Flying with an Infant + Travel Necessities

Hello, August!
Remember at the beginning of the summer when I said exciting things are coming? Well it is officially the month they are happening! Stay tuned in the coming weeks for changes, upgrades, and of course more posts on my site 😁
We are home from our first trip and we made it back in one sleepy piece – barely! Traveling with an ~18 lb infant for the first time alone…let’s just mark it as a challenge I’ve now overcome. And now I have stronger arm muscles to show for it! When we got home, Calvin and I both slept for hours because we were so freakin’ exhausted from the whole week.
image^^us @ home in Mason, OH
I don’t have a ton of great advice and I am certainly NO expert on traveling with an infant, but I can share my experience and offer some suggestions – what worked, what didn’t, and necessities I believe you need. Traveling is pretty difficult and strenuous with no baby, so adding a little human, just makes it a bit more complicated. It’s certainly do-able and no reason to shy away from traveling, but with some advice and great products, it can be a much more smooth ride.
download^I held Calvin on the flight but decided to pose him for a pic in my seat before take-off
 Key Notes & Travel Necessities
*you can click on images to shop the item*
Drop-off
 If you don’t have someone going with you, you’ll need help getting all of your stuff from the car to the check-in. Some airports have helpers with carts, other’s don’t. Cincinnati had no one to help, so my Mom took a chance at leaving her car at the departure drop off. Once you are at the desk, you can check bags and car seat for free so all you will have left is baby and carry-on bag.
Car Seat Check
 You can check your infant seat + base for free. I suggest buying a travel tote for protection. The BRICA is technically for a “real” size car seat that you don’t usually take in and out of the car, but the infant seat and base fit right in there. Now we don’t have to buy another tote when we move up to the toddler car seat.
BRICA Cover Guard Car Seat Travel Tote

Breast Milk/Formula:
You can take pre-made bottles through security with no issues. They will pull the milk off to the side to check the liquids. Don’t worry, they don’t open the bottles, they just place them in some special machine. If the milk is frozen, it won’t need checked. I was super nervous about this step but we made it through with no problems and then did a happy dance with Calvin (literally) when there were no issues! I highly suggest bringing a few bottles with you, as the airport and airplane are not nursing friendly at all. Plus, there are people everywhere. Calvin didn’t seem to have an issue with the pressure, but they do say to feed your baby on take-off and landing if you are worried about their little ears. I tried nursing Calvin on the way and he was kicking the large man to my left and hitting his head on the plastic wall to the right – not exactly comfortable for baby or airplane neighbor, lol! Good times.
JJ Cole Insulated Bottle Bag

(we use this insulated bag every day for day care as well)
Baby Wearing vs. Stroller
 I keep going back and forth on this, and which one is better. I wore Calvin in his BABYBJORN carrier because I didn’t want to worry about a stroller. I think this would be just fine, and the best option, if you have someone else with you. Since I had no one with me, I felt like I needed more hands. Without a stroller, you literally have nowhere else to set baby while you are taking carrier off for the plane, restroom, etc. I wasn’t about to hand him to a stranger to hold, or lay him on a seat that he’d easily roll off of, so it was extremely difficult. Basically, you better be ready to hold your pee if you don’t bring a stroller. If you are with someone, you can just hand the baby to them and it would be much easier. So, if you are traveling alone, I would highly suggest a stroller, as you can check it at the gate for free.
BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One
Carry-On
Don’t try to bring a purse and a diaper bag, just combine the two – you already do it every other day, anyways! Invest in a great back-pack diaper bag, especially for traveling. Never thought I’d say this, but it really is NOT about being cute at this point – it’s about successfully getting you and your baby where you need to go! Craig got a Columbia Backpack at our baby shower and it was great for the purpose of traveling – sturdy, comfy straps, and coming with a changing pad and insulated side pocket.
Columbia Summit Rush Backpack Diaper Bag

Distractions
Make sure to bring toys and a pacifier (if you use one) for the plane. If you are holding your infant, they are going to need a distraction, as there is no where else for them to go. Calvin is obsessed with crinkle books, or anything that has that feel. Not only do you need distractions, but everything you bring should be attachable. You will drop things a million times, but if you have toys that can attach to your bag and a paci that can attach to their outfit, it might save you a few times of bending down to pick things up, burning leg muscles and minimize sweating. 😅
Sassy Go-Go Attachable Elephant Book
Pacifier Clip by Honeyed

image^^Calvin in his crib @Grandma’simage^^Calvin learning about selfies with Grandpa
The hardest part about traveling alone was that we were away from Craig for a full week which was super weird for all of us! Thankfully our trips for the rest of the year are all together.  We are traveling again with the bebe in just 4 short weeks. We are going back to Cincinnati but for my best friend’s wedding – not for work – which will also be a bit more exciting. Not that going on a work trip isn’t exhilarating 🙂 I’ll let you guys know how much different traveling is with help!
Any more tips/tricks I should know? I’ve already had a few friends with babies ask me questions, so let me know what you want to know!
Talk soon!
❤ Kayla

