Holiday Traditions and Travelling with a babe


Do you have holiday traditions? We have been making Christmas tree decorating videos since we first started dating. Now that we've got our little babe, we're so looking forward to doing one with the three of us! Despite the fact that she won't remember her first Thanksgiving or Christmas, I feel like it's my responsibility to make it nothing short of amazing. I want to do ALL of the things. Dress her as a turkey, make her a book of gratitude, show her the parade on TV, then immediately get into the Christmas spirit and watch Elf and decorate and oh ALL of the things. Christmas cookie decorating...meeting Santa. I'm just so excited! I have so much to do... Ha!


One small thing is that Will and I have decided to take a 17 day trip right smack dab in the meat of December. Leona will get to experience all of the Christmas fun in 3 new cities with wonderful people we hardly get to see. So while it will be hectic, it will be amazing. Orlando, Savannah, and NYC here we come!
We're not afraid of travelling with our baby, in fact it's one of our top goals as parents. We think it's necessary for our family to keep going the way we always have, and that's everywhere. Leona deserves to experience as much of he world as we can possibly show her. If she's not reading about it I want her to live it. With that said we totally don't know everything and know it will be a challenge so...

We could use any tips for making all of this holiday magic happen while traveling with a 7 month old. I'll keep you guys posted if we find out something amazing too :)

Here are a few of my favorite guides to baby travel I've collected over the years




Happy Fall! Leona is 6 months old!

Not everything people tell you about raising a baby will apply to you. Honestly most of it may be completely opposite of what you're experiencing or what someone else said. One thing everyone told us, I mean everyone, is that at 6 months, things get really really good. The baby chub is rollin. They start having giggle fests and playing. I mean this girl pulls the blanket up on her own for peek a boo now. Leona has developed such a personality, she brightens every moment, even when she's melting down you can see her two new pearly whites gleaming and you can't help but hide a little smile while handling the code red.


While I have loads of photos from this fabulous month, we had the pleasure of getting a pro to document us. ALL of us. Pretty exciting to be able to not only have pictures of Leo but also of our family of THREE! 6 months in and we're smiling more each day :)


Also, is it just me or does it feel like when you have baby that there was never a time they weren't a part of your life? I feel like, 6 months? Only 6 months? I like it.

So here is picture overload, I tried to just pick a few but I love them all so much! Even a couple of the blurry ones made the cut, because they just feel so real to how life is right now :)




















































































Tidbits about Leona at 6 months

  • You weigh almost 19lbs
  • You are SO giggly and chatty (beaming with pride over here with your decision to start off talking with MAMA!)
  • You've been working very hard to get mobile. Currently you can go backwards.
  • At the beginning of 6 months you were still not into rolling over from your back but now you're rolling all over the place.
  • Teeth! Oh the teeth! They were tiny numbs at your 6 month appointment and then bam! Sharp little guys too.
  • Speaking of teeth you're totally into food now. Well avacado mainly but you give other foods a fair shot. And you still nurse like a champ, in fact... So well that you completely won't drink stored breastmilk from a bottle anymore. That's a challenge.
  • Sleeping, still a battle but it's getting better. We have accepted that you will want to be swaddled until it's simply impossible and that's helped. And you like a lot of noise, if it's quiet you're not sleeping except if we're sleeping next to you, then none of the above apply.
  • So many rolls.
  • Squealing and clapping!
  • Spit bubble blowing is your fav trick thus far in life.
  • You're feet are still one of your favorite toys! You've started noticing the screens in the house though so we're about to go on lock down. Sorry little mama, we're the parents who aren't allowing you to play with touch screens until you're much much older. We just don't feel it's appropriate or the right way for you to learn the basics of life.
  • You feel so grown up but when you're sleeping you're still like our teeny tiny infant. You smile in your sleep and suck your bottom lip in and it's difficult not to eat you up.
  • You get well over 500 kisses a day.


Thankful Thursday


"Start each day with a grateful heart." Life can get oh so, you know, just oh so much. Lately I've been learning to focus on the little things (the important ones) and when you take a moment and really think about how many parts of it are really special, you should take note of it. Not that there is any special reason you should listen to me, but it's what I've found to be true. And...I have an anxiety disorder (heyo OCD) and it seems to help. So yeah, start your day with a grateful heart. I promise you have a lot to be grateful for! And tell other people how grateful you are for them. These are good things. Ok?

I am loving this way to display thanks! 



Also, in the spirit of this thankful month of November, here are 5 things I'm thankful for that make life with a 6 month old babe much easier. 

1.Ergo Baby Organic 2. Summer Swaddle Wrap 3. Graco Bumper Jumper

4. White Noise App 5. Infantino Teether

What helps everyone else get through this crazy awesome stage?



Quarter of a Year Party


This past Sunday we took Leona's 6 month pictures and our little fall family ones, but I figure I need to give some good credit to us, the parents who threw their baby a 3 month birthday party after having to unexpectedly uproot and move cities when she was not even 2 months old...before I skip ahead to this fall.


