V's 1st Christmas & Alphabet Gifts

We celebrated our 1st Christmas as a family of 3 and my heart was so full  it was hard to go back to reality afterward. We watched as Olivia ripped tissue and wrapping paper, played with her new toys and smiled with excitement. Even though she is only 7-months old, I’m pretty sure her little heart and soul knew it was Christmas. 
Fortunately for me, even though Christmas is over, reality lately has been pretty great. I don’t know what could be better than spending every day with Olivia, watching her grow and change, laugh and play, move and explore. She always gives me something to be thankful for and reminds me that at the end of every day, at the close of every holiday, every celebration, there is a new day ahead and so much to look forward to in the future. I am looking forward to the New Year for so many reasons…my Golden Birthday in January, Olivia’s 1st Valentine’s day, Spring, Easter & Mother’s Day, Olivia’s 1st Birthday, and more! 
But for now, back to Christmas …
Dustin and I did a “themed” gift exchange this year centered around the letter “A.” Year by year, we plan to go through the whole alphabet and naturally, the first year of this new tradition had to start at the beginning. 
Here is how it works:
 Every year, we choose a letter. We are going in order of the alphabet but you could easily jump around. You could also go with a whole word (such as “CHRISTMAS”) and use the letters in order of your chosen word. The rule was that at least ONE gift we gave to one another had to begin with the letter A, but more than one was encouraged (can you guess who came up with this?). The more “A’s,” the better. It definitely involved getting creative and it was A LOT of fun!
The results?
| Dustin’s “A” gifts to me |
New Yoga pants and Power Y Tanks, headbands and a jacket from Lululemon -ATHLETIC APPAREL 
New Hairspray from AVEDA
5-Year Q&A Book for me to start in 2014
AROMATIC Diffuser in one of my favorite scents 
| My “A” gifts to Dustin | 
Customized ADDRESS Stamp from ForYoo 
An “AUTOMATIC ARM ACCESSORY” - A Fossil watch he’s had his eye on since October that does not have a battery but which runs automatically with the movement of his arm 
ADORNAMENTS - An Ornament Collection with the Royal Names of God in the shape of silver crowns (more on this soon! And YES they were actually called ADORNAMENTS!)
Apple Audio & Application Allowance - an iTunes giftcard
We shared some other special gifts that weren’t related to our theme, but the themed gifts were the most fun for me to give to Dustin. I am excited to start thinking of “B” ideas for next Christmas! I have a feeling I will be collecting my favorites all year long! 
Do you do a gift theme every year? What were your favorite gifts to give to your loved ones this Christmas?
 Here are just a few of our favorite photos from Olivia’s 1st Christmas:
Getting in the Holiday Spirit
Christmas Week
Dressed Up For Her 1st Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve after the Candlelight Service
  Christmas Morning
Olivia Opening Her First Presents
Olivia and her Snowman from Grandma & Grandpa, just like I had when I was her age!
"You mean, I have to wait 365 days until next Christmas?"
Happy New Year’s Eve!
| More posts to come soon including the theme of Olivia’s Christmas gifts, a New Year’s Resolution Challenge, What Olivia has been eating lately, “a few of my favorite things” post and more! |


family photos.

    I am only 23 and God has blessed me beyond all my wildest dreams. Olivia is now 6 and a half months old and I still can’t believe this is our little family. I dreamed of being a mom and having a little girl since I could walk & talk. I am married to my very best friend and we have a happy & healthy baby who is so full of life and laughter. Does it get any better than this?!
    Thank you to [Sophisticated Grace Photography] for capturing these moments. 
    October 2013. Via @ 5 months old.



    Today was Olivia’s 6-Month Wellness Check. She is 195 days old.
     Weight: 18 lbs. 6 oz | 85th Percentile
    Height: 26.5 inches | 69th Percentile 
    Via Bea is a happy, happy baby with a focused attention span, so much curiosity & the most adorable little thighs. She loves to roll over (and over and over), hug every blanket/stuffed animal/anything within sight, try new healthy foods, giggle and dance with us. She spends time holding her hand in front of her face and inspecting it, reaching for & playing with her feet and of course waving her rattles and toys wildly. If you snap your fingers, sing to her or blow kisses, she’s sure to give you a smile. She is strong & healthy, tender & mild and we are ever so blessed to call her Ours.


