Sunday, September 29, 2013

One Year

+JMJ+

You know that verse in 2 Peter that says "with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day"? Or that beautiful line from Psalm 90 that reads,

"For a thousand years in Your sight 
Are like yesterday when it passes by, 
Or as a watch in the night."
Well, the concept of God's time ("kairos") and people's linear time ("chronos") has fascinated me for quite awhile. I know I live here in this world but as someone who attended and/or led no less than 5 Kairos retreats in college I've spent my fair share of days trying to "Live the 4th" and experience each day through the lens of Kairos or "God's time" (something I surely won't truly succeed at until I am able to meet God face to face...but I like to try). Sidenote: Kairos was the only Catholic retreat for undergrads of all ages that my public university's Newman Center offered...so if I knew you and found out you were or had ever been Catholic in college I undoubtedly invited you at least one time to attend. Good times.

As I sat here reflecting on the past year of my life my mind began swirling with thoughts of Kairos, living the "4th," and wanting to soak up each and every moment of goodness that God has blessed me with on this earth...more than ever before.You see, this was the first of (God-willing) many, many years of living out my vocation. Sure, I lived several years actively and passively preparing myself for whatever it was God had in store for me, but this past year was the first I have lived since taking formal vows. Exactly one year ago Michael and I took vows to be true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and to love and honor one another all the days of our lives. :)






When I think back on this past year of marriage I'm left with such an overwhelming sense of gratitude for each and every second of every single day...even the tedious or most difficult ones. Because that's the thing about marriage - when it's the path that God has called us to it becomes our path towards sanctification. And every moment, every experience - whether it's one of true love, humility, charity, or anger, selfishness, or pride - gives us an opportunity to better understand and become the Christ light for a world outside of ourselves. Sometimes we fail at this, but our lives with our spouses invite us to try, try again. They aren't going anywhere, so neither should our attempts at love and holiness. And hopefully, through the sacramental graces of God, we learn to do better. To be better. And to die to ourselves and live for one another a little more each day out of love.


This past year has been nothing short of amazing. People say that the first year is the hardest...and if that's true then wow, we are abundantly blessed! Don't get me wrong - Michael and I had our fair share of opportunities to grow and learn to do better for one another, but overall I think back on this year as one of sheer joy. I'm so happy to be able to wake up to Michael's face each day! And it's wonderful to think back on all that we've experienced this year together.

We began things with an adventure-packed honeymoon in Belize:



A few months later, to our great joy, we discovered that God blessed us with a child...


...and we quickly went about reallocating those funds we would have put towards a one-year anniversary trip to Europe (which would have been impossible with a little, newborn baby) to several, shorter trips that we could take before the arrival of our son instead.

We marched for life in Washington, D.C.,



we visited friends and had fun exploring some more places in Chicago that we hadn't gotten to when I lived there,



we took advantage of our Michigan-geographic-nearness to Canada and explored Niagara Falls and Toronto,



we followed the Freedom Trail and made memories with family in Boston and Cambridge,



we soaked in Michigan's own paradise by taking a quick trip to Mackinac Island in Lake Huron,



and drank in the goodness of Lake Michigan and fresh cherries with our 4th of July adventures in Traverse City.



Meanwhile, the Lord helped challenge us to grow deeper in love through patience, mercy, and kindness towards one another and to trust in His plans as we eagerly awaited the birth of our son!

Then, one week after moving about 1300 miles down to Florida, I went into labor and we ultimately expanded our family and multiplied its joy by about a gajillion (rough estimate) when Gabriel made his big debut. :)



So here I am, a newlywed and new mother, thanking God for this first year as Michael's wife and my new role as Gabriel's mommy. May God be so generous as we continue to grow more deeply in His love in the years to come!

Happy Anniversary, Michael! I love you (and Gabriel!). I can't imagine my life without you and certainly don't want to. You are my best friend and I choose you every day for the rest of my days. After all,
"Wherever you go, there shall be my journey. Wherever you live, there shall be my home. Your people shall be my kin and my companion and your God I shall call as my own." 
All professional wedding photos by Brian Powell Photography

"Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family - a domestic church."

-Blessed Pope John Paul II

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 2): More Baby Faves!

