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The Best


As I write this, it's almost 7pm on New Years Eve.

We just put the baby to bed, pulled frozen Target brand pizzas out of the oven and are spreading out on two different sofas to watch a day old Bowl Game on the DVR.

I think it's safe to say that 2014 changed our lives in every way possible. 

By now, ya'll know how I feel about you and the Impact (yes, big I intended) you have on my life. Thank you for making this year even more of an adventure. I took a second to look back over the past 12 months on the blog and I can't help but laugh at the posts that you read, shared and commented on most - ya'll love hearing about my rogue boobs, huh?! Hell, as long as you're willing to read about them, I'm willing to write about them (sorry, Dad!). 

I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for all of us, but just in case you're having a wild NYE like me and need a little entertainment, I've rounded up the most popular posts of 2014 for your viewing pleasure. 

Nursery Reveal
The Body
Mom Defense

Ode To My Pre Baby Boobs

The Bra Fitting
the bump, birth & move





Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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holiday decor featuring Birchlanding Home


So, if I'm being honest, this is really a strange Christmas season for me. 
My husband has taken a new position that will eventually move us back to South Carolina but for now leaves our life up in the air a bit/a ton. We knew we would spend Christmas with my family in Virginia but we didn't know that we would spend the month prior in separate states and sometimes separate countries or that our house would be on the market. Add to all of that crazy the fact that this is our babe's first Christmas and I was feeling both guilty for not doing enough to decorate our house for the holidays, sad that our lives were so crazy and nostalgic (is: whiny) to be "home" for the holidays.

Instead of wallowing, I decided to rally at the last minute. 

So what if our house is on the market and we're traveling? 
We can have holiday decor, damnit!  

I decided not to attempt a tree on my own - and that moving furniture around to accommodate a tree really wasn't the best thing for showing our home - so I needed something else. Something high impact that I would see all of the time so my efforts would be worth it....and something with twinkle lights because it is d.a.r.k. in Maine this time of year.


As it turns out, the mantle in our living room was screaming out for some holiday love and one I noticed just how seasonally boring our living room was I just couldn't resist attacking the mantle with holiday love.

I decided to go with a rustic chic theme that would be reflective of Maine but also of my personal style - and would hopefully force potential buyers fall in love with our home. 


Sarah from Birchlanding Home was sweet enough to send me her gorgeous hand etched birch snowflake garland - and once I saw it, I knew it had to be the jumping off point for my design.



  I decided that silver would be a perfect compliment to the rustic twine and pale wood and set to work collecting silver pieces from around our house to re-purpose as mantle decor. Some of the pieces were wedding gifts and some are incredibly inexpensive items from Home Goods (one even holds our tooth bushes when it isn't serving as a mantle piece!) 


 I added a pre-lit garland from Target and burlap from Hobby Lobby and voila! 

Holiday magic. 
(if I do say so myself)


 I photographed the mantle at night because I just love how warm and elegent it looks but I'll toss in some day time shots because I'm a good blogger like that!




 
Be sure to check out Birchlanding Home - their hand etched maple ornament was recently featured in Martha Stewart Magazine!

And if you see something that you love, use the code North10 to take 10% off of your order!

 

Check back tomorrow for the world's most unimpressed baby meeting Santa for the first time. 
Spoiler Alert: he was unimpressed. 
Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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Flying with an infant: tips and tricks



Ok mama, you survived your first flight with your babe!
 You carried a thousand bags like a pack mule, whipped out all of your "please don't cry" moves and masked the pee stains with your casual yet reasonably stylish dark top. I'm proud of you. Go ahead and pass that baby to grandma and grab yourself a glass of wine, bowl of ice cream and/or $5 coffee.

While you nurse your nerves, I'm going to pass along a few miscellaneous tips and tricks that I've learned along the way.

1. Be nice to everyone.
This should be common knowledge, but for some reason, people lose their manners when they travel. If you see another mama pushing a stroller and wearing a sleeping babe, give her a smile. You'll be surpised how much that will mean when someone does the same for you. People will inevitably wait for the baby to finally fall asleep to attempt to strike up a conversation with you - politely smile and then relocate to an area near your gate that is less populated.

