Newborn Essentials

After our first month with Miles Ben and I had a discussion of our must have newborn ┬áitems. The items listed below are things we couldn’t live without or things that made our lives so much easier during those first weeks. I won’t include the obvious; diaper, clothes, wipes, etc. We tried to come up with things we bought and didn’t need but couldn’t think of anything.

Essentials during the first few weeks!

(click on the product name to go to their webpage)

1. SwaddleMe: We loved this for the first two weeks of Miles’ life. Basically it is a cross between a sleeping bag and a blanket. Miles loved being bundled up like he was in the womb but his legs were free to kick around as well. When Miles was really fussy we would swaddle him and he would calm down and in most situations, fall asleep. This saved us big time during the first nights as a family.
2. Boppy: This was (and still is) a must have for nursing. Miles would nurse for an hour then nurse an hour after that. I was literally spending half of my day nursing and holding up my 8 1/2 pound little monster and my arms were killing me unless I used my Boppy. Even now at 11 weeks, I can nurse without the Boppy but we are both so much more comfortable with it.

We also used the Boppy to hold Miles, he liked sitting up right in it when he was alert and enjoyed sleeping in it because I believe it felt like he was being held. Miles has also been burped while hanging over the Boppy and has done tummy time on the Boppy. As he grows, the Boppy will function as an extra support as he learns to sit up by himself.

IMG_42043. Pack and Play: We bought this Pack and Play super cheap around Christmastime and we couldn’t have lived without it during the first two weeks. The Pack and Play has wheels so during the day it would stay in the Living Room and at night we would wheel it to our bedroom. We used the Pack and Play as a changing table and as Miles’ bed. We had wipes, diapers, extra outfits, extra blankets, SwaddleMe and mitts in the Pack and Play. It was so nice to not have to go back and forth to his bedroom when I was recovering and in the middle of the night. Miles slept in his Pack and Play and our bed until he was four weeks old when he was moved to his crib.

4. Bouncer: My parents bought one for Miles when he was a week old. We use it EVERY day! Sometimes I wouldn’t get anything done in a day if it wasn’t for the bouncer. Miles loves to be bounced in it and enjoys swatting at the toys. He also enjoys being close to us so with the bouncer I can work on blog posts, thank you cards, do housework and craft. He often wants to be bounced in it so I’m working on getting some killer calf muscles from always bouncing this kid. For the days when all he wanted to do was be held I could put him in the bouncer and he would be content and sleep away the day.

IMG_43975. Swing: My parents also bought Miles a swing when he was one week old. At first he didn’t really care for it but now he enjoys it. It was a lifesaver when we were trying to get Miles to sleep in his own crib. Miles hated sleeping in his crib. We think the transition was hard for a few reasons; the crib mattress was much harder than ours, he couldn’t smell us anymore, and it was much cooler since he wasn’t snuggled up next to us.\ Most nights Miles slept in his swing for half of the night. It was a lifesaver! Without the swing it may have taken Miles even longer to get accustomed to sleeping away from us. Now Miles will sit in his swing while I clean up his room or do laundry or he may nap in the swing a few times a week.

IMG_4409IMG_4948We hang Miles lights near him while he is in the swing and he will sit there for quite awhile watching them change colors.

6. Pacifier: Miles probably wouldn’t leave my breast if it wasn’t for a pacifier. He would eat and then just chill but cry when I pulled him away. After he finished eating he wanted his pacifier. He loves it! We introduced one just shy of four weeks. Now Miles sleeps with it most nights. If he is fussy in his crib usually his pacifier will put him to sleep. We love how much Miles loves it!
7. Receiving Blankets: We received quite a few receiving blankets before Miles was born and one day I came home with more. Ben questioned why we needed so many but after two weeks Ben made a comment about how thankful he was for them. We used these receiving blankets as a crib sheet when Miles peed on the only one we had, as burp cloths, to cover the car seat to protect Miles from the rain, and of course to keep him warm. Now at 11 weeks, we don’t use them as often but are grateful to have as many as we do.
8. Camera: The days after Miles’ was born are a huge blur to us. Thankfully we have photos to help us figure out what happened on what day. And of course it is just nice to have so many photos of Miles. Pictures are such a great way to capture all the “firsts”; first time meeting family, first bath, first family photo, first time at the park, etc. My camera is amazing and takes great pictures and videos. I’d be lost without it!

