Letters To My Children | 19 Months + 33 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters To My Children | 19 Months + 33 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters To My Children | 19 Months + 33 Weeks (In My Belly)

thursday, november 30, 2017

dear babies,

tomorrow begins both the most wonderful time of the year and…the fastest.  the christmas season always brings so much joy to our home, but it also goes by in the blink of an eye, meaning this last full month of pregnancy is going to go by with the snap of my fingers and soon we will be a family of four.  before all of that, i thought i better write another letter to you to document what’s happening in our everyday.

to my oldest:

you are quite the jabber box, these days!  you are now saying 25 words and talking from the moment you wake until the moment we say prayers and lay you down to sleep.  you love, love, love talking to your daddy on the phone when he is at work.  and when he calls us to say he is on his way home, you just light up when the phone rings.  mama doesn’t get the chance to talk to daddy when he calls anymore, as you quickly grab the phone and walk around the house jabbering into the speaker.  it is a special time for you to tell him all about our day and it’s so sweet to watch.

we have been keeping so busy, these days!  you now do swim school with daddy instead of mommy, so mommy can rest on the sidelines with baby no. 2 and take pictures of you swimming.  you are the best splasher in the group and are getting so great at swimming.  you also love story time at the library and we found a really great group that we love going to.  you love doing puzzles during our library visit and picking out books to take home.  we currently have a lot of christmas books in our book bag to enjoy this month!

when it comes to food, you are getting so good at using your spoon and fork!  your current favorite food is cherry tomatoes and you love saying “yes!” when i bring them out of the fridge.  you also love bananas and exclaim “nana!” when you see them!  the last couple of weeks you have had a slight cold, so there has been some extra cuddling and coughing.  i got the cold right along with you, so i know how crummy it feels but you really keep your spirits up despite not feeling your best.

tomorrow marks our last full month as a family of three!  daddy and i have a lot of fun activities planned for our family to ensure that we spend some fun quality time together before the baby arrives and we know you will have so much fun.  lots of surprises coming for you!

in the weeks before you become a big sister, there are so many things that i want to tell you.  first, you are so incredibly loved by daddy and me. everything you do brings us joy and watching you grow has brought so much fun into our lives.  you gives us a wonderful dose of laughter and smiles every single day and we couldn’t be prouder of the kind and sweet little girl you are becoming.  everything about you in humbling and you show us that it is family, not things, that mean the most.

having a little brother or sister in the house is going to be a little different for all of us, but it is also going to be really fun.  you are soon going to meet your best friend.  that person who will laugh with you, play with you, grow up with you, and be your biggest fan.  sometimes you are going to have to share mommy and daddy with your new brother or sister, but know that they will also share us with you too.  no matter what, you will always be our first and the one who made us mommy and daddy and there is always something so special about that.

to my littlest:

you are a mover and a shaker!  and we are pretty sure that you move a lot more than your sister did, in my belly.  about three days ago, i am pretty sure you flipped head down, which is really exciting!  it’s hard for me to tell, but i am pretty certain i am feeling feet near my ribs and a tush near my belly button.  your big sister stayed head up, so this is all very new to mama to have a flipped baby and we will see if the doctor confirms it in a couple weeks!

at our last appointment, your heartbeat was strong and perfect!  after being really concerned about some pain around my belly button, the doctor quickly diagnosed mama with having an umbilical hernia.  it explains all the discomfort i have been experiencing.  most of the time, it feels completely fine and then there are the times when you push against it and it feels…not so great.  but everything should feel much better once you are born, so mama is thankful for that!

everything is prepped and ready to go for your arrival!  mama is putting the finishing touches on the hospital bag, important phone numbers are on the fridge and waiting to be called for “it’s time!”, and daddy is putting the baby carseats in both of our cars this weekend.  we are 3 weeks away from full term, or what daddy likes to call “any day now!”  your clothes are washed and ready, your room is more than perfect and you have three very excited people who are so excited to meet you!

as we enjoy these final weeks of pregnancy and being a family of three, we are so excited for the both of you.  having a sibling is such a precious thing and we know that you both will grow up having so much fun with one another.  we already see ourselves as a family of four and are already thinking of adventures to take next year.  we love you both so so much and, while we cherish today, we are so excited for tomorrow!

