All photos by Chrissy Powers in Ollie & Me boutique
I love every single aspect of pregnancy. If I could live in an eternal state of pregnancy, I just might do it because there is truly nothing that can compare to that feeling of carrying your child safe and soundly inside of your belly. And while there are so many wonderful parts of pregnancy, I think that one of every expectant mama’s favorite aspects is prepping and planning for the arrival of that sweet baby into this world because once nesting fever sets in, there is no stopping us.
I consider registering for your baby one of the last big steps before your delivery and an event that is always filled with excitement and anxiousness. When I registered for my baby shower for my boys, there were so many pieces that I wanted to add that didn’t come from one of the big box stores that offered baby registries. I found unique products and favorite items at local boutiques and Etsy shops that I wasn’t able to include in my registry. Not to mention the help and services that are vital for a new mother’s sanity like a meal train, babysitting, and help with laundry. So I was ecstatic when I found BabyList, an amazing baby registry that I felt all expectant mothers should know about.
BabyList is a universal baby registry that let’s you add anything from any store to one registry. You can even add things not sold in stores, like help and favors from friends (think a home-cooked meal or a cleaning service). When you add products to your registry, BabyList automatically finds and adds the various online stores that product is currently available for purchase to give your friends and family options. And the fact that you can add items on the go using your phone (with iPhone and Android app) is really cool too.
So if you’re currently expecting a baby, all you have to do is head to babyli.st or download the BabyList app and get to shopping!
(This post was in partnership with BabyList. Thank you so much for supporting my partners who I wholeheartedly believe in.)
Photos by Chrissy Powers Photography
I knew the second it happened. It was the moment I had been waiting for my entire life, but had consistently escaped me regardless of how hard I chased it; the moment I became me.
The days, weeks, and 9 months leading up to that moment consisted of a slow and steady transformation of my body. It was a gradual metamorphosis that I was prepared for, but that instantaneous transformation was what took me by complete surprise.
A cry shattered the silence that had suddenly engulfed the room just moments prior. As time seemed to stand still, I felt myself look down on this moment from above as everything played out in slow motion in front of me. The doctor at the foot of the bed with arms outstretched, the look on my husband’s face and the glaring whiteness of his knuckles as his hand grasped mine, the feeling of my body tightening and tensing uncontrollably as if it had a mind of its own. And then his tiny, wet body was placed into my arms and time began again…yet this time everything was drastically different.
In that exact moment I suddenly became everything I was always supposed to be, their mother.
I was finally here and I was me.
Because by them entering my life, I have truly found myself.
I no longer worried about what people thought of me. I no longer felt the need to do things that I didn’t want to do just to please other people. I no longer felt like I was searching for my purpose in life. I was me and I was completely satisfied with that because I was everything that they needed me to be.
There’s a sense of calm, a sense of confidence, and a sense of pure, unadulterated happiness that comes in knowing exactly who you are. It’s in my two boys that I found my best self and now that I’ve found it, I’m going to hold on to it for dear life.
Photos by Chrissy Powers Photography
For some time, I have been wanting to share more products with you that I love that are either working for me as a mama to two boys or have worked for both of my boys because I find that some of the best information I have received is from other mothers with experience. So this is the start to our series, Bel & Beau Loves where I share some of my favorite mama, kid, and baby items that I think you should know about.
When your first child is almost four, it is easy to forget just how much stuff you have to carry with you at all times when you have a newborn baby. Before Grayson arrived, I was used to carrying around a million toy cars, animal figurines, a pencil case full of crayons and colored pencils, a notepad or activity book, sunscreen, and enough snacks for Holden to survive on for at least a couple of days (because if there is anything I have learned about toddlers, it is that constant snacking keeps them happy). Now my purse was pretty jam-packed on a daily basis with Holden’s necessities, but when Gray started joining us on our everyday outings, my bag was overflowing and I felt like I looked like a mess of a mama when lugging a bag that had baby and kid items constantly falling out the sides. And let’s not even begin to ask what happened when I actually needed to find something (just imagine an embarrassed mother dumping the entire contents of her bag out onto the shop floor while trying to find her wallet to pay for something).
When Petunia Pickle Bottom reached out to me and asked if I would like to try out one of their Downtown Totes, I desperately said yes in hopes of finding a solution to my problem…and I did! The Downtown Tote fits everything I need for both my boys and myself without looking and feeling like I’m lugging a suitcase around with me. It has plenty of pockets on the inside as well as one zippered pouch on the outside (for things you need easy access to like wallet, phone, pacifiers) so that you don’t have to spend ten minutes searching inside what seems like a black hole. It also has a zippered closure on the top so that (even if you aren’t) you appear organized to the outside world. The tote comes in a variety of fun colors and designs because of of course as mothers we all want something stylish on our arms that doesn’t necessarily look like a diaper bag. And my other favorite thing about this diaper bag is that the outside fabric is waterproof. We spend most of our days at the beach or at the pool, and so this bag of mine has already spent ample time in the sand or sitting in a puddle of water poolside and it still looks brand new.
I have honestly used this bag everyday since I got it and I don’t have enough good things to say about it. So if you are looking for a solution for your diaper bag problems, look no further than the Downtown Tote.
Photography by Chrissy Powers
When I was a newborn, I slept in a vintage pram beside my parents bed. In place of a crib, each and every night during those beginning days of my life my mother would place me inside the soft, cushioned bassinet of the pram for my slumber. In the middle of the night when I would awaken in those dark hours she would reach over and rock the pram back and forth to lull me back to sleep. During the day, she would unlock the wheels and drive the pram into various rooms throughout the house so that I was always close by during my naps. It was my place of comfort and I think that was the beginning of my love affair with prams.
When I was pregnant with Holden, I was determined that his sleep beginnings would mirror mine and that he would be sleeping soundly in a vintage pram while we strolled the streets of San Francisco. But after receiving a stylish, modernized stroller at our baby shower and finding out quite soon after Holden’s arrival into this world that he did not enjoy riding in anything (not a car or not a stroller, as he only liked to be held or worn), I realized that my dreams of pushing a pram with a contently sleeping baby in it would not be coming true.
It was when I became pregnant with Gray that I found the Inglesina Classica Pram which is everything I had been dreaming of over all of these years. The Inglesina Classica Pram combines the classic good looks of an heirloom quality pram with the amenities of a modern day stroller. Not only is the pram a visual showstopper, but it is such a comfortable ride and Gray loves traveling tucked safely inside the plush pram. The seat can be adjusted to sitting instead of laying flat which makes for a relaxed and enjoyable ride for Grayson who has never loved being completely flat on his back. The pram is easy to take down and put into the car, and although I keep telling myself that it should be reserved for special occasions and not Gray’s everyday ride for our daily errands, I just can’t help myself and we end up using this romantic beauty on more occasions than not.
Photos by Chrissy Powers Photography
That deep belly laugh that Grayson emits when I accidentally touch his arm pits in that sweet spot when I’m changing his clothes. That uncontrollable giggle that escapes Holden when he finds something funny. That chuckle I share with my husband as I share the days events and the things Holden said and Grayson did. These are the moments that are currently on repeat in our household day in and day out.
Laughter is the cure for almost anything and something that I’ve never had so much of since two children entered my lives. Whether it’s a case of the giggles, tickle shrieks, light chuckles, deep belly laughs, the laugh until you cry, even the I’m deliriously tired cry that turns into a laugh, life with children is full of laughter. Having children seems to have awakened in me a pure joy that I never knew could have existed and the way that they live their life with unabandoned happiness is completely infectious.