Inside my hospital bag

 

Okay Mamas, give me some grace in that fact that this is my first time giving birth. I have done my "research", but like all things you really do not know what to expect until you actually do something. So this is what I have put together through different website lists, blog posts from other moms, and advice given from friends. 

I have been told that comfort is key in "relaxing" during this not so relaxing time of life. I purchased the Mama Bundle set from Francis & Henry and boy am I happy that I did. Included in this set is a nursing dress, cardigan, headband, swaddle blanket, and Eve & Rose body oil. They come in various neutral colors (which is my go to anyways) and everything is incredibly soft. Like ridiculously soft. It comes packaged beautifully in the box pictured above and I cannot wait to use it in the hospital. 

In addition to the nursing dress and cardigan above I packed some good ol' granny panties and a nursing bra that was purchased from Hatch. I have been told granny panties are a must and who am I trying to impress anyways? No one. I also packed travel size Aveda for showering (which I have heard differing mom opinions on if you really use the hospital shower), some Kopari coconut lotion, and Philosophy purity face wipes

 

Here is an overall list of what I have packed, hopefully I use it all and if not I will come back and update! 

Nursing Dress

Cardigan/Robe

Headband/hair ties 

Wet brush hairbrush 

Main toiletries

My own towel (for shower)

Lotion/Body oil

Swaddles

Baby headbands/accessories 

Baby go on outfit

Camera

Iphone + Charger

Portable speakers to play calming music 

My own blanket

Printed out copy of my birthing plan

 Small thank you gifts for staff 

Handkerchief for tears of joy (or pain) 

Comfortable slip on shoes 

Socks

Snacks - Mostly protein bars

Dad, Daughter, & Tacos

 

Happy Cinco De Mayo y'all! May your day be filled with lots of tacos, laughter, and fun! 

I had so much fun snapping photos of Brian and Claire in their matching taco shirts. They are quite the dynamic duo and pretty much inseparable. Twins and best friends; these two are peas in a pod. I love their relationship and their love for tacos. If you want matching taco shirts for your loved ones check out Etsy

Maternity Pictures + Pregnancy Real Talk

 

Let me start off by stating that I am incredibly thankful for this pregnancy. I feel so blessed to be carrying this little miracle, but pregnancy has not been all sunshine and rainbows. Fortunately, I have had no morning sickness and my emotions are manageable. I have not had any cravings or smells that make me want to vomit. But the constant exhaustion in the first and third trimester have been draining the life out of me, I am uncomfortable with all the changes in my body, and there are so many insecurities I hold with all the unknown. I stay awake at night worrying and trying to “perfect” what our little blended family will look like.

 

How will I find the perfect balance in making everyone feel loved in the family?

What is the best way to transition Claire from an only child to a big sister?

How do we make sure Claire does not feel left out when she is away from us during the Holidays?

 

These questions had my mind spinning and reading every parenting book/article I can put my hands on. Then I decided to just let it all go. I cannot expect to be a perfect stepmom or mom, nor should anyone else expect me to. But I can pray, I can try, and I can learn from my mistakes.

 

After deciding to let it go and give it to Jesus I have had this overwhelming peace. Joy comes with the peace in accepting that I will mess up from time to time. I feel so relaxed and simply waiting for the arrival of baby Karis. 

#bumplife

How Far Along: 32, almost 33 weeks!

Size of Karis: A classic (but stylish) looking fanny pack

Symptoms: Not being able to sleep at night and obsessive nesting.

Loving: The nesting part: I am an organizer, a list maker, a doer… so this experience has been great for me. I also appreciate how much she kicks, it tells me that she is doing okay. And oh my word, the nursey decorating has been so much fun. Makes me excited for the next baby – too soon?

Loathing: Bending over to pick things up, getting in and out of the car, getting in and out of bed. It feels like a full workout trying to do normal things with this belly.

Movement: She is constantly moving and will not stop. Sometimes I ask, very nicely, if she can just chill for a second so I can get some sleep. She does not like it when I put a book on top of my belly to read at night or if Balboa rests his head on my belly while sleeping. She will start fussing and trying to kick off whatever is on my belly. (Already a bossy little girl – mama is going to have to change that).

Missing Most: Fitting into my old clothes, I miss dressing up. That and a simple glass of wine would be nice.

Can’t Wait: To hold and snuggle sweet baby girl. To start working out again and do a cleanse. For Claire to hold Karis and become a big sister. 

All photographs taken by: Kati Hewitt Photography 

ABC Adventure: Exploring North Shore

 

Claire and I LOVE pineapple. Brian not so much, but he was a trooper and tried the Dole pineapple ice cream (which is also served at Disneyland if you cannot make the trip to Hawaii). We toured around the Dole plantation, conquered the Dole pineapple maze (thanks to Claire), and bought some fun souviners.  

