Luisa's first photo shoot

I've been meaning to test out my photography skills with Little Miss Luisa as my subject but hadn't found the time until yesterday. The sun was shining, the baby was sleeping, all systems GO! But unfortunately, my model decided that she was no longer sleepy the moment I started to snap photos of her, so, we got a lot of awake and alert photos instead of the more traditional peaceful sleeping baby shots. I still love how bright and sun-filled the images came out and they capture her personality, crazy eyes, and itsy bitsy body parts perfectly. See more photos from Luisa's first photo shoot below. 


The Night Cries

I know before baby, I said this wasn't going to turn into a mommy blog and I meant it. BUT, I'm three weeks into raising a beautiful little baby girl and that is my life right now... being a parent to a needy, helpless, little infant.

Honestly, I wish I had new recipes to share with you, or outfit inspirations, or photos of what we did last weekend around Philly. I don't have those posts because we've basically been on house arrest binge-watching Walking Dead (OMG how did I not get into this show earlier!?!), and barely finding a moment to scarf down a bowl of cereal for dinner before my child is screaming to be fed...yet again. So my apologies that this is yet another post about a baby and motherhood, I promise that at some point, I'll return to other material.

For many years I knew I wanted to be a mother. I knew that I wanted to experience the freaking wild trip that is pregnancy and bring a new life into the world. I knew that it would be hard work, but there's knowing and there's experiencing... those are two totally different things. I knew that the "baby blues" existed, but I didn't know what they entailed, and that's what this post is about, a thing in my house that we like to call "The Night Cries."

Becoming a parent for the first time is the most humbling, beautiful, terrifying, and tiring experience of my life. The amount of emotions I feel when I look at my little girl's precious face is inexplicable. But something strange happens when the sun goes down, the tears start. Happy tears, sad tears, tired tears, all of the tears and it's hard to make them stop. I talked to a friend who had experienced something similar when she had her first baby, and so I took my research to the interwebs to see if it's a common thing -- postpartum depression "at night." And you know what? There's really nothing out there about it. But I would imagine that it's not just me and this one other person that have experienced The Night Cries. So I'm airing it out. It's a thing and if it's happened to you or happens to you in the future, just know that you're not alone. 

When the sun goes down, the anxiety begins. Is she going to sleep tonight? Am I going to get any sleep tonight? I hope nothing happens to her... I know she's supposed to sleep on her back in her bassinet but what if my baby only likes to sleep on her tummy.. in. my. arms!? How am I ever going to be able to go to the grocery store/mall/etc. again with a baby in tow? How am I going to keep her safe from all the evil in this world? ... and it spirals out of control very quickly. 

Then, we get her ready for bed, and we say our I Love Yous and I feed the munchkin and I gingerly place her in her bassinet (on her back) and attempt to get a few hours of shut eye. 

Then, we wake up in the morning (usually to the sun shining through the windows) and our baby wakes up making the most adorable little faces and we just stare at her and exchange glances that say "wow, we made this." and we start a new day. And I forget about The Night Cries and their accompanying anxiety and we start a fresh day full of more binge-watching of Netflix and tummy time and feedings and diaper changes.

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The birth story

So, I'm going to do my best to spare you all of the gory details, but I did want to get this down on paper (err...screen) so that I remember it myself. One of the most magical things about child birth is that we're scientifically wired to forget it... therefore ensuring that the human race goes on! Because otherwise, no one would sign up for that crap willingly again.

Just kidding! I was very blessed with a fast and relatively easy experience with my first baby, and no matter how difficult it could have been, I got the best present ever at the end of it all. My little Luisa Rose, Lulu, Bugsy, Lulu Bug, and all the other nicknames we're working on giving her, is the most perfect little baby in the whole wide world and I would go through hell and back to bring her into the world again. Read the brief birth story below.


Before Baby - An Open Letter to My Husband

In the interest of full disclosure, I obtained Bry's permission to share this with you first so technically it wasn't written with the intention of being an open letter. I was feeling a little lot emotional this morning and had to get a few things off my chest...

Before Baby - An Open Letter to My Husband 

Before our lives change so completely that we quickly forget what they used to look like, I wanted to share a few things with you:

Number one. I love you.
I love you so incredibly much that those three words don't even seem to do it justice. I love you so much that I'm sobbing uncontrollably while typing this because a) pregnancy hormones and b) I'm so overcome and grateful that I found you -- that the universe and God so divinely made our paths cross so that we could go through this journey together. I wouldn't want to and can't imagine doing it with anyone else. Thank you for being my person. Thank you for being exactly the one that I was supposed to fall in love with.

Number two. I'm scared. 
But not in the way that you might think. I'm scared in the way that I'm grieving "us" -- the couple that we used to be, before we've even morphed into the new "us." The parent version of "us." Don't get me wrong. We're totally going to kill the parent game. We've already made our pact to not fall into the oh-so-common trap of "we are parents now, we can't do that fun stuff anymore." That's BS, we can do whatever the hell we want, we're grown adults. It's just that as previously mentioned, you're my buddy, my roll dog, my ride or die, my drinking pal, my dancing partner. You're the person that I can just exchange a glace with at a party when someone is being annoying/weird/obnoxious and you'll just nod and smirk and I know that you're thinking and feeling the exact same thing at the the exact same moment. And I don't want that to ever go away. Let's make sure that never goes away.

