November 2012 | Dearest Lou

Becoming a Mother - By Rebekah Turner

Becoming a Mother:
Photo by Paige Maitland of Lightnest Collective
I became a mother at the young age of 19. Unlike what most people think, my husband and I wanted children young. It is a decision I don't regret. Regardless of what some people might say, I don't believe anyone, anywhere is ever prepared for the changes a baby  brings to your life. I have been friends with Mothers of all ages and life stages, the struggles expressed are almost all the same. Motherhood is a universal experience. We all wonder if we are alone in our struggles. Sure, everyone talks about the sleepless nights, the spit up on clothes and the loss of privacy but those are things you get used to and can perhaps, be prepared for. The things you can't ever be prepared for are the moments...even days when you wonder why you ever chose this. You wonder how you will ever make it. But those moments, those times, they pass. They pass, but they can be overwhelming. And that is true regardless of age, social status or income level. There are definately pros and cons with different ages and situations but mostly, being a mother asks only resolve to love unconditionally. That is something you cannot prepare for. After all, how can one ever be prepared for such deep love? The overwhelming moments are when you feel like you have given all you can but it is not enough. When you feel worried or scared, terrified something will harm your baby. When it is hard to sleep at night if they aren't right beside you.

Photo by Paige Maitland of Lightnest Collective

I can't tell you how many times I have been going through a rough patch and the words and comments of people who meant well come to mind. I have thought that I might enjoy my life more if I had waited to have kids, I might be a better mom if I was older, more experienced.I guess I keep coming back to this but it does seem as though there is this constant fear that maybe I really wasn't ready for this. Honestly though, I know deep down inside that this is right. I'm sure you will have those moments as well. And you will wonder if you made the right choice, when you did, to have a baby. You will wonder if you are going to ruin your child for life. Don't second guess yourself. There wouldn't have been a better time to have a baby. These things would be hard regardless because having a baby means being selfless. This is the most demanding, challenging and rewarding job of your life. You will be forever changed. You won't ever be the woman you were before you had a baby, but thats okay because you won't want to be. You will watch yourself grow right alongside your baby. You won't be able to explain to others how it feels your soul with contentment and peace when you watch your child sleeping. It's not only relief that your child is (finally!) asleep, it's a deeply felt relief and joy that they are safe, warm and happy. When they smile at you, its the same feeling. Being a Mother is simple but not easy. To nurture another for as long as you live. I think that it is the most vulnerable state you can ever be in. But you see, in true vulnerability lies fulfillment. The deepest, most sincere form of fulfillment. And it is worth it. It's worth every tear, every night out missed, every tantrum in a restaurant. You may question yourself then, but at night when all is calm, you will have peace and know this is right. Take comfort in those moments and remember them when the season is hard. You will experience a love more powerful than ever before and you will love your baby with everything in you. I truly believe it is what gives my life, and every other mother's life, meaning. Congrats to your beautiful family.

Click here to visit Bekah's blog, My Little Loves

My Favorite Moment During My First Week of Motherhood - By Abbey Rodriguez

Hello, Dearest Lou readers! I am Abbey, from Along Abbey Road, a life and style blog.
I am crazy excited for Cecilia  being a new mama and tickled pink that she asked me to share my own favorite experiences as a new mama.
Babies are miraculous, complex beings. Babies are also tiring and testing beings. I remember that first moment I sat on the couch with Luke, just the two of us. Both Matt's mom and my own had made their rounds teaching us their best-practiced mothering skills and Matt reluctantly went back to work.

There sat this helpless, wrinkly, perfect human in my arms. I was terrified and thrilled all in the same moment. I already knew him from the kicks, flutters, and rolls we shared those last 10 months, but now he was really there. Tears flooded my eyes that we had been blessed to rear and direct this amazing soul.

I will never forget the feel of Luke's silky almost translucent skin. The smell of his tiny body curled up under my chin. The softly pleading and adorable cry. The way he reached up his tiny, 1-inch hand to mine while he fed, reassuring me that I was his favorite and most-needed person in the world.

Those are the moments that we mothers live for.

Congrats, Cecilia! Enjoy that squishy, handsome newborn babe of yours! 