 

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Ordering Prescription Glasses Online [aka save money & look smart]

You guys – how is it already the last week in July? I seriously feel like Summer just started! Time sure flies when there’s not enough hours in the day….I mean, time sure flies when you’re having fun. 😜
Calvin and I ventured to Cincinnati this past weekend. I’m here for work and decided to come in early to visit family and co-workers in this office. I posted this weekend on instagram, asking for advice, since it would be his first flight, and my first time traveling solo with him. Thanks so much to everyone who wrote to me – so sweet and helpful! I’m usually super positive but not going to lie, it was actually more hectic than I even thought it would be. He was pretty good but this process definitely involved more sweating, burning arms, stuff flying everywhere than it should have LOL…I will likely write about traveling with an infant (driving vs. flying) in the near future. Well, maybe – if we make it home in one piece!

Alright dudes, well doesn’t it seem like almost everyone wears contacts or glasses these days? I wear contacts 95% of the time but noticed my eyes starting to hurt more when I didn’t get a lot of sleep – which is pretty much every night for the past 5 months. It’s so necessary to have a reliable pair of glasses to wear to work or for early in the morning when those little guys (contact lenses) just won’t go in your eyes.

I have Michael Kors prescription glasses that I LOVE – the problem is that they are from like, 2012, and even though the prescription was outdated and no longer accurate, I didn’t want to order new ones because they are so expensive! Even with insurance, buying lenses and frames the traditional route (through your doctor) can be hundreds of $$$. So I just wore glasses that weren’t “strong” enough for a few years. Probably the cause of a few headaches? 🤔
I was so thankful that the Glasses Shop reached out to me at the perfect time – just a few weeks before I went back to work (while still waking up every night with a baby) – to pick out a pair of glasses and try out their shop. These glasses are:
Affordable
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit hesitant to order from this shop because they were so affordable. I figured something so inexpensive would be so so cheap. Not the case at all. The frames are so sturdy and the prescription is just right. Super impressed with both the price point and quality. I literally don’t have one complaint.
Fashionable
They have so many options to chose from and I’ve gotten so many compliments on these frames. Remember when you’re little and wearing glasses was so dorky – you’re like embarrassed when you have to get them?! Well now I feel like glasses (and sunglasses) are the best accessory and can make any outfit look more exciting. Did I mention The Glasses Shop offers prescription sunglasses as well?
Also, I need these glasses to make me look smart and cancel out my mom brain (which is real BTW.)

Convenient To Order
Request your prescription and PPD (pupillary distance) from your eye doctor. Because I had an exam in the last year, I called my doctor to request those two pieces of information and they sent them over via email within the hour. This is the information you will send over with your order
If you go to the glasses shop site on a desktop, there is an option to upload a picture of your face and virtually try on different frames. It sounds like it would be iffy but you can truly see how each frame will look on your face. Game changer in making my final decision.

Use discount code GSHOT50 for 50% off your order – enjoy!

I am wearing the Beauvais Wayfarer in Black (SKU: FZ0647) in case you are so inclined to try the same style.🤓
PS – how sweet is Calvin in these photos? Mama bear and baby bear tops made by etsy shop @hellohandpressed. 🐻

If you try out the glasses definitely let me know! Such a great alternative to ordering traditional prescription lenses or prescription sunglasses. I mostly love that you can order multiple pairs and switch up your look as often as you’d like, for such a great price!
Hope you all have an awesome week and go swimming or something along those lines, it’s seriously so hot!
💕 Kayla