When the people next to you claim their seat, smile and say hello and introduce them to the baby if he's awake. If the doors close and there is an extra empty seat (anywhere) on the plane, tell the person next to you (with a smile) that you won't be offended if they move away from your traveling circus.

2. Be extra, extra nice to the flight attendants.
The second I board our plane, I introduce G to the flight attendants and ask their names. I address them throughout the flight as Ms. So and So and always smile and say thank you (even if I have to mouth it) when they walk by. Flight attendants are amazing and will help you with just about anything - they have stored and retrieved my back pack for me, asked then entire plane to wait for me to get my bags and baby off of the plane (I was in the front row and needed my back pack from the over head bin behind me), given G extra empty cups to play with, given me and the baby my own row, brought me entire bottles of water for emergency bottles and allowed me to stand in the aisle, galley area and bathroom holding spot so that I could rock the baby for hours on end. 

I have been grateful for the help of a flight attendant after every single flight that I've flown with G. Keep that in mind when you board your flight.

3. It's ok to say no when someone asks if you need help.
People are genuinely kind. Many, many times people ask if they can help me break down my car seat and stroller when I'm trying to gate check it. Honestly, I would love the help but my stroller base is temperamental (to say the least) and explaining to someone how to do it is harder than wrestling it to the ground myself. I always smile and say thank you but explain that it's tricky and I've got it. I know they don't believe me because I look like such a hot mess, but I do. 

4. Use your backpack as extra storage for overweight carry on bags.
If you pack your carry on's appropriately, there should be some room in your back pack for emergency storage. Baby stuff may be little but somehow it weighs a ton. My checked bag often clocks in over 50 lbs. The first thing I'll pull out is my make up bag and can usually get the scale to drop a few pounds. Stash that bad boy in your back pack and you're good to go without much to-do. Before I learned that I needed to bring the back pack along, we donated a baby bath tub, brand new container of rice cereal and pack of wipes to the family bathroom next to the US Air counter at the Greenville airport. 

5. If you need to, get up and walk the baby around
Head to the back of the plane and bounce the baby around in the carrier. G likes to be swayed back and forth and bounced like he's going to get whip lash. Sometimes the change from sitting to standing is all the baby needs to get comfy and ready to hit the hay. Sometimes the action of standing and rocking makes you feel less trapped and more in control, letting you relax a teensy bit.

6. Use a plastic place mat from the dollar store as a play mat and then toss it
This is a tip from a reader and I love it. To save space and to avoid having to carry around a dirty blanket that you cannot use again, grab a plastic table cloth from the Dollar Store to use as a mat for your layover play session.  If it's new, it should be flat packed and take up significantly less space in your carry on. 

7. For the love of all things, do not try to carry on a lap top.
The last thing you need is to unload that thing in security. Just check it. 

8. Relax your body
OK, let's be honest. These posts are all about being as prepared as possible so that you can diffuse situations as they arise. But they will arise. The baby will fuss, cry or "talk" at the top of his lungs. And without a doubt, you will feel the panic rise in your body at the thought of your baby terrorizing an entire plane with his Pterodactyl yells.  Try, if you can, to take deep breaths and relax your body. You are either wearing or holding your baby in a very tight space and he can feel your anxiety (and so can your seat mates). Try to relax and remember that if he cries, you will be ok, you will both survive, even if just barely. You are prepared with mixed bottles (or a boob!), chewy toys, pain meds and clean diapers. You are ready, you can do this.

Of course, the one thing we can't prepare for is how the baby will do on the journey. G has thrown a fit of epic proportions at the very beginning of a 3 hour flight that involved screaming, an arched back and purple face. Many people (actually, now that I think about it, many men) turned around to stare at us. But we got through it and he fell asleep. I think the entire session lasted 3 minutes, but to me, it was an eternity. If you have to, get up and go to the bathroom. Take the baby to stare at himself in the mirror or take a minute to cry it out (both of you). No matter how bad it gets, try to remember that the plane will land and you will get off of it. 

To the gloriously child/stress free travelers reading this: if you're on a flight and you hear a baby crying, try to remember that there is a mama who is more panicked, worried and stressed than you are irritated to hear that cry. I can assure you that she is doing every single thing in her power to calm her baby and address his needs, not just for you but for him.

