Date night without the babe

Over the holiday we visited my family in northern Colorado, and while we were there my sweet niece volunteered to watch Everett so Ty and I could have a mini date night. It was extremely mini as we were only gone a little over an hour, but it was nice to have some alone time with Ty. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Larkburger and did a little Christmas shopping in downtown Fort Collins, which, I might add, is so pretty during Christmas time. They string these big-bulb string lights from all the trees, and it's magical, I tell you. Utterly magical. Few things make me ooh and ahh like beautiful big-bulb string lights. You too? I thought so. Sorry no photo -- winter in Colorado is also utterly freezing, so you can't sit and admire for too long, let alone take a picture.

So with full bellies, we strolled hand-in-hand down the magical, freezing streets of old town until the cold drove us back into the arms of our little babe. It may not have been a long date, but it was a good one.

A packing tip for the holidays

A few years ago I came across the best packing tip and it's made packing a dream ever since -- packing in a color scheme! So simple and so totally effective. Because everything coordinates, I end up packing way less since mixing and matching is effortless and fewer wardrobe pieces go further. Plus, it makes sifting through my sea of clothes WAY easier when choosing what should go in the suitcase. Give it a go this holiday season and see what you think!

As evidenced above and below, I went with a red, green, cream and black scheme this trip (because hello...Christmas!). I make sure to pack a mix of fancy pieces, casual pieces, stand-alone pieces and layering pieces so I have all my bases and moods covered for the trip. Then throw in 1 nice pair of shoes, 1 casual pair, and some boots, and DONE! Just like that. Easy peasy. Happy packing.

Decking the halls

Decorating in these parts this year is at a minimum (and it took me 4 times as long to get it up -- hah! And I may have stored the boxes in the guest shower, cause who wants to carry those all the way back downstairs?) but we are loving it. There's just something about a home at Christmas time. It has this special kind of cozy magic that isn't there any time of year, you know? As I was pulling out the hand-me-down decorations I recently acquired from my sweet mama, my heart warmed. I loved setting them out and remembering all the times I did the very same thing as a kid. Our little nutcracker. The mouse advent calendar. The Christmas Tree plate. It's silly, but I kind of love it. I'll be sad come January 1st when I have to take it all down. The house just feels so lonely without the tree and the garland and the banners and the nic nacks, am I right?

As you likely know, tree selection in the Clark house is nothing short of a proper occasion. However, this year (after visiting only two lots!) we went with a tall, skinny, sparse little* pine tree. NOT the MO in this house. But because we will only be here two weeks to enjoy it, it seemed like the smart decision (as it is less than 1/3 the price of the tried and true noble fir that typically graces our living room). It felt a little like settling at the get go, but you know something great? It's been one of our favorite trees ever! It has wriggled its way into our hearts and I think it's here to stay. It's quirky. It's gangly. It looks like it belongs in a Dr. Seuss book. And it's honestly perfect. Plus it fits our space at least 1,000 times better than the noble fir -- skinny and tall, just like our room. I think we have a winner, folks - our new go-to tree type for the rest of our years here in Utah.

*Not actually little, but the word just fit well in that sentence.

8-week Baby Essentials

8 weeks into baby land (happy 8-week birthday, Everett!) and I have a handful of products that have made these last two months much easier. I wanted to share my favorites for any mamas-to-be (or mamas-who-are) who may be on the hunt for recommendations. If you have any to add, leave them in the comments!

1. Solly Baby Wrap - Lightweight, breathable, comfy and amazing. This wrap is everything you would ever want (and WAY more comfy than my Baby Bjorn baby carrier. Just saying). Don't be intimidated by the wrapping part; I promise it's not all that complicated. Plus, how-to videos on the website. Plus plus, their packaging is adorable! SO adorable. I am a sucker for great packaging.

2. Halo Sleep Swaddle - We use one of these every. single. night. We tried the Woombie, but Everett HATED it. But thankfully, he does great with this. It was invented by a man to help decrease SIDS by eliminating the need for loose blankets in the crib. We still use a blanket since our house is cold and it's winter, but this keeps Ev from waking himself up with his constant little arm jolts in the night (as he can't control his limbs yet). I especially love that the swaddle doesn't cover his hip area so we don't have to worry about any hip dysplasia concerns when swaddling him for the whole night.

3. Aden+Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets - These are the most versatile blankets. Along with using them for warmth, I also swaddle Everett in one for his naps each day (they have a nice amount of stretch and are a great size). I drape them over the car seat for shade when not using the paparazzi pod. I roll one up to use as a carseat pillow when we are traveling. I've used them as nursing covers before. And really, the possibilities are endless. A little pricey, but totally worth the money. I hear these are pretty great too at a slightly lower price tag.

