Easter Traditions and My First Mom Fail...

While Zac & I were trying to get pregnant, I had all these dreams and hopes and desires and feelings of, "I can't wait until we have kids so that we can start _____________ tradition."  I had kept a mental list in my head about all the fun traditions I wanted to pass on to my children someday, and even had a few new ideas to incorporate for each holiday. (I'm kind of big on traditions & nostalgia, remember this post about Christmas?)

Last weekend was Easter, and Ellis' first holiday that he got to celebrate...  And I failed as a mom to make it special for him.

You see, aside from being a very important day in our Christian lives, my parents always made Easter Sunday extra special for us.  The Easter Bunny would hide eggs filled with coins all over the living room, and he'd hide our baskets so good, that we had to play 'hot or cold" to find them.  The baskets always contained lots of goodies, including our favorite candy, and a big Seroogy's fudge egg.   We always wore new Easter dresses to church, with matching gloves, and click-clack shoes (shoes with a heel that made noise on the pavement).  I looked forward to Easter almost as much as Christmas.

As we got older, Zac & I both have families who pretty much adhere to the same old traditions as years past.  Even at 29 & 31 years old, our parents still make Easter special for us.  We still color eggs, we still get Easter baskets, and we still participate in egg hunts.

Well, this year was Ellis' first Easter, and I didn't even get him a basket.  I didn't buy a special outfit (which in hindsight might have been OK -- he had a major blow out in Church and we had to change his outfit anyways).  But, I didn't hide eggs, I didn't purchase a fudge egg from Seroogy's, and I didn't take a single photo all weekend, except the one below on Easter morning.  And that basket he's sitting in?  It's from my thoughtful mom, and she of course had it filled with goodies for Ellis.

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Now, I'm fully aware that Ellis will not remember his first Easter, or the special things I did or did not do for him.  And, he certainly cannot eat a Seroogy's fudge egg at 8 weeks old.  However looking back, I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me that I didn't make much of an effort to make his first Holiday more special.

I could blame it on being 8 weeks postpartum.  I could blame it on a lack of sleep, and being in the "newborn fog".  I could blame it on the fact that our weekend was so jam packed with festivities, that we were hardly home at all.  But really, it's on me.

Now I know that Easter isn't about coloring eggs, baskets filled with stuff, or egg hunts.  It's about our Savior who died for our sins -- which is something I WILL be sure to teach Ellis once he's older.

I am happy to report though, that we did find time to color Easter eggs as a family, and I even documented it, so that even if little Ellis doesn't remember, he can see...  His mom didn't fail completely.

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Easter 2017 | My Darling Days

Happy Easter to you -- I hope your day was filled with the love of Christ, family and friends... any maybe even a Serology's fudge egg ;)


Ellis: Two Months Old

Another 4 weeks has come and gone, and now we have a two-month-old babe!

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis had an eventful past few weeks...
- He was Baptized.
- He smiled & cooed at me intentionally (and it melted my heart)!
- He took his first bath in his 'big boy' baby tub vs. the wash pail/sink method.
- He's officially out of newborn clothing & into 3 month clothing.
- He took his first walk outside with me; slept in his Ergo Baby the entire time.
- He had his first Easter.

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Mr. Ellis is nursing every 3 hours during the day and also during the night.  He isn't a great sleeper.  Right now, he is breast-fed during the day & throughout the night, however dad occasionally gives him a 4 oz. bottle before bed, and he downs that like a champ.  One time, he even took 5.25 oz & wanted more, but I cut him off -- that just seems like so much for his little tummy.  Breastfeeding is tricky in that you don't know how much they're getting at every feeding...  But he's growing & has plenty of dirty diapers, so I think he's doin' just fine.  I think it's time to try paced bottle feeding, and see how he does with that.  Also, right now he wants little to do with a nuk, but we still offer it.

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days
Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days


Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

He is still battling TONS of gas & reflux.  In the evening before bed, he will be sound asleep in your arms, and when you lay him flat in his bassinet, his eyes pop wide open, his arms start waving, his legs start kicking, and the moaning & groaning starts.  Followed by a little spit up, and then farting & poop.  This usually goes on until his next feeding.  After that, we put him in the rock n' play so that we can all catch a few zzz's until he's up again.  He sleeps SO much better at an incline, which leads me to believe he's dealing with reflux issues.  I don't want him to get used to sleeping at an incline, but right now it's the only way he will sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time.  We head to the doctor for his two-month well check on Friday, so we'll see what the Doc has to say.