+JMJ+

Last time I linked up with Hallie's Five Favorites I chose some of my favorite things for our newborn son. Well, as time goes on I become more and more thankful for even more baby things that make my life so much easier...so I'm going to share some more of them with you all! Be sure to hit up Hallie to see lots and lots of other people's favorite things this week!


--- 1 ---
Oxi Clean Baby Stain Soaker


I have no idea how this didn't make it into my other "favorites" post, but this stuff has been our saving grace since day 1 out of the hospital. Only one of Gabriel's cute onesies has a stain because I forgot that it was there and neglected to use this stain remover (and I totally set that stain in the dryer - oops). Every time I've used this stuff it has done wonders on the various spit up, milk, and poop stains...meaning they've all vanished and his clothes, burp cloths, bassinet sheets, diaper changing pad covers, and anything else he possibly could have gotten messy are still looking brand new. I'm so grateful to a parishioner back in Ann Arbor for recommending this to me before Gabriel was born! P.S. She mentioned that she can only find this stuff at Babies "R" Us/Toys "R" Us and Buy Buy Baby. We got ours at the local Toys "R" Us.

--- 2 ---
Lansinoh Lanolin Cream
I'm pretty sure any woman who has ever breastfed would look at this 'favorite' choice and say "duh." Because of how seemingly obvious of a choice it is, I almost neglected to mention it...but I don't want to assume that all first-time-pregnant ladies already have this on their shopping list - because I remember discovering this stuff existed only because my older sister (thankfully) told me to put it on our baby registry. Moms gotta help the new moms out with this kind of knowledge, right? Right. So it's a fave. Oh, and for all the soon-to-be moms out there: remember to pack this in your hospital bag. :)

--- 3 ---
Caring For Your Baby and Young Child - Birth to Age 5

This book published by the American Academy of Pediatrics is one I bought during pregnancy and I am glad I did. I purchased it back in Ann Arbor after my ob/gyn told me that it was like her Bible for raising her young children. In my opinion, this book is good because it's comprehensive yet surprisingly simple. It's kind of like putting a million baby Google search responses all in one, credible place. Whenever my husband asks me questions about baby development milestones that I'm clueless about, this is the first place I turn to for an answer.

--- 4 ---
Graco SnugRider Car Seat Stroller Frame


I knew once I was pregnant that searching for a stroller would be overwhelming...so instead of stressing myself out I simply made a phone call to my older sister (one of the many advantages of having an older sibling blaze through life ahead of you!). She had already instructed us to pick out a Graco car seat because it's what she had used - which translated into my mom owning a Graco car seat base for her vehicle for whenever her grandchildren come to visit. So Graco it was. When I called about strollers my sister not only instructed me to use this stroller frame with our Graco car seat while our baby is little, but she also offered to let us use hers because they have two children and can no longer use it (free stroller frame without all the overwhelming research? Yes, please!). All you do is pop the car seat in this frame...and you're mobile! Plus, it has a nice, spacious basket that can hold a diaper bag and lots of other things...and has cup holders.



--- 5 ---
Boppy Pillow


A lot of "baby gear" is unnecessary and overrated...but the Boppy Pillow is something I actually find to be incredibly practical and useful...all day every day (because that's how often Gabriel nurses, after all). Realistically, mothers don't need a special pillow to put their baby on when they breastfeed; obviously any good pillow could be used. However, it's nice that this pillow wraps around your body AND it transforms into a fun place to lay your baby down when you need to actually use your hands to do something. In the earliest days we felt that Gabriel was too tiny for his swing, which meant the only place to put him was on his play mat or in his bassinet. But any time I laid him down on a flat surface while asleep his eyes would pop right open and he'd cry out, wanting to be held. Eventually I learned to lay him in the Boppy Pillow instead - because it simulated him being cradled in my arms and didn't cause him to wake up. LIFE.SAVER.

So that's it! Five more of my favorite things as I continue to navigate being a brand new mom. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Korean Fever"

+JMJ+

For those of you that don't yet know or recently found my blog (I like to think there are people out there who fit into that category because I love getting introduced to new readers and/or their blogs, so let's pretend, okay?)...my husband is half-Korean, half-Chinese. I suppose I should clarify and say that Michael (my husband), my sister-in-law, and all of their cousins are American and the first generation born here in the United States...while all of their parents and grandparents moved here after growing up in their respective home-countries. Also, the entire Chinese side of his family here in the States is in the restaurant business (a tidbit that is more relevant in a few minutes).

