Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts


sibling spacing + age gaps

As adding baby girl #3 into our family nears, I have been thinking a lot lately about the spacing between my girls and the family dynamic it creates. I thought in addition to posting about my own experiences with the age gaps in our family, it would be fun to ask a handful of my favorite Mamas to share theirs as well, including what they've found to be the biggest advantages and toughest challenges when it comes to how their little ones are spaced. 

I think a lot of what we've chosen to do personally has been influenced by how we grew up. Obviously, when it comes to pregnancy and having a family, there are a lot of factors beyond a person's control. But overall when I look at how we've spaced our girls, I can definitely see we were influenced by our own childhood. I grew up as an only child and while part of me enjoyed it, I really just longed for siblings. I wanted a sister so badly, a built in best friend who was always around to play with. Dustin was the middle child of three boys. When we got married, our hope was to have at least 2 kids, but deep down desired 4-6. With #3 on the way, we go back and forth if we'll have more or not after she arrives, that's still undecided and for now, I like it that way ;)

Olivia turns 3.5 this month, Penelope is 14 months (tomorrow) and Baby Girl #3 is due in early February, making her 17 months apart from Poppy and roughly 4 years apart from Olivia. I knew I wanted to space my first two out quite a bit, just to experience motherhood with one, to soak up every "first" and give her a taste of being an only child like I was. Our hope was to have our third closer to our second than our first two were, for something different and new and it ended up working out that way. Ultimately, no matter how you space out your babies or how big or small your family is, it's perfect for you and finding the positive in it is what matters. There is no right or wrong way to space your kids and certainly nothing wrong with only having one (or maybe none!). That being said, this post is just for fun to give you a look at others' experiences and hopefully find a family (or a few) similar to your own that you can gain some insight from.

The biggest advantages in our own family with the spacing between Olivia and Penelope (27 months apart) is that Olivia is so helpful and very independent. She was 2.5 when Poppy was born and potty trained shortly after, which made life 100x easier once she was out of diapers. Having her more than two years older than Poppy has allowed her to be independent in many areas (able to dress herself, make her own lunch, brush her teeth, pack her backpack, get buckled into her carseat without help, etc), and help me with everything I'm doing (even folding her own laundry and helping Poppy eat with a spoon and fork). They are still close enough in age that they enjoy similar toys and activities, read the same books and play together really well, which gives me more free moments to just sit back while they have fun together and stay engaged.

The biggest disadvantage I've experienced with their gap of 27 months is that as of this Fall, Olivia is in school and I am toting Poppy with to drop her off and pick her up, often having to wake Penelope from her morning naps to pick O up, one of the hardest things for me to do (never wake a sleeping baby, right?!). Also, being she's not fully walking yet, having to lift her in and out of her carseat and carry her up and down flights of stairs to drop Olivia off while 6+ months pregnant is tiring. 

Below are a few ideas of advantages and challenges that come with both smaller and larger age gaps, as well as insight from a handful of other mamas with more than one.

(Less than 2 Years): 

+ If you want a larger family, having them closer together allows you to finish having kids at a younger age

+ With a smaller gap, your children are going through similar stages all at the same time, so while you may have 2-3 in diapers (which undoubtedly presents its own challenges), they will also be potty training around the same time and all out of diapers within a small span of each other. Oh happy day.

+ They enjoy the same activities, books and toys because of their ages, which allows them to (hopefully) play really well together and keep each other entertained

+ They grow close to one another in friendship because they are always together, in similar stages and enjoying the same things

+ You can often reuse clothing, bedding, swings, baby gear, etc. without having to store it for years and then you can also get rid of all of it at the same time!

+ Children spaced closer together often create a very unified family. You have a sense of we are all in it together as you are going through the day to day routines, meeting similar needs and doing similar activities as a whole family. No one is being left out, the outings you plan allow all children to participate and siblings bond as they are all navigating similar tasks and learning similar skills.

(Less than 2 Years):

+ Lack of self sufficiency. This is probably the one I've thought most about when I think about the 17 month age gap between Poppy and her baby sister. I will still be helping Penelope dress herself, put shoes on, buckling her in a carseat, lifting her, etc. while also caring for a newborn.

+ During my first trimester this past summer, Penelope was only 8-10 months old, getting her first teeth and going through a developmental leap and sleep regression. It left me very exhausted, being nauseous and getting up at 3am to feed and comfort her. I never experienced that the first time around because Olivia was older when we got pregnant with Penelope, sleeping 12 hours a night without waking and already through 90% of her teething.

+ Exhaustion and lack of sleep -- especially for us Moms who are carrying, delivering, nursing and caring for multiple babies close in age one after another.

+ Being so close in age may mean you are less able to enjoy your babies as individuals or give them regular one on one time

+ You are more likely to need a second crib, second highchair, etc. if they are close enough in age that you haven't transitioned one out of something before the new baby arrives. Olivia was in a twin bed by the time Poppy was born, so we reused her crib but we will be getting a 2nd crib for our new baby because Poppy won't have transitioned out of hers until closer to 2 years.

+ You may just be entering the "terrible twos" and dealing with toddler tantrums, separation anxiety or misbehavior while taking care of a young baby who is still very dependent on you. 

