it just absolutely melts my heart. I'd do just about anything to see you smile all day long.  

9// You go from smiling to the most serious little concerned baby face in the world. I don't think you're too far from your zoolander look and the obvious start of your modeling career. 

We love our little two and a half month old bug to the moon and back. Stop growing, kid! But also please keep growing so you can play with me forever.

Jump Head-First

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I've been taking photography classes since high school. It's always something that I've had an interest in, specifically lifestyle photography. There's something that I love about capturing someones special moments, whether it's a mom and her new baby, or a newly engaged couple, there's something so wonderful about a single moment frozen in time.

At the beginning of the year Daniel bought me a very nice Canon camera, along with a couple of lenses. I've used the camera here and there to take my own maternity photos and when Kensington arrived, to take newborn pictures of her. I always tossed around the idea of turning my hobby into something more, but I was always too nervous.

I constantly found myself comparing photos that I had taken to the ones I saw other people posting. Sometimes I would see a picture and think, I could definitely do that. And other times I'd see other people's photos and think, I'll never take pictures as good as them. 

It was comparison that was keeping me from furthering something that I truly felt I could be passionate about. Until this week. 

This week I decided to jump head-first into this new venture. I launched Kensington Grace Photography on Facebook on Monday and so far the responses have been amazing.

I realized that I can't not do something just because someone may be better at it then I am, or because I'm too afraid.

Taking pictures makes me happy. Being there for people's most special moments makes me happy. And if my work can make someone else happy, then that's all the more reason to put myself out there.

This week, let go of fear and comparison and choose to jump head-first into whatever makes you happiest. I know I will be.

Amazon Prime Day & JORD Wooden Watches

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Remember in the Fall when I told you guys about this JORD Wooden Watch? If not you can check out the post, here

If you're drooling over this watch like I have been since I heard about it last year, then you need to hear this. 

JORD has recently partnered with Amazon and just in time for Prime Day today. If you haven't heard of Prime Day, it's basically a little over 24 hours where Prime items are listed at a discounted rate. 

Until midnight tonight, you can get this (or any of the other available JORD watches) for 30% off. 

When I partnered with JORD, I received the Dover Koa & Black Men's Watch. I gave it to Daniel as a gift because he pretty much never goes anywhere without a watch on, and every time he wears it out he's complimented on it. 

I've never seen another watch like any of the JORD watches and I think that's what makes them so special. They would make a great gift for anyone in your life, or for yourself. 

I am currently coveting, and not so subtly hinting to Daniel how much I need this Cora Zebrawood & Rose women's watch. 

Even if you're not in the market for a new watch, there are tons of other awesome products on sale during Prime Day. Take a look and let me know what else I need to check out!

Kensington Grace (Weeks 7 & 8)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

And just like that I made the mistake of blinking and suddenly we've got a two month old little squish.

At two months: 

Kensington loves: being read to and watching television (really anything that gives her something bright to look at), eating all the time, sleeping in, laying on her play mat, and being pushed in her stroller until she falls asleep.

Kensington hates: being put down anywhere when she's tired, doing the same thing for too long, baths (although that is getting better), having her clothes changed, being even a little bit cold (hence the problem with the baths).

Weeks 7 & 8 in pictures: 

1// Give me all the baby snuggles and baby graphic onesies. 

2// You love when we read you books as long as you can look at the pictures. 

3// This is what I like to call your "evil minion face" usually you make it when you've got some bad gas, but it makes me laugh every single time. 

4// You are loving your play mat lately and can just sit there and look around forever. 

5// I just adore you in denim, and bows. They're even better together. 

6// I was trying so hard to get a picture of us together with my new tripod and you were just not having it. I've got to pick my moments better. 

7// Mirror selfies because mom got a new haircut and you were looking as cute as ever. 

8// You LOVE laying on your changing table. I don't know what it is, but we always get the best smiles out of you when we're changing your diaper. 

