Posts tagged little amazing
Christmas Pancakes with Milly on the TODAY Show
Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton 

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton 

Being able to introduce our daughter, Milly to the TODAY Show family and the rest of the world during our segment on the TODAY show is a memory I will cherish forever.  It's funny because when I was invited to be on the show I knew I needed to find someone to help with Milly. Our good friend, Maureen aka GMo traveled from Philly to NYC to help us out only for Aunt Hoda to hold Milly while I worked! Baby girl was so excited to be on set and comfy cozy in Hoda's arms.  Check out the entire segment and the recipes here and then scroll down for more photos.

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Photography Credit: TODAY Show | Nathan Congleton

Custom Watercolor Birth Announcements by Consider the Lilies
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What a blessing to be able to work with Abby Hollar of Consider the Lilies to create Milly's custom birth announcements. I've admired her work for some time now. Not only is she an extremely talented artist, painter and water colorist, but she has such an incredible eye and amazing taste. She's also a blogger, photographer, and the kind of friend you love to brag about!  Working with her was so easy especially since I had no idea where to start. She pulled a couple ideas out of me and truly brought my vision to life.  I shared with her how I have an affinity for protea flowers and ranunculus and then shared some photos of Milly's nursery for more inspo. I love the soft blue gray she chose for her name and the delicate rose gold color for the back.  The floral wreath works perfectly with the newborn photo taken by Jenny Quicksall. We couldn't be more thrilled with how they came out! Thank you Abby!

Affirmations I Tell My Daughter Daily

“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on the earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” –Brooke Hampton

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Throughout the day I speak to my daughter as if she understands everything I’m telling her. From when I greet her in the morning to when I’m changing her, bathing her or taking her on a walk-I’m always talking to her.  I’ve been telling her these powerful words since before she was born, when she was just a blueberry in my tummy.  I fed my mind positive thoughts and let those thoughts fill my heart and belly.  And every night since she was born I tell her the below when I lay her down to go to sleep.

·      We love you Milly.  Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Jesus loves you. Everybody loves you. (Sometimes I go down the list of all of our family & friends that love her).

·      You are the sweetest little girl in the whole world.

·      I love being your Mama.

·      You are such a happy baby.

·      You are kind and nice and smart. You are so smart, baby girl.

·      You are generous and helpful and such a good friend.

·      You have already changed the world and one day you will move mountains. 

·      You are good at everything you put your mind to. You can do anything baby girl.

·      You are confident and powerful. You are brave and courageous.

·      You are amazing Milly. Your nickname is “@LittleAmazing” because you’re amazing just like Daddy.

·      We are so grateful for you. You are the best part of us. We are so glad God chose us to be your parents. 

·      You are safe, lovey. Mommy is here and Daddy is here. We are right here beside you. We will always be here for you.  We love you so much.  You are so deeply loved.

·      I can’t wait to spend time with you tomorrow. You are my favorite part of the day.

·      Good night my Love. Sleep well. Have sweet dreams.

·       We love you Milly.  Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Jesus loves you.

Putting Milly to bed at night is some of my favorite time with her because I know I am teaching my daughter how to empower herself and I’m filling her mind with positive thoughts.  If you don’t already, I really encourage you to create your own affirmations for yourself and/or your child.  What will you say? What do you want them to be? I’d love to know what you come up with. Let me know in the comment box below.

A Letter to Milly, an 8 Week Update

Happiest two months baby girl!  You are so incredible. You have really lived up to your name @LittleAmazing.  I knew when you were in my belly you would be like this-calm like the ocean and bright like the sun.  You radiate light, my love. I could stare at you forever. 

You're 8 weeks old today and it has been the most powerful time in our lives.  You've taught me so much patience, a trait I've never really had before.  But I'm not talking about patience with you. I mean patience with myself.  Expectations I have for myself as your mama, as a working mama trying to balance it all are somehow not so high because all that matters is I'm doing my best. There are so many firsts and so many new things but we are learning together and I couldn't do any of it without Daddy.  We are so lucky to have him.  When you were born he did all of the night feedings. Do you remember, baby? Daddy let Mama sleep and he took such good care of you.  In the mornings he helps take care of you too so I can sleep in.  And he feeds us. He makes us breakfast every morning with lots of coffee and he makes dinner for us too. That's why I have so much energy when we're together lovey.  He does so much for us. He loves us so much. 

I love how you make me slow down and pause.  I am soaking up every bit of you. I love spending time with you. I love our conversations. You're such a good listener, so alert and interested.  You seem to love the sound of my voice and I love the sound of yours.  You started trying to talk to me. We've been communicating since you were in my belly but now you are cooing and singing to me a lot.  Your voice is sweet like honeysuckle. And your soft milky breath is like heaven.  

