Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Love, Joleen Has Moved

I'm very excited to announce that Love, Joleen has officially moved here! I've posted a brief introduction and explanation for the move here. Don't forget to update your feeds! See you there!

Labor Day + Benjamin's Fall Wishlist

For Labor Day yesterday after our mini photo shoot celebrating Benjamin's "Out As Long As In" Day, we went to our friend's house for a cookout. Two of our other friends from my mom's group were there as well and we all had a great time! The other two boys are just turning one and our little hostess turned one a couple of months ago. Benjamin was a big fan of Miss B's toys, especially this fancy one with the dangling ball. It was fun chatting with everyone while we played with the babies and the food was yummy! I'm thinking we should have stayed long enough for more Oreo cookie ice cream cake, though.
As we always do at the end of any mommy/baby get together we took a photo with our babies. (Next time we should do one with the dads too). On the way home I was thinking about how neat this will be and already is to look back on. Mine and Benjamin's first event with a lot of our friends was the St. Patrick's Day party we went to when he was just four months old and shortly after that was our group trip to Zoo Atlanta. All too soon and before we know it our kids will be too big for us to hold in group photos.
And they definitely won't be crying because we sat them in some grass. No, definitely not. But, seriously, cutest ever! These cry faces slay me.
Labor Day is when we say goodbye to Summer and look forward to Autumn. This Summer in Atlanta hasn't been what I expected. Most of the time it felt as though we were living in the Pacific Northwest, only along with the rain was heat and humidity. Ugh. We spent way too many days cooped up inside which was a real bummer. Autumn is by far my favorite season here in Georgia and I couldn't be more excited that it's just around the corner. I can't wait for the cooler weather and gorgeous landscapes. I'm already working up a get out and do list for my family! 
I noticed a definite theme when I went to put together Benjamin's Fall Wishlist (or let's face it, my wishlist for Benjamin). I am loving black, white, and grey staples with mint and yellow accents. You'll also notice a lot of geometric shapes [Mainly, triangles. Obsessed.] and bold graphics. Seriously, gimme! Please.
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13
Don't forget to update your bookmarks tonight!! Tomorrow this blog becomes www.lovejoleen.com Woot!

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Out As Long As In" Day

Last month my friend Melissa at While it Rains blogged this post celebrating her son, Robin's, "out as long as in" day. It was the first time I'd seen anyone even acknowledge that and quickly calculated when this day would come for Benjamin. There was some confusion as to Benjamin's exact due date (which was fine with me) but the original date was November 28th. He was born November 27th, one day before I hit 40 weeks. [You can read his birth story here.] The photo above [left] was taken by Ben just three days before our son was born. Today is the day he has officially been out as long as in! We visited Antique Row in Chamblee for this mini photo shoot of my man cub and me. ❤
What Ben Wore: Man Cub tank from Loved by Hannah and Eli; distressed denim shorts from @greyslittlecloset; Mint moccs c/o Freshly Picked. Mama Style: Knit Tie Headband c/o Mint and Arrows; Minnetonka moccasins.

Friday, August 30, 2013

August Sponsor Highlight + Ad Space Special

August was an amazing month on Love, Joleen! Not including today or tomorrow readership is up 21% from July and a whopping 80% since the beginning of the year. Combined social media followers have increased from 1,177 to 1,581 this month. I am so proud of this blog and each sponsor who has made it possible to write about things I love and offer such awesome giveaways to Love, Joleen readers. I am so excited for what September has in store that I can hardly contain myself! I will be releasing my new [photography] website (yay!) and this blog will officially become www.lovejoleen.com. Thank you so much for allowing me to share my life with you here and thank you for continuing to vote for us on Top Baby Blogs!

Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day to sponsor Love, Joleen at our current rates. As a thank you for those purchasing medium and feature ad spaces for 3 months, you will receive a 4th month free, taking you through the end of the year! All information can be found here. Without further ado, a special look at Love, Joleen sponsors in August!
It's no secret that I love me some TrulySanctuary! My girl crush on mama bear, Beth, was solidified this month after reading what she wrote on The Urban Baby Bonnets blog. You may remember this B is for Benjamin Bike tee from Benjamin's Spring Wishlist. We finally ordered it this month and OHEMGEE do I love it! Ben looks like a toddler in this outfit and I can't stand it, he's just too cute! Our fairy godparents (AKA our family at TrulySanctuary) also sent Ben this Don't Hate tee (LOVE!) [similar here] and new design, Life Is But a Dream tee. ((For sizing reference Ben is wearing size 2 in TrulySanctuary toddler tees.)) I'm excited that we'll be collaborating again with them in September to bring you another awesome giveaway!
For most of us Summer has come to an end and the kids are back in school. Did you know that Love In Every Thread not only offers the cutest pool bags but also zipper wet bags for mamas to use year around? We have one that we keep in our everyday diaper bag. They're perfect for that extra set of clothes and a fresh diaper just in case. When you need it, it's a quick change and then a water resistant bag to keep the messy clothes in. Gotta love that! There are some adorable prints available and a little birdie told me to be on the lookout for new product soon!
Benjamin absolutely loves his teething rings from The Bird & Elephant! Did you know that Beth creates other fun + colorful baby toys like this Organic Baby Block + Teething Ring set? She uses only the best [oftentimes organic] materials and the pattern combinations are unique + attractive to babies and mamas alike. Every time I visit her shop she's offering another new product to add to my ever-growing wishlist. How cute are these Teepee Tooth Fairy Pillows? So perfect for my little adventurer! She promises "New baby gift sets including natural teething toys, sensory blocks, teething bibs, clothing, nursery decor in standard and organic designer fabrics, and new quilts to appear September 2013!" And(!) for a limited time she's offering 20% off of orders $20 or more. Just use the coupon code: backtoschool20
We have the biggest heart and so much love for our friends at House of Mia. Rachel keeps Benjamin comfortable and looking oh-so-cute in her printed organic leggings. They fit him perfectly (12-18 months) and the black + white patterns match everything. He's still crawling most of the time and I love how easily he's able to move around in these, all while protecting his knees from rug burn. It's been so fun photographing all the HoM products and extra special that Benjamin gets to be an official House of Mia model. Rachel has shared peeks of her upcoming prints on Instagram and I can't wait to see everything in person!
Carlymegan is a new sponsor this month and offered a giveaway here on Love, Joleen earlier this month. Carlymegan is a "fun, funky, hip brand that focuses on producing simple, unique handmade apparel and accessories." Each print is designed by the owner, Carly, and printed exclusively for Carlymegan. Each item in the shop is handmade by Carly as well. You can read our official review of two Carlymegan products here. I love the prints she offers especially this Hand Printed Arrow Organic Onesie and Antler Fitted Crib Sheet. Her Autumn/Winter'14 collection to be launched mid to late September. Be sure to check it out!
Back in August is one of my favorite blogs, Coffee and Cashmere. She's currently partnering with Kia Soul to giveaway this $25 iTunes gift card so go enter to win! Jade (Mama) has an extreme obsession passion for American Girl so I could totally imagine her glee when American Girl sent her peanut this adorable Bitty Baby. I think it's safe to say they were both more than a little excited. Even still, my favorite post this month was the letter Jade wrote to her daughter, Adrienne.

Also back this month is the blog While it Rains. How beautiful is this family? Seriously, right? Melissa wrote all about her family session with Seattle and Portland photographer, Lulabell. I can only imagine baby wrangling a family of six from the other side of the camera! I have yet to manage to get my own family photographed although I've made it my goal to do before the end of the year. It's one of those shoe cobbler's family type of things.
Also new this month is The Blue Swallow, a blog + shop by Carmen Galeano. Carmen makes adorable crocheted hats (perfect for newborn sessions) and hand draws on mugs. I'm obsessed with the mugs, especially this Photographer's Coffee Mug. I need that one dontchathink? Her adorable son just turned one and had the cutest birthday party. She also just posted this awesome post on mommyhood investments and is planning to share more tips with us here on Love, Joleen in September. I cannot wait!
Last but not least, I want to give very special thank you to Freshly Picked + Sugarboo & Co. for the generous giveaways they contributed here in August!! Please visit all of our sponsors this month. You will not be disappointed! Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