Gratuitous photo of my husband being held by some of his Chinese and half-Chinese cousins and his sister (far left)
on our wedding day. Brian Powell Photography.

And for those of you that may be unfamiliar with different Asian nationalities, my husband looks more Korean than Chinese...although it may be hard to tell in the above picture...so here is another gratuitous photo of my handsome man (and me)!

October 2011 - a few months into our dating relationship

Moving on. About a week and a half ago we met with one of the deacons at our church to schedule Gabriel's baptism (something we would love to have already done...but with moving at 38 weeks pregnant and registering at a new parish shortly after giving birth I guess you could say it's taken us a little time to get all of that in motion in our new place). We learned that this deacon went to culinary school and was in the restaurant business for years before he became a permanent deacon. Aaaand thus began my husband's and Deacon John's extensive conversation about restaurants in our new area. :) Michael is pretty critical of restaurants and is therefore more difficult to please than your average customer due to his behind-the-scenes knowledge of all of his family's businesses (which are authentic Chinese and/or Asian fusion, in case you were curious). He was excited to get recommendations from another person who has been in the restaurant business and is, therefore, also more critical of his food (and appropriate pricing).

Long story short, we got some great recommendations and decided to eat out that night at a sushi place...which did live up to the deacon's hype. It was delicious and surprisingly affordable for the quality of sushi they provided. Our server (and everyone working at the restaurant) turned out to be Thai, which we know for certain because Michael asked. The server then asked what Michael is and once he knew he said, "oh, I thought so. You look Korean." He then went on to tell us how he was pretty sure Michael was Korean because of all the Korean movies and TV shows he has seen. He, in so many words, expressed the sentiment that most Asian people are familiar with how Koreans look because their music and movie industry is so booming that everyone has "Korean fever." I don't know why, but I got such a kick out of him saying this! 

Korean fever. I suppose I loved it because...Michael and I have a small case of it, too!

Yesterday I mentioned our love of Korean dramas but didn't go into much detail. Suffice it to say that Michael and I enjoy watching many Asian films with English subtitles together (Chinese, Korean, even Japanese)...but when it comes down to TV shows the Korean dramas are by far our favorites! There's something completely enamoring and intriguing about the way they produce wholesome(!), entertaining, often comedic TV shows and develop quirky characters into people you love (or hate) that keeps us coming back for more...even though many of the plots are predictable (something that would normally drive me nuts - but is completely forgivable when you watch these shows). 

Another interesting point about these Korean TV dramas is that each show is basically like a really long movie broken down into episodes. All of the shows we've seen have started and wrapped up in a single season of about 15-20 episodes that were each an hour long. Imagine the intrigue of an American show like The Good Wife (one of our favorites) - but much less scandalous - wrapped neatly into a one-season-only package.

I should also mention that Michael and I don't have cable...but we do have access to an Amazon Prime account and have (at times) had access to Netflix as well. I've seen a few good things in this genre on Netflix, but Amazon Prime takes the cake on this one. All of the Korean TV shows we've loved have been on Amazon Prime.

Have I convinced any of you to test the waters of "Korean fever" yet? If so, I might as well offer up some recommendations for you! We are currently watching (and thoroughly enjoying) Will It Snow For Christmas and have also watched the complete seasons of (in our ranked order of overall enjoyment):

1. Protect the Boss


2. Prosecutor Princess


3. Scent of a Woman


I'd say that Will It Snow For Christmas is currently vying for the 2nd or 3rd favorite slot, but we've still got 4 more episodes to go! For more details or plot summaries of any of the above-mentioned shows, please feel free to shoot me an email. And for any of you that dare to venture into the heart of this Korean fever madness, I wish you the best of luck and truly hope you find these shows to be as hilarious, entertaining, and heart-warming as my husband and I have. 

"Chase two rabbits and you will lose both."
-Seo Na Yoon in Protect the Boss

Monday, September 23, 2013

Livin' Up the New Baby Love

+JMJ+

I was going to attempt some clever intro about how it can be difficult for a new mom to find time to blog, but then I didn't have the time to think it through and decided that my lack of clever intro probably makes my point more clearly than anything else I could have said.

I just realized today that I haven't written anything on here for more than two weeks! Whoops.

