Monday, September 30, 2013

Toddler Fall Essentials

Evie is growing like a weed right now, and it seems like her clothes fit her one day, and not the next. She definitely needs a few things for the winter, so I've been compiling my wish list, of course!

Some of these items are things I've already ordered, others are things I just love!

1. See Kai Run Sneakers
Evie doesn't have a pair of sneakers yet. She has worn her beloved Saltwater sandals alllll summer long. She also has her moccasins, which she adores. Kemi thinks she needs a sturdy pair of sneakers though, now that she is at the school every day, running and playing on the playground.  I bought this pair from See Kai Run for $10 on clearance.

2. Circo Leggings
I love the $5 Circo leggings, especially the black and white stripe! I think they look so cute with Evie's moccasins, and you can't beat $5! The hard thing about buying pants for Evie is that they really don't fit well over her cloth diapers, so that's where leggings come in.  I am a little worried that they won't be warm enough on those few really cold mornings we get, so I may have to figure something else out.

3. Ankle Socks
She'll need some ankle socks to go with her sneaks, so I picked some up at Old Navy this weekend during their 40% off sale.

4. Onitsuka Tiger Kids
Kemi was OBSESSED with Onitsuka Tiger sneakers for the LONGEST time. He literally had them in 30 different colors. So he of course wanted Evie to have a pair. I think they'll actually be cute with sweats!

5. Mini Boden Anorak Jacket
I once heard that the Swedish, whose kids play outside all year, have a saying: "there's no bad weather, only bad clothing." I am big on Evie spending time outdoors, so I want her to be able to do that all winter.  I saw this jacket from Mini Boden and sort of feel like Evie needs a real jacket this winter. We can get away with hoodies here in Phoenix most days, but what about for those days-especially early mornings-that it's actually really cold? I don't know...what do you moms think who have done winters before with toddlers?

6. American Apparel Hoodie
I picked up this hoodie for, like, $10 on clearance. I think it'll be just right for everyday, all day.

7. Freshly Picked Moccasins
I won a pair of the Elk Hide Freshly Picked Moccasins, and they're cool because the leather is actually a bit thicker than the other moccs.  I really like them and think they look so cute with leggings!

8. H&M Long Sleeved Tee 
I'm not a big believer in spending a lot on kids basics. I'll spend more on something super special, or a brand I know I can resell and get a good amount of the money I paid back (like Mini Boden on Ebay).  I know Evie will just quickly outgrow basic tees, so I'm cool with these really affordable H&M ones.

Keepin' It Real Mondays

Well, meal times at our house generally look like this now:

But, post-soup looked like this, so it was okay:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


There's a video we took the night before Celeste. Kemi is pushing Evie around in the base of her stroller without the seat on and she's laughing. I'm videotaping it and laughing too. And every time I watch that video I think I'll never sound like that again.

I realized recently how forever changed I am since losing Celeste. I "date" everything as before Celeste or after Celeste.  It is the touchstone that everything falls around.  Things that go through my head: "Our trip to Nashville...when was that...? After Celeste." "That meeting with that one parent...that was the week before Celeste."

Everyone I encounter on a daily basis knows about Celeste. But it won't always be that way. Every time I hire a new employee, or I meet a new mom at a birthday party, I am reminded. I always think, If I get to be friends with this person, I might have to say it out loud.

And how do you say it?

I was given a gift card to my favorite store (Anthropologie!) recently. I went in to finally, finally buy some post-pregnancy new clothes. The damn scale may not read the numbers I want it to read, but I badly needed something that I felt good in and that didn't look like pajamas.  Getting dressed for church every week was leaving me nearly in tears and I was desperate to get a pair of jeans I could get my booty in.

A really nice sales girl approached me, and asked if she could help me find jeans. I blurted out "I'm looking for pretty much ANYTHING I feel good in. I need some post-baby clothes." And of course she followed with "how old is your baby?"

Crap. I failed to realize that that would lead to a conversation about my baby, not my booty.

