Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Henry // One Year Later + Baby Book

First of all, thanks so much for all your sweet comments on my last post! I am really excited to be staying home with Henry full-time and I appreciate all the support from everyone :)

I realized when I looked at the calendar this week that it was exactly one year ago TODAY when I took a pregnancy test and and found out the happy news that we were having a baby! (And ironically, a year ago today is also when we found out that our offer we put on our house had been accepted) You can read more about all that here, but I can still vividly remember how I felt on this day last year. It was such a mixture of excitement, joy, and pure shock! Even though getting pregnant was something Cam and I wanted to happen, finding out the news that I actually was pregnant was such a crazy feeling. The next nine months of pregnancy were such a cool experience, and motherhood is even more incredible than I could have imagined. It's amazing what a difference a year can make!

And that's why today seemed fitting so share with you the baby book that I'm putting together for Henry! Even though I've been pretty good about documenting his monthly updates on his blog so far, I knew I wanted to put together some sort of keepsake for him to look back on. I wasn't crazy about some of the baby book options that I saw in the stores, and so I turned to Etsy to find something a little more unique. I came across this adorable online shop and really liked the album options!
{And there's a discount code at the end of this post, so keep reading!}

I got one of the standard size albums for Henry and I'm so happy I have a place to record all the special details I don't want to forget. I had the best of intentions of getting his album filled out right away and staying on top of it...but I've been a little behind. That whole actually having the baby thing kind of takes up more time than I thought, ha! I do have all the information written here on this blog or saved in my phone and so I've promised myself that I am going to get it filled out ASAP :) But I wanted to give you an idea of what the pages look like because I think they're super cute...

One year ago today :)

There's a page to write down details about my Michigan baby shower, and I was able to get an additional baby shower page so I can include the invitation/info for my Portland shower as well.

He had giant feet when he was born, and I love that I can put all these mementos from the hospital in here. There's even an envelope that's perfect for storing things like hospital bracelets, etc.

His birth announcement is going in there too of course!

There are also some page design options that are a little more modern as well.

I love that album is Michigan colors, perfect for our little Wolverine!

I am planning on putting together an additional Shutterfly photo book with pictures from his first year as well (and I also want to put together one of those with my pregnancy updates too but haven't gotten around to that quite yet...what can I say, time is flying this year...) but I think there is something so special about a keepsake album like this where you can actually write things out. Having all these memorable details written down for Henry to share with his kids one day is hopefully something that he'll appreciate and I can't wait to keep filling out this album as he grows :)

Mamas-to-be and my fellow mamas: Be sure to check out The Sweet Rhino on Etsy because there are some adorable albums, plus the shop owner is a mom herself! (And I really love supporting mom-owned businesses whenever I can) She was sweet enough to offer to my readers a 10% discount, just enter the code 'Navy10' at checkout! Happy shopping :)

Disclosure: My album was provided to me by the shop owner, however, all opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Motherhood // Being a SAHM

Before Henry was born, the question I kept getting from everyone was what I was going to do about work after he arrived. Ironically, there's been a lot in the news lately about how maternity leave standards here in the US are so incredibly far behind other developed nations, and it seems that this is really an issue that people seem to be talking about. I personally have many friends who are either new moms as well or moms to be, and so deciding how to handle working and motherhood is a question that many people I know are facing. I realize and respect that everyone's situation is completely different, however, I really appreciate hearing other mothers' thoughts on this subject. And that's why I wanted to share a little bit about my own personal situation, in case anyone might be curious...

For the past three years, I've been working as a recruiter for a growing recruitment process outsourcing firm. I recruited potential job seekers for our clients' open positions, which ranged from entry-level roles to more senior positions in a variety of industries. The thing that made my job somewhat unique is that I actually worked 100% remotely. All my interaction with candidates, our clients, and my colleagues was via phone or email, and being able to wear yoga pants every single day while working was pretty nice. But although I was working from home, my position was a very full-time job and extremely structured in terms of my hours and starting my day since I primarily worked with people on the East Coast. And honestly, I probably put in way more hours than I would have vs. if I had been working in an office as it can be somewhat difficult to find that separation between work life and home life when you're working from home. Anyway, I really enjoyed my job and loved the people I worked with, and so once I found out I was pregnant, my plan was that I would most likely continue working once Henry was born. However, I think deep down there was definitely a part of me that knew that I wouldn't be able to make a decision until after Henry was born.

Flashback to December...Henry arrives, yay! Those first newborn weeks were such a blur, I honestly wasn't really thinking about anything beyond nursing and getting through the next 24 hours at that point. But around six weeks in, I felt like things got into a little more of a groove and I knew that we really needed to start thinking more seriously about the future. My company did provide some paid time off for maternity leave, and then I had elected to take some additional unpaid time off as well, with the plan being for me to return to work at the beginning of  March. However, as the weeks at home with Henry started to fly by, I definitely felt less and less sure about the idea of going back to my job. Before he was born, Cameron and I talked a lot about the possibility of me continuing to work. However, once he was here and we were watching him grow before our eyes, it definitely changed the conversation quite a bit because all the sudden it wasn't this abstract future situation we were talking about but instead it was a decision that would directly impact our everyday reality. During my maternity leave, we did some research on various childcare options and had a lot of in-depth discussions about how our day to day life would look if I continued to work vs. if I were to stay home with Henry. At the end of the day, we were both strongly in agreement that me leaving my job to stay home would be the best choice for our family right now.

