TFF + The Pick No. 8

Friday, February 26, 2016
Hello Friday, you are certainly a welcome sight! We have no plans for this weekend, and sometimes that's just how I like it, making it up as we go. This week has been full of coffee and lots of baby snuggles. Okay, well what week isn't full of those two things?!

Greer had her 2-month shots, and I'm not sure who it was harder or her. So we've been extra cuddly this week to make up for it. I finally got myself out and about for a walk with one of my friends, and it felt great. My legs have been sore since, and I'm enjoying the post-workout ache I've been feeling. It has me motivated to start working my way back into exercising. It will be gradual, mostly because I'm nervous about over-extending myself and this new scar I tote. But, soon enough I'll be working out like it ain't no thing. Till then you can find me walking and strolling my baby.

T H I N K I N G  > About spring. The weather has been so back and forth, between snow and rain and temperatures in the 60s then down in the 30s. I'm over it. I'm ready for all things spring, the clothes, the décor, the weather.

P O N D E R I N G > A new blog series! More next week!

N E E D I N G > Some new jeans! Hello, mom bod ;) 

L I S T E N I N G > To Joshua Radin. If you haven't heard him, check him out.

D R E A M I N G > Of uninterrupted sleep. #oneday #momlife

S W O O N I N G > Over a house that we can't afford. A girl can dream and oggle though, can't she??

p.s. come back next week for the nursery reveal! 

Have the best weekend! Catch me #weekending on Instagram! xo

have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page
or subscribe via email to be updated every time I post (see the sidebar)

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Tag me if you like!

p.s. just one more thing! Rachel and I are hosting an Instagram challenge throughout the year. Each Monday a theme will be posted. During the week post a photo that gives your take on the topic. Get creative, get colorful, get unique! And on Fridays we'll pick our favorite and share it on our feeds! You in?! We'll be sharing next week's topic on Monday. And you've still got time to post a photo for this week! The theme is "Current Reads."

Greer Girl || 2 Months

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

T W O    M O N T H S

These first two months of Greer's life have been incredibly sweet. Husband and I have loved to watch our girl grow and respond to the world around her. She is our miracle for certain, and every day we find ourselves in awe of the tiny human God so graciously gave us. 

She has changed by leaps and bounds in the last month. Her smiles are brighter and so very contagious. Her cheeks are plump, and no double chin or thigh roll has ever looked cuter. She's even cooing and "talking" up a storm. Greer is really starting to take in what's happening around her, and she's making her mama and daddy fall even more in love with her. 

Greer has continued to be a wonderful baby, hardly crying, sleeping well (even when she refuses a nap on occasion), and loving her interaction with others. She has become so aware, making her time awake all the sweeter. She has the biggest and happiest smile, which makes her daddy and I beam. We've found we'll do anything (bring on the silly faces and noises) to invoke one of her toothless grins. And she's growing like a weed!

G R E E R   @   2   M O N T H S 

weight: 12 lbs 6 oz  ||  (85th percentile) 
birth: 7 lbs 3 oz

height: 24.1"  ||  (96th percentile)
birth: 20 1/2"

head: 15.5"  ||  (65th percentile)
birth: need to find that out


Greer is still a great eater! She has her schedule down and will insist on being fed every 2 hours during the day. Sometimes she allows for 2.5 or 3 hours if continuing a nap is more important. At night, she is making much longer stretches, her longest being 7 hours. Mostly, she sticks to 4 hours between night feedings, which is manageable and gives us a little more shut eye. The older she gets, the more spaced out all of these feedings will become.

We're in a good routine of burping mid-meal, and although she may not always be happy to take this break, she goes along, gives a good burp, and then continues feeding. It has worked really great to keep that pattern going, relieving any air bubbles she may get while nursing.

The two of us have truly settled into this whole breastfeeding arrangement, and it feels amazing to be hitting our stride. I feel very thankful that breastfeeding has gone so well and that Greer is growing and thriving from the milk she is getting. It does a mama heart good to know I can supply what my baby needs. 


Our sweet girl is now sleeping away the nights and (a handful of) her daytime naps in her crib! This is huge for us! The first time we attempted the crib, she was not having it, making it only 30 minutes before insisting to be elsewhere. I think it was simply because she just wasn't ready.

