Splish-Splash with Moby

Bath time is always more fun when you know your child is safe. A toddler is like the energizer bunny; they’re constantly on the move, filled with the world’s energy, and never seem to stop. Bath time is not any different.

While my husband was giving Michael a bath one evening, he slipped and fell backwards almost hitting his head on the faucet; luckily, my husband caught him before he fell. At that moment, I knew I had to find a solution to cover the faucet before an incident like that happened again.

I found the SkipHop Moby Bath Spout  and it was just what I was looking for. It’s designed to fit any faucet with adjustable straps so it’s sturdy and won’t fall off. Unlike other faucet covers I came across which are bulky, complicated, splash water around, this one is made of tough rubber that protects the baby, especially if they accidentally bump their head. It also has two straps (the whale’s fins) that are adjustable: simply pull the straps and it will tighten around the faucet so it doesn’t fall off. The cute little tail also acts as a hook incase you decide to hang it when not in use; I personally keep it on the faucet since it’s so darn cute. It is also PVC and Phthalate free, and if you really want to clean it between uses, you can stick it in the dishwasher for a squeaky clean Moby Whale. Yup, the dishwasher.

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At only $13.00 it won’t break the bank, and you know your child is safe while in the tub. I just wish I knew about this sooner.

The SkipHop Moby collection also has other items that are very useful during bath time. I also personally love the Moby Waterfall Bath Rinser which has a rubber tip and makes it easy to rinse baby’s head without getting water in their eyes and ears. Simply, place the rubber tip up against the baby’s hairline and rinse their hair. You’ll be surprised at the amount of water the rinser can hold. At first, I was skeptical about the size, but after using it once during bath time, I realized it was perfect and just what I needed.

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After seeing me use the rinser on him several times, Michael now tries to pour water on himself, which is pretty good since he’s learning to be independent, and maybe try to bathe himself. Sure, he gets the water everywhere, but it’s a learning process which I don’t mind at all. Anything that makes bath time more enjoyable for toddlers is worth the investment; especially if it’s keeping them safe.

Skip Hop also has the bath stopper (which I do not have yet) and a bath mat that has suctions on the bottom to provide a non-slip grip at the bottom of the tub (I do plan on getting eventually). I personally just love the theme of the product line. It’s makes bath time so much more fun for him, and adds character to the bathroom. Everyone who enters the bathroom knows that this is “Michael’s Bathroom”.

Skip-Hop-Whale

Give Moby a try. It won’t let you down, I promise. ūüôā

Happy Bath time,
Hermine-Jane

Hooked on Dove

My favorite bath product for adults is now available for babies!! Can you just picture my reaction when I came across Baby Dove for the first time walking the isles at Target? Did I need to get body wash and lotion for Michael? Nope, but you can bet I picked it up, did a little happy dance, and put it in my cart, while another mom looked at me like I was the weirdest character she had seen all day. Without doing any research, or reading other people’s reviews on the product, I immediately trusted the product because it’s from Dove. I knew I needed to try this for my son. Did I make sure he got a bath that night? Oh, you bet! I was very excited, and could not wait until bath time. But first, a picture:

Baby-Dove

Just from the body wash’s creamy texture, and rich density, I knew it was going to be great. My son loved the product (tear free, and gentle). I love how soft and moist it left his skin, and how smooth and oil free his hair was after drying it, which is a “Horrayyy” moment since other baby washes left his hair oily.

The lotion, you ask? WOW! All I can say is WOW! From the subtle smell, to the texture, to the creamy thickness of the cream, everything about this lotion is simply perfection. I’ve never had a lotion leave my son’s skin this soft and moisturized. Michael has eczema that flares up constantly and causes extreme dry, cracked, and itchy skin. Now that I’ve been using the Baby Dove product as a combo for his bath time routine, I have noticed the biggest difference in his skin. His flare ups are less cracked, less itchy, and when he does have a flare up, it’s not as red and irritated as it used to be. Obviously, this is not a cure for his eczema, but it is a one solution that has been keeping it under control, especially with the summer heat we’ve been getting in Los Angeles.

