Gift Guide for a One-Year-Old

We’ve had a one year old in our house for a few weeks now, and, I have to say, one is fun! We’re enjoying this age so much as Lyla becomes more and more of a tiny person. Lyla got really good gifts at her birthday party and I’ve been looking into Christmas gifts. I compiled all her favorites along with what I’m thinking of getting her into this guide. A couple of these will overlap with my Favorite Toys in the First Year post, but I wanted to have all my recommendations in one place. If you have a one year old in your life, hopefully this will give you some good ideas! Share your own suggestions for this stage in the comments!

Crawling toy: I bought this for Lyla around six months and she was terrified. #momfail. I brought it back out the day before she turned a year old and she’s obsessed with it. She smiles and claps when it lights up. It has settings for carpet and hardwood, and attempts to redirect itself like a robot vacuum when it gets stuck.

Shape sorting toy: There are hundreds of versions of this classic developmental tool. You can go with the OG Fisher-Price version, Montessori (aka hipster) style with a wooden option, or choose an activity toy that encourages pretend play. Lyla has this Leap Frog picnic basket and loves it. It has multiple settings she will be able to use for imagination play as she gets older. In a similar vein is this tea set she got for her birthday. I could hardly get her to open her other presents because she wanted to play with it right away!

Crawling tunnel: I wanted to get Lyla one of these for her birthday, but we’re saving it for Christmas. I’m still deciding between a few different options: a crawling tunnel by itself, a tunnel with a tent, or a more aesthetically attractive tent.

Palm Crayons: We don’t have these, but I put them on Lyla’s Christmas list as soon as I read about them. They’re designed in an egg shape, for babies who might enjoy coloring but are too little to safely be given a regular crayon.

Large stuffed animal: Lyla fell in love with her stuffed animals at this age. She takes turns hugging them and handing them to us to love. About 12 inches in length is a good size at this age. They can really bear hug it. She also LOVES her Squish-Mallow. Just make sure to get one that can be machine washed. They will likely go through a lot!

Suction Kupz: This is another item Santa Clause might be bringing Lyla. These multi-use silicone cups sold me when I learned they could stick to the fridge for her to play with while we try to get dinner on the table. (Is than an Olympic sport in anyone else’s house, or just me?)

Push walker: I mentioned the Sit to Stand walker in my favorite toys post. Lyla loves hers and a walker of this type was suggested by her pediatrician as being a good developmental toy for encouraging independent walking.

Wooden puzzles: These are in every nursery, classroom, and daycare for a reason. A puzzle with knobs on the pieces will go a long way in helping babies at this age conceptualize matching the shapes.

Building blocks: I’ve been wanting to get these for Lyla forever, and I think she’ll finally be the right age at Christmas. I like that these come with a bag for storage.

What’s in my [Diaper] Bag

I used to love when magazines would feature a glimpse into a celebrity’s purse. They always called it “What’s in my bag?” The designer totes were filled with things like luxury beauty products, gorgeous personal care items, and interesting odds & ends. Well I’m no celebrity, but I have a bag! Today I’m showing you what’s in my diaper bag, from what kind of bag I use to how I pack it for every possible situation.

The bag:

When I was pregnant, several friends advised me to get a diaper backpack instead of a tote bag. Their reasoning was that it’s so much easier to have it on your back and have one less thing in your hands with baby in tow. I totally get what they meant because babies do require a ton of stuff, and any time you’re out with your baby you feel like you have a million things you’re holding. However, I found the backpack to be frustrating. No matter how many pockets it has, the big section of a backpack always turns into a black hole. I hated not being able to just reach into it for things. I had to unload whatever I was carrying and take it off to get into it. After using it for about six months, I switched to an open, structured tote and haven’t looked back. I like being able to glance in and make sure it’s all packed. I reach into it all the time while it’s on my shoulder, and toss things in on the top when needed. This particular tote is from a store that went out of business so I can’t link it, but I’ve linked some similar options below.

