24 November 2015

Let's Get Cozy

When Tiho asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I immediately answered "something cozy." That wasn't entirely helpful to him, so I ended up sending along a few links to specify my desires, including the pompom hat and sherpa blanket up there.

What can I say? I figure that the majority of my time this winter will involve snuggling a newborn, so why not indulge those creature comforts?

20 November 2015

Grow, Baby, Grow: 39 Weeks

How Far AlongThirty-nine weeks. We're counting days now...

Size of BabyA watermelon! Ha. She's anywhere from 5.5-9 lbs (although we're pretty sure she falls on the lower end of that range).

CravingsClementines &  fruit loops. 

Weight Gain17 lbs. Exactly what my mom gained carrying me, which is interesting.

Maternity ClothesYes, especially anything soft, cozy & stretchy. The Gap Body collection has been my favorite maternity brand for everyday basics.

Physical SymptomsNot that many, oddly. She dropped, which took a lot of pressure off my lungs, so breathing is easier. My bladder feels like the size of a raspberry because of her low head position: I'm basically peeing on demand every 30 minutes. Under the recommendation of our midwives, I had a "physical therapy for labor" session earlier this week, which felt incredible. It loosened all those muscles and released tension in my lower back and hips. Fingers crossed it pays off during her delivery.

SleepI sleep so much. It's fan-freaking-tastic. I know this will end VERY soon, so I'm really indulging my blissful 9-10 hours every night. 

Fears: I'm feeling especially calm and at peace. I don't know if that's because we're almost at the end, but I don't have any real fears (at least for today). I view birth as a natural process that will unfold as it is meant to. Moreover, both Tiho and I have the utmost faith in my care providers to guide the birth and any necessary decision-making.

Baby's Developmental Milestones: She's ready to go! We're simply waiting for her to figure that out. :)

General Mood & EmotionsGiddy with excitement. I mean, hello: we're about to meet our daughter, a tiny human being who's been growing inside of me for the past nine months. Will she have a head full of hair? A tiny button nose? Scrunchy eyebrows? What will her temperament be? Will she be a November baby (oh gosh, please) or take her own sweet time and arrive in December? So much anticipation. I'd be remiss if I failed to mention how bittersweet all of this feels, though. I truly love being pregnant and know that I'm going to miss this season of life.

Things I'm Looking Forward To: Looking into her eyes for the first time. Holding in her my arms. Seeing Tiho hold her in his arms. Snuggling up together under a cozy sherpa blanket as a family of three.

Coolest Thing So Far: She instantly calms and relaxes when I put my hands on my belly during her movement routine. Also, hiccups! Too cute. 

"A baby is like the beginning of all things--wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities." 
-Eda J. Le Shan

12 November 2015

Shop Small: Baby's First Christmas

When I picture December this year, I imagine newborn toes peeking out from underneath a cozy knit blanket in a room filled with sparkling white twinkle lights, pine & spiced cranberry-scented candles, hot cocoa, and Bing Crosby crooning the classics. The holidays are always magical for me and I can only imagine how much more so this season will be be with a brand new little person to celebrate.

For the last several years, I've tried to "shop small" for the majority of my holiday gift-giving. One of my favorite December traditions in New York is strolling through the various holiday pop-up markets around the city searching for the perfect gifts for all of the special people in my life. This year, with baby's due date on Thanksgiving, I'm not sure whether I'll make it out to the markets or not, so I turned to the next best place to find handmade goodies: Etsy, of course. I've bookmarked so many cute shops and products and couldn't help but round up a few personal favorites in celebration of baby's first Christmas (hint, hint to inquiring family members!).

Product & shop sources from top to bottom, left to right:

Personalized family stockings! I'm thinking this is the perfect year to invest in a coordinating set we'll use for years. For our little family of three, I'm loving the "peppermint pink," "pistachio green" and "sky blue" colors.

Little Highbury makes the sweetest knotted baby headbands and hats. I love the navy stripe, pictured.

I've already ordered a few items from NomiLu (a beaded pacifier clip and gorgeous scalloped swaddle blanket) so I had to include her shop here because everything is just so well-made.

I've linked to Ajolar baby shoes a couple of times before, but I love them that much. The gold & cream version shown above would make the cutest first Christmas accessory.

How beautiful are these sweetheart teething/nursing necklaces from Freja Toys? A non-toxic and eco-friendly gift that both mama and baby can enjoy.

I have imagined our baby wearing a little pixie hat throughout this entire pregnancy. There are so many great options out there, but I especially adore this festive red knit bonnet from Sweet KM.