You never cry. You yelp if you're bored and ready to be held and you fuss when you're hungry but you aren't a crier. You have so many expressions.  You are so good about telling us exactly what you want.  When you were itty bitty you would inch your way up daddy's chest until you were right under his chin and couldn't go any farther and then you would sleep there for hours.  We would call you our inch worm.  Now we call you our little hungry hippo. You love to be in the water and I started taking baths with you. It's such a peaceful time and it reminds me of when you were the water, my little mermaid.  You're an easy baby and we are so grateful.

Before you go to sleep at night is one of my favorite times with you. We talk about our day and how much mommy & daddy loves you. I tell you about Jesus and how much he loves you too. You always look so relaxed and you go to bed happy, baby.  You love when I massage you and when I touch the back of my hand on top of your head. I massage the spot between your eyes and you fall fast asleep.  But at night I've been missing you.  That's because you've been sleeping 6-7.5 hours. I'm still getting up to pump, baby girl but when I look over at you in your bassinet you look so peaceful dreaming deep in your sleep.  Sometimes I just stare at you and then have to stop myself from picking you up.

This week we started our Mommy & Me class, baby yoga and infant massage. You really enjoy going to class.  You are not a homebody that is for sure.  You thrive being outside, in the stroller, in the carrier, in your car seat.  You love watching, looking, observing and exploring. 

We are so in awe of you, Milly. It has been an absolute gift calling you ours.  We love getting to know you and are soaking up every moment.

Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART TWO
Photo Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photo Credit: Jenny Quicksall

If you enjoyed reading PART ONE of Milly's birth story, keep reading to learn what I think helped me have a smooth labor and delivery. 

THE “A” TEAM From the moment I met the Owner/Certified Nurse Midwife, Simona and her team of professionals at the Natural Birth Center, I knew it was the place I wanted to deliver our baby and where I would get the best care possible. I appreciate that Simona is a certified nurse in addition to a midwife. She has attended over 1,000 births and her reputation precedes her. The environment she has created is welcoming, empowering and their philosophy is simple.  They believe that "every woman has the innate wisdom, power and sensibility to birth her baby naturally."  Our bodies were made to do this and their midwives and birth team trust in your own strengths and wisdom as a woman and soon to be mother.  It made me feel good to be in a place where I would be surrounded by women who support my decision to give birth naturally, a place where I would have a voice to make decisions about myself, my baby and my birth. I also loved the idea that I would be in a comfortable environment similar to my home, not a sterile hospital that would make me feel like I was having a medical procedure done instead of a beautiful, natural birth. And, since the birth center is across the street from Cedars Sinai Hospital, it was comforting to know that if myself and the baby needed to be transferred, we were close by.  I also loved that I could have the water birth I had envisioned for myself and our baby at the birth center-something you can't do at a hospital.  And finally, I loved the sense of community at the birth center and the complete trust and love I felt when I was there. 

HYPNOBIRTHING So much of our amazing birth story I credit to hypnobirthing.  Mr. A and I studied with Nina Phelan of The Soulful Birth every week the month before Little A was born.  Nina's class absolutely prepared us for our natural birth.  She was imperative to our birth journey.  Using the Mongan Method, Nina taught us how to relax and trust our birth journey.  I learned how to connect to my body and our baby and tune in to the natural birthing process.  She is an incredible teacher.  Because of the breathing and visualization techniques we learned I was also able to get through the intensity of labor in a relaxed pain-free state. The hypnobirthing classes very much prepared both of us. Nina's class prepared Mr. A so he could be the best possible birth companion.  He was able to help me stay focused and grounded during labor. He knew exactly how to support me through breathing, counting the waves (or contractions) and offering massages during the different stages of labor. He was my constant and my rock-keeping me motivated throughout the process.

No matter what kind of birth you envision for yourself and your baby, hypnobirthing is a powerful, priceless skill that will help you release any fear you have about birth, help you manage pain and stress levels and an incredible tool you can take with you throughout other areas of your life.  

DOULA  I think having a doula is key especially if you're having a natural birth and plan on laboring at home as long as possible.  We were referred to our doula, Darla of Darla's Darling Doula Service from our good friends who hired her for the birth of their daughter two years ago. They swore by her and said it made all the difference in the world having her on their birth team. We really appreciated that she is also a labor and delivery nurse so her birthing experience was unparalleled. I also liked that she is a wonderful mama of four, also had natural births and is extremely tuned in and was supportive of our birth plan. The way I thought of our relationship with her was that Mr. A would be in front of me so I could lock eyes with him, hold his hand and lean on him for emotional support. Darla would be behind me, giving me pressure massages and offering physical support. This would allow Mr. A to be my husband, my rock, my birth partner-and for him to not have to stress or worry about knowing all of the answers or to need to remember everything we learned in our birthing class because we had Darla.  For us, being first time parents, there are so many unknowns and having a doula on call was imperative. As soon as my water broke I texted Darla to give her a heads up and keep her posted on my progress.  A lot of first time parents end up going to the hospital or birthing center too early so having a doula helps you determine how far along you are so you don't go to the hospital prematurely.  In our case, Darla saved us from having Little Amazing at home since my labor did move so quickly! I thought I had time but if she hadn't of told Mr. A to get me in the car and head to the birthing center, we would have definitely had Little A at home (which was not the plan at all)!