Now, I haven’t used the entire line of products yet for Michael, but I do plan on doing so in the near future. With only 35 days left until Baby #2 arrives, I plan on stocking up on the products and even trying out their baby wipes, shampoo, and even the bar soap. With the body wash and lotion being so amazing, I am sure the other products are just as great. Dove is a name I have trusted for many, many years, and with my very positive experience with the Baby Dove products, I know it will be a brand I trust for many years to come.

Keep your babies moisturized, and give this product a try. You won’t regret it.

All the best,
Hermine-Jane

Hooked on Play

Let’s talk activities. As parents, we’re always on the lookout for something new to do with out kids, so they’re not spending the entire day indoors. Lately, I made a list of all the places I know of and should take Michael, and honesty, when I take out the list, I feel like it’s the same thing over and over again. And even though he’s a toddler, and just being outdoors is exciting for him, let’s face it, I am the one getting bored. So, I caved in, and downloaded the app “City Moms”, and have discovered many new places to take Michael; most within a 10 mile radius.

I love taking Michael to indoor playgrounds because it gives me peace of mind knowing there aren’t any creepers lurking around. Everyone indoors is either a parent or caregiver, and has paid to get in, so it makes me feel safer having him roam around. So, when I found an indoor playground I hadn’t been to yet, I jumped up for joy and decided to give it a shot.

Hello, the COOP.

This is the first, and only, playground we have been to that is an indoor/outdoor playground. Let me tell you, I was AMAZED! First and foremost, the most important thing that caught my eye was the fact that it was bright, open, and very welcoming. We were greeted by very nice employees who took the time to explain all the rules and conditions to us, since it was our first time. I could probably go on and on and on about this place, but let me limit it down to my 3 favorite aspects.

  1. THE BALL PIT!
    Of all the playgrounds, the COOP has the largest ball pit we’ve seen. The best part?! THE ENTIRE PLAYGROUND IS ADULT FRIENDLY!!! Yes, you heard me, BRING OUT YOUR INNER CHILD! Was I in the ball pit with Michael? Ohhh Yesss! You better believe it! Not only was it large, and clean, but the bright yellow, orange, and white balls were very inviting, and made for some great pictures. There is also a slide that slides down into the ball pit, BONUS!
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  2. OUTDOOR LOUNGE
    Now, with a toddler, 1/2 my diaper bag is always filled with different snacks and water, and maybe even a juice box. When we had been playing around for over an hour and a half, we got a little hungry and needed a break time for some munchies. Forgot your snacks, no worries! the COOP has healthy snacks, juices, water, and coffee available for purchase in the lobby. They simply ask that you enjoy your snacks while seated either in the lobby, or the outdoor lounge where they have picnic tables and small chairs for the little ones.
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  3. TOY SHELVES
    This may be a little of my OCD, but unlike other indoor playgrounds where there are toys everywhere, the COOP has shelves where they store the smaller toys. BRILLIANT!
    Michael saw some drums and a xylophone he wanted to play with, so I took them off the shelf (high enough where a toddler cannot knock it over) and gave it to him to play. When he was done, we put the toys back on the shelves for others to enjoy. The shelves made my top 3 favorite aspect of the COOP because it keeps the smaller toys away from the little kids and keeps the place more organized, which means less tripping hazard for the little ones.

Keep up the great work, the COOP! We will definitely be back to check out your other locations.

 

 

 

Hooked on Flashcards

While looking for some new and interactive activities to do with my toddler, I stumbled upon these flashcards on Amazon, and I knew I had to get a set and give them a try. After getting the first set, and seeing my son’s eyes light up as he got to touch and feel the flashcards (with added sound effects from my husband and myself), I went back and got the entire set for him; each sold separately.
My First Interactive Flashcards

Each set includes roughly 10 flashcards. Also included is an instructions/more ideas card for the parent/caregiver; however, I let my toddler explore the cards on his own and try to say the word in our native language: Armenian.

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Some cards from the “Animals” box

Every single card has at least one part that is touch and feel which is great because it really gets his senses working.

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Some cards from the “First Words” box

The cards are all very bright, colorful, and clearly labeled.
Perfect for Bilingual families since you can use these cards in many different ways.

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Some cards from the “Colors and Shapes” box

If you also use these cards, or something similar, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Am I the only mom who is against smartphones and tablets for their toddlers to play with, or are there other moms/parents out there who would rather spend the time actually interacting with their child.

