My Happy Place

First, thank you all for your sweet, kind, and supportive comments on my breastfeeding story.  I was a little nervous to share, so to get positive feedback was so very heartwarming.  It really makes me want to take a step back and spend time writing more posts like that, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

All of that being said, I'm going to take a mini blogging break.  

We're currently in Chicago and we'll be heading out to Lake Michigan this Sunday.  

Lake Michigan is my happy place.  

I grew up going here in the summer and it is the one place that I go back to and instantly feel like a kid again.  My grandmother's view from her house is above...that's the lake in the background.  There's a small bayou that lights up with fireflies at night and the sand dunes beyond that.  As kids, we would hike down to the beach, play hide and go seek in the dunes, float the river, horse back ride and play flash light tag in the old Indian cemetery.  I loved feeding the ducks with my grandma, getting soft serve in town, and watching the rolling thunder and lightning storms during the summer nights.

{that's me raising my arm in the background, with my brothers and cousins}

I'm so excited to introduce this place to Ethan.  Though he's too young to appreciate it now, I know we'll go back in the summers and he'll get to experience the same magic that we did growing up.

So with that, I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.  I'll check back in after the long holiday!

And if you want to see how our trip is going, follow me on Instagram!  @schuelove

xo natasha

My Breastfeeding Story

This post is long overdue as it's been about four months since I stopped breasfeeding.  And in my mind, it seems like eons ago.  I hold Ethan now and the whole idea seems so foreign to me.  It's crazy to think that not long ago, we still enjoyed that bond together.

But I wanted to make sure to document our experience and hopefully reference it for the next time.  Breastfeeding was definitely one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences to date.  I truly feel like nothing can prepare you for it since it's different for everyone, but this was my experience.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed...but I had no expectations about how long I would and what it would entail.  I just knew it was the best thing for him, so if it worked, why not?

I was actually lucky in the beginning...Ethan latched on pretty easily and I never had any bleeding or cracking.  The actual breastfeeding was easy...the rest of it was the hard part!  The dedication it takes to nurse full time is what I wasn't expecting.  Post-partum is a crazy time and I was trying to define my new role as a mother while also holding on to the person I was before.  With breastfeeding, I felt I had lost a lot of my independence and it was proving to be a hard adjustment.  I couldn't go anywhere for very long without worrying about Ethan getting hungry and needing to nurse.  Everything became harder...dressing to nurse, traveling, going out to dinner, have a glass of wine, you get the picture!  I was also always worried about building a supply.  Bottom line, I was mentally stressed to the max.

And just when I thought I got the hang of a routine and managing my stress...I went back to work.

I went back to work when Ethan was about 3 months old and at Ethan's 4 month appointment, we discovered he had only put on a few ounces in the past month.  I was devastated to learn that he wasn't gaining enough weight and felt directly responsible.  Since I was nursing full time before going back to work, I had no idea how much he was taking in during each feeding.  So I guessed on how much to make each bottle...and I obviously guessed wrong.  I was pretty determined to keep him on 100% breast milk so I upped his bottles to 7-8 ounces when I was at work and then nursed him full time when we were together.  I starting pumping 3 times a day too.  At his 5 month appointment, he had put on a pound and 6 ounces, which was a huge victory!  I was so relieved to know that it was a volume issue and not something that was deficient in my milk.

And while I was glad that I was able to get him to 5 months exclusively on breast milk alone, my freezer stash was quickly dwindling and I was beyond stressed out between work and keeping my supply up.  So we decided to start supplementing with formula around this time.  

I know supplementing isn't for everyone, but it gave me a huge sense of relief to know that he was still getting the benefits of breast milk and the volume with the formula.  It was a win-win for me and for baby.  I continued pumping twice a day at work and started to transition more and more to exclusive formula around 8 and 9 months.  I nursed Ethan in the morning and at night during that time...which was also about the time his teeth came in and he started biting while nursing ..and then laughing!  It was definitely a game, and I was the sore loser!  ;)  At 10 months, I decided we were done...and I think Ethan had decided that about a month prior.  So weaning was no problem.  And it was actually a relief for me to know that he was going to do just fine on 100% formula. 
And I'm not going to felt really good to have my body back.

Some things I've learned through this experience: everyone is different and everyone has an opinion on the subject of breastfeeding.  I was way too concerned about what everyone else thought was best for my baby and not listening to my own instinct.  I have also learned that I have a terrible let-down, so I would usually have to pump for at least 20 minutes each time to get any amount of milk...which of course, was stressful.  I've also seen how stress directly impacts me physically.  When I'm stressed, I don't produce enough milk.  And when I don't produce enough milk, I'm stressed!  I've never seen a more direct sign of stress then pumping for 20-30 minutes and not getting even a half ounce of milk. 