On a whim on February 9, I put her down in her crib for a nap, and it took. The second nap of the day was also successful in her crib, so we tried it for bedtime. Low and behold our girl slept soundly throughout the night in her crib for the first time, and that's where she has been sleeping ever since! We think Greer was ready for the transition largely because she outgrew the bassinet feature in her pack n' play. She wakes 2-3 times a night for feedings and will grunt every now and then trying to settle herself, but overall she is a sound sleeper in her nursery. We're thankful she likes being in her crib because she sleeps so much better in it!

As she and I try to find a daytime schedule, it's become apparent that after her morning feeding (anywhere from 6:00-7:00) she'll give us her best smiles, some interaction, and then she'll catnap until she's hungry again. By this time it's around 9:00, and after this nursing session is her best nap time. If we miss it the day can be a bit off, but if she can get in a good snooze she has such a good day. Her afternoon naps are a little more ebb and flow. She'll typically fall asleep again after her lunch feeding, and then she may or may not nap again after 3:00. We are striving to make her bedtime routine consistent, starting around 7:30. While we don't always make it stick, we're trying!

D E V E L O P M E N T   /   P L A Y

We still aren't into the playing phase just yet, but her interaction with us has definitely become more of a thing. She responds to her daddy and I with smiles, and even at times a frown. It's the cutest furrowed brow and pouty lip you've ever seen.

She loves kicking her legs and moving her arms all around while laying flat. And she just adores looking at our ceiling fans. She coos and almost laughs at them. It's the sweetest. Her daddy will make lots of noises with her, which induces "conversation" between the two. The more you talk to her, the more she responds. She is really starting to love being engaged by others.

I think in this new month she'll find more interest in toys, especially when she learns to grab and hold onto things. 

  • She loves high pitched songs. And if you sing to her, she prefers "Hallelujah" and "You're Beautiful" by Phil Whickam (specifically sung by her daddy).
  • Her nails grow so quickly, and we have to be careful to keep them trimmed. She is a wild woman with her hands and all too often she is scratching her face.
  • She is really starting to enjoy bath time.
  • Our big girl is in size 2 diapers now.
  • Her great grandmom finished crocheting a baby blanket for her, just like she did for me as a baby. A very special keepsake this mama is going to cherish.
  • The hair she lost on top of her head in month one has now all grown back. She is now starting to lose her newborn hair around the sides of her head.
  • She celebrated her first Valentine's Day. Her daddy got her a stuffed rhino for her nursery wall and the sweet card. They'll always be each other's special Valentine.
  • Greer helped celebrate her mama's 26th birthday, her Uncle Cary's birthday, and her twin cousins' birthdays. So many birthdays! 
  • Greer was never a tummy sleeper. But, lately she prefers to fall asleep tummy to tummy on mama, and I am soaking it up because she'll change that preference before I know it. 
  • She rarely falls asleep in the car now. Luckily, she's still content in her carseat.
  • When meeting new people or seeing someone she hasn't seen in awhile, she won't make eye contact right away. Instead she looks all around that person until she's comfortable to look at their face.
  • She finally likes being in the Solly Wrap, but only for napping. She's too curious and wants to look around while awake to be strapped down on my chest.
  • Her Sidda (my mom's grandmother name) got Greer her first teddy bear.
  • She has had several dining out experiences, which have all gone great. 
  • She sleeps really quite well when there is a lot of background noise.
  • The Zantac has been helping her acid reflux, and we're thankful for that.
  • She got her two month shots and it broke her mama's heart, but she was a champ through it.
  • She has had two more big snow storms since her first in month one.
  • Greer is in 6-9 month one-piece jammies or rompers. Girlfriend is so long that she doesn't fit in anything smaller. If it's a two piece ensemble then she still fits in 3-6 months.
  • We caved and used the NoseFrida on her. Well worth the weirdness. 
  • She has filled out quite a bit and is gaining those sweet, baby thigh rolls and chubby cheeks. I could eat her up!

T W O   M O N T H S   P H O T O   C O L L E C T I O N

For many more photos of my girl and all her grins, check out my Instagram!

In case you missed it >>

A Smokin' Saturday

Monday, February 22, 2016
Saturday teased us with the warmth of spring. It was a mild and sunny day with temperatures in the upper 50's, and it was beautiful. After two weeks of two big snow storms, I relished in the spring-like weather. And because it was so lovey, husband finally got to pull the smoker out and smoke a Boston butt. He's only been waiting since Christmas day to use it (it was my gift to him). It couldn't have been a more perfect day for it. The aroma of the smoking meat, the windows cracked, and the sunshine casting rays all over made me long for the spring time. T-minus 26 days, friends!!