(More than 2 Years): 

+ If your children are 2-3 years apart, you'll still remember how to care for a newborn while also having the confidence that comes with 2+ years of motherhood under your belt, knowing much more about how to handle each situation that comes up than you did with your first.

+ Your body is able to better recover from pregnancy and childbirth before getting pregnant again, nursing and being up all hours of the night

+ You're most likely more rested when you enter into the newborn phase, because your older child(ren) is/are no longer waking up in the night

+ Your first born (or older children) are more capable of waiting and practicing patience before having their needs met, understanding their baby sister or brother can't wait as easily when they need something

+ You'll have one on one time with your baby (or youngest children) while your older child is at preschool or evening activities

+ Your first born (or older children) are mature enough to enjoy the new baby, participate and help while also being able to enjoy time away from you without seeing it as a threat

(More than 2 Years):

+ Having children further apart most likely means they are in different stages and seasons. You may be toting your older child around to sports practices and spend the evenings helping them with homework while your younger child is interested in completely different things or unable to participate in what their older sibling is doing

+ Possible regression of your preschooler's skills (potty training, sleeping, etc) when a new baby comes into the picture because they see the baby getting attention in those areas and they desire it

+ Your preschooler or school-aged child can bring home illnesses from school or their extracurricular activities that they pass on to their younger siblings (this happened when Poppy was only 2 weeks old...Olivia caught a cold from her ECFE class and gave it to Penelope immediately; obviously it's going to happen at some point but it made the first few weeks with a newborn that much harder for me)

+ Having a gap of 4-5 years may present challenges when you are faced with caring for a newborn again -- nursing, sleep training, etc. -- things you haven't done in many years and possibly forgot a lot about or find to be difficult because it's been so long since you were in that stage

+ Depending on the gap, your children may be less likely to play together because their abilities, interests and toys are so different

Below are a few thoughts from Mamas I adore.

Erin / @helloerinv /
Children: Lex (4.5) & K (1.5)
Age Gap: 3 years apart

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
We based our spacing off of me. pregnancy is not a happy fun time for me. i gain a LOT of weight, and toss my cookies each and every day of the 40 weeks of pregnancy. mike and i needed to be ready to hop on that train again. i always knew i wanted a larger age gap- and we just kinda looked at each other when lex was 2 something and realized we were ready to hop back on the train. 

Advantages? What do you love most?
Lex is currently in her helpful stage of life. She wants to help with EVERYTHING, including her little sister. She wants to do things for her- get her water, teach her to talk, potty train her (she takes her diaper off and puts her on the toilet!). It's so sweet to see her want to be helpful and it makes her feel SO special and big. On the flip side- K has an awesome role model to look up to. 

Also, having a big age gap makes it almost impossible to compare the two kids. After three years my memory about milestones is a little hazy. I never, ever, ever want to compare the two girls- and this makes it even harder! They are each unique and different and I want to celebrate that instead of figuring out who was doing what when. I also love that well only have to pay one year of overlapping college education ;) 

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
We had a ROUGH start to sisterhood over here. Three was a hard age for us in general and Lex didnt take to big sisterhood well. She refused to acknowledge her sister even existed. It took TEN months -- and now they have the cutest and best relationship. I think lex being older gave her a lot more awareness of the alone time and attention she was missing out on when her little sister came along. 

When it comes to a challenge, I’d say schedules! Lex dropped her nap a year ago and has all sorts of activities. But the trick is still to schedule her activities around k’s schedule. which is sometimes hard when activities start right in the middle of nap time. Even school pick up is tricky because of k’s nap schedule. 


Paige / @thelovedesignedlife /
Children: Adriano (5.5), Alessandra, (almost 3), Diego, (14 months)
Age Gaps: 2.5 years between Adriano and Alessandra; 21 months between Alessandra and Diego

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
My husband and I always knew we wanted two or three kids and that we wanted to have them relatively close together. Our first two babes were very intentionally spaced. When we first had Adriano, we both thought maybe we'd start trying for #2 around when he turned one. However when that time came, we were still recovering from the new baby-ness stage and decided neither of us were quite ready yet. We started trying when he was around 16 months. We didn't get pregnant right away which actually was kind of stressful. (Although I know so many families who have a MUCH harder time, so I'm not complaining!) Still, it made me realize a bit of what those families go through and how hard it can be. 

After about five months of trying, we had a successful pregnancy and that made them 2.5 years apart. During the time that we were trying I think part of what made it stressful for me was that I had this idea in my head that then needed to be 2 years apart. But when baby Alessandra arrived, it was actually perfect. Adriano was potty trained, and could more easily be distracted with things like the iPad, and was just generally more self-sufficient. Of course there were still trying times just generally juggling two. But I felt the transition from 1-2 babes was easier in a lot of ways than from 0-1.

When Alessandra was 11 months old, she had basically weaned herself from breastfeeding. I was sad because I was so close to making it to a year! (You can read my breastfeeding story with her here) I had one period after that and on my next cycle we got pregnant. Ooops! Again, we both knew we were open to the idea of a third, but we hadn't really planned it all that well AT ALL. haha. This made our third little babe 21 months younger than his sister.