When I was able to let go of the stress, there was definitely a sweet side of really is miraculous.  Knowing that I was able to give him 100% of his nutrition in the first 5 months was really amazing.  I loved the closeness between us and can still remember when he was just one day old and so so tiny, how natural the whole thing was.  As difficult as the process was for me mentally, I wouldn't change a thing.  In fact, there are times that I miss it...especially at night before he goes to bed.  Luckily, the snuggles are still there.  :)

Some good advice to pass along:

Use lanolin.  It was my quite literally my breast friend during the breastfeeding process.

We used Earth's Best Organic Formula and while it was more expensive, we loved that it was organic and the main ingredient wasn't fructose.  Seriously...check out those labels...fructose is the first main ingredient in most formulas.

Last...relax.  If you can breastfeed, great.  If you can't, don't stress about it.  Or, if you can't produce enough it's not the end of the world.  Plenty of baby's are formula fed {I was one of them!} and they are just fine!  I will definitely follow this advice next time...and learn to relax.

{all photos via artyard photo}

Thanks for letting me open up today...and congrats if you made it all the way through this ridiculously long post!  Sharing something so intimate is definitely not easy, but I really appreciate all the mamas who have shared their stories and encouragement, so I hope this helps!

xo natasha

Thoughts for Tuesday-Summer Edition

Here are some random thoughts as of late...mainly related to the summer season!

With the lack of good summer tv, the hubby and I finally took the plunge and started watching Breaking Bad.  I mean...I'm still getting into it, but I can definitely see why it's addicting!  I can't believe we have five whole seasons to watch before we're caught up!

Have you noticed Target's activewear section lately?  I almost died when I saw their version of the No Limits Tank for a THIRD of the price.  Sure, it's not quite as nice of material as the lululemon version, but I love the fact that I can buy three of them for the price of one!  They have a lot of similar options right cool would a lululemon and Target collaboration be?!

For those of you who are vegan and/or gluten should defnitely check out Coconut Bliss Salted Caramel & Chocolate ice cream.  It's soooo good!  Though, my favorite is still Talenti's Sea Salt Caramel.  #drool

What's summer without a couple easy-read trashy romance novels?  We're vacationing soon and I plan to flip through a few of these.  #sorrynotsorry  I think my English professor must be dying right about now.  ;)


We're taking our first "real" week long vacation since our honeymoon and I am SO excited!  We're starting off our vacation by visiting Chicago to see these two pups!  Cameron was Ryan's best man and fraternity brother and his wife is one of my favorite people ever!  Then we'll take the train over to Michigan to visit my grandma and family.  She lives right on Lake's one of the prettiest spots ever!  I cannot WAIT!  {But I can wait for the airplane ride with a young toddler...really dreading that!}

xo natasha

H&M Kid Picks

For the Boys: Beanie | Striped Shirt | Sweater | Pants | Jeans | Boots
For the Girls: Sweater | Vest | Heart Pants | Leggings | Flats

Move over Baby Gap and Zara...there's a new online store in town {well...don't go too far, I still love you!} but I am SO excited that H&M is officially available online.  They have so many cute things for the kiddos...and at great prices too!  I picked out some of my favorite for the fall above.  I'm just dying over all the stripes for the boys and the darling hearts and florals for the girls.  This is definitely dangerous!

And if you're still in the summer frame of mind {I know I am!}, then be sure to head on over to The Style Letters and check out my "Summer Must Haves"!

Have a great weekend!

xo natasha

Happy Four Years!

Today is our four year anniversary...and my how we've come along.

I am the luckiest woman in the world to be married to you.  I cherish every single day that we spend together and love that I get to start and end my day with you.  I am so grateful that you still see me as your wife and best friend before anything else.  You've shown me what a wonderful partner, husband, father and forever friend you are and I know we will always enjoy being by each other's side through the years and of course, growing old together.

Marrying you was the best decision I ever made and four years later, I still stand by that decision.

Love you Babe!

xo natasha


My Bestie's Bachelorette Weekend

This past weekend was my best friend's Bachelorette Party and it honesty could not have gone any better.  It was a perfect weekend filled with surprise after surprise and I believe the Bride-to-Be had a blast!  Success!

It seems almost impossible to recap the weekend...but I'll try!

Saturday morning, we took a limo bus up to Beverly co-MOH did an amazing job decorating the limo with a cute "Bride to Be" banner, princess balloons, gift bags for all of the girls, and lots of champagne!  We got to the Peninsula Hotel around noon and sunned by the pool.

