Saturday, March 15, 2014

Forest Nursery

This is the view of Ethan's nursery as you walk in (please excuse
Chloe she really wanted to be in the picture).

When I was 2 months pregnant I told Jeff that I wanted the nursery to be forest themed.  I'm obsessed with the image of birds, and Jeff and I both love trees (we have a gorgeous 60 year old tree in our backyard).  Being the amazing, supportive husband that he is, and not wanting to fight with a pregnant woman, he said O.K.

I have always been a very frugal person and wanted to make my dream forest nursery, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I must apologize in advance though, I'm really working on my photography skills but my pictures aren't the best.
 I bought the changing table off of craigslist.  My mom made the hanging bookshelves from a tutorial I found on Pinterest.  Something must have gone wrong though because the dimensions are off.  The fabric turned out to be too long, so it's really hard to see what books are in there.  The diaper organizer is from Target.  The baskets in the changing table are from IKEA, except for the frog one, that was a gift.
 I love foxes because they remind me of my dog Chloe, one of the many reasons I really wanted to have a forest nursery.
 A family friend, and my yoga instructor, made Ethan this gorgeous mobile out of paper cranes.  Ethan loves to watch it spin while we change his diaper.
My mom also sewed the curtains; the fabric is from IKEA.  I bought the dresser at a thrift store and then had Jeff spray paint it yellow.  I really want this to be the nursery that I use for all of my children, so we made it gender neutral.  The walls are blue to simulate the sky, and there are accents of green and yellow throughout the room.
Owl Lamp: Cost Plus; Owl Storage
Containers: IKEA (a gift from my friend Emily) 

Turtle Night Light: Amazon
The pattern on the curtains consists of leaves
and birds.
My cousin Irene gave Ethan these Peter Rabbit books at my
shower; they were a perfect addition to the nursery.

Crib: IKEA; Dutailier Glider: Babies "R" Us; Foot
Rest: Babies "R" Us
I bought this end table at a thrift store also
and had Jeff spray paint this one the same color as the dresser.  This end table had come with natural wood fixtures, so we bought some for the other dresser to make it look a little more cohesive.  Jeff painted the mural you see on the large wall.  The quilt that's on the glider was Jeff's when he was a baby, which we were both really excited to be able to incorporate into he room.

Our nursery is extremely colorful and lively.  I love sitting in there with Ethan while he plays on the forest floor rug (from IKEA).  I also have spent many nights and mornings rocking and nursing him to sleep.  In the end the whole project was very budget friendly (except for the Glider, those things cost an arm and a leg, but it's worth every penny), and we have created a space that Ethan loves to sleep and play in.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Goldilocks and the Nursing Bras

This picture captures how I felt every time I'd look for a nursing bra.
When I became a teenager one of the things I looked forward to the most was getting the breasts that I'd been promised as a young girl.  I patiently waited and wore my training bras, while dreaming of the day that my breasts would magically arrive.  Well, years went by and I continued to buy my bras in the training bra section.  At 22 I realized that my delivery had come in a very small package.  When talking to my mom about how bad it felt, to be 24 years old and have the body of an 11 year old, she said, "Don't worry Mija, when you have your babies and breastfeed the milk will give you bigger breasts".  So I thought, O.K., it's better than nothing.

Once I was pregnant I once again began waiting for the larger package that i'd been told would arrive. As the months passed and I continued to wear my A bras I began to have deja vu.  Apparently, not all women grow larger breasts when they're pregnant, and of course I was one of them.  Once again I was told, don't worry once the baby comes and you're nursing they will come.

Ethan was born, I started nursing, and they finally came!  It was more wonderful than I could have imagined, the breasts I'd been waiting for since I was 12 years old had finally arrived.  After a few months of nursing, my milk supply normalized, and I started to notice that my breasts were getting smaller and smaller.  The reason I'm telling you this long embarrassing story is to let you know that the issues of bras and breast size have been something that I've struggled with for a long time.  I thought that once I was nursing I would finally be able to find bras that fit.

Prior to having Ethan I had bought some C sized nursing bras because I had no idea what size I was going to be.  They fit fairly well in the beginning.  As time went on the Goldilocks dilemma began to rear it's ugly head.  All of the bras I had bought were too big for me by the time Ethan was 4 months. So I went in search of comfortable, good fitting bras.

What I found truly disappointed me.  It turns out that most nursing bra manufacturers think that if you're nursing you must have extremely large breasts because I was unable to find bras that were smaller than a C cup.

I first bought the Elle Macpherson nursing bra.  The smallest size it came in was a 34C; I thought, since that's the smallest they come that must be my size.  It was fairly comfortable but the more I wore it the more I realized it was too big.  Having nothing else though, I continued to wear it.  Some positives on this bra (if they do carry your size) is that they're very pretty, the material is soft and comfortable, and if they sold my size I think I would have really liked it.
Elle Macpherson bra
I also bought a Cake sports bra in a size small.  It's supportive and comfortable and I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for a sports nursing bra, but I couldn't just wear a sports bra every day.
Cake nursing bra
I had my cousin Marianna measure me (she works at Victoria's Secret), and it turns out i'm a 32B. Take note nursing bra companies, NOT ALL WOMEN WHO NURSE HAVE LARGE BREASTS!  In case you're wondering I nurse/pump exclusively, so I am producing a lot of milk, I just do it without having a large chest.  At this point, after buying the first set of bras and then these two bras, I had spent over 200 dollars on bras that didn't fit.  I started researching online to see what the best bras for small breasted nursing mamas were, and all around the web mamas were complaining.  A lot of them said they just used tank tops with built in bras, but since I work full time and need to dress professionally for work, that was not an option I felt comfortable with.