I feel like it's a huge rite of passage to hang baby's first ornament on the tree. This personalized twisted gold wire carriage is delicate and lovely.

Every little one needs a classic wooden car to push around. Bannor Toys can do no wrong in my book with their collection of organic wooden toys and rattles.

This "good morning" linen bib from Yoriko New York is both practical AND adorable.


Have any can't-miss Etsy shops to share? I love discovering new sources for awesome handmade gifts.

09 November 2015

Packing a Hospital Bag

I was not someone who planned to bring a whole lot of "gear" with me to the hospital. I am totally fine wearing the hospital gowns for the duration of my stay (why create more laundry?!) and therefore, figured my hospital bag contents would be fairly minimal.

Ha! I couldn't help but make a list to keep myself organized: I've included it below, and it sure doesn't seem minimal to me now. Any advice for additional items to include or for things to leave behind? I made my packing list based on advice garnered from others, as well as my own preferences. But obviously, I've never done this before, so I'm very open to hearing from anyone with seasoned insight. My doula will bring along a few extra labor-assist items such as an exercise ball and massage tools.

Clothing for Mama:
Nursing Bras (2)
Cozy socks (2-3)
Lightweight Bathrobe (1)
Pack of black cotton undies in large size
Outfit to wear home (maternity leggings, t-shirt, loose cardigan sweatshirt)
Flip-flops for shower

Toiletries (shampoo/conditioner, face wash, soap, lotion, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, lip balm, etc.)
Makeup bag
Hairbrush/Comb + extra hair ties
Disposable Nursing Pads
Recovery Items (nipple cream, soothing bottom spray, arnica oil, maxi pads, vitamins, belly bandit)

Reusable water bottle + a few bottles of gatorade
Granola Bars, Fruit Snacks, Trail Mix

Hospital Registration Form
Pediatrician Contact Info
Midwife +  Doula Contact Info
Copies of insurance cards + driver's license
Folder for baby's paperwork (birth certificate info, forms, etc.)
Notebook + Pen

Fully charged camera with formatted SD cards
Laptop/iPad + charger
Phone + charger
Friends & Family email contact list to send the initial "she's here!" announcement

For Baby:
Going Home Outfit (Onesie, leggings, booties, hat, sweater, extra footie pajamas)
Car Seat

For Tiho:
Toiletries Kit
Boxers + Socks (2-3)
Sweatpants (1)
T-shirts (2-3)
Hoodie (1)
Flip-Flops for shower

Plastic bag for dirty laundry
Quarters for vending machine
Baby Book (for foot/hand prints)
Nurse Gifts (Edibles?)
Breath Mints


Whew! Go ahead and make fun of me now. It's cool.

*There are additional common items that several packing lists recommend which I personally don't find necessary, such as diapers/wipes/pacifiers/swaddle blankets (will use hospital-provided ones) and my own pillow/towel (why the hassle?).

**Top photo shows baby girl's items. They're definitely the prettiest of the bunch!

05 November 2015

Dear Baby, Volume 3

Dear Baby,

I was whimpering in bed the other night because I couldn't get comfortable. You were moving around a lot and it felt like my insides were being pushed to their limits. I was really tired and feeling momentarily sorry for myself before realizing that we only have a few weeks left together with you nestled inside of me. While I dream about the moment I finally get to see your little face for the first time, I am going to be honest right now, and tell you how much I will miss having you in my belly. I have loved being pregnant more than I ever imagined. I know the experience is different for every woman, and I feel so lucky that this pregnancy--this special time carrying you--has been relatively easy. Sometimes it feels like it's taking forever and other times it feels like time is flying by at lightening speed. Even as I write this, I cannot believe that we've nearly reached the end! You are almost ready to come out and meet us. And then? Well, then, it's the beginning. Oh how I love beginnings.

I read the following passage recently: it made me cry. This is for you, my sweet child:

"We promise to love you with a transforming love, 

a love that accepts you as you are unconditionally. 

We promise to comfort you in your pain and vulnerability 

and to celebrate you in your joy and discovery. 

We promise to teach you what we believe it means to be strong and humane, 

and to seek peace in our family and in our world. 

We respect the person you are forever becoming 

and promise to learn from you all you have to teach us. 

We promise to play with you, to work side-by-side with you, 

to cry you with you and to laugh with you.

And, as we learn to parent and love you, we dedicate ourselves to learning, more fully, 

what it means to parent and to love ourselves and each other."

