A Few of My Favorite Things (133)

[baby girl is 2 weeks!]
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[L’s first visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s new house]
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[meeting my Nannie for the first time]
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[behind-the-scenes of L’s newborn shoot]
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[our little love]
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Two and a half weeks down, and we’ve had an exciting week over here! Leighton gained almost 1 pound in a week, and it seems like she’s growing and changing every day. She’s gotten to meet my grandmother Nannie and my aunt, as well as a few other friends this week. And one of the highlights was having my childhood best friend and her mom come up to visit for a few days to take her newborn photos! What a special thing to have someone so important to me be able to document our baby girl in her first few weeks here with us. We dressed her up in crowns and headbands and stuffed her in football helmets and surrounded her by GA peaches… so much fun! I am really excited to see the finished product, and I know these photos will be treasured forever. In other news, we’ve started the Moms on Call sleep/feeding schedule, so hopefully we’ll have a hang of that before too long. She’s giving us a run for our money some days, but her sweet and cuddly little self if worth it a thousand times over.

in one week…

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In one week, I have learned more than I have at any other point in my life. In the matter of a moment, I became a mom and Craig became a dad. Our lives changed in that instant, and we have been on a crazy ride since then — a ride that neither of us would change for anything. I know we have a lifetime of learning ahead as parents, and we’re by no means experts at this thing yet, but we have certainly learned a lot already.

– Time flies. As I started writing this post (one-handed while holding baby girl at 5am, mind you), I realized that exactly one week ago, I was holding my daughter on my chest for the very first time. It was the most surreal moment of my life. She is now already one week old, and Craig and I have survived our first week as parents. It’s hard to believe that we’re already home with this angel and starting to settle into some semblance of a routine (even if it currently revolves solely around feeding, diaper changing, and sleeping). I’m doing my best to savor these moments, even the trying ones, because although the hours may seem long, the days are short. She’ll never be as tiny tomorrow as she is today, and that’s something I hope to remember and embrace each day.

– Patience is a virtue, and it also takes practice. In the hospital, someone told us that a baby will make you learn patience, and they couldn’t have been more spot on. I am beginning to fully understand why God made babies so cute, sweet, and cuddly — to make up for seriously trying our patience and sanity! Craig can attest to the fact that I’m not the most patient person. He, on the other hand, has the patience of a saint, which is something I admire, try to learn from, and am now more thankful for than ever. He’s especially good with L’s cry sessions that seem to be about nothing – and usually take place at a time of day when no human should be awake, let alone wandering around the house “shhhh-ing” and bouncing a tiny baby in hopes of rocking her back to sleep.

– We will be doing a lot more laundry than I expected. Babies are messy, and they have excellent timing for spitting up on clothes you’ve only just changed. Good thing we bought a new washing machine last week.

– The human body can adapt and run off of very little sleep very easily when it’s for a good reason. We have both found that even after a night of just a couple hours’ sleep, we’re somehow still able to function like normal human beings for the majority of the day. Even Coco has seemed to quickly adapt to this little person who has invaded her space. She sniffs everything Leighton touches and even in the middle of the night, if L makes a noise, Coco has been quick to go check in on her.

– Babies are tiny, but they are strong! I feel like we needed degrees in alligator wrestling in order to properly and efficiently change her clothes and diapers when she’s wiggling around like a little monkey/snake/jitterbug/rascally animal of choice.

– Teamwork truly does make the dream work. Craig has been 100% on board and involved in every aspect of caring for our little one from the minute she was born. He happily obliged when I asked him to take on the probably daunting task of photographing her first moments because I was unable to. He jumped right in for her first diaper change in the hospital, only to have her not-so-politely request another change before he could even get the first diaper on. He has quickly learned how to dress a squirmy newborn, and he even helped me dress her up in a tiny swimsuit yesterday just for fun. He fixes and serves dinner while I feed Leighton. He rocks her when she’s fussy so that I can have a moment to check work emails (and maybe play on the computer a little). He switches off with me in the middle of the night so that I can get more than 30 minutes of solid sleep. He is the best daddy and I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate to do this with.

– We have really amazing family and friends. Calls, texts, emails, and social media messages with well wishes, advice and prayers, visits to meet L, food deliveries to keep us going each day. We are so grateful for each and every one. It really does take a village, and our village is pretty awesome.

A Few of My Favorite Things (132)

[my best girl]
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[my first cold Pub Sub since 2014 – oh so good]
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[welcome home, Leighton!]
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[good morning kisses from big sister Coco]
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[cupcakes to celebrate a successful 1st pediatrician check-up]
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[5 days old and sporting her first bow]
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Well, it’s easy to say that my favorite thing this week (and of all time) was bringing Leighton into this world on September 10th! We got home from the hospital Saturday afternoon and spent the next couple days soaking up time with our families. We’ve been on our own since Monday, and while it’s been a bit trying at night, we’re slowly getting into the groove as a family of 4 (of course Coco counts!).

