baby / life

happy baby carrier

March 9, 2018

Pre-baby, the thought of baby wearing always looked incredibly intimidating: the amount of options out there, the daunting wraps, and choosing the right one. Almost 10 months into parenthood, and I must say, most of them still intimidate me, but learning about what has worked best for me and Harlen has been an incredible journey.

Looking back, I owe it to baby wearing for getting us through some tough days and nights. The fourth trimester was difficult for me to navigate and also for Harlen. It’s a tough time for babies to live life outside of the womb when their only existence was the comfort of mom. Baby wearing allowed him to still have that closeness, and for me to still function and not be stuck in one spot trying to console a colicky tiny human.

Once I fully embraced baby wearing, the intimidating part was navigating through the endless options of baby carriers. In the beginning, wraps were the best option for us, but once he started to get a little heavier, I knew something structured was the best way to go. The only thing that made this part difficult was my small frame. Many of the structured baby carriers out there are very bulky and required a larger torso than I’ve been given.

It took me a while to finally discover Happy Baby, but I am so beyond happy I did. Their line of structured baby carriers was everything I was looking for and everything I could have dreamed of. Quick side story: I first bought one when we first moved back to SoCal, but it was stolen when our car was stolen. I was heartbroken because I had only gotten to wear it one time before it was gone. After trying a few different carriers, I finally reached out to Beth at Happy Baby, who graciously sent me a replacement for the one lost. If that isn’t the most amazing customer service, I really don’t know what is.

Now with Harlen being 19lbs and almost 10 months, our baby wearing adventures are still not over. Happy Baby isn’t bulky like most and is so lightweight and thin that it fits perfectly inside of our backpack—something I couldn’t do with other carriers. It’s even easy enough for me to cinch up and lock in by myself while with other carriers, I usually would have to get assistance, which was not convenient when I was solo with Harlen.

The important advice I can give with baby wearing is making sure babe is in a deep seat. What this means is, that their weight is entirely on their bum—their legs and bum will almost be in an “M” shape. Making sure this is met will make the experience for both baby and you safer and so much more delightful. Also, it really brings on the best sleepy vibes for baby. It is guaranteed that H takes a solid nap whenever he’s in it. See photos below for evidence!

baby / life

dockatot grand

March 5, 2018

Sleep is one of those truly delicate subjects when it comes to babies. Disclaimer: Please know this is just our own story and one I wanted to share to a) give insight and b) document as much as I can. The absolutely safest sleep setup for babies are as followed by the APA is as followed: alone in their crib, placed on their back, and in their parents’ room for the first year.

Ever since the day Harlen came home from the hospital, he has slept in a DockATot every single night (see: a tiny H in his first DAT.) As colicky as he was in the newborn stages, he consistently slept between 5 to 7 hours every night for the first stretch ever since he turned 1 month old. I realize now how completely lucky we were as first time parents that this was happening regularly.

We had removed the DAT around 4 months mainly because he outgrew it so quickly. (Hi, 99th percentile for height.) Between 4 months and 8 months, sleep regression, teething and a cold all happened and sleep his nightly sleep schedule was all over the place. We tried moving him to a crib during this as well, but good sleep was still hard for him. And us. Gone were the consistent 5 to 7 hour stretches we were so lucky to have. 

One sleepless night, I told John “we really need to get the DAT back into our lives.” Enter the DockATot Grand. He has so much room in this new DAT and still has room to grow with it. Would you believe he’s been consistently sleeping 10-12 hours every night now? We start our bedtime routine at around 7pm and is usually asleep no later than 8:30pm. He still wakes up for 1 quick feeding around 1/2am, but goes back to sleep quickly and sleeps in until around 6-7am, and even 8am a few times since the new DAT Grand.

It’s been such a learning experience (and still is) navigating through parenthood, so figuring out something that has worked for our family, especially sleep, is the best feeling. Fingers crossed his sleep stays consistent and only gets better as he gets older.

baby / life

baby must-have: 4moms mamaroo

February 5, 2018

Another addition in my “Baby Must-Have” series is a crucial one for the newborn stage—the 4moms mamaRoo.

There are a ton of baby rockers, seats, and swings out there in the market, and let’s be honest, a lot of them are loud and loud looking. Many also take up so much space, it’s hard to make room for anything else. Enter the 4moms mamaRoo, an infant seat that’s not only functional, but a baby item that doesn’t scream “Hi, a baby has taken over our household.” It’s light enough to transfer anywhere and fits perfectly in any corner of your room.