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis enjoys his activity play mat & is starting to swing at, hit, and even accidentally grab on to the hanging toys. He also likes to be talked to and can follow you with his eyes.  Also, according to our home scale, homeboy is just over 10 lbs!  Around 6 weeks, he started to get baby acne / rash, and it recently moved to his cheeks.  Some days it flares up worse than others; I'm patiently waiting for it to pass.

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Things I love about Ellis this month:

- Getting big, gummy smiles from him!
- The way he pinches his eyes shut sooo tight when he yawns.
- All the facial expressions he makes... I wonder what he's thinking about?
- How he grunts & groans when you change his position, clothes, or diaper.  He makes it sound as if he’s doing so much work.
- The fact that his farts & burps sound like those of a trucker.  Seriously, they do.  Poor kid!

Overall, he's still a pretty happy & content babe.  And for that, I am very thankful!  Sometimes I just sit & stare at him while he's sleeping, and I can't believe that we made him.  He is such a blessing, even if he's still up every 2-3 hours at night.  He's definitely worth it, but this momma is tired!

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Oh!  I caught Daddy in a couple pics this month :)


Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - two months | My Darling Days


Click here to see Ellis at one month old...

P.S.  Happy 7th Birthday today, to my beautiful niece, Elena! 


Travel: Pisa, Italy

Continuing our Euro Trip recap... after our visit to Florence, we continued along Italy's Tuscany region & spent a hot second in Pisa on our way to Nice, France.

We had only about an hour to marvel at the iconic Leaning Tower, which is 180 feet high and 12 feet out of the perpendicular.  It's the bell tower for the cathedral that sits next to it in the Piazza del Miracoli.


Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Naturally, we snapped all the typical touristy photos of us "holding up" the tower, because when in Pisa...

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Since we only scratched the very surface of Pisa, I don't have much exciting to share -- expect for the fact we got to see the Leaning Tower.  Oh, also, it was in Pisa that we had to pay to use the restroom... not an uncommon practice in Europe according to our guide.

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days

Travel: Pisa, Italy | My Darling Days


Next up on the #EverardEuroTrip2015 is Nice, France!



Make: Five minute breakfast bowl

My mom, sister, & I had brunch recently at The Creamery (OMG their stuffed french toast is BOMB), and Becky ordered the Buddda Bowl, which was basically a bunch of good stuff all just thrown together (think: fruit, almond milk, granola, shredded coconut, dates, etc).  It was delicious, and inspired me to sort of "recreate" my own version at home.

Make: Five minute breakfast bowl | My Darling Days

My first attempt at recreating the dish, and I quickly realized that I didn't have any granola, so I decided to use Honey Bunches of Oats cereal instead, and I love how it turned out!


Five-Minute Breakfast Bowl

1 c. Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, crushed
3/4 c. vanilla unsweetened almond milk (can be warmed or served cool)
Sliced banana
Sliced strawberries
Handful of blueberries
Handful of raspberries
Handful of slivered almonds
Garnish with cinnamon

Make: Five minute breakfast bowl | My Darling Days

If you make this at home, let me what you added to make this breakfast bowl your own.  The possibilities are endless!


Newborn Essentials: Our Top Ten Must Haves

Now that we've been parents for a month (what?!)  I thought I'd post about our most-used items for making life with a newborn a little less stressful -- if that's even a thing :)


Newborn Essentials - Top Ten Must Haves | My Darling Days





























1. HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
This is something I wish we would have registered for/bought right away, but live & learn!  We had planned on using the bassinet insert to our Pack n' Play, but after setting it up the night we got home from the hospital, we quickly realized that we were not comfortable having Ellis sleep in there.  In short, it felt rickety & unsafe.  We then spent the first week home having him sleep in all sorts of different things, and I just wasn't comfortable with any of them -- nothing felt right.  And everyone preaches -- keep baby in the room with you, on a flat & firm surface.  Back is best!  Well, nothing that we had was flat & firm, so I finally Amazon primed this Bassinet & we're SO glad we did.  We all sleep better now.


2. HALO  SleepSack Micro-fleece Swaddle 
The first few days home, Zac & I were double swaddling Ellis at night time with two receiving blankets.  They did this in the hospital when his temp dropped, and we always thought our house felt cold (even though we had it at 75 degrees!) so we were worried about him staying warm enough.  But then I read that you should keep your house between 68-72 degrees as to not let your baby overheat (SIDS risk), and you should not tightly swaddle your newborn to sleep at night.  We've now been using this sleep sack and it's been great.  After a night feeding, I'll put Ellis in this & he usually melts right to sleep.  I feel confident that he's plenty warn & safe inside this.


