Full Hearts This Thanksgiving


Well, the long and beautiful Thanksgiving weekend has come and passed already. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with full hearts and full bellies. We have so much to be grateful for this season and always. We started Thanksgiving Day with a delicious and traditional feast with Ryan's family and ended the day with another amazing traditional feast with my family.


Maternity dress and outfit details at the end of the post. 





We took a bunch of photos before we left because that's what I love to do! This is a season of our lives that I want to celebrate now and always. That bump on my belly that grows bigger each morning is a miracle. She is the answer to so many prayers, and the reason each day of our lives is full of Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving is night and day compared to the last. This year we have a new story to tell about faith and God and prayer. 

I cried. I prayed. He listened. I praised. Psalms 66:17-20



My sister's girls, my nieces, they're so excited about our little sweet pea! 



Thanksgiving Prayer

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, 
For love and friends, 
For everything Thy goodness sends. 

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet; 
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see; 
Father in Heaven, we thank Thee!

by Ralph Waldo Emerson



This year I baked pecan pies and I tried a new recipe. The Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies were a Pinterest find and they were delicious. Ryan and I decided they'll need to become a Thanksgiving Tradition. I've shared the recipe at the end of this post. 





Prep time Total time
20 mins 30 mins
Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies: soft, moist pecan cookies topped with an easy brown sugar frosting. Perfect for Christmas or holiday baking!
Serves: 3 dozen

Ingredients Cookies:
1 cup butter or margarine, softened 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (I did 50% whole wheat, 50% all-purpose, but you could use all-purpose)
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup finely chopped pecans
36 pecan halves or chopped pecans, toasted, optional

Frosting:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄2 cup milk or cream (I use 1% milk)*

1 tbsp butter or margarine
1
1⁄2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


Instructions Cookies:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  2. Add in flour, baking soda, and salt beat until combined. Stir in chopped pecans.
  3. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (or more).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Shape into 1" balls (I used a 1 tbsp cookie scoop) and place a couple inches apart on lightly greased
    cookie sheets or parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes or until set (not glossy at all in the middle) and lightly browned at the edges. Cool before frosting.
Frosting
  1. Combine brown sugar and milk in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  2. Stir in 11⁄2 cups powdered sugar and whisk or beat with a mixer until smooth. If frosting is too thin, add more sugar, but keep in mind it will firm up dramatically within a few minutes.
  3. Spread each cookie with about 1 tbsp frosting and top with a pecan or chopped pecans. Let frosting set before storing. 
*I didn't have milk so I used almond milk and a little bit of vanilla coffee creamer!
Link to original source & recipe above.

Outfit Details
My maternity dress is from ASOS here.
My lipstick is MAC Saint Germain with this beautiful BLUE (yes BLUE!) in Soft Hint on top.
I can't go without my maternity tights.
My shoes are not available this year, but something similar here and here.
Pearl necklace similar here and here.
Go to fall and winter fragrance is Black Opium.


Wishing you and yours a joyful and blessed Christmas season.

Love xo
Wen


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Wendy Correen Smith
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Preparing For Our Sweet Pea


Today's post is all about baby must-haves. This list was compiled after hours and hours of research. This is our first baby and clearly I have a lot of learning to do still, but there is not one thing in our home that we did not research before registering or buying. My goal, with all that we own is that it is (1) safe & healthy (2) necessary (3) made with quality material (4) stylish. Yes I said STYLISH. I feel that all that we own is a reflection of who we are and I've always appreciated the arts, style, and interior design, and that will not change with our baby items. For our home I'm trying to keep everything neutral with touches of florals, pastel pinks, mints, and blues. I'm steering away from the typical baby primary colors and patterns. I'm also trying to avoid anything that requires batteries or a power outlet! Also avoiding anything that plays prerecorded music because we have a nice sound bar and we can play music anytime. She'll probably hear a lot of Willie Nelson because that is her daddy's very favorite and we play it on Pandora often.

