Crew’s nursery.

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’m so excited to finally share some pics of Crew’s nursery. This room has posed a couple challenges, but it has been so much fun to pull together. I think every mama-to-be pins away, dreaming about how to decorate her baby’s room. I didn’t want to be OVERLY theme-ish in here, but put together some inspiration and a color palette that works with all things water/adventure (and a nod to his name!).  Since I didn’t have a room to work in until he was over a month old, I decorated in my head until I could get in here and bring it all to life!

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

Decorating without the actual space to reference meant there were a couple of surprises. Like it hadn’t clicked for me that when considering wall space and furniture arrangement, I forgot that his double closet doors weren’t the folding kind — they were full size, swing-open doors. I love that style so much more, but man, it eats up some space along the south wall!

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

So instead of a traditional bookcase, we opted for the popular picture-ledges turned bookshelves option, gifted by Crew’s Gigi, on this wall the closet door opens to. These book ledges make me so happy — so much color for him to look at and wonderful to see the many titles gifted to us by friends and family…and without taking up floor space!

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

I used the months of pregnancy to collect things for an arrangement to go over his changing table/dresser. The “adventure” word I purchased before Crew was even on his way when we deemed it our word for the year in 2014 — it seemed more than appropriate it hang on his wall, as he is our greatest one yet. The coordinates on the plaque are those of the hospital in which he was born, the frame holds a first family picture, and the paddle was a must as a nod to his name. The paddle originally said “beach” and was a different color — I added the royal navy paint to it and the exterior of the white frame to tie it all together a bit more.

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

And finally, the crib. Which has been sitting flat-packed in a box for a few months in the apartment, until we could move in and put this together. Crew was about six weeks when we got to finally, FINALLY do this parent right of passage. It was like delayed nesting and as silly as it sounds, I teared up when we finished putting it together. I’d been waiting so long to feel what his room would feel like, and standing in the space, finally seeing the focal point of it put together, was an awesome moment. It was kind of like bringing him home all over again, but to a much more zen, nested, space!

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

The mobile that started it all. Page fell in love with this on a post-dinner date at PB Kids one night last summer, before we even knew we were having a boy. #meanttobe

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

True story – I agonized over which crib sheet to use for pictures. I’ve gone a bit crazy with them, since it’s the only bedding you can use with a babe. We cycle through so many cute ones – this striped one, a super soft navy chenille, an aqua with navy flecks, and the list goes on. We couldn’t quite fit the last book ledge on the other wall, but it’s perfect in this corner, to hold a couple of favorite maternity pictures in which we first revealed his name, and also holds our monitor camera.

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

My bestie spotted this pillow while I was still in the inspiration board phase. Perfection. The cable throw was a gift and the perfect shade of aqua.

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

In the months from when we ordered our glider last fall and when it arrived at the house in February, I had lost perspective on just how large it is! We chose it for many reasons, one of them being its oversized comfiness, but until it was in the room (and we had to allow even more perimeter space for swivel/rock room), I hadn’t realized just how much floor space it would eat. But this sucker has been my second bed during the sleepless nights these last months, so we found a furniture arrangement to accommodate it!

crew's nautical nursery | www.lifeinyellow.com

Next to the glider is a little nightlight on the most perfect table, from Crew’s Mimi. I love the size, the textures and colors. The legs just scream little boy “adventure” room to me! :)

I’m already dreaming of what we’ll do when he’s ready for a “big boy” room and has opinions of his own, and later on, creating a cool teenager space. Until then, this sweet smiley boy of ours finally has a finished space to call his own. Enjoy, Crew!

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new mama essentials.

with my newest love | 15 hours old

with my newest love | 15 hours old

I went through my fair share of “top ten” lists when thinking about stuff to stock at home, pre-delivery. Some of it I used, some of I didn’t, and some of it I discovered along the way.

I share my list of essential items here for mamas-to-be (and those shopping for them!). Some items have to do with the actual recovery, some are about general survival those first days and weeks. (As a note, mamas recovering from c-sections may have some different items that are most helpful, I can only speak for Baby arriving the ol’ fashioned way.) They aren’t the most exciting or adorable things to buy (for yourself or to gift), but you’ll never love anything more than the below items (and the comfort and relief they bring you in those first days!).