We kicked our morning off with Chick-fil-A iced coffees, a stop in Home Depot for pavers (to go under the smoker) and succulents to finish the details in Greer's nursery, meat and smoker prep, and cuddles while watching Parenthood. The afternoon involved some much needed picking up while our bitty girl napped, but once she was up we spent a good chunk of time cooing and making faces at her to get some of the brightest smiles. So  here are some photos from our laid back, family Saturday if you will...

find me on Instagram today to be a part of this week's #thedarlingdetails challenge!

TFF + The Pick No. 7

Friday, February 19, 2016
Every. single. Friday. I could tell you just how fast the week has gone and that I don't know how another Friday has arrived. The same goes for this one too. I'm always wondering where the week went, what happened to it, and how I can slow the time right on down. This week was quick, and probably so because of the three day weekend. I'm all for a four-day work week. The more time I can have with my sweet little family the better.

This weekend marks Greer turning two months old. Whoah, what?! I feel like I was just bringing her home from the hospital. Looking at her newborn photos and then looking at the baby in my arm shows just how much time has passed since she was born. It's unbelievable. One thing is for certain, I can't get enough of her. From those chubby cheeks to her tiny toes I am head over heels for my sweet girl. You can imagine there will be lots of weekend snuggles going on in our home!

T H I N K I N G  > About how darn nice it is to live close to family. Sometimes I think I take it for granted, and I need to be more aware of how lucky we are to have such a sweet convenience. 

P O N D E R I N G > When this postpartum hair loss will stop. Hopefully before I'm bald!

N E E D I N G > To get organized! Have any good tips on getting and staying organized?? And can someone please come do my laundry and put it away? I'm drowning in it!

L I S T E N I N G > To silence. Everyone in my house is sound asleep and besides the tap, tap, tap of the keyboard and the hum of the baby monitor, it's just plain quiet.

D R E A M I N G > Of the 60° weather that is gracing Virginia this weekend. After two large snowfalls in two weeks I'm over the winter, over the snow, and ready for warmer weather!

S W O O N I N G > Over the newborn photos that came in last night!! Yay for hanging them!

Happy a super fabulous weekend, friends! Catch me #weekending on Instagram! xo

have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page
or subscribe via email to be updated every time I post (see the sidebar)

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Tag me if you like!

p.s. just one more thing! Rachel and I are hosting an Instagram challenge (of sorts) throughout the year. Each Monday a new theme will be posted. During the week post a photo that gives your take on the topic. Get creative, get colorful, get unique! And on Fridays we'll pick our favorite and share it on our feeds! You in?! We'll be sharing next week's topic on Monday. And you've still got time to post a photo for this week! The theme is "Winter White."

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday, February 18, 2016
I'm a sucker for comfort food, especially during the winter months. I'm also a fan of simple-to-put-together meals that involve little work. So when I caught the airing of Siri's Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie recipe while watching the Today show I knew it was a must try in the Hill House. And you guys, it was fabulous! In the week since it has aired, we've had it twice. Yep, that good. And it's a new go-to meal for us when we're filling out the weekly menu and can't come up with that one last dinner option. 

You can't go wrong with this recipe. The chicken is tender and perfection, and the stew is every bit as tasty as it looks! If you're looking for a meal to try this weekend, give it a whirl! 

For convenience we changed how we made the biscuit topping and made little tweaks to the vegetables, but otherwise we followed along with Siri's recipe.

  • What You'll Need
    • Chicken Stew
      • 2 TBSP olive oil
      • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
      • Salt and pepper
      • 1 large onion, diced
      • 3 medium carrots, diced
      • 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
      • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      • 1/4 cup heavy cream
      • Pinch of thyme
      • 1 cup frozen green beans
    • Biscuits
      • 2 1/4 cups Bisquick
      • 2/3+ cup milk
      • 2 TBSP butter, melted