Most of my research and purchases were done online because I feel that you can get a better idea of what is available out there and it's so much easier to compare prices. Plus, what a perk to have the item dropped off on your front porch. Our poor UPS guy is probably sick of our home by now. This isn't to say I haven't been to Buy Buy Baby several times, and I always walk through the baby section at Target. I usually get overwhelmed in Buy Buy Baby because there are thousands, literally thousands, of things out there that say "baby" and unfortunately just because it shows "baby" on it doesn't mean its safe, healthy, and/or necessary. For example, I thought we needed a walker so I registered for a sleek white baby walker by Baby Joovy. It met all my criteria for quality material, simple and stylish design. After I received it as a gift at our baby shower Ryan and I actually did our research on the safety and health of it. Oh my goodness --- LESSON LEARNED. I was in for a shock when I read what pediatricians and physical therapists have to say about baby walkers. I'm not going to get into it all here, but I'll just say Google "safety of baby walkers" and you'll see for yourself. They are dangerous and actually bad for the development of your baby. Who would have guessed that? I thought every baby needed a baby walker. They are actually banned in Canada because they are terrible! The same is true for the very popular Baby Bumbo seats, check out this article here. This is a quote from the article and this philosophy is going to be the tone of our future purchases and research.

"No equipment enhances a child's motor development; equipment is a 'baby sitter' so that a parent can cook dinner, eat dinner or take a shower," Harper said. "A gross motor skill like sitting is achieved through movement and practice. Children fall out of Bumbo seats because they do not yet have the requisite strength, balance and coordination needed for sitting."

Basically I'm trying to avoid equipment or the 'baby sitter' in our home. When I'm doing chores she'll be wrapped around me. I'll shower when she's napping. I know I'm signing myself up for hard work by refusing to use "equipment" like walkers, swings, and Bumbo seats, but she's worth all the work in my opinion. This is a great article from USA Today about the overuse of plastic baby gear and gadgets.

This is what we bought or were kindly given at our baby shower. Details about each item and why I picked it over other items are summarized below. I'm saving her nursery details and items for a later post when we do her Nursery Reveal (ohhhhh, I cannot wait to share it with you!!!). At the very end of this post you'll find some of the items you may be tempted to buy or register for and I'll notate what I found out from my research and why they are NOT the best idea. Keeping in mind there are numerous lists out there about what you should buy and what you don't need. The items I detailed below to "scratch it from your list" are actually safety & health hazards, and not my opinion, but based on research and studies by professionals.


Baby Furniture

1. Babyletto Hudson Crib: I picked this first because of the design, but I appreciate all the goodness it has to offer in regards to safety and health. Its made with New Zealand Pine Wood, it is lead and phthalate safe with non-toxic finish, and all hardware is hidden. 

2. Naturepedic Organic Cotton Crib Mattress: I wish we could buy everything organic, but I realize that would be a pain and very expensive. I'm thankful that we do have an organic mattress for our sweet pea. Sadly, non-organic crib mattresses emit high rates of potentially harmful chemicals. You can read more about it here, if interested. 

3. Babyletto Hudson Dresser Changing Table: This is the changing table that goes with our crib. It's very sturdy and free of toxic materials. 

4. Baby Relax Harlow Wingback Rocker: We went for economical and stylish with the rocker. There are hundreds of more expensive and probably better quality rockers out there, but we knew we wouldn't use this for a long period of time so we decided to save some money on this purchase. I'm actually very happy with the quality and look. Its comfortable and looks beautiful in her nursery. 

Baby Transportation 

1. Baby Jogger City Select Stroller and Deluxe Bassinet: This was our most researched and discussed purchase. We went back and forth between the Uppa Baby Vista and the Baby Jogger at least five times. We had originally decided and agreed upon the Vista, but then we considered the Baby Jogger. We had narrowed it down to the two simply because they can both convert to a double stroller with an attachment and because they can be used with a bassinet. The bassinet option was one of my must-haves. How freakin' adorable is the baby pram? We ultimately decided upon the Baby Jogger because the Deluxe Pram that has to be purchased separately is better quality then the one that comes with the Vista. Additionally, the stroller and add-on pram is still a little less expensive than the Vista. It's here already and Ryan put it together pretty fast. He said it was very easy to assemble. 

2. Mico Max 30 - Herringbone Special Edition Infant Seat: I was first attracted to this carseat because of it's design and coziness. Our research confirmed it is one of the safest carseats on the market too, and I was sold. I love the unique look of the limited edition herringbone pattern. 

3. Milk Snob Car Seat Covers: This is a stylish and modern way to protect our baby from harsh sunlight, wind and unwanted onlookers. It also converts to a nursing cover that I can use when we are out in public. I've got a few of these cuties! 