-Shea Darian, from Seven Times the Sun


Keep growing, baby. I can't wait to meet you and hold you and snuggle you and kiss you and comfort you and admire you and continue to love you to the ends of the universe and back again, because truth be told: I've loved you from the very start.


02 November 2015

Sleepy Hollow

"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons." -Jim Bishop

The final week in October boasts peak foliage around these parts: how is it possible that every year I forget how magnificent it is? Tiho and I spent Halloween evening in Sleepy Hollow, NY. We hiked through Rockefeller State Park Preserve for the hour leading up to sunset and then strolled the bustling main street of picturesque Tarrytown before stuffing ourselves silly at our favorite Greek restaurant in village center. While walking back to the car after dinner, we sipped hot cider and admired all of the costumed kids and adults running through the streets. It's so fun to think about next year's Halloween and how different that will be with an almost-one-year-old. Whoa!

[Photos: October 2015 / iPhone 6+]

28 October 2015

Neighborhood Spooktacular!

Our neighborhood goes all out with holiday decorating. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

A skeleton riding a bicycle, complete with a helmet to protect dem bones? Check. An orange claw-footed bathtub filled with seasonal flowers? Check. (And that house? Sigh).

Spooky creatures hanging from porches and blowing in the wind? Check.

Trees on every corner in the most vibrant shades of orange, rust and gold? Check. The lawn of the local library becoming overrun with various creepy storybook characters and tombstones? Check.

All of the small business storefront windows displaying Halloween scenes painted by local elementary-school children? Check.

Oh how I love this season. And oh how I love our festive little town.

24 October 2015

Photo 101: Capturing Authentic Shots of Your Kids

I've been thinking about starting a series on the blog where I can share various photo tips and tricks I've learned over the last few years as a professional photographer. I classify myself primarily as a portrait photographer because taking pictures of people--specifically, the interactions between people--is what makes my heart sing.

To kick things off, I thought I'd offer up three tried and true tips on how to obtain awesome photos of your children.

Tip #1: Make Them Laugh. There is nothing I abhor more than portrait sessions where everyone is posed stiffly with parents shouting "say cheese!" while the kids paste on forced, plastic smiles. (You know what I'm taking about. I'm looking at you, JC Penny). Get your kids to laugh! Make fart noises, contort your body into ridiculous positions, tickle them, honestly, do whatever it takes. I guarantee even the most stoic child will laugh eventually if you're willing to bring on the sillies.

Tip #2: Incorporate Movement. I admit, this skill takes practice. You have to know what you're doing with a camera in order to avoid motion blur (Pro-tip: increase your shutter speed). But, when you do succeed in capturing your child in motion, whether it be dancing, jumping, spinning, etc., you're capturing your child as a child. Kids like to move! Embrace it. Movement brings life to a photo. What's better than that?

Tip #3: Change Your Perspective. As adults, we often forget that kids are little people: little, as in, a lot smaller than us. Getting down to their level, or on a totally different level from them, makes for a dynamic photograph. Lay on your stomach and shoot up. Climb on a chair and shoot down. Shoot through a barrier. Crouch right in front of them and point the lens directly opposite their face. Your perspective suddenly becomes a child's perspective, which makes for a far more interesting composition.

I hope the aforementioned tips and examples were helpful. 'Tis certainly the season for photo-taking with the holidays right around the corner, so happy shooting!

19 October 2015

Grow, Baby, Grow: 34 Weeks

How Far AlongThirty-four weeks. My due date was adjusted slightly (moved up three days), so counting weeks is a bit off. Hopefully less than six to go.

Size of BabyA honeydew melon. She's about 18 inches from head to toe and weighs approximately 4.75 lbs.

CravingsSeasonal anything (pumpkin, hot soup, caramel apple spice from Starbucks, etc.). Lots of water. Can't seem to drink enough!

Weight Gain16 lbs (ish). I'll  know for sure after my appointment later this week (my scale always reads differently than theirs).

Maternity ClothesOf course. The temperatures dropped drastically this past week, so coats, scarves and ankle boots have joined the regular rotation.

Physical SymptomsLower back pain if I sit in a desk chair for too long. A good old-fashioned hot water bottle helps tremendously. Also, shortness of breath! She's taking up all my lung-space at this point. The strangest development in the past two weeks has been weak hand control. I've been getting random finger spasms and sometimes need to shake my hands to get circulation flowing (I am told this is normal). I can definitely feel myself slowing down. I'm officially taking maternity leave from the photo business after November 8th, but between now and then, it's basically crazy-time. Really attempting to listen to my body and rest whenever possible so as not to overdo it. 