Soothies. I think one of the top surprises of this whole having-a-baby gig was the two other arrivals that require sudden and constant attention…Oh. YOU know. They hurt (a LOT), they leak, and they have to be tended to as often as your new bundle of joy. I remember more about the misery related to boobs than to the delivery recovery — they were pretty comparable! So to kick off my list, add these to your cart. And put them in your fridge between uses. And buy an extra set so you never have to be without the cold relief between those first ten days or so of nursing for more than a few seconds. Ahhh.

Lanolin. The hospital sent me home with an impossibly tiny tube of this stuff, so I promptly ordered more when I got home. Turns out, the tiny tube lasted long enough, but one way or another, make sure you have some on hand. The soothies take the cake as far as comfort, but this stuff helps, too, and you’ll want all hands on deck for relief.

Hot/Cold therapy pack. YES. Just…YES. To think I paused for a sec before buying these because it was yet ANOTHER 15 bucks in my Amazon cart. Good god, just buy them and forget about it. I used them both hot and cold (and will likely use them again if needed when I wean off nursing in a few months). Buy them without pause. Regret nothing.

Witch hazel pads and Dermoplast. I wasn’t kidding about the “not adorable” list of things to buy. But if the hospital doesn’t send you home with extra of either, your spouse’s first mission in life is to get to the pharmacy for these, stat. But stock up on pads ahead of time – because the man should get to keep a little dignity, even if yours is completely gone by now.

New pajamas. There’s something about wearing something new that makes you feel better, and what better time than when everyone wants a picture of you and the new baby and you are a total hot mess. At the same time, don’t spend a fortune…there’s a chance these end up stained, and will be too big anyway in a couple weeks’ time. While the first 24 hours, I wanted nothing to do with changing out of my hospital gown (too. much. work!), by day 2 I was ready to feel a little more human, and new pajamas helped me feel as fresh as is possible after just pushing another human out of you.

Etsy bath sachets. Just a hot bath with a little baking soda was all my doctor said I needed, and you’ll be thrilled and relieved to just get that. But, if you want something a little prettier to gift (to someone else, or yourself), these are awesome, and safe for use during recovery.

Ginormous water mug. Someone could make a killing designing these to be half as cute as the chic sports bottles we buy for the gym, but alas, these are pretty boring. The hospital gave me one that was 20 oz. and I think I had ordered this 32 oz. one before we even went home. I couldn’t believe how much water I could chug those first several days – you are constantly dying of thirst. Less refills means less getting up or having to ask someone for more all the time. And more on-hand to begin with encourages you to drink more overall. Granted, I donated mine after a few weeks because I had this whole patient/recovery association with it – ha! – but in those first couple weeks, it was one of my most-used items.

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EOS lip balm — not delivery related, but they are not kidding when they say the hospital is dry… Page and I both found our lips were raw within a few hours of checking in until the first couple days back home. I piled this on during the stay and in the following days at home.

Stuff for the new dad…dads, too, went through the crazy delivery, even if as a bystander, and are also functioning on less sleep as well, and trying to take care of everyone and play director to the nurses, doctors, and well-wishers. It may not be delivery, but it’s a lot. The caretaker needs to be taken care of, eventually! I made a point of having a lot of Page’s favorite, fast, snacks stocked in our pantry for those first days home (pistachios, cheeze-its, vitamin water, etc) and lots and lots (and lots) of his favorite coffee. He also scored some new lounge clothes from both our moms to wear during the hospital stay and those first days at home. He also ordered some Ugg slippers in time to wear in the hospital – a great call on the cold tile floors during our January stay.

Meals and Snacks. Food in general. I didn’t have freezer (or garage, or even Iowa winter patio!) space to stock much in the way of pre-prepared meals, but I did make a batch of spaghetti sauce with ground turkey to quickly throw over some noodles, and some enchilada filling to roll up in tortillas some night. I was super grateful to have both when we ended up reheating them. We also had many ready-to-eat meals delivered by family and friends. It hadn’t occurred to me to “schedule” these out, but many of our friends asked for a preferred night to bring them by. This allowed us to not have to store much, just have dinner ready to go, hot, each evening. We are blessed with family and friends who are great in the kitchen – breakfast burritos and quiche to maid rites and hearty soups – we were set for all meals of the day. Another idea? A gift certificate to a great Thai place that delivers. Just sayin. :) Some friends of ours, knowing we had no room to stockpile food, gave us this instead of cooking, and it was one of the best meals we ate.