MIND, BODY, SOUL I believe the harmony of mind, body and soul played a huge part in the ease of Milly's birth.  Labor and delivery is obviously a very physical journey so I knew I needed to keep my body strong throughout my pregnancy.  From the beginning of my pregnancy I practiced stretching to keep my pelvis and hips open, stayed extremely hydrated, did light exercise (mostly walking) and attended prenatal yoga a couple times a week at Happy Baby LA.  I'm obsessed with this studio and their holistic approach to creating a safe, nurturing place for mommy and baby.  I love the sense of community there and how you are surrounded with other mamas. The instructors, the people and the vibe is all positive. It's completely different than going to a traditional yoga studio that offers prenatal yoga. One of my absolute favorite prenatal yoga classes is taught by Khefri who uses Kundalini Yoga, meditation and mantra to nurture the mind, body and spirit. Her class helped me practice my breathing, allowed me to focus on my baby and really put me in touch with my body.  Her class really prepares you to have an empowered pregnancy and birth. The hour and a half I was there each week was so powerful. Every time I left class I felt closer than ever to my baby and more excited about my delivery.

I've always believed in the power of affirmations. During my pregnancy I consistently told myself affirmations. I wrote them down over and over again, would say them out loud and focused on them throughout the day. "Thoughts become things." This is a belief I carry with me through other areas of my life as well.  I told myself I would have a beautiful, calm, peaceful, healthy natural birth. Anytime I heard a positive birth story, I would think about it, take all of the amazing aspects from it and visualize my own birth story. I imagined it all of the time and I was very specific. I even told myself I wouldn't be at the birth center longer than 3 hours...and I actually believed it.  I would paint the picture over and over again of what Little Amazing's birth would be like. I think half of having a natural birth is committing to it. Most importantly, I really believed it would happen that way. In the deepest part of my soul, I believed that's exactly how it would be.  I would consistently have talks with God about his plan and praised him for this blessing. Everyday I would thank Him for choosing us to be Little A's parents and for this healthy, amazing baby.  It's such a miracle to get pregnant and to have a healthy pregnancy and it's something neither of us takes for granted.  And so I would quiet any negative noise I would hear anytime I shared I was having a natural birth at a birth center (which happened often). And Mr. A and I would choose to only focus on our choice, our pregnancy and the power of positive thoughts.  Even when I started getting painful back labor and acid reflex toward the end of my pregnancy we fed our minds with positive thoughts and focused only on the positive. This painful back labor only meant we were getting that much closer to meeting our baby!

YOU & ME + BABY MAKES THREE  I couldn't have done any of this without Mr. A. Having an active, hands-on partner during my pregnancy and delivery made a world of a difference.  I can't imagine going through any of this without him.  My "easy" pregnancy was mostly easy because Mr. A helped me so much. In the first trimester when I was so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open after coming home from work at 7pm, he would do all of the cooking and cleaning. During all of our baby classes Mr. A is the one who took notes, asked questions and made sure we did all of our homework.  All of the day to day mundane "life" things at home he handled. This allowed me to focus on my body and the baby and not worry about anything.   He gave me a break when I needed it and even when I didn't think I did. He encouraged me to go to prenatal yoga, booked prenatal massages, helped me eat right, made sure we went on date night each week.  When I started getting pregnancy insomnia in my third trimester and the braxton hicks and back labor would hit in the early morning hours, he would get up with me and massage my back, get me water and help me go back to sleep.  He came to every baby appointment with excitement and joy. And on the morning of July 7, 2017 when my water broke and our pre-labor began, Mr. A was there supporting me, holding me and encouraging me. When I got tense and my breathing got off track, he helped me relax and calm down. His overall excitement about us being pregnant was powerful in making me feel secure and excited too. 

TRUST When it comes down to why I think I had such a beautiful birth experience it is all centered around TRUST. I trusted my birthing team beyond measure. Even when I realized my midwife's assistant would be delivering Little A because our midwife wasn't there yet, I felt confident and had complete trust in her.  Hypnobirthing taught me to trust my body, trust my baby and trust the birthing process.  Most importantly, I trusted my partner that no matter what, he'd be with me right by my side. I knew I would never feel alone or scared because I was holding on to him. Mr. A was holding me up when I was too weak,  and holding my hand when I delivered our baby girl. 







Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART ONE
Our precious babe!

Our precious babe!

Full disclosure: Little A is currently on my breast learning how to latch so I’m using two fingers to type.  Today was a big day! We took her to her first visit to the pediatrician, ran some errands and got home later than I thought we would. I planned on writing this birth story last night but was so sleepy between feedings! Plus I can’t put her down and I know I’m supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps but how is that possible when I can’t stop staring at her?

Our @LittleAmazing Birth Story PART ONE

Milly Blake Simon

Born 7.7.17 at 7:07am

6lbs. 7.5 oz 19.5” long

Despite having an “easy” pregnancy and really enjoying being pregnant, like many other mamas-to-be, the last couple of weeks of pregnancy are tough.  You feel like your body is maxed out. There’s just no way there is any more room for this baby to grow.  It was getting harder to bend, harder to breathe and days on set were leaving my ankles as swollen as softballs.  During the last two weeks it was especially tough as I started getting Braxton hicks and back labor. The Braxton hicks were manageable. The back labor on the other hand, was brutal. It felt like fire and it would come every hour or so…even at night- so not a lot of sleep for this mama-to-be.  The only thing that would relieve it was stretching my back and doing cat cow pose on all fours or rotating my hips on a yoga ball for several minutes. I actually had a segment on the 4th of July for KTLA and between teases I left set to go to the green room and do cat cow pose on the floor to relieve the pressure! Thank goodness no one saw this pregnant lady in her dress on all fours!

The day before Little A came I was ready. Mentally and physically I felt like she was going to come on the 7th of July. My original estimated due date was 7.17.17 but Mr. A and I had joked that it would totally be OK if Little A came on 7.7.17. Both dates are pretty lucky! On Thursday July 6th, I had a meeting in Studio City and then decided to go to Caioti Cafe to get “The Salad.” This magical salad is known to naturally induce labor. I had heard all about it and definitely wanted to try it. I mean- it couldn’t hurt. Plus, I had to eat something for lunch! The salad is basically greens, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese but the secret is in the balsamic dressing. I ordered the salad and asked for extra dressing. I stopped by POPSUGAR Studios to grab some mail and told all the girls to send 7.7 vibes my way.

When I got home I decided it was game time. I started going down the list of natural ways to induce labor. I ate the salad, drank some raspberry leaf tea (another thing known to get contractions going), did some lunges and continued down the checklist.  I even had Mr. A do some acupressure on me.  We went to bed around 10pm and I put it all in God’s hands.  I obviously know the baby will come when the baby is ready but I had a good feeling going to bed. 

At 1:24am I was jolted awake by a contraction and the feeling that my water was breaking. I ran to the bathroom just in time and felt my water break. Immediately I started having contractions about 3-5 minutes apart. I texted our doula, Darla to let her know what was going on.  I thought maybe I’d try and go back to bed a bit. What a joke. The contractions were too close together so I stayed in the bathroom for a little over an hour and timed them on my phone. They were strong and consistent.  The hour flew by.  At this point I didn’t realize Mr. A wasn’t awake. He had been waking up with me every hour for the last two weeks to give me counter massages anytime I had back labor so I didn’t realize at 3:00am that he was still sleeping. I decided to wake him up and tell him the exciting news. I was beaming from ear to ear. Knowing my water broke and I was in active labor just made me so excited because I knew Little A was on their way! 

Mr. A immediately started helping me relax and breathe into each contraction.  During my pregnancy we had been practicing hypnobirthing at home plus we had taken hypnobirthing classes with Nina Phelan of Soulful Birth for the past month every Sunday for three hours.  Nina was absolutely imperative in making us feel confident and ready for natural birth. Her class is phenomenal and equipped us with so much strength and power to conquer our natural birth journey. I feel like she really prepares the fathers and significant others of the mamas to be doulas.  I know I couldn’t have gotten through each wave (the term we use for contractions in hypnobirthing) without Mr. A. He was the best partner ever.  He started timing the waves and letting me know when they’d be over. That’s the beauty of labor. People never talk about the space between the waves when you aren’t contracting. Your contraction might last a minute but then there’s space between each one-even if it’s just four minutes or one minute like what I was experiencing. They are just like the waves in the ocean. The wave comes up and then there’s a beautiful space where the water is still.  The ocean is calm. This is a gift and a powerful time for your body to relax, breathe oxygen in and not focus on the wave that’s up ahead.  He would count down and keep telling me “Only 20 more seconds left baby. You got this. You’re so strong. I love you.  Just breathe. Thank you so much for doing this for our baby.” I could cry just thinking about how grateful I am for him.  He was incredible. 