And that's when I completely looked like a freak. "Uh, uh, well, she's, um...17 months." Awkward silence. I can't lie for anything. And then, "My baby died."

I don't know what to say to those types of questions. I still can't do it. When someone admires Evie at Target and asks if she's my only child.  I have no idea what to say.  And, if we're blessed enough to have another child, I know it will become doubly hard. How often do you get asked "Is this your first?" "Well no", I'll have to say. It's my third.

Some moms tell. Some moms of babies in Heaven say so. They say that they have one in their arms, and one in Heaven. But I can't do it. And it's not because I don't want to remember Celeste and bring honor to her life.  It's because I'm not ready to see the sad look in their eyes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Essentials: Hospital Bag

My sister is expecting her second daughter any day now, and we have several other girlfriends who are in their third trimester! There are babies about to be born everywhere I look!

Recently, one friend was asking me for my hospital bag must-haves.  I started thinking about it, and realized I did have some unique items I either brought with me to Evie's delivery, or wished I had!  So I thought I'd compile my list of Hospital Bag Must-Haves for you all.  I left off all the obvious ones...hopefully you wont' forget to bring a toothbrush and clothes to wear home ;)

1. Boring Granny Panties
The hospital will provide you with underwear, but they are super weird stretchy mesh. I found them to be really uncomfortable because they kept sliding down. I say just bring a pack of cheap, ugly granny panties that are a bit big, but comfortable.

2. Milkmaid Tea
I brought this with me to the hospital and made a cup of it right after Evie was born. I wanted to make sure my milk came in and I had a really good supply.  I made 2-3 cups of it while I was in the hospital and continued to drink it once I got home. I don't know if it's effective or not, but I liked the taste, and never had issues with my supply.

3. A Going Home Outfit
Bring something special, of course, but practical too. Newborns need to be in cozy, soft clothes. Take into account that the umbilical cord will still be on, and you're going to need to get that babe buckled into a carseat.  So don't pack a gown!

4. Sanitary Pads
Do not forget these, whatever you do. The hospital will provide you with pads, but they are GIANT. They truly are almost identical to an infant diaper.  You'll be much more comfortable if you bring whatever type you prefer.

5. Scratch-Free Mittens
Newborn nails are like tiny razor blades, and they grab their face constantly! These little mittens worked great for us to prevent Evie from scratching her little face.

6. Snacks
Don't forget this one either! Evangeline was born at 3:26 am, and I had been in the hospital since 6:00 pm the night before.  I didn't eat dinner, and by the time she was born, I was STARVED. The cafeteria was closed, so I had to wait until 7:00 am or so to order breakfast. Definitely bring lots of snacks, vitamin water, etc.

7. Flip Video Camera
This is a camera we use a lot, and I'm so glad that we didn't forget it on our way to the hospital. Kemi filmed me in the car on the way there, and walking through the hospital to the L&D department. I'm so thankful I have that to show Evie our intense anticipation and excitement of her arrival. Not to mention the videos I have of her just minutes after she was born. That's priceless.

8. Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets
Don't even get me started on these. We have four and use all of them. They are the best!  When Evie was born, we used them to swaddle her, to throw over the car seat or stroller, to lay on the floor to play on, as burp cloths, everything. They are a necessity.

9. The Good Camera, if you've got one.
If you have a nicer-quality camera, or can borrow one, it's definitely worth having, for obvious reasons.

10. Nursing Bra
Bring a really comfortable nursing bra. It's not like you're going to be running anywhere, so support really doesn't matter. It just needs to be comfortable and functional. I have heard over and over that the Elle Macpherson ones are the absolute best (although they're pricey!)

11. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter
I am a big believer in "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This stuff is made from cocoa butter, and smells a little bit like cocoa beans.  It is totally natural for baby to consume, so you don't have to wipe it off (unlike lanolin).  I put this on religiously after every feeding, and never had...issues.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time: Part 2

Last week, I shared with you guys what's been going on in our family. How little time we're finding we have, and how it's been affecting all of us.  I was thinking a lot about being a working mom...what's great about it, and what can be so darn hard.