3. Newborn gowns / zipper sleepers with hand coverings
You've got enough going on during the first month and the last thing you need to fuss with are tricky snaps and buttons, and trying to keep baby from scratching his face with his hands.  The mittens they sell are JUNK.  They do not stay on.  So any sleeper or gown with the built in hand coverings and zippers are a MUST!  This seems like such a trivial thing, but trust me -- they will save you a headache.


4. Pampers Swaddlers - Newborn
Breastfeeding momma's are asked to record every feeding, poop & pee for the first week or so, and these diapers have a nice indicator on them so you know when baby has peed. *Along with this, the app Baby Tracker is my best friend!


5. Burp cloths
Have plenty of them so you're not constantly doing wash, although you will be anyways :)


6. Breast Pump
I don't care what kind, just have one.  I'm thankful I had this prior to Ellis' arrival.  I made more milk than Ellis needed per feeding, so I use my pump to "get relief".   Plus, I've been able to start a pretty good storage supply, thanks to the pump.


7. Diaper genie
We have this one, but there are a ton out there.  Basically, it's nice to have this within a foot of the changing table to house soiled diapers.


8. Changing pad
This gets used about 15 times a day :)


9. Fisher-Price Newborn Auto Rock n' Play Sleeper
This is super handy when you need to put baby down -- whether he's awake or taking a nap.  It's lightweight, portable, and Ellis really seems to enjoy it.


10. Freezer Meals
Make them ahead of time.  Or, family & friends, this is a GREAT gift to bring a new momma & daddy.  Mom is still healing; if she's breastfeeding that takes half her day (the other half consists of changing diapers), and both mom & dad are getting used to functioning on just a fraction of sleep.  However, everyone still needs to eat.  Having meals 98% already prepared was a lifesaver for us.



What would you add to this list?











Upping our coffee game

Isn't coffee all the rage right now?

I mean, tell me that you haven't seen someone post a selfie with their Starbucks cup...
Fashion bloggers are using coffee as an accessory in outfit posts...
Retailers are selling shirts with the words "but first, coffee" on them & they're selling like hot cakes...
Heck -- I'm guilty of posting a photo of a cup o' jo myself (here, here and here).

Here's the thing.  I like coffee.  A lot.  But I didn't always.
I think coffee is like beer... it's an acquired taste & the older you get, the more you like it.

My coffee loving journey started out as not drinking coffee at all.  It all started with hot chocolate.  Which then turned into sipping cappuccino.  Then I branched into latte's, mocha's, and all that fancy, sugary drink stuff with just a bit of coffee flavoring.  And then I started drinking regular coffee with flavored creamers... which then turned into drinking coffee with just a splash of 1/2 & 1/2... and now I prefer it black with nothing added at all.  Gimmie a nice bold roast, and I'm happy as a clam.

And what's my favorite blend, you ask?  Stumptown's Hair Bender (thanks Lance & Jacki for getting me hooked)!  But do you want to know what makes Hair Bender taste even better?  This pour-over.

Coffee, pour over | My Darling Days

I blame this "sorta" spur-of-the-moment purchase on Kelle Hampton & Zac's Birthday.  Kelle wrote this post about daily rituals and paying good attention to herself, and I happened to read it two days prior to Zac's Birthday.  I needed to get him a little something, and he loves coffee too, so by the end of the post, I had already purchased it. That Kelle Hampton... she's a marketing genius.

Coffee, pour over | My Darling Days

Quite frankly, this pour-over method is a little time consuming but soooo worth it.  And it kind of makes me feel fancy -- like a real coffee connoisseur -- even though I am far from it.

Coffee, pour over | My Darling Days

Cheer friends, to the simple pleasures in life... like good coffee!






Ellis: One Month Old

How has it been four weeks since we welcomed Baby Ellis into the world?
This last month has flown by, but it also feels like just yesterday that we were coming home from the hospital with our new little bundle of joy.

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

I'm not going to lie, this month has been tough.  Between adjusting to a whole new level of lack of sleep, recovering from a drug-free (read: PAINFUL) labor & delivery, breastfeeding & diapering around the clock, and dealing with a horribly itchy postpartum rash that made me want to die -- it hasn't been easy.

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

BUT!  We made it four weeks with our little Ellis man, and every day gets a little easier.  Plus, he is wonderfully healthy & happy (most days).

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

So far, he's a pretty laid back little dude, except if he's hungry or when he's getting his diaper changed.  We've already had a handful of "shooting pee" experiences -- which make us thankful we decided to wait on new carpeting :)  Every once in a while he'll have a bout with spitting up too; we're not sure if it's contributed to something I'm eating that upsets his little tummy or just normal baby reflux issues.

