Thursday, May 21, 2015

Motherhood // The Best Gift

Happy almost Memorial Day weekend everyone!

I haven't had much time for blogging/social media this week as I'm still in Michigan spending time with family. It's been really nice to relax and unplug a little bit, but I did want to pop in today and share some photos from my Mother's Day weekend before too much more time passes :)

I told Cameron that the one thing I really wanted for Mother's Day was just to get a few pictures of Henry and I together. I am constantly snapping pictures of the baby with my cell phone, but it's somewhat rare that I actually get out the "real" camera these days, let alone actually have on makeup and something other than yoga pants and get in the picture with him...ha! He's at such a sweet age right now though where he's really smiley and I just wish I could freeze this moment in time. So the day before Mother's Day, we went down to the Rhododendron Garden (which is also where we took our maternity photos!) and Cameron snapped a few pictures of me and our baby boy. There were tons of rhodies in bloom, we managed to get there during the golden hour, and Cameron did a great job getting some really lovely photos. Words can't describe how much I love being Henry's mama, and I'm so thankful to have these photos to look back on from my first year celebrating Mother's Day as a mom!

His expressions kill me :)

Not too sure...

...but he can't resist smiling for long :)

My laptop automatically makes GIFs when I upload photos and these were a few of my favorites :)

Gahhh, I just love him :)

Finally, I wanted to share a special offer with all of you that I think is pretty great. Rocksbox is kind of like Rent the Runway meets Stichfix...but for jewelry! For a low monthly fee, Rocksbox mails you a box of three pieces of jewelry that are hand selected to match your personal style. You can wear them as much as you'd like, then mail them back, and they'll send you three new pieces. (You can also opt to buy pieces of jewelry that come in your box as well) It's a great way to keep your accessories fresh without having to invest in a ton of different pieces of jewelry...pretty genius concept if you ask me!

In my first box, I received this gorgeous necklace, along with two pairs of earrings, and I've already returned it and received my second box. I realized I want to get more statement necklaces so I was able to go online to tailor my preferences and so my second box had two necklaces that I absolutely love. Plus, it's just really fun getting a box full of pretty jewelry in the mail! If you're interested in trying out Rocksbox, you can get your first month free by using the code 'janemgrayxoxo' at checkout!

Henry clearly approves :) Hope everyone is having a good week!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Henry // Five Months

Greetings from Michigan! We're here visiting my family right now and it's so nice to see everyone. I'm a little behind on posting Henry's five month update but better late than never!

This past month with Henry has been so much fun and full of lots of exciting developments! He turned five months old this past Friday (5/8) and I feel like both his personality and physical strength have made huge strides since last month. Here's what he's been up to over the past month...

We won't know his exact length until his 6 month well checkup next month, but I actually had to take him to the pediatrician last week and so I just quickly used their scale while we were waiting to get his weight - he was right around 17lbs just under 18lbs! (He kept wiggling and was wearing clothes vs. being nakey like he usually is at his well checks so that number probably is not exact!) I can definitely feel him getting heavier though, and it's obvious that he's growing! As for his hair and eyes, it's still anyone's guess as to what color they'll end up. His hair was dark when he was born, but it's really starting to lighten up on top and it could end up turning blonde like his mama's. His eyes are a dark blueish gray but I feel like they could turn brown? We'll just have to wait and see!

Overall, Henry has been pretty healthy over the past month! He is still spitting up here and there after eating, but our pediatrician said that should start to improve pretty quickly once he's able to sit up on his own in a month or two. He does still have some craddle cap, but it doesn't seem to bother him and I feel like it's not that noticeable since he has quite a bit of hair. Per our pediatrician's recommendation, I've just been massaging a little bit of olive oil on his scalp and using a soft toothbrush to help loosen some of the flakes, and that seems to help. 