I saw this video from Susan of Freshly Picked Moccasins, and I thought it was really inspiring. You guys know I love the FP moccasins, but I also have come to really enjoy Susan's positivity about being a working mom.

Throughout my pregnancy with Evie, I really hoped to have a natural childbirth. I didn't want to have an epidural, or any medications at all. I read a lot about pain management, and really hoped I'd be able to handle it on my own without additional intervention.  I remember during pushing, just dropping my head back on the pillow and telling my doctor "I can't. I can't do it anymore.  Get the forceps. Get the vacuum thingy. Give me a C-Section because I cannot do this for one more second." It sounds funny now, but I truly was at my breaking point.  His response? 

"Corinna you can do it. You are doing it. This is exactly what you wanted." 

And he was right. That was what I needed. I needed a reminder that I was getting what I wanted. No one said it would be easy, but it's what I wanted.

In the moment, though, I couldn't see it. I was so close, but I felt nowhere near the finish line.

I think in this season of my life, I am right in the thick of it all, and I am having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  But you know, I'm doing it...maybe as well as is possible.  I have the exact career I dreamed of, and more importantly I have a husband who I adore and a baby that is my whole world. I need to get better at reminding myself of how sweet it is, and that these days of chaos and busy-ness will slow down. We will find our rhythm again as a family.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

I've been thinking a lot lately about time. How little everyone has, how easy it is to fill up, and how I Can get more of it. I was reading this post recently, and it got me thinking about how it's just as important to know what you don't spend your time on, as it is to know your priorities for your time. By saying "no" to blowdrying my hair in the morning, I say yes to laying in bed for five minutes with Evie while she drinks her milk.  Life is a series of choices, this I know.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It's what we choose to do with it.  So since the theme of this season of my life seems to be complete and utter chaos, I'm trying to change what I can and hope that somehow that might make a tiny dent in the madness.

So I thought I'd fill you in on a few things that I don't do.

What I don't Do:

I don't care at all about my car. Not the make or model, not the year, not if it is covered in bird poop. Don't care.  It has to start every time (my previous ride was a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am) and it has to get me from point A to point B and that is truly all I care about.

I don't do my hair.  I wish I could, but something has to go, and this is one of those things.

I don't read for fun. I used to. And I miss it. But again, it's something that had to go. I've got an 18 month old who wants to read "There's A Wocket in My Pocket" five times in a row and a husband who likes to hang out after she goes to bed. And that's way more important.

I don't get out much. I don't go out with friends really ever.  Sometimes I miss that, but I am blessed to have amazing coworkers who are also friends, so I get my friend fulfillment there.

I don't clean any more than I have to. I just have lower standards for what is "clean", and I'm okay with that. Given the choice between a dozen dustbunnies under my bed or having a pretend picnic with Evie, I'll choose the picnic a million times over. I take pride in our home and want it to be acceptable, but dusting the ceiling fans just isn't gonna happen anytime soon.

I don't sew. Or "craft." I used to paint, in another life, but that hasn't happened in years.  I'll get back to it someday, just not today. Or tomorrow.

What about you guys? What don't you do?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seven Months

Today marks seven months since losing our girl.

Grief is a strange thing.

I worry (often) that I shouldn't write about Celeste. That it is so deeply deeply personal, that it shouldn't leave the walls of my own house.  Sometimes I think maybe it shouldn't even leave the space between Kemi and I when we whisper her name at night in bed.  That maybe grief is something to tuck deep in your heart and keep.

Grief brings a lot of guilt, especially in the beginning.  I felt in the beginning guilty for laughing or even smiling, and so I would only do it for Evie, because I knew she needed my smiles. I had to pretend to her that I was ok.

I worry too, about appearing "ok."  I feel sometimes even still that I should look as messed up on the outside as I feel on the inside.  I worry when I write about taking Evie to the Children's Museum, or Instagram pictures of her swimming, that everyone will think I'm "all better," but I know the truth.

Evie, the day we came back from the hospital after delivering Celeste

I grieve Celeste in everything I do and miss her every second of every day.
But I have to live.