love, mama

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Breastfeeding Must Haves : 10 Items That You Need

i am definitely a minimalist when it comes to stuff.  i get overly anxious if i feel that my house is crammed full of baby gear or full of unnecessary things, so i don’t buy stuff just to buy it.  everything really has a purpose.  so when i say that you need these items to breastfeed your little one, i am truly recommending them and not giving you another reason to buy “stuff.”  having breastfed my first baby for an entire year, i definitely created my ideal breastfeeding set up that made those round the clock feeds bearable and the whole experience more enjoyable.  as i prepare to breastfeed my second baby when they arrive in just weeks, i wanted to share some breastfeeding must haves that i am definitely using again the second time around.

to read more about how i photographed my baby’s first year, be sure to check out my ebook The First Twelve!

Breastfeeding Must Haves : 10 Items That You Need

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog.

Breastfeeding Must Haves : 10 Items That You Need

1. Lace Nursing Bralette

so super comfortable and really pretty!  i love that this bralette is comfortable enough to sleep in (because in those early newborn days, you are up feeding in the night) and that is doesn’t look like a frumpy nursing bra…it’s so attractive!  having a good nursing bra is so important, as some days it feels like all you do is nurse around the clock.

2. Lactation Tea

to be honest, i didn’t know if this was going to work or not, but drinking lactation tea really helped me when i felt the need to boost my supply.  my favorite and most effective for me was mother’s milk.  i also made and ate lactation cookies, which really helped too plus they were really nutritious and helped me get some needed calories!

3. Really Good Bottles

i know it sounds weird to list bottles as a must have, but these bottles are a must have!  listen, there is nothing better than handing off your baby to your husband with a bottle of breastmilk so you can catch a little sleep.  not only does it allow your baby to drink breastmilk away from the boob every once in awhile, but it allows your husband or significant other a chance to bond with baby.  our favorite bottles are comotomo because the nipple is very realistic to an actual boob nipple, making it easier for baby to transition from breast to bottle and from bottle to breast.  these bottles should definitely be on your list of breastfeeding must haves.

4. E-Reader

an e-reader is completely necessary and a must…i will tell you why!  never would i have imagined getting reading done with a newborn, but i read so much in those early newborn days when i was nursing around the clock.  i found that nursing in bed was easiest for me in the middle of the night.  our baby slept in a bassinet next to our bed, so my husband would bring her to me to nurse whenever she woke.  when you are tired and groggy, it is so important to find ways to stay awake throughout those feeds, and an e-reader was perfect for me because it was just stimulating enough to keep me awake, but not overstimulating to the point where i wouldn’t be able to return to sleep after the feed.  plus, it allowed me to read one handed and quietly (no noisy page flipping) while keeping the lights off…which is a must!!!  i always kept the lights completely off during night feeds so my baby wouldn’t overly wake.

5. Baby Logbook

during the first few months, most pediatricians are all about stats.  how long is your baby nursing, in minutes?  are they nursing on both sides? how many wet and poopy diapers?  how long are they sleeping?  that’s a lot of information for a tired parent to remember.  we used this amazing baby logbook to record everything from feedings to diapers to sleep.  it comes with ready made 24 hour chart to record everything and it’s a must have!

6. Nursing Pillow

save your back, use a nursing pillow.  that is really all i have to say about that.  i used our nursing pillow day and night and it made breastfeeding so much more comfortable for both baby and i.  i originally had a different pillow that i hated and had my husband return to the store when our daughter was 4 days old, but loved this pillow the best!

7. Burp Cloths

oh, the stories i could tell you about projectile puke.  i once had to change my entire pajama outfit, pants and all, at 3am because of projectile puke.  having burp cloths on hand is a must and we love our burts bees baby burp cloths.  they are so soft and the perfect size to keep anywhere from your diaper bag to your nightstand to the diaper changing station to the couch.  trust me, you will want them handy everywhere.

8. A Bottle Warmer For Breastmilk

after a couple months, i began pumping milk like crazy.  my baby still breastfed straight from the boob, but i pumped in between nursing sessions to both keep my supply up and to create a stockpile of breastmilk in the freezer for times when i would be away from home, either working or taking a mom break.  this stockpile was my ticket to mom outings.  it allowed me to leave the house for a little longer between feedings, knowing my baby would still get breastmilk while i was away.  (and mom outings are completely necessary to recharge).

having a bottle warmer that can defrost frozen breastmilk or warm up refrigerated milk is a must!  be sure you read up on how to safely heat up breastmilk to keep it still nutritious for your baby!  there are definitely right and wrong ways to do it and you don’t want to damage your breastmilk that you worked so hard to pump and save.