And so that's what I'm doing! I'm staying home to take care of our son and I couldn't be happier about it. But wouldn't you be happy if this was your new boss?

Seriously, I'm obsessed with that boy and his dimples :)

Now, I know some of you might be wondering why I couldn't continue to do my job since I worked from home, however, that was definitely not an option. My job as a recruiter involved me being on conference calls with clients and phone interviews with candidates for the majority of the day, and it was a job that required 100% of my focus and attention. All of my colleagues that have kids had them in some sort of childcare, and so I definitely could not have tried to watch Henry and work at the same time. As soon as my mind was made up about staying home, I did let my company know (obviously) and I left on very good terms. It was tough to walk away because I really liked everyone I worked with, but they were very supportive of my decision, which made the situation much easier.

I do feel incredibly fortunate that we're able to make things work financially with Cam's job for me to be able to stay home with Henry. Granted, that's not to say that me staying home doesn't change our budget at all. However, our finances would have also been impacted if we were paying for full-time childcare as well, and so we would have had to make adjustments to our budget either way. And at the end of the day, any minor changes that we need to make to our lifestyle to go down to one income really pale in comparison to me being able to be the one who takes care of Henry each day. I already feel like he's growing so fast, and so to be able to be there each day to get to witness all of his little milestones as the months go on is truly a gift that I don't take for granted.

While I feel 100% confident about my decision, I'll admit that I'm still a little unsure how to approach it in conversation. I realize it's a sensitive subject and so if I say something like "I'm staying home because I think it's the best thing for my child" I feel like it sounds like I'm implying that other moms who are making different choices aren't doing the best thing for their kids...and that is so not how I feel at all! Every mom I know is doing the best she can and I realize that the right balance looks different for everyone. Maybe I'm being overly cautious about this, but I just want to be sensitive to my fellow mamas out there. And while I am making the choice to be home with Henry right now, I have no idea what the future will hold. Even though being a mom is my first priority, I still want to continue pursuing things I'm passionate about too. I have many different things that interest me and so I'm definitely not closing myself off from potential opportunities that may open up down the road, provided they're a good fit for our family. I feel I should also mention that I have no plans to make this blog a full-time job either; I plan on keeping it as what it's always been, a creative outlet for my own personal enjoyment. I do remain open to collaborating with individuals/brands whose vision I believe in, but as always, I'm not interested in partnering on projects that don't align who I am as a person.

So there you have it - I'm officially a SAHM...for now :) I definitely don't have things figured out by any means, but I'm just trying to take things one day at a time. I'm sure I'll be sharing more posts on this topic in the future, but if you have any specific questions you'd be interested in me posting about, please let me know in the comments! I was thinking about doing some sort of post about what a typical day looks like for us...but that's been sort of all over the place lately. And actually this past weekend, I came down with a bad cold...and then Henry got it...and then Cam got it, and as a result, this week has been extremely low-key. We're all recovering now, but being sick has definitely made me extra thankful that I'm able to have this season of being at home to fully focus on my family!

And because you made it to the end of this extremely wordy post, you get a no makeup selfie of Henry and I from this weekend when I was feeling no bueno - so thankful we're on the mend!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Henry // Minted Birth Announcements

Happy Monday everyone! We made it home from Michigan late last week after an awesome two weeks with family and friends. It was so much fun introducing so many loved ones to Henry, and the trip went really smoothly. I'm hoping to put together a post about our visit soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to finally share Henry's birth announcement with you!

Throughout the past few years, I've shared a few different posts about getting our Christmas cards from Minted. I really love their beautiful designs and the quality of everything I've ordered has been really fantastic. So when it was time to order Henry's birth announcements, I knew that I was going to use Minted to put them together! I already shared our newborn photos that we had taken the week after Henry was born, but when it came to the announcement, I wasn't sure which photo or photos I wanted to use. I knew I wanted a modern design for the announcements though so when I came across this design, it seemed perfect. I really liked that I was able to customize the font, colors, and wording placement for our photo and absolutely loved the results! Here's how it turned out: 

Although I've loved all my past Christmas cards, these announcements are hands-down my favorite thing I've ordered from Minted. And because I had all my addresses saved on the Minted site from my previous Christmas cards, I was able to have all the recipient addresses printed on the envelopes which was a HUGE time saver, especially when caring for a newborn! 

These announcements were the perfect way to introduce our friends and family all over the country to our son because even though I've posted plenty of pictures of Henry on social media, I think there is something so special about sending a photo via snail mail, especially for a momentous occasion like this.  (I can't believe how much he's already changed since his announcement photos were taken though! Gahhhh...) Thank you Minted for helping us share this joyous news!