I hope that this series helped you feel like you can tackle flying solo with an infant. I know it sounds daunting, but the more prepared you are before you board your flight, the better off you'll be. Don't stress mama, just strap on your back pack, break down that stroller and head to Grandma's! 

Other Posts in the Flying With An Infant Series:




Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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Flying With an Infant: Check In to Touchdown



So you're packed and ready, armed with a thousand emergency diapers and ready to hit the skies. Now what? 

My first piece of advice: leave plenty of time. Your hands will be very full, you'll have more crap strapped to you than you could ever imagine and your baby will choose the time you manage to wrangle all of your suitcases through the front doors of the airport to have a blow out. 
That has happened to me. Twice. 

And speaking of all of those suitcases - for the love of all things, check a bag. Even if you only fly occasionally, you should sign up with your airline's frequent flier program. Many times you can earn a free checked bag or a discounted checked bag which will be so incredibly worth it. 

As a heads up: I have never once been able to check in online or via the kiosk at the airport when flying with the baby. I have been told many, many times by sassy check in desk employees that the lap child should not affect my ability to check in without assistance but have proven them wrong every single time. This may be something special to (lucky) me but you may want to consider that you'll be hitting the kiosk and then waiting for an employee to check you in, so leave ample time for this process. 

Ok, let's tackle this travel day, step by step.

As soon as I get out of the car, I strap the baby into the Bjorn.
If he's asleep, I face him in, but now that he's a bit older I face him out. All of the people watching keeps him entertained while I handle the bags etc.

If I have my car seat and stroller, I only pack one suitcase (that I check). If you have more than one checked bag, you can hook the suitcase handle over the stroller handle and roll the entire hot mess caravan to the check in area. I typically push the stroller with my right hand and drag my suitcase with my left. I'll pause to let ya'll get a great visual of all that.

Keeping in mind that I've never been able to check in via kiosk with the baby, I make sure to check in through the Preferred Lane (a frequent flyer bonus) or at a kiosk that has a human being manning the computer behind it. If you've left enough time there should be very few travelers in line and an employee should be able to help you immediately. I even ask for help lifting my bags onto the scales because the baby strapped to my chest makes lifting awkward. I won't lie, the minute those bags are checked, life gets a billion times easier. 

Before I leave the check in desk I make sure that the lap child boarding pass was printed and attached to my boarding passes by flight. 

Now we've got to get our minds right to get through security.

This is where wearing the baby is crucial.
Based on the number of carry on bags I have and my shoe/outerwear choices, I know that I need two bins. I drop my backpack onto the belt first and then toss my diaper bag into a bin. Next, my shoes, vest, sunglasses and loose ID and boarding passes go into the second bin.
And now for the fun part:
My infant car seat will only fit through the xray machine if I push back the sun shade, push back the handle and then turn the car seat upside down. It took me a few tries to figure that out but once I did, things go easier. Next I break down my stroller base as far as it will go and jam it onto the belt.

Once all of my crap is pushed into the X Ray, I make a move for the metal detector. 
You can wear your infant through security - you will not go through the body scanner, you'll go through the old school metal detector and then will need to step aside so that your hands can be wiped down with a piece of paper that will detect if you've spent any time building bombs in the recent past. 
As a heads up: the paper can of course trigger a false positive for explosives or questionable residue and if that happens, you'll be asked to take the baby out of the carrier, send the carrier through the X Ray and walk through the metal detector holding the baby.

If you formula feed, the powder will not cause any problems through security. 
If you have pumped milk, each container of breast milk may be opened and tested to ensure that it isn't an explosive. Any liquid formula (even sealed) will be subject to the same procedure. I know many moms who have had different experiences with pumped milk and liquid formula, varying from airport to airport, but the bottom line is that you are allowed to carry more than 3oz of breast milk or liquid formula, but you most likely will be asked to prove that it isn't a danger to other travelers.

At the end of security, I first put my shoes and outerwear back on, the strap on my backpack and cross body and then tackle unfolding my stroller base and attaching my infant car seat.

The first stop after secutiry is a non-negotiable:

a water fountain.

Fill two of your bottles and your Mixie.

If you need to feed in the very near future, fill 3 bottles and the Mixie.