Around 4:30am the waves were getting more intense. I decided to get in the shower hoping it would relieve the pressure.  It was absolutely fantastic. The warm water felt like a massage and made the waves bearable. I didn’t want to get out but was worried it might relax me too much and slow down my labor.  I continued to trust my body. I kept thinking to myself “Your body was made to do this. You are doing this.”  Leading up to my delivery I knew I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. I knew I would be most comfortable at home and had set goals for myself to only get to the birth center when we were ready to start pushing. Little did I know I should have been a little more specific with my goals and vision.

Our doula checked in with Mr. A at 5:00am and quickly realized I was probably farther along than we all thought. Anytime I had a contraction I would lean against the wall and just breathe through it.  I was taking sips of water between each wave so I could stay hydrated.  Looking back I didn’t think a first time delivery could go that quickly but now it was 5:30am and things were really picking up.  Mr. A texted our certified nurse midwife, Simona around 5:45am and first she said “Why did you wait this long to text me? And why are you texting me and not calling me!”  Whoopsy!  She was concerned I could have the baby at home!

I could feel the baby move. Around 5:50am I felt Little A in the birth canal. The baby was coming! All I wanted to do was bear down (Go Wildcats! U of A reference) and start pushing.  It took so much strength for me to decide to leave the house and head to the birth center but I wanted my water birth damn it!

I told Mr. A to grab our bags and put them in the car and then as soon as he’s ready I would start walking to get in the car.  Both our doula and midwife said they would meet us at the birth center.  As we were leaving Mr. A asked me “Are you sure it’s time lovey? You’re still communicating.” One thing we learned in our birthing classes was that when a woman is in transition or ready to start pushing she will go inward and quiet and won’t be able to talk. She will be primal and focused on her body and the baby and probably not able to communicate anymore. I, however was so verbal that when we walked outside I reminded Mr. A we needed to move my car to the driveway so we didn’t get a ticket for street cleaning that morning.

We got in our car at 6:15am and headed to the Natural Birth Center.  Mr. A put on our rainbow relaxation guided meditation to help me relax and stop from pushing and drove us as safely as possible.  Keep in mind this is a Friday morning in LA. We live in the South Bay and had to get to Beverly Hills.  If we had left any later, it would have taken us at least an hour to get there. Luckily it took us about 25 minutes. They were the longest 25 minutes of my life.  I kept my eyes closed during the drive to stay focused on my breathing and listened to our tapes. Mr. A gave me constant updates on how close we were and how much farther we had to go.  A couple times I started moaning and pushing and then I would try and stop myself. In between the intensity I would talk to Little A and tell our baby to stay in there a little longer. “Not yet baby. We aren’t there yet. Almost baby. We are almost there, baby.”

We got to the birth center at 6:40am and I jumped out of the car and flew up the stairs like a monkey.  We had arrived before our certified nurse midwife and doula.  Luckily a midwife student on call, Addi was there with a nursing assistant, Mayra. As soon as I saw them I was so relieved.  We’ve gotten to know both of these women for the last 10 months at every check up and every appointment and it was so surreal to see them that morning knowing that we were about to have our baby.  As they were turning the lights to the office on, I told them to get the water in the tub because the baby was coming. I’m not sure if they thought I was really ready or if they were trying to have me wait for Simona but there was no time for that.

I got in the tub around 6:45am. I remember my sister, Sonya (who also had a water birth with my nephew, Bexton) said that as soon as you get in the water, you feel amazing relief. She was right. It felt wonderful but I also knew it was game time. At first I was just trying to breathe through the feeling to push. I didn’t want to rush things and all of the sensations were so foreign. It’s an unknown sensation you’ve never felt before. It’s what other moms tell you about but you can’t really explain until you are actually experiencing it. I knew I wanted to surrender to my body and let it do what it was meant to do.  In that moment I also recalled my prenatal yoga instructor, Khefri telling the mamas in her class that pushing “feels good”. I know that sounds bonkers but I think what she meant by that was it feels good to finally be able to push the baby out knowing that you are that much closer to meeting your baby. Right before 7:00am I started breathing the baby down and pushing.  I pushed three times and then held her there. As I held Mr. A’s hand I took one big breath for more energy and pushed once more. Then I grabbed my baby under the water and pulled her to my chest.

I did it! I did it! That’s all I kept thinking after I had Little Amazing.  Our baby was here. It was really happening.  It was almost like I was having this out of body experience.  It didn’t feel real.  I had watched so many beautiful natural birth stories including my sister’s and now I was living it. I had just delivered our baby all natural, medication free in the birthing tub. I had been visualizing this exact scenario over and over in my head for months and now it was actually happening. I remember locking eyes with Mr. A, both of us absolutely beaming with astonishment and saying “I love you” to each other. 