Some other favorites were the snackier things – you don’t always need a full meal, just something to munch at a 2am feeding. Energy bites, granola bars, and fresh fruit were all wonderful to receive. Whether it’s takeout or homemade, or just a bag of groceries, to have food arrive at your door and not have to think about what to get, is beyond heavenly.

Extra pillowcases. Pretty ones. About a week in for me, the night sweats – drenches – began. It’s miserable to get up in the night and your pillow is cold and wet. I bought a set of pillowcases that made me happy and added them to my daily laundry rotation of baby stuff and pajamas I inevitably sweat through, as well. Between the extras and the ones that matched our bedding, I always had a clean dry one on my nightstand to quickly swap out mid-night as needed.

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All of the under-eye products. All of them. I’m so glad I have pictures of Crew’s first days with me in them, but I also remembering the horror as I saw myself…dark circles and bags after laboring through the night and then having little sleep to catch up for days on end afterward. When you can’t get sleep, get the next best things. In the form of this (wear it under a little concealer), and this (dot it on OVER your concealer), and these. All worth it – I’m still using these weapons three months later because — spoiler alert — your nights are short and interrupted for quite a while.

A cleaning service. This makes a fabulous gift! I scheduled a deep clean of our home around the time Crew was about eight weeks. The idea of cleaning a whole house when I’d slept maybe a total of five hours a night (split up) for the past two months was just not on my list of things that were possible. I can always find room in the budget for this one, but especially post-babe. (But don’t schedule the first couple weeks home – you don’t want to bother with the whole “clean up so someone can clean” song and dance. Wait until you can get out for a couple hours of errands comfortably, then come home to clean-house-bliss.)

Anyone have others to add to this list? Leave them in the comments! I didn’t even touch on nursing tanks by the dozens and a Netflix subscription (both vital!). Hopefully this list helps a few others prep for those exhausting but awesome first days home doing little more than snuggling your new tiny family member!

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Our wardrobe wall…put to use!

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A while back, I posted about how Page built our bedroom wardrobes.

Since then, we have been unpacking and filling them up, and at the same time, starting to switch over to warmer weather clothing, so a few moving pieces as I figure out just how I want them.

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As you can see, I’m still playing around with a couple spots (that type right shelf is a throw-it-in-there-til-it-finds-a-home spot). And I’m not crazy about SEEING our DVD collection in the open section – so I want to get some cute baskets to house those, but need to figure out a color scheme for the room, first. That whole center section needs a little staging help, but I’m at a loss for what direction to go in our master, overall.

But in general, this is complete! I did end up ordering a couple more small drawers for my side, after living with it a few weeks and deciding I liked more drawer space versus shelving. ALSO — a word of advice if you do these — one thing the Ikea planner did NOT account for when we created our configuarations is that if you put hinged doors on these wardrobes (as opposed to sliders or no door at all), those hinges take up primo space right in the center of the wardrobe frame, covering the holes where you otherwise might have planned to put a shelf or drawer at eye level. As a result, I had to shift all my large drawers up a few pegs to leave room for the hinge hardware, which now puts the top drawer at a less-than-ideal height. I need a stool to reach the top shelves anyway (I’ll keep only occasional use stuff up there), so I’ll have one nearby, but that discovery about the door hinges was my one “hmm, wish I’d know that!” frustration. I’d have chosen a couple different components and arranged a bit differently. As for Page’s side, he’s perfectly happy and the pants hanger makes it nearly impossible to not hang stuff up, it’s so easy to use. We both really like the pull out trays for watches, belts, jewelry and other accessories. So nice to have it all laid out and visible – I feel like I’ll wear more of my stuff, rather than forget about it.

So there you have it – definitely would do this project again!!

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Crew: Three Months!

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(Photo cred: Theresa Schumacher Photography)

Have you really been in our lives for a quarter of a year already? We’re approaching a whole year since we first knew you were on your way…time flies! Sometimes I’m amazed at how different our life looks compared to this time last year…new house, new family member, new work schedule, new priorities. This post turned out to be MUCH longer than the previous monthlies, but there’s more to talk about this time around, and I think I finally have more energy to expand on everything that’s happening in your world, in better detail!

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So. Much. Personality. If I had to describe you in three words – these are them. This has been a really fun month for not just getting some baby smiles, but real INTERACTION with you. You “talk” with us by babbling back to us if we say something, you smile and sigh at your dad’s funny faces, stick your lip out pitifully when something startles you, and follow us around the room with your gaze from wherever you’re perched. If someone new holds you, you adapt pretty easily, and even if you start to fuss if you have Mom in your view, you calm down pretty quickly. You love to snuggle but if there’s a lot going on, you NEED to be a part of it – turning you into toward our chests is a no-go and you don’t love being down on the floor, but prefer to face out/up/from higher spots in the room.