9. Baby Book: I choose this baby book after reading about it in a blog. The author also made a Pregnancy Book, a Birthday Book and Grandparent book. I love them all and wish I did the pregnancy book. This book is a good mix of fill in the blank and a scrapbook. I spent some time filling out the book every few days when Miles was first born.
My Baby Book
10. Family! Both of our families helped so much! Between taking out the trash, doing dishes, making meals, bringing treats, picking up groceries, etc. – we couldn’t have lived without them! Our church family also helped make the transition as a family of three a lot smoother! Our church provided dinner for a week, made phone calls to check to see how we were doing and to pray with us and we also received a few gifts from our church family. The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” well that same village also helps new parents survive the first few weeks!


Random Happenings

I had some images and stories I wanted to share but I didn’t have enough to dedicate a whole post so here we go! I combined a few photos! Enjoy!

Beautiful “Baby”
I snapped this photo of a beautiful little lady. Erin is growing more beautiful each month and I was thankful to catch this moment. 

Thank You
I complained about the intense heat we got this summer but I was aware that many people had it worse than I did. I left a little note for our Mail Carrier to thank him for all he does! 

Ben said he talked to the Mail Carrier the next day and he said the note was so nice and made his day. I really want to start doing more of these random acts of kindness to others! 

Bye Truck
We said goodbye to Ben’s truck. It was time for an upgrade! 

Craft Time
It had been a long time since I got crafty but I had a good excuse. Addison’s 3rd birthday! I made her a tutu! I used this piece of cardboard to cut the tulle in equal pieces. 

A work in progress!

The finished project!! I loved how it turned out but would have done more tulle and longer tulle if I did this again for this age group. 

The back. 

Added a cute little boa!

Farmer’s Market
A good haul from the Farmer’s Market: pickling cucumbers, bagels, peppers, tomatoes, flowers and sausage. 

A fridge full of delicious fruits and veggies!

Belated Anniversary

Remember our Anniversary? Well within the week we got a chance to celebrate our 2nd anniversary! It wasn’t the day I imagined because we decided to celebrate our anniversary on a whim. Ben was scheduled to work but at the last minute they had a low amount of kids so he didn’t have to. I was suppose to spend the day in Lansing for some one on one training time in the Department of Education but that got cancelled so we decided to celebrate! I planned on pulling out some of the crafts I made last year but no time! Like our honeymoon and our 1st anniversary – Ben planned the day! (Prepare yourself for a long post!)

We started at…

The hospital for Ben to meet the man I spent our anniversary waiting for! 

Okay this is super cute.. I love their little grins!

We then went to John Ball Zoo. We haven’t been there in years and Ben hadn’t been back since his last day of work. Ben worked there for three summers and built quite a few things that you can see as you wander around in the zoo. 

A lot had changed but many of our favorite animals could still be seen!

Ben is almost as tall as a Kangaroo! 

Me.. not so much… 

I loved these little guys! I just wanted to jump in and cuddle with them. 

We hung out with the birds – and didn’t get pooped on!

We took a cute picture under here many years ago…
(pre-beard days)


Lazy bear

Baboon, he wasn’t into entertaining that day… 

Reminded me of Puss In Boots – sweet innocent face!

This little guy had ADHD! He was HILARIOUS to watch!

Ben saved the best for last!! PENGUINS!

Our day continued with dinner at The Winchester

I had the Chicken Pesto – grilled hormone free chicken breast with sun dried tomato pesto and sliced portabella mushroom on a Nantucket Bakery Vienna roll with a Tiramisu Martini! 