We’re fortunate to have lots of family and friends bringing us the most delicious food every few days, because Lord knows I won’t be at the grocery store for a while. ūüôā It’s been so nice having regular visitors who want to meet Leighton and snuggle with her since we’ll be home-bound for a while. I’ve never felt so loved and supported! Stay tuned for lots more baby photos… it’s probably not going to lighten up any time soon. ūüėČ

Welcome to the world, Leighton!

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Craig and I could not be more thrilled to announce the arrival of our precious baby girl, Leighton Lane Hayes! She arrived just under 5 hours past her due date at 4:53am on Thursday, September 10, 2015. She weighed 7 lbs 6.9 oz and measured 19 3/4″ long and has Auburn colored hair, which we were a bit surprised by!

I started having contractions on Wednesday, 9/9 (our due date), and after a couple calls with the on-call doctor, we headed to the hospital that night and were admitted at 10:30pm. Things progressed much more quickly than I thought would have been the case with our first baby, and by 2am, I was more than in need of an epidural for the pain. That process was much less excruciating that I had anticipated, but that also may have been because I knew it would bring some relief from the pain I was in every couple minutes with contractions. Oh man, labor pains are like nothing I’ve ever felt before! I told Craig and my mom that whoever invented the epidural is now one of my favorite people — I don’t know how I would have made it through delivery without it. After just 1 hour and 23 minutes of pushing, Dr. Taylor delivered our healthy little girl and I’d say it was the single most amazing, surreal moment of both of our lives.

It’s amazing how naturally little Miss Leighton has become a part of our family. In some ways, I feel like we’ve had her forever, because I can’t imagine our lives without her now. Coco has been adjusting well and enjoys sniffing and licking everything Leighton touches. I see a good bit of Craig in her coloring and features, and I can’t wait to see if her hair stays that pretty Auburn color or if her eyes turn brown like mine did.

We’re getting the hang of life with our new addition, and while we’ve never been so exhausted in our lives, we also feel so incredibly thankful and honored to have been chosen to be this little one’s parents. She truly is God’s perfect gift to us!

[preparing for go-time]
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[baby girl has arrived!!]
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[proud daddy and his girl]
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[one of our first family photos]
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[aunt Lauren + uncle Andrew meet their niece]
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[grandma and grandpa Sims with their first grandchild]
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[headed home!!]
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[grandma and grandpa Hayes – also with their first grandchild]
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[Coco meets her sister]
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bump watch:: 40 weeks

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# weeks: 40¬†— baby is the size of a jackfruit!
Measuring approx 19-22″ long and weighing about 7-8 lbs.

Best moment this week: The start of football season! Georgia and Auburn both won their games, so we had a happy household on Saturday. And while we couldn’t make it to Athens for my game, we had fun watching it downtown with friends before heading home to catch the Auburn game on the projection screen. We also had an impromptu date night at Bocado over the long weekend — they have one of the best burgers in town. It may very well have been our last solo night out before becoming parents, which is sort of hard to believe!

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Miss anything: Normal sleep, ShockTop¬†during last weekend’s football games,¬†being able to bend over easily… ya know, the usual at this point.

Cravings: A grilled hot dog, which I got on Labor Day! Yay!

Feeling good/bad:¬†I’ve been getting more of those pesky Braxton hicks contractions, and I’ve just gotten more uncomfortable with each day this week, so I’m hoping I’ll get some relief soon. We went for a long walk at the park Monday morning in hopes of getting her moving (which obviously didn’t work), but I’m shocked I made it as long as I did. ūüôā

Baby purchases/gifts: I might have gotten this glittery UGA headband for her¬†first game day… can’t wait to deck her out in both her Georgia and Auburn gear this fall!

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Looking forward to: Meeting our girl!! We’re officially at our due date, but I also realize that it’s¬†just an estimate… so¬†as long as she’s healthy, it’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t come today. I have a doctor’s appointment on Friday, and¬†if she’s not here by then, we’ll start talking plans for how¬†to¬†proceed. We are all hoping and praying she’ll make her debut very, very soon,¬†though! We’re ready to see her sweet face!

A Few of My Favorite Things (131)

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: Arabesque Necklace in gold // Arabesque Chandeliers in gold // Artisan Stretch Bracelets // JCrew cardigan // Old Navy maxi dress]
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[healthy breakfast for the week of leisure]
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[personalized pillow for our new chair]
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[breast cancer awareness starts on 9/10!]
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[pretty plate at Taqueria Tsunami on the Square]
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Well folks, we’re still here and waiting on little lady to make her debut! Last week was what I jokingly dubbed my “week of leisure” since I’m now done with work. I fully enjoyed several lunch dates, trips to the pool, sleeping in, and just relaxing in preparation for what’s to come. All the “to-do” items are checked off my list, and I’m such a busy body that now I’m getting a bit anxious with nothing left to do but wait. My due date is on Wednesday the 9th, so we’re all hoping and praying she’ll decide she wants to join us very soon!

tips for dressing the bump (on the cheap!)