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You only have eyes for Dad in the early morning hours of the day and are SO close to laughing when he baby rough-houses with you. You greet either of us at the crazy hour of 5 or 6 am with the BIGGEST grins — we can (almost) forget how insanely early it is.

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You have developed into a super laid-back guy. You fuss only if you’re dirty or hungry, and cry hard only when it’s time for bed. You’re easily soothed, will take a bottle from anyone, and you take in new surroundings and situations with a wide-eyed but calm disposition. You are all in all a truly easy baby!

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Did I mention?? Every day, what little hair you have is turning a bit more red like your dad’s – I love it! You are definitely on track to be Pete and Repeat!

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You sleep exclusively in your crib now. (Can I get a halluluiah?!). It was a few long nights for you and me both, but you now go down (and back down all night long) easily. You then hit a growth spurt with only 1.5 to 2 hours stretches of sleep (nooooooo!), but are finally hitting a stride by sleeping from around 8pm to 12 or 1 in the morning, then waking between 3 and 4, and finally for the day around 6 if we’re lucky. This mama is TIRED (nursing at night), but I keep hearing from all directions that we are approaching the light at the end of the tunnel and any day now you’ll hit some even longer stretches at night. Fingers and toes are crossed…especially since I now have to get up and be at work some days – more on that in a separate post!

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Some things I don’t want to forget about this time right now: we are all (three!) obsessed with your super soft Kickee Pants pajamas and you are spoiled with way too many pairs, including some with whales that coordinate with your room (I die) and others with canoes and paddles, fit for a CREW man. :)

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You love, love, love “Leroy” as Dad has named him, your lamb pacifier animal. One night we couldn’t find him, and your dad and I slightly panicked until we did. The next day it was off to Buy Buy Baby for a stunt double, just in case!

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You love to look at yourself in the mirror, or more conveniently, in the reverse camera on our phones. Below is your very first selfie!! Dad took some video of you looking at yourself, too. Hil. ar. i. ous.

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Your hand-eye coordination still leaves much to be desired, but when you can get something in your line of sight, I swear this victorious look comes across your face ha!

Crew with O-Ball (click to view clip)

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You are more tuned in to things we show you and really LOOK at them. Storytime is becoming more fun.

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I went back to work this week, part-time, alternating two and three days each week. This also means you started going to a babysitter’s for the same amount of time. With two little girls of her own, we know this will be a great experience for you – enough kid to adult ratio that we know you’ll get held and spoiled lots but also that you’ll soak up so much new stimulation from the new faces, environment, and different pace of activity. (As evidenced in this pic texted to us on the first day to ease our nerves!)

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Day care is more and a different kind of stimulation than we can give you at home, and allows me to get a change of pace throughout the week as well. I’m hoping the new flexibility in my schedule also allows me to continue to grow ClickSmith by incorporating some weekday session availability. This first week in our new life after maternity leave has truly felt good, and while I miss getting to smooch you whenever I please, I know it’s good for us both to have a little time apart and going to work is, in a lot of ways, a break and as I made my first post-leave commute last week with a mocha in hand and tunes blaring, it was one of the first times I truly felt like my old self!

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I don’t know if it’s the transition into more “normal” permanent life routine going forward, or coming out of the all-consuming newborn phase (or maybe both), but I suddenly am doing a lot of looking ahead. Our brains have adjusted and we can think beyond you to other things again ha! We are ready to employ our list of sitters and get back to some “just us” time, and find some balance between being spouses and also being parents, which is getting easier as we get to know you better and aren’t feeling so much like we’re driving without an owners manual. :) I’m excited for the family trips we’ll take this year, first holidays we’ll spend with you, diving into milestones like first foods, and continuing to watch this little personality of yours develop as you learn every day. My mom said something to you when you were brand new that has stuck with me and rings so true… I didn’t even know I needed you…but I do. You have been such an awesome addition to our world and little family and you make us so, so happy. Three month hugs to you, baby boy.

Love, Mom <3

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Crew: Two Months!

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And just like that…our buddy is two months old.

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I’m sure the time has been even more accelerated with all the to-dos associated with packing, moving, and now settling in, but they aren’t kidding when they say babies grow SO fast!

