celebrating who was to become known as rinne

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remember when i was pregnant…like a year ago?  i do.  pretty sure my back recalls too, and the skin on my stomach definitely does.  well, a few of my sweet friends insisted on throwing me a little sprinkle to celebrate the upcoming bambino, by way of a perfectly perfect “toes and tea” party!  anyone who knows me knows i L-O-V-E my tea.  all kinds!  i do not discriminate on type, oh no.  chai, earl grey, english breakfast, roobios, mate, green, peppermint…i could go on all day.  the saddest thing about being a stay-at-home-working-mama is that i have had to move on to the hard stuff (coffee) after years of a love affair with tea and only tea, but oh man, we had some good times.  hot tea and i reunite when i’m sick or want something hot before bed (aveda tea…try it…fan-freaking-tastic).

the uber stylish hostesses (jen, brin, shannon and betsey) hit it out of the park with the invitation…

i loved the wrap around patterned band!

here i am as i walked out the door to the par-tay.  i was HUGE.  for the record, i fielded comments such as “wow – you must be ready to go ANY DAY!!!!” from approximately 6 months on. was awesome.

the party was nothing short of wonderful!  i have the sweetest, most thoughtful friends…they included all of my favorite things, and who doesn’t love a pedicure amongst pals.

they served ina’s rosemary cashews…

jalapeno-spring onion dip (not for the faint of heart!)…

beautiful macarons and flowers…

shannon’s famous cupcakes.  boy, are they good.

and a TEA station complete with vintage teacups.  i mean, are you kidding me.  tres magnifique!

spike-able punch, white wine and prosecco was also available.

the favors were perfect, of course.  a handful of individually wrapped teabags and a tea strainer.  i mean…these girls think of everything!

of course the hostess gifts (goodies from anthropologie) had to match the party.

and it KILLS me that i did not think to get a picture of all of the guests!  kills me.  i only thought about it once everyone had cleared out, post-pedi.  here are shannon, me and merrell at the very end.

such a fun day – i felt so loved!


it’s a…

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GIRL!!!  we can still hardly believe it.  seriously.  her name is catherine joy burnette and we’re calling her rinne (sounds like wren).  she is a happy and healthy little thing and looks just like her daddy and her pops, who favor each other.  we are so blessed and so overjoyed – no pun intended!
oh, the fun we’ll have…tea parties, mani/pedis and shopping.  i absolutely cannot wait, little gal.

labor day weekend

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hope all of you have a nice and relaxing long weekend!!  at our house, we’ll be laboring for three days straight because i will be in labor (essentially) in twelve short days and we have not labored enough these past eight and a half months!  we’ve got some nursery painting, a bit of baby clothes washing, a little big boy bed finalizing, a touch of general house organizing, don’t forget the yard clean up and…oh yeah, baby?  is this to-do list daunting enough that you don’t want to make an early appearance?


p.s. can someone figure out how to bottle up this nesting instinct and sell it?  i would pay so much money to be this productive when i’m NOT days away from adding to my brood.

see y’all next week!!!  i’ll have a much cuter stoop to show you :)


pregnancy dos and don’ts

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don’t you just love “dos and don’ts” lists?  i sure DO!  ha ha.  oh i crack myself up.  pregnancy is a funny time in one’s life.  it is as if your body is truly not your own.  and of course i mean that literally, since you are sharing your epidermis (and stretching it…way way out), organs, blood, food and just about everything else that makes your body tick with a teeny little bambino.  so in having gone around this merry go round twice now, i thought i would compile my own personal “dos and don’ts” of pregnancy. and keep in mind, this is just my personal list…i know everybody has their own experiences, but here is what i found to be true in my own.  here goes.

let’s start with fashion why don’t we?