I held the baby against my chest and couldn’t stop staring. I was in a baby daze! Finally one of the assistants asked what we had. We totally forgot to look! I asked Mr. A what the baby was. Boy or girl? I turned the baby around to face him and he said “It’s a girl!” And immediately I knew she was. 

She was so tiny-like a glowworm. I couldn’t get over it.  I was finally meeting this precious gift from God that He chose for us.  This little baby we had been talking to, singing too and loving on for 10 months. I was holding our love baby, our baby we were meant to have exactly when we had her.  Milly Blake Simon.  We had always known our baby girl’s name. We both had thought of it together-inspired by my maiden name, Milloy. Mr. A would always say, “It’s the best name. How could you not love that name?” It always felt right. Even when we were looking for our first home, we would go to open houses and if we didn’t think the house had a room that was right for Milly, we knew it wasn’t our home.  And I think even though we waited to find out the sex of our baby, deep down we knew it was a little girl. 

Minutes after I delivered Milly, our certified nurse midwife and doula showed up. I told them I was so sorry they didn’t make it but they were both so happy for us. I was still in the tub and it was perfect timing. We were able to do delayed cord clamping, cord banking and I delivered the placenta with ease.  Little A got so much skin to skin time with Daddy and we both got to love on her for hours. I started breastfeeding baby, we called our families to share the good news and by 11am we were on our way home! Welcome to the world Milly Blake Simon. You are so loved!

I will never get over how amazing our natural birth story was but I’m confident there were several factors that made my delivery smooth. To find out what I did that I attribute to having a short labor and smooth delivery, stay tuned for PART TWO of our birth story. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts in the comment box below and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more or our Amazing Life!

Minutes old Milly in Mommy's arms and already stealing Daddy's heart!

Minutes old Milly in Mommy's arms and already stealing Daddy's heart!

Our Gender Neutral Baby Shower Soiree
Feeling SO loved by all of our family & friends! @LittleAmazing is such a blessed baby!

Feeling SO loved by all of our family & friends! @LittleAmazing is such a blessed baby!

It's still so surreal to me to think that almost a year ago I was celebrating my Bachelorette Party in Palm Springs and now, I'm married to Mr. Amazing, living in our first home with a baby on the way! What a whirlwind year it's been! I am so incredibly grateful to have had two baby showers hosted for me. My mom hosted a shower in my hometown of Sierra Vista, AZ with my best friend, Jeff and sister, Sonya. The theme was appropriately bumble bee and every detail from the food to the black & yellow candy bar and bumble bee cookies were perfection.  It was intimate and extremely special.  

For my shower in LA, where I've called home for nearly 10 years I wanted the shower to be casual and laid back. I knew we'd have a big group of girls but I wanted it to still feel personal.  Since we're waiting to find out the gender of @LittleAmazing, I didn't have a particular theme in mind-I just wanted the space to exude baby! The invitation designed by Kirra Reyna Designs really set the tone with the blue, green and pink pastel watercolors, clouds and stars.  I just loved the softness of our invitations and signage and how there was something vintage about them. My friends who hosted, Ruth, Faith, Breelyn & my mother-in-law Nicole, carried that theme throughout the shower-stringing the most adorable handmade cloud mobile above the beverage cart and other cloud and star mobiles above the tables. I can't wait to use these in the nursery for decor (so stay tuned for our nursery reveal very soon). Guests were invited to "dress their guess: blue or pink, what do you think?" It was pretty split on thinking the baby will be a girl or boy.  The gold balloons and black and white patio furniture was a good neutral backdrop for the rest of the decor.  Silver dollar eucalyptus and white garden roses weaved through the black wicker peacock chair made it the absolute centerpiece of the party which made me feel like a bohemian Queen!  I knew I wanted to wear white (my favorite color) and was so happy to find this lace maxi which I paired with my new favorite heels (they have velcro straps which are perfect for this mama-to-be's growing belly)!  

The day before the shower I went to the LA Flower Mart and picked up my favorite peonies, colorful ranunculus and dahlia flowers to decorate the tables.  I love having fresh flowers at the house and these made me so happy!  The theme for the menu was all of my pregnancy cravings-although I don't know if I really have had any true cravings since I just eat everything I've always enjoyed-lol!  Guests were treated to catered Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, nuggets tenders and salad. We had southern sweet tea, lemonade and fresh coconuts for refreshments and a make-your-own bubbles bar. The dessert table included a ton of sweets including a rosé gummies station!  Guests played games and decorated onesies using a DIY onesie decorating kit from A lil' Moore complete with paint, iron-on stickers and decals. Favors included super soft aden + anais swaddles which double as sarongs, beach blankies and hair wraps (for guests who don't have little ones yet) and I also gifted guests my favorite natural and organic skin care products from California Baby-a staple at the Milloy-Simon household!