By the way, did I mention that the back of these cards is even more exciting? It has pronunciations of the words in Spanish, German, French, and Chinese? It also has several questions you can use to make the cards come to life more for your child.

Hands down, one of the best finds on Amazon I’ve had.

Happy teaching, parents,

Hermine-Jane

Hooked on Nesting

Being 30 weeks pregnant, our house is on full mode nesting. From cleaning to organizing, to rearranging the baby’s room, all we’re doing is nesting. It really makes me picture a mama bird flying out, finding the perfect pieces of wood, feathers, and leaves, to make the perfect nest for her egg.

I thought since this is baby #2, it would be easier. NOPE. Not one bit. I know what I want to be done, and I know how I want it to be done, but running around after a toddler all day takes its toll on me. I have learned that making my list, and breaking it down has helped me in the past. For all you moms-to-be, here is my Most Important Categories list of nesting must haves: Sleeping and Feeding.

But first, a picture of Michael helping daddy out during our nesting time.

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  • Sleeping Must Haves

    • Bassinet –since the baby will be in our room for the first couple months, he will be sleeping in his bassinet. We love our Orbit Baby G3 system. The bassinet simply rests on the stroller base, which is capable of turning 360 degrees (hence the name Orbit). Michael slept in the bassinet for a good 4 months, lets see how long our new baby will use it.

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    • Crib — We got the same crib for baby as we did for Michael. The fact that the crib turns into a toddler bed, a twin size bed, and later, a full size bed, is worth every penny. Instead of having to keep changing beds as the kids are getting older, I simply have to change the attachments (which already come with the packaging of the crib). Score!! Why did I get a Crib already? My ideology behind it is the fact that while the baby is taking constant naps, it will be easier for me to put him in the crib and close the bedroom door so Michael can still run around the house and be his 2 year old self.
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    • Graco Pack ‘n Play— This specific item is a toss up because some parents love it and can’t live without it, while other parents think it’s a waste of money and space. I, personally, love it! When Michael grew out of his bassinet, but was still not ready to sleep in his own room quite yet, I put the Pack ‘n Play in my bedroom right next to my bed and continued using it as a bassinet. It functioned as a bassinet, while having tons of space all around him. During the daytime, while the baby is awake, and laying on his back, I will just roll the Pack ;n Play into the family room and always have my eye on him. Yes, it has wheels on 1 end to make for easy transport. Oh, and when I’m done using it as a bed, I can lower the mesh and take it outside and have him play inside the unit. I love items that have more than 1 use.
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  • Feeding Must Haves

    • Pump — You can get a pump either through insurance, or invest in one. I personally love my Medela “Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump”. The pump is hidden in a very convenient tote bag that you can carry around anywhere and no-one will know you’re carrying a pump. It’s powerful, pretty quiet, and highly recommended by any of the nurses that I spoke with during my hospital stay.¬†Pump In Style¬ģ Advanced
    • Bottles— Since every baby is different, the bottles that worked well with the first baby may not work with the second baby. I have several different types of bottles ready to see which one baby will like best. I suggest getting 2-3 different brands to see which one your baby thrives on most.
    • Formula — I don’t know why, but every time I mention “formula” in public, women look at me and shake their heads. Why do other women judge when a mom uses the word formula? I mean, I understand that ‘breast is best’, but what if I am unable to breastfeed, or my child can’t latch on properly, or my breastmilk isn’t enough for my child? After all, isn’t “Fed is best” better than a starving child? I can go on and on and on about this topic because Michael wasn’t able to latch on, but I was somehow able to pump for him for 7 months. Even with pumping, and solid food being introduced around his 5th month, I felt he was still hungry. When I went out to buy formula for the first time, a pregnant woman came up to me and said, “You should really consider breastfeeding. It’s best for your child.” Consider breastfeeding? Really? I simply looked at her and said,

      “I hope for your child’s sake you have a more open mind when he or she is born because formula can actually save your child’s life if you can’t give them the ‘best’. I’d rather my child have a full stomach on formula, than be starving because my breastmilk isn’t enough for him. Good luck with your baby.”

      and I walked away with the two biggest containers of formula in my arms.