Minted did provide me with complimentary announcments, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Travel // Our Trip to San Diego

Hello, hello! Right now I'm still in Michigan, and we've been having such a great time introducing our friends and family to Henry. It was freezing here in the weeks just before we arrived, but we must have brought some of the West Coast sunshine with us because it's actually been fairly nice our entire visit. On Monday temps actually got up into the 60's, which feels like a major heatwave after a brutal Midwest winter, so we really couldn't have come at a better time. I'll be sharing more about our trip once we're back home in Portland, but in the meantime, I wanted to finally share some photos from one of our other recent travels where we also enjoyed some beautiful weather...

(see what I did there with that segue?) 

Back in the beginning of February, we went on our first trip as a family of three to sunny San Diego! Cameron had a conference to attend for work and since it's a place I had never been (but had been dying to visit!) we decided that Henry and I would come along. He was just under eight weeks old when we left and so I was a little nervous about flying with him, but I'm so glad we just decided to do it because we had an awesome time! I posted some photos on Instagram during our trip (with the hashtag #henrysfirstvacation) but I thought I'd share some more of the photos I took, if you'd like to see...

Henry was a total champ on the plane - just nursed and slept :)
(It's crazy to me how much he's already grown and changed since all these photos were taken though!)

The first night, we stayed in a hotel in downtown San Diego that had some really nice views :)

And Henry discovered the joy of hotel beds :)

We had dinner with my husband's boss and his family our first night, and got to see the USS Midway and the Embarcadero (I didn't get any pictures of it, but it was pretty impressive!) On our way back from dinner, we ended up stopping at a place recommended to us by the flight attendants on our flight from Portland...Extraordinary Desserts! This place seemed super popular since it was packed and it was right up my alley, a definite must for anyone who loves sweets visiting San Diego!

Our second day, we drove north to La Jolla - what a gorgeous place!

We had a fantastic brunch al fresco at Cody's (thanks to a recommendation from Tammy at Lemons Avocados & The Bay!) and it was the perfect way to start our day there. Cam and I were also really impressed by the fact that even though we got there on a weekend day at peak brunch time, we still got a great table outside right away...in Portland, the wait for brunch can be pretty crazy (as in 2+ hours) and so this was a nice change!

After brunch, we spent some time checking out downtown La Jolla, it's such a cute town!

We ended up getting gelato at a place that was actually right near where we had brunch called Bobboi and it was SO delicious. They had lots of really unique flavors and I'd highly recommend it!

We spent the majority of the afternoon just relaxing and taking in the magnificent ocean views La Jolla has to offer :) These pictures don't do justice to how stunning it is there!

So this was definitely not the outfit I intended to wear when I got up that morning, but Henry had other plans for my original ensemble...#newmomproblems
We were able to see plenty of seals lounging in the sun!

I loved La Jolla and hope we can come back and spend more time here someday!

Later that night, we headed for Coronado Island to check into the Hotel Del Coronado
(Or 'The Del' as everyone calls it...) It's so pretty and it was an awesome experience to be able to stay in such an iconic hotel. We had a great view of the property from our room and we were able to catch a gorgeous sunset from our balcony!

The next day, Cam was busy with work stuff for most of the day so Henry and I had some time to explore the hotel and go for a walk on the beach. The weather was amazing and now I totally get why people seem to love San Diego so much!

One of my favorite parts about the trip was getting to dress Henry in summer clothes, he looked so adorable! (Of course, he got plenty of time to relax sans clothing as well...his cuddly chubby baby body just kills me)

While Cam was working, I had the chance to check out the cute little downtown area on Coronado Island; it had a very charming feel and I enjoyed walking around while Henry napped :)

I'm obsessed with stationary type stores and I found the most adorable one on Coronado Island called Seaside Papery - I seriously wanted to buy everything, it was all so cute!

I ended up getting lunch at a little place called Delux Dogs and OMG IT WAS SO GOOD. I know hot dogs are not everyone's cup of tea, but I personally like them and apparently they are trendy now. This place had lots of delicious options, but I went with a bacon wrapped hot dog with Mexican toppings and although it wasn't the healthiest, it was awesome. Combined with amazing sweet potato fries and a lemonade I got for free for checking in on Yelp, it was a pretty fantastic lunch!

Once I headed back to the Del, I spent more time exploring the grounds as they're fairly extensive!

We spent the following day soaking up more sun by the pool and just relaxing :)

Once Cameron finished up with his conference, we got to enjoy some family time on the beach :)

Our last day in San Diego started with a delicious brunch at one of the hotel restaurants and then a walk by the ocean to savor the amazing weather before checking out.

 I couldn't resist putting Henry in this stripey little number for our last day...he didn't seem to mind :)

We were able to spend some time driving around the rest of the city outside of Coronado Island before we left, and there were a lot of different parts of town that looked really interesting. However, Henry's feeding/napping schedule didn't allow quite as much time to get out of the car and explore those areas this trip as we would have liked. But once he's older, I'd love to come back and check out the San Diego Zoo and some of the other outdoor stuff that we didn't have time for this visit. But overall, I loved San Diego and it was a perfect destination for Henry's first vacation!


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