Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baby Naming with Eloise

We have narrowed it down to our final five baby names - two girls, two boys and a unisex - but the process hasn't been easy. On Saturday, upon waking from a ridiculously long and indulgent family nap, we decided to go through name options once more, this time with Eloise. Starting with A and working through the alphabet it was funny to hear her opinions.

Aaron? "No."
Angus? "That's an old man."
Audrey? "That's my baby's name."
Beau? "I don't."
Benjamin? "Nah."
Blair? "Hmm"
Briar? (Blank stare)
Charles? "Not Charles, what about Christmas?"
Cole? Chris piped in, "I like Cole!
Edward? "The elephant?"
Frank? "No."
Fredrick? "Haha."
George? "That's a pig!"
Georgia? "I like it."
Harry? "Harry's Bucket Full of Dinosaurs is not right."
Harriet? "Franklin's sister?"
Henry? "Hen-ray!"
Hugh? "Yuppa, that's good."
Imogene? "No."
"I like Jackson, do you, Mama?" (I don't)
Jacob? "No."
Kendall? "Barbie's boyfriend?"
Laurence? "No."
Malcolm? "I like it."
Mallory? "That's my big girl best friend." (I have no idea who she means by this)
Mackenzie? "I don't like Mackenzie."
Nora? "Blah!"
Olivia? "She is an oink pig."
Penelope? "Penelope is on of my Barbies." 
Phillip? "Nuh-uh."
Quinn? "No, do you like Quinn, Daddy?"
Ralph? "He's trouble."
Simon? "No."
Spencer? "Not very good."
Theodore? "Umm hmm!"
Violet? "Blah."
Whitney? "Not very good."
Winnie? "Winnie is my friend."
Xavier? "Too many letters."
Zoe? "Zoe is Peppa's friend."

"No more talking, Mama, can we go play Barbies now?"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

All Baby

At 35 weeks my big belly is all baby. Legs poke out one side and Baby's back sticks out the other, filling up my tummy in a very Franken-baby manner. It's weird to feel the baby move ever so slightly and see somewhat defined body parts against the stretched skin of my belly. Oh hello foot.

I'm exceptionally tired these days and my productivity has screeched to a snail's pace. It's amazing how hard and uncomfortable normal, everyday things have become. Things like walking, getting out of bed, and sitting at the computer are not easy, sometimes they even hurt. My patience has become more limited but I have been taking lots of deep breaths and reminding myself that this is all a bit hard for Eloise too. I look at it from her perspective: she went from having a mom always going somewhere or doing something to one who is spending a considerable amount of time at home, often sitting down. No doubt my girl has reason to be a little confused and a little testy too. 

I've noticed my body changing over the last few days and it was my mom who pointed out that it looks like Baby has dropped a little. Excellent. I am in no way prepared to be pregnant for another four weeks. This discomfort will only get worse and now that I have had my hair done and my hospital bag is ready to go, Baby come on down. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Polka Dotty, Realized

Our room for two is finally finished and it's lovely.

Eloise's room, which she will soon share with her new sibling, has been cleared of clutter, cleaned top to bottom, reorganized and redecorated. With the exception of Eloise's bed everything moved around and we now have the room set so that both kids will have their own 'space' (aka sides).

My original vision was for a gender neutral black, white and pale blue room sprinkled with lots of polka dots and I'm quite pleased with how it all came together. I also decided to add in black and cream toile since, why not, and I used toile fabric to make Eloise a new duvet cover and recover a stool. I made a gallery wall above the Expedit (excuse me, Kallax) which holds books and toys in pretty canvas bins, put up a few polka dot pom-poms and am in love with my "piece de resistance", the polka dot wall. At first I thought the polka dots should all be measured out and perfect but then I just decided to wing it and am happy I did. The installation took me all of 20 minutes and the result is GORG. You have to check out Polka Dot Wall Stickers on Etsy, they were inexpensive and work just beautifully (we also used these decals on lampshades for our Kate Spade inspired installation).

The turquoise IKEA Raskog cart is perfect as a diaper caddy and I can't wait to put my new wipes warmer into service (a wipes warmer is seriously my favourite baby gadget). We've stocked up on the cutest newborn diapers from The Honest Company to get us through the first few weeks of poop explosions and all of our Kissaluvs and Bummis covers are washed and ready for use. New soothers have been sterilized, bottles & pump are prepped and baby clothing is washed. We. Are. Ready.

Girly Stuff

As I was packing away some of the more girly decor from Eloise's room the other day it occurred to me that we may never use these items again. I found myself overwhelmed by the idea of Eloise being my last girl baby so rather than packing her tiny newborn tutu up with the rest of her infant clothing I just stuffed it into the back of the closet and closed the door. What IF this baby is a boy and we don't get to use Eloise's girly little things again? Then what? 

