10 Baby Items We Can’t Live Without

I remember when I was working on our baby registry. My husband looked over it and scoffed. “It’s a baby! It’s so tiny. How in the world could he need so much stuff?”

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{all of our goodies from one of our baby showers…so blessed!}

It’s true that as Americans we can totally go overboard on “stuff.” We think we need so much…but do we really? Living in SoCal means that we have a much smaller home so we just don’t have room for anything we don’t actually need so with baby boy on the way, we tried to only ask for things that we really, really needed. Of course, there’s no way to really know what your little bundle with like (being worn), dislike (the swing) or how many burp clothes you will really need (more than we could have ever imagined) until they are in your arms.

Truthfully, while things like clothes, diapers and wipes are universally needed, the rest of this stuff is a bit of a game of preferences and personality. That said, there have been a few baby items that have been worth their weight in gold.

We’re four months into this adventure called parenting and here are 10 items that we can’t live without:

1/ Solly Baby Wrap – I love this thing and Ethan loves to be worn. I think babywearing is one of the best things ever. Your baby loves it because they get to snuggle into your chest, and you love it because you can sniff your baby’s sweet head while having both hands free to get stuff done. The Solly Baby Wrap wins over the other guys because of it’s lightweight fabric that won’t leave you sweating while you wear your little hot pocket. Plus, the have the cutest prints and colors to choose from. I’m in love with my grey and white striped wrap, but if I had some money to burn I’d totally pick up this perfect Rifle Paper patterned wrap as my second one. And don’t be intimidated by this wrap — it’s way easier to put it on than it looks. Just watch their videos and follow along with a stuffed animal the first time and you’ll do great!


2/ Dockatot – When my friends first started having babies, they would talk about this Dockatot thing like it was magical. It’s basically a co-sleeper baby pillow with a bumper around it, not too unlike a dog bed. The sides give the baby that cozy, in the womb feeling while preventing mom and dad from rolling over on them and baby from rolling out. We don’t actually have Ethan in the bed with us, but we do use this in his bassinet as it fits it perfectly. These things are honestly crazy expensive and overpriced in my opinion, but I found ours on Craigslist for $50. It must work since Ethan has been sleeping for 5+ hour stretches since he was 4 weeks old and through the night since he was 3 months old. And let’s be honest – sleep is golden.

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3/ Hands free silicone nursing pump – GUYS! Have you tried one of these? It’s this simple silicone suction-y thing that you attach to your breast while you are nursing on the other side and it collects all this milk without you having to do hardly anything! This is truly one of the best things I discovered as a breastfeeding aid. Ethan would often only nurse on one side, especially in the middle of the night, leaving me with a leaky and painful boob. But then I got this magical thing; I would suction it on while he nursed and when he was done, I’d have about 3 oz of milk collected. This is how I built up my milk stash without having to add extra pumping sessions. Pure magic. This pump would be awesome for traveling because its so small and portable and I have heard women say that it is the only pump they use. I personally don’t do as well with it if Ethan isn’t latched on since he triggers my let-down. screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-12-20-41-pm

And in case you are wondering, my second favorite pump is this one by Avent. I honestly prefer both of these to my fancy electric Modela.


4/ Play Mat – My sanity. Ethan has loved his time on his play mat since about 6 weeks which means that I can eat breakfast, blow dry my hair, check emails, whatever I need — for about 20-30 minutes without him needing my utmost attention. This thing is used ALL. THE. TIME. Baby’s happy. Momma’s happy. This isn’t the mat that we have but it sure is cute. This play mat is from Skip Hop.


5/ Coconut Oil – In case you’ve been living under a rock and missed it, coconut oil is the bomb-diggity. Lather your baby up with this stuff and not only will their skin stay moisturized but it will also take care of diaper rash, acne, cradle cap and will soothe achy gums when teething. This is the brand we use and love because it doesn’t taste like coconuts (which is important because we also use it for cooking).


6/ Swaddle Wraps – Our little guys loves being swaddled. When he was tiny and new we could swaddle like a pro in a blanket, but it wasn’t long before his arms would break free and unravel his cozy blanket. These swaddle wraps are just the answer! We used the Swaddle Me wraps for the first few months until he grew out of them. Now it’s colder so we’ve transitioned to a fleece swaddle by Halo so that we can let him sleep with his arms out during the day and tucked in at night.

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-2-34-13-pm7/ Burp Clothes – Get more than you think you’ll need. We probably go through about 4-5 burp clothes a day since baby boy is a spit up machine. I have a few “fancy” burp clothes — the kind that have cute patterns on them and are made of organic cotton. I call them my “going out burp cloths.” The rest of the time we just use good old fashioned cloth diapers.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-3-51-47-pm8/Noise machine – Babies LOVE white noise. Apparently the womb was a very noisy place to sleep, so if you want your baby to sleep well outside of the womb, a noise machine is a must. It’s also great for mom and dad when baby is sleeping in your room and grunting all night long (Ethan used to sound like he was lifting weights from 4-6am every morning). We love this noise machine for the variety of sound options, it’s portability and the fact that it can run on a battery for travel.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-44-13-am9/ Nursing Night Light – GUYS! This little light was a life saver when I was nursing in the middle of the night! It’s a tiny little light that clips onto your shirt or bra strap and gives off just enough light so that you can see what you’re doing without waking dad up. It’s not perfect…my light has gotten to where I have to push it like 5 times to get it to turn on…but when you have a baby that likes to spit up ALL OVER YOU in the darkness, you’ll be glad to have this.