I've had ample time to read blogs when I'm constantly nursing, so I guess somewhere in between reading blogs, nursing Gabriel, making sure I'm not toooo sleep deprived (I'm not - thanks to one wonderful little boy and his ever-improving/ever-more-predictable sleeping habits!), being present to my little family, and getting back into working out (yes! I was so excited to get the green light on exercising again! Even though the elliptical kicked my butt that first day), I must have thought I'd written something. But nope.

So here we are! This is me telling you I'm alive and new mommy-hood is time consuming but OH so wonderful! Sure, parts of it can be exhausting and all that jazz, but I certainly wouldn't trade my current everyday life situation for the world.

This past weekend Michael and I searched diligently for a dress that fits me, I can nurse in, and is nice enough to wear to Gabriel's baptism next month (okay, I searched diligently and he patiently accompanied me for the journey and helped me make decisions). :) We wound up with a couple of "everyday life" dresses from Target (one of which I may be able to dress up enough for the baptism) and then I ordered some more Target dresses from their website that were on clearance or on sale. I'm currently waiting to receive them in the mail, try them on, and hopefully find a real winner! The exciting thing is that not a single one is maternity - but they are all styles I should be able to nurse in pretty easily and continue wearing once I lose the rest of the pregnancy weight. I'll try to remember to keep you posted...although I'll probably just wind up posting a baptism photo and let you see for yourself what I chose. ;)

One of my in-store Target finds from the weekend - and a beyond cute,
almost 7 weeks old baby (he's 7 weeks today)!

Other than searching high and low for an appropriate dress, Michael, Gabriel, and I had a lovely, relaxing weekend. Michael took us out to a nice Indian restaurant his co-workers had introduced him to (it was great! Very authentic food. Yum), we did our weekly grocery shopping, took a couple of (hot! But refreshing) walks around the area, attended church (of course), and enjoyed watching several episodes of the latest Korean TV show we've happily gotten sucked into. Have I mentioned our love of Korean dramas? I don't believe so...but that's another post for another day entirely.

Sunday afternoon stroll through the park across the street
It's late September. We live in Florida. Still not used to it!

Oh! Another exciting thing from this past weekend: I had my first alcoholic beverage in over 9 months. Yep. That's right. I didn't drink at all during the pregnancy (even though I know several people and resources say that an occasional drink is okay - call me paranoid or whatever but I played it safe) and had yet to drink anything since he was born. It was long overdue. Anyway. Just a little glimpse into my life nowadays! Busy, somewhat random, possibly boring sounding to those of you that aren't married and/or don't have a baby yet, but wonderful, beautiful, and filled to the brim with baby smiles, coos, and all sorts of things that just scream "love!" I feel overwhelmingly grateful for all that God has blessed Michael and me with on this earth. So so grateful.

I hope you all are doing well! Please continue your wonderful posts which help pass the time when Gabriel is seemingly always nursing! :)

P.S.  I want to give a formal shout out of congratulations to my high school best friend because she and her man tied the knot this weekend! The timing, location, and circumstances with Gabriel didn't allow us to attend, but we are so happy for her all the same! I love you, K!

P.P.S. And another formal congrats to one of my long-time readers, online friends, and (I think I can safely say) spiritual sisters, Celeste! She recently got engaged and has such a sweet, Marian love story. Please pray for her as she and her fiance prepare for the Sacrament of marriage in the spring. :)

"To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization."
-Harriet Beecher Stowe

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gabriel's First Month!

+JMJ+

A few days old
So is it official yet? Have I become a "mom blogger" at this point? In some ways I like this notion - but in others I don't...because when I began this blog it was intended to be about my life since taking vows for my marital vocation. Obviously any children I have are part of that vocation but I certainly don't want my blog to ever get to the point that it's only about them. After all, children are one of the most beautiful fruits of marriage - but there are also so many other wonderful things about marriage, too! Besides, I have an entirely separate (private) blog for family and friends that I'll be launching soon so that people in our lives can ooh and ahh over picture after picture and detail after obnoxious adorable detail of our everyday lives now that we have Gabriel. So hopefully that will be my main baby talk outlet (don't worry, I'll still share pics on here - just nowhere near the amount that will be on the private blog) and I'll be able to find a nice balance of topics on this one. With all that said, today is still all about Gabriel. He is one month old today! My, how time flies! Here are some recaps of what the last month has entailed:

Nursing

11 days old
Gabriel came out of the womb knowing how to EAT. I'm not sure if it's because he's a boy or if all our future children (God-willing we have more, of course) will have such ravenous appetites. If they all take after my husband in this department we are in for some pretty hefty grocery bills....

