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sweet book themed baby shower

My sister-in-law, Jess, is due any day with her first baby – a sweet little girl. We’re beside ourselves in the Lex family because it will be the first new baby since Audrey and we’re just slightly baby-crazy around here.

Since Jess is a lover of literature and she has already been showered with more gear and clothing than she knows what to do with, we went with a book themed baby shower to help build up baby girl’s library.

book themed baby shower / jones design company

Between Ryan’s mom (crazy talented with a pretty house and garden full of flowers), Jess’ best friend (super organized and sweet and great hostess) and me, we put together a special party to celebrate mama and baby.

book themed baby shower invitation / jones design company

I was in charge of invitations and lucked out because Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. had already done the work for me :) She created these darling invitations (found here for free) and I modified them slightly to work for our party.

book themed baby shower invitation up close / jones design company

We decorated my mother-in-law’s home with lots of book page garlands, flowers from her garden and a few large paper flowers to bring some pinks into the decor.

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living-room-decorated

chalkboard

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And mini booklets hung from a string with mini clothespins over the food table.

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We kept the food simple and delicious – banana bread with cream cheese spread, fresh fruit, curried chicken salad sandwiches, mini cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting and iced tea with raspberries or coffee to drink.

food-table-flowers

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banana-bread-audrey

tea

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We played a few games (this one was pretty cute), visited with family and friends, opened gifts, snacked on yummy food and prayed over Jess and baby.

praying-for-jess

At the very end we snapped this group photo, but we’re missing about half of the ladies. Note to self: take group photo at the beginning of the party next time.

ladies
It’s always so fun to celebrate a new mom and soon-to-arrive baby.

belly-and-audrey

Audrey is especially excited to meet her cousin. She can’t stop touching Auntie Jess’ tummy. We can’t wait to finally hold and snuggle the new baby girl!

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Baby Essentials / favorites for your little one

Baby Essentials: a list of favorite baby gear, nursery items and accessories / jones design company

We’re going to have a new baby in the family this summer.  Don’t worry – she’s not ours. Ryan’s brother and sister-in-law are having their first and we can hardly wait! My Jones side is already overflowing with kiddos (12 kids ages 11 and under), but this will be the first new baby on the other side of the family besides our kids.

It will also be the first time I can be an auntie to a new baby without having a baby of my own! I’m so looking forward to holding and spoiling her and watching our kids fall in love with their baby cousin.

Since this is the first baby for my sister-in-law, she is brand new at all of this. The other day she sent me the most darling text that went something like this:

“I had a slight panic attack in Target when we went to register. There is just so much stuff!! We got through an aisle and a half before I freaked out. The breast pumps were what did me in. Any suggestions for what we’ll actually want/need?”

First, I laughed. Because it is quite overwhelming – especially when you’re new to the whole baby thing. And then next, I replied with an equally overwhelming long list of what she’ll want/not want. Apparently I have some opinions on baby paraphernalia.

Even though I’ve been out of this baby game for 5 years, I did do it four times and have a pretty good idea of what was totally necessary, what products I loved and what items were a waste when it came to setting up a nursery.

Since we’re in that springtime season of baby showers, I thought it might be helpful to share that list with all of you as well.

(Keep in mind that I’m 5 years removed from the baby trends. It seems like all sorts of ingenious and adorable products have been introduced since I had Audrey, so feel free to chime in at the end to let us know what fantastic and essential items you would add to my list.)

So, here it is – my list for my soon-to-be first time mama sister-in-law:

BABY ESSENTIALS: the best gear for your baby / jones design company

 

1. Infant Carseat

The key to choosing an infant carseat is making sure it is comfortable to hold between the crook of your elbow while juggling 18 other things. This one from Britax is a favorite.  You’ll probably want a stroller you can clip the carseat into, so whichever carseat you select, be sure to grab the coordinating travel system.

2. Bouncy Seat

I know you’ll want to hold your baby all the time, but soon enough you’ll find you just need to set her down for a few minutes (or hour) and a bouncy seat that vibrates is key. I wish they would not put such baby-ish designs on these things, but one like this isn’t too offensive and will work like a dream.

3. Portable Crib

There are so many different ones to choose from. I just like how simple to use and easy-on-the-eyes this one from 4moms is.

4. Booster Seat

This one is totally up to you, but we never bought a real high chair. We used this booster seat for all 4 kids (just buckled it onto a chair). It is easy to bring with you when you visit friends for dinner and can be scrubbed down without much effort.