With all of the chaos, there needed to be some celebrating going on. We have what we believe to be the best baby ( no bias of course). Ever. Now that we were back in Houston with a lot of our friends and family we welcomed them all over to revel in her adorableness and hang out in our new home with treats and drinks and as much fun as we could fit in. It was a celebration for all of us. We had all survived the crazy 1st quarter we were dealt. Hooray!


1stcandleleona's first candle experience

Center of the party!

Cousin love.

Partygirl_leoThe party girl.

PhotoboothPhotobooth fun with our favs!


The Gggggggg's.
Bonham_simoneNew friends!

2nd wind of party. Moments after this there may have been some Cards Against Humanity played. Promise it stayed low key :)

Our lady love. The happiest babe we know :) We love you Leona!






Your first month was just perfect. All of the scary stories people told us about how difficult the first weeks at home with a newborn, well, those weren't true of you at all. We slept more, smiled more, and loved more than we ever had. Especially me since I was finally able to eat a meal without being sick and my big wiggly baby in my belly was finally snuggled up with me. No hard feelings on the sickness, doll. 




After your family and new friends headed home, we spent your 2nd 24 hours hunkered down in our cozy apartment. Surrounded by all of the new that comes with a newborn: schedules, swings, swaddles, and dampness. The last one is so true, when you become a mom you will understand. 




We decided instead of having people come stay with us that we wanted to just get used to our newly expanded family. It may seem that the jump from 2 to 3 is small, but it's truly a new dynamic. Luckily for your parents, the moment you were born, our hearts quadrupled in size, leaving so much space for love that even the big change couldn't hold us down. 








You were such a contented newborn, even though you had just moved out of your comfy home you rarely put up a fuss. We also are very lucky ladies, you and I. Your dad didn't miss a beat. From the moment he helped me out of the jacuzzi where I birthed you, he assumed the rold of Dad. You should always be grateful for this. He showered us with love and smiles and so much support. Not a day went by (and it still doesn't) where he didn't express his gratitude and happiness for us. This Dad of yours even made me spinach almond risotto from scratch when you were 4 days old, not to mention all of the daily juicing and helping me walk and changing your diapers and snuggles for both of us. I'm still blown away with how lucky we really are.






We did have one tough night. You see, we're night owls, always have been. We were under the assumption (cough cough everyone told us it would DEFINITELY be this way) that babies would want to go to sleep early. You did a lot of sleeping but we noticed you didn't like to officially go to bed until later in the evening, much later. So one night we decided to give 10:30 bedtime a try. We all got ready for bed, swaddled you up and put on our favorite movie Away We Go. Within 15 min of laying you down you had the biggest meltdown. I mean it was bad, we tried everything. I ended up having to sleep sitting in a chair in the kithchen with the vent hood on. Thats really our only war story with you, thanks Leona!



So here are a few tid bits about your first weeks, you:

  • Vocalized your hatred of the co-sleeper within your 1st week and hopped in bed with us. We full support co-sleeping now.
  • Adored your little lamb swing.
  • Nursed like a champ. I did need a sheild in the first two weeks, luckily we got past that. You actually didn't even lose weight, instead you had gained almost a pound by 2 weeks old!
  • Discovered the joy of a bath. 
  • Subsequently discovered the joy of dry skin and baby acne. (sorry gal)
  • Slept A LOT. I'm talking sleep 4-6 hours and wake up for  20 min then back asleep. 
  • Were too small for your Charlie Banana cloth diapers so we used Honest Company for 3 wks.
  • Celebrated your first Cinco de Mayo, your parents 1st wedding anniversary, and took a road trip to Houston for my 1st Mother's Day.

All I can say is get it girl. Get it. 


 Your Mama

Leona goes to the!


On the way to the zoo I filled up with giddy excitement. You can ask Will, I could not contain myself! This. This was a moment. One of the moments you imagine while rubbing your big ol' pregnant belly. It was our 1st family outing to the zoo. It did not dissapoint us one bit. Leona had the best time despite being a mere 6 months old, she was genuinely amazed and intrigued. 


We had a few classic hiccups. No parking. Lots of driving in circles with a restless backseat passenger. the cool breeze had breezed its way out by the time we arrived and holy moly the zoo was more expensive than we expected. The day was laced with a couple of typical baby surprises including, but not limited to, a poop explosion by the sloths. And oh my the people watching was superb (I'm sure others thought the same of us.) 




Leona's eyes were wide looking at the animals once she noticed them past the groups of little childern in costumes for the trick or treating at each exhibit. Her favorite animal was the otter. He was splish splashing. I assume she felt they were kindred spirits and this girl is no stranger to a good splish splash. 





She didn't cry even onces. She let us put her in  silly hat and pose her for endless photos. Lots of kisses from mom and dad and eventually she fell asleep on my shoulder once we had come full circle at the zoo. 




Zoo Boo, you didn't suck at all. Thanks for making our moment magical.