Welzie is a local artist who started out as a surfboard shaper with a rad imagination. People started to recognize his designs reflected on surfing style and the local surroundings of Hawaii. Sure enough everyone wanted a piece of his art. This is a mural that he painted outside of a North Shore shop. I was also able to purchase some cool designs of his artwork for my office! Win win situation. If you are interested in his artwork check his site out here

Matsumoto's shaved ice is a MUST in North Shore. Every single time we go to Hawaii we have to stop and grab one. I am not even a fan of shaved ice, but this is on a whole different level. They have a wide selection of flavor choices and a huge bonus is that you can add ice cream at the bottom of it. WORTH IT! 

Claire was stoked to see some sea turtles. Believe it or not these are the smallest sea turtles I have ever seen. We normally come to Oahu in November and see sea turtles that are double to triple in the size of these little babies. But we still had a blast and loved watching them swim around in the ocean. 

My Travel Essentials

 

Yay! Spring Break is upon us and it the eve of our adventure off to Oahu, Hawaii. This is our last big family trip before Karis makes her way into the world. So this is our "Spring Break + BabyMoon" vacation. Oahu is one of my favorite places to visit and I have been so fortunate to grow up on the west coast, which makes the island hop a short 5 hour journey. Now that I live in Texas I understand why Texans do not go to Hawaii as often as west coasters. It is a solid 8.5 hour flight to Hawaii from Houston, Texas. Yikes, I might as well be going international! So I made a list of my favorite things as far as long flight entertainment and comfort goes. This flight will be quite a different journey in itself as I am currently 28 weeks pregnant, but I would say Hawaii is worth the sacrifice. 

These are my to go for comfort on long flights:

1. Travel Blanket: Is it just me or is it freezing on long flights? 

2.  Compression socks: These work wonders on long flights to help circulate the blood flow

3. Neck Pillow + Eye Mask : Comfort is EVERYTHING on long flights

4. Wake Up Wipes + Face Mist:  This is to help keep my face fresh and hydrated

5. Savvy Travel Wipes: I bought a jet setter pack that had various types. I like the tech wipes and teeth wipes the best

6. Lip Balm, Concealer, and powder : This is to help me look like a semi decent human after a long flight 

 I have found this to be my perfect combination of things to do on a long flight: 

1. MacBook : because this provides endless possibilities of entertainment 

2. FRENDS headphones: not only are they stylish, but they work so well! Sometime my ears will hurt if I wear them too long so I bring a back up pair of headphones, the apple classic ear pods

3. Sudoku : It's my favorite puzzle 

4. Sketch book + essentials bag full of my favorite pens : this is to practice hand lettering, make to-do lists, and/or let Claire sketch 

5. My current book : Parenting with Love & Logic (THE BEST PARENTING BOOK I HAVE EVER READ) 

With love, from Ana + Claire

 

Happy Valentine's Day sweet friends! Claire and I had so much fun dressing up in matching mom/dot shirts and taking pictures at this colorful heart mural in Houston. We spent the day making sweet memories, yummy treats for all our neighbors, and the cutest Valentine's Day cards for Claire's classmates. 

Claire INSISTED on having her Valentine's Day themed animals for the photo shoot! And who am I to say no to this sweet girl? They made for fun props during the shoot. 

Any excuse to make yummy treats! Claire and I wanted to make sure everyone felt loved on Valentine's Day so we bought the most adorable heart pans from Williams Sonoma and made brownies for each household on our street. She went hard on making sure that whisk was licked clean. Silly girl loves her chocolate, just like her daddy. 

We took a short break after making heart brownies and decided we needed some well deserved hot chocolate and mini pies. How ADORABLE are these Williams Sonoma Valentine's Day dish collection? Too adorable.

We ended our day crafting our hearts and souls into making each classmate a personalized Valentine's Day card. Paper Source had an amazing DIY card collection, so we chose Dinosaurs for the boys and Mermaids for the girls. This literally took us hours to put together each card and candy bag, but we did it and we did it well. I had so much fun laughing and spending sweet time with this girl. I am so thankful to be a part of her life and share memories like today. Hope you all have the sweetest Valentine's Day and that you feel extra loved. XO

And The Baby Is A....

This past year has been a busy year for our family. We were married in July, moved into our new home in August, found out we were pregnant in September, and added a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy to our family in November (post to come). 

There were times when I felt overwhelmed and exhausted (especially during my first trimester). There have been so many changes in such a short amount of time, but every single one of them have been an incredible blessing.. 