4. Baby Bjorn Carrier - Original: There are so many baby carrier options out there and I'm sure we'll end up getting more. We started with this one in a neutral gray. It was developed with pediatricians and keeps the baby in an upright position to keep the airways free. 

5. Bambini and ME Baby Wrap Carrier: I ended up ordering this wrap off of Amazon because it had great reviews and was marked down 50%. I'll do a post next year and let you know if I like it or not. 

Baby Sleeping and Lounging

1. White Dockatot: There are so many things about this piece that I love. I'm so thankful to my bestie from college sent it to us as a baby shower gift. It has been designed to create a safe, snug, soothing environment for babies. It facilitates tummy time. And it is safe to use for co-sleeping babies. I plan to breastfeed and I know she'll be up at all hours of the night eating, so she'll either be in the bassinet next to the bed or she can also safely co-sleep with us in the Dockatot. When we travel this will come with us to use in the hotel bed! 

2. Baby Bjorn Baby Bouncer: This is a natural baby bouncer with an ergonomic design. No batteries or power outlet needed. The babies own development will bounce the chair! This bouncer has been voted the best, simplest, most versatile bouncer on the market. And don't you love the neutral colors offered? We went with the light khaki color, they also have a pale pink and soft mint that I'm tempted to get. 

3. Pottery Barn White Bassinet: If you do your research on the baby bassinet you'll find a lot of conflicting opinions about whether or not it's needed. I had my mind made up about the bassinet and I knew we needed one for the bedroom. Pottery Barn's bassinet meets rigorous safety standards and you can read more about it over on their website linked above. She'll either sleep in the adorable bassinet next to us or in the co-sleeping Dockatot.

4. Moses Basket: This will provide a cozy place for the baby to sleep and it can easily be moved from room to room. I imagine taking this outside with us on beautiful spring days so she can nap under the warm sunshine. 

Breastfeeding & Pacifiers

1. Medela Pump In Style: I'm pretty excited to breastfeed. I know it'll be a great bonding experience and I look forward to doing it for as long as we can. I did quite a bit of research on the breast pumps, and I kept coming back to the Medela brand. My sister uses this one and it's the same brand the hospitals use. I was able to get this through my insurance and it's already up in the nursery closet waiting to be used in a few short months.

2. Tommee Tippee Bottle: I doubt our baby girl will be taking a bottle very often, but I did pick up a few bottles to have on hand for those nights when Ryan wants to feed her and if for some reason I'm away from her for more than a few hours. I read that this brand of bottle is great for breastfeeding babies as it is the closest thing to the momma's breast.

3. Natursutten Pacifier: These are seriously the cutest pacifiers I've ever seen! They are designed to stimulate breastfeeding with it's large round shield that gently touches the baby's nose. They are made from 100% natural rubber from the tree of Hevea brasiliensis. With this brand we can avoid allergy causing substances, artificial color, cancer causing substances, hormone disturbing substances, chemical softeners, and parabens, PVCs, and phthalates. I've decided this is the only brand of pacifier she can use!

4. Joovy New Nook High Chair: I picked this high chair initially because of it's simple and sleek design. After reading the reviews, along with the safety and comfort details, I decided it was the one. It'll be a good six to nine months after she's born that she'll even need to use this because she'll be exclusively breastfed, but we are planning ahead with this purchase. Here is a detailed article about waiting to introduce solid foods and a breastfeeding timeline.

5. Boppy Feeding and Support Pillow: In the past women would simply use a regular pillow for breastfeeding support. I remember my mom having a pillow handy before feeding my younger siblings. This pillow isn't necessarily a necessity, but I think it'll come in handy. I've received a total of five (yep, FIVE!) of these as gifts! They are definitely a popular gift item and fortunately I was able to exchange them for something else we needed. You can find the best handmade covers on Etsy.com. This is one of my favorites.

Bath Time

1. Puj Bath: Most of the time our sweet pea will bathe with me, but if we want to give her a bath in the kitchen sink, we will use this Puj Bath. I was debating between this and the Blooming Bath. The Blooming Bath is definitely cuter, but I read that it's a pain in the butt to get all the water out of it so you can put it away. I know after bath time I'm going to want to put sweet baby lotion all over our baby girl and not have to deal with a big clean up in the kitchen. The Puj Bath doesn't take up a whole lot of room like a regular baby tub, so I think we'll be happy with this decision.