The goal is to use one bottle for an in flight feed while having a second bottle for take off and landing to prevent ear pressure. The Mixie is for that moment when the baby has burned through both bottles and you're desperate. I've had to pull the Mixie out a few times when G was extra fussy. Keep in mind that you'll have two other bottles with pre-measured formula in your back pack and if for some reason you need those on your first flight, you can (nicely) ask the flight attendant for water.

Once your bottles are mixed, take a minute to take a deep breath, get yourself put back together and grab a Starbucks. If you're rocking the stroller, toss the diaper bag and back pack into the seat and give your back a break. I always keep G in his Bjorn because he doesn't do well with the transitions back and forth. If your babe is more chill than mine, then drop him in the car seat and head to your gate. 

Ok let's talk boarding the plane.

All of your gate checked items will need a tag of some sort. For US Air, they are yellow. Make sure that all of the pieces of your gear get a tag -the stroller base, infant seat etc. 

I actually choose to board the plane as early as possible because I like to break down all of my gear without an audience (keep in mind that I'm flying with an infant, not a toddler. I know toddler moms are going nuts reading this right now because they wait until the very end to board!). For me, the worst part of the entire day is breaking down my car seat and stroller on the gangway. My stroller base is a B and is never easy to man handle. Add all of my carry ons and the baby and I know I look like the traveling circus from mama hell. 

Once your ditch your gear, make sure to stop and say hello to the flight attendants. Let the baby smile at them or show them your sleeping babe's face. Flight attendants can be your life raft on a flight - be nice to them.

Before I head to my seat, I confirm with the flight attendant that my seat is equipped with an extra oxygen mask for a lap child. On small planes, only one side of the plane is equipped with double masks and you may be forced to ask people to switch seats with you. It's awkward, so I prefer to get on the plane early and check my seat assignment with the flight attendant before the entire plane is full. On larger/newer jets, all of the rows are equipped with double masks so it's not a concern. 

I toss my back pack into the overhead, pull a bottle out of my diaper bag and drop it into my seat and then bend down and jam my diaper bag under the seat in front of me. I typically sit in the window because I feel like it gives me a space to let the baby flail around without being in the aisle or bothering the person next to us. 

If the baby is sleepy or fussy, I pop a bottle into his mouth right away and rock him, hoping he'll fall asleep without an ordeal. If he's super awake and happy, I sit him up on my lap and face him out toward the aisle so he can watch everyone board.

G ususally gets fussy or antsy about the time we start with the safety annoucements so I make sure he's facing me in the Bjorn and give him a bottle. The timing helps prevent his ears from hurting and hopefully has him full and asleep by the time we're at our cruising altitude.

Once we're in the air, I hope for a nap but play it based on his moods. Long gone are the days of reading a magazine on a flight. I never know what will happen but I try to be prepared for everything. I once spent two solid hours standing in the aisle, rocking him back and forth to keep him asleep.

Once you hear that glorious announcement that you are beginning your decent, make sure that you have a bottle at the ready to prevent ear pain - even if the babe is asleep. The pressure can wake them up from a hard sleep and you'll want to be ready with a bottle or paci. 

Once the plane lands just wait.

Wait until almost everyone else is off the plane before you bother trying to get all of your stuff together. The reason for the hold is two fold: 1. your car seat and stroller will take a bit of time to be retrieved from under the plane and 2. it will take longer than you think to get all of your stuff back together and situated. If the baby is awake, he'll be entertained by the other passengers going by and you'll avoid standing on the freezing ramp for 15 minutes while they find your stroller base. 

Congratulations! 

If you are lucky enough to be on a direct flight, then the most stressful part (the fear of terrorizing a plane full of strangers) is over! 

If you have a layover and another flight, then no worries, let's tackle how to handle that!

Grab your gear and head straight for a bathroom.
Change the baby and, if you have a lay over longer than an hour, plop the babe into your stroller if you have it. 
Once we've freshened up, I head directly our next terminal. 
If I'm hungry and have time I'll grab something to eat and toss it into my diaper bag.

Once we get to our next gate, I find a reasonably empty space nearby and spread a blanket out on the ground. I lay the baby on the floor, pull out some toys and sit down on the floor with him. I know this will gross some of you out (we are sitting on a blanket so it's not that bad) but honestly, this is a mandatory event in our travel day. He needs time to play and stretch his legs. It makes him feel better, he burns some energy and we both get a bit of a break from being strapped together. At this point, my back needs a break too. I'll sit next to him and talk to him, eat or read him a book.