I was not prepared to feel like this. I'm not sure I'm ready to pack up all of our girly baby things and give them away, even if the sheer volume of girl's clothing we have accumulated in three short years is overwhelming. What if I never get to dress another baby into little patent Baby Bloch shoes? Or a tiny leopard coat or pretty eyelet dresses? I know it's just stuff but I am definitely not ready for the reality of this. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I am not very good at sitting still, I like to multitask and have become very accustomed to every day being a full day. I'm actually not sure when or how this became 'my way' but I am now so used to doing everything at once that it's taken a stern talking to by my midwife to help me realize that now is the time to relax. "No more work and no more stress," was her message yesterday and this time I heard it loud and clear. I am to rest at home, call on more help with Eloise, and take naps while Baby Two keeps growing for a few more weeks.

Naturally, I find slowing down is easier said than done. Even as I tried to nap this afternoon I found it hard to turn my brain fully off. As I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable (also not easy) all I could concentrate on was what to do about the double-wide tower of shoe boxes lining our window ledge... I did eventually fall asleep for a good hour but it took a while to get me there. If it wasn't for my parents' continuous assistance with Eloise and persistence when it comes to me taking a nap in the afternoons it wouldn't happen. Perhaps my real problem comes with relinquishing control and asking for help but I am realizing that now is the time to do so. This is the calm before the storm and if I have just a few more weeks left to relax I'd better enjoy it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Shower Power

All it took was a $70 shower head and we're back to a pleasant bath time routine. Chris and I have been meaning to purchase a new shower head for a while now, maybe even since E was a babe, as having the option of a detachable shower head makes bathing little ones so much easier. It also makes cleaning the shower easier and it's no secret that I like my bathrooms sparkly clean. 

The new shower head has a stationary rain head and a detachable wand that fits inside when not in use. It's not a fancy fixture by any means but it works well and Eloise is so excited about being able to control the wand herself that she doesn't seem to notice the drain. Since Chris installed the shower head last week we've gotten bath time - or rather shower time - down to a quick 10-minute process. Clean hair, clean kid and no arguing, who knew it was the power of the shower that would get us here. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Still Relevant


All the tidying and organizing I've been doing has uncovered a few forgotten gems, one of my favourites being an issue of Blueprint Magazine from 2008. Ridiculous that someone who recycles everything would hang onto a six year old, discontinued magazine, but having another read through reminded me why: Blueprint was awesome!

Blueprint was clearly beyond its time - a good explanation for why it only lasted for eight issues - and I find it pretty amazing that the content is still so relevant. Home decor, fashion, DIY, food and beauty, Blueprint was the perfect lifestyle magazine for the modern woman and it's such a shame that it is no longer around. I certainly won't be parting with my copy any time soon.


Photo by Christie Graham Photography

Baby Prep

I'm a big list maker. Spelling everything out on paper helps me to see exactly what needs to be done and I do this pretty much daily in my personal and professional life in order to organize my time. Before Baby Two arrives we have been chipping away at our Baby Prep list. It's a long one, and though there are a number of items listed that seemingly have no relation to baby, I have a sneaking suspicion that if they aren't completed now it's going to be a long time before we get to them again. 

Thankfully more time at home means that we've slowly been checking things off. While my dad and Chris tackled the garage a few weekends ago I finally reorganized Eloise & Baby's closet, moved un-needed furniture out of their bedroom, sorted and organized my crafts and even made some much needed changes to my Monica Closet. I've filled holes in walls, primed and painted, assisted Chris to install a pretty new curtain rod and drapes in our bedroom and am just about to whip up a new bed skirt for us and a duvet cover for Eloise. This coming weekend we'll hopefully finish prepping Eloise's room for Baby by bringing down the crib, de-pinkifying and putting up a gallery wall.

It's all coming together and the best part is, we're only five items away from a fully checked off list. 

It's Spring

Last week's time change has really done a number on us. I find myself losing track of time with these lighter, brighter evenings and all of a sudden it's six o'clock and I haven't started dinner. Eloise's little clock is off too, and she now refuses to eat dinner at the time she usually does because the sun is still in the sky. "Silly, Mama, it's not dinner time yet!" she's been sayin to me. That's okay, we'll just call the barbequed chicken, broccoli and roasted potatoes I've just prepared your 'snack'.

Today was the first day of spring and we took full advantage of a beautiful day. A long walk with a friend and time at the park meant Eloise asked to have a nap and slept for two whole hours, long enough for me to get some work done and get going on a project for an event next week. It was pretty blissful.

Alas, the results of a long nap took much longer to wear off and we finally got into the bath at 8:30pm. Oh well. There's no school tomorrow and she's a happy camper, so I really can't complain. Happy Spring indeed!

Loving Colourfully

When my partner Devon and I put our heads together really good things happen. I guess that's what you call a partnership, we're just super fortunate that ours not only works, but works exceptionally well.

Last week Smitten took part in a wedding event where we were tasked to present a trend for the 2014/15 wedding season. Our trend was inspired by Kate Spade and we called it "Loving Colourfully", a spin on the Kate Spade motto "Living Colorfully". Our vision was for a striped and polka-dotted food + beverage table filled with lots of pink and green florals, fun treats and quirky yet sophisticated details. We brought a super talented florist on board, paired with a great caterer, collaborated with the best balloon guy we know and thankfully had my Mom to help us with the sewing. Although there were times when we didn't think we'd be able to pull it all together the way we wanted everything turned out in the end, not as we imagined, but better.