9 Months

Dear Benjamin, 

Monday you turned nine months old. You are three fourths of one year! This last month has been absolutely incredible and is definitely my favorite stage so far. You're a curious little explorer and every single day you push yourself and break boundaries. You're starting to learn what you're allowed to do and you do this by getting into a lot of "trouble". I say "trouble" lightly because everything you do is age appropriate but you're definitely testing the limits. You are starting to understand "no" and redirection is usually pretty successful but you can also be stubborn persistent when you really want something. You show me and Daddy new ways to baby proof every day because you always get into the one thing that isn't for you. This month you've also begun perfecting the art of the temper tantrum, which, at this age, usually results in my laughing at you. Sorry.  You're a great baby, though. A seriously great baby. We're rarely around other people with that going unmentioned and it makes us so proud of you. Everyday you amaze and thrill us.
At your 9 month check up on Monday you weighed 22 pounds 7 ounces (up 4 ounces from the previous month) and measured 29 inches (up half an inch). When the doctor came in he said you were the size of a 15 month old (ha!) but while you were a bit of a chunk he wasn't at all concerned because of how tall you are. According to the chart you are 89% in weight, 77% in height, and your head circumference (19 in.) is 99%. Daddy came with us to this appointment because I wanted him to meet your doctor and be there when we addressed the "rash" on your face, chest, and stomach. 

Over the last several months we've noticed these three spots flare up and then appear healed. I tried coconut oil for a while and then switched to Aquaphor. The last time I mentioned it to the doctor he suggested that it was from saliva getting trapped under your pacifier and irritating the skin. Having watched it appear and reappear all these months I am 100% convinced it's due to allergies. On Monday we were able to get a referral to have you allergy tested once and for all. I know it my heart of hearts that it's related to your (my?) diet and I'd like to find out what it is exactly so we can stop guessing. I have had concerns about it scaring your face and the doctor did make a comment about the eczema causing permanent skin discoloration. I would absolutely hate for that to happen so we are determined to nip this in the bud once and for all. 

Other than that you're developing wonderfully. This month you've been a cruising machine! It's only a matter of time before you're fully walking. Every day you get more confident, letting go of the furniture you're holding or standing with your back to something for balance. You're always on the move which makes it very difficult to change your diaper (still size 4) or get you dressed. You prefer to be naked and I usually have to chase you around to put anything on you. You're still wearing size 12-18 months clothing but you've moved up to size 5 shoes. Between me and your grandmas you are completely set in the clothing department through wintertime! 

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that you have pretty much mastered "feet first" when getting off the bed and couch. Love this!! It makes me so proud every time you swing those legs around first.
The last few weeks (and this last week especially) you have been talking up a storm! You are constantly babbling. You've even been waking up in the middle of the night just to talk to Daddy and me. Your actual words are "dad", "dada", "mama", "okay" (which you hum constantly), "hi", and "oh yeah". For a while you were saying "oh yeah" a lot and it was the funniest thing! You wave bye bye and you blow kisses.
You eat anything and everything. You still haven't tried nuts or fish but the doctor gave the thumbs up to trying those on Monday so I suppose we'll introduce them soon. I think that the allergy testing is going to prove your dairy allergy at the very least and I feel terrible for not heeding to that in the first place. I've been eating dairy for months and you've been eating a lot of it yourself in the last two months. You like cheese a lot (shock). Now that you have your 8 front teeth (still vigorously working on those molars) you're eating just about all table foods. We literally cannot eat in front of you unless we're prepared to feed you off our plate. Who wants a pouch when you can have chicken, right?
Sleep? What's sleep? Gah. This month has been crazy! You were sick off and on for two weeks. On Daddy's birthday you had your first fever and it was really hard to leave you with Nana so that we could go on our first date since you were born. Teething has been really hard on you this month, completely disrupting your sleeping schedule. Then, last week, you and Daddy were sick with a head/sinus cold and you had a hard time breathing. Your nose was running and you would wake yourself coughing. I finally put a pillow under your mattress to elevate one side and put another pillow on top for you to sleep on. I know you're not "supposed" to do this but you always make yourself onto a pillow in our bed so I'm not worried. You're still coming to our bed around midnight but it's become a bit of a nightmare. You wake up at all hours of the night, sometimes for hours at a time, just to talk or play. A couple of times you woke up crying and inconsolable from teething but not since we purchased teething tablets for you. Last week you weren't napping like you normally do. You were only sleeping for 20-30 minutes several times a day instead of any long (and necessary for both of us) naps. You've been waking up earlier, between 6:30 and 7:00 most days. You rarely make it to 9:00 for your morning nap which is only about 35 minutes long. I prefer your two hour naps so please feel free to return to those at any time. Your afternoon nap is still around 1:00 and you still go down for a short cat nap most days around 3:30/4:00. Because your naps have been lacking you've been more than ready for bed around 6:30 each night. Daddy and I try to push it to at least 6:45 or 7:00 but that probably explains why you've become an early riser.
 I love you forever,
PS - I have been sick the last couple of days but I do want to take official 9 month photos of you. Daddy and I are hoping for good weather on Saturday so that we can take them then.