Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 In Review

As I look back on 2015, I can’t help but smile.  This is the year our beautiful daughter was born.  After a long journey to become pregnant, we met our sweet miracle girl on June 30th, and our lives were forever changed for the better. 
So many wonderful things have happened in 2015, including the following:

Births and Announcements
  • My cousin, Rach, had her twin boys in January
  • My friend, Lisa, had her baby girl in March
  • I had Gracie girl in June
  • My cousin, Aysha, had her daughter in July
  • My friend, Amanda, had her son in September
  • My friend, Koko, had her son in October
  • My friend Viviane, announced she is having a baby boy in January 2016
  • My cousin, Maliha, announced she is having a baby boy in January 2016 too

  • My daddy got married to a wonderful woman who I absolutely love!
  • My big brother got married to a wonderful woman who I adore!  Love my new Sis!
  • My friend, Ali, got married in NY in July; unfortunately I couldn’t go because Gracie was not even 2 weeks old
  • I was lucky enough to have 6 baby showers!
  • January:  NYC to visit all my college friends
  • February:  Montana with family to go snowboarding, although I had to sit this one out since I was pregnant
  • April:  Palm Springs with my hubby for our baby moon
  • August:  Montana with the family including all the babies...Grace's first vacation and first time on an airplane!!

  • Gracie celebrated some of her first major holidays, including, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
  • I celebrated 6 years in my career at Molina Healthcare
  • My hubby and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary with dinner at Morton's followed by the Ducks game (we had glass seats too!!!)
  • Ran/walked the Turkey Trot this year with 5 month old Gracie in the BOB jogger first 5K post partum and her first 5K ever!
  • Dad sold his house, which is the house my brother and I grew up in...we had a final farewell party that was pretty epic! :)
  • Gracie took swim lessons for a few months and loved them! 
I'm sure there are other exciting happenings I forgot to mention, but I will just blame that on my mommy brain :)  2015 was an incredible year filled with so many blessings and new beginnings.  I look forward to see what 2016 has to offer!  Until then, have a safe and happy New Year's Eve tonight!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Gracie!

And just like that, my little monkey is 6 months old!  She loves chewing on her hands, grabbing her feet, and playing in curtains.  She loves to laugh and smile, and she thinks her dogs are the funniest things in the world.  She is constantly rolling over, so we have to keep a watchful eye on her.  She can sit unassisted for a good period of time but she prefers to stand.  I swear this girl is going to walk before she crawls.  Her favorite thing to do is bounce/jump.  She loves to grab everything and put it in her mouth {toys, mommy’s necklaces, spoons, paper, and more), except bananas or avocado.  Her favorite foods are peas, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash; she is not a fan of apples.  She lights up when she sees Mom and Dad.  She is approximately 17 pounds of pure happiness, and is the light of my hubby’s and my world.  Happy ½ birthday, my darling girl. Your daddy and I love you to infinity and beyond.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!

Love, The O'Neils

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Festivities!

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds; 
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads."

Merry Christmas Eve!  It's hard to believe that Christmas is tomorrow, and it's Gracie's 1st Christmas!  Even though she will only be 6 months on the 30th, she has more presents under the tree than anyone else :)  We definitely spoil our little girl, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

This year is a little unconventional, as my hubby and I are hosting Christmas Eve dinner tonight!  This is the big celebration in my family, and for the past 40+ years, Mom and Dad have always hosted; Dad makes his famous spaghetti and meatballs that he learned from his Italian god father many years ago.  Recently, some very exciting things have happened that gave hubby and I the opportunity to take on the family tradition and host.  My Daddy got married!!!  I absolutely love his wife, my stepmom, and I am beyond happy they found each other.  More of that in a later post though :)  Since they recently got hitched, and are moving in together and settling in, my house is the party house this year for tonight's festivities.  Dad is still cooking though (phew!).

I am so excited for tonight.  As I said, Christmas Eve is our big shindig...lots of wine, laughter, Christmas music, more laughter, and this year, BABIES!!!!!!  We have four babies in the family who will be celebrating their first Christmas Eve and Christmas this Gracie, my cousin's daughter who was born 10 days after Gracie, and my other cousin's twin boys who are 6 months older than Gracie.  We cannot wait to see their little faces light up :)  And I have a super cute Christmas Eve dress for Gracie to wear :)

With that said, I am going to leave a few pictures of our happy girl here for you to enjoy:
Gracie's 1st time meeting Santa

Sweeter than a Gingerbread Latte (onesie courtesy of @perfectlysparkledd)

Head Elf (onesie courtesy of @perfectlysparkledd)

Our happy girl :)

She was absolutely fascinated by the lights

Her stocking made by her's HUGE!!!