Of course Gabriel and I had to do a little bit of learning together when it came to him latching on without making me cringe (because he is what the instructor in our breastfeeding class would refer to as a "barracuda"...yikes)...but we really haven't had any problems in this department. I feel so so so blessed because I'm well aware how many women and/or babies have issues with breastfeeding properly in the beginning and/or give up because of how difficult it can be.

Gabriel has eaten with the frequency of any typical newborn and is now in somewhat of a routine; during the day he nurses every hour or hour and a half (occasionally going two hours) and once he's in bed for the night he goes 2-3 hours. Sidenote: They say the "average" baby his age eats 8-12 times a day but I have no idea what those people are smoking. Our baby legitimately eats (without showing any signs of overeating) easily 18-20 times a day right now.


Sleeping

22 days old
What can I say? I am not sure if we were just sent an angel baby from heaven or if lots of people grossly exaggerate the sleep deprivation and exhaustion of new parenthood (perhaps a little of A, a little of B). Either way, this department hasn't been nearly as tiring or difficult as Michael or I anticipated. 

When we first arrived home from the hospital Gabriel probably woke up every 1.5 or 2 hours at night but those stretches quickly lengthened. By the third week he was sleeping one 3-hour stretch and everything else was 1.5-2 hours. Currently he has started a pattern of 3, 3, and 2 or 2.5 which means I really only get up 2 times before getting up for the day...and it's about as marvelous as it gets. I mean I've heard of people saying their baby slept through the night immediately but newsflash - you're not supposed to let a newborn sleep more than 3 hours (except for one 4-hour stretch at night) without eating...so I feel pretty good that Gabriel is sleeping almost the maximum length of time that is healthy for him.

Another great thing about Gabriel's current sleeping habits is the fact that even though he loves to be held almost all day long we are able to put him down at night after he's been changed, fed, and burped. As long as I can get him to fall back asleep after a feeding I can easily put him back in his bassinet...which is something I almost took for granted until my sister mentioned that neither of my nieces were like that. I'm so blessed that I don't have to fall asleep sitting upright in my bed with a baby on my chest all night long!

And oh, what a blessing this 2-bedroom apartment is. We transitioned Gabriel into his room during his third week and it has made all the difference. Since we can lay him back down after feedings Gabriel has had no problems with this...and Michael and (especially) I sleep infinitely better. Infinitely.

Bath time

We followed the guidelines of only giving sponge baths until Gabriel's cord stump fell off (it happened to fall off while I was at the pediatrician's office when he was exactly 2 weeks old!) and have since transitioned to baths in the tub (sidenote: those baby bath tubs are totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, simply clutter up an apartment more for no reason...so we didn't get one). The easiest method we've found is for me to get in and hold him...and he doesn't hate it! He may have cried the first time his lower body got submerged in the tub but since then there have been no tears. Maybe we've got a future swimmer on our hands? Who knows?!

Growth/Development

Back when he was 10 days old
I sincerely don't wanna brag but...this could sound a little boastful when I say that Gabriel's Apgar score was a perfect 10. Praise the Lord that our baby seems to be perfectly healthy and growing normally!

By his two-week doctor appointment Gabriel had gained 9 ounces from his birth weight (putting him in the 14th percentile for weight) and had grown an inch and a half in length (putting him in - I think - the 60th something percentile for height). Since then he has definitely grown and in the past few days his hands, feet, arms, legs, and everything about him just seem to have skyrocketed in size! I'll definitely be curious to see what he weighs at his 2-month appointment....

Everyone says that babies can't smile or laugh at birth...but those people never met Gabriel. This child has been smiling since day one. Day ONE! It started off with little half-smiles but within a few days he had a full smile going on during some of his naps. Within the first week we were noticing that he also smiled when he was awake...and another week later we were positive it was not simply a reflex like they say it is in babies that young. Gabriel has happily been smiling directly at us whenever he is content for at least 2.5 weeks already and he began laughing in his sleep probably a week and a half ago.

Other than that everything is really normal. He has been right on target with how he supposedly should be reacting to certain sounds and images and has definitely become more vocal this past week. I can't wait for him to start cooing and "ahh"ing more and more!