9// Your dad makes you the happiest and your little smirk in this picture is the cutest thing. 

You are our sunshine, sweet girl. Happy two months!

Enjoy the Changing Seasons of Your Life

Monday, July 03, 2017

The seasons of our lives are forever changing. Whether we're going to school, or graduating and getting a job, or starting a family, or buying a house and so on, we are in a constant state of change.

Right now for example, my life is in full swing mom-mode. I'm in the season of diaper changes and late night feedings, of endless baby emotions and spending too much on children's clothes. I'm learning to discover who I am as a new mom, but also as a wife and as an individual. More importantly, I'm in the season of understanding how these three things intertwine. It's a balancing act that comes with trials and errors and love, lots and lots of love.

This week I'm returning to work where I'll spend more time away from my family then I have in two months. It'll be a change in season that I am simultaneously dreading and grasping for at the same time. I can only imagine that I'll feel a mix of emotions, but I'm going into it with an open mind, hoping to embrace the chance to rediscover my life outside of my home.

Sometimes I feel as though it becomes second nature for us to rush through a season of our lives that we may feel particularly challenged by. But in a world that is moving fast enough as it is, it is even more important to embrace our lives as fully as possible and to try to enjoy the changes as they come.

Whatever season your life may be in now, good or otherwise, I hope you'll take the time to savor it, to make the most out of it and to discover what it means for you as a person. I hope you learn from it, or grow from it, or simply enjoy it. Maybe you'll look back on it later with blurry but fond memories of an imperfectly perfect time and that will be enough.

Theres something beautiful in the way that the seasons never stay the same. Make the most of whatever those changes bring to you.

More or Less in July

Friday, June 30, 2017

More... Work Less... Staying home with the baby (I go back to work Monday. No, YOU'RE CRYING).

More... BBQ's Less... Crockpot meals.

More... Rompers Less... Denim.

More... Shaved ice Less... Fro-yo (or both, really).

More... Working on Kenzie's baby book Less... putting it off until another time.

More... #Nsale shopping (July 13th!)

More... Fireworks.

More... Pool time.

More... Gratitude.

Less... Passing judgements.

Less... Trying to do everything all of the time.

Less... Sweating the small stuff.

What are you hoping for more or less of this month?

Kensington Grace: A Birth Story (Part Two)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

So when I left off in part one, the nurse had checked on me and told me I was 9cm dilated. Now, from my vast knowledge of childbirth (aka I knew nothing about having a baby) I thought that you get to 10cm, start pushing and out comes the baby. But I got to a 10 and my nurse told me that I still had to wait for awhile longer before anything would be happening. By this point I was ready to get this show on the road.

Since I hadn't been able to nap all day (or eat anything since 5 that morning), I was getting so exhausted. My magic epidural was also slowly fading (or my contractions were getting worse) and the nurse gave me some cranberry juice to keep my blood sugar levels up. This didn't go well and I actually ended up being sick a couple of times.

Finally, the nurse came in to do a few practice pushes with me to show me what I should be doing and see how close we were. This was at 5:00 pm, and Kensington didn't make her debut until 9:32 pm.

You guys, I pushed for four and a half hours straight. It was exhausting. At this point it's somewhat of a blur, but I had my mom and Daniel in there with me and all I remember is trying to take sips of water in between contractions and then falling asleep for the best 2-3 minute naps of my life before the next one hit. I don't remember it hurting all that much because I got one more dose of the epidural fairly close to when we started, but I do remember never being more tired in my entire life.

The charge nurse came in when I first started pushing and my nurse told her that she expected it to be no more then an hour of pushing and to go ahead and let my doctor know. I thought this was great news! Then, she'd come back every so often to check in and my nurse would tell her not yet, and we continued this pattern for what felt like forever.

Side note...time during childbirth is a weird thing. There was a clock behind me in my room and I kept trying to see how much time had passed. Four and a half hours actually seemed like 20 minutes and I was so surprised every time I looked at the clock and saw that another hour had passed by.

