Monday, November 30, 2015

Gift Guide: Mama's First Christmas Edition

I've rounded up a few things I think would make great gifts for any mamas or mamas-to-be in your life.  These are either things I already have (and love) or items on my wish list, and even though I put this together with (new) mamas in mind, I think a few of them would make excellent gifts for any ladies in your life. :)

That sweatshirt is my all time favorite ever.  It's so cozy and definitely one of those things I'm always a little sad to see sitting in the dirty laundry because I can't wait to live in it wear it again. Pair it with some leggings and you have my daily at home with Ellie outfit!  A comfortable shirt that doesn't scream "it's 3 pm, why are you still in your pjs??" is perfect in my book.

A planner is on my wish list because it can be so tough when you're running around like crazy and have ten million things floating around in your head.  Mom brain is real and it would be nice to have something to write down not only your schedule, but any random things that you think of that you must do the second you have two free hands and inevitably forget two seconds later.

A cute mug because coffee is essential to surviving life with a tiny human.  A pretty water tumbler is also a good gift idea, because whether you're pregnant, nursing, or just trying to keep up with your hyperactive child, there is no such thing as too much water.  The Mason Bar Company has some really cute ones - I especially love the bamboo lids!

I really, really like that stress relief body wash.  It has such a clean, calming scent to it and I used it daily throughout my pregnancy.  There are so many options of bath products available in that scent - you could grab the bath soak and a candle (and a bottle of wine?!) to give as a relaxing bath time gift!  

As far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong with essie and sometimes an at-home mani or pedi works wonders in making a new mom feel like they didn't just get hit by a truck... or maybe that's just me. ;)   Bahama Mama has been my go-to color this season!  I'm dying to try the good to go top coat because I always feel like I'm playing a game of Russian Roulette when I try to paint my nails during nap time - Ellie inevitably wakes up halfway through every. single. time.  

Lastly, this diaper bag that is proof that diaper bags don't have to look like, well, a diaper bag.  This is the one I'm using now and I really like it.  Not only does it look nice, it's also a pretty decent size... although, I could definitely pack a whole suitcase to bring around with me any time Ellie and I leave the house!

The number one thing I could think of that's not included above is an entire uninterrupted nights sleep. If anyone knows where I can get one (or a few) of those, please fill me in because that sounds like truly the best gift of all. ;)

Any good gift ideas for mamas in your life? I'd love to hear (and add to my own wishlist)!  Hope you had a very merry weekend + HAPPY DECEMBER EVE!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Looks Great! Little Full, Lotta Sap.

I give you, the Noel Family Christmas Tree!

If you've been reading these ramblings for really any period of time, you'll know that Ellie's first Christmas is a big deal.  Ellie's first Christmas tree?  Too. Much.  Excitement.  Christmas tree day is easily in my top ten favorite days of the year - maybe even top five.  Probably top five.  As I mentioned before, we had used our artificial tree the past couple years, so we were both (all) extra excited to get a real one this time around.  We found the sweetest little Christmas tree farm just a few minutes from our house.  We spent a decent amount of time walking around, searching for the perfectly imperfect tree.  After Tyler telling me every tree I liked was too short (okay, I had only picked out two or three, but still...), we found ours!  All of the trees were super cute but fat, so we knew it would be a little out of control in our living room that has been taken over with baby toys.  As soon as Tyler got it into the house and unwrapped he said "well, we used to have a living room" - totally felt like the Griswolds.  ;)  I changed into my favorite Christmas tee, and after spending too much time untangling messy balls of lights, I ended up going with both white + colored, and I love how it turned out!  It's fun, colorful, and a little bit quirky.  We did a "ceremonial tree topping" (of course we did) and let Ellie help put on the star, which made my festive mama heart melt into a puddle.   After our monkey put up the sweetest fight against bed time that had me thinking "does she really have to go to bed??", Tyler and I watched Christmas Vacation for the first of many times this season, I'm sure. And when I was washing my face before bed, I noticed I had lots of little glitter specks in my hair.  Proof of a successful Christmas tree day.


If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see I already said this, but Christmas time is seriously so much more magical (and so much better) with Ellie.  I'm SO looking forward to the next four festive weeks with my girlfriend + our little fam! :)

In other news, has anyone snagged any good deals this weekend?! I picked up pj bottoms for my sister and I from aerie (they're buy one get one free), so we can start our own Christmas tradition with Ellie this year - more to come on that soon! 