I had convinced myself that this pregnancy was going to produce a wee baby boy. I told everyone I was sure it was a boy and I am pretty sure that I convinced most of the people around me that it was a boy. When we received the results, I immediately sent them off to my sister-in-law, Amanda. Brian and I had discussed how we wanted the whole family to find out what the gender was with us. We were given the results mid-November and waited until both sides of the family were in Southern California for our New Years vacation. Amanda did a fabulous job of keeping a secret and organizing our reveal. (Thanks Amanda!)

Turns out we are having a baby girl! I was in complete shock, but now that I have had time to let it settle in I could not be more excited for the adventure to come. Claire is going to make the BEST big sister, it brings tears to my eyes thinking about the bond/memories that she will get to have with this sweet baby girl. Brian has already shown me what an amazing father he is and I am excited to continue to learn how to parent along side him. Welcome to our family Karis Olivia Craft, we cannot wait to meet you this upcoming May! 

Photography by Rachel Jane Photography

ABC Adventure: Napa + Indy Races

 
I live in Napa. That’s Northern California. And I live next door to a vineyard.

A what-yard?

A vineyard. It’s where you grow grapes to make wine.
— The Parent Trap

We love Napa! I grew up close to Napa so it was where we had our first date and a couple years later - where we found out we were PREGNANT! (which was this trip, to be exact.) Needless to say, Napa is a very special place for us. 

We made this trip with one of our favorite couple friends to enjoy the wineries and Indy Race! We literally found out 10 minutes before leaving on our winery tours that I was pregnant. I had a hunch and made Brian go get me a pregnancy test just to be on the safe side. Sure enough it was positive and there went my day of wine tasting. Which I was fine with... because I WAS PREGNANT! The rest of the day was spent trying hard not to tell every single stranger about our exciting news. 

ABC Adventure: Fiji Edition

 

“You plan the honeymoon and I will plan the wedding”, is what I told Brian last year. He agreed and exceeded any fairytale expectations that I had of a honeymoon. It was the perfect combination between relaxation, romance, and adventuring off into the unknown.

The stars shone bright, the food was fresh, the ocean filled with the most beautiful fish, but what stood out most of all were the people of Fiji. It was such a humbling experience to be able to be with the villagers and learn about their everyday life. Most of their homes had no doors and they slept on the dirt floors. The kids attend school on their home island for grades K-8 and then move to the big island to continue high school. What made them so unique is the genuine contentment with their lives. Everything was so simple and they were so happy. You could see it in the way they smiled, sang, and laughed with one another. Life is good.

They introduced us to so many cool things about their culture, such as Kava, their famous Fijian drink! They mix the powdered root of the pepper plant, Kava, with water and drinking it causes a numbing sensation around your mouth. They say that if you drink 5 “high tide” (meaning full) bowls of Kava that you will have the best sleep you have ever had. We had a fun time watching them make it and they taught us the proper way to drink Kava, which included two claps acknowledging your acceptance of the drink and then two claps after you drink to say thank you.

In addition to being able to go to the village and a Fijian church service, many of the locals worked at the resort we were staying, Qamea Resort and Spa. They were so kind and quickly became our friends. “Bula Ana, Bula Brian!” is the way we were greeted everywhere we went on the resort. (Bula means hello in Fijian) The community aspect of the resort made me feel at home, in the way you feel a sense of ease around your family or close friends. We had the best time meeting couples from around the world and learning about the Fijian culture.  I highly recommend going to visit for a celebration or just for fun. Big thanks to my hubby for planning everything, love you! 

Craft Family, Est 7.22.16

 

Our wedding was held in Winters, CA at Park Winters on July 22, 2016 

All photographs were taken by: Vienna Glenn Photography

Say hello to beautiful baby Adeline (in the pink) and handsome baby Espy (in green). We had so much fun loving on these sweet 1 month and 2 month old babies. They have some of the best moms and I am excited to watch them grow up! 

Christi Reynolds was my make up artist who became a dear friend. I am so thankful that God put her in my life, she has been so encouraging to me. 

Jessica Reynaga has done my hair for every homecoming, prom, senior ball, and now my wedding. She is the mother of one of my best friends and I was so happy to have her share another special day with me! 

The pictures captured of Brian and Claire are some of my favorites! They are two peas in a pod, I adore their relationship and how close they are to one another. They are truly best friends! 

Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours.
— Ludwig van Beethoven

The back of that dress though.... in the words of Geena, "FIRE!" 

A huge thank you to both friends and family! This day would be nothing without you all. We love you!

When I was first engaged my YoungLife kids prayed over mine and Brian's relationship, one of my favorite things someone prayed was that our wedding would be the least exciting part of our marriage. While I loved our special day, I am looking forward to creating a lifetime of memories and adventures with this sweet man! Xo 

The Wedding Details

 

I am so excited to share with you our wedding details. I was very fortunate to be working with such great people, from the owners of the Inn, the florist, my photographer, the DJ, the bakery, and all of the people who helped put it together. I could not have asked for a more perfect, stress free day! 