Anyway, so the charge nurse came back in one last time and she decided to check what was going on in there. As it turns out, Kensington was transverse, so she was laying on her side. Every time I pushed while laying on my back, nothing was happening because she was in the wrong position (we figured this out after 3 or so hours) so they told me to lay on my side and try pushing like that, and they called my doctor to come in because they figured from this point things would move much more smoothly.

When my doctor arrived she checked my progress and asked me if I was ready to have the baby in three minutes! I was like, heck yes where have you been for the past four hours?!

She brought me in a mirror (which was never something I had anticipated using) so I could see the baby's head and see all of my hard work. First of all, ew. I don't know that I ever wanted to see so much of myself. Second of all, wow. That is all the motivation I never knew I really needed. Nothing was worse then seeing the baby come out just a little more during a contraction, only to head right back in. It made me push that much harder and longer and before I knew it, she was here!

She did have her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice, which I didn't find out about until much later. Daniel got to cut the cord, they cleaned her up and handed her over to me and I've never felt such a rush of emotions.

They took her away to measure her and then we realized I had a few of my own problems. I was bleeding, a lot, and my doctor couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

I developed anemia during pregnancy so I knew that my blood count wasn't where it should be before going in, and during labor I ended up loosing half of the hemoglobin levels that I came in with. I had a tear on the inside of my body that could have happened at any point during labor. After loosing so much blood I was left feeling lightheaded, fatigued (more then the usual after pushing a small watermelon from your body), and had all kinds of other not so fun symptoms. This lasted roughly two weeks or so but after plenty of iron, rest (as much as I could get) and good food I started getting back to my normal self.

Our sweet little angel was perfect, however, which was the important part for me. She came into the world weighing 6lbs, 6oz and measuring 19 inches long. She passed all of her tests with flying colors and we (despite my health concerns) were allowed to leave the hospital in just over 48 hours. We left the hospital feeling scared, overwhelmed, and unsure of ourselves. But we also left feeling excited, overjoyed and so so in love with this tiny human who was all ours.

May 4th, 2017 will forever be the most important day in my life because it brought me her.

We love you, Kensington Grace Peralta.

3 Things I Couldn't Wait to Tell you About

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

When life gives you lemons graphic tee: From H&M and only $10 dollars right now. Have you ever seen a more perfect t-shirt for Summer? Yeah, me neither.

Elf Moisturizing Lipstick in Ravishing Rose: I found this on clearance at Target for like $1.50 but I would have happily paid the $3.00 that it usually costs. This color is beautiful and it's almost like a lipstick/chapstick combo.

bkr little water bottle: I got one of these in my fabfitfun box and it is the most perfect, cute and tiny water bottle. I love it because it fits in my diaper bag and I can grab it on my way out the door with the baby. They sell them in a bunch of colors and different sizes at Nordstrom (for $35) or you can get one in your own fabfitfun box for $39 dollars (for the whole box) with code: SUMMERLOVE

Is there anything I need to know about right now?

Linking up today with Monica, you should too!

Fabfitfun Summer Box 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Please excuse my no makeup, no shower, nursery mirror selfie...but I just HAD to share a picture of this beautiful Michaels Stars Ruana with you guys (and the nursery does have the best lighting in our apartment). This scarf, turned shawl, turned cover up came in my 2017 fabfitfun Summer Box and it is seriously the most comfortable thing. It's so light and it's the perfect length (even for my super short self). It could easily be dressed up with some jeans and strappy sandals, or dressed down as a swimsuit cover up. 

This seasons box was filled with some really awesome Summer essentials like the bkr little water bottle, the Eau Thermale Avene hydrating sunscreen, and the Cargo HD picture perfect highlighter among other awesome things. 