DO: buy clothes at your favorite stores (if it’s hanging on the sale rack, you get bonus points) in bigger sizes.  maternity clothes are a RIP. OFF.  and you can only wear them when you are knocked up.  styles today are so very conducive to pregnant people!  long hemlines on shirts, flowy cuts and fabrics, and seams underneath the bustline.  take advantage of this, ladies!  my favorite haunts to cruise the sales rack for bigger items to wear during pregnancy are anthropologie (i love anthro, but let’s face it…a lot of their clothes could double as maternity any day of the week and twice on sunday), banana republic (incredible sales racks!  i wear a loose black silk shirt in a larger size that i picked up there for like $7 all the time) and the department stores are great too.  also, stock up on dresses…towards the end, pants become increasingly uncomfortable, especially when you’re sitting for an extended period of time (i.e. if you work behind a desk)…and you will only want to wear dresses.  i am in that mode now and if you see me two days in a row – i will probably be wearing the same dress.  true story.  these are desperate times people – 8.5 months pregnant in summer in georgia.  oy.

ok, so here is some pictoral evidence of my “normal people” clothes that i can wear when expecting.

this lilly pulitzer dress (i’m wearing it…on the very left, with all of the other knocked up gals at kanda’s baby shower) was a sale rack find and is a go-to for me and several prego friends who have borrowed it!  the cut of it is just perfect for a belly and it’s a nice material (unlike the cheapo viscose/jersey blend that makes most maternity clothes so…special) so you feel like you’re wearing a real dress.

this shirt i wore at rush’s birthday celebration is rebecca taylor (neimans sale rack, holla!), around the same size i usually wear, and makes me feel actually cute with a ginormous belly…and you bet your bottom dollar i’ll get a ton of use out of it after the baby too.

anthro sale rack purchase (two years ago when i was pregnant with rush).  love wearing this with some denim trousers i have from gap maternity.  it fits well into the 8th month, which is saying a lot for a non-maternity item.

recent (maybe 2-3 weeks ago?) anthro sale rack purchase.  wore this to a charity event with rbb weekend before last.  the dress came with a cute red slip – way too small for the LARGE AND IN CHARGE bump – but i just interchanged it for a similar colored long long camisole…bingo!  i already have a couple of belts in mind i’m going to cinch it with once that baby evacuates.

btw, have y’all caught on that i don’t buy anything at full price?  i never met a sales rack i didn’t like.

DON’T: buy a bunch of expensive maternity clothes.  i’m talking to you, pea in the pod.  gap maternity is where i get all of my real maternity pants and shirts.  i do have one pair of seven for all mankind maternity jeans (xmas gift from rbb when i was pregnant with rush…he understands a gal’s need for designer jeans, love that!) and wear them a ton, especially after the baby.  and sometimes when i want to eat a lot (just kidding…kind of). 

DO: self tan.  it is one thing to be 30+ lbs. heavier than you usually are; it’s quite another to be PASTY and 30+ lbs. heavier than you usually are.  get thee a spray tan or self-tanner, it will boost your self-confidence and make you feel skinnier!  my favorite self-tanner is st. tropez.  it’s scary dark when it comes out of the tube, but works like a charm.