  • What You'll Do
    • Take the skin off and cut the meat off the bone. (This is the worst part, but the end result is totally worth it!) Cut the meat into small, nugget size pieces (about 1 1/2")
    • Heat the oil in large skillet then add the chicken. Season it with salt and pepper. Cook the meat on high, turning the chicken occasionally, making sure that it is browned and crusty all over. Then add the cooked chicken to the slow cooker. 
    • Add the diced onion and carrot to the skillet. Cook until softened.
    • Add the flour and stir continuously until the vegetables are coated and light brown.
    • Stir in the broth, heavy cream, and thyme. Bring to a boil then transfer to the slow cooker.
    • Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 3.5 hours with the lid ajar just a crack.
    • After the time has passed, add the green beans.
    • Preheat the oven to 400°. Transfer the chicken stew to a round oven-safe dish.
    • In a separate bowl mix the Bisquick and milk together. Dollop the dough on top of the chicken stew.
    • Brush the biscuit dough with the melted butter.
    • Bake for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

***use thigh meat for this recipe!! It's totally worth it!

7 Things A Husband Should Know About A Breastfeeding Mama

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Aren't there so many things you would like to go back in time to forewarn and prep your husband about when it comes to welcoming a baby into your family? You know, about how you'll feel post birth, the emotions you'll be experiencing (welcome to that rollercoaster), and the ways he can support you. It would be nice if he could read your mind, but truly that's just not going to happen no matter how much you will it. There will be things you'll need to share and explain to him, because after all women and men think differently, and successful communication is a key to a happy marriage and a happy mama too.

As we grow as moms our needs are growing too, and our thoughts on areas of parenting are becoming more defined. In the last 8 weeks breastfeeding has been that area for me. While it's largely a part of parenting that a husband can't partake in, there are also a handful of ways that he can be involved. As a first-time nursing mama who's pretty much always on the clock, I've had an ample amount of time to learn what works best and become fully aware of how breastfeeding makes me feel. I've also considered what I think husbands should know too. Some comical, some just common sense, and without needing much explanation, husbands should be well equipped with these tidbits to make breastfeeding for a mama a little smoother, a little easier, and a little more relaxed.

O N E. 
Where's the Meat?
My appetite has pretty much changed completely since becoming pregnant with our baby. I've gone through so many phases I can't count them any more. First there were the aversions, followed by very specific preferences. And now that our little cherub is here, my body is screaming for protein, specifically meat. This is new in our household; I'm typically more of a sides gal, but breastfeeding a baby has given me cravings for meat and lots of it. Husband, don't expect my food preferences to return to normal or even out anytime soon, if ever. You're probably not complaining about more meat, though.

T W O.
Midnight Diaper Duty
Since I'm feeding our sweet babe throughout the night, waking from deep sleep that's only been going on for about an hour, I welcome your help. Getting up to grab our crying baby and bringing her to me gives you major brownie points. Changing baby's diaper before handing her over is icing on the cake. So new dad, no you don't have to sit up with me while I'm nursing our baby, chances are I might even be dozing off too. But, having your help to take care of the other things is huge

T H R E E.
Dominant Squared
It's become clear to me that I have to be ready to adjust at all times with a new baby. I know by this point chances are there will be at least one meal a day where I will be holding our tiny babe. Typically I'm holding her in my dominant/stronger arm. Don't underestimate the skills I've now perfected with my less dominant, now almost equal, hand. That being said, I still need your help to make it a little easier on me. Be proactive, I appreciate it.

F O U R.
Not For You
Not only are we more sensitive emotionally, but so is our body. Specifically our breastfeeding boobs. Just because they're being pulled out numerous times a day, doesn't mean they are fair game. No, that boob is not for you. 

F I V E.
Open Bar
While I most certainly love that I can nourish our baby and sustain her through breastfeeding, know that I don't always enjoy being an open bar both day and night. It's true, it can get tiring. At times I even feel like a drive-thru window, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When the opportunity presents itself to give our baby a bottle at one of her feedings, jump at it. Not just to give me a little break, but to bond with her too. 

S I X.
Flaunt What You Got
Pregnancy does some wild things to your body. Breastfeeding helps make you a little bit more comfortable with those changes. I don't mean that it necessarily helps you embrace them, but it does make you care a little less when you've got a crying baby who just needs milk. So shirt up, stomach out, boob out, this new mama is not concerned with the leftover baby belly that is currently on display. And while there might be a lot of body now visible as I prepare to feed our baby, don't stare. Go about your business like there's nothing to see. And please don't try to compliment my post-baby figure at this time.

S E V E N.
"Moo"re Milk
While pumping I will be amazed at what my body can produce while simultaneously feeling like a cow. It's a conundrum and it's unlikely to go away.

photo credit: rachel wells photography

TFF + The Pick No. 6

Friday, February 12, 2016
Heyo, Friday! My weeks get away from me these days. And I totally mind because it means my baby is getting that much older. Seriously, husband and I measured her yesterday and she's 24 inches long! I know, she's long. I have hopes that she'll play volleyball like her mama. We'll see. Really, though, time could stand to slow down, but winter can see itself out the door.