Advantages? What do you love most? Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
For me the less than two year gap was a lot harder than the over two year gap. In so many ways, Alessandra was still my baby and I felt she was very much still needy of my time and affection. On top of that, I had a preschooler! To be perfectly honest, the first year of having three babes was probably the most challenging of my life and certainly of motherhood. However even though this moment of motherhood is quite challenging, I know in my heart this is how our family was meant to be. I also know it will get better because it already has! I am so happy our children are close in age and will get to experience a lot of the same things at around the same times in their lives. It is truly a blessing to have them spaced just the way they are!


Ashley / @_ashley_noel_ /
Children: Karis (almost 2.5) & Bexley (3.5 months)
Age Gap: 26 months

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
 I wish I could say we thought long and hard about this one. We didn't, not at all really! We were just ready for some more babies in our life!! And honestly, I think you can't rack your brain too hard about it! You can sit there and think about how old everyone will be and what month would be perfect to be pregnant, but honestly a family is a family no matter what the size, age, genders! Heck, my sister is ten years older then me and I love her just the same as I would if she was 10 months older then me!!! 

Advantages? What do you love most?
I know when they are just a tag but older the advantages will be their ability to play and have so much fun together!! I can NOT wait until they are able to play house and dress up and I just pray every night that they will be the best of friends!!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
Well, I have a TWO year old and a newborn. Need I say more?? And of course it's the two year old that tests mamas patience! 


Kacey / @kaceyjane_

Children: Avery (5), Emmie (3) & Will (8 weeks)

Age Gap: 26 month gap between Avery and Emmie; 3 year gap between Emmie and Will; 5 year gap between Avery and Will

What did you primarily base your spacing on?

We had always envisioned having all of our children about 2 years apart. It was important to me that they were close enough in age that they are in school together at the same time and could easily have close relationships due to the fact that they were close in age and experiences. Will is by no means way younger than his sisters, but he will be four years behind Emmie in school, and to me that's a much bigger gap than I thought we would have.  

The reason our sibling spacing did not go according to our original plan is because shortly after Emmie (our second) was born, my husband and I came to a really hard time in our marriage. We were in a place in which we had no friendship, intimacy, and found no enjoyment together or in our family life. I struggled to find joy as a wife and a mother and I was carefully maintaining a facade that everything was a-okay when it was not. We were both not talking about how evident it was that we needed help. There were many factors for this, and even though it was HARD, we decided to fight for something better and focus on our marriage above all else. After seven years of marriage, with Jesus and professional therapy, a whole lot of hard work and prayer and guidance, our marriage is an entirely new, healed, healthy and joyful gift in our life. We spent a year piecing it back together. And at the end of that year we decided it was time for another baby. Now we've got this family and home life that brings us so much joy. We've got this marriage that is an unspeakable blessing we hadn't actually experienced fully in the seven years before. I never realized how much healthy communication and trust and friendship between spouses affected parenting until this third time around. I thought I understood Grace, but it turns out He had more to give me and more to teach me in that regard. I think that will make me a better, more humble mother. 

I believe without a doubt that a healthy marriage and home life is the most important thing we will ever do for our kids no matter their ages or number. I can't imagine what would have happened had we decided to stick to our original schedule and throw another kid into the mess that was us. We are not perfect now, but I know with certainty that I can trust Him to bring us through ANYTHING. I didn't really believe that before. God had better plans for our family and I'm so thankful for the dark, painful road that he used to bring us where we are today. I am happier than I've ever been. I am able to find joy and thankfulness even on the hard mama days (wine and Netflix help). I look forward to the minute my husband gets home. These four humans God has given me and are my greatest treasures and Will being the baby of the family with a larger gap will always be a reminder of God's Grace.

Advantages? What do you love most?
The current advantages of having a 5 and 3 year old with a newborn is that he has three mamas! They are pretty helpful with the baby when they can actually help, but I've found their independence as a result of their ages is a huge differentiating factor this time around that has made baby #3 a lot easier than when we had our second.  They can dress themselves, use the bathroom, play independently or together, etc. Also, Avery is in kindergarten five days a week and Emmie is in day school for three of those days, so I have large chunks of time during the week to work from home, run errands, or just spend one on one time with the baby!  

I also love that the girls are old enough to understand how special it is to have a baby and that they will remember him like this. They absolutely adore him. They tell him stories and hold him and brag about him. I suspect if he could communicate he would tell us they also drive him crazy... I think sometimes this kid gets way more mothering than he signed up for. There's also something so sweet about the combinations of ages and genders we have in our family. I think two older sisters and a baby brother is absolutely darling!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
I think the biggest disadvantage is that the current newborn stage we are still in plus the fact that they are both in school, means the girls get A LOT less mom time. There are many hours spent nursing or tending to the baby while they are at home that used to be time spent outdoors with them or on the go. While we have by no means halted life and activities because of the baby, it naturally follows that a large portion of my attention is given to the baby and I find myself missing the girls. For example, night time is hard and while my husband does bedtime with the girls, I'm usually holding/nursing/comforting the baby because its his fussy period and I'm focused on getting him down for the night. I miss my night time cuddles with my girls!

So far the challenges have been few. The baby nurses and sleeps mostly now, but I anticipate difficulty when he gets older and his nap times are disrupted when we need to pick up sisters from school and things like that. I highly value nap time at home for my growing babies/ toddlers, but I know that I will have to be creative and flexible at times as he gets older since the age gap is much bigger with him than with the girls -- he's just simply in an entirely different stage than them and always will be! There are more seasoned mamas out there I look to for support on this! Aren't mom friends great?!