Our Engagement Story + My Fave Vacation Photos

Hi Friends! It has been a CRAZY week back from vacation and so much has happened since I posted previously about the 4th of July. I got those pictures taken of our family for both the blog and just to have some quality images of the 3 of us – little did I know that this holiday would take on such a larger meaning for our family. We got engaged on July 4th, 2016, in Corolla, North Carolina. We were on a family reunion type trip with 18 of my family members staying in one large beach house, so they were all there watching!
I know it may sound dumb or that you’re thinking, “yeah right”, when I say I was shocked. We do have a child together and already function as a true family, but I had NO IDEA it was happening at this time, let alone this year. We had talked so much about re-focusing our priorities to Calvin, our careers, figuring out where we’d be long term, and eventually buying a house, that I thought engagement was the LAST thing on our roster for this year. Also, Craig can hardly ever surprise me, so I thought I’d know for sure before it happened, and that I’d have to fake being surprised so he didn’t know I knew …lol! Well he got me good.
I has previously told Craig when we do get engaged, I better have my nails, hair & makeup done for picture purposes. #princessstatus So, the day before (July 3rd) it was pouring all day and my sisters tried to take me to get my nails done. I didn’t have time to go before we left & what else do you do on a beach vacation when it’s raining? When we got to the place they couldn’t take us because of availability and I said “oh well, I don’t even care about my nails.” There was no more convincing me that we should try elsewhere. Fail #1.
On the 4th, before dinner, we took showers and Craig was trying so hard to get me to dry my hair and “get ready” but I wasn’t having it because we were staying in for dinner to grill out. God knows I won’t get ready if I don’t have to…especially on vacation. 😂 So I threw my wet hair into a clip and bolted up to dinner. Fail #2.
These two things show right away that I had absolutely NO IDEA I was about to get engaged, as I was always sure I needed to look my very best during one of the biggest moments of my life.
Earlier in the day, Craig had told me that he wanted to give a toast before dinner just to thank my family for having him and say how cool it is that we all got together. I said, “ARE YOU SURE?” I thought he maybe just had too many beers at the pool…however, others had said prayers or toasts before previous meals, so I suppose it wouldn’t be that weird.
Craig telling me ahead of time he was doing this was so so smart – when everyone had gotten their food and he stood up, I was expecting the “toast.” When he started talking, I took a hugeeeee bite of my cheeseburger because I did not think I was about to get engaged. #hangrymama
As he began to get more serious and look a bit nervous, my chewing slowed immediately and my hands covered my face to hide my tears. I don’t even cry that often. I couldn’t believe it was happening. After every thing we’ve been through in the 3 years we’ve been together – a move across country, 3 apartments, stressful days at new jobs, A BABY – it was just so bittersweet and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. He did so good. He’d been planning so long for this moment.

It’s funny, you set all of these ground rules or requirements in your mind for when you get engaged and how you want it to happen. Then, when the moment came, I wasn’t thinking about anything except the fact that it’s finally official – I’m going to marry the most selfless, caring, sweet man and Dad that I know!  No fancy location, fancy outfit, perfectly polished nails, or expensive dinner could have topped this moment. I feel so lucky every day and I can’t wait to finally share a last name with my two guys.

Here are a few other of my fave photos from our trip:

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We didn’t take as many pictures on vacation as I would have liked because Craig’s phone got wet and we usually use his camera. Honestly, I was also trying to just enjoy each moment on our trip & not think as much about perfectly capturing every second. We also haven’t bothered lately with using another camera because well, that’s one extra thing to worry about. I do, however, want and NEED to invest in a DLSR. Does anyone have any recommendations for one that is easy to use and won’t break the bank? Please shoot me a message – would love your opinions!
Now, onto planning a wedding (scary!) We have a really busy summer with my work trips, my best friend’s bachelorette & wedding, etc, so we will probably focus more on planning come fall. For now, we are not in a HUGE rush, but I’m sure I will be capturing a lot of the planning journey here on the blog once it begins.
Huge thanks to everyone for your continued support and sweet notes on our engagement. Love you all!