10/ Glow-in-the-dark Pacifier – If your baby takes a pacifier at night and then drops it in the middle of the night, you know what it’s like to be feeling around the crib looking for the hidden pacifier! Our little guy doesn’t actually need a paci until about 4 or 5 am and usually wakes up once because he dropped it and needs it. Now. Ethan loves the MAM pacifiers best so I was thrilled to discover that they make glow-in-the-dark pacifiers! They hold a light glow all night long which is miraculous and they give you two in a package which is awesome for when your dog eats the first one (bad dog).


** Bonus: Are you guys ready for this one? You’re gonna want to make fun of me but I’m only sharing what really works. Recently I discovered that Ethan will go to sleep in minutes if I play one specific lullaby album — get ready — my husband rolled his eyes but it’s seriously magical — it’s Nick Lachey’s “A Father’s Lullaby.” Honestly, the songs are so sweet and beautiful and not cheesy at all. And the first song, “All Through The Night” must pump melatonin into the room or something because about two minutes into it Ethan’s eyes start to get heavy. You can thank me later.

What are some of your must have’s for baby? Is there anything you can’t live without that I left off of the list?

All of these opinions are mine and mine alone. The makers of these products have not given me any of these items for free in return for my review of them…although I’d happily receive and review any items they want to send me!





A Nursery Sneak Peek


For years I dreamed about creating a beautiful nursery for a baby. I had the placement of everything mapped out in my mind. The crib would go here, dresser here, rocker here. And then it was actually time to get going and I was stuck. Once we found out that we were having a baby boy, J requested a woodland themed nursery, which sounded cute to me as well. But I didn’t want it to be too…well…themed. So I made mood board after mood board, trying to come up with the perfect blend.

For a while I decided that I would just sew everything from the crib sheets to the curtains, but pregnancy made me feel slow and sleepy and sewing just seemed too hard. I bought things and returned things over and over again. I must have purchased 13 curtains, although in my defense, the curtains from Target were incredibly inconsistent in their lengths and therefore impossible to match. And then there was the paint color. Swatch upon swatch upon swatch. I must have have 20 swatches that I narrowed down to maybe 5. I guess you could say that I’m not so decisive.

I kept wishing that we had wood floors, as if the carpet alone was what was making my decisions so dang hard! I really do hate the carpet, but there is nothing we can do about that other than hide it with rugs.

So I started with the easy things…white dresser from ikea (since I didn’t want to pay $1200 for the one I really wanted from Crate & Barrel), white modern crib and a simple white and blue muslin sheet I found at Buy Buy Baby. I added bit by bit from there and ended up with a slightly rustic but modern, grown up version of a woodland nursery. I truly love it. It fits our baby boy and the adventures he is bound to have with his outdoor-loving daddy.

There were a few DIY projects we tackled for the room including stripped and recovering the rocking chair, the tassel mobile above the crib, the pillow for the rocking chair and the wooden word art on the wall. I especially love the wooden artwork over his changing pad that J made for him with words that he wants Ethan to know perfectly describe him: loved, wanted, strong, chosen and so much more. It’s so beautiful and truly says who Ethan is to us.

I love how this room turned out. It doesn’t feel too baby for me and I managed to keep the design minimal enough to not make the small room feel cluttered. I also love the thought that he can totally grow into this space with minimal changes.

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Crib • Rocking Chair: vintage find from the Pasadena Rose Bowl • Crib Sheet
Mountain Wall ShelfArrow LampDeer and Bear PrintsRug
Grey PoufFelt Ball GarlandVintage Arrows









Introducing Ethan + My Birth Story


Wow. What a difference a year can make. Just look at this picture. When I look at it I see joy, delight, family, but more than that I see a miracle in my arms, prayers answered, dreams fulfilled and God’s faithfulness on display. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this is my reality now, that my biggest prayer has been answered and is resting in my arms.

Last year at this time was a different story. We had just finished our first IUI and found out on Christmas day that it didn’t work. There wasn’t a baby. We were devastated. Deflated. Torn. Weary. And we had to decide right away if we wanted to try again. J said no. He was too disappointed. But I wanted to give it another try, and I convinced J to try again as well. I’m so glad we did. Ethan was just one cycle away from us…we only had to hold on to hope.

I’ve almost written various different posts over the past 6 months or so but none have made it out of my head and onto this screen until now. There are so many thoughts and feelings involved when you become pregnant after struggling to conceive for many years. I didn’t expect to feel so much fear at each doctor’s appointment during my pregnancy. I feared that something would happen to our miracle baby and that he’s be lost. With each appointment my blood pressure would soar with fear. I had so much to lose, I told them. It took four long years, I’d say. Four years. And one perfect baby.