---

I highly doubt I've covered all of the basics and I've probably overlooked some details...but all in all what is important for me to remember is that this first month has been a joyful experience and I thank the Lord that my son's development has been healthy and right on track with other babies his age. I can't get enough of his little faces, noises, mannerisms, and smiles...and I sometimes wish he could stay this little forever! But I know everything from here on out is only going to get more and more exciting...so bring it on, life! Let's see who this little man was designed to be. :)

"Babies are such a nice way to start people."
-Don Herold

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 1): Newborn Baby Edition

+JMJ+

After months of reading Hallie's blog I'm finally linking up with her "Five Favorites" for the first time! You can thank sweet Gabriel for being a sleepy almost-1-month-old this morning - because his tiredness allowed me to cross several items off my "to-do" list and shower by 11am...which means his current post-meal nap is allowing me to actually write a blog entry today! So without further ado, I've decided to stick with the baby theme for this week's favorite things.


--- 1 ---


One of the things we made sure to buy shortly after returning home from the hospital with Gabriel (it certainly wouldn't have hurt to stock up in advance!) were these gas drops. Fortunately our son hasn't seemed to have too many issues with gas and we don't need them on a regular basis - but in that very first week he did have a few rough nights that were soothed only by giving him some of these gas drops after a feeding. They work within a few minutes (wonderful!) to provide your baby with relief from any discomfort and Gabriel pretty much loves the berry flavor. The taste alone is enough to instantly calm him down and (bonus!) it's absolutely adorable to watch his eyes get big as he happily moves his tongue and smacks his lips, savoring every bit of that berry flavor. :)

--- 2 ---

This play mat was a gift from our baby registry and I cannot imagine our lives without it! Sure, in those very early newborn days we didn't need it quite yet...but within a couple of weeks it became a lifesaver. The mat gives us another place to lay Gabriel down when he falls asleep during the day and is also a fun play-place when he's very awake and alert. He's too little to see all the colors still, but we hung the black and white zebra in the middle over his face and he has a lot of fun staring at it/trying to reach for it. Plus, we place some of the animals that rattle lower down so when he excitedly kicks his legs he also makes noise - which entertains him even further. Not to mention it's perfect for tummy time!

--- 3 ---



This item from our baby registry was very generously purchased for us by my mother-in-law and it has quickly become my other main lifesaver. Gabriel was too small to enjoy it at first, but by week three he was big enough to be entertained and comforted by it. This swing is the reason I can shower most days - because even when our baby wants to constantly be held all day long (even during his sleep! It's a miracle he lets us lay him down at night) and will wake up fussing and crying if I lay him down on a flat surface (like the play mat or in his bassinet) the swing manages to cradle, calm, and/or perplex him long enough for me to quickly get cleaned up. My husband and I are not fans of getting lots and lots of baby gear (so unnecessary!) but this is one item that is certainly worth investing in.

--- 4 ---

This glider was hands down our most expensive baby "gear" purchase - but we viewed it as an investment that we'll use for years to come and I'm so incredibly grateful we sucked it up and got it! Besides, I don't only recommend this exact glider - there are plenty of other less expensive options that will also do the trick. This one, though, was one of the few that my husband and I both agreed was comfortable. Before we got the chair and ottoman the only place to sit in our living room was the couch - so this fulfills multiple needs all in one. Now that Gabriel is sleeping in his room (we transitioned him out of our room in his third week) this chair is home to all his night feedings and I'm so grateful we have somewhere to sit other than the couch and can rock our baby to sleep. :)

--- 5 ---


Stylish, right?! During pregnancy I searched far and wide for diaper bags that looked more like purses that were also affordable/not made by some high-end designer. This is a quality diaper bag that is actually a diaper bag (I know some women just use a cute bag they like)...so it has all the handy compartments I could possibly ever need and automatically comes with the portable changing pad in its back pouch. One of the best parts of this bag (other than the fact that I love the design and don't feel frumpy carrying it!) is that it unzips down the middle to make room for more things! This is definitely going to be a much-needed feature as our family grows and I (God-willing) have more than one child in diapers someday. Bonus picture of what it looks like unzipped/expanded:




And now I have a newborn baby to attend to. I hope you all had a great Labor Day and have a happy Wednesday! Make sure you head over to Hallie's for more favorites!