5. Bumbo Seat

Once the little darling is old enough to sit up, the bouncy seat will lose it’s magic and in will come the bumbo seat. It allows the baby to sit up with support and watch what’s going on. Just don’t leave the baby sitting in it on the counter. That freaks me out.

6. Umbrella Stroller

A light-weight, easy-to-fold stroller like this Maclaren version is essential once the baby grows out of the carseat carrier. Just beware that hanging a heavy diaper bag on the handles causes it to tip backward. Not that I have any experience with this or anything.

7. Moses Basket

When the baby is a newborn, she’ll sleep all the time. I loved having a small moses basket nearby to let the baby nap. We also used this for the first month or so in our room before we moved the babies to their own cribs.

8. Baby Bjorn Carrier

A great hands-free option for holding the baby: the classic Baby Bjorn. You could also go with a wrap (like this one) which I like for newborns.

BABY ESSENTIALS: favorites for setting up your nursery / jones design company

1. Changing Pad

This curved changing pad is great for adding to the top of a dresser instead of purchasing a changing table.

2. Changing Pad Cover

Just add a simple terry cloth changing pad cover to the pad (or go with a patterned or colored one – there are so many designs to choose from). You’ll probably want at least two covers, so you can switch them out and wash regularly.

3. Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

To save on washing the entire changing pad, these waterproof liners are great for layering over-top to catch any leaks (of which there will be plenty).

4. Swaddling Blanket

You’ll become an expert in wrapping your baby up like a burrito, and these extra-large swaddling blankets from Swaddle Designs are my favorite.  They come in many different stylish patterns and are super soft. Or, if you want a lighter option (especially great for warmer climates), these muslin swaddles are great too.

5. Stroller Blanket

My babies each had a special blanket (actually, they all still sleep with theirs still) and these fluffy ones from Little Giraffe are the best. You really can never have too many blankets – great for snuggling up in the stroller for morning walks – and there are endless options. This classic white knit blanket is sweet, and this pom pom version is super cute too.

6. Swaddle Sleep Sack

When your baby starts breaking out of a regular blanket swaddle, these sleep sacks make it so easy to give them that comforting swaddle feel and extra warmth of a blanket. It’s a little bit like a straight jacket, but just try to see past that part.

7. Baby Monitor

Go with your gut on this one, but my recommendation is to skip the video monitor and stick with just the sound monitor version. Honestly, we hardly even used ours. There is a mother’s instinct that just knows when a baby is about to wake up, so rarely was I surprised to hear the baby. Also, babies make strange noises when they sleep and I never felt the need to hear all of them while I tried to get a few hours of rest. It’s up to you, though. I know everyone has different opinions on this one.

8. Sound Machine

The womb is a noisy place, so a little white noise makes it easier for a baby to sleep. And if your household is noisy, a sound machine will cover up those noises to prevent premature wake-ups.

BABY ESSENTIALS: accessories for your little one

 

1. Sophie the Giraffe

This classic teething toy is just plain cute. See it in action (and a really sweet photo sequence of my baby girl) here.

2. Trumpette Socks

My aunt bought a set of trumpette socks for my first son before he was born and I became an instant fan. They are socks that stay on babies’ little feet and have the cutest designs. The Mary Janes are my favorite.

3. Burp Cloths

Such an essential item for little ones who spit up (mine were the worst). I love these soft, simple organic burp cloths, or you could make a bunch of your own with terrycloth and cotton (tutorial here).

4. Petit Bateau Crossover Bodysuit

These sweet onesies are a splurge for sure, but well worth it. These soft shirts can be worn on their own during the early days of snuggling the newborn, or worn under clothes for an extra layer. The crossover style makes changing baby much easier without having to pull a shirt over her head. And once you feel the quality of material, there’s no going back.

5. Pilot Cap

Hats are a good idea for babies, and these organic cotton pilot caps from Hanna Andersson are not only adorable, but also practical. The chin ties keep the hat on and ear flaps keep tiny ears warm.  Start with a lightweight one for warmer months and switch to a thicker winter version when the weather turns chilly.

6. Board Books

One can never have too many books. Good, solid board books are great for baby. These are our family’s favorites of all: Tumble Bumble, Peepo, Going on a Bear Hunt, Sheep in a Jeep. For more books for baby, check out this post.