❤ Kayla

The Challenge & Reward of {Month Four}

How did we get here?! This little Koala is 4 months already! He has grown and learned so so much in just a few short months. I have no idea what we did before he came into our lives!
This month was unique in the fact that I’m back to what you could call “reality.” No more maternity leave or days where we spend all day cuddling & playing. Some friends asked me in month one, two and three, how I liked being a Mom and I said “ask me in a few months.” Not because I didn’t know if I liked being a mom yet (I did!), but because I knew that my current situation wasn’t what motherhood would be to me in the future. I’m learning how to balance my work responsibilities with the responsibility of raising a child. I’m learning to mix my ‘real’ life with Calvin’s and soak up as much of the infancy stage as possible. Can someone teach me how to both juggle, and freeze time, please?!
Month Four has by far been the most challenging, but most rewarding month yet. I think that those two (challenge & reward) will probably continue to go hand & hand through motherhood, much like many things in life.
We really wish we were closer to family this month, yet we love creating memories as a family of our own. I went back to work this month, yet my Mom got to come and stay with him for a full week during that time. We started daycare this month, yet Calvin is full of smiles every single time we drop him off and pick him up. Calvin caught his first bad cold & cough this week, yet our workplaces are flexible enough to let us work at home to care for our sick child as needed. We are busy all day, yet we get to come home to the sweetest little dude every night and weekend.
I’m learning that the toughest things we have encountered this month and will encounter in the future – all have a positive. This parenting thing pulls at your heartstrings and is honestly hard as shit, but it’s also the best thing we’ve ever done.
This cute face keeps us going and makes us want to be better – don’t you just want to squeeze him?!
We have a check-up on Tuesday, but we are guessing Calvin is around 17 lbs, as he is wearing 6-9 months clothing and size 3 diapers. He loves standing & sitting up (assisted), eating his hands, and anything else he can put in his mouth, and taking baths in his tub. Strangely, his favorite place to lay is on his changing table, and he is now sleeping in his crib, in his room at night. We think he might be starting to teethe, and we hope to start giving him baby food and/or cereal this week!
Here is his 4 month pic update 🐨
Thanks for checking in with our fam – I hope you have a great week and go after the dreams & goals you have set for yourself! That sounded super cheesy, but I’m so serious! Love you all.
💕 Kayla

What makes Parenthood “All Worth It?” [from Dad’s Perspective!]

Hello, hello, how is everyone’s week going? It’s almost Friday again! What are the big weekend plans!?
I’m so excited to be working with Gerber on their #growingupgerber campaign to talk about what makes being a parent all worth it. Gerber products have quickly become some of our favorite go-to’s that Calvin will continue to grow up with, and it’s truly an honor to work with such a classic household brand name.
^Calvin chillin in his favorite white Gerber onesie^ #gerberbaby!
Before I had a baby, I would watch other parents do things and think how unappealing it all looked. I remember seeing a co-worker wash all of her pump parts in the sink at work (multiple times a day) and think, “what a pain in the ass.” I remember hearing how parents typically need to add an hour to their before-work routine and think, “I can barely wake up in enough time to get myself ready,” or how parents are sometimes up literally all night with a sick child and think how I can only function on 7+ hours of sleep a night. My favorite is hearing how most families fork over a 2nd mortgage payment for childcare and I wondered how I would ever afford the 1st.
I saw and heard everything that the parents I knew did for their children and it seemed overwhelming, like such unnecessary hard work. I think that’s why there is so much anxiety tied to pregnancy. You are trying to imagine doing all of these things before the little one is even here. Then they get here, and most of the stuff you worried about doing is irrelevant – you do it because you want to, without thinking twice. Each smile, laugh, and hug we receive, reminds us of our why. The happy, content baby Calvin has become, makes it all worth it.

In celebration of Father’s Day, I’ve asked Craig to share his moments that make it worth it for him. I think we spend a lot of time talking about Motherhood….but Parenthood includes Fatherhood and I think it’s so important to appreciate both sides of the spectrum – because it’s no secret they are very different. No more of me rambling…here’s my boo, Craig:


“When we first found out we were having a baby and announced it to the world, we heard a ton of “Congratulations, so happy for you” and “that’s so exciting.” These positive reactions were soon followed by “kiss your life goodbye” and “prepare to be tired for the rest of your life.” All in good fun of course, and I’m sure our friends and family meant nothing negative in these comments but still, the prospect was slightly daunting.
Fast forward and Calvin William Cantor was born February 18th 2016, so I’ve been a father for about 4 months now. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some sleepless nights, crying/fits that don’t stop, lifestyle sacrifices, these are just a few things I’ve experienced so far and you know what, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Because with these negative instances (which with Cal we have been extremely fortunate to have very few) come endless positives including baby laughter and smiles, numerous “firsts”, and pictures that are so cute I want to claw my eyes out.