Scroll down to see some of my favorite photos and then be sure to check out the full feature on POPSUGAR!  

Special thanks to my bestie, Breelyn Stone for taking all of the photography at my shower. 


Photography: Breelyn Stone

Invitation & Signage: Kirra Reyna Designs

Furniture: Cost Plus World Market

Peacock Chair: Cost Plus World Market

Cloud Mobile: Polly Chrome Crafts 

Catering: Chick-Fil-A

Fruit & Fresh Coconuts: Melissa's Produce

Cake, Cupcakes & Cookies: Susie Cakes

DIY Onesie Decorating Kit: A lil' Moore

Candy: Sugarfina

Marshmallow Treats: Bliss & Baker

Brandi's Dress: A Pea in the Pod

Favors: aden + anaisCalifornia Baby

AMA with Mr. A and a Little Amazing Update

We are SO close to meeting @LittleAmazing! I can't believe it! So many feelings as we get closer to becoming parents. I hope you enjoy this AMA and then be sure to head over to POPSUGAR FOOD to watch another AMA I did there updating all of you on how content will work for Eat the Trend and Get the Dish during my maternity leave.

Also, HUGE UPDATE: Mr. A changed his instagram handle to @MrAMeals so follow him there! 

Waiting to Find Out Our Baby's Gender Until I Deliver

In a world where are there are few surprises, Mr. A and I made the commitment early on to wait to find out the gender of @LittleAmazing until the moment after I deliver.  This journey has been an absolute thrill and I strongly recommend it to anyone who has the patience! It has really allowed us to focus on how grateful we are just to be able to create this miracle baby and to start our family together.  We know it is already written. God knows our baby and it is all part of His plan. You can read more of my thoughts on why we are choosing to wait in this post I wrote for POPSUGAR MOMS. 

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall 

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall 

Sneak Peek: Our Maternity Shoot at El Matador Beach, CA
Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

From the first time I spoke with our maternity photographer, Jenny Quicksall, I knew she was the perfect person to capture this special chapter in our lives.  Not only is she incredibly talented with an eye for detail, lighting and composition but she is an absolute joy to be around.  Her beautiful energy is infectious and being a mama of two, she and I immediately connected about my pregnancy and our babies. Jenny is extremely easy to work with and makes shooting with her feel natural when photoshoots never "feel natural." She made the entire experience so much fun despite it being cold and cloudy that even Mr. A was even enjoying himself! We chose to take our maternity photos at El Matador Beach in Malibu, CA since we love the beach and wanted to get some shots with the large rock formations.  While we were taking photos we realized that a year ago we were in Joshua Tree shooting our engagement photos with Brandon Kidd. So wild to think of all the milestones we've reached together in a year. We got married in August, traveled to Greece & Italy for our honeymoon, found out we were pregnant with Little A, bought our first home together, renovated our first home and now we are only weeks away from becoming a family of three.  What a truly amazing year we've had! Seeing these photos really makes me appreciate Mr. A even more. He is such a great partner, friend and husband but I really can't wait to see the wonderful father he's going to be. He already does so much for @LittleAmazing and I and I thank God everyday for our life together.  

Continue scrolling to see our maternity photoshoot sneak peek with Jenny Quicksall @JennyQuicksall and stay tuned for the full feature on

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

Photography Credit: Jenny Quicksall

CREDITS: Photography by Jenny Quicksall | Dresses by Pea in a Pod |  Hair & makeup by Kasia Bohos | 

Dear Little Amazing (My First Trimester Update)
Some of my favorite books from my childhood are Dr. Seuss. Can't wait to read them all to Little A.

Some of my favorite books from my childhood are Dr. Seuss. Can't wait to read them all to Little A.

Being a first time Mom is a whirlwind of emotions. And as much as I thought I knew about pregnancy from my Mom, Sister and close friends, it's a whole new adventure for me. I thought I'd capture how I'm feeling in a series of letters to our baby, Little Amazing and share them here with you.  Reaching the first trimester was such a huge feat and now I finally feel like I am settling into this new chapter of carrying our first little babe.  For photos and more updates, follow along on instagram @LittleAmazing. 