Makelle / @makelleahlin.and.thelostboys /
Children: Cooper (4) & Boone (20 months)
Age Gap: 29 months

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
So when I had Cooper (our first) he was totally unplanned. My husband and I were trying to finish up our schooling before the thought of kids ever crossed our mind, but someone had other plans for us. Cooper came into this world and it was quite the life changer! I took 6 months off school and then dove back into it. Jared and I had always discussed we wanted our children to be close in age; Jared wanted them to be less than two years or no more than two years apart. I was all for that gap pre-kids because I loved growing up with my siblings (we are all 1.5 years apart.) but as as time went one I still wasn't ready for a second child, Cooper just seemed so small and was my baby...a very hard baby at that!! And I had since began going back to school. Cooper had just turned three when we found out we were pregnant with our Boonie boy. The age Cooper was in during my pregnancy was awesome. He was old enough he could entertain himself but young enough he would still come take naps with me -- I was/am a huge pregnancy napper!

Advantages? What do you love most? Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
Once Boone was born Cooper (3 1/2) really didn't know what was going on. He just really paid no attention to the new baby, but continued to entertain himself with toys, books, playing in our fenced in backyard, getting into his own car seat etc. For sibling spacing purposes this rocked for ME! But I didn't feel that it was good for THEM! The bonding I was hoping to witness just wasn't happening. They were so spaced out that Cooper just ignored Boone and even as Boone got older the ignoring continued. 

I feel like the gap of friendship and wanting to do things together has just barely started to begin right now, but Boone is almost 2 now and Cooper 4. Now Cooper will come grab Boone by the hand and ask him to play, and Boone is old enough that they can share toys now. 

That being said, I decided I would like to space my next babies closer in age, but to my surprise I am already almost hitting that spacing gap again, but Boone still seems like a baby to me! I do like having a larger gap to allow your body to heal, to become (somewhat) emotionally stable, and to get your routines down...yes it really has taken us almost two years to get the routines down with having two kids and we are still learning. I still really wish for a smaller gap in age for sibling bonding purposes. I mean I am already home with the kids so a smaller gap in age wouldn't have caused any conflict anyway. 


Morgan / @laughinglatte /
Children: Annabelle (3) & Betty (1)
Age Gap: 2 years (almost to the day!) between them

What did you primarily base your spacing on?
I’m not sure why my husband and I decided that we wanted a two year gap, but we were definitely unified in that decision! It was probably because that is the gap that we both grew up with. 

Advantages? What do you love most?
What I love about this gap is that we were really able to get through some of the tough teething stages and set a solid routine for our first baby before the second arrived! We co-slept with Anabelle and she really loved it. But by the time Betty arrived, we were able to transition Anabelle into her own big girl room. We got through the nights of never knowing what that night’s sleep was going to be and had a solid routine in place. This helped ease the transition into two babies as well. 

I love the two year age gap because they are far enough apart to give us time to breathe and actually get some good rest, but close enough together that they can be best friends. I’d love to have them even closer together, but I do value my sanity and just can’t imagine being ready to give up a couple months to fatigue and nausea any sooner!

Disadvantages? What is the most challenging?
We plan on having more -- and now would be the time to get pregnant to have that 2 year age gap again -- but I am spending some time in between nursing Betty and getting pregnant with baby #3 to work on some health factors. Each baby takes so much out of a woman's body, and my gut has sacrificed a bit. I think it’s important and crucial as a mom to recognize when to prioritize yourself. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer though! 


I hope this gave you a good look into the many factors that go into sibling spacing and a few tips for age gaps in your own family. I love stumbling upon blogs and reading about other moms' experiences and hope you enjoyed it as well!! XO


Our 10 must-haves for baby #3

Being that we're having our third little girl, there aren't many "essentials" that we need before she arrives. She'll be able to wear all of Poppy and Olivia's clothing and we have the basics for bedding, gear, decor, accessories & more. 

BUT because nesting + collecting tiny treasures for a new baby is still such a special process (no matter how many babies you've had), I thought it would be so much fun to share the must-have pieces that I've collected for her, all of which come from incredible handmade shops + US-based brands that we love, including dear friends of mine (many of which are mamas like me) who pour their hearts into each piece they make. 

This list is perfect if you're looking to get something extra special for your own little one on the way or trying to find a one-of-a-kind gift for a new mama. 

one // an heirloom doll from dainty cheeks

Run by beautiful mama Chrissy, Dainty Cheeks Boutique is our absolute favorite doll shop out there. Poppy has a darling unicorn & the softest unicorn lovey from Dainty Cheeks and this custom bird doll was made for our sweet baby girl on the way. Chrissy's dolls are easily recognized by their unique, whimsical look -- created by combining both new & upcycled fabrics (the bird's wings are made from the coziest old sweater), bold patterns with neutral accents, layering a variety of textures, and finishing with classic round cheeks and delicate vintage details. Chrissy is most well known for her unicorns but also makes lions, birds, sloths and more. She has been widely recognized in magazines around the country for her work and recently had the opportunity to design a collection for Anthropologie. Her pieces are unmistakably stunning and so much care goes into each one -- every stitch and the process of creating her dolls start to finish by hand is incredible.