    6 Months | 50 Favorites

     Olivia reached the 6-month mark two weeks ago & I’ve been thinking about how many different baby-related products I use on a regular basis. Before Olivia was born, we of course stocked up on the essentials, but I wanted to compile a list of the things I use every single day and say to myself, “this was such a GREAT purchase.” Below are all the items I would hands down buy again.
     I also included an “Other Fun Finds” category, which contains some non-essential items but ones I am so glad I purchased for Olivia and me. 
    >> Tommee Tippee Milk Bibs
    >> Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottles
    >> Boon “Grass” Drying Rack // So stylish & perfect for bottles & pump supplies
    >> Burp cloths from The Posh Pea Boutique // Wash after wash & still like new, so durable, a perfect size & the most adorable fabrics ever
    >> Boon SWAP spoons // I love the length & size and how easy these are to use 
    >> Two Wubbanubs // One for the bassinet/nursery & one for the diaper bag
    >> Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump
    >> Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths for after feedings 
    >> California Baby Calendula Cream // Favorite baby skin product ere
    >> Fisher Price Rinsin’ Fun Tub // We use this every day!
    >> Keekaroo Height Right High Chair // Ahh-mazing
    >> Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs (dual purpose & great clothes coverage for messy meals- LOVE these)
    >> Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays / Tovolo King Cube Ice Tray // Used for freezing homemade baby food in perfect 1 and 2 oz. portions -- fun, bright colors and silicone makes it super easy to pop out the blocks off food
    >> Gap Baby Leggings // Any style/size/color…they simply rock and have become a staple of Olivia’s wardrobe…buy them on clearance when they’re $3-$4 and utilize them year round!
    >> Babyganics Hiney Helper // Wins the award for the lightest and coolest textured diaper cream ever, great for day to day use
    >> Baby Aquaphor // We’ve found this is the best of the best protection for her little bum!

    >> Carter’s Easy Fit Jersey Bassinet Sheets (inexpensive + worth stocking up on a few to cut down on laundry loads)
    >> Carter’s “Stay Dry” mattress pads                                                                   
              *Layer mattress pad/crib sheet, mattress pad/crib sheet, etc. on your crib mattress; that way if there is a middle-of-the-night accident, you can simply pull off the top layers and baby can go back to sleep on fresh, clean bedding
    >> Summer Infant Peek Plus Baby Monitor (being able to sneak a peek at our sleeping angel anytime during the night or naps is SO comforting)
    >> Lullaby crib mattress from PBK
    >> Chamois changing pad cover from PBK (buy two!)
    >> Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets // Seriously softer with every wash & the perfect everyday blanket
    >> Aden & Anais Muslin Security Blankets // Via loves these for naps and they come in packs of two - one for the diaper bag & one for the crib
    >> Halo Sleep Sacks (purchased at PBK; we just started using this when the weather got cooler; they give her an extra layer of warmth and keep her cozy and swaddled; it also helps so that she doesn’t roll over during the night)
    >> Crib Bumper from PBK - initially we didn’t buy a bumper but then found that Via LOVES to have her face against something soft whens she sleeps; since we don’t give her a blanket at night, a bumper is perfect for her to snuggle up to
    >> Bassinet from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child - again, something we didn’t think we would use…we loved this for the first 5 months of Via’s life! Bonus: it’s on wheels and can be rolled into any room of the house and has a ton of hidden storage underneath (!!!)

    >> Chicco Keyfit Carseat / Stroller combo (“Travel System”)  
    >> Chicco Keyfit Carseat Caddy (so lightweight and great for running errands)
    >> Fisher Price Snug-a-Bunny Swing (we are cringing just thinking of her outgrowing this in the coming months weeks)
    >> Skip Hop playmate // I had NO idea we would use this as much as we do; we love it!
    >> Brica Baby-in-Sight Mirror // Such peace of mind in the car
    >> Carseat Canopy - I got mine free with a Parenting magazine promo and it has come in SO handy now that the weather is getting chilly
    >> Fisher Price Animal Krackers Jump-a-Roo // One of Olivia’s favorite activities, day or night she loves to jump in this to the music
    >> Sophie the Giraffe // By far one of Via’s favorite toys - perfect for holding, squeezing & chewing on
    >> “Mommy Hook” // This comes in so handy on our stroller

    >> Freshly Picked Baby Moccasins // we get compliments on these everywhere we go (even from Giada de Laurentiis!) - a bit of a splurge but watch for periodic sales where you get 25% off your total purchase!
    >> Custom-Designed Play Teepee by Tnees Tpees // I have a feeling this will become one of her favorite play spots very soon!
    >> Digital SLR camera // A must have to capture all those precious moments
    >> Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag // Hands down, the best diaper bag I'll ever buy! I love it! 
    >> Bla Bla Knit Doll // Via loves to hug hers and snuggle
    >> Ribba Picture Ledges/Shelves for the nursery // $9.99 from IKEA, black or white, two sizes - the ultimate versatile shelf for books, pictures, Christmas décor & more
    >> Beautiful blankets + quilts from The Posh Pea Boutique, Miss Charlie Bean,Rad&Happy and Baby Dolphin Designs 

    I hope this list is helpful in getting ready for the arrival of your little bundle. If you aren’t expecting, this provides so many great gift ideas. From the softest swaddle blankets to the cutest headbands, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for from one of the many places linked above.

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