SleepFine, except for the falling asleep part. I toss and turn trying to get comfortable for at least the first hour every night. She's usually SUPER active during this time, so part of the problem is me becoming distracted by her jabs and acrobatics.  

FearsThis is a silly one, but I really want the house to be spotless before I go into labor. Since we obviously can't predict when that will be, I imagine I'll be a psycho person those last couple of weeks trying to tidy up, dust and run the dishwasher on the regular. Obviously, I know we have zero control over this, but I at least want to come home to clean sheets and an empty kitchen sink. She's due Thanksgiving Day, so we're in the process of trying to plan the logistics of that holiday with family. All I know is that we won't be hosting. 

Baby's Developmental Milestones: She's peeing up to a pint per day now. Bring on those teeny newborn diapers! She's nearly ready to meet the outside world: in roughly two weeks, she's considered full-term.

General Mood & Emotions: Exhilarated with a twinge of anxiety. Still need to choose a pediatrician, pack a hospital bag and fax our pre-registration forms to the hospital, which I'm planning to check off the to-do list this week. We toured the birth center and maternity ward a couple of weeks back, which brought on a weird mix of emotions for me. It's hard to explain, but I felt anxious when I saw the space and realized how the timing of everything is truly out of my hands. I'm a planner by nature, so surrendering to this realization feels significant to me. I trust that whatever is meant to be, will be. But you know, since I'm putting this out there, in an ideal world, I'll go into labor at night, have time to shower and shave while contractions aren't yet intense, drive to the hospital early the next morning where she'll come within a few hours without complication. Then, we'll order Greek food and indulge visitors for two days before returning home in time for cranberry sauce and stuffing. Ya hear me, universe!? :)

Things I'm Looking Forward To:  Finishing up the decorating of her space. We have just about everything we need, so now it's time for the last few loads of laundry and organizing. My grandpa passed away peacefully over the weekend, so while this might sound weird, I'm also looking forward to traveling to Boston this weekend for his funeral/celebration of life and to see my family. If it happened any later, we might not have been able to make the trip, so I'm grateful for that.

Coolest Thing So FarTaking those photos up there? Spelling out her name with alphabet blocks? Folding tiny socks and hats? Tiho resting his head on my belly and trying to guess which body part is kicking him? Feeling the most beautiful I ever have in my life? Every bit of this? Because...yes.

"What is done in love is done well." -Vincent Van Gogh

16 October 2015

Mid-October, As It Stands

Making : Serious side-eye at Donald Trump.
Cooking : Dinner every night. Weekly meal-planning is a sanity-saver.
Drinking : Glass after glass of water. Always thirsty! Also, grape juice. 
Reading: Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Ann Fennelly.
Wanting: This on-the-go handwash, this book and this footstool pouf.
Looking: At my silhouette reflection in everything (including shiny office building facades. No shame).
Playing: With blocks. Specifically these and these.
Wasting: Wipes? They're especially convenient for cleaning grotty tv remotes.
Wishing: For this little babe to enter the world safely and swiftly.
Enjoying: All of the festive Halloween decorations around the neighborhood.
Waiting: For dusty shelves to figure out to clean themselves. Wouldn't that be amazing?
Liking: Sweater weather.
Wondering: What babies think about inside the womb.
Loving: Our plush new rug in the living room.
Hoping: That my grandfather passes on peacefully.
Marveling: At the fact that there is real person inside of me. Wild.
Needing: A hot water bottle on my lower back after spending any sort of time in a desk chair.
Smelling: Apple cider and eucalyptus. 
Wearing: My husband's t-shirts to bed every night.
Trusting: That my body knows what to do.
Noticing: How strangers see my belly and then smile or comment.
Knowing: Not a whole lot about taking care of a newborn. 
Thinking: About how I loved my bridesmaid hairstyle at my best friend's wedding (pictured).
Bookmarking: Hospital bag packing checklists and easy freezer meals.
Opening: Packages containing assorted tiny things such as snot suckers, teethers and stuffed toys.
Feeling: Joyful.


Oh what a difference a year makes! See previous list here.

P.S. For your reading/viewing pleasure:

Barbie hater? You might love their new ad.
Forget the new baby gift. Do this instead.
Identify your Style Profile in one easy step. For the record, I'm an "E."
The Power of Play. So much yes to this.
Ten simple things to make you happier at home. I especially agree with #'s 2, 3 & 10.
Well, this is adorable. And so is this (oh my heart!). 
And last, Imposter Mom.