I have to live for Evie and for Kemi and so we fill her play pool almost every evening after work and all stick our feet in. We play "monsters" and growl at each other until Evie is belly-laughing.  We let Evie sit in the driver's seat of the parked car and bump Raffi and sing "Willoughby Wallaby Woo" while she pretends to drive.  We need those things, and I'm so thankful for them. They are making my life so sweet.

We miss you Celeste. Keep praying for us.  We love you so much!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays: Time

A post I started last week:

Today I rushed her. Today, at 7:45 am, exactly the time I should (no, WE should) be pulling out of the driveway so that I can be in an 8:00 am meeting, Evie was on her tummy in her crib, legs curled under her, toes sticking out, butt in the air, with at least six of her most loved blankies bunched up under her head like a pillow.  And instead of standing there, enjoying the moment of watching my precious first baby sleep, my heart was racing. Because I'm late now. And so, I had a choice, I can pick her up from a deep sleep and carry her straight to the car and stick her in her car seat, and we can be on our way. Which will surely disorient her and put her in a sour mood.  Or I can wait. I can just wait for her to wake up on her own, and accept that I will be late. And that is what I did. I sat on the couch and anxiously waited.

But it was nothing to be applauded. Because once she was awake, I rushed her. I thrust the bottle I had already warmed and ready into her hands so she could eat while I changed her soaked diaper and got her dressed. I didn't snuggle her in my bed and feed her and smell her hair like I do on Saturdays. I rushed. I didn't get to enjoy any of the first few minutes of my day with her because my work responsibilities were overshadowing my mom responsibilities. And that really sucks.  And it happens all.the.time.

I've been feeling just so discouraged lately, guys. Being a working mom is not a bit glamorous and most days it feels nearly impossible.

Kemi and I have had many, many, MANY conversations these past few weeks about what sort of solutions there might be. We both are feeling so discouraged, and such unrest. The general theme around our house is complete exhaustion right now. We were saying the other night that we both feel guilty to ask for anything more, because in a million different ways, we are so incredibly blessed. We both have good jobs, we're able to pay the bills each month, we are all healthy, we have been given two beautiful daughters.  But then we came to the conclusion that what our hearts are longing for is...time. Time to enjoy each other. Time to enjoy Evie each day. Time for rest. Time for prayer. Just time.  And I don't think that's wrong. In fact, I think that God making my heart to desire more time with my family is a wonderful thing. And yet, I have no great solutions...

I think at the very least it's a call to prayer, to discern things more closely.

Double skirts are in, now, guys!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

If I could Could Cloth Diaper All Over Again...

I thought it would be fun to link up with Padded Tush Stats to write about what I'd choose if I were cloth diapering for the first time, all over again.

Honestly, over all, I'm pretty happy with my stash. I bought a little of everything before Evie was born, and ended up selling the brands I wasn't thrilled with.  So what don't I like? Oh, I'll tell you...

GroVia. I don't know why, they just don't work for Evie's chubbbbbby legs! The elastic is really stiff to me, and it seems to grab and pinch her legs and leave red marks. Luckily, GroVia is a really well-loved brand, so I was able to sell those on Craigslist for 75% of what I bought them for.  Don't worry-I'll give the GroVia brand a second chance! I am really anxious to try the new GroVia cover. The elastic on the covers doesn't look as stiff as on the AIO's.  So I will be giving the brand another shot, especially since they have such cute colors and are organic.

Before Evie was born and I was anxious to build my stash, I also made the mistake of buying some "no-name" brands on daily deal sites that were very cheap...and I soon figured out why! They didn't fit great and just weren't the same quality. I didn't love them, and again, I was able sell them on Craigslist and recoup some of what I paid.

We also have in our stash currently Kawaii Baby, Rumparooz, Blueberry, and Itti Bitti.  I use those, but again, they're not my favorite favorite.

So...the diaper I pull from the drawer first? The diaper I leave for babysitters and Grandmas? The diaper Kemi loves best? Drumroll please....