DON’T: spend a lot of dough on the stretch marks cream.  i used mine religiously during my pregnancy with rush and got them anyway.  i think you are predestined to get them based on your genetic makeup…so if your mom got them, you probably will too.  and for me…bye bye bikinis.  been fun!
DO: get yourself a copy of the girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy.  vicki will be your bff during these trying times.
DON’T: read ‘what to expect when you’re expecting.’  that book still gives me shivers…it will scare the pants off of you.  and who needs that?!
DO: go for walks as much as you can stand to.  it will make you feel more energized and fresh air can’t be beat.  but make sure to bring lots of water with you. 
DON’T: kill yourself working out.  in the girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy, vicki tells you that she was pregnant four times – and compared all of her pregnancies, weight-wise.  in her first pregnancy, she ate everything in sight, and then with her fourth she says (and i believe her) that she was so busy she forgot to eat – and gained the same amount of weight with each pregnancy.  i could say the same thing – when i was pregnant with rush, i was seeing a trainer (obvi a different place and time – i can’t tell you the last time i lifted anything heavier than a can of tomatoes or my toddler) and tried to eat super healthy.  this time – not so much.  it’s too hot to walk on a regular basis and i have been MAJORLY indulging in all things sweet, everywhere, all the time.  at my 30 week doctor’s appointment, i weighed the exact same thing that i did last pregnancy at 30 weeks.  i think everyone’s body is predisposed to gain a certain amount of weight regardless – so have a little FUN why don’t you.  when else would it be appropriate to eat an entire double doozie in one sitting?!
btw, i had one two days ago.  it was soooo good.
DO: design a gender-neutral nursery – even if you know what you are having.  and i don’t mean definitely positively gender-neutral like all green and yellow, just a color palette you wouldn’t hate to use if you did have another baby of a different sex down the road.  
let me tell you a little story.  when i was pregnant with rush, we did not know he was going to be a boy.  thus, we were going to do a gender-neutral nursery regardless.  i opened up the pages of domino, took one look at jenna lyons’ yellow, black and white nursery and was done.  can you blame me?  how fab!
i had never had a lot of black in my decor scheme and was craving a little bit of the drama that it brings, and the yellow served as a great pop of bright color that i loved.  i bought jenna’s same bedding and set about putting the room in motion, searching high and low for just the perfect dresser / changing table, getting custom cushions and pillows made for the rocking chair, finding just the right paint color, artwork, draperies, i could go on and on.  it was SO FUN to put together and i still love the final result. 
this is how it looked in our old abode.  i would show you what it looks like in our new house, but oh wait – it’s not done yet.  poor second child.  
okay, now fast forward two years and some change and LLP is due in two short weeks.  since rush is now two and very much a big boy, he is moving into his toddler bedroom, which i wanted to put just as much effort into as i did the nursery.  and, you kind of have to – it’s not like any other room that you’ve had in your house before, so it requires some attention…plus, he is going to be in this room as-is for a good 8-10 years, maybe more?  so i want it to be nice.  here is my long-winded point – there is NO WAY i would have the energy / funds / focus to decorate this toddler bedroom AND another nursery in case we had a girl (like if we knew the gender or something crazy like that) at the same time.  plus, crib bedding is just not something you want to go long on.  you only use it for a couple of years and the nice sets are pretty steep.  i cannot tell you how thrilled i am that the nursery is pretty much on auto-pilot – it’s a huge relief to not have to worry about that.  and that is my little story….putting the soapbox away :)
DON’T: overlook what your parents or in-laws might have kept from your childhood that you can reuse in your nursery.  the rocking chair in our nursery is the same one that my parents used when we were all little.  it is so special to rock rush in that same chair…
me as a porker bambino.  and see, i’ve always been a bulldog.

rush at 4 months in the same chair wearing my favorite – kissy kissy!