There are many other things I am doing to nest and prepare for baby’s arrival, but these two categories are my top priorities. While I can be stocking up on blankets, diapers, wipes, etc, I feel these small tasks will all fall in place when the time is right. If it happens that I need to make a #TargetRun, it’s ok. It will be an excuse to get out of the house: even if it is for a brief 30 minutes.

Happy Nesting, mamas!
Hermine-Jane

Hooked on ME!

It’s been a while since I have written a post on my blog. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything for my self. For the past 20 months, ever since having my first baby, everything I have done has been around him. My daily routines, outings, chores, cleaning, EVERYTHING has been around him and his schedule. If you’re a mom, I’m sure you completely understand and agree with me: there’s just not enough time. ¬†I’m not complaining, or venting; simply stating a fact that baby consumes most, if not all, your time. I, personally, got lost in the moment and forgot about the most important person I have to take care of:¬†ME! If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I got so caught up in making sure my baby and my husband are well taken care of, and have everything they need, that I forgot to take care of myself. I’ve spread myself so thin, that I don’t make time for myself, and don’t do much for myself anymore. ¬†Well, tonight, for the first time, in a long time, I am sitting at my kitchen island, and doing something that has been on the back of my mind for a while: writing this post while enjoying some “Jamoca Almond Fudge” ice cream from Baskin Robbins while my husband is playing soccer and my sister-in-law is watching my son, who is watching his dad play soccer. I actually have the house to myself without a baby monitor turned on, and not worrying how much time I have before he wakes up from a nap.

I would have given up on my blog long ago, gotten rid of my domain, put it behind me, and moved on with my life, but there is an itch in me saying it’s what I am meant to be doing. Sharing my life, lessons, and everyday activities with the world. You see, I started this blog over a year ago in the hopes of documenting our journey with a newborn, writing about products that made first time parenting a little easier, giving advice to other first time parents, as well as writing about lessons learned with growing babies. Well, that didn’t go as planned since I got caught up in the moment, and lost way of my time management skills. Ironically, I am known in my family as the person who loves to have a schedule and live a very planned life, and have everything done in a timely manner. So who is to blame? No-one, but me. Well, it’s never too late to start something over again, so here I am.

Hi! I’m Hermie-Jane, and I am a¬†stay at home mom with my toddler, Michael, along with¬†a baby on the way (due August 2017). Everyday brings a new adventure whether its digging up interesting worms in the back yard, spending the day at the zoo, (we love our membership to the zoo), or exploring Los Angeles by finding toddler friendly places. My favorite time of the day is the moment when Michael wakes up from his afternoon nap: he hugs me tight for a¬†good five¬†minutes, when he’s had enough, we walk up to his book shelf, pick out a book¬†and go read in his teepee. The way he brings the book to me, turns around and sits on my lap just melts my heart. He loves books, and has a great collection of Dr. Seuss and Sesame Street books, along with other books he picks out when we go to the bookstore. Since he loves books and will actually re-read a book (or in his case, look at the pictures) over and over again, I don’t mind getting him a new book every now and then. Lately, he’s actually been into flashcards with pictures of animals, numbers, shapes, and everyday objects. He’s learning faster than I thought he would, and although he speaks less than other toddlers his age, he does communicate with me in sign language which I don’t mind one bit. He will speak when he speaks.

I try to get Michael out of the house at least three times¬†during the week by either going to the park, visiting grandparents,¬†exploring the nearby gardens around town, or making spontaneous trips to visit daddy at work. Even when we are home the other days of the week, we try to spend as much time outside as possible. We have 2 dogs, a German Shepherd, Fallon, and a Labrador, Charlie, along with 2 domestic cats, Oreo, and Cookie. Michael loves to go play with the cats and give them their lunch, while he is still intimidated by the dogs since they are larger in size than he is. I’m sure once he gets older he’ll love playing with the dogs more since the cats like to spend most their day asleep under the rose bushes.