Links: Amazon tote (comes in lots of colors), H&M Shopper, Walmart leopard straw tote

The contents:

Our diaper bag stays packed with diaper changing supplies, a change of clothes for Lyla, small toys, basic baby care items, my purse items, my wallet, phone, glasses/sunglasses, and keys. I put a full itemized list at the bottom that you can use as a checklist! To keep everything organized, I use these clear bags. I use the larger ones for travel, and three small ones in the diaper bag: one for clothes, one for toys, and one for baby care. For my stuff I use a zipper pouch so that when I need to leave the diaper bag with Lyla (like in the church nursery or at grandparents’ houses), I can just put the pouch in my purse and have all my stuff ready to go.

In addition to these staples, make sure your bag can also fit feeding supplies, baby’s outerwear (jackets are supposed to come off in the car seat and oftentimes they get hot in their stroller), loveys/stuffed animals, and any other random thing you might find yourself needing to carry. Basically, make sure your tote is large enough that it has negative space. There will be so many times you just need to get something out of your hand and it’s so helpful to be able to just toss it in.

I hope this post is helpful to those of you in the diaper bag stage of life. I clean mine out multiple times a week to keep it from becoming a bottomless pit of junk. Below is a checklist you can use to pack your bag. Modify it according to your needs!

Lyla’s Favorite Toys: The First Year

When I was pregnant, I had the startling realization that I was completely clueless about childhood development. I didn’t know what babies needed or wanted. I knew as long as I had the basics covered (food, diapers, and a crib), the child would survive. But I had no idea how to entertain her! In case you’re in the same situation, I’m sharing the toys Lyla loved most in each developmental stage of her first year. I tried to choose things that she continued to play with rather than things she only cared about for a few weeks. Every baby is different, of course, but hopefully this will give you a starting point or spark some ideas.

0-3 months:

Activity mat >> Lyla used this all the way from 0-6 months. There are a million varieties and you can’t go wrong. My only advice? Get one that’s easy to disassemble & is machine washable. It will get spit up on and probably worse…

Stroller toy/Activity toy >> Just like the activity mat, there are endless varieties of these toys. They can clip onto a stroller or really anywhere you want them. I would clip this to Lyla’s activity mat and she would grab it & kick it.

O-ballz >> This was Lyla’s first favorite toy. Her eyes would light up when she saw it. It was the first thing she could grab. She still plays with it to this day.

3-6 months:

Bouncy seat >> Lyla used this from the time she was a newborn, but she really came to love it around three months. There are automated bouncers, rockers like the one pictured above, and bouncers you will have to bounce manually. It all depends on your preference. In those early days, this is one of the few things that allows baby to sit up.

Crinkle toys >> Lyla went through a phase where this crinkle giraffe was her favorite thing. We would hold it over her while she laid on her back and boop her nose with it and she thought it was the greatest thing ever. She has a crinkle book that she still plays with at 12 months.

Rattles >> The OG baby toy. There are approximately one billion of these out there, so don’t overthink it. Lyla favored wooden rattles (she would chew on them) and bright plastic ones like the one pictured above. They always love the cheap toys.

Teethers >> Even before babies start teething, their salivary glands develop and they drool constantly. Combine that with sensory development and a natural curiosity and you can guarantee everything is going in your baby’s mouth. With that in mind, it’s good to have a variety of safety-approved teethers around to offer instead of, say, the TV remote.

6-9 months:

Stacking cups >> Oh my word. The cups. A family member got these for Lyla around six months and girlfriend has not STOPPED playing with them. These are around $3.00 and we have gotten hours of playtime out of them. So good for sensory learning and can be used for activities into the toddler stage.