2. Aveeno Baby Bath Products: Our pediatrician said to stay away from any products with fragrance. He recommended Aveeno, Cetaphil, and Aquaphor products. We already have Aveeno baby bath products (which do have a light fragrance) and that is what we'll use at first. Hopefully sweet pea doesn't have sensitive skin!

3. Duckymeter: This was purchased months ago for me so start using now. I prefer a scalding hot bath and obviously I can't be doing that while I'm pregnant. I was truly fearful of bathing because I didn't know how hot the water I used would get. Easy solution, the Duckymeter. Now I can bathe without questioning the temperature of the water and I will say it is not nearly as hot as I'm used to when I keep it under 101 degrees. I'm sure I'll continue to use it with sweet pea!

4. Pink Baby Bath Robe: Every baby needs a bath robe, only because they are darling!

5. Lamb Baby Slippers: Restoration Hardware Baby and Child has the most adorable selection of baby slippers. I had to get her a pair to wear after bath time!

Medicine Cabinet

1. Medical Forehead and Ear Thermometer: We selected this one because it works as both a forehead and ear thermometer, it's medical grade, and it has great reviews on Amazon. It's also currently 71% off on Amazon!

2. NoseFrida: This is in place of those old style bulb nose syringes. With this one the parent actually sucks the mucus out with the NoseFrida, and NO you don't suck it into your mouth. Sounds gross I know, but it has fabulous reviews. We had registered and received  this before we met with our pediatrician and he actually mentioned it at our pre-natal class and said how GREAT it is!

3-5. Baby Saline Drops, Aquaphor Diaper Rash Cream, Vitamin D Drops: All of these items were suggested by our pediatrician to have on hand before we come home from the hospital. He said no baby powder! I already figured that with all the bad news about baby powder causing ovarian cancer, but he actually said it can cause lung problems also. He said no Tylenol until after two months, so we'll hold off on purchasing it for our medicine cabinet. The Vitamin D is something he suggests daily, as all babies are lacking in Vitamin D because we protect them from the sun and they just don't get enough from breastmilk or formula. Here is an article from the Center for Disease Control about Vitamin D supplementation for babies.

Accessories

1. Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bibs: I hadn't heard of this line before my baby shower. A friend of mine gave us the Blush bibs and they are so soft and adorable. p.s They have a bunch of cute stuff on their website, go check it out.

2. Little Lemon Treasures Silicone Pacifier Clip: It's made of 100% BPA and toxin free food grade silicone  teething beads. And super cute!

3. Little Unicorn Security Blanket: This company is one of my favorites for beautiful swaddles and blankets. The Watercolor Rose is simple and sweet.

4. Baby Mittens: I have a few pairs of mittens for our sweet pea. I'm not sure if she'll need them or not, but we're ready to protect her delicate little face if she's a scratcher.

5. Baby Jogger Parent Console: This was an add-on piece for our stroller. It'll be perfect for our drinks and cell phones when we go for long walks!

6. Back Seat Mirror: I wasn't sure if this was a necessary item or not. I just imagined driving her by myself and her crying and I figured having the mirror there to help me see what is going on in the backseat may be beneficial. It may end up being a waste of money or nuisance in the car, or we may find that it's handy. We shall see!

7. Lux and Leather Handlebar Cover: The one thing that I didn't like about the Baby Jogger was the way the handlebar felt on my hands. Its rough and tough feeling! A friend of mine has the Baby Jogger and she ordered a cover from this company called Lux and Leather. They are 100% leather handlebar grips with black nylon coil zipper closures. I think it'll look nice to have a bit of caramel brown with the solid black stroller too.

8-9. Flora the Flamingo and Flavia Flamingo: Not much to say about the flamingos, other than ADORABLE! I really don't think a baby can have too many books. Our sweet pea has stacks and stacks of books already and this weekend we'll be hanging the shelves to display the cutest ones! Flora the Flamingo will probably take center stage.

10. H&M White Organic Onsies: H&M has the best variety and prices on organic baby clothes. I personally love the whites and solids. I think babies are too cute to be in overpowering colors. A simple white onesie is a basic staple in all baby closets!

11. Little Unicorn Swaddle Muslin Blankets: I mentioned this above, Little Unicorn, is my favorite place for swaddle blankets. The muslin is perfect for a new baby!