He did have his first non-well visit to the pediatrician this month though :(  Last Monday, he woke up with a red rash under his chin and a few red spots on his arms/legs. I noticed it when I was changing his diaper in the morning and thought maybe he just got warm while sleeping and figured it would go away. However, by mid-morning it looked a little worse and so I figured I should take him to the doctor just to be safe. The rash under his chin looked pretty splotchy but some of the spots looked like bug bites, so I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. However, he didn't have a fever and it didn't seem itchy or like it was bothering him so I wasn't too concerned...but still wanted to have it looked at, just in case. The pediatrician confirmed that was it was just some sort of mild allergic reaction and said that it's pretty common for things like this to happen with a baby's sensitive skin, especially because Henry is so fair. I'm not 100% sure what caused it, but the day before we did have Henry on a blanket in the backyard, and he kept putting his hands and feet in the grass. We don't have any fertilizers on our grass, but the pediatrician said even just the texture of the grass could irritate the sensitive skin of a baby that's never experienced it before and that we shouldn't worry too much. Sure enough, by the next day his rash was completely gone...but as I'm sure all my first time mommas can relate, you never want to take any chances when it appears something could be wrong!

Henry is such a happy guy, I feel like there aren't many things he doesn't like at this point! He's obsessed with putting anything he can into his mouth - his fingers, his hands, our fingers, and any object that comes relatively close to him - and gnawing on it. (We had a playdate a few weeks ago and Henry realized he could use his hands to hold the other baby's hand in his mouth...insert monkey covering eyes emoji here...ha!) His coordination and ability to grab things has developed a lot over the past month, and now he can lock eyes on something, reach for it, and grab it easily. He's also so much more mobile and he loves rolling around! This month, he's really started arching his back when I'm changing his diaper and loves to lift his butt off the changing table and scooch himself back while I'm trying to get his diaper on. (I don't love this one quite as much as he does...) He seems to really like being around other babies now and has started to notice and interact with them when we have playdates or go to Mom/Baby Yoga. He's extremely social and loves making eye contact and giving smiles/laughs to anyone we meet out in public, and he doesn't seem to mind at all when other people hold him.  He's very vocal and loves talking and laughing, and we are always making silly sounds and voices to get a giggle out of him. I'm still using the infant car seat attachment with my BOB Stroller, but this past month we finally started letting him ride in the main part of the stroller and he loves it! He seems to really enjoy being able to see out in front of him when we go on walks. And finally, this month I feel like Henry has really been loving his papa! In the beginning, he definitely seemed to favor me more because, hello, food source :) But now that he's getting older, he and Cameron are really bonding a lot more; Cam plays the guitar for him and is constantly making silly faces to make him laugh. It's so sweet to watch and I know their bond will only grow as time goes on.

He's not a fan of being stuck in traffic, being overly hungry or tired, being hot, when the sun is bright and gets in his eyes, and he sometimes still gets a little upset when Lola starts howling.

Despite being quite the big boy, he's still been fitting OK into most of his 3-6 month/6 month clothing. I'm sure I'll be putting him into 6-9 month stuff soon though! As for diapers, we switched him to size 3 this month and we're still loving the Honest Co. dipes! :)

I'm still breastfeeding Henry and I'm so thankful that things are going well! I have been meaning to write a post on nursing, but basically I'm just really glad I stuck with it. I really love it and Henry seems to be thriving! He will occasionally get a bottle of pumped milk if Cam and I go out, but for the most part, it's straight from the source 24/7 :) I nurse him when he wakes up in the morning, every 3-4 hours during the day, and before bed at night and so depending on his naps, it averages out to be about 5 feedings per day. This past month, we also started to introduce some solids and that's been so much fun! We started with mashed avocado and then he's also tried sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and the occasional taste of banana when I have one. So far sweet potatoes seem to be his favorite! I'm not in a huge rush with solids, and so I haven't been doing it every single day. For now, I've just been making all the food he's had fresh, but as we start to feed him solids more regularly, I plan on making larger batches and freezing it. (Also, I understand people have lots of opinions when it comes to feeding solids; I totally respect whatever choices other moms decide to make for their babes when it comes to this area, but I'm not looking for any opinions on what we're choosing to do. We have our pediatrician's blessing for our course of action and this is what's working best for us!)

