And Then There Were Four

We have been a family of four now for the last two and a half months (or if you’re counting the nine months of pregnancy, that would make it 11 and a half months!) and it’s been a whirlwind of embracing our newest family member with more love than we ever imagined our hearts capable of. It really has felt like Emmanuela has been part of the family forever, and it’s hard to believe she was only ten days old in these pictures. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Our newborn/family pictures with Kelsy Nielson started out with a mini-shoot of Thea playing with her headbands and bracelets (this happens on the daily around here!) These, coupled with the images of us all in our early days with Emma, are ones I will treasure forever. A million thanks to Kelsy for capturing these special moments for us again. She’s just the best!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy mid-week!

xo

Kassey

//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences\\

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A Summer Recap

Yesterday started out as a rainy, September day, and it made me think “Hey, this would be a good time to reflect on how we spent our summer”. There’s no time like the present to share that with you, right?!

In short, it seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, as the summer months tend to do. It was a busy one for us, but we managed to get away on a couple of small trips (pictures to follow below), enjoyed a lot of what was happening here in Edmonton, excitedly planned and celebrated my sister’s wedding (stay tuned for photos from the very talented Carmyn Joy), and all the while, I am growing baby #2. Surprise! Depending on whether you follow along on either my personal or blog Instagram accounts, you may have seen a few photos revealing a rapidly growing bump. We are SO excited to be expanding our family, and with another baby GIRL!!! This pregnancy has brought along its fair share of sickness and next-to-nothing energy levels, but thankfully I have left that behind in the first trimester and am happy to be feeling more like myself these days (save for a bad back).Life is going to get a whole lot girlier around here, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. January can’t come soon enough!

Back to the recap. Back in June, we took a trip down to Calgary for the annual Greek Festival that the community puts on. This trip was twofold – partly to perform with my Greek dance group and partly to have a little family getaway.

Here’s the dancing gang, Kyklos (that’s me in the top row, third from the left)

At the Calgary Zoo, trying to snap a picture with Thea before she runs away (something she loves doing nowadays)

Grabbing a coffee at the famously rich and satisfying Phil & Sebastian in Chinook Centre

We took the road down south again later on in the summer and spent August long weekend in Canmore. This was the first time I had spent actual, dedicated time in the town, and it didn’t take long for me to fall completely in love. It’s scenic, quaint, and has something for everyone. We can’t wait to go back, and perhaps experience what winter in the Rocky Mountains is like (mental note: sign the family up for skiing lessons first!)

While in Canmore, we hiked the Grassi Lakes trail which came highly recommended from a few friends. Despite not making it all the way to the top (thanks to my pregnant huffing and puffing!), we are so glad we did what we could. It was a scorcher of a day, so to conquer what we did was a pretty great feat! Here are some of the views we encountered along the way.

It was another great one for the books! We have said this more frequently in recent years, especially since starting a family of our own, but there’s something so cool and fulfilling when you can dive in and explore the gems within your own province; your own backyard, so to speak. And to think there’s so much more of this great province to uncover.

With summer officially behind us, I am ready to embrace the cooler temperatures and all of the beauty that fall brings. Oh, and Starbucks’ pumpkin scones 🙂

Happy Wednesday…xo

Thanks, 2014. Hello, 2015!

I hope you all have had a restful, food-filled holiday with all of the family time your hearts can handle, and more! That is what the holidays are all about after all, right?

It has been not just a great holiday season for us, but a great year all around. We took in all of our firsts with Theodora, and got to enjoy an energetic Christmas morning full of laughs as we watched her destroy every piece of tissue paper she came across. Who needs toys?!

As we were nearing the holidays, I was really hoping to take a true break and unplug. It’s hard to do, since day to day life is full of digital distractions, but I was determined to completely scale back on laptop, tablet and cell phone time. And what a success; we did it! We had several festive events on our radar, which we managed to take in, but most of all, we just wanted to hang out with our families. Visiting with family and friends was of top priority, especially those that made it in from out of town, so we feel refreshed after having caught up with those that are dear to us, but live far away.

It should be all 365 days of the year, but at Christmas time we are reminded to acknowledge and count our blessings. Having just payed my respects at an old friend’s funeral yesterday, that reminder was especially clear to me. I do my best to recognize all of life’s blessings all throughout the year, even (especially) the tiny ones, but I will make sure that for 2015, I kick that up a notch.

For example, I’m going to institute a wear-matching-slippers ritual, like we did on Christmas morning:

Or take a regular stroll through the local zoo at night:

Have a snow day on a more regular basis:

Relish in all of the joy that this little one brings us:

Also worth mentioning – she not only got her two front (top) teeth for Christmas, but also mastered walking! This proud mom is filling in these milestones in the baby book!

As our 2014 chapter comes to a close, we excitedly await 2015 and all of the fun it has in store for us. We’ve got wedding festivities on the horizon, and the regular daily adventures that we call life, so that in itself is a blessing. Hug those you love extra tight, and I wish you all every joy and happiness in 2015. Oh, and ring in the New Year safely 🙂

xo,
Kassey

RIP JC ❤

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

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

Theodora has arrived!

Hello readers, and Happy Holidays! Hope you all had a very Merry Chritmas surrounded by loved ones, good food, and the chance to unwind and enjoy everything the holidays bring. We were so blessed to be able to celebrate this Christmas with our new baby girl, Theodora Marian! I laugh when I think of my last post, having just started maternity leave and being so convinced that we were going to have a December baby. Well, I was wrong! Theodora joined us on November 27 at 12:46 pm, weighing in at 7 pounds 13 ounces and 21 inches long. She is a happy and healthy little baby, and we truly couldn’t be more in love with her. Needless to say, this was a very special Christmas and little Thea was one spoiled baby girl!

The early days

The early days

Thea's first Christmas!

Thea’s first Christmas!

Lately, we've managed to capture some tiny smiles

Lately, we’ve managed to capture some tiny smiles

It’s so hard to believe that she’s already one month old! I really can appreciate when people tell me now that the time just flies by. Yikes, little Thea, don’t grow up too quickly!

Despite the learning curve, I’m enjoying the transition to motherhood, and am curious to know from all the mamas out there – what was your favourite part of early motherhood?