Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Thank you to Owlet for sponsoring this post and providing product for my review. This post is based upon my experience and all opinions are my own. 

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

 Just the other night, my very sweet girlfriend and I were having a conversation about the fears of motherhood. She is pregnant with her first babe and is experiencing her first rush of protective panic. All of a sudden, flying seems extra stressful, all of the cars on the road seem to be reckless and each decision seems to carry the weight of the world. She asked me if what she was experiencing was normal and all I could do was offer her a sincerely heartfelt "welcome to motherhood". 

While I tend to avoid cliches as advice, I honestly could think of no other way to explain what having a newborn is really like other than to use the expression "having a baby is like having your heart live outside of your body." All I could promise her was that through the sleep deprivation, cluster feeds and colic there is an intense love that drowns out the underlying nervousness that every first time parent feels. What I didn't tell her is that, for me, not only did that love barely drown out the fear but it only subsided once I felt like my son was no longer a newborn.

If I only I had an Owlet when my son was born - maybe that panic wouldn't have had such an effect on our early days.

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

The Owlet is an amazingly cool vitals monitor that uses a soft sock to monitor the oxygen levels and heart rate of a baby. The sock has a tiny plastic sensor that sends information to a parent base station and that station is designed to alert you if your babe's vitals fall outside of range. May I just take a second to say that I would have gotten so much more sleep if the Owlet existed when my babe was small. And more sleep means a happier and healthier mama, which I'm sure my husband and son would have appreciated (if you know what I mean!).

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

The Smart Sock that goes on baby's foot is super soft and can fit under footie pajamas - just in case you gave birth in Maine like I did. As a bonus, the sock can be washed (as long as you remove the sensor) which will come in handy if you have a babe prone to blow outs. Cue all of the mamas-to-be reading this wondering how a baby manages to get poop on their foot. Trust me, mamas, it is possible and it will happen.

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

The Smart Sock comes in four sizes so that you can use the monitor until your babe is 18 months old.

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

I honestly couldn't remember my own babe's feet being so small so I did what any normal mother would do and dug out his newborn photos. Oh man, those teeny, wrinkly baby toes are delicious. 

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

Ok, now that the gratuitous newborn photo is out of the way, let's discuss the Base Station. The base station monitors heart rate and oxygen level and, most importantly, is designed to alert you if your baby stops breathing (among other things - it's designed to alert you if the sock falls off, if the signal is blocked or if the Base Station can't find a good reading on the Sock data). 

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

 The base station communicates with the Smart Sock using BlueTooth Low Energy so even if you don't have WIFI, the base and the sock will still communicate. And speaking of WIFI, Owlet also has an app that monitors baby's stats in real time. You can log in and check on baby from anywhere, which might make leaving baby at home with a sitter for a night out easier to stomach for some parents!

If Only I'd Had An Owlet When I Had My First Baby

And, because I know everyone is wondering, no, I am not pregnant again. Instead, I sent my Owlet to live (temporarily) in the home of a new mama who just brought her first son home from the hospital. I hope it brings her peace of mind and restful sleep when she manages to snag an hour or two. I know she'll keep it safe for me so that I can put it to good use when we welcome a new babe to our family.

For more info on the Owlet, head to their blog

Thanks to Christa Rene Photography for all of the pretty photos! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Charleston in 28 Hours

We had the best little get away to Charleston this weekend. We are so lucky to live only three or so hours from the Holy City and it is crazy special to us - Justin and I met in Charleston and we had our engagement photos taken there - so any chance we get to run to the water, we take. Luckily, I had a few work things to take care of (both for the blog and my office job) in Charleston and I was able to smash them all into one quick trip. We decided to make it a family affair with no schedule and only a few things on our To Do List. It turned out to be the prefect overnight escape and I loved every second with my little family. 

We left town Saturday and hit the road around nap time so the babe would sleep most of the way. He's pretty solid in the car, as long as the iPad is charged, and hung in there like a champ. We drove straight to the Battery and hit the South Carolina Aquarium so that he could run himself silly. As a heads up - the Aquarium is only open until 4 each day (we assumed that it would be open much later), so if you're planning a trip, be sure to keep that in mind.
 