Aside from spending most my days entertaining and raising my son, I have a few hobbies of myself that keep me sane. First and foremost, I am a gymnastics junkie! I have done gymnastics since the age of 3. In my gymnastics career, I have competed in countless local competitions along with finishing top 15¬†for state and regional championships. My gymnastics career had to come to an end due to a vaulting accident that left both wrists broken, and¬†hip issues that took several years of therapy to adjust. Although I was physically unable to continue with the sport, I found other ways to be involved with the sport and continue my dream of being a role model that students would love to look up to. My other hobby that is my therapy is crocheting.¬†Sitting on the couch with a yarn and hook really calms me down. It brings me peace and tranquility because while my husband can be watching his favorite TV show, I can enjoy the show with him while creating a work of art that can double as a blanket. I picked up crocheting about 2 years ago when my husband’s cousin was at our house and told me to give it a shot. While it took several weeks to get the hang of crocheting, I’m glad I did not give up and continued learning. What was a struggle at first, is now my output during stressful days.

This much for now, since I hear Michael and my husband, Arthur, walking up the stairs. They’re home. That’s all the ME time for tonight.

Until next time.

Hermine-Jane

Hooked on Photography

“OMG! Take a picture, he put a toy in his mouth.”
“Wow! You’ve got to see this picture I took of him sleeping.”
“OMG! Babe, hurry, take a picture of him sitting.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Are you one of these moms/dads?

I’ve never really been big on photography or taking pictures, but after having Michael, I have become “that mom” that takes countless pictures and video tapes every moment. Why? I asked myself that same question. I take so many pictures of Michael because I dislike the fact that my husband and I do not have many pictures of¬†ourselves as a baby.

When Michael was first born, we tried to see who he looked like more, and we dug through old albums to find baby pictures, but we both came out empty handed. We do have pictures of us a little older, but none as babies and for some reason that really bothered me.¬†So I promised myself that I would take pictures of Michael very often and create albums that he can have and look back on. After all, he’s only going to be a baby once.

Thanks to my very talented sister-in-law, Michael has little photo shoots every few weeks. It’s crazy how we can see his growth during every photo shoot. From month to month, we notice his developmental growth, along with his physical appearance maturing. Now, the big question is, what do we do with these pictures?

Sadly, we live in such a “social-media world”, where we take these pictures, post them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and that’s it. Nothing ever happens with these pictures. Snapchat is even worse since pictures get deleted after 24 hours (unless you save them). Something that was effortless for our parents, and grandparents, is ‘so much work’ for us. To order prints, make and album, get creative with pictures. Who has time, right? As busy as life gets, and not matter how caught up we get in the moment, we have to make time for something that our children will thank us for later in life. I will make time, I want Michael to have baby pictures, and milestone pictures to look back on. ¬†Next stop: Shutterfly.

We recently took Michael’s 6 month photos. Here are a few of my top favorites.

 

Hooked on Tummy Time

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my son on¬†tummy time since the doctor said he could have a stronger back and neck, and I cannot believe how much difference quality tummy time has made for my son. When I was first¬†doing tummy time, I would place my baby on his tummy on a blanket.¬†A bare blanket, and wondered why he was not lifting his head.¬†After I took Michael to his first mommy-n-me class and I saw how other babies were holding up their head and showing more flexibility in their back, I knew I was doing something wrong. I was so busy trying to get Michael to be on his tummy for an hour a day, that I was not thinking of the quality of the hour. Quality that included colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.

After attending several mommy-n-me sessions, I decided to think outside the box, and bring what we did in class to our tummy time at home. I started taking out toys, and making different stations for him that he would complete on his tummy. Now, not only is he enjoying tummy time, he is getting his neck and back stronger by looking higher than he normally did without any toys in front of him.

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Tummy time set up went from a plain blanket to a full blown learning station done on our tummy.

  1. Sensory balls–This is the only station that he does on intentionally on his back. ¬†He will lay on his back, and I will give the balls to him one at a time. At this stage, he is putting everything to his mouth.
  2. Alphabet station–Along with Dr. Seuss’ ABC book, I also have flashcards with a letter of the day. He lays on his tummy, looks at the letters and I let him hold an object containing that letter.
  3. Color Flashcards–The color station is where I can get really creative. I either bring out colorful beanbags, or colorful fruit in relation to the “color of the day”. This way he is on his tummy, and looking at different colors, and even touching items which different textures.
  4. Reading Station–I usually have a book out. By this time, he gets tired, and I roll him onto his back. he will lay there and I read the book out to him, and let him look at the pictures.
  5. Trunk Raises Station–I normally have taller toys here, so when he is on his tummy he can look up higher, raising his trunk higher and working on his upper back muscles.
  6. Fun Station–I put different items out and let him play on his own for the last 5 minutes before he’s so tired, worn out, and needs his bottle.
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Since I had the sensory balls out, I used the balls to demonstrate the colors to Michael.

