Silver Lining

July 3, 2015

Hot Air Balloon Fest

The Fourth of July is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Swimming, barbecues, fireworks, and patriotic attire - what's not to like? Sam has a few days off work and we are excited to party hard. We should be packing, but we're choosing to ignore that and just play all weekend instead. ;)

My city has been totally amazing when it comes to Fourth of July festivals these past few years. This morning, we went to the hot air balloon festival. Hot air balloons are just so beautiful and inherently photographable, you know? I mean, it's no Albuquerque Balloon Festival, but it's still fun. You get to walk amongst the balloons as they inflate, and then you can watch as they compete to drop bean bags onto targets and pop helium balloons 100 feet in the air. Cool, right?

Side note: We were at the festival two hours ago, and now it's on the blog. I'm pretty sure that's the fastest blog turnaround time I've ever pulled off. Go me! It's all thanks to a baby who's taking a long morning nap right now.



Another side note: Last year on this day we had a brand new baby, and I was experiencing some crazy awful and scary epidural complications. I was in more pain than I'd ever been in in my life. We were in the emergency room and I kept yelling to Sam, "Just decapitate me! Make it stop!" (I know it sounds so dramatic, but I was serious at the time! Anything to stop hurting!) This year, I am feeling so blessed to be healthy and have a healthy and happy little one-year-old that we can take on fun adventures. Life is good.

 If you want to go to this, tomorrow is the last day! Be there right at 6:30 for the best experience (I promise it's worth the early wake-up call). See the details here.

Happy Fourth of July!
Has anyone been to the Albuquerque festival before?
It's on my bucket list to go one day.
What are your Fourth of July plans?

July 1, 2015

ONE YEAR

One year ago today, the nurse put my brand new baby girl into my arms. She had just been all cleaned up and swaddled and brought back to me. I had been waiting for this moment - the moment you really fall in love with your baby. I smelled her sweet baby smell and looked down into her perfect yellow squashed up face - and had the strongest urge to vomit.

"I'm going to be sick," I announced to the nurse, and she snatched a little bag for me just in time.

Sam and I have had many a good laugh about that moment over the past year. I mean, I never once threw up when I was pregnant, but the second I wasn't pregnant any more and saw my cute baby was the moment my body chose to get nauseous? Who does that? Apparently it's a fairly common side effect of a medicine they give, but still, we always laugh when we think about it. I'm sure that story will do great things for Claire's self-esteem when she's older. ;)


But seriously, this past year has been indescribable. Motherhood is everything. It's pure bliss. It's pure exhaustion. It's easy on your marriage. It's hard on your marriage. It's wonderful and hard and lonely and meaningful and absolutely amazing. I think today is just as much a celebration of the parents for making it through the first year!

Every single night when I say a prayer with Claire before bed, I thank my Heavenly Father for sending her little spirit to our family. Her name means light in French, and she really is such a light to everyone. She is spunky and energetic and independent and so happy.




P.S. I've spent a good portion of the morning indulging my nostalgia and rereading all these posts about baby Claire (partial birth story here). You can find all her monthly updates and photos here:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11

We love you, little Eclaire! We are so happy you are part of our family!

June 29, 2015

The First Annual Claire Awards! SLEEP + EAT

Baby girl turns one this week (WHAT), and I've been going through her nursery in preparation for our move. We take a pretty minimalist approach when it comes to baby gear; we think babies can be happy and healthy without a million toys, three different types of rockers, and multiple stroller systems that you have to remortgage your home to afford.

That being said, there are a lot of essentials that babies can't live without. I decided to share our favorite products that Claire used daily in the first year of her life. These aren't always the most expensive accessories or the most "in" brands. This is a real-life collection of items that have been tried, tested, and loved by the world's cutest baby. ;)

If you're expecting a baby or have a baby shower coming up, hopefully this will be useful to you as you see popular items that my baby loved. I broke it down into a few sections. First up: sleep!

*All of these are clickable links. Click on the name in the description to view items, prices and color options on Amazon.

SLEEP




SwaddleMe Velcro Swaddlers 
I didn't think I'd need these, but my cousin lent me some, and we ended up using them every single day for the first three months! They are so easy and convenient. There are lots of color options too.

Rock 'n Play Sleeper 
We had a fancy plug-in rocker, but we also loved this portable one. I used to drag it into the bathroom every morning so Claire could take a nap and I could peek out at her while I showered and got ready for the day. I have heard excellent things about the Mamaroo as well.

MAM Pacifier 
Some babies take any kind of pacifier, some take only one certain kind, and some don't take any at all. We tested one of each brand and Claire ended up with these Mam brands. Tip: If you don't care for the design, a quick swipe of nail polish remover on a cotton ball will take it right off!

White Noise Machine 
This was especially helpful when we went on vacation with my loud family, or when the lawn maintenance crew used to use loud machines every Wednesday morning while Claire was trying to sleep. This one was a great value, and I'm really impressed with the quality too.

Breathable Blanket
This was handmade by Claire's great-grandma, so I have no clickable link. Sorry! We love light, breathable blankets on warm nights and car trips.

EAT

IKEA Bib
These bibs were originally manufactured as art smocks, but they are the only thing that keep Claire clean during meal times. We use them every single day, and I love that I can just throw them in the washing machine.

Bumbo and tray
Another everyday use item! We used the Bumbo for sitting up practice, and then we attached the tray and used it as a high chair until she was nine months old and grew out of it. Definitely worth your money!

Sophie the Giraffe
I swore I would never spend $20 on a baby toy. But Sophie was worth every penny! Claire chewed on this giraffe for about two months straight when she was teething. She ate it so much that I just had to include it here in the eating category with all the food items ;)

Sippy Cup
This is the only sippy cup Claire will use. Any suggestions on how to get her to drink from a regular sippy cup? Or maybe it doesn't matter and she can just start drinking from a regular cup?

Tommee Tippee Bottle
When I was nursing and supplementing with bottles, Tommee Tippee was our favorite bottle brand. We also love our Avent bottles, which have held up well after months of use.

Tune in next time for Claire's favorites for playing, traveling, and wearing, plus a list of must-haves I'm adding to my wish list for any future babies. Thanks so much for reading along!

Which items do your little ones love?
Any that you hated?
What should I add for any future babies?
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