Sleep lovey >> PLEASE note: The American Academy of Pediatrics’ official recommendation is no blankets of any kind in the crib until the age of two. Always educate yourself on safety risks before making a change in baby’s surroundings, especially when it comes to sleep, when SIDS is a higher risk. Around eight months, Lyla went through a bad sleep regression. We took a sleep training course when she was first born and tried everything to get through this regression. When we still didn’t see improvement, I assessed my baby and our situation and felt confident she was ready to have a comfort object in the crib with her. It solved our issues almost overnight so I know it was the right choice for our family. She still sleeps with it and we often see her on the monitor hugging it as tight as her little arm can squeeze!

Exersaucer >> This is what we graduated to when we retired the bouncy seat and activity mat. Besides a Pack n’ Play, it’s really the only thing that allowed me to be hands-free with her in this stage, and still is to this day. (Baby-wearing never really worked for us.) Lyla loved this thing pre-crawling, and it helps baby develop leg strength they need for all the developmental milestones to come. Post-crawling, we had to do a little work to get her to see it as fun and not a leg prison. But if we do it in short spurts, it still allows me to get housework done while being engaged with her.

9-12 months:

Board books >> We’ve always read to Lyla, but it wasn’t until 9-12 months that she seemed interested in handling books herself. I of course promptly eliminated any book with paper pages from our rotation once that happened. She loves to turn the pages in board books and is getting more interactive with them by the day in terms of feeling textures, lifting flaps, and pointing to pictures.

Bouncy balls >> Andrew’s parents had a medium-sized bouncy ball in their toy box and Lyla loved it. I subsequently bought her a bouncy soccer ball because I saw it in a store and used it to keep her entertained in the cart while I focused on the errand we were running. You would have thought I bought her a pony. She laughs and claps for these things and they’re so cheap! I like that we can easily play with them outside, too.

Stuffed animals >> Lyla didn’t care a bit for stuffed animals until she got to this stage. And then she decided they were her favorite thing. She loves to hug and lay all over large stuffed animals, like this Winnie the Pooh we got her for her birthday. She carries around little ones, showing them to us and bringing them with her when she crawls. I can already tell we’re going to be a household that gets overrun with stuffies.

Sit to Stand Learning Walker >> I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. I love any baby item that will move through stages with your baby. It all goes so fast and I hate spending money on something we will only use a few weeks. This activity board detaches from the walker frame. You can lay it flat for baby to play with when sitting up, then attach it to the walker when baby starts pulling up and cruising. You can also lock the front wheels. Baby will still be able to push the walker on hard surfaces, but it will slow down the speed enough to prevent them from getting it out ahead of their tiny arms.

What I wish I’d gotten:

Metal teethers >> This is the one thing we didn’t get and I wish we had. I think it’s a little late to get them now. Lyla loves chewing on anything metal because it’s cold, which is soothing on swollen gums. To be honest, she’s cut so many teeth lately these may end up on mommy’s Christmas list before it’s all said and done.

I hope this gives you a rough idea of where to start when buying baby toys, some gift ideas for the babies in your life, or sparks an idea for something new to put in your current rotation. What are the superstar toys in your house? Any you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy? Let me know in the comments!

Best Baby Buys

 

We’ve almost made it through the first year with our little Lyla Rose! Over the course of that year, we’ve come to know and love baby products that have made our lives easier. There are so many baby products out there, things can get overwhelming fast. That’s why I’m sharing the things we’ve used the most. Of course every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. But each of these products is certainly worth a try! I also wrote a post about baby registry tips that you can read here!

Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up-If I had the brain space, I would write a love song to the Sit Me Up. We got so much use out of this thing. Lyla loved it, and it allowed us to be hands-free with her while knowing she was both safe and entertained. I squeezed her in it until she couldn’t squeeze no more. This is truly my favorite piece of baby gear.

Hatch baby rest & portable sound machine-If you’ve read a baby products post in the last year, you’ve read about the Hatch Baby Rest. It’s a white noise machine and nightlight that can be controlled from your phone. White noise is an essential component for baby sleep, and this thing is worth every penny. You’ll also want a portable sound machine for on the go. I’ve heard great things about the Rohm, but I think just about any sound machine that has the option to plug in and use battery will do. We have this one.