Dear Little Amazing,

You are such a beautiful blessing and we can’t wait to meet you.  Your Dad always said you would come right after we were married and he was right.  He told me on our second date that he wanted to be a Dad and he has been talking about you ever since. I had a feeling God had sent you even before we confirmed it.  I felt different. I just knew it.  I feel like I already know you.  You made my first trimester almost too easy.  You’ve been such a good baby-never making Mama sick.  You had me craving baked potatoes, steak and veggies but when am I not craving those things? I’ve wanted to take more naps on the weekends and sometimes I can’t stay up past 9pm but that’s probably best for both of us. Everyone keeps telling me to sleep as much as I can now but I have a feeling even when you’re here I won’t be able to stop staring at you long enough to go to sleep.

Your Dad has been so awesome-giving me foot & leg rubs and making dinner for me when I’m too tired.  He is the best. I can’t wait for you to meet him.  You have a lot of people that love you already. Your grandparents are thrilled! You have so many aunts and uncles-it’s going to be fun! And your cousins, Maximus and Bexton are especially excited! They’ve already nicknamed you “Sweetie!” You've already flipped our world upside down and changed it for the better. 

I’ve so enjoyed our first trimester together.  I find myself smiling a little more, radiating love and always on the verge of giggling. It's a miracle what's happening inside of me. My mommy friends tell me the next six months are going to fly by! I hope it doesn’t go by too fast! They also tell me being pregnant was some of the best times in their life.  I've never been happier and I'm cherishing every moment.  Thank you for being our little love baby. I hope you know I'm soaking it all in day by day and loving each milestone we reach together.



We're Having a Baby!
Follow @LittleAmazing on instagram for more!

Follow @LittleAmazing on instagram for more!

We are beyond blessed to share we are going to be a family of three this summer! This has been the toughest secret to keep but we've enjoyed having this special time to ourselves and our families. We are most grateful to have a healthy, thriving baby and can't wait to meet him or her. I'm excited to announce I'll be sharing my journey as a first time Mama here on my blog and on all of my social media channels so be sure to follow along! Mr. A (Mr. Amazing) will also be making blog posts to share his perspective on things including below where he interviewed me about being pregnant. I hope you'll enjoy being a part of this adventure with us. We're having the time of our lives! Get ready for @LittleAmazing!

Mr. A : When did you know you were pregnant?

Brandi: I had a feeling something was different but wanted to wait a week to be sure so I waited until the following Saturday to take a pregnancy test. You were sleeping like a baby when I snuck into the bathroom. Before I could even finish washing my hands the test said PREGNANT. I couldn't wait to jump back in bed and wake you up!

Mr. A: Yeah, I was sleeping!

Brandi: I I nuzzled you a little and when you finally woke up I looked at you and said "There's a baby inside of me!"

Mr. A: I was still half asleep and didn't realize really what was going on and I heard you talking but didn't register what you were saying until you flashed the pregnancy test in front of my eyes. I was overwhelmed with excitement and can't wait to be a future dad! So how did you get pregnant? 

Brandi: Haha! Real funny. That's what's crazy though! I was on the road so much that month but we managed to make a baby somehow!

Mr. A: What was your first trimester like? 

Brandi: Well I had zero morning sickness so that was incredible. I felt a little more tired than usual and I was hungry all of the time. 

Mr. A: Well that's nothing new! You're always planning your next meal when you're eating your current meal. But you have tons of energy so it was crazy when you'd want to go to bed early.

Brandi: Right? I've been a sleepy head these past couple of weeks. It was also so hard not to tell our friends we were pregnant but I'm so glad we waited. 

Mr. A:  As excited as I was my main priority was to make sure the baby was healthy before we told everyone and to get your blood work done for the genetic testing.

Brandi: I know. All that matters is that the baby is healthy and I'm so glad we focused on that.

Mr. A:  After you got your ultrasound done and the results back from the blood work and we found out the baby is healthy and thriving, how relieved were you?

Brandi: I was so relieved! And grateful! As both of us know, the first trimester can be stressful but all that matters now is we are going to be parents to a healthy baby! 

Mr. A: What are you looking forward to the most? 

Brandi: I can't wait to see how great you're going to be as a Dad.  You're already an incredible husband and best friend but you're going to be the best Dad. I'm so grateful for everything you've done to help me during this first bringing me my vitamins, picking up loaded baked potatoes (my current craving), texting me to remind me to drink more water and doing most of the housework cause I'm so lazy right now! What are you most looking forward to?

Mr. A:  I can't wait to be a Dad. Whether it's a girl or a boy, I can't wait to hold our little glow worm, see them smile and play with them.  I can't wait to watch our child grow up and play sports with them and teach them something new everyday.  I know my beautiful wife is going to be an amazing Mom and I'm so glad we're doing this together.

Brandi: I love you.

Mr. A: I love you more.

Check out more photos from our pregnancy announcement that we took at our family Lake House in Big Bear during New Year's Eve. It had snowed 8" the night before and it was like a winter wonderland!