My Favorite Moment During My First Week of Motherhood - By Alexa Zurcher

Hi friends! I'm Lex from He&I. I'm a wife to B and a (new!) mom to Miss E. 
We welcomed our daughter to the world on a warm September afternoon. Our lives haven't been the same since. We have a few more bags under the eyes, our conversations have turned to burps and diapers, and walking through our house is like playing an I-Spy game with pacifiers. And yet, we wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. There's nothing more miraculous than bringing a child into the world. (And nothing more nerve wracking!) I will never forget the long awaited day that we met little E. I finally became a mother. My first thought was "I know you! I know you!" as I saw her head full of hair and her little fingers grasped mine for the first time. I was smitten. I knew her little hiccups because I felt them in my tummy daily. I knew that her awake time was four in the morning. I knew her little kicks and flailing arms. I knew her. Better than anyone else. And the best part was, she knew me. 
I am a mother. And I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

My Favorite Moment During My First Week of Motherhood - By Mikelle Mann

Hi! I’m Mikelle. I blog over at The Honeypie Archives. I’m a wife to a Marine, and a new mother to little Jack, born October 13th.
It’s hard to choose a favorite MOMENT during the first week of motherhood.  There are just too many from the first week that are worth of the label “favorite.”  But, looking back on that first week, I’d have to say one of my favorite memories is the first night home from the hospital.  You see, my husband Matt had been back and forth between home and California since June for The Marines, and he was more often gone than home for a bulk of my pregnancy. We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time together the last few months before Jack was born, and he felt bad that he wasn't there to watch to my growing belly. In fact, he made it home just in the nick of time to be there for the delivery. 
So, that first night home, in our warm comfy bed, with the husband, no nurses coming in and out, no visitors, no bright lights, peace and quiet, and the baby laying in between us as we looked down at him in awe at his perfection was a moment I wish I could pause and live in forever.  I savored that night because Matt only had a couple weeks off for paternity leave before he had to head off to California once more.  Luckily this time, we are joining him, and we’ll all be together as a family.  I never knew I could love two people so much!

My Favorite Moment During My First Week of Motherhood - By Kandice Breinholt

hello to you! you may have seen me around this blog a few times before, as cecilia and i have been close for many years, but for those of you who haven't, i'm kandice, writer behind those who love. i write about my one year old daughter, my tall bearded husband, and the simple, thoughtful life we strive to live each day as well as all of the things we do and enjoy as a young family of three.

when cecilia asked me to recount my favorite moment from my first week as a new mother, i immediately knew just the one i wanted to share. in fact, i still lie in bed, watching as my little lady sleeps soundly, dreaming back to this one quiet morning in the hospital a little over a year and a half ago.

after giving birth to natalie and two long, peaceful (and altogether blissful) days in the hospital, i awoke to the soft cries of my hungry baby. i remember looking over at sean and seeing him in the dim warm light, fast asleep on the long chair next to my bed, so tired from staying up late with natalie and throughout the day for all of our visitors. while he was awake tending to those things, i was able to sleep when i found it necessary so i was careful not to wake him as i turned toward natalie.

she was so small with such wide eyes and puffy cheeks. her skin was a dark, cherry red and her hair looked black. she was calm, despite her morning hunger. i remember feeling so much joy lying next to her. she was finally here and more beautiful than i ever anticipated.

breastfeeding was hard for the first couple of days so i was happily surprised to find that, for this perfect hour or two when i was all alone with her for the first time, it clicked... it really clicked. i held her, stared, and smelled her brand new smell while she slowly ate. i was so close to tears the entirety of our special time together, feeling so blessed to have her and, of course, her daddy in that small room with me. within those moments, the world had stopped for us.

after she finished, we had a few more uninterrupted moments together as i burped her. we stared at one another for the longest time and every now and again she would give me the slightest of smiles. i was so excited to take her home and ready to start this new, exciting life with her.

i'm incredibly excited for cecilia and daryl, as well as the rest of their family. zaden eliot has entered this world, welcomed by so many who love and adore him. he's perfect.

He's finally here!

Friday evening we welcomed a handsome baby boy into our family.
We're so in love and thankful for our little one.