As we get closer to our next flight, I may change him again if I think he needs it and then I'll rotate the bottles that we used on our first flight to the back pack and dig out the last two pre-mixed bottles. I fill those bad boys up with water from a water fountain and stash them in my diaper bag for the next flight. 

He goes back into the Bjorn and we do it all over again! 

Every single time our last flight lands, I let out a deep sigh and say in G's ear, "we did it!" 

we wait a bit, grab our gear and make a break for the baggage claim...

and then I drink wine.

Lots and lots of wine. 

See, ya'll can do this! 

Check back tomorrow for my tips and tricks on surviving the travel day!

Other Posts in the Flying With an Infant Series:


Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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Flying With An Infant: Packing Your Carry On



With the holidays rapidly approaching, I know many of you will tackle flying with your babes for the very first time. It can be overwhelming, daunting and confusing to even get the process started so I thought I would write a series of posts detailing how I fly with an infant and somewhat maintain my sanity. Gray is 5 months old flew his 15th and 16th legs last weekend. I began flying with him when he was 10 weeks old and haven't looked back since. Of course, keep in mind that you should do what is right for your baby and follow your doctor's advice on immunizations, flying and travel but we were cleared to fly after our 8 week shots and well child check up. For reference, G has never once had to go in for a sick visit and hasn't caught any sort of rogue disease from flying (although my mom was positive he was going to catch Ebola on our flight from Maine to Virginia a few months ago). 

Today's post will be about packing the carry on bags so that you have everything you need right at your finger tips but don't waste precious carry on space on something stupid (a giant bottled water to fill bottles? yeah, use the water fountain and save yourself the back ache). Tomorrow I'll walk you through a typical solo airport travel day step by step and Wednesday I'll share my best tips and tricks (tip 1: be nice to the flight attendants!). Keep in mind that I'm writing from the perspective of an infant mom flying alone but will note what I do differently if my husband is flying with us. 

As a side note, the most popular question or comment that I get on Insta these days usually goes a little something like this:

"gawd, how do you do it?! I could never fly with my baby alone!"

Oh yes you can! 

It may not always be fun but you can do it and you can survive it. I can't imagine my life without travel and I want Gray to see the world. With that being said, he has flown most of his flights to see family, visit ailing great grandparents or accompany his daddy on a business trip to our new hometown. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to travel with your infant and I hope that this will provide you with a step by step game plan so that you feel confident to pack up and head out!  

Ready? 

Step 1: getting your crap together 
(and Lord, do babies need a ton of crap)


When I fly alone (which is typically how I fly), I always wear the baby in our Baby Bjorn. I put him into the Bjorn in the parking lot or when we're dropped off so that I have my hands free to handle suitcases/bags/gear/. Now that he's older, he faces out while we get through checking our bags, security and to our gate. He loves to people watch and it honestly helps for other passengers to see his cute double dimples before we all board the same plane. It holds them off from hating you or looking upon you with the "oh God, please don't let that baby be on my plane" disgusted look. Right before we board, I face him in so that I can bottle feed him and he can nap. If he gets fussy on the flight, I take him out and let him sit up and look around but my ultimate goal is that he naps the entire time we're in the air. 

I also prefer not to deal with our car seat or stroller when I'm alone. Depending on where we're headed, that may or may not work out. If I do have the stroller and car seat, I still wear the baby from the moment that we get out of the car because the stroller and car seat must be broken down to go through security. If I do have my stroller and car seat, the only time I'll take the baby out of the Bjorn and use the stroller is if we have a layover longer than an hour or so. Check back tomorrow for my step by step post on how I handle our travel day for more detailed info handling all of the gear.

Ok, let's break down the carry on bags:

1 diaper bag with a cross body strap
and
1 backpack
 (go ahead and check your style ego at the door, flying with an infant is about survival, not glamor. single tear.) 

Strategy:

Keep in mind that your diaper bag will go under your seat and the backpack will go in the overhead. I use the back pack for extra storage and to rotate used items out of my diaper bag during the day. 