I love being a Father, so I wanted to write down some of the perks to celebrate & remember on my first special day. Here’s a list that make all those blown out diapers and times being peed on totally worth it:
NEW YEAR, NEW ME
 The phrase New Year, New Me has never been more accurate. Not only do I have a new baby but I have a new life. This means new experiences, new goals, heck new everything! I’ve got new responsibilities, I’ve got a new daily routine, and through Calvin, Kayla and I met new friends. Each day brings something new and to me, this element of parenthood is beyond exciting. Instead of going out on weekends and staying out until 3am planning to sleep the next day away, I’m at home watching Netflix and in bed by 11pm. This is definitely new, but to quote one of my favorite shows and sitcom characters:

Life is what you make it, and I choose this new life every time.
NEW LOVE
I wasn’t aware I could love something as much I love Calvin. When you hear someone say this it sounds totally cliché, but then you look into your new baby’s eyes for the first time and you finally understand that Stevie Wonder song. I watch my Mom snatch him up when we arrive for a long vacation with our families and it makes me unbelievably happy. You can feel the love in the room as my sisters complain about how short of a turn they got holding him and my Dad constantly comments on how cute he is. Kayla’s mom just spent a week with us to help out the first week that Kayla headed back to work (delaying the inevitable daycare drop-off as long as possible.) Watching her play with Calvin or putting him through his bedtime routine, it breaks my heart that we aren’t closer. The fact that she took that time to help us like that makes me love and appreciate Kayla’s family more and more every day. They say “love makes the world go round;” well it sure as hell gets me through the day.

NEW GROWTH
Every little thing Calvin does amazes me. I can’t tell you how many times Kayla has heard “Kayla look, look, OH MY GOD LOOK.” Sure he’s grabbing my finger super tightly for the one hundred and fifty third time or giving me one of his 100 megawatt smiles, but to me these are incredible. Soon he’s going to have teeth, soon he’s going to be walking, and soon he’s going to be beating me at one on one basketball. You can totally tell he’s learning on a daily basis. His newest thing is to rub his hands and face on my beard. He continues to develop and surprise us but I am very thankful for him as he facilitates my growth as a father and as a person. I have physical growth to look forward to from him while I deal with my emotional growth. He was the first baby I had ever held, looking back I’m like “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF ONE OF THESE?!?” And now I have my answer, because I have grown that much in these four short months. I’ll ask my Mom to confirm but I believe I’m a better person now that he is here.

AN EXCITING FUTURE
This is my number one PRO of fatherhood, above the others mentioned, only because this can cover everything in one category. Kayla and I have started our own little family; I am now responsible for a tiny human’s life and well-being. Are we going to eventually move again? Are we going to buy a house then? How many kids do we want?
 I am no longer thinking in the “I or Me” frame of mind, now it’s “Our and We and Us.” It is immensely rewarding going to work every day, being the best I can be, knowing I have people at home who depend on me. I hope I can be half the Father to Calvin that my Dad was to me and same goes for teaching him to be a good person, right from wrong, all that jazz. I tell my parents “I love you” every chance I get and I count the days until I can hear one from Calvin because when I do, I will know I have truly succeeded as Calvin’s father.

It is almost impossible to describe the joy that comes with being a new Father, but I gave it my best shot. Sure it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but that comes with the job, the ups and downs, and I definitely enjoy the ride.
Don’t let these veterans of parenthood scare you with their tales of chaos and shambles, it’s like they can’t help themselves. It almost seems like an initiation into the club that is being a parent, they talk this way because it’s basically assumed that the benefits and rewards of being a parent are beyond any combination of disasters you can possibly imagine.
Every child is different; every parent is different, what works for me might not work for you. This is what I love about being a Father and I wish you well on your journey to figure out what makes it worth it for you.”
-CC


How good of a writer is Craig? He’s seriously the best Dad, too. I think I’ll have him write my heartfelt posts from now on…
With Mother’s Day just passing and Father’s Day approaching, we encourage you to think about what makes it worth it for you. Keep them in mind when the going gets tough….I know we do.
Want to join in on sharing your favorite #growingupgerber moments? Click here to find out how your Instagram picture could be chosen as a Gerber Pic of the Week and also, to unlock some savings. Happy Sharing!
❤ Kayla & Craig