That night, we went to SUR...the very restaurant owned by Lisa Vanderpump of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills...and guess what?!  She was there!!  And so was Ken!  It was amazing!  I was so blown away by the the ambiance and food at SUR.  It really is as beautiful in person as it appears on television...there were fresh flowers everywhere and great lighting and music.  

After dinner, we went out to the Abbey...a fabulous gay bar and that is a few short blocks away from SUR.   It was so nice being out with the girls and not having to worry about any guys trying to hit on the group.  And with 20+ girls to entertain, I was thrilled that all the girls stayed out and had a blast.

All in all, the weekend was a success and I am SO excited for the wedding!!

Love you Reyn!!

xo natasha

Ethan's First Year: My Favorites

As many of you know, I was super fortunate to have Ethan's first year professionally photographed by our dear friend Darcy of Artyard Photography.  Not only has Darcy been great with taking the photos...she's also staying on top of me to have them printed.  I'm so grateful for that push, because having framed photos is really the best...and in this digital age, it seems harder and harder to make it happen.

We're planning a gallery wall of our favorite shots from each photo shoot.  

I love the idea of featuring a photo of his first year every three months.  It's amazing to see how he's grown!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

xo natasha

Beverly Hills Bachelorette Attire

This weekend is my besty's bachelorette weekend...and I am SO excited!!  We're spending the day and night in Beverly Hills at the Peninsula Hotel...oo la la!  Here is an idea of what I plan to wear...

I recently fell in love with this awesome Lisa Curran coverup...and subsequently adore her bathing suits as well.  Since we're hanging poolside on Saturday, I think this combo would work perfectly.

Saturday night, we're headed to SUR!  If you're not familiar with SUR, it's Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant and was also the featured restaurant on Vanderpump Rules.  I should be fun!  I plan to wear a dressed up maxi like the one above for a little va va voom!

Last, we'll wrap up the weekend with a casual Sunday brunch hosted back at the hotel.  I love this Asos maxi, especially with the back detail.

And here's the cute invitation designed by Hen & Co...totally love!

xo natasha

I Heart Sweet Potatoes!

And by heart, I meant I am obsessed!  

I have no idea where the obsession came from.  I used to think of sweet potatoes as those weird things we ate a Thanksgiving time {sweet potatoes are really yams...those orange things}.  And then there were sweet potato fries, which are always delicious.  But that was about the extent of my sweet potato vocabulary.

And then I had a baby and sweet potato was easy to prepare.  And REALLY good!

Now I have to have it with and in everything.

You remember the fully loaded sweet potato...

And this Asian Chicken Salad with sweet potato chunks...

And these roasted sweet potatoes.....

Are you drooling yet? 

I've also found some great sweet potato snacks...

sweet potato

For me and baby!

So tell me, do you love sweet potatoes as much as I do?!

xo natasha

Weekend Staycation

This past weekend, I got to be a tourist in my own town.  Many people come to Tahoe to vacation, and it's definitely no wonder!  Between a cruise on the boat, a trip around the lake and an afternoon at the beach...we had a blast!

Friday night, we took baby out on his first boating excursion.  He did so well {despite the life jacket}...a true natural!

Saturday, we toured around the lake.  Of course no trip is complete without a snapshot of Emerald Bay.  This one was taken from the car!!

Ethan also got his first taste of soft serve at Char Pit.  You can tell he hates it...#yeahright.

We got him a pair of Tom's and I'm officially obsessed.  They are SO cute!

Our view from Incline Village.

On Sunday, we went to the beach and Ethan insisted in sitting in his own chair.  What a prince.

Of course, once the cuzzies got there, he was more than willing to play until the sun set.

And that's our weekend in a nutshell!

Have you ever taken a staycation in your own town?

xo natasha

Ethan's One Year Photos

It's so bittersweet to go through these photos and realize that Ethan is a whole year old.  We've been incredibly blessed to have our good friend photograph his first year and I have to say, I am going to miss these photo sessions every three months.  Darcy, of Artyard Photography, has come to know our family and become intimately familiar with Ethan.  He lights up when he sees her and it's definitely a testament to the bond she's formed with our family.  These photos are my favorite of the whole year.  She absolutely captured all the little moments that we so enjoy about Ethan at this stage.  

So without further adieu, I hope you enjoy Ethan's one year old photos.

My Dress | Ryan's Shirt | Ethan's Striped Hoodie

You can see our other sessions below:

3 Month
6 Month
9 Month

I hope you enjoyed them as much as we do!

xo natasha