Packing the diaper bag:


I highly, highly recommend purchasing a diaper bag with a cross body option. 
My Kate Spade bag has many features that I like but I cannot stand the straps. They never stay on my shoulders and when my hands are full that bag is my nemesis. Luckily, Cait gave me a great idea and I haven't looked back since. Again, I know adding a cross body strap to a designer bag isn't glam (the 24 year old single and childless me would die at the thought) but you can remove it after your travel day if it bothers you. I leave mine attached all of the time now. Side Note: if I knew then what I know now, I would have never purchased my diaper bag. I would own this girl instead. 

Let's talk formula:
We formula feed and, of course, my kid is on a diva formula for delicate tummies that can only be purchased online. For this reason, I over pack formula in my carry on bags. My husband and I have been grounded for 24 hours in Philadelphia and had to take a taxi to Jersey to find a hotel room at 2 in the morning (and leave our checked luggage somewhere on the tarmacs of Philly). Thank goodness I was only one million weeks pregnant and the baby wasn't born yet because that would have been a disaster of epic proportions. I do always think of that trip when I think I may be over packing formula and then toss more in. 

The strategy that works best for bottles involves pre measuring formula into 4 bottles, complete with nipples. I place all 4 bottles in a gallon size ziploc bag and toss it into my diaper bag. I highly recommend this brand of bottles (also recommended by Moms On Call) because they are cheap and available at every grocery store, drug store and some fancy gas stations. If you end up dropping one in an airplane toilet you won't have a second of guilt tossing it into the trash. 

and here is my secret bottle weapon: pre-meaure a Mixie and stash it into the outside pocket of your diaper bag.

Once the bottles are handled, I pour two cans of formula into a gallon size ziploc bag, stash it into another ziploc bag to prevent a formula explosion, include a scoop and toss it into my back pack. I know that seems like a ton of formula but you cannot buy formula of any kind in any airport that I've ever seen. If you run out, your ass is screwed. 

If you formula feed and use Enfamil, these little guys are amazing. 
And I am jealous that you can use them. 

Ok, now that the formula is handled, let's talk diapering.

I stash a handful of overnight diapers (overnight = able to absorb massive amounts of liquid) into an interior pocket of my diaper bag. I would guess I usually have 6 diapers in my diaper bag. I do everything I can to avoid getting out of my airplane seat once we're buckled in, so diaper changes happen on layovers and just before we board a flight. If you have a blow out prone baby (ugh, poor mama) the stash more over night diapers into your backpack and pray that the travel gods are on your side.

 I always pack a full pack of wipes in the interior pocket of my diaper bag as well.

My diaper bag comes with a changing pad but if yours does not, you'll need one. Airport changing areas are rogue. The nicest one I've ever seen in is Philly in the F terminal near gate 24. 
Otherwise, they make me want to gag. 

Since we're talking about pee, let's talk changes of clothes.
Go ahead and toss an extra shirt for you and onesie for baby in your back pack. I typically don't use space in my diaper bag for those items but have been sorry more than once that I didn't pack a back up for myself, so don't skip that step. 

And now for the miscellaneous items that must be stashed in the diaper bag:

my iPad
(my infant can be soothed with Little Einstein's videos - and not one comment on the screen time because I am doing the entire plane a favor by propping my kid in front of those know it all genius cartoon babies) 
drool bibs
toys/chewy things to entertain the baby
paci wipes 

Outside pockets: 
I make sure that the items I might need in an "emergency" are in the outside pockets of my diaper bag. These items include:

my passport
the baby's passport 
(I always fly with passports so that I don't have to dig out my wallet/ID over and over again. Babies who fly as lap children technically do not need any form of ID but they are issued a lap child ticket so I provide his passport anyway. Sometimes it cuts down on confusion in the security line.) 
our boarding passes
a ziploc baggie with gas drops, gripe water, infant's advil, infant's tylenol, teething tabs, infant's tylenol, baby benadryl (not for drug induced sleeping because some children can actually react to Bendaryl with hyperactivity. The Benadryl would be for a true allergic reaction. Just to clarify.) and all of the various droppers, stoppers and syringes for dosing each med. It may sound like a ton of stuff but the infant meds come in teensy bottles so you can cram it all into one sandwich sized ziploc and then into your outside pocket. 
Lip stick, Chapstick, bobby pins and a headband. 
cell phone charger
2 pacifiers 
hand sani
and most importantly, an emergency Mixie locked and loaded. 