Number three. I'm so excited. 
I know that you're nervous about the details of parenting -- how to hold a baby, how to change a diaper. Don't worry. You're more than capable and there's going to be a very short learning curve for you there, I can promise you that. What I'm so looking forward to is seeing you as a dad. Seeing you tell your ridiculous made-up stories to our child, seeing you teach him/her how to throw a football, making him/her laugh uncontrollably at your goofy voices (like you often make me do.) You see, even though you've had your doubts about being ready for children, it's been so obvious to me that you were meant to do this. You're a protector. A doer. A worrier. An entertainer. Don't you see that all of those qualities are exactly the same things that make someone a great parent and father? I've seen it all along. 

Number four. Thank you. 
I don't say it enough. Thank you for everything that you do for me, for my family, for our well-being. Thank you for working so hard so that we can have the home and life that we do. Thank you for always taking the initiative to get shit done -- especially when I'm being lazy or forgetful. Thank you for handling so much of the minutiae (the customer service calls, the bills, etc.) Thank you for being an amazing friend and husband and thank you for putting up with my mess (both literally and figuratively.) Thank you for pushing me to be a better person every day. In just about a week, we will have been "officially" a couple for eight years. Eight freaking years!? And while there have been so many ups and downs in all of that time, I would not change a thing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for all of that. 

So, sometime in the very near future -- it could be a day from now, it could be weeks from now -- things are going to be a little different for us. I'm going to be a hormonal mess (more so than usual,) we're going to be a little sleep-deprived, we're going to have moments of frustration, and moments of pure blissful happiness. But please, always remember that I am so in love with you. That "we" are still "us." That together we can handle ANYTHING. And that everyday I thank God for you. 

I love you and don't know what I would do without you. 


And in classic BryGuy fashion, this is the response back that I received complete with a gif. LOL

"That's amazing. Let's have this baby. That was better than any pre-game or half-time locker room speech I have ever heard. I am ready to run through a wall. I love you! LET'S GO!"


The nursery reveal!

It's finally here! I've received so many questions about the nursery, so I'm excited to finally share it with you! I stayed pretty true to my original nursery inspiration post, and I'm so thrilled with how this little room turned out. Sometimes, on my way down the hall to the bathroom I'll just stop, and flick on the nursery light and take it all in. I can't believe this room will belong to a miniature little person soon. It is my hope that this room will make him or her feel happy, loved, and safe. As you might recall, this room was previously my dressing room (aka my happy place.) So, I begrudgingly moved my belongings out, and moved in a crib and glider and a thousand outfits that are so tiny it's unimaginable that they fit on an actual human being. Check out more photos and links for items below.


One Resolution Only for 2015

Special thanks to Bailly Photography for the beautiful maternity photos

Happy 2015 friends! We're about seven days into a new year which means you will probably still be typing/writing the wrong date on things for a few more weeks. For the past few years, I've documented my new goals for the year on this blog (2014 goals and 2013 goals.) Some of these have been accomplished -- many have not. This year, I'm switching it up a bit. I'm going to focus on one goal and one goal only...


I'm a master planner, always thinking ahead, always making lists, always anticipating the next thing to come. This year, I am going to try and suppress those planning tendencies and just stop. Breath. Take it all in. In approximately one month, I will get a new label, "mama bear." I'm excited. Terrified. Anxious. In disbelief. In awe. And so many other emotions I can't articulate.

But, I'm not naive. I'm aware that parenting comes with many many challenges. I know that infants are little crying, pooping, eating, spit-up machines and I know that I'll have sleepless nights and moments of complete emotional breakdown. BUT I also know that I'm so blessed to have been given this gift, to have been given an experience and opportunity that so many people hope and pray for. So this year, yes, I want to get back into shape asap and I have lots of other things I'd like to accomplish personally and professionally, but I'm going to keep all of those goals second to the one important one.

I'm going to soak in every "first," I'm going to take WAY too many photos, I'm going to schedule date nights with my husband and I'm going to try and stop planning and anticipating the next things that will come and appreciate exactly what is happening now.

What goal(s) do you have for 2015? 


Playing Catch-Up

This holiday season has been a whirlwind. I would sit here an apologize to you about how I've been MIA but the truth is, it was kind of nice to put the blog on the back burner and focus on myself and my family during the holiday season. So to catch you up since Thanksgiving... we've spent the majority of our time mentally and physically preparing for this baby to come, expected in about four weeks time (maybe a little sooner, maybe a little later, who knows?) 

BryGuy and I had a fabulous Christmas in Upstate New York and were incredibly blessed with lots of gifts from Santa, ridiculous amounts of family time, all the delicious treats and unhealthy food one can consume. We headed back to Philadelphia before the New Year to get all settled in and spent a nice night with friends on New Years Eve. We had a delicious dinner at a restaurant that I've always wanted to try and then got cozy in our PJ's and watched the ball drop and had a lot of laughs. Quite possibly the best part of my New Year's celebration was watching my dear friend Josh get engaged to the love of his life, Shayna. We are so happy for them and so excited to dance the night away at their wedding in September! 2015 is going to be an amazing year :) 
Peep more photos from Christmas and New Year's Eve below. 