Fridababy Baby Basics Kit-We had used everything in this kit by the time Lyla was 4 weeks old. The silicone brush is great for cradle cap, the nail clippers and file are so helpful for those impossibly tiny fingernails, the gas passer saved us on a couple occasions in the newborn days, and the snot sucker is legendary.

Fisher Price Space Saver Hi-Chair-I’m always interested in products that can transition through different phases with baby. This hi-chair can be used for bottle feeding, starting solids/table foods, and as a booster seat in the toddler stage. It also saves space by attaching to a kitchen chair you already have. Every part of it is machine washable or dishwasher safe. I even take the straps off once every couple weeks and run them through the washer in a garment bag. We love this thing!

Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs-These burp cloths cover the most surface area, are soft and absorbent, and have a snap closure for use as bibs. They come in so many cute prints and colors. We’re still using them as we approach one year. I can’t promise you won’t get spit up on (actually I can promise that you will), but I can say these are your best chance for keeping everyone’s outfit clean.

Zarabee’s Daily Bottom Balm– This is the only diaper cream we’ve found that truly keeps diaper rash at bay. Lyla never had a problem with diaper rash until she started solids. This was the cream that cleared it up, and we’ve stuck with it ever since. If she does happen to get some redness, it’s gone within 24 hours. We apply it every night as a preventative. And a bonus–this cream is more like a gel than a thick paste, making application easy. And it doesn’t stick to every surface like some of the creams we’ve used.

Ubbi Weighted Wipes DispenserWe received this as a gift from one of my dear college friends whose eye for practicality I always trust! It keeps your wipes from coming out one million at a time. It fits every pack of wipes we’ve tried, and the simple design doesn’t clash with nursery decor. Trust and believe, it will be a diaper changing game changer!

Hello Bello Diapers & WipesIf you can’t tell by now, diapering is a huge part of the first year of baby’s life. I first tried Hello Bello diapers because they were significantly cheaper than Pamper’s in the bulk size. I’m always skeptical of celebrity brands, but I’ve been so happy with Hello Bello products. Their wipes are 99% water, and I think the combination of their diapers and wipes with Zarabee’s diaper cream is what keeps Lyla’s booty clear of diaper rash. You can bundle their diapers through their site or pick them up from Walmart.

Pampers Wipes For Cleanup-We may be a Hello Bello household, but no shade to Pamper’s. I keep a pack of Pamper’s wipes on hand for clean up because they contain more soap. I also use them in the diaper bag since they are multi-functional. It’s not that Hello Bello wipes don’t work for cleanup, I just prefer to keep all my diaper changing supplies stocked for that purpose only. It makes it easier to grab a 3-pack of Pamper’s, knowing they will only be used for messes and on-the-go. These things work wonders on smeared peanut butter, messy hands and faces, and wiping down surfaces in a pinch.

Gas Drops & Tylenol-Plan to have a few basic medicines on hand before baby arrives. We used these gas drops SO much during Lyla’s first couple months (hello, milk allergy!). Tylenol is just good to have on hand. Obviously, I am not a doctor. Always consult your pediatrician before giving your child medications.

What I wish I’d gotten:

There are a couple items I didn’t get that I will be getting if I have another baby. Learn from my mistakes!

Boppy Pillow-Per the advice of friends, I registered for a Boppy Newborn Lounger and a My Brest Friend pillow. In hindsight, I could have gotten the original Boppy and it would have performed both functions and grown with Lyla. Lyla didn’t care for the Newborn Lounger and it doesn’t really function past the newborn stage. My Brest Friend is a great tool for nursing, but leave it in the package until you’re sure you’re going to nurse. I wasn’t able to, but I couldn’t return it because I had brought it to the hospital. The Boppy pillow is a place to prop baby, a nursing pillow, and will serve as a support when they start sitting up. If I had it to do over again, I’d just get the Boppy and get the My Brest Friend if I needed it for nursing help.