Ben had a Tuna Dish with sesame seed encrusted tuna over wasabi and sushi rice with a local beer!

Both dishes were delicious. 

It was clear during dinner that we didn’t want the night to be over quite yet. We debated a few different options.

In the end we decided that we really didn’t want to spend the extra money at Buffalo Wild Wings (we talked about getting some wings to share and dessert) so the option we looked into was going to see a movie. We decided nothing sounded appealing. In the end we decided to run to a RedBox and look at movies there. We had never done that before. We picked out a movie and enjoyed the comfort of our own home.

We rented..

We Bought A Zoo!

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE! LOVED IT! This movie was the perfect end to our 2nd Anniversary!

This year we moved into our apartment, Ben and I both got new jobs, we furnished a large portion of our apartment, made incredible progress on our banking goals, bought a family ready vehicle, watched all the LOTR and Star Wars movies, fed ourselves throughout the winter with food we grew, and most importantly continued to learn about one another and grow in our relationship. Here’s to Year 3!

Small Group Adventures

Ben and I started attending his family’s church when we moved here 13 months ago. Sometime later we were approached by Ben’s mom about the possibility of joining a small group bible study. We spoke with a Pastor who suggested we join a group of young people who were led by an energetic couple. We were intrigued and said yes. We met up with two young couples, a single woman and our fearless leaders. We have studied a few different topics, explored a book, and lost one of our couples to a new job but are now taking some time to relax and get to know one another. So far we’ve gone on two adventures together: BrewFest 2012 and an outdoor concert! 

BrewFest 2012
Kurt and John working on the brew – similar to Two Hearted. 

The final stage for the day. Transferring the beer into this glass container where it will ferment and age. 

Kurt’s daughter studied up as her dad made his beer. 

Outdoor Concert
Instead of meeting for our regular small group meeting we attended an outdoor concert and had a picnic! Nothing says summer like big blankets, watermelon, beer/wine and babies!

Such a cutie pie! She was hilarious eating the watermelon and even feed it to me!

Enjoying the beautiful weather and beautiful company!

Kurt and his daughter.

Bonding with Linda.

She was such a good girl!

We’ve really been enjoying our time with our small group and have enjoyed these extra little adventures together!

2nd Anniversary

Yesterday was our 2nd Anniversary! Our anniversary came up quickly and with our busy schedules we had a late start to thinking about what to do for our special day. We decided on buying a joint gift, something special for our home that we would pick out together! We found it! A fun foot stool/extra seating for our living room. 

Check it out! 
We know this little foot stool will be a hit with guests of any age. And so far it has been! (Noticed a change in our living room? I’ll update about the changes soon!)

As for our actual anniversary Ben had to work until 4pm and then he was taking me out to dinner for a special night out. 

At least that was the plan….

I got a phone call from our friend Lauren at 6:30am saying that she was heading into the hospital because she was in labor! I quickly showered, packed a bag and headed over to watch her two youngest children. I stayed at their house until about 12:30pm. I brought the girls to their Papa and Nona’s house and then headed to the hospital . For the next 12 hours I waited patiently in the hospital room for Baby J to make an appearance. Finally at 1:24am Baby James Michael was born at 7 lb 12 oz and 19 in. long. I was honored to be there to see baby J come into the world and take his first breaths. Here is a glimpse at the little cutie!

James Michael

Proud Daddy with his new piece of {temporary} body art.

Mommy holding baby after his vitals were checked. 

Mama and Daddy and their new addition. 
Baby makes 5!

Love those kissable lips, dimple chin and curly hair!

Daddy holding his long awaited son!

So blessed to hold this new baby boy!

Sucking on his fingers. So precious!

So instead of spending my anniversary with my husband it was spent waiting for this little man. He was worth it! We will be taking time to celebrate our anniversary soon! 