If you're looking to get your own DCB doll, Chrissy offers both ready to ship pieces (restocked once a week in her Etsy shop here) and custom slot listings (typically once a month), where Chrissy works with you to create the perfect piece for your little one, complete with initials, quote tags, name personalization & more. Her work never ceases to amaze me and her pieces are something my girls will cherish forever, a beautiful heirloom they will hopefully someday pass down to their little girls.

two // a lovey from rise & kind

Every little baby loves having something just their size to snuggle and Rise & Kind hand makes beautiful lace loveys. They are the perfect size for tiny hands, made of the softest fabric and so so pretty. I love the floral one (to the left) and the charcoal one. I wish one came in my size! ;)

three // freshly picked (crib) moccasins

We have loved FP moccasins since Olivia was just a tiny baby back in 2013, and at that time the crib moccasins (Size 0) hadn't yet been released. They are the sweetest, tiniest little leather moccasins for fresh new baby feet and not only make a perfect shoe for the first weeks and months (Poppy wore her Size 0 pair until about 4 months old), but also a beautiful keepsake as your child grows. I love that they are soft-soled, especially as your baby's feet are growing, because they have just the right amount of give for comfort without being restrictive or stretching too much.

Olivia wore them as a baby up until about age 2.5 and they were just as functional when she started walking as they were when all she did was sit and play around the house. At 13 months, Poppy is currently in Size 2 and they are my go-to shoe on our way out the door because they keep her feet perfectly toasty even without socks, ideal as the temps drop. They are easy to get on and off and most importantly, stay on once they're put on. Poppy loves to pull her shoes off, so I love that these stay on so well. A few favorites of ours are the gold, rose gold, green camo & weathered brown (the perfect neutral!)

four // a solly baby wrap

If you haven't yet heard of Solly Baby, it's a company founded in 2011 by Elle (Mama to 3 and named after her 2nd child, Solomon) which specializes in the comfiest functional infant wraps and coordinating swaddles. These saved me after I had Penelope because it allowed me to be hands free with Olivia, and thinking about adding #3 in to the mix, I can pretty much guarantee I will be wrapping her daily. Now living in San Diego, California, Solly Baby works with a small manufacturer to produce their sought-after wraps, overseeing every step of production and keeping everything United States based. Their wraps are not only beautiful but work so well to carry your baby closely and comfortable, from newborn up to age 1. We also love their stretchy soft swaddles, which you can get in sets of two and select your favorite colors and patterns. A few favorites are the Rifle Paper Co wrap (above), Natural & Grey Stripe wrap and the Solly Swaddle Set.

five // a mobile from petite pehr

Petite Pehr is one of our favorite brands for all things baby, child, nursery & home and their mobiles are no exception. This new Swan Lake mobile (above) is my absolute favorite for our girls but I also love this gender neutral Sparrows one. We never purchased a mobile when Olivia was a baby but then were gifted several for Penelope. I have a large one hanging over her crib and then the sparrows one over her changing pad. I love the detail and movement they add to a space, the perfect finishing touch. Not to mention they capture a baby's attention and (hopefully) soothe them in the process. We also love their pom pom bins for storage of toys, blankets, dolls & more around the house.

After trying just about every diaper & wipe out there since Olivia was born in 2013, I've finally found a brand I absolutely love, Parasol Co. They are my go-to diapers for Penelope and wipes that our whole family uses because they're so soft but still durable and they smell like cucumbers and aloe, so refreshing! They're perfect for wiping hands, faces, our highchair, carts, you name it. I keep them in my diaper bag and our car in addition to being stocked in our nursery & bathrooms. With modern hand-drawn artist designs on the diapers and created for comfort while still maintaining superior absorbency, Parasol diapers and wipes are a must have for our little lady on the way and a monthly subscription makes a beautiful and practical gift for a new mom. You can save 20% off your first subscription using the code BLESSEDNEST at checkout here. You can also try the diapers & wipes before subscribing with their free trial. The best part? The diapers are not only luxuriously soft but they are safe for your baby -- hypoallergenic, chlorine-free, fragrance-, lotion-, and latex-free. Their subscriptions deliver diaper bundles + wipes to your door every month, a must for busy moms and a convenience I'll definitely be taking advantage of when our 3rd baby arrives!

seven // blankets & bedding essentials from stella & lu

If you're looking for the coziest blankets, loveys, boppy covers and more, Stella & Lu is your shop. With hundreds (literally: hundreds) of patterns to choose from, Stella & Lu offers coordinating bedding, changing pad covers, crib sheets and more, all available in the softest minky fabric and backed in their signature faux furs. Now, to be totally honest I have never been a huge faux fur person (because what I'd felt had never been super soft or it shed a ton) but when Poppy's blanket arrived many months ago in the mail, I was tempted to keep it for myself it was that soft. If I put it in her crib for nap time, she is pretty much guaranteed to bury herself in it and fall asleep immediately. This vintage rose pattern is so feminine and dainty, perfect for our third little babe on the way. Whitney loves working with each customer to create the perfect blanket or bedding item for your little ones and also designing a nursery using coordinating pieces. I also love this mustard gold lace boppy cover and this navy and pink wholecloth baby blanket as well as this chartreuse cross lovey, a great gender neutral option for gifting!

