With every new season comes the perfect opportunity to dress your child up in theme and take thousands of photos. I figured better do it now because in only a few short years, he’ll have a strong opinion about what he wears. Then he’ll be 13 and wearing t-shirts with band names I have never heard of that he hopefully will let me wash once a month or so. These are the things I think of late at night. So anyways, Continue reading
It’s the end of an era. Or something less dramatic. But the time has come to stop breastfeeding Liam. Many of you may be thinking, geez you’re still breastfeeding that kid?! Well, long and short is.. yes. Continue reading
I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I HATE paying someone to do something that I can even slightly, half-ass do myself. Maybe I’m a perfectionist. Or untrusting. Call it what it is, it’s me and I am working on it. But in the mean time, my DIY flag will continue to soar high. After our holiday family photo shoot that resulted in zero photos of Liam smiling, I decided never again! The photographer was a very sweet lady. But she would make these cackling, turkey calls and high pitched squeals in an attempt to coax a smile out of Liam. And this child of mine, who seriously smiles at every cashier and every old lady in line at the grocery store, would of rolled his eyes at her if he knew how. Not a single smile for her camera. So I decided that I would create our own photo session at home. And worse case scenario, if he didn’t smile for me, all I wasted was an afternoon. And it turned out to be a success! Here are some of my tips for how you can create your own smash cake photo session.
1. If you have a room with a blank white wall, perfect! If not, get a white backdrop. I purchased this one from Amazon and have used it several times so I have definitely gotten my money’s worth. But a crisp ironed bedsheet would also work well.
2. It’s all about good lighting. This is crucial! More important than the camera itself! I know by now in my sunroom (where I’ve set up my white backdrop) what time of day the room gets good natural light. You want to aim for bright natural light vs light that is created from lamps or overhead lights. But you also want to avoid too much direct light on your subject (this will wash them out) and avoid shadows being casted onto the backdrop. Tip: set up your backdrop a day or so in advance and keep an eye on what time of day the lighting is best.3. You don’t need a fancy camera! I used my Cannon Rebel DSLR for these, but I took some practice shoots with my iPhone and they also turned out amazing. I swear, the quality of the pictures on the iPhone these days is not too shabby.
4. Use a tripod, if available. This helped me do continuous shooting and be hands free If I needed to quickly jump in and help/reposition/save a ballon. A husband or assistant also helps!
5. Create fun props! I simply blew up some balloons and made bunting using felt fabric, string, and a hot glue gun. You don’t need much. The cake and the baby will be the star!6. Bake your own cake. Dude, did you know a box of cake mix is only $1.95? This is so cheap. Especially considering it’s just for photos. In fact, I didn’t evenly spread the icing on the back of the cake! And side note, this cake stand came from the diaper cake from our baby shower. It’s from C. Wonder. 7. Once you are all set up, bring in your child and entice him to “smash” the cake! At first, Liam had no interest in eating, or even touching the cake. He just stared at it and crawled away. If you look closely in this photo, you may see some tangerine slices on the floor. Yep. We had to entice him by adding his favorite food (which I guess obviously isn’t cake) and eventually, he went for the kill. Giving him a spatula at the end of the shoot helped us get some really messy pics too!
8. Touch up the pictures in iPhoto/Photoshop. I always end up cropping my photos and using the blemish tool to remove anything unwanted that ended up in the shot.
I took a total of 120 photos and I ended up with about 30 great photos! And while I am a big fan of professional photography, it was nice to do these at home with daddy present and a warm bath waiting for us in the room next door!
I promise I will sew and blog again. One of these days. And I could name a million excuses but ahhhhhh life. Instead I will leave you with these photos of baby Liam. Because when it’s your first baby’s first Halloween, you drop everything and take obligatory photo shoots in pumpkin patches. As much as I love sewing and sharing my creations, being with Liam each day is a nice reminder to slow down and take each day one day at a time. Until next time!
During my pregnancy, I was very concerned about what I was going to be wearing during the labor and delivery. I have never been fond of hospital gowns. I felt they just made people look sicker then they should be. And my theory was if I was looking sick, I would feel sick, and thus wouldn’t do so well during labor. So long story short, I decided to make a robe that I could wear during laboring. But since baby Liam came almost two weeks early, I never finished the robe. Actually, my water broke the day I started making it! But it didn’t matter anyways, because in the end, I was completely naked by the time the delivery happened. Not sure how I got naked. But there I was. (I think I was hot, then cold, then hot, then uncomfortable, so off went all the clothes .) So fast forward one week later, and at some point in between nursing and diaper changes, I found time to finish hemming the robe. So now I have a brand new, handmade, hang-around-the-house-breast-feeding- robe!The pattern for this robe is a *FREE* tutorial from Erin of Sewbon.com that you can find here or here. She has an amazing blog and I am glad to see she decided to create a pattern of her own. This is a great beginners pattern as there is no real sizing and no need to worry about zippers or buttons. I am also thinking this is a perfect pattern to use for making handmade gifts for sisters and girlfriends. For my robe, I decided to use a cotton voile from Art Gallery Fabrics which is so soft and silky and perfect for this project. The fabric is from the Skopelos collection from Katarina Roccella and I have just adored this collection of floral prints.