This past month, we made some big strides in the sleep department because Henry is now sleeping in his crib at night! Previously, he had been sleeping in his bassinet in our room but since he was sleeping through the night just fine, we felt like it was time to move him to his crib. However, we had heard all about this dreaded 4 month sleep regression and wanted to make sure that wasn't going to be too much of an issue first. Thankfully, it didn't hit us too hard - we had a couple nights where he woke up randomly in the middle of the night, but nothing too crazy. Then when we were in Seattle and Vancouver, he did wake up once or twice in the night there, but we just chalked that up to him being off his schedule since we were traveling. He has had some days over the past month where he decides that he doesn't want to take his normal naps, but since he seems happy I don't worry about it too much. We started putting him in his crib at night after we got back from Vancouver and he's done really well so far! At night, I take him up to his room, nurse him one last time, then I lay him in his crib awake, turn on his white noise machine, and walk out. Sometimes he'll fall right asleep and other days he'll fuss a little bit first, but for the most part, he goes down pretty easily. We're typically putting him down between 8:30-9pm, but it can be slightly earlier or later depending on the day. He'll usually wake up around 6:30am (although sometimes he'll wake up a little earlier/later) and then will usually fall back asleep for a little while after I nurse him. He'll usually take at least two naps during the day, with one being pretty long...but it really varies from day to day depending on our schedule! Overall though, he's a really great sleeper and Cameron and I are both really thankful for that :)

Favorite Things: 
Henry has been loving his Step 'n Play Piano this past month and I love it because it's nice to be able to put him in there when I need to start dinner or getting something done around the house :) We've been putting Henry in his Bumbo seat this past month as well and though we don't leave him in there long, he looks so adorable in it! I'm still loving my BOB Stroller, especially now that Henry can sit in the main seat. I'm still loving my wrap style carriers, but this past month we've also been using our Ergo 360 a lot and I really like it! Now that we have Henry in his crib at night, we've been using this baby monitor and so far it's worked well. The picture isn't as clear as some on the market and it doesn't have all the bells and whistles but for the price, it's not a bad monitor. We also have this noise machine in his nursery and I really like it! When it comes to feeding Henry solids, I've been using these spoons and they're great! Henry is putting everything in his mouth these days, and so I've really been loving this teething necklace. I'll plan on putting together a post with all our favorite items from 3-6 months soon so stay tuned for that!

-Henry can push himself up really high onto his arms now when he's in tummy time, and he loves to do "push ups" which is so cute :) I feel like it won't be long before he is crawling across the floor!
-He's able to roll from both his stomach to his back and his back to his stomach really well now.
-We put him down on his back in his crib for naps and at night, but often he'll roll over to his stomach to sleep. If I notice on the monitor that he does this, I'll go in and check to make sure his face is turned out so he can breathe ok, but if he's comfy, then it's fine by me!
-He's discovered his toes over the past month and grabs them all the time.
-Henry went on his first longer trip by car this month and actually traveled out of the country for the first time when we visited Seattle and Vancouver.
-He also visited some landmarks in his home state when we went to Multnomah Falls and Timberline Lodge when we had friends in town last month.
-He's really started to laugh a lot this past month and does it so much, it's the BEST :)

Life with Henry is so much fun and I'm so thankful that he's such an easy, happy baby! He is so easy going and loves to be out and about with me during the day. I can't wait to see what this month with him brings, it's so crazy that my next post like this will be his SIX month update!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Motherhood // Thoughts For My First Mother's Day

With this weekend being Mother's Day, I had every intention of putting together some really profound post with my thoughts on motherhood. And then I passed out on the couch last night. Whoops...

But on the brink of my first official Mother's Day as a mama, I did want to share a few things on my heart. And the best way to sum it up is simply that I love being a mom, plain and simple. It's still kind of surreal to me that I am a mom, but I am truly loving this new chapter of life.

When I was pregnant, I was looking forward to being a mom, but obviously it's hard to know exactly what to expect when you've never experienced it before. But now that Henry is here, I couldn't imagine life without him. He's the sweetest, happiest, most adorable little ball of joy and I am so enjoying him. I've received questions from friends about how I like staying home with him, and honestly, I love it. Being able to be the one who spends each day with him is such a gift and it's not something I take for granted. Life is so, so good right now and I just want to savor every moment of this sweet season. 