9. A Breast Pump

this breast pump is hands down the best pump ever.  and it is a great price!  it is comfortable, quite and fast!  i had a crappy pump before buying this one that made pumping a nightmare but this spectra pump made pumping fun (dare i say!) and easy.  plus, i am not the only one obsessed with it…it gets amazing reviews.  it is super easy to assemble and disassemble for washing, which makes all the difference.  this is on the top of my list when it comes to breastfeeding must haves.

10. A Good Water Bottle

keeping yourself hydrated is so important when breastfeeding, so be sure to have a good water bottle handy.  if possible, add a straw to it to make drinking easier while nursing.

when it comes to breastfeeding must haves, i honestly believe that these 10 items helped me breastfeed and enjoy breastfeeding my daughter for her first twelve months.  and when it comes to baby number 2, i will be using all the same products to breastfeed him or her!

Use the links below to quickly shop your breastfeeding must haves!

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6 Christmas Traditions You Should Start With Your Children

when it comes to christmas, i am all about tradition.  when my husband and i got married, we started our own traditions together and, since starting our own family last year, we have added even more traditions that we hope our children cherish in the years to come.  growing up, my family was all about tradition.  in a way, tradition is simply repetition.  doing the same thing each year in celebration of christmas.  last year was our daughter’s first christmas and, besides shopping like crazy and making sure every present was perfectly wrapped, i also was very mindful of what traditions i wanted her to grow up remembering.  we started so many traditions with her last year and can’t wait to continue those traditions this year and every year after.  if you are trying to think of traditions for your family, here are 6 christmas traditions you should start with your children this year.

stocking stuffer ideas can be tricky, but i’ve got you covered.  here are some fun stocking stuffer ideas for toddler girls.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog.

6 Christmas Traditions You Should Start With Your Children

1. Elf On The Shelf

pretty much the cutest little tradition there is.  our elf is named oliver and he arrives each year on december 1st to watch over our little one throughout the day, returning to santa each night to report her good behavior.  every morning he comes back in a different place at our house, making it fun to search for him each morning.  the storybook that comes with the elf is adorable, and we also own the movie (i totally recommend it)…which is too cute!

2. New Christmas Pajamas

every year our little one gets a new pair of christmas pajamas on christmas eve.  our elf of the shelf, oliver brings them to her as a goodbye present since he travels back to the north pole on christmas eve and won’t return until the next year.  i personally love burts bees baby pajamas, so that is what i buy every year.  i love this tradition because it gives her something cozy and festive to sleep in on christmas eve, and then christmas pictures on christmas morning are that much better because she has a fresh pair of christmas pajamas on (and it’s a simple way to color coordinate the family for christmas morning without putting outfits on).  and you know, it’s all about the pictures.  of all the christmas traditions you should start with your children this year, this is a really good one.

last year our whole family wore christmas pajamas and took really fun pictures for her first christmas.  click here to see the photos and tips on how to photograph your own family in christmas pajamas.

3. A Christmas Book Each Night

starting on december 1st, we read one christmas story each night before bedtime.  i wrap all 24 of the christmas books up individually, so that she can unwrap a book each night to read from december 1st until christmas eve.  it’s a fun way to keep the excitement of presents and gifts alive, while the waiting for christmas morning can seem like an eternity to little ones.  ok, and to grownups too.  plus, i love collecting christmas books that we can use year after year to read, making it a fun tradition to reread our favorite classics.

4. Handprint Ornament

this isn’t something we do every single year, but we definitely did a personalized hand ornament with our daughter for her first christmas and plan to do it again with our next baby too (yes, i already have the ornament purchased and ready.)  this is so darn easy to do and it turns out really cute!  it is something that is not only a keepsake, but it is really fun for kids to see each year when decorating the christmas tree and noting how much they have grown!  you can do it with either a hand or foot, we just chose to do hand.

5. Christmas Coloring Book

my mother in law actually started this tradition for our daughter, giving her a coloring book to color in each year during the christmas season.  each year, she can color pages in the book and then we will document her age.  it is a fun pastime for kids to enjoy while waiting for christmas, and it is also a wonderful keepsake to have since they will color thorough the same book each year.