 

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This tall station is where he begins to reach up higher with his trunk and uses more upper body strength because the items are taller than his head.

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All this tummy time is hard work. Time for milk and a much deserved nap.

Hooked off Germs

As I use different products to keep my baby’s items clean and disinfected, I’m becoming more and more aware of how many things go in my baby’s mouth. Practically everything. Most importantly are his bottles and pacifiers.

I’ve seen other moms dump all their kids toys into a bucked of water with bleach, and other moms who wash all their kid’s items with Lysol. I, personally cringe at the thought of both those ways. I’m not saying what they’re doing is wrong, by all means, to each their own.

I want to add to the different ways to clean your baby’s belongings for those moms who don’t like the idea of chemicals either.

I started with the largest pot I had and put all the bottles laying down (glass bottles on the bottom since they’re heavier than the plastic ones). I filled the pot with water and put on the stove on low heat and let the water boil slowly. While the water is still cold, I squeezed 1/2 a lemon into the water. I like the idea of a lemon since it is a natural ¬†cleanser.

As the water is coming to a boil, I squeezed 1/2 a lemon into the water.

Yummy lemon from our backyard

Let the water continue to boil for at least 10 minutes
NOTE: If you have plastic bottles, make sure they are ok to be in high heat temperatures. My plastic bottles are graded 5 which means they are safe in high heat. Click here for a list of the plastic grades. 

After about 10-15 minutes of boiling water, I removed the bottles and placed them in the sink. (I washed the bottles again, just to get the lemon smell/taste off the bottles).

With the water still boiling, I took advantage and threw in all of his pacifiers and toys that he puts in his mouth.

I only left the nipples and pacifiers in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes before taking them out and rinsing them.

Next up: His toys.


Finally, lay/hang everything to dry.

The bonus of boiling lemon water–If your pot has residue or calcium buildup, it will break it down, and make it easier to get a squeaky clean pot.

The whole process took about 20 minutes. I got clean baby items, and the house smelled like yummy lemons.

What are some ways you clean your baby’s toys/bottles/etc.

Hooked on Nesting

As our countdown to baby is fast approaching, our nesting has become a part of our daily life. Every other thought we have is baby related. My husband and I keep thinking baby is still months away when in reality, baby is only eight days away. It’s crazy to think that in only eight days, our lives are going to change. Our lives will never be the same again. Instead of putting each other’s needs before our own, we’re going to be putting our baby’s needs first.

After watching a lot of HGTV home makeovers, and seeing before-and-afters of room transformations, our baby’s room was our own “makeover” room inspired by our favorite designers from those shows. ¬†From the theme, to the colors, to lighting, we drew out the room and pictured what we wanted the room to look like. Our goal was to make the room a very peaceful place where baby can be calm, and relaxed (along with very exhausted parents to find peace and quiet). ¬†Our baby’s room includes:

Theme: Airplanes

  • Light grey walls (inspired by “Flipping Vegas” @Amie_Yancey) who taught us that grey walls are perfect for small rooms becuase it makes it look larger and brighter.
  • Dark blue accent wall with hand painted clouds drawn by my sister-in-law @elinasinanyan¬†

Other Accents include:

One of my favorite parts of the nursery is the bookshelves that my husband and I created. We used basic spice racks from Ikea, spray painted them white, and started his Dr. Seuss and Elmo Collection.
My favorite feature of this wall is the “M”. It’s dark brown stained with gold finish which brings some warmth to the room since everything is mostly white, grey, and blue. With the colorful books, it really stands out on its own.
Here is little Ms. Fallon anxiously waiting for baby’s arrival. I feel like she knows he’s coming soon. She came in the room (which she never does) and sniffed every corner of the room. Even though I told her to leave the room, she sat on the rug for a good twenty minutes and would not move. She was smelling the rug and constantly looking backwards at the crib. I wonder if she knows something we don’t…
I wonder what their first meeting is going to be like.