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When I found out I was pregnant back in January, I was excited to start looking for maternity clothes, even though I wouldn’t really need them for several months. I quickly realized that¬†the majority of maternity clothing options out there just aren’t that cute, flattering, or affordable (considering the short amount of time they’ll be worn). So I set out to make the most of my current wardrobe and filled in the gaps with some easy, cheap maternity finds that would last me the entire 10 months (and yes — it really is 10 months!). For any other mamas-to-be out there,¬†hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful!

1. Take stock of your current closet.
For the first few months, I took¬†advantage of my regular button-downs, looser sweaters, vests, and jackets due to it being winter and early spring. I also made good use of the “rubber band” trick that so many had told me about (using a hair tie or rubber band to fasten my regular jeans and give them a little more wear time before making the leap to maternity jeans). Once warmer weather began to roll in, I took stock of what maxi dresses and skirts I already had, as well as both flowy and fitted tank tops that would work with¬†the maternity jeans I’d bought. It turned out that many of my regular tops would fit over my growing bump for several more months, helping to stretch my closet a bit further.

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2. Shop for wardrobe staples.
Once I knew what I could use from my current closet, I needed to fill in the gaps with some maternity wear. I chose to stick to affordable options like Old Navy and Target for 90% of my clothing purchases, knowing that while I’d wear them a lot during my pregnancy, that amount of time was quite small in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, Old Navy ALWAYS has sales, so I almost¬†never paid full price for anything. I fell in love with their maxi tank dresses and bought them in 3 different colors. They’re incredibly comfy, they have accommodated both a smaller and larger bump, and I still feel cute in them at over 39 weeks along. Another staple were the Old Navy rib knit jersey tank tops, which I bought in several colors and have worn with jeans, shorts, and maxi skirts. I also got a pair of cuffed jean shorts from Target, which I have worn every weekend this summer.
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3. Borrow from friends.
A few of my girlfriends¬†had babies¬†earlier this year and were thus done with their maternity clothes for the time being, so they kindly offered to lend me some of theirs. If your friends offer, take them up on it! I added several dresses and a few tops to my wardrobe this way without having to spend a dime, and I plan to offer up my maternity clothes to other friends down the road in return. I particularly loved this Pink Blush Maternity maxi (no longer on the website) that my friend Shannon lent me — the colors are so pretty, it’s super soft and comfy, and it was perfect for some of our maternity portraits, too.

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4. Belt it!
Accentuate that bump with a belt! I have just about worn the gold glitter off my Target belt this year because I’ve worn it so often. I love belting loose tops and dresses as well as the more form-fitting dresses to emphasize where the¬†baby bump begins – and add some interest to the outfit.
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5. Change up the same outfits with jewelry and scarves.
As the months have gone by and my belly has gotten exponentially bigger, my wardrobe has gotten¬†exponentially smaller… funny how that works, huh? So instead of constantly buying more maternity clothes, I made do with the staples I purchased and just changed up the look with different jewelry and scarf options. Being a Stella & Dot Stylist¬†certainly has its perks when it comes to this, and it’s made my bump styling so much more fun. Here are some of my favorite ways to style the same outfit with different accessories, including a short necklace and gold belt combo, a doubled-up scarf, and a pendant necklace with chandelier earrings. For the office or cooler weather, you could easily add a cardigan or a button-up (not buttoned, of course) over the dress for even more versatility.
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bump watch:: 39 weeks

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# weeks: 39¬†— baby is the size of a watermelon!
Measuring approx 19-22″ long and weighing up to 7 lbs.

Best moment this week: Starting my first week as a lady of leisure! haha — I kid, I kid… but it was a bit refreshing¬†waking up on Monday and not having to go to work.¬†I had my latest doctor’s appointment this week, and while there’s nothing exciting to report just yet,¬†everything looked great.¬†I plan on getting in some pool time, relaxation, and home-cooked meals over the next few days, as long as she doesn’t make an extra early arrival.

Miss anything: Same things… uninterrupted sleep, fitting into normal clothes, and really just being comfortable all the time. But I do have comfort in knowing that we’re almost to¬†the finish line!

Cravings: My sweets craving has officially been satisfied over the past 10 months, but especially the past few weeks, thanks to so many birthday dinners and work parties. Now it’s time to start weening myself off the sugar….

Feeling good/bad: Girlfriend is getting quite heavy to carry around all day and my wedding rings officially no longer fit, but I really can’t¬†complain. For the most part, this has been a very easy, pleasant process and it’s honestly¬†flown by, which I could not be more thankful for!

Baby purchases/gifts:¬†I think we officially have every baby item known to man. Just kidding, but we at least feel prepared in that regard! She has a closet that I’m jealous of, we’re stocked on diapers and wipes (to cover¬†at least the first few weeks, so I’m told), and there are numerous baby-holding contraptions lining the walls of our living and dining rooms. I think we’re all set!

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Looking forward to:¬†Heading to the hospital to meet our girl — hopefully sooner rather than later!! We’re just playing the waiting game now, so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers for a safe, healthy delivery. We can’t wait to see her sweet face and introduce her to the world!