These photos were taken when Liam was just a week old! He is actually much bigger now and has outgrown this little newborn onsie he is wearing. At one week postpartum I was still rocking that pregnancy swelling in my face, I was wearing no makeup, and my hair had not been brushed or washed in days. Yet this unfiltered version of myself makes me smile as I have longed for lazy Sundays like these, lounging around in bed with my family. And now here we are and I have to pinch myself sometimes because it all seems too good to be true. For those of you who don’t sew, check out these lovely robes from Plum Pretty. They have a beautiful collection of cotton voile robes for maternity and bridal. If I had $65 to spend on a robe, this would be the one I would get:Until next time, you know where to find me. Liam and I will be chillin in our bed waiting for daddy to get home. Robes and elephant pillows all day long. xxoo Priscilla
I knew I wanted to make a handmade item that I could give to the baby, but I had never tackled a quilt before. Cutting and sewing in straight lines and squares is not exactly my style. You see, I tend not to do any thing that requires precision or following rules and patterns exactly as I am told. And I had always assumed that a quilt would turn out to a be hot mess if I didn’t have all my shapes and all my squares exactly the same size. Well it turns out a quilt can be whatever the heck you want it to be. I am pretty sure that no two of my squares are exactly the same but I think thats ok. Because in the end, Liam has a sweet little quilt that he can one day tell all his friends “oh yeah my mom made that” and they will reply “say what??? Your mom is awesome!” And he will be all like, “yeah I know. Which is why I am never growing up so I can be with her forever.” (At least I think that’s how it will all play out.)The fabric I used for this quilt all comes from the Hello Bear Collection by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. I have had my eye on this fabric and before I was even pregnant I bought half a yard in 5 different prints, knowing that it would most likely sell out. This collection became so popular that Art Gallery now has released the Buck Forest print (the deer head) in eight different colors and also in knit and canvas. Locals, you can pick this fabric up from Five Eighth Seams in West Ashley. I had to do some creative fussy cutting so that I could include all the different mommy and baby animal pairs. In the end some pieces didn’t make the cut (ha, get it!) but I was able to come up with a variety of different rectangle and square pieces that I then appliquéd on top of another larger square piece. Here are a few online tutorials here and here that I followed to help me get an idea of where to start. And if you do like to do things precisely and accurately, there are tons of other tutorials online that give much better instructions than I do!
Also check out this youtube video from Made Everyday to learn how to make your own bias tape and get you started on doing the bias binding. This next photo you might be able to see how I used a decorative top stitch to stitch my bias binding in place. l have never used the decorative stitches on my machine before so this was fun to do.
This photo means the world to me, not only because he is on his mommy quilt but because this was the first purposeful smile we ever caught on camera. Liam is one month old today and as much as I love watching him grow, it kills me at the same time to know that time is moving by so fast! Enjoy your week and if you are lucky enough to be around any sweet babies this week, take the time to just sit and stare. All your other problems will just disappear, I promise!
If you’re like me, I’m sure the majority of the birth stories you have heard sound more like horror stories. In fact, I found that while I was pregnant, women would try to scare me with their stories, emphasizing the pain, and painting this picture of a dreaded experience where everything goes wrong. And I’m here today to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Now don’t get me wrong, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t pain involved. But the pain is minimal compared to the other positive emotions surrounding that day. A beautiful, exciting, fun day that I wouldn’t change a thing about.
We woke up in the hospital the morning of February 14th feeling nervous but also very excited and optimistic. The night before, right after my water broke, I was only 3 cm dilated with no contractions. The doctor, knowing that I wanted to labor and deliver naturally, said she’d be back in the morning to see how I progressed and we could make a plan from there. When she came at 9 am I was already halfway into my “liquid only” meal tray, having feasted on orange Jell-O and broth soup. When she checked me, it turned out I was still only 3 cm dilated. And it had now been 12 hours since my water broke. Turns out you can’t hang around with a broken bag of water and just stare at the clock. Time to make some decisions. After talking it over with Will and our nurse Lindsay (who was amazing), I decided I would let them induce me with Pitocin. I had been against Pitocin from the beginning because I knew how they can take your contractions from 0 to 60. And my chances of doing things all natural without any pain medication would be even harder on Pitocin. But with my water being broken this long, I was now at risk of getting an infection or having something serious happen that could lead to a C-section. And THAT was definitely not what I wanted. So at 9:30am I got an IV and the Pitocin was started. For the next three hours I began having mild contractions. Emily and Chris came to visit and actually laughed at how “easy” I was handling the contractions. I thought they just felt like menstrual cramps. Nothing I haven’t handled before. I even told my nurse for which she smiled but in the inside I am sure she was rolling her eyes knowing I would be singing a different tune shortly. If only I knew.