and plus, it saved us lots of dough on a glider! 
DO: as much as you can to prepare for the baby and the nursery in the 2nd trimester.  you just never know how the 3rd is going to go…you could end up on bedrest, having the baby early, feeling like *&$)….and the 2nd trimester is the golden stage of pregnancy.  you feel good, have energy and can still lift things without grunting.
DON’T: prepare a birth plan.  again – you just never ever know how things are going to go, so don’t set yourself up for a big letdown when the baby isn’t born exactly the way you planned.  as for me, i didn’t do any sort of birth plan, and was glad i didn’t because of the way my delivery turned out.  (well, and my doctor and l&d nurse started making fun of some recent patient who had in her birth plan that she wanted to deliver on all fours…)  it was funny; i was in the dimly lit l&d room all day ‘laboring’ and they had a tv where you could set the channel on a music station.  so i thought “cool, i’ll have this baby come into the world listening to classical music; s/he’ll be so smart and cultured from the beginning”  (what a nut.  i know.  i was drugged up btw.)  well, after pushing for 2.5 hours to no avail, a failed vacuum attempt (which by the way is a medieval torture device), i was whisked off to the bright-as-a-landing-strip operating room where they were playing rap music.  swear.  luckily i hadn’t really attached myself to the scenario in the l&d room because it sure didn’t happen!  my point is, don’t set yourself up to be disappointed.  don’t go into labor with any expectations or trying to plan it…because you can’t.  babies have minds of their own and they all have their own agenda of how they’ll come into this world!
DO: bring baby clothes to the hospital.  i don’t know what i was thinking – i wasn’t – but the only outfit provided for the baby by the hospital is a shirt and as many diapers as s/he can dirty up.  it’s a good thing that we lived across the street from the hospital at the time and that i had pre-washed all of the clothes – we needed them!  and, might want to pack some newborn size diapers to bring along.  our hospital only carried size 1s and they were a little large on rush’s 7 lb. 12 oz. tush…newborns were so much more snug!
these babygap gowns are great.
DON’T: bring cute clothes or pajamas to wear while you’re in the hospital.  this one i borrowed from vicki iovine…but after giving birth, you are going to just…um…need changes of clothes regularly for various reasons that you’ll find out about in due time, and why mess up your good stuff?  that’s what the standard issue gowns are for!  maybe pack a bathrobe but that’s it.  oh, and a nice going home outfit (but definitely comprised of maternity clothes…chances are you are NOT going to be that 1 in a million [gazillion?] person who struts out of the hospital in their skinny, pre-pregnancy jeans).  this outfit will be well-documented so make sure you like it!  and, as hard as it may be to round brush and straight-iron your hair (especially if you had a c-section) and also apply a full face of makeup, DO IT on the day you leave the hospital.  you will seriously look at those photographs for years on end and you’ll want to look presentable!
DO: stay in the hospital as long as they will let you…or as long as your insurance will allow you to do so.  with a c-section, i know it’s four nights, and i believe it’s two nights with a regular birth.  i never understand why people choose to leave early – sure it’s nice to sleep in your own bed, but when you’re at the hospital, you can send your baby to the nursery and get a good night’s rest…have three meals made and delivered to you every day…and most importantly, there are nurses there 24/7 to answer any and all questions you have!!  man, i’m looking forward to my stay.  it will feel like a vacation!  home will always be there and trust me, you’ll see PLENTY of it in the coming months.  take your coat off, get a fresh hospital gown and stay awhile!
DON’T: forget to have your mom’s number on speed dial.  for obvious reasons.
DO: realize you are a ROCK STAR for birthing a child, any way you do it!  it’s no small feat and they don’t call it labor for nuthin’.  pat yourself on the back and pour a stiff cocktail (finally!!!!) upon arriving home with your new addition.  and remember the rule…best time to booze is when you’re nursing :)
got any tips of your own?  would love to hear them!!

must-have baby items

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over the years, several people have asked me for baby item suggestions. i used to have a little email that i would send out with my recommendations and suggested registry list, but i realized the other day that i can’t use it because most of the links have expired.  oh bugger!  so i thought i would do a version here for my mother-to-be readers.

here goes!

1:  maclaren rocker.  (on sale even!)

now – i know people swear by certain brands / models of swings and / or rockers, but you only need one or the other.  i mean, the baby only has one tucchus and it can only sit in one seat at a time.  i just couldn’t find a swing that i liked the look of and seemed easy to move around (so i can have the baby in the kitchen when i’m cooking, bedroom when i’m folding laundry, etc.), so i settled on a rocker instead.  when i bought my maclaren rocker in 2009, they offered a black and champagne colored version, which is what we have.  here it is with a very teeny rush, under oath and also using #6:

there is a canopy so your little dear can rest in total darkness, a vibration button if your baby digs that (rush was ambivalent so we kept it in rocker mode 99% of the time) and a play bar to attach toys to.  we loved it.  and the most important part – it is not ugly to look at and doesn’t scream “BABY ITEM HERE!”  faaaabulous.