Diaper Bag and Such

1. Black Diaper Bag Backpack: All my mom friends said I need a backpack style diaper bag. I took their advice. I knew I wanted black with gold and Nordstrom has a great variety of options. Lucky for me I ended up finding one on clearance at TJ Maxx. Once you know what you want you just have to hunt for the best deals. With Black Friday coming up I bet a lot of this baby stuff will be marked down!

2. Oh Joy Diaper Changing Pad Clutch: A basic necessity when you're out and about. This one has a fun pattern and nice price tag!

3. Honest Diapers: We have a variety of diapers on hand right now. Not a lot, but a few different brands, including Honest diapers. Without having tried the different brands of diapers yet, the Honest brand is my favorite simply because of their use of naturally derived, plant-based, and sustainable materials. Added perk, they come in a huge variety of prints. Right now they have candy cane stripes and joyful Christmas prints available. So cute!

Mommy's Hospital Bag

1. Pink Blush Floral Robe: I intend to wear robes the entire time I'm at the hospital. The idea of putting pants over mesh underwear does not sound comfortable. I think slipping into a nice floral robe after a hot shower will be just what a tired new mom needs to feel clean and pretty again. Pink Blush Maternity has the best selection of nursing and delivery robes. They are currently 40% off for Thanksgiving using the code SHOPSGIVING.

2. Sole Society Mason Travel Satchel: Mommas-to-be are going to need a chic weekend bag to take to the hospital and this one from Sole Society is on my Christmas wish list. The classic look is great, and the bottom zippered section will be perfect for my shoes and slippers.

3. UGG Slippers: A nice pair of slippers for the cold hospital floor is a must-have for the few nights you'll be staying in the hospital.

4. Laura Mercier Body Lotion: I love to wear a nice perfume, but I don't think I'll be using any at the hospital. I think a nice perfumed body lotion is all that I'll pack to use after showers and on my hands and legs. Laura Mercier has some of the best perfumed creams and body wash.

Well, that is my list for new baby must-haves! Once I actually get to use all these items I'll be sure to share a new post reviewing each product with pros and cons.








This is a list of items that you may be tempted to purchase or put on your registry. A friend or family member may say you MUST-HAVE it because it's been around for a long time and they used it. The great thing about the internet is that you can research all current news and studies with the click of a mouse. I was very much surprised & truly disappointed by some of the items that are on the market that aren't safe or healthy for our babies. I had no idea that shopping for our little one would take so much time and research until I started to discover that things I thought we needed would actually be bad for her. I'm going to list out the items below [and this list is not all inclusive] and then provide supporting research and articles for you to review on your own.

Baby Walker
Babies that use walkers learn to crawl, stand, and walk later than they would otherwise, and continue to show delayed motor development for months after they have learned to walk. The delay seems to be a little more than three days for every 24 hours of total walker use.
New York Times: The Dangers of Baby Walkers
ABC News: Pediatricians Say Walkers Should Be Banned
US National Library of Medicine: Effects of baby walkers on motor and mental development in human infants

Crib Bumper
New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say bumper pads have no place in cribs.
Parenting: AAP Recommends Against Crib Bumpers for SIDS Prevention
NPR: To Reduce Infant Deaths, Doctors Call For a Ban of Crib Bumpers

Infant Bath Seats
Its possible for the seat to tip over and it gives parents a false sense of security about leaving a baby alone to go grab a phone or run to the linen closet.
Baby Center: Baby Bath Seats
CBS News: Baby Bath Seats: Too Dangerous?

Bumbo Seat
It puts the baby's pelvis in a posterior tilt, which facilitates lumbar flexion, not extension. That puts the baby's chest behind the pelvis.Then the head has to come too far forward. It's no longer positioned above the chest. Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement. Studies show tummy time is good at stabilizing the visual field of the environment. Research also shows respiration and reflux are better when the infant is prone rather than upright.
Chicago Tribune: Why Physical Therapists Hate the Bumbo Seat
Kidspot: Parents warned about the dangers of Bumbo baby seats
ABC News: Over 4 Million Baby Seats Recalled Over Safety Dangers

Bottle Warmer
If you intend to breast feed you do not need a bottle warmer. Breast milk should be treated like liquid gold. The key to warming breast milk while preserving its full nutritional value is to avoid overheating. Using only warm water bath temperatures to heat up milk will avoid the loss of nutrients and the risk of overheating. Never use a microwave or boiling water to warm breast milk, as these may cause scald spots that will destroy antibodies.
Baby Gear Lab: Best Practices for Handling Breast Milk

Car Seat Toys and Add-ons
General rule of thumb, if it didn't come with your carseat don't use it. Our pediatrician did mention the car seat covers that I showed above and he said they are fine to use since they are on the outside of the carseat and used to protect the baby from wind, harsh sunlight, and unwanted onlookers.
Non-regulated Products for Car Seats

I mentioned above that this is not an all-inclusive list, this is simply what I found as I was reading about what we need and don't need for our baby sweet pea.