One day, while I was browsing the aisles of Target I found their nursing bra section.  Lo and behold they had small nursing bras! I bought 3 and have been very happy with the sizing.  They fit my 32B breasts very well and are comfortable.  The downside is that they don't give me much shape and tend to flatten me out, it kind of looks like i'm wearing a sports bra, but at this point i'll take what I can get.  A side note for new mamas when buying nursing bras, do not buy bras with underwire.  They can cause clogged milk ducts, and after having my fair share of those, trust me when I say it's much better to have the sports bra look than golf ball sized lumps in your breasts.
Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing bra I bought the skin tone and
black with polka dot one.  They also have a grey one.

I just bought this Gilligan & O'Malley bra today and am excited
about the fact that it has built in cups.  Hopefully it will fix
the sports bra look of the other two.

Basics by Bravado! Stella nursing bra.  This one is very comfortable and I love
sleeping in it.  The one downside is that the elastic bands that connect the
straps to the bra have stretched out and are now very loose.

After finding dozens of way too big bras I have finally found my just right bras.  Thank you Gilligan & O'Malley and Basics for realizing that mamas come in all shapes and sizes, and even us small mamas need bras.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Space Bag

The garage that we try to keep as organized as possible
Sorry I've been MIA for a couple of weeks.  For some reason the last few weeks have been so incredibly tiring I've had to choose between writing a post or getting sleep.  Sleep always wins, except for tonight of course.  Feeling guilty about neglecting my 10 readers, I decided to stay up until the wee hours of 10:00 PM to write a post.

Unfortunately, tonight's post isn't a very interesting one.  It's something that has been a big space saver for me though, and I know a lot of people don't know about this super easy and fast way to organize, so I thought I'd share it.

Just in case you didn't know I am a neat freak, I love to organize, and I hate clutter.  I live in a pretty small 3 bedroom 2 bath house, and although that doesn't sound too bad, now that we've had Ethan it definitely becomes a game of musical chairs when trying to figure out where to store things.  One product that has really helped me out are the Space Saver bags, the brand I use is "Space Bag".  I bought a pack at Bed Bath and Beyond (with a 20% off coupon, does anyone even shop there at full price anymore?), just to try out, and have been so incredibly happy with this product i'm eager to go and get a few more.

As all of us mamas know having a kid comes with bags and bags of accessories, toys, clothes, etc. Since i'm planning on having more kids I don't get rid of anything that Ethan grows out of because my other children will make use of his hand-me-downs.  This however, causes a problem for our already packed little house.  Below I will describe what I do with the bags and bags of clothes that I have to store.
First, I pack all of the clothes that Ethan has outgrown into a
Space bag.  

It is very important to group by age range and label it.  Otherwise
you'll have a heck of a time sorting through it later (yes I did make the
mistake of not labeling and sorting, due to laziness, and later payed
the price).
I then use my Dyson to do all of the work.
You of course don't have to use a Dyson, any vacuum
that has a detachable hose works.

You open the little plastic tab in the middle of the bag. 

Place the vacuum hose onto that little tab and then turn the vacuum on.
Leave the hose there until you notice no more air is being sucked out.

In the end you'll have an easy to store vacuum sealed bag.  I love this
because since we store everything in the garage the Space Bags keep
the clothes clean and ready to use whenever I need them next.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Picture Perfect

Pictures taken by Andmade Photography in Ventura, CA

When Ethan was 8 months old we decided to have some professional pictures taken.  Up until this point it had been Jeff and I in the backyard (my way of saving some money);  with poor Jeff trying to re-create professional pictures that I had found on Pinterest.  Although Jeff's pictures always turned out great, I thought I'd give the poor guy a break and hire someone.

I found Andra Edwards Corney through a mom group that I'm a part of on Facebook.  She has her own photography business entitled Andmade Photography.  I was nervous because the only time i'd ever used a professional photographer was for my wedding.  Jeff also did our maternity photos (yes i'm that cheap), so I didn't know what to expect.

Andra had a special deal during the month of February.  It was $65 dollars for a 20 minute child session.  Afterward, we would recieve 5 digital prints and 5 sheets of wallets that she chose for us.

The session was the best experience I could have hoped for.  Andra was so cheerful and warm.  You could tell she really loves her job, and children.  She had the most gorgeous props, and she shot us on location at a beautiful field in Ojai.  To anyone looking for a photographer, in Ventura County, I highly recommend you contact Andra.  The pictures turned out so beautifully, they literally took my breath away.

This is my favorite picture

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