Six tips to totally own this Thanksgiving

1. Properly prep your tummy. You might be thinking it's a good idea to skip breakfast and save space for all that Thanksgiving deliciousness that is about to come. You're wrong. Dead wrong. While it might seem counter-intuitive, you're going to want to eat a hearty breakfast when you wake up. This is going to give your stomach the proper stretching and digestion time it needs to be ready for the big game (and I'm not talking about football.)

2. Your attire selection is of utmost importance. It is perfectly acceptable to wear your dad jeans with the elastic waistband at Thanksgiving, or make a trip to the storage unit for your old maternity pants. Thanksgiving is not a time to be a fashionista, it's a time to go HAM and give your food-pit a proper beating. I'm not saying you should look like a slob, but underneath your nice blouse or sweater vest, you can be hiding the most heinous of strechy waist-band pants. For goodness sake, you're about to be carrying a 10-lb food baby, give that puppy room to grow! 

3. Portion control - no bigger than a golf ball! Don't make the rookie mistake of stocking up on mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing and then realize that you still have 10 more things to add to your plate but only 2 sq. inches of space left. Stick to the golf ball rule, everything on your plate should be a portion no larger than a golf ball. I mean, I know green beans aren't the star of Thanksgiving but you owe it to yourself (and your host) to try a little of everything! After you finish your first plate of food go back for the things you loved and throw the golf ball rule out the window. 

4. Lend a helping hand in your own way. We're not all master chefs, and that's okay. If you have no place in a kitchen, stay out of the kitchen. In fact, I advise everyone stay out of the kitchen except the host until clean up time (otherwise you're just going to get in the way.) But, you can still offer a helping hand in other ways -- offer to bring ice or pies from your neighborhood bakery, play bartender, help to clear plates after the meal, buy a flower arrangement or nice candle for your host. Just don't be a waste of space. 

5. Adhere to a schedule. You might have a few different obligations on Thanksgiving. You may have to spend some time with the in-laws, eat dinner with your own family, and potentially drop by to see some old friends that are in town for the holiday... make a schedule for your day and stick to it like an Army Ranger on a special ops mission. My schedule will go something like this (I'm still ironing out some of the details) 

  • 9:00 a.m. - arise to the aroma of herbs and turkey in the air
  • 9:30 a.m. - indulge in a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast - consider eating a piece of fruit but go back for more bacon instead. (see tip 1 above) 
  • 10:00 a.m. - watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV while helping to prep food
  • 12:00 p.m. - watch the beginning of The National Dog Show and pick out your favorite dog, continue to help mom prep appetizers and sides
  • 12:30 p.m. - shower and put on real clothes (see tip 2 above)
  • 1:50 p.m. - catch end of dog show, see if your dog won. 
  • 2:00 p.m. - drive to in-laws' house (limit yourself to 3-4 bites of appetizers, nothing enters your "pie hole" at in-laws after 3:00 p.m.) 
  • 3:30 p.m. - head back to parent's house, call and make sure they don't have any last minute grocery/errand needs
  • 4:00 p.m. - indulge in some more appetizers 
  • 4:45 p.m. - help to put out food and get everyone seated, say grace and go around the table so everyone can share what they are thankful for
  • 5:00 p.m. - begin to load up first plate of 2014 Thanksgiving meal (see tip 3 above)
  • 5:20 p.m. - think about going back for seconds - pick one or two things you really want just a little more of and put them on your plate (panic because you realize you might not have room for dessert if you eat any more mashed potatoes but say, "eff it, I'll throw up if needed to make room for pie)
  • 5:30 p.m. - enjoy the silence at the table and the sound of loosening belts
  • 5:45 p.m. - remark how crazy it is that you cook for two full days but manage to eat in less than an hour
  • 5:50 p.m. - help to clear the table and set out dessert. 
  • 6:00 p.m. - eat dessert
  • 6:10 p.m. - men exit table and plop on the couch to watch football - women chit-chat and then clear rest of the table and start to clean up kitchen 
  • 6:30 p.m. - uncle starts snoring loudly while sitting on couch 
  • 7:00 p.m. - guests start to exit, you finally snag a seat on the couch
  • 8:00 p.m. - change into pajamas
  • 8:05 p.m. - pull out a game to play with family
  • 9:00 p.m. - go to bed

6. Remember the big picture. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and expression of gratitude. I know it can be stressful to be around your crazy family. I know your mom is bugging out because so and so is bringing a date and didn't tell her until the last minute and there's no room at the table. Just remember, no matter your life situation, you're luckier and more blessed than someone else out there. You have food to eat, a roof over your head, friends/family/acquaintances/frenemies to eat with. Hell,  I think you're doing pretty good. Let Thanksgiving set the stage for your holiday season, keep your composure and try to stay worry-free and most importantly, thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving homies!
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