Ottoman-This may seem really out of left field, but I would get an ottoman for your rocker if you have one that doesn’t recline. I love our rocker and I wouldn’t want a different one, but I do wish I had something to prop my feet on for those long nights when baby needs to be held. No matter what kind of sleep training you’re doing, those nights will come!

Nursery Organization Tips

I’ve been obsessed with organizing ever since I can remember. I used to spend way more time setting up and putting away my Barbies than I did actually playing with them (I may or may not have used a small tackle box to store their shoes by color). When it came time to set up Lyla’s nursery, I wasn’t sure where to start. I had never had a baby. How was I to know where all that tiny stuff should go?! Now that I have eight months of experience under my belt (baby months are like dog years), I’m sharing my tips on how to organize your nursery storage!

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Grab and go: Many things babies need, they need urgently. Make sure those items are stored where you can grab them quickly. For example, bibs and burp cloths for spit up, blankets for tummy time, and a diaper changing station stocked with everything you need. You’ll need to be able to grab things with one hand, so avoid containers with lids or fasteners. Pictured above is our diaper changing station. The bin contains diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, and lotion. The top drawer of the dresser is always stocked with an extra container of wipes, extra diapers, extra disposal bags, and clean changing pad covers.

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At a glance: Make staples easy to see so it’s obvious when you’re getting low. There’s nothing quite like realizing you just put the last diaper on your baby’s bum to strike fear into a parent’s heart. I keep our diapers, wipes, and extra changing supplies on this cart.  You can use them creatively in so many ways. They’re attractive enough to be out in plain sight, but the wheels allow you to tuck them away if needed.

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Out of sight: There will be a lot of things you need for baby eventually, but you don’t need them front and center right away. Store those items in a place that allows you access to them fairly easily, but keeps them out of sight and mind in your day to day routine. This cube storage worked perfectly for me. The top three cubes hold clothing in sizes she hasn’t grown into yet, the bottom three hold feeding supplies, bedding, and towels. Things I do need are easy to grab (like a towel for her bath each night), but infrequently used items are neatly stored away all within the same piece. I like that cube storage can grow with her needs as she gets older, and we can swap out bins as her tastes change.

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Bonus Tip: Baby things are so small! Drawer dividers or small bins will go a long way in helping you keep it all sorted. I use these in Lyla’s drawers to separate her clothing by type so I can get her dressed quickly and easily. I use tape for labels so I can switch them out as the seasons change.

Babies are constantly changing, but these storage solutions have grown with Lyla and served her ever-changing needs. I’m a firm believer that life will throw you plenty of chaos you can’t control, so you might as well organize the chaos you can control!

 

Lyla’s Favorite Things

The two types of content that have been most helpful to me during these quarantine times are: 1) Deep Feels and 2) What people are buying/using. In light of that, today I’m sharing a list of Lyla’s favorite things. These are the toys and baby gear we’re getting the most mileage out of as we spend our days stuck at home.

Learning blocks

These blocks are soft enough for Lyla to chew and bonk herself in the head with, and they have lots of play options for when she’s older. Each block has a number or math symbol, an animal, fruits for counting, shapes, and textures. I love toys that can grow with her so we’re not constantly buying something new. And, selfishly, the colors on these are to die for, which is a nice break from the usual loud and gaudy baby fare.

V-Tech Sit to Stand Walker

Speaking of loud and gaudy…I finally broke down and bought a toy that makes noise. As much as I hate background noise, I had to face facts. Poor baby was getting bored, and this thing is a feast for her little senses. I pull this out when things are getting desperado and I need her to be entertained for a hot minute. This is another toy that can grow with her, as the activity portion can be attached to a walker for when she starts pulling up.