eight // a wild creek co. rattle

You can bet if something is made of wood, it's probably my jam. We have more toys made of wood than any other material. There is just something so timeless and classic about them. Wild Creek Co makes beautiful wood rattles, teethers and pacifier clips I just adore. Their round rattle (below) is the perfect new baby gift and equally beautiful sitting in a nursery once a baby has grown or passed down to your next little one.

nine // a swaddle from coveted things

There is no such thing as having too many swaddles. Am I right?! We use them for everything under the sun around here, and Olivia still sleeps with the ones she had as a baby. Coveted Things makes incredibly beautiful swaddle blankets that are not only so soft but make for beautiful photo backdrops as well. A few favorites of mine are the black and white Dream Together swaddle, the blue Wings Swaddle and the blush Life Grows Lovely swaddle (pictured above).

ten // a bodomint diaper bag

I've been using my Bodomint diaper bag for about a month now and every time I go somewhere I discover something new I love about it. I shared a sneak peek of it a few weeks ago on the blog here in a Friday Favorites post shortly after it arrived, as well as the story on how it was created. Of all the incredible features it boasts, my favorite is just how spacious it is. With baby #3 on the way, I'll be carrying things for three little girls...and myself. That requires plenty of space and this bag has that and more. I feel like I can fit so much inside but because of the many pockets, I still stay totally organized. Another feature I love are the two outer pockets, something my previous diaper bag didn't have. If you have a little one, they're ideal for bottles (there are also two interior bottle pockets) but I love them for my own water bottle and sippy cups for the girls. The back has an additional pocket which snaps shut and is the perfect spot for my wallet and phone or anything I'm carrying that I want to stay within close reach and secure. There is also two side by side pockets inside, perfect for a handful of diapers and a pack of wipes as well as a pocket which holds a portable changing pad...and for us, pouches & extra snacks.

I also love the versatility of the Bodomint design, allowing the bag to be used in 3 ways -- messenger style across your body, worn as a backpack (so nice with full hands!!) and clipped to your stroller using stroller hooks (best invention ever). There is also a heavy duty handle that allows you to carry it as a purse, which I find myself doing a lot when I'm bringing the girls in from the car and don't want to swing it over my body because I already have Poppy in my arms. Of course the stripes are such a fun feature but Bodomint bags also come in solid black. It's durable & wipeable (must-haves with toddlers) and multi-functional but doesn't sacrifice in style. Both styles of Bodomint diaper bags are available for preorder here and will ship in early December.


So there you have it! Our Top 10 favorites for our third little lady. Are any of these your must-haves as well?! Be sure to follow along on instagram @blessednestblog to see more of the pieces I've been collecting for her and our favorite shops for each! Hope you are having the best week!! XO


It's a GIRL!

Happy Monday!! Hope you all had a relaxing Fall weekend. We took it pretty easy, did a few small projects around the house and spent a lot of time outside with the girls. Olivia loves crunching the leaves & going on leaf hunts and of course the colors this time of year are always so pretty, especially on early morning walks around our neighborhood. We rounded out our weekend with a slow breakfast on Sunday morning of cheese soufflés and donuts, a long walk in our pajamas, a visit to the park before nap time and then a pizza night and pumpkin carving with the girls in the evening. How many times have I said it, this time of year is my favorite!!

Last week on instagram @blesesdnestblog I shared that Baby #3 is a GIRL and thought it would be fun to do a little update here on the blog! The photo below was our official announcement, taken at our recent Late Summer Lifestyle session. I had so much fun planning the session, incorporating old fashioned props like this vintage typewriter, suitcases and a quilt. I'll be sharing more of our favorites here soon, it was hands down my favorite session yet.

We found out we were having another little girl about 3 weeks ago at our 20 week ultrasound and you guys, I haven't stopped smiling since. In some ways I was shocked, because deep down it was my heart's desire to have another little girl and I couldn't believe my dream was coming true a third time. But in other ways I wasn't surprised at all, because I'd had multiple dreams of her early on in my pregnancy, one where I actually saw her swaddled in the hospital in a bassinet sleeping beside my bed, right after she was born. Her eyes were closed and she had a pink hat on. The dream was so vivid I can still see her sweet little face if I close my eyes hard enough.

We had also been seeing her name everywhere, including her nickname, which I'd never met or known anyone to have. This whole pregnancy, especially finding out it was another girl has been so special to me, because I had been praying for her & praying over her since September 17 of 2015, when Penelope was just one week old.

That day, Poppy was asleep on me and Olivia was upstairs napping while Dustin and I watched a movie together. I remember being exhausted from having a newborn, nursing around the clock and snacking on a caramel apple while the movie rolled. As soon as I heard the name, I just knew. We were going to have a little girl and name her that. I was certain. Her middle name will be the same as mine, which comes from my Great Grandma. And her nickname (also from the movie) is old-fashioned and so darling, we can't wait to share it. I spent many months praying for her before we began trying to conceive, and then began having dreams and feelings early on in my pregnancy that it was her, just like I'd had dreams of both Olivia and Penelope. Finding out at the ultrasound just confirmed everything I knew to be true, and we are all just over the moon.