Misc items that are stashed in my backpack:
my camera
extra wipes
an extra blanket
a few other chewy toys and pack's that I can bring out and use as "new" toys when G gets sick of the ones he's already slobbered all over 
suggestion from a reader that is brilliant: a plastic table cloth from the Dollar Store than can serve as a play mat and then tossed so airport floor germs don't end up giving the entire family SARS. 
any snacks or drinks for me  

Dressing the part:


I always wear the same outfit on travel days -
these black leggings
this black tank
this dark grey sweat shirt
these shoes
this vest

I pack this top in my back pack as a back up. 

this outfit can be puked on or peed on and mostly take it like a champ. 
You MUST wear slip on flats or flip flops. If you think you'll get through security with all of the baby gear, a kid strapped to your chest and boots to take off then you've lost your mama mind. 

I also always wear my hair up.
With the baby teething and in his Bjorn, my hair is just asking to be slobbered on and barfed in. This headband keeps my hair out of my face but also keeps me from looking like a complete hobo.

I keep jewelry minimal and wear stud earrings and maybe my Chewbeads

I find a vest to be the best type of outerwear because (God willing) the baby will fall asleep in the Bjorn the second you hit your seat and you will not want to do a single thing to jeopardize that. You can hang in a vest for a while before you die of heat. I also always keep my phone in my vest pocket so that I have it at my fingertips. 

Ok, are ya'll overwhelmed yet?
Tomorrow I'll explain what I do with most of this stuff or how I manage it on my own with the baby as well as how we get through an airport travel day, step by step.

On Wednesday, I'll share my best tips that I've learned thanks to trial and error (such as packing a back up shirt because you will definitely get peed on). 

Being a mom is so glam. 

The Flying With An Infant Series: 



Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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Small Shop Love



Is anyone else obsessed with finding incredibly talented people and then bragging about your find to all of your friends? 

No?

 Just me? 

Well, get on board, because that's what I'm doing today!

I love shopping small and working with talented women who are dedicated to making their dreams of owning their own businesses or shops a reality. Dramatic? Yep. I can't help it, the holiday season makes me weepy.

And with that awkward preamble out of the way, let's get down to business. 

Ink and Bobbin


Ok, I'm obsessed. 

I stumbled upon Ink and Bobbin's Insta feed and immediately ordered a custom print of my friend Meg's daughter. The process to order is extremely easy - just choose the listing for a single child, family or house and go from there. I sent Heather the picture that I wanted painted and literally that was it! Heather was so quick to respond, sent me a sketch of the piece before she painted it and let me know when she was planning to ship. I wish someone would have recorded my reaction when I opened the painting. Ya'll, Heather took such care with painting my favorite girl... she even made her tiny sandals metallic. It took everything I had not to immediately FaceTime Meg and show her!

 Instead of blabbing my surprise, I told all of my friends they needed to place a custom order and insisted that Heather let me brag about her here and on Instagram. 


I have seen the work she did for one of my best friends and I am thrilled that her piece is just as gorgeous as the one that I commissioned. And y'all will die when you see her prices. 


Ink and Bobbin was sweet enough to offer my readers a coupon code, Newlyweds, for 15% off of your order. 


Birch Landing Home


As I'm writing this post, I'm realizing that I found most of these shops through Instagram and Birch Landing Home is no exception. I love that each piece is hand cut and etched using woods from the North East - including white birch from my current neck of the woods in Maine. Thanks to our house being on the market and tons of travel, I am only decorating our mantle this Christmas, so I wanted it to be super special....enter the birch etched garland. It is so rustic and sophisticated - birch medallions with etched snowflakes in varying patterns tied together with rough twine - it's really amazing. And the craftsmanship? Girl's got skills. Skills enough to land in Martha Stewart Living! 


Sarah was sweet enough to send her etched birch ornament along with my garland and the buffalo check ribbon reminds me of a certain accessories line! 


Poppy Style


I found Poppy Style through Instagram and then learned through commenting on each others's photos that she lives in Charlotte (where I used to live as a young, single, twenty something version of myself), her pieces can be found in the boutiques that I dream of when shopping at LL Bean in Maine and went to my alma matter! She makes such amazing statement pieces and I honestly love every single one. Her tassel strands are perfect for day to day and her agate pendants pair perfectly with my fave faux fur vest and jeggings. I'm thinking that a Poppy Style necklace might just be a perfect stocking stuffer for your sister, mama or bestie. Oooooor for yourself. Just sayin'. 