The hardest thing for me is really just how fast it seems like time is going by already. Before I put Henry to sleep at night, I sit in his nursery and nurse him and I swear, sometimes it feels like he's literally growing right before my eyes. He still looks so little and sweet, but each night I can feel him getting heavier as I hold him in my arms. It's so amazing and exciting but also slightly heart-breaking too. I love watching him grow and learn new things, but at the same time, I wish I could just bottle up this precious little baby stage forever. It's the definition of bittersweet. (This sums it up perfectly)

And I'll admit, there are plenty of nights where I'm nursing him and I'm distracted, sitting there on my phone, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or whatever, just waiting for him to hurry up and finish. But lately, I've really been trying to just use that time to just be more present and really soak him in. To study his sweet little face and remember the feeling of his tiny fingers wrapped around mine while he nurses and really burn those things in my memory. It's my time there in the quiet to say the silent prayers on my heart for him, to once again thank the Lord for giving him to me, and to ask for strength and wisdom to love him as well as I possibly can. I've come to really look forward to this time with him at the end of the day before I lay him down to sleep because I know that it won't be like this forever.

And in the spirit of Mother's Day, I'm also feeling extra thankful for all the amazing mothers in my life. For my own mom, a woman who is selfless, patient, giving, and the most incredible example I could have on how to be a mom; she's always there to encourage me and also raised me to understand that being a stay at home mom is an incredibly valuable life choice to be proud of. For my mother-in-law, who is kind, generous, always there any time I need something, and who also did a really wonderful job raising my husband to be a great father and a person who values motherhood. For my grandma, who is such a loving foundation of our family and always up for a late night phone call. For my aunts, sister-in-laws, and cousins, who have all provided fabulous examples of what motherhood looks like and are always there for me. And for all my mama friends, both near and far, I feel so blessed to have such beautiful women in my life who I can text/email/Instagram any time I need advice, encouragement, or just someone who can relate to how I'm feeling. I'm especially thankful for the mamas I've connected with here in Portland that I've been able to get together with over the past five months, and I look forward to watching those friendships grow along with all our kiddos in the months and years to come.

So on that note, I hope that all the mommas out there have a wonderful weekend! Now excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out over how tiny and smushy Henry looks in all these newborn pictures...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Travel // Visiting Vancouver, BC

I have been wanting to visit Vancouver, BC ever since we moved to Portland, but we haven't had the time...until now! When Cameron had a work training in Seattle last month, we decided to head there for the weekend after it was over. We had a really great time, here's a glimpse into our visit...

We stayed at the Four Seasons right downtown, and I would highly recommend it. Everyone was super accommodating, look at the welcome snack they left us! (Their snack for Henry was a little beyond his abilities, but it was still really nice!) We had a great view and the location was really convenient.

Henry was clearly loving the hotel life...ha!

I couldn't resist putting him in a little Canadian-esque outfit for our day of sightseeing :)

My friend Katie was also in Vancouver for the weekend and so Saturday morning, we took the ferry over to check out Granville Island. (The ferry ride is like 2 seconds) It's a fun place to explore!

The market has all sorts of food for sale and it's a great place to browse and eat.

We ended up having lunch at the market - I got this smoked salmon pot pie that was so good!

You'll notice Henry had a mid-day outfit change...(insert smiling turd and monkey covering eyes emoji)

Let's just say it's a good thing he's cute...ha! After finishing up at the market, we spent some more time walking around Granville Island, it's a really charming place!

Henry in sunglasses is my favorite thing ever :)

We also spent some time walking around Stanley Park, another beautiful part of the city!

My friend Katie lives in Charleston, but she had to come up to Seattle and then Vancouver for work so it was really awesome to be able to spend time together!

As for meals, we had some really great ones in Vancouver!
In particular, we really liked this pizza place and this dessert place :)

We tried this Japanese place that's super popular and it was good...but just not my favorite type of food.

And you can't go to Canada without going to Tim Horton's! Henry was clearly into it...hehe :)

We also went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, located just north of Vancouver. Cameron went here as a kid, and it looked really neat in the pictures. However, it's definitely very touristy and Cam couldn't believe how much stuff they had added since he was younger. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have elementary-school aged kids. I feel like kids that age would probably get a kick out of all the different attractions, but otherwise it's kind of an overpriced experience IMO.

So even though it was just ok, I still took a lot of pictures. Obviously :)

The suspension bridge is actually kind of neat...Henry slept right through it though!

Even though the Suspension Bridge was a little touristy, overall we had a great time in Vancouver! I've really enjoyed visiting Canada in the past, and Vancouver did not disappoint. I'd love to go back again in the future, as well as make it to other places in British Columbia like Whistler and Victoria. And since Henry has his passport now, hopefully we can make it back to Canada soon!


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