 Aside from my obsession with Baby Gap and Target, I do a lot of small business shopping, and since its Small Business Saturday, I figured I'd share a few things I've come across so far.  Little Unicorn killed it with their new line of swaddle blankets and they are all available for pre-order (as I randomly remembered at 5:30 am Friday morning and jumped out of bed to grab my credit card).  They're my favorite blankets Ellie has, and even though she is too big now and has never liked to be swaddled, we still use them almost on a daily basis.  So you're all going to think I'm completely batshit crazy, but I ordered two for our future Baby Noel #2 (who I promise is just a figment of my imagination at this point) - a boy one and a girl one.  That bison one is way too cute for a little boy, and I had the hardest time picking out just one girl one.  I ended up with another floral one, but I love both the blueberry one and the lemon one and think they'd be perfect for summer babies!! So yes, completely crazy but I figured if we never used one, we could gift it (or Ellie will totally just use them anyway?!).  

Speaking of looking into the future, I love these cake toppers from Fancy Free Finery (20% off using code SMALLBUSINESS94) and I think they would go perfectly with the theme I have in mind for Ellie's first birthday! ;) If you search the hashtag smallbusiness94, you'll find the mother load of small shop deals! The reindeer games onesie Ellie is wearing in our Christmas tree photos is from SaSea and you can get 15% off today using code merrysaturday.  They also have the cutest Santa shirts for the whole family!  Our friends at Isla Ann Inspirations are having an awesome sale through Cyber Monday!  You can save big using these codes:
•Save 20% off your order, no minimum using code: SAVE20
•Save 30% off $10+ using code: SAVE30
•Save 40% off $25+ using code: SAVE40 

 Happy shopping! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ellia's First Thanksgiving

Another first holiday for Miss Ellie is in the books! We started off our morning with one of my favorite breakfast treats - Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.  Anyone else think they're better than homemade ones?! Ellie dove right in and obviously liked the icing the best. ;) We went to my parents house for dinner in the afternoon.  Everything was delicious as usual, and Ellie clearly agreed!  She downed some mashed potatoes and squash, and tasted a little turkey.  I'm imagining next year she'll be loving all of the different food options! :) We went to my sister-in-laws house afterwards and hung out with Tyler's fam for a bit.  They just moved in a couple months ago and we hadn't seen their house since it was partially built, so it was cool to check out their new digs. It was such a nice day spent with our favorite people, and other than a couple meltdowns from being overwhelmed by all the people loving on her (tough life), I know Ellie had a great day, too. :)
So, what's next on our weekend agenda? Three words: Christmas tree farm.  I can hardly contain my excitement - I feel like I've been waiting forever for the Christmas season to arrive and in one more hour, it will be here!  No doubt we'll also be watching Christmas Vacation at some point this weekend.  And you bet we'll be the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse through all of these festive activities! ;)

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Seven Months of Ellia

Age:  Seven months tomorrow!
Height:  No idea but we're always saying she seems on the tall side.
Weight:  If our scale is at all accurate, about 15.5 pounds.
Clothing size:  This varies based on the brand, but most of her clothes are from Baby Gap/Old Navy and she wears 3-6 month onesies + tops and 6-12 month bottoms.
Diaper size: 3
Eating:  I'm pretty certain she likes solids more than formula.  It's not uncommon for her to down two pouches in one meal.  We've been getting a lot of the Plum Organics pouches because they've been on sale at Target, and I don't think I've fed her a kind she hasn't liked!  We've also been giving her samples of a lot of the foods we eat.  I'll share an apple with Ellie every morning - either she'll gum at/suck on a big slice or I'll put a chunk in her fresh food feeder (also a good baby stocking stuffer!).  I hope she continues to be such a good eater, because her mama tends to be a little picky. ;)
Sleeping: She's usually asleep by 9 and wakes up around 5.  She has slept through the night a few times but typically gets up at least once, even if she's just in that sleepy/crying about nothing trance and goes back down pretty easily.  Bedtime has been a challenge lately though.  She'll be rubbing her eyes and pulling her hair tired, but still fights it.  Naps are still hit or miss.  And as I recently discussed, she's still in our bed.
Favorite toys:  She's really been liking her blender/toaster lately, but she's not too picky as long as she can put part of it in her mouth. :)
Loves:  Not much has changed since last month, but if I had to pick a few favorites, I'd say the cats, her binkys, being outside, baths, stroller rides, music + dancing, and silly faces.