Always smiling

She loves her doggies and they love her

My family <3

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Baby & Mommy Must-Haves

A few friends have asked me what I found to be the most helpful items for baby {and mommy}, so I thought I would share.  Please keep in mind the below list was built with newborns in mind.

Must-Haves for Baby
myBaby HoMedics SoundSpa On-The-Go:  This was incredibly useful in the first 6 weeks.  We brought it everywhere, and the nice thing is it clips onto anything (stroller, car seat, crib), or we would just hold it while we held our daughter to help lull her to sleep.

Fisher-Price My Little Snugapuppy Deluxe Bouncer:  We still use this all the time!  Since she’s not mobile, yet, it’s great to put her in when you have to go to the bathroom, pump, make a bottle, whatever.  In the beginning, I would bring this into the bathroom with me and put Grace in it while I showered.  I would leave the shower door open so I could see her (showers became somewhat of a luxury the first few weeks, especially after hubby went back to work, so I had to figure something out otherwise I’d go 3 days without showering!).  She loves napping in it too.

Summer Infant SwaddleMe Adjustable Infant Wrap:  These were super helpful, because Gracie would break out of a swaddle blanket no matter how tight we wrapped her.  These are the “cheat” swaddle, and they velcro shut to help keep baby in.

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets:  If you can afford to splurge, the Bamboo ones are so unbelievably soft!  The classic muslin Aden blankets are wonderful too!  We use them for EVERYTHING! a blanket, burp cloth, car seat canopy (we do have the actual car seat canopy, but it’s really heavy and can get hot…this is nice and light), playing peek-a-boo…you can’t have too many of these bad boys.  Plus they have some super cute designs.  Another great brand is Little Unicorn.

Cloth Diapers for Burp Cloths:  These make the best burp cloths!  They are super absorbant, more so than any other traditional burp cloth we’ve used.

Lady Bug Development Toy:  Of all the stroller/car seat attachment toys, this one is by far Gracie’s favorite.  I think because it has so many colors, the mirror, rings, crinkle sounds, a squeaker, soft material, silky material, etc.  It has the most stimuli in one toy, and she is so fascinated by it!  You probably won’t need this until 2-3 months, but I wanted to add it to the list anyways J

And we can't forget Mom!  The list below is what I found the most helpful right after coming home from the hospital.

Must-Haves For Mom
Mesh undies:  If you are giving birth in a hospital, ask to take home a bunch of the super sexy large mesh undies.  I read about them and thought, oh I won’t need those, I’ll be in my Hanky Panky thongs in no time.  Wrong!  Those mesh undies were all I wore for the first two weeks post partum.

Tucks Witch Hazel Pads:  These were a godsend after giving birth.  They felt so good, cooling and soothing, and I truly believe they helped shorten my heal time.  Sometimes the hospital provides them, and if so, ask for an extra container to take home.

Always Extra Heavy Overnight Maxi Pads:  Along with the super sexy mesh undies, these were so wonderful the first 2-3 weeks post partum.  You bleed for weeks, like a period (sometimes heavier), constantly.  These pads were great because they can handle the amount.  I would place a couple of the Tucks Witch Hazel pads on this pad, and it was a perfect combo.

Granny panties:  For when you run out of, or want to graduate from, the super sexy mesh undies, Hanes granny panties are great because they fit the Heavy Maxi pads.

Sitz Bath Spray:  This stuff is AMAZEBALLS!  It definitely helps with healing and soreness down there, and feels so good.

Those are the items my hubby and I to be the most useful the first several weeks with Gracie, and the mommy items are a must.  Take it with a grain of salt, as everyone's baby is different, everyone's birth is different, everyone's needs are different.  I'm just sharing what worked for us/me.  And below is a picture of our happy girl :)
4 months old

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The First Three Months

Wow!  Where has the time gone?  I can't believe my little monkey is three months old already.  That's right, THREE MONTHS OLD!!  I feel like I just gave birth to her, and yet a part of me feels like she's been in my life since the beginning of time.  From the moment I first held her three months ago, my heart became full.  Below are two of my favorite pictures from the moment she was born: 1) When she was first placed on my chest, and I'm crying tears of joy...I remember so vividly thinking in this moment, "She is mine, this is my daughter, I just birthed her, and I love her more than life itself.  My husband and I created this little miracle, and she is ours.  I can't believe it.  I can't believe she's finally here."  I had never been so full of love than in that moment; and 2) Sean's full of love.  He will tell you exactly what I just did, that in that moment, he felt more love than he ever thought possible.  I fell in love with him all over again seeing him as a daddy and the love he has for our daughter.  He is the best daddy to our Gracie, and I am so thankful to him and blessed that he is my partner in life.