4. Sleep n' Plays - My babe lives in these things. It's like a dress (the easiest piece of clothing ever) but for babies. I just put him in one of these and he's good for anything; plus the footies keep his feet warm and the mitten fold overs keep him from scratching himself. Some people like to hate on the snaps, but I LOVE the snaps. With zippered jumpers you have to undress your whole baby to change his diaper, but with snaps you just have to undress the bottom half, leaving the top half of the baby nice and toasty (and happy). Embrace the snaps, I say.

5. Oh Baby Chic Infant Paparazzi Pod - I openly admit that I think carseat canopies are not very good looking, but SO SO functional. And I am a sucker for functional. So when I ran across this bad boy, I was sold. All the same functionality as a typical carseat canopy, but without all the bold patterns and the minky. Which I loved. Keeps the babe safe from the cold and the winter germs without drawing too much attention.

6. Ubbi diaper pail - My sweet mama got me this as a baby gift, and I can't thank her enough. Small enough in scale that it doesn't have a "Hey! Here I am! Your diaper pail!" type presence in the nursery, and it's made of metal so it really locks in all those odors. I have zero diaper whiffs in the nursery (woot!). Plus it uses just an every-day kitchen trash bag, which is so much easier (and cheaper) than having to buy specialty bag inserts (I'm looking at you Diaper Genie).

7. Motherhood Nursing Sleep Bra - This is hands down the most comfortable nursing bra out there; thank you to my sister for the fantastic recommendation. I got a couple similar ones from Target, but they pale in comparison. And even though it says it's for sleeping hours, I just might actually wear it ever day. All day. I repeat, seriously comfy.

8. Baby gowns - Before Everett came I was like "OH NO WAY am I ever putting my baby boy in a gown!" And now friends, I eat my words. And I eat them good. Gowns are AWESOME. I put Ev in one every night for bed so if I do have to change his diaper in the middle of the night it's lickity split, easy breezy. Plus, perfect for the fist week when you change approximately 1,000 diapers a day. Yaaaaaayyyyyyyy gowns!

9. Portable Infant Co-Sleeper - Even though Everett sleeps in a different room (and bed) than us, Ty and I have used this co-sleeper pretty much constantly since we got it. We have taken it on vacation as a portable bed for Ev. And it is awesome to have around the house so we can safely lay the babe in any room we want to keep him close by. Super duper handy.

10. Diaper Changing Pad - Whether I have to change Ev's diaper in the car, on the floor, or on a shady diaper changing station in a public restroom, I feel MUCH better about doing it with this thing in place. And this one rolls up nice and small so it fits perfectly in my diaper bag.

Adventures in babies

Everett will be 7 weeks tomorrow! So crazy! Time seriously flies in this wonderful land of baby-ness. I'm still in love with him. And life is still so so wonderful. But, I will tell you this, if I have learned anything about parenting in these last few weeks, it's that I know absolutely nothing about parenting. And that babies be babies.

Yesterday was a doozey of a day. The daytime was AMAZING. Typically Everett has a rough time with naps, but not yesterday, friends. No. Yesterday was a dream. He'd eat. We'd have a solid 10-15 minutes of smiley, happy, awake interactive time. Then he'd get fussy, I'd swaddle him, and almost effortlessly he'd drift off to sleep and nap for 30 min to 2 hours. Like clockwork. It was incredible. The whole day followed that pattern - eat. happy. sleep. However, as incredible as yesterday day was, yesterday night was equally UN-incredible. After his 7:00pm feeding, Everett gave me all the signs of sleepiness. So, thinking I had this whole "put the baby down" thing figured out, I followed suit with our bedtime protocol. Diaper change. Sleeping gown. Swaddle. Rock the baby with a pacifier to sleep. But friends. He did not drift to sleep. Instead he cried. Inconsolably. For 3 HOURS. And I learned the meaning of being at one's wits end.

They say having a bad attitude in stressful situations is super helpful, right? Well good. Cause by the end of those 3 hours I had a VERY bad attitude. Thankfully I also have a very sweet husband who took time out from writing a paper to give me a break (heaven sent). But man. I tell you what, that was rough. Everett eventually did get to sleep. And the heavens opened, and the angels sang, and I was able to drift off to sleep myself. But I tell you what -- babies are an adventure. Thankfully, even after the rough nights, this is still my most favorite adventure.