All pictures were captured by Vienna Glenn Photography. (My one non-negotiable for this wedding, she is amazing on so many levels!)

Polaroid cameras + Washi tape + Gel pens = Perfection

There is a small house on the property that was once the original homeowners. The new owners have made it into a beautiful vintage styled home with dried bouquets from several weddings. 

I fell in love with these vintage doors and knew they would create the perfect alter. 

Visual Impact Design brought our wedding to life with these beautiful flower arrangements. The doors, the tables, my bouquet were designed exactly how I had envisioned them. 

And of course a wedding would not be a wedding without calligraphy, something I lack in. A huge thank you to my cousin Samantha. 

Any Sacramento local knows that Freeport Bakery is THE bakery to go to. They designed a beautiful naked cake. We could not decide between all the cake choices so we ended up choosing both the buttermilk with lemon mousse, and the chocolate with strawberry mousse. Yum. 

The invitations, programs, menus, and escort cards were all created by Be In Love Designs. She was great to work with and knew how to design exactly what I wanted. 

Stepping Into Motherhood

 Picture by: Vienna Glenn Photography 

Picture by: Vienna Glenn Photography 

Those of you who know me or my family would know that Disney goes hand in hand with our everyday lives. Disneyland was a huge part of my childhood, it was where I met my husband, where I had my engagement pictures done, I have a Mickey Mouse tattoo - you get the picture. While I have obsessed over Disney and its philosophies about love/life I never really thought about how their character development of stepmoms has shaped their audiences opinions. 

Disney has done a fantastic job at turning step moms into the villain of the story. They are often selfish, demeaning, and down right cruel. As a child I thought, "She is the worst, poor Cinderella!" But besides hating them in movies, I have never taken an interest into the complexities of stepparent-hood , but then again why would I? I did not grow up thinking, "I want to be a stepmom someday" and I am sure that most women would agree that was not a thought as a little girl.  I am going to be honest, it is tough emotionally and trying to find that perfect balance is a constant internal battle. 

 Picture by: Vienna Glenn Photography 

Picture by: Vienna Glenn Photography 

You want to love and support your partner in being a parent. At the same time you need to let the biological parent take over in discipline and overall a lot of the major decisions regarding your stepson or daughter. This does not mean that you can not have a say in the matter, but they need to be the ones who directly address whatever the child(ren) need to hear.

You want to love the child(ren) just as you would love and raise your own. But it is different, for me I was not in Claire's life until she was 6 years old, I am coming into the game late and it easily can make me feel like an outsider at times. 

You do not want to over step the birth mom's role, but instead encourage a healthy relationship. To do so would be the biggest example of love, forgiveness, and selflessness - which is a tough thing to tackle. 

 Picture by: Vienna Glenn Photography 

Picture by: Vienna Glenn Photography 

After tossing and turning on those nights when frustration would overcome me I came to a simple realization. Claire is not my child, just as any future babies I give birth to will not be my child, they (we) are all children of God. As a parent our purpose is to love, support, and guide children in this world - then we learn to release them to God and to trust that they will learn to love Him and allow Him into their hearts to guide them through life. While this is easier said than done because we are so emotionally attached to our children, I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience how to parent in this way before I have children that I birth into this world. I feel so honored that Jesus has blessed me with Claire. I love our relationship and how much we have grown together. I am sure, as any relationship with another person, we will have our ups and downs. I just need to focus on the overall goal: loving Claire and leading her toward Christ, who is her true protector and parent. 

Go Colin, Go!

Our soon to be family is part of a wonderful small group. Besides our Sunday night dinner and bible study we get to actively encourage each other throughout everyday life. One special occasion that we recently celebrated was Colin’s Ironman Triathlon.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Ironman let me break down this extremely challenging course for you.

Part 1: Swim 2.4 miles  Part 2: Bike 112 miles  Part 3: Run 26.2 miles

Jaw-Dropping, am I right? I get exhausted just thinking about how intense this race is. For our friend Colin this was his SECOND time completing the race. [Oh, no big deal.] His wife, Christina, organized a surprise celebration for when he crossed the finish line. She was a trooper! She ran around, prayed, and encouraged Colin throughout the entire race. We showed up about 30 minutes before he crossed the finish line and jumped up and down as we saw him pass. I cannot imagine the feeling of victory he must have felt as he crossed the line. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about the accomplishment of it all.

We are so lucky to have such good friends in Texas. I love living life with them and sharing special moments. They have become my Texas family and our soon to be family is better because of them.