Maternity Series >> 39 weeks

Pictures taken at 39 weeks by Tiana Warner

Outfit details: Vintage Nightgown, thrifted// Hair clips, borrowed

Delicious Sponge Cake Recipe by Sophie Brown

Hello friends! I wanted to let you know I'm still here and still pregnant. I've been having continuous braxton hicks contractions every 7-10 minutes for the last 15 hours but still no baby and they haven't gotten to the point where they're unbearable (hence why I'm calling them braxton hicks and not real contractions I'm sure I will KNOW when those bad boys kick in). I have some cute pictures I need to edit of my 39 week bump but in the mean time I would like to have my featured sponsor of the month Sophie take over and share a yummy recipe with you guys. Without further adieu here's Sophie!
Hey, Dearest Lou readers! I'm Sophie and I blog over at Lover Baker Homemaker about everything – but mainly food, baking, crafts and a bit of my life. I've been trying to decide what recipe I wanted to share with you all. I've gathered so many up in my recipe folder that choosing just one is impossible! So, I thought I'd share my basic cake recipe along with a few variations. Once you've got the hang of a basic sponge cake, you can make anything from classic sandwiches to cupcakes and traybakes to loaf cakes! Sometimes it takes a few attempts to get the basic sponge just right, as everyone's ovens are different, and everyone uses different sized tins and cupcake cases, but once you've got the recipe working for you – you'll be a cake making machine! 

This recipe will make one sandwich cake, 12 cupcakes, 18 fairy cakes or a large loaf cake.

All you need:
- 8oz butter or margarine
- 8oz caster sugar
- 8oz self-raising flour
- 4 eggs 

To make the batter, simply cream the butter and the sugar together, then whisk in the eggs and fold in the flour. Voila! You've got the basis for any cake you want to make. 

From this point on – you can be as creative as you want! Here are a few of my favorite variations:
Chocolate muffins:
Add 4 tbsp of cocoa powder, some chocolate chips and a splash of milk. 

Oreo cupcakes:
Mix in 2 tbsp of coca powder, then crush up a packet of Oreo's in a food processor until they're super fine and fold them into the mix. Pop an Oreo in the bottom of each cupcake cade before spooning the mixture in and baking. Delicious! 
Carrot cake/cupcakes:
This is the only one with a little change in the basic cake mix! Half the amount of caster sugar, and replace the other 4oz with brown or muscovado sugar. Grate 200g of raw carrots into the mix, then add a tbsp of mixed spice and the zest of one orange. Add a splash of OJ and spoon the mixture into a loaf tin or cupcake cases to bake. Perfect with cream cheese frosting!

Blueberry muffins:
Add a tsp of vanilla extract, a handful of blueberries and sprinkle in some icing sugar.
Almond and jam cake/cupcakes: 
Add a tsp of vanilla extract and a tsp of almond essence to the cake mix, then fold in 250g of ground almonds. If you're making a cake then bake it in two halves and add the jam in the middle of the sandwich afterwards, but if you're making cupcakes then spoon the mixture into the cases and drop a big tsp of raspberry jam in the middle before baking!

It's difficult to put a time and temp on all of these cakes and bakes – as I said previously everyone's ovens vary. But I bake my sandwich cakes and muffins for 25 minutes on gas mark 5. For conversions check out the BBC Good Food website.

I hope you've enjoyed reading a bit more about how easy it is to make pretty much every cake you could ever want! The possibilities really are endless, but if you ever run out of inspiration then head over to my blog where I post adaptations of this recipe a lot, along with lots of other tasty treats! If you have a go at any of the recipes above, then give me a shout – I'd love to see! 

Maternity Shoot

I was laying in bed earlier this week and realized that Daryl and I hadn't had any maternity pictures taken of us since our dear friend Kandice took these beauties back in June to announce the big news. I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for someone to take our photos and knew we were running out of time. Yesterday, we had my little sister Tiana capture some moments of this big ol' belly of mine before it comes to an end. With her eye for pictures and editing skills I think we did a pretty good job(;
Pictures taken at 38 weeks + 5 days

Her outfit details: Dress, thrifted// Sweater, borrowed// Belt, Forever 21//Tights, Forever 21// Shoes, thrifted
His outfit details: Shirt, Billabong// Jeans, Pac Sun// Shoes, Vans

Maternity Series >> 38 weeks

Pictures taken at 38 weeks + 1 day

Outfit details: Shirt, thrifted// Skirt, c/o Florence Adams (buy it here)// Shoes, thrifted// Lipstick, Lancome All Done Up

Florence Adams Giveaway (CLOSED)

This week's giveaway is brought to you by Florence Adams. Florence Adams is a family owned boutique that has amazing vintage inspired clothing. I ended up picking this lovely skirt since I fell in love with the pretty print. This skirt is extra comfy and I'm not ashamed to say that I've worn it more than once since I received it last week(; Florence Adams is giving you the chance to win a $50 credit to their lovely store.

