Celebrating One Year of Theodora

Last weekend, we celebrated our not-so-little baby’s first birthday, and throughout that day, I found myself revisiting some advice I had received just before my wedding day. A friend of mine told me to make sure I took a moment to really look at what was happening around me to soak it in because of how fast it goes by. The same totally applied for Theodora’s birthday; on the day we celebrated with a few little friends, and the night before the party, too. I couldn’t believe that the heart-shaped rice crispy pops and tissue paper poufs I was making at 2:30 in the morning the night before were for our very own daughter!

(Don’t judge me, but I feel like I need to be honest here – I had the help of not only Alex in these preparations, but also a glass of wine. It tastes so much better in those wee hours of the morning!)

The afternoon was filled with exactly what we hoped for – laughter, tiny people chatter, singing and eating. Although too young to really remember this milestone birthday, we hope that these pictures will help Theodora understand how excited we were to celebrate her.

People warned me of this, and it’s true – the first year goes by at lightening speed. Everything is so new, and you’re stepping into the monumental responsibility of raising a child in the safest, healthiest and happiest way that you can. Here’s what has made us feel ok about how fast it went – we did our best to be in the moment, every step of the way. Whether those moments were at 2:00 am consoling cries, or the fourth time in the span of half an hour changing, yet, another diaper, we just reminded ourselves that this was part of the deal. And what incredible, priceless results this deal has yielded us.

Have a great (warm) week!

xo,
Kassey

Also, hello December and Cyber Monday! When did that happen?! Here’s a list of some of the best Cyber Monday sales to shop. A great head start to Christmas shopping, if you haven’t already started.

One way to do some Christmas shopping (or treat yourself) and support local businesses and artisans is to check out the Royal Bison Art & Craft Fair. It runs again next weekend, December 5-7, and is VERY worth checking out!

Party Details
Cake topper and huge pink balloon: Confetti & Sparkle Party Shop
Cake: Cake Affair (delicious and amazing!)

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Family Photos

Earlier this summer, we had family photos done, and I’m so excited to share some of them here with you. I thought it would be so fun to get a little fancied up for a few of the shots, and mix it up with a slightly more casual style. We worked with the ever so talented and fun Nicole Ashley and her team of ladies, Janna Huget and Stefanie Carlson. You may remember a mention of Nicole and her team in one of my very early posts where I shared our mother-daughter photos. Needless to say, I was so excited to work with these girls again. Not only do they produce photos meant for cherishing, but a few minutes with this crew is a guaranteed ab workout from all of the laughs!

While I initially took inspiration from my style icons (the Beckhams, the Royals, and Blake Lively), it was with the help of Janna’s savvy styling skills that helped the whole look and feel of our photos come together. Combine that with Stef’s mad skills in hair and makeup, my delicate and sparkly dress, a sharp suit and a tiny gold crown and we had all of the necessary ingredients to cook up the photos I had been dreaming of. And if I can just talk about this dress for a minute – I had every intention of leaving the tags on and returning it once we were done with the shoot. Until I tried it on. Seriously, every girl needs a dress like this in her life! I can’t wait to wear this beauty again.

It was hard not to post all of them here, because with every single one I say “No, THIS is my favourite”. So here are a few more. And so begins my task of deciding which ones to print for framing. It’s going to be a tough one…

Our Family

(dress by Adrianna Papell, no longer available. Similar here and here)

Hope you all are enjoying what marks the last of the summer long weekends! Have a great week.

xo,
Kassey

Summer Vacation…With Baby!

A couple of weeks ago, we took our very first family vacation with Theodora, and it was a success! Our travels took us down to Scottsdale, Arizona where we visited with aunts, uncles and cousins; some of which live there, and others who flew in from North Carolina and Texas. Those four days were packed and seemed to go by just as quickly as the trip snuck up on us, but it was all really enjoyable.

Here are a few photos of our time in Scottsdale. We were really fortunate in that my mom, dad and grandpa also made the trip down, so it was a big, fat, Greek family vacation of sorts – fun, eventful, and memorable! At the end of this post, I’ve also included a list and a few descriptions of what worked for us travelling with a little one.

The last time this crew of cousins assembled was three years ago, on the dance floor, at our wedding. So fun, and even more fun that we got to introduce them to Thea!

The last time this crew of cousins assembled was three years ago, on the dance floor, at our wedding. So fun, and even more fun that we got to introduce them to Thea!

Our first family photo! Seriously, we're really bad at finding someone to take a picture of all three of us, so we were really excited about this one!