Silicone teethers

I’m sure every baby has their own teething preferences, but for Lyla’s money you can’t go wrong with a silicone teether. The other things she chews on most are wood and metal, but I don’t find those as easily. I’m linking this teething blanket that she munches on in the carseat and stroller. I ordered it because she hadn’t really taken to a lovie, but she was always putting blankets and burp rags in her mouth. And the fact that it’s a rose for Lyla Rose didn’t hurt, either.

Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up

Alas, Lyla is on the verge of too chunky for this seat, but I’m going to squeeze her in it as long as I can. This has been my favorite baby seat we’ve had. It has toys attached but also has a tray where she can play with other toys. I linked our gender neutral one here but I love this one and this one that are new since we registered, too.

Excersaucer

There are a million varieties of these bad boys. It’s a stationary play gym that allows your baby to stand and jump without going anywhere. They come in every theme and DEFCON level you can fathom. The barnyard theme spoke to me. I like that this one has multiple different types of motor skill and sensory activities, but it doesn’t look like some insane sproingy thing that a Who child would get for Christmas in Whoville.

So that’s how we’re surviving these days! I just move her from toy to toy as she starts getting bored. On nice weather days we go for a walk outside. It’s so hard to wrap my head around navigating the first year of my baby’s life during a historic event. How are you all making it? Are there any products that are saving your sanity right now? Let me know in the comments!

What I Packed in my Hospital Bag

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Packing our hospital bag was one of the things I stressed about most during my pregnancy. The only way I had a clue what to bring was by reading blogs, so I thought it might be helpful to share what I packed. I wanted to wait until after Lyla was born so I would know what we actually ended up using. Taking a childbirth class at our hospital was also really helpful because it gave us an idea what the hospital would provide. I highly recommend taking a class if your hospital offers one!

For mom:

-Phone charger

-Toiletry bag (you’ll want your own shampoo, soap, etc. and contact solution & glasses if you wear contacts.)

-Basic skincare products (face wash & moisturizer)

-Makeup (I just brought the basics)

-Nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed

-Nightgown if you want to change while there. I ended up just wearing the hospital gown because I was too exhausted to even think about changing clothes until we were leaving. Make sure it is nursing friendly if you plan to breastfeed.

-Loose outfit for going home. You will still look about six months pregnant at first. If you end up having a C-section, you won’t want anything tight pressing on your incision.

-The biggest pair of shoes you have. Your feet will most likely be even more swollen than they were in pregnancy.

-Grippy socks or slippers for walking around your room

-Sweater or sweatshirt. I ended up not needing mine because it was 100 degrees the day Lyla was born, but it may be cold in your hospital room.

-Pillow & blanket if you want your own. The hospital will provide both.

For dad:

-Phone charger

-Toiletry kit

-Snacks (so he doesn’t have to leave your side during labor but also doesn’t faint from not eating. Make sure they don’t smell too strong in case you have nausea during labor)

-Pajamas

-Going home outfit

-Slippers for walking around hospital room

-Pillow & blanket if he wants his own

-Contact solution & glasses if he wears contacts. Andrew’s eyes got so dry he was glad to have his glasses.

-Socks & underwear

-Comfy shoes. He may have to do a lot of walking depending on how large the hospital is.

For baby:

-Onesies in varying sizes (I brought preemie, newborn, & 0-3 month since I wasn’t sure how big she would be. Before we left I donated the preemie onesies to the NICU.)

-Socks

-Mittens (baby’s nails will probably be long & they’ll want to scratch their face)

-Going home outfit (we just did a plain onesie and wrapped her in a pretty swaddle for photos. Just keep in mind you have to unswaddle for the car seat if you go that route.)

-Portable sound machine. We put this in Lyla’s bassinet and she slept great.

-Nursing cover if you want any type of modesty. People will be in and out of your room constantly.

-Swaddles if you want to change them out of the hospital swaddle. Keep in mind, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against swaddle blankets that could come loose during sleep and cover baby’s nose and mouth. The safest options use Velcro or zippers. If you put your baby in a plain swaddle blanket without fasteners, make sure to monitor them closely.