Speaking of, the weather has been bitter here all week long, and as if I haven't had cabin fever bad /long enough, the bitter temperatures and windchill make it a definite no-go for a random trip to Target (this mama would love to stroll carelessly through Target! Who wants to join me??). So Greer and I have been holding down the fort at home in our pajamas no less. Care to know what else I'm thinking this Friday, keep scrolling down...

T H I N K I N G  > Babies change just as soon as you think you have it all figured out. Greer has had a couple of those weeks where she keeps throwing me curve balls. And while I imagine she knows exactly what she's doing to me according to those smiles she gives, I know she's just being a baby and adjusting along the way. But I want to know, when will I be able to keep a schedule during the day??

P O N D E R I N G > A good chocolate treat to make for Galentine's (yes, us gals are getting together to celebrate each other!) next week! Anyone have a great chocolate recipe they'd like to point me to??

N E E D I N G > Spring weather, warm sunshine, and lots of fresh flowers! Texas, send me some of your faux spring weather please!

L I S T E N I N G > To the dryer doing it's thing. I can't believe how quickly we get behind on our laundry lately. And even though it's not my favorite chore, I do love the smell of those Dreft scented baby clothes and blankets!

D R E A M I N G > Of putting up the newborn photos I ordered yesterday! My gallery wall is full of photos from 2013 and in need of some change. I can't wait for them to arrive in the mail! It would be the best treat if they showed up Saturday!

S W O O N I N G > Over baby girl's nursery. It's been a work in progress for a long while now. Even though it's practically done, there are little details that need tending to. And when those are done, I'll be revealing it on here! But, if you've been curious, there are sneak peeks of it every now and again on my Instagram feed.

Happy Weekending from the Hill trio! xo

have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
and stay up to date with posts by liking the blog's Facebook page
or subscribe via email to be updated every time I post (see the sidebar)

Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Tag me if you like!

p.s. just one more thing! Rachel and I are hosting an Instagram challenge (of sorts) throughout the year. Each Monday a new theme will be posted. During the week post a photo that gives your take on the topic. Get creative, get colorful, get unique! And on Fridays we'll pick our favorite and share it on our feeds! You in?! We'll be sharing next week's topic on Monday. And you've still got time to post a photo for this week! The theme is "Valentine's"

One Month [Baby & Mama] Essentials

Thursday, February 11, 2016
I learned a lot in Greer's first month, which prepped me for month two! There have been staple baby and mama items that have made all the difference as I settle more into motherhood and understand the likes/dislikes of my baby. I've also found and accepted that sometimes convenience is key. Don't take that one for granted, even if it means a bit of a splurge. If you can swing it, then spend that little extra money to make your life a little easier as you transition into parenthood!

I'm sharing the items that have been the essentials in the first month for both Greer and myself. I know I love looking at other similar posts detailing the items that made the biggest difference. And since I've found some key players in this caring-for-baby-game, I thought I would make my own essentials list and pass it along. I hope it helps you!

1. Little Unicorn Cotton Swaddle >> These have been great for covering Greer when she has on warmer clothing or her daddy or I are holding her. It helps keep her from getting to hot from being wrapped in a thicker/heavier blanket. Not to mention, they're great for photos :) 

2. Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Preemie Standard Nipple >> Greer can be a ravenous eater and consequently takes in a lot of air in the process. While we rarely use a bottle, it is something we're introducing so that her daddy can feed her too. The preemie nipples allows for a slower milk drip, which slows down her eating. I don't believe the bottles typically come with a preemie nipple, and it's something you'll have to buy separately and switch out.

3. Dr. Brown's Bottles with Vent (4 oz) >> For us, these bottles and the preemie nipple go hand-in-hand. The vents in the bottles help with the air coming through. Pair that with the smaller nipple, and it creates a much friendlier feeding for our sweet girl. She took so well to the bottle, and I think it all has to do with the features I've mentioned. 

4. 4Moms Infant Tub >> Greer girl is really growing to love bath time. Our favorite feature of this tub is the thermometer that helps us get the temperature just right for her. We also love that there are holes perfectly placed in the sides of the tub to keep water at a level that is never too high for her. 