In the past month, we officially moved in and Crew gained a room of his own (which he now sleeps in at night, still in the Rock ‘n’ Play but we’re transitioning to his crib). Building the crib was a fun, delayed-nesting-gratification activity for Page and me both. Moving him into his room was a bit like bringing him home all over again. :) I’m pulling together the final details in his nursery and will do a post on his adventurous room, soon! IMG_1978

As you can see, this smart cookie is smiling all day long. He is babbling and LOVES diaper change time and “spa time” as we call it, since he blisses out when it’s time to bathe, have his hair washed, etc. He’s calm now when he spends little stretches of time on his own in the swing, on the floor, or in our bed, and he still LOVES to crane his neck up and stare down the ceiling fans, trim, beams — basically any house fixtures.

At his two-month check, Crew is 11.6 pounds (up 3 pounds from his two-week visit!) and 22.75 inches long (two inches gained!). With a little more than three weeks left on maternity leave, I’m excited to introduce him to his sitter (and her little girls, who I’m sure will make great helpers!), take way more pictures of his changing-every-day little features, and of course gets lots of snuggles in.

We can’t believe this tiny person has been in our lives for a full two months, and it’s in this most recent one that he feels more like a real person and that I “know” him. So much fun. We love you, Buddy!

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Crew: One Month!

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With all the unpacking on top of caring for our little guy, Crew’s first monthly post is coming just a few days shy of his TWO month birthday ha! We will get on track…eventually. :)

In some ways, the first month lasted forever, and in others, it absolutely FLEW by. Perhaps of most importance, we all survived! At one month, he loves the ceiling fan and hates diaper changes, makes hilarious faces, snores LOUDLY when he sleeps and snorts just as loudly when he eats, loves to be swaddled but HATES his arm movement restricted, is constantly flashing jazz hands and opening/closing them, and even when there’s a pacifier in his mouth, he is cooing and groaning his side of the conversation to us all day long.

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To recap the first month, the first couple days home were rough because we had to keep taking Crew into the pediatrician’s office for Jaundice monitoring. Aside from testing his blood, they were also closely monitoring his weight loss and diaper counts, since a side effect of Jaundice is that it makes babies only want to sleep and consequently not eat much during those crucial first days. First journeys out with a baby are nervewracking to begin with, but more so when it’s in bitter winds and negative temperatures (with no garage and a wind tunnel apartment building to navigate), and when the destination ends each time in your sweet pea screaming while they poke his heel yet again for more blood. Add in new mom, sleep-deprived, hormones and I was a blubbering mess. And poor Page was just trying to hold it together for everyone. It was a new kind of stress that we both managed in our own ways, and we had to learn what worked for the other.

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Fortunately, the clouds parted pretty quickly and after a couple visits back, they finally declared the Crew man out of the woods and we could just stay home for a couple of days and work on a bit of a routine, rest, and recovery. Page’s parents came to visit as we turned this corner, and it was a nice break to have someone step in and help a little, as I ended up needing a couple days in bed or on the couch, trying to get back on track with healing. We were so preoccupied with getting HIM well, that I admittedly forgot to still think of myself as a patient as well and my body responded. By the time Crew was a week old, everyone was starting to feel more like themselves and the second week flew by with visits (and MUCH appreciated meals) from friends, a couple more positive outings, the ability to start focusing again on real life (primarily…the house!) and a visit from my mom and brother.

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Your body does adjust to the lack of sleep and I’m constantly learning to be patient with myself as my to-do lists get checked off, albeit slower than I would like. There was a lot to do with the days counting down until our move and I’m not one to sit around anyway (Page says I’ve always been bad at relaxing and vacationing ha!). My way of enjoying this time has been to make it productive and keep stress off Page’s plate as he ran point on just about all aspects of our lives during those first weeks as a family of three.

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Despite this funny picture of his squawk, I’m happy to report that Crew is a pretty easy baby. He took very quickly to nursing, even with his somewhat rough start to eating. Thanks to his appetite, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight after a couple weeks post-delivery, although my core was definitely softer than before ha – I was cleared for workouts last week, and am anxious to start toning up and I’d love to continue to lose some additional weight I’d planned to drop prior to becoming pregnant. For now, I’m just focusing on eating healthy and getting rest while settling into our new home environment.

Back very soon with Mr. Crew’s TWO (!!!!) month update!

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