This is my first fabfitfun box and it did not disappoint. The only thing that makes me sad is that this is only a seasonal box, I'd love to receive one of these in the mail monthly. 

If you NEED this box (believe me, you do) go to fabfitfun.com and use code SUMMERLOVE at check out for $10 dollars off of your first box!

Special thank you to fabfitfun for introducing me to these awesome products! #fabfitfunpartner #fabfitfun

Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Postpartum (or Anytime!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

If I'm being completely honest, pregnancy and giving birth were a walk in the park compared to my recovery after having Kensington (Okay, the giving birth part wasn't exactly fun either, but for me the pregnancy part really was).

I haven't had a chance to finish her birth story yet, but long story short I lost about half of my red blood cell count from a tear during labor. For the weeks following, this left me feeling light headed if I stood up for too long. I wasn't allowed to take a bath or a shower that was too hot. I was afraid to walk while I was holding Kenzie because I was terrified of fainting and dropping her. I cried, a lot and I was so, so tired all of the time. I felt myself experiencing symptoms of the baby blues.

Overall, I felt awful and I wasn't being kind to my body.

At six weeks postpartum I'm happy to say that I'm feeling completely back to myself. It took some time and a lot of grace to get where I am right now. If I've learned anything over the past few weeks, it's the importance of being patient with yourself and of course showing yourself some love.

Here are a few self-care practices I did (and still do) so I could keep myself feeling happy and healthy.

Take a bubble bath. I cannot stress the magical healing powers of a bubble bath enough. As I mentioned, I wasn't allowed to take any kind of hot shower or bath until I got my hemoglobin levels back up and it was torture. Now, I take one every single day and just those 15 minutes work wonders for my day.

Get dressed every day. It's so easy when you aren't feeling like yourself to stay in your sweats all day. But when you look good, you feel better and just taking a few extra seconds to put on a pair of jeans and a top you like will improve your mood.

Ask for help. I couldn't be more grateful to Daniel and my parents for all of the help they gave me when I needed it the most. When I reached my limits they were there to pick up the slack and the greatest self-care I could give myself was to be fair to my body and acknowledge those limits.

Eat Well. Or eat what you like to eat. You'll feel more energetic and better overall if you put good food into your body.

Hydrate. Drink all the water. This one is pretty self explanatory.

Splurge on something for yourself. Yes, babies cost money and you may not have a ton of extra. But buy yourself something, anything. Because especially after you've done something amazing like giving birth to your own little human, you deserve to treat yo self. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Read some positive quotes. I'm a big believer in the healing power of positive mantras. Pick a few of your favorite quotes and read them to yourself every day until you believe them.

Give yourself grace. Be patient with yourself and your body. If you're working through a tough time just remember that you've done, and are doing amazing things. Your body and mind may need time to heal, so be graceful through that time and you'll eventually start feeling more like your old self.

What do you do to practice self-care? 

Kensington Grace (Weeks 5 & 6)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1// I love putting you in all the bows but it only lasts about five or so minutes because you somehow manage to knock them off and into your mouth every single time. 

2// Baby wearing has been a LIFESAVER! I put you in your solly wrap and you fall right to sleep while I get some stuff done. 

3// Your one month photoshoot. You slept through half of it and cried through the other half, and the pictures came out as cute as could be. 

4// Your dad's first Father's Day. Sometimes you look just like a mini him and it melts my heart to see the two of you together. 

5// Our little flower child. This is the same outfit we brought you home from the hospital in, but it fits you much better now, 6 weeks later. 

6// I caught you in the middle of a yawn but you looked like a little monster. I love your rawrrr face. 

7// Another shot from your shoot. Your little pucker face just melts me into a puddle on the floor. 

8// You're so strong and always trying to lift your head up when you're on your tummy. You make a cute little turtle face, just like your mama did when she was a baby. 

9// Still your favorite place to nap, right on our chests. You both look so sweet here, the two greatest loves of my life. 

We love you with all our hearts, precious girl!