I also couldn’t stop thinking about all of my friends who are still trying to conceive. It wasn’t guilt as much as a heightened awareness and sensitivity of their struggle. After all, I had just been there. I knew those feelings of longing and sadness and disappointment all too well. While I was “on the other side” of infertility and full of joy for it, my heart ached even more for them as I knew that they would give anything to switch places with me. Each prayer thanking God for my precious miracle was often followed with a prayer over my friends who are still waiting, that their time would come quickly.

My pregnancy moved along as most pregnancies do with all of the typical symptoms. First it was morning sickness that lasted from weeks 6-10 only to reappear at week 12 and stay until 18 (lucky me). Couple that with a terrible gagging reflex from smells that left me throwing up in the sink each and every time I opened the fridge. At around 20 weeks I noticed that my feet and fingers were starting to swell and gave up both my wedding rings and my normal shoes for the remainder of my pregnancy. My ankles disappeared into my legs in the most un-sexy manner possible. Thankfully, I live in SoCal where flip flops are the norm as that was the only thing that fit on my puffy feet. Along with that I had terrible heartburn that ate away at my throat until I begged the doctor for something to tame it. I was big and round and gained more weight than I had wanted and I wobbled everywhere like a penguin, but it was beautiful because I was pregnant.

alexisjason-59 alexisjason-01{maternity photos thanks to Corinne at StuckWithPins}

Ethan gave me his first kick on Mother’s Day when we were in Hawaii. It was just a flutter, but it woke me up from my sleep and couldn’t have been a better gift on a day that I used to dread. He kept on kicking for rest of the pregnancy, at some points rubbing his feet along my ribs like it was a foot massage.

On September 30th, the morning before my due date, my water broke as I was walking into the kitchen to get breakfast before going to a Women’s Conference. I actually just thought that I had lost bladder control until I felt a second woosh as I walked down the hall. Could it be? I wasn’t having contractions so I told my husband to go to work which is hesitantly did, only to return home about an hour later. Haha! He couldn’t stay away with our baby boy’s birth so imminent. But I still felt fine so we finished packing our hospital bags and watched Netflix to kill the time. I had my weekly doctor’s appointment that afternoon so they told me to come on in and they’d check me out. Turns out that despite feeling nothing, things were somehow moving along because I was already at 4 cm without contractions. But since my water had broken that morning I was on the clock and had to progress so he suggested acupuncture to induce labor. Thankfully, my doctor has an fertility acupuncturist just around the corner who was willing to squeeze me in for some baby-inducing treatment. Thirty minutes later she returned to remove the needles and asked if I felt anything. I said no but that my back was aching — like every 5 minutes aching. “You’re having back labor!” she replied. Success!

My contractions immediately after acupuncture were strong and rapid, first 4 minutes apart and quickly to about 2 minutes apart about 2 hours later. And ALL. IN. MY. BACK. I have no idea what a “normal” labor feels like as my contractions never moved out of my lower back to my front. In case you’re wondering what back labor feels like, it starts out much like bad gas pains and moves into “I want to rip my hips out of my body!” kinda pain. We labored at home for only 2 hours before our precious doula (who was a GEM, by the way, and worth EVERY stinkin’ penny) suggested that we head to the hospital. Long story short, at the hospital I continued to labor, breathe, listen to prayers, dance, sway…anything to keep the pain at bay. Around 3:45am I started having contractions that would turn into pushing without me trying. They had told me that I wasn’t ready to push yet, but this baby was coming out. I couldn’t help but push! I crawled onto the bed on my hands and knees, trying to lesson the crazy pain in my back and hips, still feeling a push with every surge. Before I knew it, the doctor was back in the room. J whispered in my ear that they were getting the room ready and that the baby warmer was being set up. It was go time. I pushed for only 15 minutes on my hands and knees until Ethan came out. It was hard and painful and I screamed in ways I didn’t know my body could scream but I did it — 12 hours of hard back labor without any pain medicine and a perfect baby boy in my arms.


Ethan Ryder Ward was born on October 1 (his due date!) at 4:15 am. He was a perfect 7 lbs 15.8 oz and 21 inches long. When we looked at him we couldn’t believe he was ours! He was SO cute! Perfect button nose, round rosy cheeks, dark hair on his head and the longest feet ever.

We are completely in love with our baby boy.


Ethan is now almost 12 weeks old and is such a good baby. He sleeps well at night, only waking once to feed. He smiles and coos and laughs throughout the day. He loves when I sing to him and will sing along. He has his daddy’s bright blue eyes and I could stare at him all day long. I’m not sure how I’m ever going to get work done with this adorable little guy in my sight during the day! He brings us so much joy and we love him more every day. God truly gives the very best gifts.

To my friends who are still in the wait…hold onto hope. Please don’t give up on your prayers. Continue to pray and to praise. Thank God in advance for the babies he has for you. Thank him for answering the prayers that he has yet to answer. Believe that he will! I learned so much in this journey – that prayer works and that God is faithful. Always faithful. And He is a good father who loves to give good gifts. I love you all. You continue to be in my prayers.

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