The 4moms mamaRoo comes with 5 different motions in 5 speeds to mimic the way parents rock and hold baby, and has 4 built-in sounds to help your little one rock to sleep. Did I mention it’s MP3 and Bluetooth compatible? This is the future, people! Harlen was and still is a huge fan of this just to lounge around and take naps in. He also adores the toy mobile attached to the 4moms mamaRoo. He’s more fond of munching on them now, but as a newborn he’d just sit and stare at them with such awe.

New parents, this one is a total must to add to your registry. A common complaint or question I get asked all the time is how annoyingly baby looking a lot of baby items are and I really think this one knocks it out of the park with simplicity.

baby / life

zara haul: stylish baby boy clothes

January 5, 2018

Pre-baby I used to think baby boys’ clothes were pretty horrendous (this is still partially true) and that only girls’ clothes were cute (this is also still partially true.) As fate would have it, I ended up with a little baby boy and now I’m finding that stylish boy clothes DOES exist! Aside from Insta brands out there, my favorite big stores to shop for H include: Zara, H&M, Cotton On, Baby GAP and Old Navy.

These snaps are all from my last two Zara hauls and they are insanely cute and affordable; I just had to share. Future mom of a boy out there, get excited!

baby / life

baby must-have: uppababy vista stroller

December 21, 2017

Confession: this post has been in the works for seven months! Basically Harlen’s age, but it’s for good reason, I promise. Since his birth, we’ve only had one stroller and it’s the only stroller we plan on having until we no longer need one. We rave about it to just about every parent we talk to. Our Uppababy Vista stroller has been an absolute dream and we cannot live without it.

Harlen first came home from the hospital in an Uppababy Mesa infant car seat and I cannot begin to tell you how easy it was to set up the car seat base. We knew by sticking with an Ub branded car seat, we would be able to take advantage of the entire system and click the car seat straight into the Vista stroller. Parents, this is a huge advantage because if baby sleeps, it’s so much easier to take them from car to stroller without waking them up. It allowed us to have some freedom when Harlen was a newborn because we could take him out and about without disturbing his sleep.

When we moved back to Southern California from the Bay Area, it became apparent how unprepared we were for travel with baby and all of his belongings. How in the world was I going to bring all of these things with me? After doing research, we learned that Uppababy carried Travel Bag with TravelSafe for their Vista strollers for their carseat and stroller, along with insurance in case anything was damaged. With so many horror stories about most airline carriers handle strollers, this was the best insurance to have. Luckily everything went smoothly with our flight and nothing was damaged, but we now have piece of mind the next time we fly.

Due to our car being stolen in July (this was completely devastating to us), we lost our Mesa carseat and ended up switching him up to a convertible carseat since he was already getting really tall to fit an infant carseat. It was also around this time we switched him up to the Vista rumbleseat. He was just a pound or so under the requirement, so we purchased the Infant SnugSeat so that was nice and snug. It was also then that we got to see the Vista stroller in action and trust me, it. is. incredible.

A short list with what we LOVE:

  • UV protection sunshade 
  • Extra large basket to carry everything
  • Handle bar extension for my husband
  • Complete recline without moving the baby
  • Smooth ride with great handle

Need I say more? New and seasoned parents, if you’re in the market for a new stroller, I cannot recommend the Uppababy Vista enough.

baby / life

baby must-have: owlet baby care

August 11, 2017

Being a first time parent, there were so many concerns that kept me up at night while I was pregnant. I’m going to be frank and I this is a trigger warning: the concern of my little one’s wellbeing during naps and at nighttime was always in the back of my mind and often in the very forefront. It’s something you always read about and that it never happens to you, but need to be informed about it regardless of how scary the subject may be. The wonderful thing about being first time parents in 2017 is the abundance of tech items that make the ease into parenthood that much easier, by providing peace of mind – working together with safe sleep guidelines (like the ‘ABCs’ of safe sleep—alone, on their back, in their crib.)

Enter the Owlet Smart Sock 2. This virtually invisible accessory has been one of the most vital assets to our lives and has eased our sleep-deprived minds night after night. It’s essentially a soft sock that we attach to Harlen’s foot (left or right) that helps us track his heart rate and oxygen levels when he is sleeping. It connects to a base station via Bluetooth that’s kept nearby and we are able to track everything on the Owlet app on our phones. If there is anything that isn’t the norm, the Owlet notifies us immediately if Harlen’s heart rate or oxygen falls outside the preset zones.