7. Diaper Bag

You’ll want a good diaper bag. It doesn’t have to be huge with tons of pockets or even one from Petunia Pickle Bottom (although they make great bags!), just roomy enough to hold an extra change of clothes, diapering items, snacks, toys, your wallet, phone and lipstick and random things like socks and hats and bottles and binkies and sunscreen and hand sanitizer. Actually, I take that back. You will want something huge.

8. Plush Bunny

While pregnant with No.1, I vowed that we would not be a stuffed animal family. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than that there are a lot of weird looking stuffed animals that I did not want cluttering up the nursery. And then my mom gave me our first JellyCat stuffed bunny and my mind was changed. These are darling plush toys that the kids love and so I’ve given in. And (of course) my kids turned out to be total stuffed animal fans.

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So there it is. My list of baby essentials.

I’d love to know … what’s on your list of nursery necessities?

(top photo credit: rareandbeautifultreasures.com)

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book week: favorite books for baby

read

This week is devoted to books. Each day I’ll share my favorites in different categories and I’d love to hear some of yours in the comments. On friday, we’ll do a link party.

linkparty

I’m really excited about this one. It will be a great way to hear about new books our internet-friends are crazy about.  So start your blog posts {or start reading a book!} and we’ll share at the end of the week.

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Today’s category is favorite books for baby.

mamaandethan

{mama & No. 1}

Even though they are too little to fully understand, reading sweet board books is so good for babies.  My No. 1 loved books from the very beginning. No. 2 couldn’t make it through an entire book until he was about three years old. Each kid is different, right?

This collection of books are our family’s very favorites:

books-for-baby

These have made it through all four of our kids and some of  my favorite things to gift to new babes.

Please share … what are some of your favorite books for babies?

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a handmade doll for harper

College friends of ours are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. Her name is Harper.

You may remember we did a really fun crafting fundraiser a year and a half ago so it feels special to have walked a teensy bit of the adoption journey with this family.

Last month, Audrey and I took down her crib and delivered it to Harper’s mommy in preparation for her fast-approaching {and long-awaited} arrival. Since then, Audrey has named all of her babies Harper and talks about her often.  It’s pretty cute.

For the baby shower, I made a Harper doll. She and the Audrey doll were fast friends.

The real Audrey loved her as well.

Our friends are in Ethiopia as we speak picking up their precious daughter.  I get teary just thinking about what a special time this is for both Harper and her new family.

She is one very loved baby who has this baby waiting for her at her new home.

To make the Harper doll, I used this doll pattern. Her body is made of menswear plaid with a ruffled jersey body. I wanted her hair to resemble the darling curls the real Harper has, so I modified this felt flower to use as pony tails.

I’ve made a few other babies {see here and here} and they turn out so cute every time. Time consuming, yes.  But so worth it. If you are looking for a special gift this christmas, a handmade doll could be a great one.

Many blessings to sweet Harper and her family. I can’t wait to hold that little one soon!

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picnic in the park {baby shower}

My little sister, Hillary, is having her third baby {a boy} any day.  This is the last of the babies and so my older sister, Amy, and I hosted a special shower to celebrate sweet baby boy.

I have had this idea in my head for a while and was happy to pull it together for Hillary. Something different and memorable and simple: A picnic in the park.

{the invitations}

We set out a few cotton rugs and a large painter’s drop cloth to use as picnic blankets, scattered throw pillows for comfort and created a vintagey/picnic feel with a few tables and decorations.

The deconstructed chair is a project I have yet to complete but it was the perfect spot for the guest-of-honor to sit.

Our only activity for the shower was to think of a word {character trait} that we pray for this new baby.  Each word would be stamped on a unique note card and hung from a mobile for the baby’s room.

The mobile turned out really cute once the words were added. I’ll photograph it in his room shortly.

We wanted the food to be fancy picnic food – all easy to eat without extra utensils or serving dishes.

Pesto, turkey, mozzarella, tomato, arugula sandwiches, chips, cherries and the most delicious chocolate chip cookies from Specialties Bakery.

All packaged sweetly in a wooden basket.

It was a low-key party with close friends and family. Just perfect for showering my sister and her baby.

My girls: me, Hillary, Amy and our pretty mom.

… SOURCES …

Food packaging {wooden baskets . glassine bags . waxed tissue paper . straws}

Cookie packaging {chevron bags}

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