Ellie is this close to crawling, still doesn't have any teeth, and I'm convinced she considers getting dressed the worst part of her day most of the time (other than going to bed and getting her face wiped after she eats).  She's been doing a lot of fake coughing and fake laughing lately - not sure where she picked those things up!  She gets more and more of a personality every day and I always find myself thinking that this it the best age yet (I think Tyler agrees). :)

When I saw that Ellie was turning seven months old on Thanksgiving, I knew I had to do a comparison to Thanksgiving last year when I was 16 weeks pregnant! We were feeling extra thankful knowing that we had a baby on the way, but it really doesn't compare to how we feel this year. :)  
Yes, she is holding a plastic cup... whatever keeps her happy, right? ;)We love you so much, baby girl!! XO

Monday, November 23, 2015

Our Weekend

Can you believe it's Thanksgiving week?! Yeah, me either.  We had a very quiet weekend at home (surprise, surprise).  Our Christmas cards came in the mail last week and I'm so happy with how they came out! I ended up getting most of them together this weekend so they can go out in the mail next week. :) 
Miss Ellie is really close to leaving scooting in the dust and crawling around. Not sure how I feel about her crawling coinciding with Christmas tree season... sounds like trouble to me. ;) We really didn't do a whole lot this weekend, but I did (almost) finish cleaning out my closet like I mentioned a few weeks (or months?) ago!  I still need some more hangers to call it complete, but I did organize my clothes by color so I'm pretty happy with that - it's the little things, right?  While there is still room for improvement in the clutter department, I will be donating nine trash bags full of clothes and shoes so I feel good about that, too. :)

The weekend flew by like it always seems to, but I'm happy it's a short week and we will be celebrating with our families on Thursday.  We're eating dinner at my parents' house and then going to Tyler's sisters' house for dessert.  We're supposed to be bringing a dessert, but I haven't decided what yet.  I've got a few things in mind  (like these super easy + delicious Reese's PB cup cookies that have already been Noel family approved) but always welcome suggestions if you have something you love!  Preferably not pie because they have a few of those planned already. :)  

Oh, and did anyone see that Verizon "happy thanksgetting" commercial this weekend and think it's super obnoxious?  It reminded me how much I dislike the crazy Black Friday shopping scene - specifically Black Friday shopping that starts on Thanksgiving.  Now, that doesn't mean I don't peruse the sales online on Friday, at home, in my pjs... I just don't think running out to the stores Thanksgiving night is really what the day is all about. But what do I know? :)  I hope you and all of your loved ones are able to celebrate + spend time together this week! Happy Monday, guys!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cosleeping Situation

I've gotten a few questions about our current sleeping situation so I thought I'd share our experience here.  At almost seven months old, Ellia is still in our bed - yikes. 

I know I've said this before but just to reiterate, I never, never, ever thought we'd let our babies sleep in our bed (aside from the occasional bad dream or sick kid situation).  So, how did we get ourselves into this little situation in the first place?  It started early and didn't take long to make it a habit...

When Ellie was first born, she slept in her rock n play right next to our bed (for what little time she did sleep).  That lasted all of maybe three weeks.  I'm not sure if she was just so used to being held during the day while she napped or what, but she just kind of stopped sleeping in her little bed at that point - like, completely all set with it.  Clearly, she hated it and when I'd lay her in there to sleep, she'd pretty much immediately wake up and we'd start from square one. Well, square one involved nursing Ellie to sleep for the five hundreth time each day.  Running on an average of 3 hours of sleep total a day, I started falling asleep sitting up in bed holding Ellie.  After a few minor heartattacks due to waking up either still holding Ellie in some distorted position, or having no recollection of putting her back in her bed, I started laying her in our bed to fall asleep instead of holding her. And she slept. Not great, but not bad for a newborn, and it felt a million times better than spending hours straight just trying to get Ellie to calm the eff down.

That's basically the story of how this whole thing came to be.  Obviously it was super convenient from a nursing perspective - having her so close and literally not having to leave the bed for nightly feedings.  Now it's definitely nice to cuddle all night long, especially when I don't get to see her during the day.  Plus, she still wakes up during the night randomly and will usually go right back down if I get her pacifier back in her mouth immediately if not sooner.  Except for last night when she was up ready to party for about an hour around 2 am. 