Our first family photo! Seriously, we’re really bad at finding someone to take a picture of all three of us, so we were really excited about this one!

Grandparents, and great-grandpa too!

Grandparents, and great-grandpa too!

Travel Planning with Baby

First trip meant a first real flight for Theodora, and so we knew a bit lot of forethought was required. Here are a few things we considered in our planning and packing:

~ Flights
Fortunately, there are direct flights from Edmonton to Phoenix that just happened to align with our little one’s sleep times. While she was a little fussier on the way down (I think teething was partly to blame for this), the flight back departed Phoenix at 8:00 pm, and after a bit of being distracted and excited at the beginning of the flight, she slept the whole way home. Sweet dreams all around!

~ Take off and landing
Most of you with babies have probably already heard that to help alleviate some of the pressure on the ears, it’s a good idea to breast or bottle feed on take off and landing. In our case, this really helped, and specifically on the flight home, which was similar to her typical bed time routine, resulted in a cozy, three hour slumber.

~ Entertainment & Boredom Prevention
Lesson learned here – it’s a good idea to bring along a toy that is brand new and never-before-seen by your cute little bundle. Theodora is getting to the age, now, where some of her toys are becoming old news to her, especially when you have them on short rotations over the span of three hours! So, on a shopping trip to Nordstrom Rack, I picked up a toy cell phone that I hid until we were on the plane to come home. It was new and exciting for her, and kept her occupied until she fell asleep.

~ Gear: Feeding

Travel-friendly Feeding Gear

Counter clockwise: 1. Medella Harmony Manual Breast Pump, 2. Annabel Karmel Food Masher & Bowl, 3. Boon Squirt Spoon

Theodora is on solids now, and when we’re at home, I use my Baby Bullet. It isn’t the most practical gadget to bring along on a trip, though, so a combination of other smaller, travel-friendly pieces and caving into buying certain baby foods got us through the four days. I found it very handy to have my manual breast pump (pictured above) as I like to mix her cereals and other foods with breast milk as opposed to water. If I couldn’t pump conveniently and privately, I just used bottled or tap water, and whenever possible, I boiled it. The bowl and masher has also proven it’s worth in our house. I often use it at home, and make sure to throw it in my baby bag when we’re heading out, too, as it’s easy, compact, and you can mash a variety of fruits and vegatables. Lastly, and possibly my favourite among all of these is the Boon Squirt Spoon. Minimal mess and pretty error proof, this has a permanent spot in my baby bag, and as long as I have it filled with iron-fortified cereal, Thea will always have a healthy snack on the ready. Pour in a bit of breast milk/formula or water, give it a stir or shake, and squirt. It’s that easy!

When it came to buying baby food, I was hesitant at first, but convenience and the need to provide a bit more variety for Thea won. We ended up buying a few of those squish packs and used them sparingly, but Thea seemed to enjoy them.

~ Gear: Clothing
The desert heat that Arizona is famous for was something I was a bit nervous about. We knew we wouldn’t be spending a whole lot of time outside, but I was also thinking about the drastic temperature change from outside to the air-conditioned indoors. In addition to the basics, I always made sure to have a light sweater in our bag for Thea. Four days didn’t require us to pack all that much, and if there was anything we forgot, it was a good excuse to go shopping!

~ Gear: Products
Similar to clothing, we knew that if there were any products we forgot, we could easily buy them from a grocery or local drug store. For those emergency types of items, however, it was reassuring to have a little “cosmetics bag” for Thea, which consisted of things like infant tylenol, nail trimmer (this one by Zoli is a God send!), thermometer, brush/comb, Vitamin D drops, and sunscreen.

Diapers were a perfect example of something you just stock up on once you arrive. We packed enough to last us (and then some) for the time we would be at the airport and the actual flying time, and then just made a trip to Target once we had settled into our hotel.

Since coming home, I have come across a couple of other resources that I will definitely refer to next time we take a trip. Caz shares 17 Tips for Flying With Kids over on her blog, and I really liked her idea of a bag of goodies – perfect for trips longer than a three hour flight! I have a feeling that packing will only become more challenging as Thea gets older and more particular with her outfits, so I will be looking to Joy’s tips on packing for a family trip. If Thea ends up loving clothes even half as much as I do, we’re in trouble…

I hope this was helpful, and if you have any tips or suggestions you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear them!

xo,
Kassey

Holiday!

We’re off on a little holiday to sunny Arizona, and this marks our first official family vacation! I’m looking forward to some time away, catching up with family, and the adventure of travelling with a little one.