We used BabyList.com for our baby shower registry and I highly recommend it. We were able to register for anything that is found online and it was wonderful. I didn't like the idea of being forced to select baby products from just one or two stores. I really loved the idea that I could register for handmade items on Etsy, clothes from some of my favorite boutiques, and books and stuffed animals from places like Anthropologie. It really gave us all the flexibility we needed to register for whatever we had added to our want and need lists. Additionally there is an app you can put on your phone to easily add and delete items before your baby shower.

I hope this list is helpful for you. I remember searching for lists like this on Pinterest when I first started our registry and there were quite a few blogs that really helped me along the way. I'd suggest reading several more blogs for additional ideas about what products are out there for you to choose from! Each mom and dad is unique and will find different items that work great for them. Good luck and congratulations to you and yours!

Please feel free to send me an email at wendycorreen@gmail.com with any thoughts or questions.  Additionally, you can use the Shop Drop-Down Links above to find more adorable baby products.

Happy Thanksgiving xo
Wen
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Modern Mom + 1950s Housewife



I'm currently 29 weeks pregnant with our baby sweet pea and time is flying by! I knew it would with the holiday season approaching. Ryan and I met with our 'potential' pediatrician Tuesday night and we both left feeling like he is the one for us. On the way to the meeting we talked about our parenting philosophy as we often do. I had said something about rewarding our baby girl with something after each check-up (when she gets older), and I've always said we shouldn't reward with food or toys, as that will cause problems later in life. For example going out for ice cream after a doctor's appointment would undermine the healthy eating habits we will be teaching her. I said right before we pulled into the parking lot that shopping for a new book would be a nice reward. We had only been in the meeting for about 20 minutes when the doctor said they are part of a program that allows them to reward each child with a new book after each check-up! I may have been sold on him at that moment, but he said so much more that we appreciated and we left with new knowledge that made the appointment very beneficial. One of my questions was, "What should we have on hand before we come home from the hospital?" The only two things he suggested were saline nose drops and Vitamin D drops. He explained that all babies are lacking in Vitamin D since we are protecting them from the sun. The mom doesn't pass enough through breast milk and it needs to be supplemented. He said to get the drops from Whole Foods or Sprouts, as the drug stores don't offer a high enough concentration. 



With Christmas approaching I've been thinking about our baby girl and her first Christmas next year. I daydream about her Christmas pjs, and how she'll react to Santa Claus, bedtime stories about the meaning of Christmas and cuddles by the fireplace. Thoughts about thousands and thousands of plastic, bright, loud toys have also came to my mind! The idea of over stimulation and a house cluttered with a bunch of junk has always been something I plan to avoid. I just ordered a book called Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. I can't wait to dive into it and really get inspired about the ideas that I already have about parenting. 

I just read this article, written by Joshua Becker, and I couldn't agree more with all of his points.


Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids


 The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.” —Ray L. Wilbur

Toys are not merely playthings. Toys form the building blocks for our child’s future. They teach our children about the world and about themselves. They send messages and communicate values. And thus, wise parents think about what foundation is being laid by the toys that are given to their kids.
Wise parents also think about the number of toys that children are given. While most toy rooms and bedrooms today are filled to the ceiling with toys, intentional parents learn to limit the number of toys that kids have to play with.
They understand that fewer toys will actually benefit their children in the long-term:
1. Kids learn to be more creative. Too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination. Two German public health workers (Strick and Schubert) conducted an experiment in which they convinced a kindergarten classroom to remove all of their toys for three months. Although boredom set in during the initial stages of the experiment, the children soon began to use their basic surroundings to invent games and use imagination in their playing.
2. Kids develop longer attention spans. When too many toys are introduced into a child’s life, their attention span will begin to suffer. A child will rarely learn to fully appreciate the toy in front of them when there are countless options still remaining on the shelf behind them.
3. Kids establish better social skills. Children with fewer toys learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with other kids and adults. They learn the give and take of a good conversation. And studies have attributed childhood friendships to a greater chance of success academically and in social situations during adulthood.
4. Kids learn to take greater care of things. When kids have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. They will not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand. If you have a child who is constantly damaging their toys, just take a bunch away. He will quickly learn.
5. Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art. Fewer toys allows your children to love books, music, coloring, and painting. And a love for art will help them better appreciate beauty, emotion, and communication in their world.
6. Kids become more resourceful. In education, students aren’t just given the answer to a problem; they are given the tools to find the answer. In entertainment and play, the same principle can be applied. Fewer toys causes children to become resourceful by solving problems with only the materials at hand. And resourcefulness is a gift with unlimited potential.
7. Kids argue with each other less. This may seem counter-intuitive. Many parents believe that more toys will result in less fighting because there are more options available. However, the opposite is true far too often. Siblings argue about toys. And every time we introduce a new toy into the relationship, we give them another reason to establish their “territory” among the others. On the other hand, siblings with fewer toys are forced to share, collaborate, and work together.
8. Kids learn perseverance. Children who have too many toys give up too quickly. If they have a toy that they can’t figure out, it will quickly be discarded for the sake of a different, easier one. Kids with fewer toys learn perseverance, patience, and determination.
9. Kids become less selfish. Kids who get everything they want believe they can have everything they want. This attitude will quickly lead to an unhealthy (and unbecoming) lifestyle.
10. Kids experience more of nature. Children who do not have a basement full of toys are more apt to play outside and develop a deep appreciation for nature. They are also more likely to be involved in physical exercise which results in healthier and happier bodies.
11. Kids learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store. True joy and contentment will never be found in the aisles of a toy store. Kids who have been raised to think the answer to their desires can be bought with money have believed the same lie as their parents. Instead, children need encouragement to live counter-cultural lives finding joy in things that truly last.
12. Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. If you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. Fewer toys results in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.
I’m not anti-toy. I’m just pro-child. So do your child a favor today and limit their number of toys. 

I'm not saying she won't have toys, she will! I'm certainly not anti-toys and I don't plan to be a crazy looney-toon mom. I simply want each toy to have meaning and purpose. I want things that were bought with intention while practicing the philosophy that less is more. I want organic toys that use non-toxic paint and not plastic toys mass produced in China with primary colors and annoying sounds that will drive us both crazy. I imagine time in nature exploring the colors and textures of this beautiful world. I imagine a variety of music and time for creative art projects. I imagine her wrapped around my chest while I'm doing house chores instead of glued to Baby Einstein. I imagine reading her simple classic books instead of putting her in a battery operated apparatus. 

I want to be a healthy blend of a modern mom that appreciates the parenting style of the 1950s housewife! I want to be a mom that parents with intention and strives for simplicity. 




We have so much to learn, so much! And I'm just so excited for this lifelong journey I can barely handle it. This post was written with one of my many goals in mind. There will surely be more to come like this, because writing and reflecting brings me joy. I've dreamed of being a mom for so long and I plan to live each day fully present and purposeful. 

I need to do an upcoming post about baby products and what we have purchased for our sweet pea. I've spent so much time navigating what we need and what we don't need. It can be very overwhelming for a first time mom, and I'm afraid there are a lot of products on the market that are just a waste of money. Its hard to believe, but after researching every single item we have, I've sadly learned there are some things that are quite common for babies that are harmful to their health and development. Just because it says "BABY" doesn't mean its safe, necessary, or healthy. 

Here are some of my favorites from stores that have quality products and simple, yet beautiful designs. 




With love and gratitude xo 
Wen 

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Wendy Correen Smith
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Pregnancy Q&A and My Favorites From PinkBlush


Good morning Friday! My sweetie comes home from a week long business trip to Connecticut in just a few hours and I'm so ready to see him. Tomorrow we have a birthing class and I'm pretty excited about it! It's another milestone that reminds me how quickly this pregnancy is moving along and how close we are to meeting our sweet pea.

Today I'm doing a fun pregnancy Q&A and I'm also sharing some of my favorite maternity clothes. I tried to avoid maternity clothes for as long as I could because I felt like they lacked style or they were way over priced for something I would only wear for a few short months. When I discovered PinkBlush I was pretty happy to see that they have a nice selection of maternity clothes that I can actually wear after our baby girl arrives.