{Month Three}  

I can’t believe that we are already through month 3 with Calvin – it has been quickest 3 months of our lives. I’ll probably say that same sentence every month. I have to say, he has officially stolen our hearts. I know they say this happens when your baby is born, but it really seemed to have happened for real this month. He suddenly knows us, watches us, responds to us, and I can’t really imagine being any more obsessed with him than I already am. I’m so thankful we’ve been given something…someone to love so much.
I’m going to keep this post short & sweet and share his 3 month photo update.
He is the craziest, yet sweetest baby – one second he’s shoving his hands in his mouth, climbing all over us, pulling out my hair and the next he’s super content and showing us the biggest gummy smiles.
This month we had our first visit home to Ohio where Calvin met so many friends & family members, we made another baby friend, got his vaccines, he had an all day #boysday with Dad, celebrated Mom’s first Mother’s Day, and learned we are in the 86th percentile.
Favorites
  • Playmat and hanging toys – there’s a hanging monkey that plays music when you pull on it and he knows how to do it on his own now.
  • Carters elephant blankie – we’re definitely enabling this attachment but it really helps him when it’s time to calm down. It’s so precious when he holds it close to his face, not as precious when he’s trying to shove the trunk in his mouth…haha.
  • Practicing standing (with our assistance of course) – he could do this for hours.
  • Grabbing everything – sides of changing table, sleeves, moms hair, you name it.
  • Going anywhere in carseat – we have to take him out when we get home or he will sleep for hours.
  • Drooling – his drool has landed in my mouth multiple times.
  • Bath time – he took a bath in the large tub while I held him and he was kicking and swimming so much. He looked like a little swimming frog, it was so freakin cute.
Who are you? ^^We still have a cone headimg_2758^ I guess we can be friends^Sup?^ This smile melts my heart ^Then we became destructiveimg_2774img_2776img_2778
As always, thanks for following our family – love you all!
Stay tuned this month for several new exciting posts [including a few giveaways 😬]
💕Kayla

Personalized Goodies [with The Initial Co.] + a Giveaway & Discount!

Hey everyone – Happy May! Thanks for checking out my first post of the month. We’re back from a long week of traveling to Cincinnati – we got to see so much family & so many friends! I couldn’t believe all of the positive comments I got about this blog…it was nonstop. This inspires me to keep going and I thank you all for your continual support!
I’m so excited to be teaming up with The Initial Co. and bringing you both a giveaway & discount code for your use. This adorable small business specializes in monogrammed and personalized apparel, jewelry, gifts, home goods, bridal items and more! One of their tag lines is “your monogram is your brand name.” I love that. Monogramming and the personalization of products literally never goes out of style.

The Initial Co.

This online boutique has recently come under new ownership, and I just know it’s about to take off even more than it already has. The personalized gifts are perfect and add that extra element of special, whether it’s for a specific occasion (Mother’s Day) or “just because.”

It turns out life with a 2 month old is quite exhausting – I love this Not Like a Regular Mom Travel Mug for my coffee with a bomb quote (I’m cool, right Calvin?) & my monogram on the other side.

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I’ve linked some of my other favorite gifts here, which can all be personalized!
Color Dipped Canvas Tote
Stemless Champagne Flutes
Crosswind 1/4 Zip
Mommy Fuel Ceramic Mug
Mommy Fuel Ceramic Mug
Sweet Baby Onesie

Giveaway Time!
I currently have a GIVEAWAY (or should I say bib-away?) live on my Instagram account (@kaylamarieblog) that you can enter now! The winner will receive a personalized bib (of their choice) for that special babe in their life. Here’s how to enter:
1.) Like the post introducing the giveaway & follow @kaylamarieblog
2.) Tag a friend in the comments
3.) Follow @theinitialco
So easy! So Simple! Winner will be announced 5/9 and you will be contacted via direct message by The Initial Co. to choose your bib.
PS-I never realized that babies needed bibs before eating actual food. Wrong! This wild child gets milk EVERYWHERE! Good thing he has a personalized bib to keep us clean. Look at that smile on my bestie! 🙂

In addition to the giveaway,  I am also offering a 10% discount for any purchase on theinitialco.com.
Use code KAYLA10 
Happy Browsing! I know you will love The Intial Co. as much as I do. Let me know what you find!
❤ Kayla

 

{Month Two} 

Calvin is now two months, and what a feisty, smiley, active baby he is becoming! We love him more each day and it’s a good thing he’s so cute, as he is always keeping us on our toes! As soon as we thought we have it all figured out, we learn something new 🙂

Some facts about our lil babe in month two:

  • Only sleeps 3-4 hrs at a time
  • Loves rubbing his face all over Mom’s shirts
  • Daddy’s bounces are the best
  • Prefers the outdoors and adventures in his car seat/stroller
  • Wears 3mo clothes and size 2 diapers
  • Enjoys the calming sound of the bathroom fan
  • Smiles have become very common, esp in the middle of the night when he should be sleeping
  • Can hold himself up and push off his legs
  • Still loves bath time
  • Eyes are big and blue 💙
  • Met his first baby friend, Lucas
  • Is learning to love his baby carrier
  • Met Grandma & Grandpa Cantor and two more aunties
  • Loves his play mat where he can kick his legs and swat at the toys as much as he wants!                   

