Now that I have a couple months of baby raising under my belt, I feel like I can finally share my insights on the “stuff” that makes taking care of a baby just a little bit easier. Back when I was first registering for baby gifts, I felt completely overwhelmed by the number of products on the market to the point that I was having daily text conversations with my mom friends about what I really needed versus what I could live without. The bottom line is that every family is different – what one baby likes, another baby hates – and sometimes you just have to wait and see what works for your little bundle once he or she arrives. (That’s why an Amazon Prime account is definitely a must-have!)
That being said, if I was building my registry today, these are the items I would include. (Click Read More to see.)
Just a little baby love for your Friday morning. I wanted to share the birth announcements we sent out to introduce our sweet Spencer to friends near and far. I designed the double-sided cards through Tiny Prints using a couple of my favorite photos from our newborn shoot, and I’m so pleased with how they turned out. The design feels fresh and modern, and the quality of the paper and printing was just what I would expect for the price point. (I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on super high quality printing.) I absolutely love them!
If you have any printing needs coming up – invitations, birth announcements, etc. – you can get $20 off of your purchase of $40 or more from Tiny Prints by using this link.
A few weeks before Spencer was born, I started nesting. I didn’t go full-tilt like some pregnant women, down on all fours scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush at 3 o’clock in the morning, but there were a few things that I just had to get done before the baby came:
- Wash all of the baby clothes with baby detergent.
- Bring in a cleaning service to scrub every nook and cranny of the condo. (We ended up having the condo cleaned not once, but twice before the baby was born.)
- Finish the nursery, including organizing all of the dresser drawers.
- Prepare and freeze easy, nutritious meals for after the baby comes.
That last one was a toughy for me. I use my freezer pretty much exclusively for ice and alcohol (and a side of cow that Phil insisted we buy…so much beef…), so I had no idea how to freeze and reheat the most basic meals.
After doing a little research, I found that pretty much everyone and their mom is cooking in bulk and freezing the leftovers. (Seriously, just do a google search of “freezer meals”.) The Pioneer Woman wrote a great blog post about freezing food here, and there are countless recipes out there written specifically with freezing in mind. I also found this article, which has helpful guidelines for how long meals will last in the freezer.
The thing that put me off freezer meals in the past is that they seemed so…unhealthy, and dare I say…un-gourmet. (I sound like such a snob, don’t I?) But what my research told me is that, although I couldn’t exactly prep and freeze a bunch of fancy salads, pretty much any healthy sauce, soup or casserole-type dish was fair game. In the end, I made batches of shakshuka sauce and butternut squash pasta sauce, West African peanut soup, and these delicious spinach and artichoke enchiladas. Now that I’ve tasted everything, I can tell you that these are big winners. Not a dud recipe in the bunch. And having those healthy, heart-warming meals at my disposal when all I had time for was my sweet little baby was totally worth the prep work.
Now you tell me, are you a freezer meal person? What are your favorite make-ahead-and-freeze recipes?
Thought I’d share a few more photos from our newborn/family shoot with the talented Nakalan McKay. Spencer was only two-and-a-half weeks old when these photos were taken, and I must say, he behaved like a pro, sleeping through most of the shoot. I’m really going to miss this tiny, sleepy newborn phase, but I’m also excited to watch Spencer grow. He’s changed so much in only 6 weeks of life! Just the other day, he started smiling these big, cheesy grins. I love him so much!
It’s been five weeks since we brought our baby boy home from the hospital, and I’m just now getting around to telling you about him… I suppose I’ve been a little busy 🙂
Spencer Ashley Howes was born at 9:40 AM on November 30, 2015, three days before his due date. Giving birth to him was without a doubt the most amazing experience of my entire life. The second he popped out and the nurse placed his warm, squirmy little body on my chest, I was overcome with a feeling of intense relief and pure joy. Phil and I sobbed uncontrollably as he choked out “It’s a boy!”, confirming what I think we both knew all along. The whole world fell into place in that moment. Spencer was who we had been waiting for this whole time.
Since then, I’ve been in total mommy bliss mode, filling my days with baby snuggles, tub baths, diaper changes, breastfeeding and the occasional lunch or coffee outing. Sure, some days are harder than others, but even in those tough moments, I feel incredibly lucky for every second that I get to spend with him. This newborn period is so short – a blessing and a curse all at once – so I am soaking up as much of it as I possibly can. I am so deeply in love with my little man and my new role as his mom.
(These photos were taken at home when Spencer was almost 3 weeks old. I can’t believe how much he’s grown since then!)
(Moments after Spencer was born)