I'm 23 weeks along and I think it just dawned on me last week that we are less than 4 months until my due date. February still feels so far away but before I know it, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas and ringing in the New Year and then the countdown will really be on. Having another girl, there is really nothing we need or need to do, which has been so nice. I have all the clothing, bedding, etc and won't be changing paint or any furniture in the nursery other than getting a new crib since Penelope will still be in hers when we move her into Olivia's room.

They say the 2nd trimester is the "honeymoon phase" of pregnancy, and for me it truly has been. I was nauseous what felt like 24-7 the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, on top of living in a construction zone while we completed a major kitchen renovation (ourselves). I was constantly exhausted and had no energy to do anything all summer. Once August hit and I made it to the 13/14 week mark, I felt like a new person. I got my energy back, my nausea subsided and I hit that sweet spot where you feel great, still sleep well and aren't uncomfortably big yet. Ha. When I start feeling flutters, kicks and somersaults, pregnancy is my very favorite. I love knowing our sweet little girl is always with me no matter where I go, and seeing Olivia so excited to meet her and always wanting to talk to her and kiss my belly makes my heart so full. I'm not quite sure Poppy knows what she's in for, being that she is only 13 months, and I still haven't fully wrapped my head around the fact that she is going to be a big sister, cause she still feels so much like our baby. But the thought of her snuggling with her baby sister in a few months makes us so happy. And she can already say the baby's nickname, which is the sweetest.

More to come soon on nursery favorites, my top picks in new baby essentials and the girls' shared room design in collaboration with all my favorite brands! Have the best week!!


poppy's happy camper 1st birthday party

We had so much fun celebrating Penelope's 1st birthday this past weekend with all our friends and family. It was a beautiful Fall day with lots of sunshine so we were able to spend the whole afternoon in the backyard, perfect for all the kids with endless energy running around. Poppy turned 1 on September 10 but we have a tradition of spending the weekend of each of the girls' birthdays just as a family and throwing a party the previous or following weekend. Penelope loves being outside and has since birth, whether on walks in the stroller, swinging in the hammock or playing in the grass, so I thought a Happy Camper party would be perfect. 

I partnered with Minted for the invitations and went with these Wild Woodland invites in Pink. I also love these camping invitations and these northwoods ones

I kept the decor super simple; I hung a custom tassel garland above the dessert table with a happy camper banner. I chose a few cake toppers, including a "1" and triangle bunting banner and then made two of the three cakes myself, including Poppy's smash cake and a gluten free carrot cake that is so Fall-ish and a family favorite. I topped her cake with a wooden deer and some forest trees.

We served build-your-own chicken salad sandwiches on fresh croissants, our favorite sweet kale slaw salad & fresh watermelon. To drink I had apple cider from our local orchard with cinnamon sticks and orange slices in a mason jar beverage dispenser and then had an iced bin of water bottles and soda in the backyard. 

We also had these darling camper cookies made by Cousin Cookie and I LOVE how they turned out for the theme. They were the perfect dessert for all the kids at the party and I love every tiny detail they had. Everyone raved about them and we will definitely be doing custom cookies again for our next party!

I used real wood slices as cake stands and it fit in perfectly with the theme.


Poppy wasn't so sure what to do with the cake once we placed it in front of her, but she loved the singing and eventually discovered the sweet buttercream and then was totally into it.

We had such a wonderful day surrounded by so many of our loved ones. I try to keep parties as simple as possible so I'm not having to spend the whole day preparing and stressing out and instead can enjoy the reason we're celebrating -- my little girl! I loved this theme and found it so easy to put together decor and a menu. 

For more woodland party inspiration, check out this board on Pinterest that I created to plan ours. Happy Tuesday!!


september lit list | babylit + fairy friends

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! More about what we were up to will be on the blog later this week in conjunction with my Friday Favorites post!

If you've been following along for any length of time, you'll know that children's books are one of our favorite things. I love sharing all the books we love in my Lit List series here on the blog. You can also find a peek at other favorite books on instagram under the hashtag #BlessedNestLitList.

This month I'm so excited to be teaming up with Gibbs Smith Publishers to share a handful of their newest board book releases, including our favorite BabyLit series and a new Fairy Friends series with the most gorgeous, whimsical illustrations.

If you're not familiar with BabyLit books, they are board book forms of classic literature that teach basic ideas and concepts to little ones, such as counting, opposites, colors and more. Over the past few years we have gained the complete collection but favorites of ours include Jane Eyre {A Counting Primer}, Sense & Sensibility {An Opposites Primer}, The Jungle Book {An Animals Primer}, Don Quixote {A Spanish Primer}, and The Secret Garden {A Flowers Primer}.

This Fall BabyLit released Little Women {A Playtime Primer} and The Odyssey {A Monsters Primer} and Little Women has quickly become Olivia's new favorite. Each page shares a playtime activity -- such as gardening, picnicking and reading. Olivia loves pointing out every single item on each page and telling me what they are.

Gibbs Smith also released a Fairy Friends series this September with an initial collection of 4 books by author Merrilee Liddiard that we have totally fallen in love with. These include...

Fairy Friends: A Colors Primer
Fairy Friends: A Counting Primer
Fairy Friends: An Opposites Primer
Fairy Friends: A Seasons Primer

There is something so dreamy & whimsical about fairies, especially paired with Merrilee's enchanting illustrations of hand drawn elements with photographic collages. At 11 months, Poppy loves books as much as Olivia does and they sit endlessly flipping through the pages together, Olivia "reading" to Penelope and pointing out all her favorite pictures.