As always, thanks for following along with our family!

❤️ Kayla

6 Weeks into Motherhood: My New Normal 

The past couple of weeks have been somewhat of a honeymoon phase with Calvin, Craig, and I’m really just trying to enjoy every moment of maternity leave. We’ve had so many amazing visitors that have helped us out, and also forced me to get moving again! My family made us frozen casseroles that lasted us a month – and who doesn’t love a good casserole? Craig’s family came and treated us to several meals, drinks, and kept us company for a weekend. My sister came for a week and fell in love with Calvin, just as all of us have. There were definitely tears from multiple parties when having to leave – if we thought it was difficult living far from family before, throwing a baby into the mix takes that to a whole new level! Thank god for snap chat, which BTW is my new favorite form of social media. Add me @greenskm to follow our adventures 🙂

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Despite such an exciting and life changing time, the blogging juices haven’t exactly been flowing as much as I’d like. As we get more situated, and we get out more, this will change. It’s really easy to scroll Instagram and get caught up in what other mommy bloggers are doing and compare yourself – the opposite of what motherhood should be. I figured I’ll take the pressure off myself and just write exactly how I’m feeling 6 weeks post-partum.
When I started the pregnancy journey I had no close friends in the same boat as me. Suddenly I’ve discovered all of my closest friends/acquaintances in New Jersey are new moms or expecting very soon…most of whom I met BECAUSE of having a baby. It’s funny how god’s timing and plans work out. Several ladies I know living in OH have had little ones within weeks of me, and thanks to social media I’ve been able to connect with and follow along with their journeys as well. It is refreshing to receive and give advice to others who are in the same exact boat as you – and I’m so happy to see everyone doing so well! Becoming a new Mom is a lot less lonely when there are others to relate with.

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A ton of people have asked me, “How are YOU doing?” and I find myself responding with the same generic answer of “Good, just trying to get back to normal & feel like myself!” It hit me the other day that while some things will return to normal (going back to work, being able to exercise, etc) I’m never going to feel like my old self. My life, my body, my feelings, my emotions, my decisions, are never going to be the same. Having a child transforms you into a new person completely and it’s time to stop expecting to feel like I did 10 months ago, or even 6 weeks ago. It’s time to stop trying to get to a previous “normal” that no longer exists. I’m never going to wake up and feel like the Kayla I was for 26 years. But I don’t want to be that person any more – we stand still in life if we cannot accept or welcome change.

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Here are a few {but not limited to} new life changes. We heard them in the form of advice leading up to birth, but we’d never understand until now;

Constant interrupted sleep.
3 hour maximum trips out of the house.
Shortened shower time.
A diaper bag for a purse.
Double the laundry.
Constantly chugging water.
Dark circles.
Hair & skin changes.
Baby socks, bibs, and blankets everywhere.
Milk stained everything.
Taking out the trash every day.
The awkward 4th trimester mom-body.
Feeding as much as a part-time job.
Sore arms and back from rocking baby back to sleep.
Leggings as a wardrobe staple [STILL.]
Quietly “shushing” until your mouth hurts.
Realizing how bad you are at singing, and that you need to learn some lullabies, stat.
Planning all aspects in life months in advance.
Being 30 min late to everything.
No room in the cart for groceries.
No more making decisions on the fly.
Spending more time shopping for baby, than yourself.
Realizing you need ‘handicap’ access everywhere with a stroller.
Wanting time to stop.
Always putting yourself second.
Tearing up at the D word (daycare.)
Being responsible for someone else’s well-being, completely.
‘Wasting’ hours with a sleeping baby on your chest.
Loving someone else so much, it honestly hurts.

This is my new normal.

This is our new life.

And I wouldn’t change one thing about it.

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{Month One}

Well we’ve made it one full month with our little man 👶 It’s been the fastest month ever,  yet we feel like he’s been been ours for much longer. I’m trying to soak up every second as I know how fleeting time truly is at this stage. My favorite things to do with him are try to get him to smile, kiss his little cheekies & chin, and allow him to nap while holding him. There’s something humbling about a baby sleeping soundly on your chest that allows you to be present, slow down, and enjoy that moment. For the first time in a long time I’m wishing time would stop right in it’s tracks.