I hope you all have a great week, and I’ll be sure to share some stories and photos upon our return.

xo,
Kassey

Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads and dads-to-be out there!

I, truly, have never met anyone harder working than my parents, and my dad is one of those types that just keeps going, and going, and going. He has taught me the value of hard work, and that living honestly and simply goes a long, long way. He goes from putting Christmas lights up, to changing the oil in each of our cars (we are three sisters, and not one of us has taken a real interest in learning this for ourselves…*hanging head in embarrassment*), to switching our tires and getting the winter ones on. In one day! On top of all of this, he’s tireless in his love and kindness, and continuously sets the best example for all of us.

What a throwback! My dad and I, pretending to be cowboys in Phoenix, in 2007

What a throwback! My dad and I, pretending to be cowboys in Phoenix, in 2007

This year is also Alex’ first Father’s Day! We always say that we are in this parenting game together, and as I reflect on that today, it couldn’t be more true. We’ve had an amazing and fun journey over the last six and a half months, and watching him ease into the role of a dad has warmed my heart. So, Happy Father’s Day, Alex!! Theodora is so lucky to receive your love, support, and guidance, and I know she’s looking forward to when she’s old enough to plan little surprises of her own for you on days like these!

And let’s not forget the celebrities who are dads, too. Here’s a list of the most stylish fathers and daughters. David and Harper are obviously my favourites. How about yours?

Hope you all are having a great weekend! Spoil those dads in your life!!

xo,
Kassey

Christmas & New Year’s

I have confidently come to admit that I am a bit of a child at Christmastime. It is my absolute favourite time of the year – carols on the radio, made-for-TV Christmas movies, Starbucks Christmas cups, sweets and treats (baking, giving and receiving!), family time, and that overall cheery feeling that seems to touch just about everyone. It also allows for me to watch Home Alone 1 & 2 totally guilt free (I actually tend to watch these two all year round, not just at Christmas).

This year was obviously extra special since we celebrated as an official family of three. We really enjoyed spending time with our parents and siblings and keeping things a little lower key.

We rang in the New Year here at home, with family, food, a good game of Taboo and a Skype date with my sister in Dubai. In between turns at Taboo, we tuned into the New Year’s Eve specials on TV, which were a nice touch. Our night wasn’t fancy or over-the-top, but I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable New Years celebrations we have had. Just what we needed as we adjust and adapt to our newest little family member.

Pappou love

Pappou love

I felt it totally appropriate to catch up on my Vanity Fair and Bazaar in between Taboo matches

I felt it totally appropriate to catch up on my Vanity Fair and Bazaar in between Taboo matches

Thank goodness for Skype!

Thank goodness for Skype!

Our fancy, alcohol-free drinks. Cheers!

Our fancy, alcohol-free drinks. Cheers!

We were so blessed throughout 2013 and we can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store. From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful year ahead! May it bring you every joy and happiness.

xo

Mother-daughter

I know I speak on behalf of both my sisters when I say that we feel so lucky to have the mama that we have (that actually sounds like the biggest understatement ever, but how does one even begin to describe the amazingness of their mom?!). For this past Mother’s Day, my sister, Sophia, suggested we get Mother-Daughter photos done, and this couldn’t have been more of a blast! She sourced the incredibly talented and fun photographer, Nicole Ashley, who brings with her a team of equally cool, fun and talented ladies to pamper and make you look extra fabulous for the shoot.

Although Mother’s Day was in May, we decided to schedule this photo shoot for July when my little sister, Eleni, was visiting from Dubai (side story – Eleni made the move aaaaall the way out there earlier in the spring, so the adjustment of having the baby of the family living so far away made these photos that much more special). Another fun/special fact was that I, myself, was right in the middle of my own mama-to-be journey, so it was pretty cool to document us plus the soon-to-be addition (only a few weeks away now!!). Here are a few images from the shoot, which at the end of it all, Nicole, Jana and Stefanie endearingly nicknamed us the Kardashians – ha!

Notice the hair blowing in the "wind"? Super glamorous, and super fun...Nicole and her girls actually brought out blow dryers to create this hilariously fun effect.

Notice the hair blowing in the “wind”? Super glamorous, and super fun…Nicole and her girls actually brought out blow dryers to create this hilariously fun effect.

2.

Nerds that love their Hudson's Bay Company stripes!

Nerds that love their Hudson’s Bay Company stripes!

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What are some of the special somethings you have gifted your moms? If you’re ever stuck for ideas and looking for something different, but incredibly fun, I HIGHLY recommend you check Nicole out!