5. NUK Newborn 100% Silicone Pacifiers >> We haven't used this exact pacifier yet, but we are fans of the brand. These are currently being ordered to give a try. We like that they are silicone and not a hard plastic, which will hopefully not cause the lines around the mouth that the plastic ones do. Greer prefers NUK pacifiers to other pacifiers, and I'm thinking it's because of the nipple shape and size. It's much easier for her to hold onto and keep in her mouth. 

6. HALO SleepSack 100% Cotton Swaddle >> Our girl is not and never was a swaddler. These sleep sacks, while still not my very favorite, do create a way for us to wrap her up, but keep her arms out. 

7. Boudreaux's Paste (Natural) Diaper Rash Cream >> This stuff clears up those red and irritated cheeks right away! 

8. Graco DuetConnect DLX Swing & Bouncer >> The swing was Greer's favorite way to snooze. She had a week of disdain with it, but is back to swinging contentedly in it and catching some zzz's. My favorite part of the swing is that the bouncer/seat can be detached. It has helped this mama get her showers in! It also plays a variety of sounds and some music, including white noise. Combine the noise options with the swinging and you've got a happy (hopefully sleeping) baby!

9. Babies R Us Wipes Warmer With Light >> Babies appreciate warm wipes. I tell you it's true. Well, at least our girl does. Since this warmer is in her nursery, it's where all of the nighttime changes occur. The warm wipes help keep her sleeping, or if already awake, calm. The cold wipes we use downstairs do just the opposite. Our very favorite feature of this wipe warmer though, is the light. It's the perfect nightlight for the night diaper changes, allowing you to see exactly what you're doing without disturbing baby. 

10. Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer >> This is the splurge item, and I can't recommend it enough. There have been one too many times that something has gotten on it during a changing and all it takes to clean it up is a diaper wipe. So simple. There's no taking off a cotton cover, washing that cover, and then replacing it. Nope, just a wipe down and you're good to go! Not to mention, it's very soft for baby!

1. CamelBak Eddy Insulated .6L Water Bottle >> As a nursing mama, I'm just about always thirsty. This bottle is great for keeping water with you always. I highly recommend getting an insulated bottle so that no condensation gets on anything. Having the straw is also helpful for one-hand access when nursing.

2. Aquaphor Lip Repair >> This has worked wonders on my lips. After having Greer, my lips became very dry and cracked. Maybe from the pain medicine I was taking or from the medicine given to me for the c-section. This ointment got my lips back into tip top, healthy shape. It's also great for applying around baby's mouth if baby is breastfeeding. I used it for Greer in the first couple of weeks until her delicate skin got used to feeding. **baby girl's pediatrician recommended putting it around her mouth, not her lips, when I asked if there was something I could use so she wouldn't get chapped

3. Goody Thin Black Elastics >> These are a part of my everyday, and you can find them all over my house. With a new baby and not a whole lot of time to do my hair, they are great for pulling my locks up and out of my face. Plus they're gentle on my hair, key for that postpartum hair loss.

4. Gilligan & O'Malley Seamless Nursing Bra >> This bra is fantastic, and I love it! I wear it at home and during the night. It gives me enough support without being too constricting. It also allows for easy access, which is huge during a middle of the night feeding when you're waking up and have a hungry baby to feed!

5. Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breastpump Starter Set >> This pump has been great, especially for those times when baby girl gets full before switching sides. It's simple to use, and the parts are easy to clean.

6. Old Navy's Jersey Stretch Tank >> These have been great for wearing under shirts. They aren't nursing tanks, but they are stretchy enough that you can easily maneuver it to work during a nursing session. Not to mention they are long without being too long and super comfortable.

7. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion>> I used this while pregnant and continue to do so now in hopes that it will help with the stretch marks that popped up at the end of pregnancy. I'm also hoping it will help as my skin tightens back up.

What have been your baby + mama essentials??

Naming Greer

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It's been seven weeks and two days since our little lady joined our family. But, it's been 25 weeks since we knew our babe was to be a girl and that her name would be Greer. 

From the moment we found out we were expecting, I felt 100% certain that we would be welcoming a bouncing baby boy. I even forced husband into narrowing down our top boy names, which he continually insisted we not do until we knew what we were having. Since we knew our number one girl name, and because we were obviously having a boy (how wrong was I?!), there was no need to worry about naming a girl. 