Around 12:30 Chris and Emily left and Will went downstairs to Subway to get a sandwich (of course only after ordering me yet another tray of Jell-O, broth, and Gatorade). While he was gone I got to work on setting up my Pandora station with my birthing music. (Which in hindsight was kind of silly because I never even heard the music during any of my laboring). It was during this time the contractions started to become really strong. I called Will on his cell phone and growled at him “Where are you?!” He rushed upstairs right as I was curled over on the bed in agony. I saw the look on his face as he thought “Geez how long was I gone?” But really it was just a coincidence that the contractions went from mild to severe right at the time he left the room. He stuffed as much of the sandwich in his mouth as he could and we spent the next 3 hours doing a dance of me bearing into him and Will doing everything possible to keep me from falling off the bed, the birthing ball, the toliet, or wherever I was laboring at that moment. Those three house felt like aliens ripping my organs from the inside out. No position you can get into takes away the pain. But I worked on my breathing and my visualization which helped. As I breathed I tried to picture what our baby would look like. I visualized the moment that Will asked me to marry him down at the yacht club and then I saw Will standing in our backyard playing t-ball with a little blond haired toddler. These helped distract me. But the best thing that helped me get through each contraction was the feeling of Will’s beard scratching on my cheek as he held me tight. He would try to rub my arms or scratch my back and I would yell “Don’t touch me! but bring me that beard!” My nurse Lindsay would tell me “Picture your baby. He will be here so soon” and “You are strong and brave, Priscilla.” Then Will would whisper in my ear “You can do this” and “I’m so proud to of you.” And I would shout “I’m an idiot!” “No one should have to live like this!!” “Your breath is horrible! What the hell was in that sandwich?!” We knew the doctor would be coming back at 4 o’clock to see if I had progressed. At one point I said to Will “If I’m still only 3 cm, I don’t know what I will do.” I didn’t think I could go on any further. Despite all that, I never asked for an epidural. Lindsay said at one point I did ask her to “put something in my IV” for which she responded “You don’t need anything.” But luckily when the doctor came at 4 o’clock I was 9 cm and 100% effaced! She said “I’ll come back in an hour to see if you made it to 10 cm.” AN HOUR?!? I couldn’t do it for another hour!! But I had no choice. So the contractions continued. 15 minutes went by and I started to feel the urge to go to the bathroom. I told Lindsay I needed to go and I needed to go now. She said “Do you feel the urge to push?” And I said “yeah push out a poop.” With excitement she said “That’s not poop! That’s your baby! Don’t push, let me grab the doctor. ” The doctor came in right away and checked me out, announcing that I was 10 cm! It was push time.
I pushed (and screamed and moaned like a whale) for about 25 minutes and at 5:15 PM the doctor pulled out baby Liam and placed him immediately on my chest. And just like that, Liam scooted his head towards my breast to latch on. Smart little baby knew just what to do. The doctors started to stitch me up as I did have 2 small tears. At some point I delivered the placenta but I don’t even remember doing that. I looked up at Will who was kissing my forehead and crying and thought to myself, thank God that Will was here by my side. There’s no way I could’ve done it without him. There’s no way to describe that moment when your baby is laying on your chest for the first time. Yeah there was blood everywhere, my vagina was burning like crazy, I somehow ended up naked during all of this, and there were all kinds of nurses and doctors in the room. But in that moment none of that mattered. And as that wonderful day came to an end, I knew that our lives were forever changed.
Dear Liam, You decided to be born on Valentines day. Which makes perfect sense as that is the day we celebrate love. And now we will always celebrate that day and the love that made you and brought you into the world. Valentines Day was not “the plan.” You were due to come on February 24th. In fact, everyone thought you’d be late. Your dad joked how “cool” it would be if you came on the 29th, Leap Day. I on the other hand were hoping you’d surprise us and come early. And surprise us you did!