*Here are some tips we learned:          

  • Make sure you go with a partner. Passing the baby back and forth was key. She stayed engaged and we stayed unsweaty and kept our arm strength.
  • Bring a drink for yourself. They are way overpriced there and its a whole lotta walking. Hydrate!
  • Get a zoo membership! Apparently they are only a bit more than one entry ticket and gets  you 1 year of fun!     
  • Plan some photo ops ahead. It will keep you from having a lot of the same shot which happens with a baby very easily. 
  • Look at everything through the eyes of your little one :) Really makes it magical! Us grown-ups are all a little desensitized, it always good to take a step back and be present.                  

on smiling


It's important to smile. To really, really, smile. I honestly don't believe in that fake it till you make it bull. I tried it, didn't work. But you know what does work, smiling about real things. Instead of faking it,  think of something that makes you happy  and you know, smile about it. 

My daughter has this down to a fine art. When she smiles, I smile, and in that moment it feels like the whole world is smiling too.



What make you sport your toothy (or toothless, no judging here) grin?



Domesticating Vol. 1


Truth. Sometimes (most of the time) I have hard time doing it all when it comes to keeping up the household and prim and properness. Don't get me wrong, I am a super hard worker, always have been. At times I have had as many as three jobs at once and carried a full load of college courses.

Was I eating poorly? Yes.

Was the house clean? Laundry done? Eh...

Did I style my hair, wear lipstick, or even wash my face daily? HA!

I've really racked up quite the tab of domestic and ladylike failings. Yet here's the silliest thing. I thought that something magical would happen to me when I got married, like there would my fairy godmother would reveal herself and I would transform into a domestic goddess by first morning light. I'd be doing the dishes in heels, making meals with exotic ingredients, the house would always smells of fresh baked goods, all clothes would be ironed, every baseboard would be clean, and everything in between.


I've obviously been delivered back to reality by our recent hardships, hyperemesis, and you know, motherhood, but I still long to be able to juggle it all. My career, being a good mom and wife, and honing the skills of my inner Martha.

My job as a stylist requires these skills of me and I domesticate the heck out of people's parties. Why can I not consistently do this in Casa de Swain?

Well I can and I will. There will be blunders but by gosh I'm going to try. Welcome to my first official series on this blog, domesticating.

*Sidenote for my feminist sisters. I apologize if this doesn't sit well with you. I believe in our rights and lady power but I also value our feminine gifts and I feel I could do so much more with mine. This article, "It’s Okay to Be a Radical Domestic Goddess", pretty much sums up how I feel about the issue. I love my family and cooking and taking care of myself and our home makes me feel like I'm doing us all some good. It's really all about love people.

Oh I roasted vegetables in the Le Creuset tonight! Owned.




On the move but holding steady


One thing our lives are not lacking is movement. Though I must say I should probably be moving my body a little more for my healths sake. Hopefully soon we will be able to stop moving cities all of ther time, but luckily, that does involve some excercise. Truly though, we have been through the ringer this past year. Thus, I have fallen behind on my documenting so expect a few catch up posts on Leona's milestones and some lovely flashback posts, which have already made me teary eyed just from looking through the photos for them.

Our little Leona is growing so fast. Everyone told us this would happen, but oh my, sometimes you wake up and look over at the sweet sleeping baby next you and realize you missed her growing up in just hours. They literally change by the hour sometimes, its unreal. It's completely magical. Despite all of the things that have gone amiss, I look at her and feel full and not broken. Now add in Will holding her and bam, heart melted, filled up, perfection. It's the sort of happiness you want to wrap yourself up in. It's the best part of the movie. In all honesty, it's terrifying sometimes. You never want it to go away so you spend all of your time trying to keep it and fix tiny problems, stay healthy, keep it together. By you, I obviously mean, me. So that's what I'm working on. Learning to just accept it and savor it. Not to let the rest of the fears and what ifs break this good thing down. I could give a list of a bunch of things that have gone wrong, things that are lingering abd scaring me about my body and health after such a hard pregnancy, the fact that we keep having to move, but you know what, I'm not going to. Postpartum anxiety and all of that mumbo jumbo, I'm not letting you win. 

I am happy and so madly in love with this family we have created. I'm not letting go of it. 



*magic moments from her first days earthside* 

More recent photos to come :)



Hello Sweetheart #1



Leona, Oh darling, if you could only feel how these photos make my heart swell with pride and ache at the same time for I know you will never be this tiny again. You were 2 and half weeks old here and the sweetest little piece of love, such a patient little subject allowing your parents to dress you up to try and capture you wiggly newborn body so we can all sit and reminisce and bask in our adoration of you. I still have hard time believing that we created something so perfect, but alas, here you are. I love every bit of you; your thick locks of hair, your tiny fits, your chubby cheeks, the sweet smell of you soft skin and milk breath, your long fingers and toes, your pretty eyes from your daddy, every gummy smile, and honestly every single inch of you. Baby you're wonderful and I'm so lucky to be your momma. xoxo







I'm here for joy. Straight up joy. I'm going to fill my life to the brim with it and hope it overflows. I'm a little bit sassy and a little bit shy. Also a bit messy. I am a wife and momma to a sweet little lady Leona, 2 crazy cats and a pup. I make things and style things, like parties, treats, pictures, houses and…babies! Thanks for stopping in. I can't wait to meet you!

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