To my biggest surprise and delight the tiny babe growing inside me was a girl! In the immediate moments after finding out, we watched a dancing baby girl on the ultrasound and knew it was our Greer

I can't remember where I first heard it, but Greer has been a favorite for years, stemming all the way back to our college/dating days. It was the name husband and I kept coming back to. While we decided to share the gender, we opted to keep her name secret until she was born. It wasn't too hard to keep her name under wraps, and it made revealing it on her birthday that much more special. In the privacy of our home and when we were sure no one could hear, husband and I called her by name, testing it out to make sure that it was the one. During the remaining weeks of our pregnancy, naming our daughter Greer became more definite each time the one-syllable pronoun rolled off of our tongues. 

Our next decision was the middle name(s). I have two middle names (Margaret Rose) and for the longest time I didn't want to give our children three names. But, I had a change of heart toward the end of pregnancy and decided that I would love to pass down the two-middle names quirk that my mom and sister also share.

Originally we had decided on Greer Elizabeth. I adore the pairing of a unique and uncommon name with a classic and more feminine name. Elizabeth fit that bill, complementing Greer perfectly. It was on our babymoon that we decided a second middle name was exactly what we wanted. I had had a name crush on Arden after having heard the name a couple of years ago, but had forgotten about it since. While babymooning I read the name again in a magazine and it clicked. Our little lady would have a pass down from mama, and three names that her daddy and I are crazy about. That's how we landed and settled on Greer Arden Elizabeth Hill.

While we didn't choose any of her names for their meaning, we both love what they stand for, especially strung together. Each name's meaning complements the others beautifully. Greer is a surname that means "alert/watchful". It reminds me of the way the Lord is watchful over us. With Greer being our miracle baby after a miscarriage, it felt like a sweet reminder of the care, love, and guidance God showed us as we walked through that valley. In Latin, Arden means "a dwelling place". We want her to dwell in the Lord, to know Him, and find rest in His presence. And in Hebrew, Elizabeth means "my God is abundance". Even in the busyness, wants, and demands of this life, we want our girl to know there is always overflowing fullness found in the Lord. How lovely are the three of those together?

I must say, naming your child can feel like a lot of pressure at times. So when you settle on a name that just feels right and you love the sound of it every time you hear it, you've found the one. We are so smitten with our daughter's name and thought from the moment we first saw her that she wears the name so well. We can't wait to see who our tiny Greer Arden Elizabeth will become!

Red, White & Pink || Valentine's Décor

Monday, February 8, 2016
If you've been around the blog long enough you know that I love celebrating the holidays and making them special. Valentine's Day is no exception, and I love the excuse to use pops of bright pink around the house! I stick with fairly traditional touches for this holiday, keeping it simple and charming. 

This year I opted for shades of red and pink, with some white and black to keep the décor from being overwhelming. Come on inside the #HillHouse for a look at our Valentine's décor! And if you're a blogger, link up at the bottom of the post with Rachel and I to share your V-day decorating.

Fresh flowers are the perfect way to add flair and color to seasonal and holiday decorations. My tip is finding them on manager's special at Kroger. You can get more for your buck, and who doesn't love an inexpensive floral arrangement?! Another creative and cheap way to decorate is by filling glass jars and apothecary jars with seasonal and holiday candy. Just be warned that you will eat all of the candy, and most likely before the holiday even arrives ;) 

Another favorite of mine is filling apothecary jars with ornaments. I found these on a great deal at Michael's. My tip is to combine textures to give the look depth. Here I went for shine and glitter.

Last year I made these Valentine's pom poms. They're a super simple DIY project that brings a lot of pizazz to holiday décor! And check out that sweet baby swinging in the background!

One of my biggest decorating tips is to use what you have. I make sure that I pick a cover for each of my Chatbooks that could be used for different times of the year, whether it be for the seasons or the holidays. It's an easy way to decorate without spending more money!

Recently we added a coffee bar to our kitchen, and it's been fun to decorate it. The chalkboard above it is always "decorated" with text and drawings for holidays and other occasions.

If you're looking for a simple craft to do with kiddos, try cutting out strips of construction paper, folding them into hearts, punching a hole in each side, and running jute through them for garland.

Again, use what you have. I took left over scrap paper and made a tiny banner to run in my boxwood wreaths. 

So there's my simple Valentine's décor! I hope you enjoyed! 

p.s. Be sure to head to Instagram for the weekly challenges that Rachel and I are kicking off today!