Your birth story actually starts the night before you were born, on February 13th. It was a Saturday. The SEWE festival was going on here in town that weekend, there was yet another Republican debate airing on TV that night, as was the NBA dunk contest, and the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was in full swing in NYC. But it was a regular day for the two of us filled with to-do lists, get togethers, and things to keep us busy as we awaited your arrival. I woke up early that day and went to barre class, like I did most Saturdays. I joked with the class teacher that I’d be back a few more times because “this baby isn’t acting like he wants to come out any time soon.” Around 2:00 we went to a birthday party for a friend, and then came home to change for a dinner party at 6:30 at our friends Shannon and Justin’s house. Shannon, being an excellent cook and new-receipe enthusiast, had decided to try her hand at making Duck a L’Orange. About mid way through the appetizers, I stood up to go refresh my drink and thats when it happened. My water broke. It was only a little bit of water so no one noticed. I figured I should go to the bathroom, assess the situation, and then come up with a plan. I whispered to your dad that I thought “something might be happening.” For which he frantically announces to our friends “Priscilla thinks her water just broke!” However being the casual person that I like to think that I am, I cleaned myself up best I could and strolled back into the dining room right as Shannon announced “dinner is served.” So I did what all dinner guests would do. I took my seat, ate my dinner, and hung around until dessert. I mean come on. It was duck! And cheesecake! But at this point it was just a little water, there were no contractions, I was in no pain, no pelvic pressure. Nothing. I felt great! And everyone had told me “you only go the hospital when you feel contractions that are 5 minutes apart.” So I stayed. And I felt full and satiated from an amazing meal. We sat around and discussed if we should go the hospital or just call the doctor. And yes ALL OF US discussed this at the dinner table. Great conversation piece for the dudes at dinner. And that’s when it happened. More water. And this time a lot! We quickly said our goodbyes and I stood up and that’s when it happened again for the third time. Complete water breakage. This time I knew what was happening. It was all down my nice black handmade leggings right there on their dining room carpet. We quickly made it to the car with my water continuing to break during the entire walk and made it to the hospital in less than 5 minutes leaving behind our jaw dropped friends and just a tad of amniotic fluid on their nice Italian leather chair. The doctor admitted us into the hospital confirming that my water was fully broken and “this baby was coming.” And less than 17 hours later you were here. But we will get to that part of the story on another day…
What I Wore: Here are some photos of me from that evening, on our way to the dinner party. The leggings and tunic are both handmade by me with my favorite boots and hat thrown in. Not sure there is a “correct” outfit to be wearing when your water breaks but if there is, I like to think that this was it! Top: Handmade Rie top from Megan Nielson. There are three different versions of this pattern (top, tunic, dress) and three different sleeve lengths. (I went with the tunic length, bicep sleeves, in size medium) – Fabric: Your Heart Pure in Knit from Art Gallery Fabrics. purchased at Five Eighth Seams – Leggings: Handmade Sew Simple Leggings by So Sew Easy – Boots: Mossimo (similar ones here) – Hat: Forever 21 xoxo Priscilla
When we found out last June that I was pregnant, both Will and I were ever so cautious about every move that I made. We had already lost one baby at 9 weeks and had worked/wished so hard for this baby that we were both being very cautious about every move and decision that we made. Which in turn meant several weeks of no more kayaking, no bike riding, no jogging, no using the stairs at work, no walking the dog (seriously) and basically sitting still on the couch and watching the days roll by. Will basically had me under lock and key for the first trimester. Hey I am not complaining. Will took care of me, made dinner every night, and I got to catch up on more Netflix and sleep then I ever thought imaginable. But it was a very nerve racking first trimester. But we got through it, and by around 13 weeks, I had the okay from my fertility doctor (and more importantly my husband) to start moving and being active again. And so I did. And that’s where barre comes in.
I started going to Barre Evolution at the start of my second trimester. I am now 37 weeks pregnant and have been averaging 3-4 times every week since 13 weeks, with the exception of when we went on vacation to California for two weeks. And boy did I feel a difference when I got back!. Each time I go to barre, the instructors take such good care of me. They don’t push me into doing anything I don’t feel comfortable doing, but they take the time to show me compensatory ways that I can still stay active in my hamstrings, glutes, and even in my abs. I met with a few midwifes and nurses at a holistic birth center class to go over natural childbirth preparation (no jaw dropping, I am doing it all natural and that is all there is to it) and they all emphasize the importance in pelvic floor strengthening and they even showed some of the exercises that we should begin in our third trimester. Well luckily for me, I have been doing these same exercises in barre class since day one! For once in my life I feel prepared and confident that I have been making the right choices for my body by going to barre throughout this pregnancy. And I can’t think of another workout for pregnant women that can prepare you this way!
Here are some photos of my growing bump all while doing barre along the way.
This past November the Charleston Blog Society was treated to an after hours private class at Barre Evolution. Here is a photo of some of the gals after class. That’s me on the far right holding a ball as a prop, per usual. Gotta always have a prop. So much fun hanging with these girls at one of my favorite spots!
Disclaimer: I was not paid or endorsed by Barre Evolution for this post. I just really wanted to spread the word on something that I think otherwise would find useful.