6. Build a Gingerbread House

being that our daughter was only 9 months on her first christmas, we didn’t start our gingerbread house tradition until this year.  there are so many fun gingerbread house kits (i purchased ours locally, but linked to a similar one) to choose from and it’s a wonderful family activity…and a yummy one, too.  you can purchase pre-built houses to decorate or assemble them yourself.  my husband insisted upon a kit that we build ourselves, he is confident like that.

when it comes to childhood, traditions are everything.  big or small, traditions are so special to children and will be remembered well into their adulthood and even passed down to their own children.  if you are thinking of where to start, these are 6 really great christmas traditions you should start with your children this year.

Shop For Your Traditions Below!

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddler Girls

when it comes to christmas, i am all in the day after halloween.  i mean, who needs thanksgiving anyways.  (i totally take that back, i love me some turkey and pie).  but i am not afraid to start humming christmas carols in early november and get a little too giddy than i would care to admit when i see the christmas decor arrive at the stores.  shopping for christmas has always been my favorite thing, from the shopping to the wrapping.  but when it comes to stocking stuffers, i am always thrown for a loop.  this year, i started looking early for stocking stuffers and found so many beautiful shops that create beautiful items for girls that are perfect for the stocking!  if you are in need of stocking stuffer ideas for toddler girls, i have got you covered!

when i think about my daughter’s stocking, i think of what my mama used to tell me about her own christmas as a child.  when she was little, christmas gifts were about fun, but they were also about practicality.  they got something that they wanted, but they also got something that they needed, like a winter coat or a hat.  for our daughters stocking, i wanted to fill it with fun things like a doll, bracelets, toy food and bows…but also with things that she needed like new shoes or a book about learning the alphabet.

as i worked towards creating my 18 month old daughter’s christmas stocking this year, i collaborated with a lot of beautiful companies to bring this stocking together and am grateful to the shops that sent items to be featured within this post.  at the end of this post, you will find a list of all the shops that sent things for her christmas stocking so definitely go check out their beautiful products!

want to take photos of your family in christmas pajamas this year?  be sure to read my 4 tips for taking family photos in christmas pjs.

this post contains some affiliate links, which means i get a commission for items purchased through the link.  thank you in advance for supporting my blog.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddler Girls

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddler Girls | Bethadilly Photography

Christmas Stocking Source List

the following  shops sent items for free to be featured within our christmas stocking.  a huge thank you to these shops!

fabric doll courtesy of Princess & A Pea

hair bow clips courtesy of Little Reese & Wren

baby bracelets courtesy of Baby Cates Shop

felt donuts courtesy of Farm Fresh Toys

camel mary janes courtesy of Nome Kids

board book purchased from Amazon

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddler Girls | Bethadilly Photography

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The Best Backpack For Toddlers

earlier this fall we started a little day school.  and by that, i mean a glorified playdate.  but, regardless, we call it “school” so that we can start familiarizing her with the word and begin building a positive association with it.  when looking for a little backpack for her, i wanted something classic and simple.  but being that she is only 18 months, i wanted something small enough for her to carry, yet big enough to be functional.  i wanted a place to pack a diaper or two, a sippy cup, a snack and a toy.  after much searching, i finally found the best backpack for toddlers and we are in love with it!

this post was written in collaboration with Swankaroo, who sent us this stunning mini pack that we love so much.  thank you, Swankaroo!

with a new baby on the way and the introduction of school, i wanted my little one to have a little backpack of her own to put things in.  and let’s be real, children love having their own personal place to store their toys and carry what they want to carry.  and to be really real, they always want to bring along a variety of items when leaving the house.  i love that we can use this backpack for school, as well as use it for a place where she can keep her little treasures.  with a sibling on the way, it is really important to me that she has her space that is just hers.  not to mention, it really frees up some space in our main diaper bag!

The Best Backpack for Toddlers

The Best Backpack for Toddlers | Bethadilly Photography

if you are looking for a classic and simple backpack for your toddler, you will definitely be happy with the mini pack by Swankaroo.  i am always on the search for classic items for my children.  items that aren’t obnoxious or splattered with characters.  this sweet style created by Swankaroo is seriously a breath of fresh air and i think it’s simplicity is one of it’s most beautiful features.

to read more posts about how i style my children and the adventures we take, check out what’s trending below!

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