This Kate Spade ad served as our inspiration:


And this is how we interpreted it:



By the time set up was complete what we saw was an incredible presentation full of fun, colour and joy. It was all very Smitten and very much a product of the work Devon and I create together. Yum Yum! 

Psst... want to see more? Check out these images on Pinterest.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eloise's Circus Birthday

This week Eloise's Circus Themed birthday party was featured on On To Baby, one of my very favourite family blogs. The post was so full of colour and joy, with beautiful images by Jamie Lauren Photography and Christie Graham Photography, a perfect representation of the wonderful party we held for Eloise last year.

It's a little funny that it took us until Eloise turned three to get this party published but that's just the way things go. And better late than never, as this is certainly a celebration that needed sharing.

{on to baby}

{on to baby}

To see more of Eloise's Circus Themed party have a gander at the full gallery.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Head Down

I think we've confused Eloise a little when it comes to pregnancy. When we ask her if she thinks the new baby will be her brother or sister her answer is, "You're going to have a baby brother and I'm going to have a sister."

You see, Eloise's current understanding of pregnancy means that she thinks her round toddler belly is housing a growing baby just like my round belly. She lifts up her shirt to compare our baby bumps, talks to strangers about the baby growing in her tummy - "You know, I have a baby in my belly." - and likes that our belly buttons look remarkably similar (she has a natural outie, mine is basically just inside out). The biggest difference in our pregnancies is that according to Eloise her baby is going to walk out (just like that!).

With all of our talk about Baby Two's position and all the extra ultrasounds and appointments I've had in the process, it's no wonder that Eloise is starting to make her own judgement call as to how she is carrying the 'baby' in her belly. "Your baby is head down, Mama, mine is head up. It likes it like that." Maybe that makes it easier for baby to walk out?

Today I had yet another ultrasound and finally we got the news we've been waiting for: Baby Two is head down and expected to stay that way! The big lump of baby I can feel on the front right of my belly is the spine and bum, the constant movement on my left side are the legs and feet, and Baby is lying on their left side with their head down. I almost cried when the ultrasound technician confirmed this position today as it means that my chances of a natural delivery much likelier. Call it stroke of luck or my positive thinking paying off, with the head down things are looking up.


Eloise is constantly sticky, or so she tells us. In actuality she is a hand washing-happy kind of kid and her perceived stickiness is becoming a bit of a problem.

Eloise complains about being sticky approximately 30 times a day. She is sticky from eating cereal for breakfast, sticky after washing her hands, sticky when snacking on fruit and sticky as she helps me prepare dinner. What I think she confuses for stickiness is actually dampness - the way your hands are never 100% dry after using a hand towel - but try explaining that to an irrational three year old. Eloise's obsession with being, or rather not being, sticky is driving. me. crazy. 

My mom suggested sprinkling corn starch or baby powder onto just washed and dried hands to soak up any remaining dampness. After hearing "I'm sticky," and nearing my breaking point I remembered this trick and frantically searched for corn starch in my baking supplies. I didn't find any so I used baking soda. Then Eloise's hands were scratchy. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Every Day I'm Hustlin'

Until last week I cared for Eloise, kept up with my growing business, ran a tight ship around the house, looked after another (very) busy child, met with clients, took on creative projects and even managed to fit in work outs. Everyday I was hustling.

Last week marked the first in a long time that I've woken up without feeling mildly panicked at how to accomplish everything I need/want to in a day. I didn't rush anywhere or get flustered, I wasn't frustrated, didn't yell or lose my patience. Last week I took it slow, really enjoyed my time with Eloise, caught up with friends and worked, all quite seamlessly. With the Baby in a head down position now (or so we hope) I have been advised to stop working out in the hopes of maintaining this optimal position for delivery. My midwife has actually demanded that I become a 'couch potato' but walks on the sea wall are still permitted. That I can do.

More time has allowed me to take a good look at what my hustle has accomplished since Smitten officially launched in November. I can also see the reason this pregnancy has been so challenging - I have not had, nor taken, the time to slow down. Shifting my focus to my family and Smitten means that things are changing for the better, even if I will still be a tired, grumpy pregnant lady for a few more weeks (at which point I become a tired, but happy, new mom of two). 

If I've learned anything in the last several months it's that there is no slowing me down, eight months pregnant or not. Here's a snippet of some serious Smitten hustle:

We produced a New Year's Eve wedding creative.

Planned a romantic wedding proposal.

Created the decor and styled a Star Wars themed Baby Shower.

Designed a Bat Mitzvah candy bar, complete with a marquee 'L'.

Showcased a table with our favourite 2014 Pantone colours, Dazzling Blue & Cayenne.

And put together the best birthday party these eight year olds will ever attend.