Month One Fun Facts:

  • Sleeps for about 2 hrs at a time during the day and 3-4 at night
  • Loves his bath time – we’re hoping this means he’ll love the pool and beach this summer!
  • His arms and legs never stop moving
  • Can get his arms out of a good swaddle
  • Only fit in newborn diapers for a few days and now wears size 1
  • Can fit in his 3 month clothes
  • Has shown us a few good smiles
  • Has discovered his lungs and has shown us how loud he can scream
  • Loves his car seat and car rides
  • Is an expert at crossing his eyes 😳

Our Adventures so far:

  • Starbucks date with my friend Ashley and little baby Knox who is due in April
  • Shopping with Mom @ the mall
  • Target
  • Stroller walks around our apartment complex
  • BW3s to meet Craig’s coworkers
  • Triumph Brewery to meet my coworkers
  • Panera for lunch date with Mom & Dad
  • Small World Coffee, Princeton Library and long walk around Princeton Campus to meet new friends Lisa and baby Lucas
  • On the Border Restaurant with Laura
  • Visits from my family and our friends Max, Mary, Laura & Naveed

As you can see he truly does enjoy his car seat, car rides, and getting out of the house. He’s like his Mom, as we both get a bit stir crazy when inside for too long and we both need time outdoors every so often. His content demeanor while traveling allows us to get some fresh air, spend time with friends, and basically helps us to keep our sanity 🙂 Calvin also let me take some “1 month” photos this morning to share with you all! He’s so damn cute.



    

Thanks for checking in! 💕

Kayla

Newborn Photography for Beginners: 4 tips + Our Little Bear 

I started researching newborn photography about two days before Calvin arrived. Not being from this area, I had to start from scratch online while looking for a photographer, as opposed to using one of the amazing photographers I know at home in Ohio that I could get a WOM recommendation on. I discovered 1, that this is extremely late in the game to start looking as most people book these sessions months in advance – and 2, holy $$$. I have to say that several months ago, I was still trying to wrap my head around the idea of having a child, let alone taking pics of him.

New Jersey is out of control with cost of living, daycare, services such as photography, and everything in between. I’m not even going to tell you what it would cost here in the Princeton area 😳 Professional newborn photography is amazing, the photos are priceless, and I wanted them badly, but I decided I just wasn’t willing to fork over several months of (NJ priced) rent to have these photos done right away. We did purchase the photos the hospital offers to take, as they are extremely cost effective and conveniently done, just not the same quality as a boutique photographer.

We are going home later this Spring and I hope to use a local photographer in Ohio when he is just a couple months old. 😊 Let me know if anyone has a solid recommendation!

*Insert brilliant idea to try this on my own here*

Once I accepted that we would have to wait on pics of our little angel, I started doing some research (mostly high quality pinteresting) on how to take photos on my own. Call me cheap, but I’d like to use the word resourceful instead! Being someone who knows nothing about photography (I didn’t even take photo 101 in HS), here are the 4 easiest & most important steps I discovered and applied:

1.) Make sure baby is content – I recommend doing this right after a feeding. Calvin is either out like a light after eating, or pretty awake and content. Either way you’ll need a happy baby I order to pose how you’d like and get still shots. A well-fed baby will pretty much let you do whatever.

2.) Make or find a back drop/setting – for my photos I took a large blanket from Pier 1 and laid over a boppy pillow. This way baby was in a comfortable position and blanket covered nearby surroundings. You can really take any piece of material and fully cover the item in which you are placing baby.

3.) Find natural light – This is key! You’ll need a lot less editing if you are able to use the natural light coming in through a door or window. This light shouldn’t necessarily be direct sunlight, as you don’t want over exposure. Is that the right term?!

4.) Use a camera you are comfortable with – I used a Nikon Cool Pix L120, which I am still trying to figure out, but honestly if you do a good job with iPhone, that would work as well. It doesn’t have to be fancy. iPhone actually has a decent quality camera (8mp, auto focus, auto image stabilization, etc) with minimal complicated settings and is what I use/prefer 95% of the time. Photogs, don’t judge me! Gotta give my dad a shout out here – he takes some amazing photos and had only an iPhone 4 until just recently. Check him out on IG here.

Below is my attempt at in-home newborn photography with our Little Bear:



  
  
  
  
  
  

Blanket – the one I used is sold out, but here are several other Pier1 options.

Boppy 

Baby Hat  – the one Cal is wearing is from Gymboree, but here is an option from Carters.


So how did they turn out? Let me know what you think! We personally believe Calvin could make anyone’s mediocre photography skills look professional 💙

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kayla