For one entry, you must:
1) "Like" Florence Adams on Facebook 
2) Visit Florence Adams by clicking here, & let me know what you would spend your $50 credit towards

Additional entries:
*Follow Dearest Lou (in your comment let me know how you follow) 
*Mention this giveaway on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or blog and leave the URL

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each additional entry. Thanks friends and good luck!

Also, Florence Adams is offering 20% off any clothing or accessory item from 11/14-11/17 with promo code: DEAREST1112. Great opportunity to get some early holiday shopping done (;

*This giveaway is open 
until November 20th @ 11:50 pm MST to all Dearest Lou readers. Winner will be announced on or after Wednesday November 21st. Winner will have 7 days to claim their prize by emailing me at dearestlou at or another winner will be selected and contacted via email. Winner will be chosen randomly using

Psst--Click here to see if you are the winner of the Cheerfully Charmed Giveaway!

Update: December 1, 2012

Bloggers Night Out

Gentri and I (and my pretty rosy lip makeover)
My blogger friend Gentri Lee threw together an amazing blogger meetup in order to help spread the word about her new Esthetics Business in Draper. She offered to do either an eye, contour, or lip makeover and offer some helpful advice. I decided to go to the party bare lipped and have her work her magic on me (;

She was very busy throughout the night doing our makeup and running the event but she did an amazing job, I don't think I could have been in her shoes! On top of free makeovers there were prizes, treats, and lots of socializing. I met a lot of local bloggers and everyone was so sweet and complimenting, I can't wait to go check out the new blogs I didn't immediately recognize (;

There were enough prizes for everyone to leave with something I won a gorgeous yellow statement necklace from Cheerfully Charmed and a pair of earrings from her mama's new etsy shop Pixie Pie (products will be added sometime later this week).

Here are some pictures I took throughout the evening:
The dessert bar.. yum
Kelsey from Stories of Kel, Danica from Black with a Chance of Cheetah, me, Jessi from Haircut and General Attitude, Brooke from Silver Lining, Bri from Breezy Days
.. & a funny one (sorry your face is blurry Brooke)
Necklaces from Cheerfully Charmed, I won the yellow set, score!
Gentri giving lipstick advice
Jenny from Modern Modest Beauty and I
Thanks Gentri for thinking of me and inviting me to Bloggers Night Out, I hope that you get lots of new business. Here's a list of all the bloggers who attended, if you attended and don't see your name on the list leave me a comment and I will add it!

Also, feel free to take any pictures above just be sure to link back to this post if you do (:

List of those who attended:
Gentri (HOST)-
Cecilia (ME)-

Pregnancy update & an outfit

Tomorrow I will be 38 weeks pregnant! It's hard to believe that I'm almost done and that our baby boy will soon be here to join our family. I've been having some painful cramps in my lower back and thigh area the last couple of days and can feel my stomach hardening. I'm pretty sure they're contractions but nothing consistent enough to keep track of. I learned in my lamaze course how to keep track of contractions but I feel that it would be MUCH easier if they were painful so as of right now I'm not really keeping track. Are there any of you out there who were/are in the same boat? If I go into my doctor appointment on Tuesday and haven't dilated or effaced more I will be pretty bummed out that these pains have been for what feels like no reason.

At my baby shower we played a little game where everyone put in their prediction on when Baby Harvard will be born, how much he will weigh, etc. As of this last Friday we're now in what I like to call 'the prediction zone'! My guess was that he would be born this Thursday since Thursdays are normally my husbands day off. However, this week he has Wednesday off so I'm hoping baby decides to come on his day off, Sunday, or later. . no pressure (;
Pictures taken at 37 weeks + 4 days

Outfit details: Sweater, Roxy// Hooded Poncho, Vans// Leggings, Forever 21// Boots, Forever 21

PS: Don't forget to enter the Cheerfully Charmed Giveaway (;