And here we are now, three months later!  SO MUCH has changed, that it would take me pages to write about it all.  So I will do my best and keep it brief and share highlights :)

The 1st Month
The first month was both the hardest and easiest (contradictory, I know).  I say they were the hardest, because we were adjusting to a new schedule that did not include sleep.  I was nursing Gracie every hour or two, and Sean was always helping me, so we literally did not sleep much at all.  I say they were the easiest because all we did was lay on the couch with Gracie either asleep on one of our chests or nursing, and binge watching shows on Netflix (Downton Abbey is a terrific show btw!).  Despite the first month being chaotic and exhausting, it was also the most precious time spent with our little girl.  Sean and I cherish the moments she would just curl into a little ball on our chest, enjoying the skin to skin contact and bonding with her.
Skin to skin the day she was born, June 30, 2015
Skin to skin the day she was born, June 30, 2015
1 Month Old!
1 Month Old, Star Wars style!
Celebrating her first holiday at 4 days old!
Fist pump for her two big cousins AKA her bodyguards

The 2nd Month
The second month was when things started to get exciting!  Gracie was spending more time awake and she was so alert, observing everything around her.  She also started cooing, and making noises.  Around 6 weeks, she also smiled for the first time, and boy did our hearts melt.  All she does now is smile, and damn her smile is beautiful!

And some other pictures in the second month for fun:
One of my favorites!  She looks so coy here ;)

With her cousin, Audrey, who was born 10 days after Gracie.  They are wearing matching mermaid outfits made by my cousin/Audrey's mom, Aysha (she actually makes and sells onesies, so check out her instagram @Audreys__Closet)

Gracie with her twin cousins, Zeke and Auggie  (7 months old), and her cousin Audrey

This girl is all smiles all the time :)

Post-bathtime fun
The 3rd Month
The third month has been wonderful!  She is sleeping through the night anywhere from 5-7 hours, which is fantastic!  She can hold her head up without any support, however is starting to get frustrated with tummy time because she wants to move but can't yet.  She also can stand on her own legs and support her body weight for a short period of time!  We also go to MyGym once a week where we sing songs, dance, swing in swings, move our arms and legs, and practice important development skills.  Additionally, she takes swim lessons twice a week:  once a week she does a private lesson and once a week we do a Mommy and Me swim class with some other parents and babes.  It's so much fun, and she absolutely loves the water!

I love my family :)
Tummy time with Daddy
This girl is so smiley!!!  I can't get enough of her beautiful happy personality.
Swinging in the dolphin swing at My Gym
All smiles at her first swim lesson
Our 1st Mommy and Me swim class
She loves her daddy so much and lights up every time she sees him :)
First NHL game, Ducks vs. Kings!  Go Ducks!!
Some of her adorable outfits this last month
**If you want to see more pictures of Gracie, follow her instagram @babysparklegrace, or me @sparklemags**

During her first three months of life, she has:

  • Celebrated her first holiday (the 4th of July)
  • Traveled to Montana
  • Flown on a plane (and didn't fuss once!)
  • Been on two boats
  • Started MyGym activities
  • Started swimming lessons, including going under water (she loved the water)
  • Been to all our favorite restaurants
  • Mastered tummy time
  • Rolled over tummy to back!
  • Smiled (she smiles all the time!)
  • Giggled
  • Spent so much time with family getting to know and love everyone (which is so important to me and Sean that she does)
  • Gone running with Mommy
  • Visited the chiropractor for regular adjustments
  • Discovered that she can eat her fist
  • Grabbed and held objects
  • Stood up holding her body weight for a short period of time
She loves:
  • Lights
  • The sky
  • The color blue
  • Her kitty cat lovie
  • Her chewbeads rattle
  • Petting our dogs (and the dogs love her!!!)
  • Smiling
  • Playing pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo
  • Singing "The Wheels on the Bus"
  • Swimming
  • Bath time
  • Swinging in her swing
  • Snuggling with mommy and daddy
  • Walks with the dogs
  • Licking cold things (like soda cans or teethers that have been in the freezer)
  • Babywearing (she LOVES our Tulas)

The last three months have been the best three months ever!  I look forward to more adventures with my beautiful family :)

Previous Baby Bumpdates
If you want to see more, check our my other bumpdates below!
15 weeks / 16 weeks / 17 weeks / 18 weeks 19 weeks / 20 weeks /