Charleston in 28 Hours

Charleston in 28 Hours  
Charleston in 28 Hours

 After the Aquarium, we stayed downtown and ventured to Taco Boy for an early diner. Gray loves chips and salsa and we love Taco Boy, so it was a win for all of us. The outdoor area is perfect for toddlers (and puppies!) and the staff was super sweet to make sure Gray's salsa was always full. Mexican Street Corn is one of my all time favorite indulgences and the Taco Boy version is one of the best.
Charleston in 28 Hours

Charleston in 28 Hours

The best skinny marg I've ever had...
 
Charleston in 28 Hours

Charleston in 28 Hours

Charleston in 28 Hours

 After dinner, we popped over to our hotel in West Ashley, but not before a stop at Total Wine, because traveling with a baby means an early lights out for everyone. Our preferred strategy for a hotel bedtime is to push the pack and play as close to the door as possible because it typically blocks his line of vision from seeing us. Once he's situated and his white noise is blaring, we drink wine in bed and watch tv on our phones. It's not glamorous, but I kind of love it.

On Sunday morning we drove to Folly Beach for a special project (more on that soon!) and got to see one of my all time favorite people, Cait! 

Charleston in 28 Hours

Cait is amazing with a camera so she grabbed some two year shots of Gray to celebrate his second trip around the sun. Unfortunately for all of us, it was 95 degrees by 9:30 am, but we made it work and I'm in love with the images. 

Here's a little peek:
 
Charleston in 28 Hours

I hate to be back to reality but I have a big week coming up - and an even bigger weekend - Houston, I'm coming for you!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


A Year With White Counter Tops

Without a doubt, the most common question I get asked via my blog email is "how have your white counter tops held up??" A Pinterest Pin to this post has lead people from all over the world to reach out about staining, scratching and the overall durability of our Mont Blanc granite counter tops, so I thought I would post an update on their current status.

We originally chose white granite for our kitchen (as opposed to marble or a softer stone) so that we could live life without worrying about our counter tops. I'm not necessarily a tidy chef and we love to entertain - so it was important to me that no one in our home was worried about sprinting to clean up a spill or uncomfortable over a red wine drip. We searched high and low for many months and finally found two types of white granite that we loved  - Shadow Storm and Mont Blanc. Because of the size of our island, we needed three slabs and, unfortunately, that ruled out Shadow Storm, making Mont Blanc the winner by default.

And I'm so glad that it did. 

Our counter tops are in perfect condition, after a year of use. We have no stains or signs of wear and tear (which cannot be said for the rest of the house) and are still really, really pleased with our choice. 

A Year With White Counter Tops

While we have no stains, we have noticed that oils will leave a noticeable demarcation - sort of like the wet ring from a glass on a wood coffee table - for a bit, if the oil isn't wiped up. The mark fades and becomes impossible to find so while we make a move to clean oil spills, we don't super stress over it. I've spilled red wine, blackberry smoothie, strawberries and balsamic on the counters - and some spills have accidentally gone unnoticed and dried over night - and have not had a single permanent stain.

We also haven't had any scratches or chipping, which is a common concern for softer stones like marble. Don't tell my husband, but I don't always use a cutting board and a counter tops never give me away.

A Year With White Counter Tops

I will say that while we were in our stone yard choosing the granite, we could only see certain sections of our slabs. We were a bit surprised when all three slabs were pulled out for cutting to see that there are blue and golden brown veins that run through some areas of the stone. We placed our cuts (for the sink, stove etc) to eliminate as much of those colors as possible just based upon our personal preference. Because granite is a natural element, some pieces of the same name may have more grey, less brown, no blue etc, so it's worth being on site for cutting day so that you can be in charge of the overall look of your counter tops. 

A Year With White Counter Tops

It's also worth noting that the name "Monte/Mont Blanc" is also used to describe a similar quartzite stone but we have the granite (it's a level 3, if you're a current granite shopper). The name can really throw some stone yards off so make sure to call around before you venture out to multiple stone yards. 

And finally, yes, we did choose Carrara Marble for our guest/hall bath vanity and I still love the look. Because our son is still small, the counter top doesn't currently take too much abuse and is thankfully still in great condition. I'm guessing I will have a different report when he's a little older and is in charge of the toothpaste on his own. 

I think I hit the questions I receive most often but it you have any that I didn't answer, feel free to leave them in the comments!