P.S. I need that necklace. 

Thanks so much to Maddy for offering 20% off your order when you use the code NN20! 


Custom Portraits by E




 I am crazy jealous of this girl's talent. Ellie is a preemie boy mama, wife and the creative skill behind Custom Portraits with E. I spotted a photo that she did of our friend Maria's new home as a wedding gift and fell in love. I actually can't think of a better wedding gift for a couple buying or living in their first home together. Ellie carries a line of prints in her shop of Universities from our home state, Virginia. 


Being the smart cooking that she is, Ellie offers gift certificates for custom home portraits, which means you can grab one as a Christmas gift and not have to worry that you missed the holiday deadline (thanks to a certain blogger who wasn't on the ball)! 


At the very least, I highly recommend following all of these shops on Instagram. I'm amazed at who I've "met", connected with and worked with through following other's profiles.

xo


Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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She works hard for it, honey.



Sorry for the radio silence around here! 
G and I are in Houston working our fingers to the bone cutting glitter bows.

Ha, just kidding. I can't cut in a straight line and he spends too much time attempting to eat the finished product so we've been relegated to package stuffer and play mat layer extraordinaire, respectively. 

We'll be in Texas through next week and Meg and I are crazy busy working on so many fun things for our little business

I'm going to take a quick blog break but obviously I'll be on Instagram non-stop. 

If you aren't following yet (@newlywedsnorth) then you best get on it because it's a crap storm of crazy on my account these days. I mean, how many posts about a baby sleep strike can one girl do? I think I might be setting the record. Try not to be jealous

Have a fabulous week, friends. 

xo
Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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Traveling Circus


We're on the road again so I just wanted to drop by and wish you and your families a fabulous Thanksgiving! 


With love,

Stephanie, Justin and Baby Gray 
Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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Can't Live Without It


Oh holy hannah, we made it to Friday.
It was quite a week around here....lots of low level whining and fussing.
G had a grumpy week, too.

Believe it or not, we are hitting the skies again this weekend!
Justin is traveling south for work and G and I are tagging along. We'll be hotel living for a few days then heading to Atlanta for Thanksgiving with Justin's family. (If you're thinking of breaking into our house and stealing all of our wine, please be kind and take the expensive ones so we can claim it on our homeowners. The cheap shit isn't worth the effort.)

And after all of that, G and I are headed to Meg's house for 9 whole days!
Yes, I am that friend who shows up at your house with her infant (who sometimes doesn't sleep through the night) and then crashes for 9 whole days.

I can't wait to snuggle in our coordinating "thanks for letting us come visit for a millennium" pajamas that Gray sent to Meg and Liv!


| ours | his | hers |

My parents are appalled that I would ever be someone's house guest for so long but I literally cannot wait to see Meg, Liv, Ryan and some Texas sun! We have tons of work to do and even more playing to do with the babes so it will be a hell of a trip.

Anyways, my point was that over the next almost 4 weeks, I won't be home in Maine! Prepare yourselves for lots of travel posts, living with a baby in a hotel posts, decorating your home for the holidays while it's on the market posts and a few fun things I have lined up in the give away department. 

And now for today's Can't Live Without It:


I posted my Christmas Wish List this week and two of the most popular items were the C. Wonder Agate Coasters and gorgeous Alpaca Blend Throw....and guess what?



They are currently both 30% off and if purchased together, qualify for free shipping!
That makes the total for both gorgeous pieces just $116! 
(for reference, the coasters are normally $98 on their own)

I think these would be the perfect gift for your best friend (who prob has everything) or your mom (who you obviously inherited your good taste from).

I know Black Friday is coming up but I don't love Black Friday/Cyber Monday....it overwhelms me and stresses me out....and honestly, Thanksgiving weekend is meant for family, not waiting in line at 2am (in my humble opinion) so I'm going to be an early bird and jump on the sales ASAP. I just had to share the C. Wonder sale with ya'll and if you order either piece let me know if you love it!

Have a fabulous weekend ya'll and I'll see you Monday from Greenville, South Carolina

xo
Stephanie | Olive and Tate |
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