Do I worry about Ellie sleeping with blankets (because yes, I know she's "not supposed to")? Yes. And I totally think she's going to notice when she's in her crib at night without them.  My first reaction when I wake up at any point is always to check on her.  Do I worry we'll roll on her and crush her little baby body parts? A little, although thinking back on having a teeny 7 lb Ellie sleeping in our bed scares me much more than it does now.  I think Tyler and I have kind of developed a sixth sense about her being there.  The cats worry us more than we worry about ourselves. Does she ever sleep in her crib during the day? Only for my mother-in-law, only on her belly (side note: she started sleeping on her belly right around the time she moved into our bed).  Is it annoying to not be able to have alone time in the bedroom? Uh yep, kind of. Is it crowded and uncomfortable? Crowded, all the time (three humans, three cats).  Uncomfortable, depends on how much Ellie wants to sprawl out. Do I get annoyed by the fists to the eye socket, claws to the face, and kicks to the stomach, randomly throughout the night?  You bet.

Overall, I'd say cosleeping has worked out well for us because it allowed me to get more sleep in the beginning when I really truly needed it.  While I don't have immediate plans to move her into her crib all the way in her own room, I do want to try it soon-ish.  It's one of those things that I don't think twice about on a daily basis and then when I do think about it, I think we really should move her but why am I going to ruin a good thing?  She's actually slept through the night a few times recently - who wants to deal with a crying baby all night if they don't have to? I guess only time will tell, and in the meantime, Ellie's snuggled up in bed next to me while I type this, with her arm across my face. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Merry + Bright Christmas Tree

Meet Ellie's new uniform for the next 36 days.

Oh look, another Christmas post!  Can't say you weren't warned. :)

I'm so excited to be getting a real tree this year after two years of using our artificial one.  I know I will probably be kicking myself when we're drowning in both cat fur + pine needles throughout the month of December, but there's just something special about getting a real one.  I have some very fond memories of going to get our first tree together when we lived in our first apartment - we definitely put a real tree inside of Tyler's tiny Honda Accord.  I had to sit in the back seat for it to fit, and we both likely would have been goners if we had gotten into an accident.  I'll leave it up to you to determine whose idea it was to go get the tree in the first place. ;)  Hint: it was not the man who was probably cursing my name while he was finding pine needles in his car for God knows how long.  That's love right there, guys.

Most of our ornaments have more of a rustic-y feel with lots of red, golds and silvers, but this year I want to go the colorful route!  I've got four big containers of those big colorful ball ornaments from Target (like this one) sitting in our basement so I'll definitely be putting some of those to use.  I also picked up a few new ornaments from West Elm and Target to add to our tree this year, and I had to get this little set from Terrain that I can't stop staring at - too pretty for words right?!  I'm on the fence about just white lights or white + color, so I think I'm going to try both and see how it looks.  Other than a colorful mess, I'm not sure what our tree will end up looking like but am definitely inspired by some of my new additions.  Tyler leaves the Christmas tree up to me (you know - other than the buying, putting in the truck, carrying in the house, setting up in the stand, and disposing of on December 26th), so I'm looking forward to having a little fun with it.  You can see some of my tree trimming and other Christmas color inspiration on my Pinterest board, but here's some of the decor I'm loving!

Beautiful Christmas tree decorating inspiration to bring out the magic of the holidays in your home.
I'm dreaming of a PINK Christmas!:
Holiday Decor: What's Your Style Pt. 2:
Five homemade holiday garlands to make this season— Including this glamorous ornament garland:

one // two // three // four // five

You'll notice a pink trend going on... maybe we'll do a pink tree in Ellie's room one year!  In the meantime, Santa is most definitely going to be delivering pink + gold wrapped presents for a certain mostly well-behaved little lady. ;)  I'm sure you've all realized that Target is killing it with Christmas everything this season - some things were already a little picked over at ours, so be sure to head there soon if you have your eye on anything!

I've been putting our tree up the day after Thanksgiving the past few years so that's the plan this time around, too.  In other words - next Friday.  What?!  I can't stress enough how fast time is flying.  I feel like it just turned 2015 last month!  So much excitement though - in case you couldn't tell. :)  And if these antlers didn't fall off Ellie's head every time she looked down, you know she would be wearing them to the Christmas tree farm. ;)

We're clearly ready to deck the halls over here!  How about you?!  

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