Of the new Fairy Friends series, Olivia's favorite is Opposites. She learned every single opposite it included within just four days of it arriving. Her favorite set is "Sometime I dress simple" / "Sometimes I dress fancy" and I'm pretty sure hearing her say "fancy" is the cutest thing ever.

All these books are such a hit in our home with our girls and a fun refresh to our library, that I teamed up with Gibbs Smith & BabyLit to give away a set to one of you! One winner will receive 3 books of their choice from the new set of 6! To enter, head over to my instagram @blessednestblog and find the giveaway post here. The giveaway will run today September 6 through Monday September 12 and the winner will be announced on the original post. For an extra entry, leave a blog comment below sharing which book you're most excited to get your hands on! Happy reading!! XO


parasol favorite features + a giveaway

A few weeks ago in a post here I shared our newest obsession with Parasol Co. and their amazing natural diapers + wipes. The diapers are modern + fun and so fluffy soft without being bulky or stiff. The quilted wipes make me feel like I'm at a spa {because they smell like cucumber + aloe} instead of changing a diaper and they are conveniently delivered every month to my doorstep in the exact size I need. Total mom win, right?! 

Over the coming months, I'm partnering with a handful of my favorite brands to feature all of our must-have baby essentials and what could be more essential than diapers + wipes?!

I shared just about everything we love about Parasol Co. in July's post and gave an in-depth look at what sets their products apart and what the company stands for. Now that we've been using them for about 6 weeks with Poppy, I thought I'd give an update on our favorite features as well as how long each month's box lasts us and how you can try them out yourself if you haven't yet.

F A V O R I T E  F E A T U R E S

+ I love how luxuriously soft Parasol diapers are while still maintaining their eco-friendly, natural status 

+ I can't get enough of the fun modern prints. In the summer Poppy wears dresses every day and I don't even feel the need to put bloomers on her because the diapers are so stylish, why would I cover them up?!

+ I love how absorbent the diapers are. We have tried just about every diaper out there and these rank the highest as far as combined comfort + absorbency goes.

+ The wipes. I could probably write an entire post on the wipes themselves, they're just that good. We use them for everything around here -- diaper changes, in the bathroom, in the car, in my diaper bag, wiping hands and faces and more. They smell great, feel great and are thick + durable but still super gentle on my girls and myself. I also love that they're naturally scented with a refreshing cucumber and aloe but that it doesn't linger or create a sticky residue like wipes with synthetic fragrances.

+ I love the convenience of Parasol's monthly subscriptions. This is a no-brainer, but being able to have my diapers and wipes delivered to my door makes life so much easier. Yes, I run errands often but by the time I get Olivia in the front of the cart, Poppy in her carseat in the main part of the cart and add stuff some groceries around them, the last thing I have room for is a big box of diapers. Anyone else?! Subscribing is super easy and I love that I can go into my account anytime and adjust my subscription -- you can change the frequency of your deliveries (every 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-weeks) as well as the diaper designs and size. This makes it super simple to size up as your baby grows and try out all the different designs they have. I have my subscription set to arrive every 5 weeks, because I was finding that I didn't finish a full box of diapers in one month. The wipes, however, I cruised through because we literally use them for everything. When I'm running low I love that I can just order individual packs of wipes in either the full size (72 total in each) or a handful of travel packs (20 total in each) here under their SHOP tab. For parents of multiples, setting a delivery frequency of 3 weeks ensures you have enough diapers for both your babes

H O W  T O  T R Y  T H E M  O U T 

+ Parasol Co. offers monthly subscriptions tailored to your child and family's needs as I shared above. You can visit their website here and click on "SUBSCRIBE NOW" / Parasol offers both a Diaper-only subscription and a Diapers & Wipes subscription, which is what we do. Having an account allows you to easily log in to see when your next box is shipping, grab the tracking number once it does, modify your size & design for next month and change how frequently they arrive based on your needs.

+ When you subscribe, you'll be prompted to answer questions about your baby (name, gender, age and weight), select your diaper size and your design collection (both of which can always be modified for future deliveries) as well as enter BLESSEDNEST in the PromoCode box to save 20% off your first subscription!

+ Parasol Co. also offers a free trial if you'd like to give their diapers and wipes a try before subscribing monthly. To take advantage of their free trial, you can visit their website here and click on the "Free Trial" tab. You'll get 8 diapers in your choice of size and a 20-count pack of their wipes for only $5 shipping. This is a great way to see if they're a fit for your family. 

And of course, what's a Monday without a little giveaway?! 

I am so grateful to be able to share the products we believe in + love using in our own family with each of you so I've teamed up with Parasol Co. to give away ONE MONTH OF DIAPERS & WIPES {$85 value} in the SIZE & DESIGN of WINNER'S CHOICE to one of you! To enter,  head over to my instagram @blessednestblog to the giveaway post here.

For an extra entry, leave a blog comment below sharing a little bit more about yourself or your family! Giveaway runs today through Sunday August 21 and the winner will be announced on the original IG post once the giveaway closes. 

Hope your week is off to a great start!! XO

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