Bumgenius 4.0.  I have yet to try the Freetime (that will probably be my next purchase) but there are SO many things to love about the Bumgenius pockets.  I find them to be trim, they fit Evie perfectly, and I actually like pockets because I like that I can control the absorbency.  I have used the Bumgenius 4.0's since Evie was two months old, and they are still looking great at 17 months old.  There was a stage when Evie became an EXTREMELY heavy wetter, and I liked that I could still use the 4.0's, I just added a Hemp Babies soaker.  For my money, pockets are best because the absorbency is "customizable" to meet your child's needs, and you can't beat the flexibility of one size diapers.  Bumgenius has great colors (I'm not a big lover of patterns) and they have great resale value.  In fact, Bumgenius is consistently the best selling cloth diaper.

My babysitter "stash"

For the most part I keep lots of Bumgenius 4.0's in our stash, and I save them for my husband and babysitter.  In the evening and on the weekend when I'm changing Evie, and for her first diaper of the morning that I change her into, I put a fitted or a prefold on her.  Anything with two parts seems to really confuse Kemi and babysitters, so I save those for myself.  Plus, I really like to use my wool soakers!

So for my dream stash if I could do it all over again, it would probably look a lot like it does now. Lots of Bumgenius 4.0's, with a smattering of fitteds and prefolds, Thirsties covers, and Loveybums wool covers.  That's what works for me, so that's what we've got! That doesn't keep me from wanting to add to my stash though...!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Around the Interwebs

Photo credit

If you've been DYING for one of these for your little one like I have, you're in luck! They're 30% off!  Shhh...might be a Christmas present ;)

I REALLY want to get Evie and I these.  One mama size, one baby size.  Is that ridiculous? Haha!

The cutest baby shop I've found in a long time.

These and these are going into the kitchen...I'll be posting the big reveal soon. I know you're waiting with baited breath.

Isn't this pattern the prettiest? I want to put it everywhere.

For teenage girls.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

My brother in law, Ike is staying with us this week and he and Kemi decided for Labor Day they wanted burgers.  Being the super domestic wife I am (!?) I obliged and went to TJ's for all the necessary ingredients...beef, buns, cheese, watermelon, salad stuff, I even got mushrooms to sauté and avocados.

Fast forward to dinner time. The meal is cooked, everything is laid out buffet-style on the island, and I made Evie her mini plate with cut up cheeseburger, sauteed mushrooms, avocado pieces and watermelon chunks. Everything she has eaten before. Everything she loves. Everything is free range, grass fed, organic, blah blah blah.  We practically knew the cow's name and had his birth certificate. Only the best for that girl. And what does she do? Throws a GINORMOUS fit, refusing to eat, because she wants a bun. She wants a hamburger bun. She's got a smorgasbord of delicious food her mama made her with love and she wants a piece of bread.  I just knew if she ate the bun though, she would definitely not be willing to eat anything "real" after that. So I told her she could have the bun after she ate from her plate. It didn't work.  She spent the entire meal screaming her face off, obliging to put a bite of food in her mouth, only to stare me in the eye as she chews it and spits it back onto her tray. I could've screamed. But I didn't. I also didn't back down about the bun and for the first night ever we had a stand off and she went to bed without dinner (I gave her her warm milk before bed like I always do).  Unreal.  Do you all have toddlers with attitudes yet?

All attitude, all the time

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Last weekend, Kemi and I had an awesome opportunity to check out a Cardinals preseason game.  Kemi has a friend, Sam, who plays for the Cardinals, and he was so generous to totally hook us up for an AMAZING date night!

Despite being a HUGE football fan, Kemi had never been to an NFL game, so he was super psyched.  Sam told us he'd leave the tickets at his hotel for us, and we were so stoked to find a parking pass and all-access wristbands too! AAAGHHH!

Of course we did it up right the American way, and ate dinner at the game:

The game was so fun, even though the Cards didn't win :(

It was an awesome date night! Thanks to Sam for hooking it up for two parents who don't get out much ;)