Even with this relatively small list, there were still items we didn’t use. Honestly, our hospital stay was terrible because we couldn’t get ANY sleep with all the people in and out of our room. So there were a lot of things that went out the window, like changing into a nightgown and changing Lyla’s outfit. But every person who took care of us was wonderful, and I’m so thankful for the nurses who helped me! Moms out there, any items that made your hospital stay better? Items you wish you’d left at home? Let me know in the comments!

 

Lyla’s Nursery Reveal

NDHL1051I’m so excited to share Lyla’s nursery with you! I had so much fun (and a few sleepless nights) putting this room together. Interior design is a great outlet for creativity. I think we all feel like we have an inner Joanna Gaines just waiting to come out! Today I’m sharing my inspiration for her room, how it all came together, and where all the pieces are from.

The inspo:

The first thing I chose for Lyla’s nursery was the color. I love everything pink, but I didn’t want to design a room for me. I also believe in how colors make us feel. I chose a very soft lavender because I knew it would be soothing. 

The next step was to choose a “theme.” I didn’t have anything that I wanted to commit to, so I chose Team No Theme. I just wanted the room to be soft, timeless, and feminine. I wanted it to look like a baby lived there, not an adult hipster. I knew I wanted to incorporate florals, but I didn’t want to go too crazy. I also had the luxury of knowing we are moving sometime next year when Andrew’s residency ends, so her nursery didn’t have to transition into a little girl’s room. As long as we were living in this house, it only had to be a room for a tiny baby.

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The process:

Decorating this nursery proved to be one of the hardest projects I’ve done. You only get to bring your first baby home once, and I wanted everything to be just the way I envisioned. That desire combined with pregnancy brain gave me decision paralysis like I have never had in my life. I am normally a VERY decisive person. But while putting together the nursery, I second-guessed everything. I literally lost nights of sleep over the curtains. I kept having to remind myself that all my baby actually needs is love, food, and a safe place to sleep, and I had those covered.

To somewhat preserve my sanity, I made a list and a Pinterest board of all the elements I wanted for the room. That helped me stay focused while shopping.

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The sources:

I’m not a cool enough blogger to have an account where I can link all the sources for you, so I’ll list them here for those curious:

Crib: Buy Buy Baby

Dresser (used as changing table): Leah Shea Interiors in Paducah, KY

Blanket ladder: Facebook Marketplace

Paint color: Sachet by Valspar

Rocker: Target

Side table: Marshall’s

Cube storage & floral cubes: Walmart

Gallery wall: Frames are from Goodwill, Marshall’s, and At Home. Mirror and cross are from Hobby Lobby. The wooden sign is from Home Goods. The other pieces in her gallery wall are:

-“The Rose Fairy” print from this series by Cicely Mary Barker. She was an English artist in the 1920’s and 30’s, and I love her prints for nurseries or little girls’ rooms.

-Vintage sheet music for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I’ve had this sheet music for years and I saved it knowing I would want it in a nursery someday.

-A vintage Barbie sketch print from a set of greeting cards like this one.

-The Art of Disney theme parks “Vision” postcard. I tried to link this but couldn’t find a source I trusted. This is a postcard I bought while I worked at Disney. It depicts the land on which Magic Kingdom is built as it looked when Walt purchased it, with a hologram of the castle over it.

That may be more detail than you ever wanted to know, but that’s the story on our little girl’s nursery! We can’t wait to bring her home!

Affordable Loungewear Looks

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I officially hit the 37 week mark yesterday! Our baby girl will be here before we know it and we can’t wait to meet her! I’ll be staying home with Lyla for at least the next year. One thing I’ve done as I look forward to becoming a SAHM is to seek out lounge-wear looks that are practical while still making me feel somewhat put together. I know motherhood involves a lot of bodily fluids and thinking of yourself last. I also know I don’t need to impress anyone or look like I’m going to a ball. However, I do think a simple, feasible act of self-care I can implement is to put on a clean outfit each day that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to answer the door in. With that in mind, I’ve put together this Pinterest board of affordable pieces as well as some inspo for how to wear things you might already have.