Pregnancy Q&As

How far along? Today I am 27 weeks and two days. That is only 89 days until her due date. 
How big is the sweet pea? At our last ultrasound at 24 weeks 5 days she weighed 1 lb 11 oz. From my google search that means she is in the 50th percentile and so now I'm estimating she is a little over two pounds. 
Nicknames? We had her name picked out before we even got pregnant, our close friends and family know it, but we are keeping it a secret for now. So yes, she has several nicknames. She started off being called "Cookie" because she is our strong little cookie. Then when we found out she is a GIRL I started calling her Sweet Pea and Sugar Blossom. Her daddy, aunts, and grandmas call her by her real name and sometimes they shorten it. Of course when I'm talking to her I call her by her real name and her nicknames. 
Total weight gain/loss? Oh I definitely have not lost weight. I gained about five pounds just from IVF and the nurse promised me it was just water weight. And now I think I've gained about 24 pounds total.  For a few months I was really beating myself up about the weight gain because my personal goal was 25 total and I could tell I was going to go over my goal. No kidding, for the past decade, I've weighed myself every single morning. That was how I managed to keep my weight exactly the same +/- five pounds all of these years. To watch the scale move up as fast as it did was alarming at first. Very alarming. I have really calmed down about it here lately and my appetite is exactly the same as it was pre-pregnancy. All I can do is eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and keep my activity level up.  I only weigh myself about once a week now and it's really slowed down here lately. To see my body change and grow this baby girl has been so miraculous that I'm truly in awe every single day. I try to focus on my baby bump and not the number on the scale. 
Maternity clothes? Yes, finally, and I'm sharing my favorites later in this post. 
Sleep? Very broken. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and I get up to use the bathroom all through the night. Heartburn has started to be an issue at night time now, as well. 
Best moment this week? Feeling her move and kick. Each day, as her body grows bigger and stronger, so do her movements and I'm absolutely fascinated. Many times I'll feel her and stop whatever I'm doing with teary eyes and just say "THANK YOU GOD!" 
Symptoms? Mainly just heartburn and rib cage pain when I'm driving or riding in the car for a long time. 
Food cravings?  Not much really. I have been eating fruits and veggies like crazy, but I've always been that way. I started eating fruit chews a few months ago, and I still snack on them when I have a sweet tooth, and that is kind of odd for me. I never ate them before. 

Food aversions? Yes, meat. I was doing a vegan diet about 90% of the time before I got pregnant. Then my doctor suggested I start eating meat and dairy again, so I did. It was okay for a little while, but now I'm really struggling to eat meat again. I don't think I've had meat all week since Ry has been out of town. I feel just fine without it and I pay attention to my nutrient intake, so I believe all will be okay. 
Belly button in or out? Its in, I don't think it's going to pop, but we shall see. 
What I miss? I can't really think of anything that I miss. 
Who else is most excited? Well Ry is obviously just as excited as me, we talk about her all the time. I know my sisters and nieces can't wait to meet her. We all talk about her everyday! 
What I’m looking forward to? Honestly, I might be crazy to say this, but I'm really looking forward to birth. As of today I'm not scared of the pain. That may all change when I go into labor, but I've dreamed about this for so long that I want to enjoy the birthing process. I have some ideas of how I'd like the birth to go, and I will write up a birthing plan, but at the same time I'm realistic enough to know that it may not go as I envision it at all. A girl can still dream though, right?
Nursery done? I'm absolutely in love with her nursery so far. It is almost done. We have a few more big ticket items to order, probably next week, and then it'll just need small touches. I really cannot wait to share her finished nursery on the blog soon. Our goal is to have it finished by the New Year. I hope to chill out most of January as we await her arrival. 
Bump? YES! I stare at it all the time. I love when I see my reflection and see her reflecting back at me. I'm constantly rubbing it and talking to her. During the night if I wake up to use the bathroom, sometimes she'll wake up too, and I'll just lay in bed with my arm cradling her and I hope she can feel me loving her. 

This floral robe is definitely going in my hospital bag. I know it'll be important to feel comfortable and pretty after birth. 











I've partnered with PinkBlush to host a $75 PinkBlush gift card giveaway. Go to my Instagram @wendycorreen to find the details and enter the giveaway that will be announced early next week. Good luck! 

Thank you for following along on our journey to baby sweet pea! I hope you and yours have a lovely weekend. 

Love xo 
Wen  
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