2: babygap gowns.  we absolutley loved these, and since babygap makes actual baby clothes that fit actual babies in the actual time they are supposed to fit, rush wore these until he was probably 8-10 weeks old.  they have mittens for those tiny hands and are loooooong so they really do fit forever.  and when you’re changing a baby, bleary-eyed at 4 a.m., you just can’t deal with snaps.  so these gowns were lifesavers.

3: on the same vein with clothing items but a little higher-end, kissy kissy makes a convertible gown / body suit that is to die for.  what does this mean you ask?  and i must admit i didn’t figure out what those extra snaps were for well after the baby was born.  i am such a blonde.  even though i’m not really blonde.  but i used to be.  like twenty years ago.  anyway.  so, the snaps can either go up and down (creating a gown) or around the baby’s legs (creating a bodysuit – which you need when you buckle a baby into a carseat). 

what it looks like as a gown…

what it looks like as a bodysuit…

plus, kissy kissy items are super duper soft and just have such darn cute patterns.  my favorite!

4:  mrs. meyer’s baby blossom laundry detergent.  now i know that dreft is the popular choice, and i tried it but…i just can’t get over the way it smells.  it’s really strong and sort of makes me gag.  but mrs. meyer’s…i mean, all of their products have such wonderful scents, you can imagine how good this smells.  and since there are so many things surrounding babies that do not smell good at all, i have been a devoted user of this product since day one.