As I’m writing this, Aerie has all their joggers and leggings 40% off. If you happen upon this post after that sale is over, keep checking their site for future markdowns. My favorite brands for quality lounge-wear that lasts forever, looks cute, and keeps me comfy are Aerie and Victoria’s Secret. I personally would not spend full price, but both brands have frequent sales that put their items in a very reasonable price range. I literally have Victoria’s Secret sweatpants from 2009 that are still kicking. For other pieces like camis, cardigans, and basic tops, I always check Forever 21. Ideally, my lounge outfits would be something I could confidently run an errand in, but for the most part I’m just going to be wearing these outfits around the house, so I don’t want to spend a ton of money.

What are some simple things you do for self-care? Any stay at home moms out there with tips for a newbie? Let me know in the comments!

My Summer 2019 Faves

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI have to admit, I’m ready for fall. I’m not usually one to rush through seasons, but fall is when the Cude household thrives. If we’re being realistic, we probably won’t be feeling fall weather here in Kentucky until at least October. Knowing that it will still feel like summer for a while, I’ve rounded up all the random items that have made my life more enjoyable this season. And that’s saying something, considering I’ve been pregnant all summer. Trust me, I’ve gotten pretty good at beating the heat!

Sonic Vanilla Coke with lime

Soda is one of my vices–so much so that when I got pregnant, I gave up all other caffeine just so I could still drink Coke. Add to that the fact that crushed ice has been one of my pregnancy cravings, and Sonic has been my best friend this summer. This flavor combo idea was suggested on their menu and let me tell you, it’s a game changer. It tastes like key lime pie in a cup.

Bath & Body Works Summer Boardwalk candle

The scent description lists “Caramel-Glazed Popcorn, Warm Taffy Apples, and Salty Sweet Cream.” Y’all. It smells so delicious. Andrew told me the first time I burned it that he wanted one for every room in the house because he wanted this scent to follow him everywhere he went. I love this candle for the end of summer because the caramel makes it a great transition to fall. I didn’t link it because it’s sold out online, but you can still find summer scents in stores.

Ocean Potion After Sun Aloe Lotion

I started using this lotion when I was in high school, back when I was actually outside for a good portion of the summer. I’ve used it every year since, and it wouldn’t feel like summer without it. It smells like a Dreamsicle, and it acts like an aloe gel after sun exposure. I also use it every time I get out of the shower. I used this for the majority of my pregnancy and I haven’t had any stretch marks. Part of that just depends on your skin type and part of that is because I am religious about putting on lotion every day. But I can definitely say this helped keep my skin from being dry and tight during pregnancy.

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Simple dresses

I’m here to tell you, fellow preggos, maternity pants are not your friend in the summer. And I haven’t found a pair of maternity shorts that are really comfortable. Enter the shift dress. I went to Marshall’s and bought several of these plain, stretchy dresses in varying lengths. I am not exaggerating when I tell you these are all I have worn in the last several weeks. They are so comfy and easy to throw on, and you still look put together. Time will tell how long I continue to rely on these after baby has arrived.

New lip colors

I typically simplify my makeup routine for summertime, and I’ve especially done that while pregnant. I bought this lip balm because I usually just swipe on some Chapstick, but I wanted a little color. This balm uses your skin’s ph to change to your perfect shade of pink. I was a little skeptical at first, but it really does work! I was also inspired by one of my Southern Living issues to try a coral lip color. On the days I do a full face of makeup, I’ve been doing a more gold/bronze look. Just trying to play up that pregnancy glow! I chose this one from Loreal because it has a subtle shimmer.

What have you been loving this summer? Are you ready for fall or are you sad when summer’s over? Let me know if you end up trying and liking anything on this list!