Welcome Baby James!
We love you so much! 
Love, Ca and Ben

Babies, Birthdays and Battles


I have had the most wonderful opportunity to babysit for my best friend’s little girls throughout the summer. After missing so much of their lives I treasured every moment with them. Now as I start my new job I will not be able to spend as much time with them as I have been so the last few weeks have been especially special. 

Baby Erin playing her newest game, “Peek a Boo”

She makes the FUNNIEST faces!! I was excited to catch this one on camera!

Addison LOVES to color!
And this particular day she was nakey… 
There is nothing better than some cute girls in just their diapers!

Beautiful BIG girl!


We celebrated three special birthdays in the last two months, cousins Jeremiah and Lydia and Addison. 

I did not take any pictures of Jeremiah and Lydia’s joint birthday party (forgot my camera..) but I did take pictures of their birthday present!

I made splash balls out of sponges!

I put the splash balls in a big orange bucket to inspire them to create their own games to keep cool during the summer!
In their thank you cards they said they did just that! 
A joint gift perfect for summer fun!

Addison turned TWO!
I will never forget the first time I heard her cry shortly after she was born!
Tears filled my eyes as I listened to proud papa, Eric, sharing the grand news of her birth!
Now two years later we celebrated the gift God has given us, Addison!
Lauren planned a dog themed party, Addison’s favorite animal!
Lauren made these ADORABLE cupcakes! 

The birthday girl enjoying her special treat. 

Uncle Ben had some quiet time with Erin. She partied too hard so took a nap on Uncle Ben in a quiet room!

I took on a craft project for Addison’s first birthday so Uncle Ben got to do one for her second!
Uncle Ben sanded and repainted this little chair. He made a new seat for it and put tennis balls on the bottom so Addison didn’t scratch their hardwood floors. 

This picture may not show it, but Addison loves her chair and uses it all the time.
She does what I call “Talk Shows with Addison” where she sits in the chair and chats with whoever is closest to her or to her stuff animals. 
(Look for pictures of the chair project tomorrow!)


At 23 (almost 24) years old my childhood officially ended this summer with the final movie release of Harry Potter. For the last few movies it is tradition to see the movie in theaters with my in-laws. This movie was no different!

I donned my Voldemore shirt, wand, I love Hungarian Horntails pin and enjoyed the last movie and final battle scenes. The movie was incredible and the battle scenes were breathtaking!! Goodbye childhood and goodbye Harry Potter!

Happiness. Pure Happiness.

Today has been so wonderful and I’ve been in the BEST mood. 

It didn’t start out that way. Both Ben and I were not feeling very well this morning.  Ben missed a class and I thought I might have to too. 

But things turned quickly. 

I had my last Integration of the Arts class. The day was filled with music; singing and playing various instruments. It was very relaxing and I really enjoyed the company of my classmates. 

Then shortly after I got home I found out that Lauren was in the hospital and in labor!! 

I ran some errands and got  some supplies to make some more Christmas gifts. 

Then I had a wonderful meeting with my boss where I found out my survey results. 72/73 tenants took a survey where they answered questions about me and the area that they live in. My results are even better than last semester and I couldn’t be happier!! I reached all my CA goals this year. 

My happiness caught on to others throughout the day. I was told by the mailman that I should be NMU’s student of the week (because of a small favor I did for an old tenant) and a random student told me that it is amazing how happy I always am! This made my day and made me even happier! I noticed people are super friendly when I’m in a SUPER happy mood. 

I got home from work and shortly after I got the phone call I had been waiting for from Eric saying baby Erin was born at 5:45pm this evening. She is a beautiful, dark haired, 6lb 15oz, 19in, perfect baby girl. A few pictures have already been uploaded online and it is amazing to see how much Erin looks like her big sister, Addison! 

These pictures are so beautiful!! 

The evening continued with a Christmas Bake-A-Thon with a few good friends. I made smores’ bars and started candy cane spiral sugar cookies. On the agenda for tomorrow, more sugar cookies! 

Now I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy and about to work on Christmas gifts.