also lumped under the laundry category, oxiclean for babies is wonderful.  a friend of ours with four babies gave us a jar at our baby shower (she definitely knows what’s up!) and we used it all the time…it’s brilliant.
5.  motherlove nipple cream.  um, i will not spend a lot of time on this one, but if you nurse…just keep a jar of this around.  the all-knowing jen suited me up with some and it was a definite lifesaver.  plus it’s all organic and safe for baby’s ingestion. 
6.  the ultimate receiving blanket.  we got this from some friends at our baby shower (thanks tedders!!), and it came on a high recommendation from the gift givers.  we absolutely LOVED this blanket.  it is super soft, enormous (for baby standards) and perfect for swaddling (it even comes with pictoral instructions – good for husbands).  now i’m of the mindset that you just don’t need a whole bunch of stuff that just has one use for your baby – case in point, the blankets with the tucks, folds and velcros for swaddling – which they of course outgrow quickly, causing you to buy a bigger size…gimmick.  i can’t stand gimmicky stuff.  give me a regular blanket that i can swaddle with and i’ll be happy!  and this one was just the ticket.  we swaddled rush in it until he could wriggle out…i think it was around the 5 or 6 month mark.  that’s why the big size is so nice!  it’s also perfect for a stroller or car blanket, to lay out for them to sit on…just so many uses.  we washed it somewhere in the one thousand to two thousand time range, and it still looks new(ish) and is incredibly soft.  big fan.
7. in the same textile category as the swaddling blanket, muslin baby items by aden + anais are wonderful.  they make sleep sacks, bibs and blankets all out of breathable muslin with their cute graphics on them and they are just the best!  they also have a line for target where you can find a little price break. 
their muslin blankets – also great for swaddling or a light coverup to shield the sun on a summer walk…
their sleep sacks are light and airy – perfect for a spring slumber…
and this is the exact one that we have and love!  thank you kates!
and their “burpy bibs” double as burp cloths AND bibs.  love dual use items!
8.  the ultimate crib sheet.  never realized how many baby items have “ultimate” in the name.  anyway.  if you have ever changed a crib sheet, you probably know that you never want to do it again.  removing the bumpers and their million ties, taking out the mattress…it’s a huge pain in the tucchus.  jen schooled me on the rules of baby crib bedding 101 – here’s what she taught me to do to minimize your pain in this arena. 
the layering goes, from bottom to top:
mattress (duh)
mattress pad
spare crib sheet (i have a white cotton jersey one that i use here – seeing it means i better get ready to untie those bumpers soon)
“pretty” crib sheet (the one that goes with your bedding – it will show on the sides)
ultimate crib sheet
(if you’re hard core like me) another ultimate crib sheet
sheet saver
oh, what IS the ultimate crib sheet?  right.  it’s a waterproof flat sheet that has snap ‘latches’ that go around the crib slats.  it is a LIFESAVER, people.  when your precious dear get a little ick on the sheets, you just tug to undo the snaps and toss into the hamper to wash.  easy as that.  stock up!
just look how happy this baby is sleeping on the ultimate crib sheet! 
9.  baby bjorn.  this one you simply cannot live without.  it’s like a hands-free for your phone, except it’s for your baby.  i loved to wear rush marsupial-style when we went shopping, on walks, folding laundry, i could go on and on…whenever you needed your hands free but didn’t want to lug around the stroller or even worse, car seat.  i have a feeling this second child is going to get a lot of QT in the bjorn.
i have the original navy blue one, but just look at all of these fun colors they come in now!!  LOVE.  and check out how hip those dads look rocking the bjorn.  oh yeah.
10.  the girlfriend’s guide to…anything.  so, to all of my prego friends, i recommend that they read the girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy and nothing else.  that’s right – none of the what to expect when you’re expecting, week-by-week, etc.  in my opinion, those books only exist to 1) scare the pants off of you and 2) introduce you to all sorts of medical conditions that there is an iota of a chance your baby will actually have. oh and i forgot 3) make you feel like you are an inadequate mom (already!) because you haven’t baby-proofed your house by the 6th month of pregnancy or don’t have your birth plan written down and copied to your every doctor in your practice (just a piece of advice, don’t even bother doing one.  the only thing to expect about labor is that it will not go how you planned it to go!).   
but vicki…oh, vicki, how i love thee!  she is funny while informative, answers those questions that you probably wouldn’t talk to your friends about and just won’t make you freak out about anything, which is the most important part.  i turned to her for more advice with the girlfriend’s guide to surviving the first year of motherhood and am now reading the girlfriend’s guide to toddlers (HOW i need her wisdom in that arena!).  she is a wise and funny sage that you wish was your spunky aunt.  that lived next door.
so there’s my top ten.  other things i couldn’t live without…
diapees and wipees diaper carrier.  fits 2-3 diapers, a small thing of wipes and a disposable changing pad effortlessly.  plus, they have super cute patterns and don’t feel too “mom-ish.”  shannon gave me mine and it’s still always in my purse!
luna lullaby bosom baby – this was also a gift (thanks walstads :) and is just awesome.  bigger than a boppy, it’s perfect for a nursing pillow or for propping up the baby while he or she is “playing” so it’s not always on its back. 
born free bottles – there are a bazillion different kinds you can use, but we liked this brand.
lansinoh disposable nursing pads – oh lawd, buy these in bulk. 
anka high chair – not going to lie, got this because it was attractive (i.e. not plastic and didn’t have any cartoon characters on it) and we have absolutely loved it.  rush still eats every meal in it! 
and most of all, make sure to have a sense of humor when it comes to all of this mothering business.  you’ll definitely need it…every day!!!

no fair

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i think everyone remembers that kate hudson…enjoyed her pregnancy last go round.  i think to the tune of eighty-someodd pounds, if US weekly did exact math, anyway (which i’m sure they did).  well, she has a different lease on her indulgences this time it seems – it is seriously not fair to the rest of womankind to look this fierce while expecting.  and to be rocking what appear to be 5+ inch loubs?!  completely unreal.  she defies gravity in this picture.

and definitely no cankles in sight.

i’ve talked about pregnancy brain here before – it’s like this bambino has robbed me of at least one lobe if not more.  i cannot remember a thing, and thank the lord someone invented pen and paper because i really wouldn’t recall anything without those two choice inventions.  sunday i felt…just…something in my throat and thought “hmm, i wonder if i’m getting sick?  that would stink.  it’s june, who gets sick in june?  and what medicine could i take anyway?  and where did i put that sheet with the pregnancy-approved meds…oh bother.”  the same sensation happened twice yesterday.  and i JUST realized what it was.

hello again old friends.  welcome back to the interior of my purse.

heartburn.  how could i forget?