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

He's pretty sleepy most of the time, but is staying awake for longer periods of time in the morning & afternoon.  And, it seems like after the 2:00 or 3:00 AM feeding, he's WIDE awake -- of course.

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

We go to the doctor for his 1 month check-up on Tuesday, and I'm willing to bet he grew in length & is over 8 lbs, but we'll see!

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Things I love about Ellis this month:

- How limp & lethargic he makes his entire body after he gets done nursing.
- The spot on the back of his head where his hair stands straight up.
- Being able to kiss his lovable cheeks any second I want.
- How anytime he gets startled or hears a loud noise, his arms go flying up in the air, but he never cries.
- The "oh" face he makes with his lips after he lets a good one rip.
- When I pick him up from his bassinet & he arches his back and sticks out his tiny little butt.
- How he usually calms down & melts when I put him on my chest, belly to belly.

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

Ellis James, baby update - one month | My Darling Days

We love & adore you little Ellis!


P.S. Happy Birthday to my momma today! We love you Grandma Sue!!

Third Trimester Recap

Because Baby Ellis decided to arrive two weeks early, I never had a chance to post my Third Trimester Recap, however I did have it all written out so I still wanted to share for those interested!

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I now understand when women say those last few weeks are tough.  Your body is going through so many changes in preparation for labor, and all of a sudden things really start to feel so real!



Here are the things that surprised me about my third trimester:

1. Groin / pelvic pain - I've been experiencing frequent pain in my inner thighs, groin, & pelvic area.  It's most intense when I change positions at night in bed, try to get up out of bed, or put pants & socks on.  Also, I notice it more when my bladder is full.  I've read that this is referred to as Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction -- a fairly common but painful pregnancy condition due to the relaxing ligaments around the pelvic bone.

2. Heavy belly - The feeling that my lower belly needs to be supported at all times.  My doctor says this is likely due to the baby dropping.  It does help to wear a maternity belt like this -- but I only wear it around the house when I'm doing chores because it's rather bulky/ugly.

3. Back pain - I think this is caused by the "heavy belly"  :)  Thankfully it's not terrible, nor does it bother me every day.

4. Braxton Hick contractions - Funny story... so I'm at my 30 week OB check.  I lay back on the table, getting ready to hear baby' s heartbeat with the doppler and my stomach is TIGHT & HARD.  Dr. says "well, we certainly know where baby is today!"  After we're done listening to that glorious sound of a heartbeat, we talk about how I'm doing, etc.  Dr. asks if I've had lots of Braxton Hicks & I say "No, I don't think so.  Sometimes my belly gets tight, but it's just when the baby moves all up in front."  She says, "Uh, Katie... that is a Braxton Hicks contraction... you just had one while we we're listening to baby's heartbeat..."  So apparently I'm getting them ALL THE TIME, and had no idea.

5. Frequent urination - It's back!... peeing all.the.time, just like in the first trimester.

6. Slow moving - I feel like I'm walking slower & becoming less mobile these days.  Well, maybe not less mobile, it's just harder to move in general.  You want me to sit on the floor and put Shopkins together with you?  Forget it.  See that piece of paper on the floor?  It can stay there.  It's not worth bending over for.  Also, shoes that tie? Pfft, no way.

7. Tired - A good nights sleep is hard to come by these days (and I know, it's only going to get worse!) I sleep an average of 5 hours, even though I still go to bed by 9:00 pm every night.

8. Slowed digestion - enough said.

9. Lots & lots of baby movement - a.k.a, the best feeling in the world.  Even if he or she is poking & gabbing in places not so nice, I still love feeling all that movement!  At our 34 week ultrasound we were able to see the baby making a sucking motion with his/her lips, then stick out his/her tongue and lick his/her arm.  It was sooo cute!

10Anxiety - This is not just a "3rd trimester" thing, it's been lingering throughout my entire pregnancy.  In the beginning, it was worrying about staying pregnant... then worrying if the baby was growing/forming properly, and now it's being anxious about things going on in my body that I never knew would happen (i.e. mucus plug, bloody show, how bad it hurts when the Dr. "checks" you -- nobody tells you about this stuff, dang it!)  And, wondering what labor & delivery is going to be like.  We're praying to God every day that he blesses us with a healthy baby.  I have faith, but I'm still a worrier... welcome to Motherhood, right? :)

All that being said, my pregnancy experience has been really great.  Yes, there were some hard times along the way, and some not so pleasant side affects of being pregnant, but honestly -- I grew a human.  Wait, I take that back. WE grew a human.  Zac & I did this together -- by far our biggest, most proud accomplishment to date.  I am so thankful we got to take this journey together.


Read my First Trimester Recap HERE, and my Second Trimester Recap HERE.