Having this peace of mind is absolutely worth every dime and has allowed J and I to sleep better each night knowing we have this set up. Since our first night at home we’ve slept soundly knowing the Owlet was a part of our team. New moms and dads—this is a MUST.

baby / life

baby must have: dockatot

August 4, 2017

OKAY. I know how terrible I’ve been about updating but you guys, colic is REAL and it’s such a drag sometimes. Finally getting back into the swing of editing, writing and updating, so I’m bringing out a series on our FAVORITE baby items that have gotten us through the newborn stage. We’re still in the thick of it, but we’re starting to see the light… I hope.

First up on our must-have list is the DockATot. For sleep or play, this thing has been with Harlen since day 1. It’s a breathable and lightweight bed that creates a snug environment for babies, and now that little man is starting to have a much stronger neck, we’ve started using it during tummy time as well. Seriously, it feels like a cloud and comes with some fun cover options as well.

One of the things we quickly learned with babies is that consistency is key, so when we were able to get our hands on a DAT, we knew it was going to be the bed he uses for night and naps. Since it’s so easy to carry around, we’ve been able to bring it to different places and homes and it’s still the same bed for him each and every time. While we don’t co-sleep, the DockATot is also a great addition to co-sleeping babes and their parents.

It’s crazy to look back at these shots because he was SO LITTLE then and the DockATot seemed overwhelming in size compared to him. I know he’s going to outgrow it in no time. Luckily, the DockATot comes in a grand size as well. 😉

baby / life

in-home newborn session

July 19, 2017

Jiyeon of The Allens Photography has done it again. On what would have been H’s due date, Jiyeon shot the most intimate in-home session for us while H was 16 days old. As I share these today, he’s already past 2 months and growing like a weed. It feels like a lifetime ago looking at how tiny he was in these photos. I am so grateful we have these photos to look back on and remember those fleeting moments and restless nights.

baby / life

redwoods maternity

June 15, 2017

I consider myself incredibly lucky to know so many creative people, let alone ones I get to call friends. I first “met” Jiyeon (one half of the amazing photography duo The Allens Photography) off of Instagram from location tag at a local boba place. I’m not even kidding. We got to know each other and eventually met up with hubbies in tow for dinner and have been connecting ever since.

Fast forward to last April on Earth Day, when we meet up once more at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland for a maternity shoot. It was our first time at this park and we were absolutely floored by how incredible the trees were. Up in the hills of Oakland is this incredible place filled with redwoods that you can walk right up to and admire—literally just a few feet from the parking lot.

Jiyeon, you are incredible. Local Bay Area friends and friends everywhere (they love to travel), please hit up The Allens Photography to create some magic. You seriously will not be disappointed.

baby / life

nursery reveal

June 8, 2017

This post has been long overdue, but for good reason I promise! While I had the weeks leading up to my due date all “planned” out with lots of last minute prepping and blogging, baby J decided to make his own plans and arrive 2.5 weeks early. But here it is—the baby nursery! As finished as it could be, at 3 weeks postpartum. This California-inspired nursery has been a labor of love and I owe so much of the handiwork (and insane amount of trips to Ikea) to my patient husband.

The idea all started with the most amazing cacti wallpaper from Rocky Mountain Decals. After obsessing over the pattern on Pinterest for months, I knew I had to have it. Being renters, it was a no-brainer that a removable decal would be perfect for us. It was a bit of a learning curve to learn how to apply it, but after the first sheet, it was easy to get the hang of it. We had a few hiccups along the way, but luckily with a pattern like this, it’s kind of hard to see the mistakes. 😉 RMD has so many fun designs for the nursery/home and I can’t recommend them enough.

With the wallpaper being such a big focal feature, I knew I wanted the rest of the furniture to be as neutral as possible. It was also very important to us to keep it to a few key pieces of furniture instead of cluttering up the nursery with too many things. For the crib, I knew immediately I wanted Babyletto’s Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib when I first saw it. It has the simple white crib design that I love, and the mid-century legs make it perfect. An added bonus is that it converts to be a toddler bed, so we’ll be able to keep it for years to come.

The 4moms‘ mamaRoo came very highly recommended to us by friends and family, so we knew it would be the perfect addition to the nursery. It doesn’t take up much room at all and has such a sleek, minimal design we both love. John’s also a huge fan that he can control it on his phone and it can connect to any mp3 device. It’s crazy how high tech baby products are these days.

The rest of the pieces include Baxton Studio’s rocking chair from Amazon, Ikea’s Tarva dresser that we painted ourselves and doubles as the changing area, leather pouf from Amazon, our record collection (with baby’s own record player), and random Target pieces for all of the decor touches. We’ve still got a few fun elements to add to the walls, including the art gallery that will go above the dresser, so I will have to do an update to the reveal and share those at a later time. But first, time to feed the little one.