Saturday, August 19, 2017

The DelloStritto Family - Lifestyle Session

Few things make me happier than my friends having babies. Even more special is when we’ve known each other since we were practically babies ourselves. Sharing this season of life with friends is so fun and so exciting. 


I’ve known Kate for over 15 years, and I’ve known Jack for almost as long. We've been through so many seasons together. The awkward middle school years, sleepovers, youth group mission trips - we even got married only a week apart from each other. Each one has its own set of special memories, but I think this one is my favorite. Sharing this experience is a new kind of special. 

We got to take a trip to Pittsburgh a couple of weekends ago, and of course I jumped at the opportunity to take photos of this brand new, beautiful family. The weekend was FULL of wonderful friends and fellowship, and it really did my heart good. We so needed that weekend away. Wedding season has been crazy, Ethan’s been busy at work, and we just needed that reminder that it’s okay to take a step back for a few days and relax, and enjoy our current stage of life with a rapidly growing infant (who thinks every milestone should be hit within 3 weeks of each other). 

Seeing Jack and Kate with their perfect little boy, Ezra, reminded me of just a few short months ago when Oaklyn was brand new. I don’t think I realized how big she’d gotten in such a short period of time. Babies have a way of seeming like they’re not changing at all, then you suddenly wake up one day and realize all the things they couldn’t do a week ago. They’re magical like that. 

Kate and I have a new bond; we’ve become each other’s shoulder to lean on as we stumble through every “Is this normal?” and “how do I even?” that comes along with learning to care for a tiny human. It’s a blast, even from 300 miles away. I love the new connection we have as parents, and I love that our babes will grow up knowing each other, having someone to look forward to seeing when we make our (not often enough) trips to Western PA. 

Keep the babes comin', friends. 

Trust me, it’s so fun. 

(PS: Kate is a blogger, too! you can follow her here!)

Friday, August 11, 2017

10 Baby Must-Haves For the First Time Mom

When I was pregnant, I scoured the internet for tips and tricks and do's and don'ts, and I tried to absorb way more information than I could actually store in my brain about how to prepare for baby. Once our baby girl was born, half that stuff went out the window, and I figured out on my own reeeeeal quick what would and wouldn't work for me (sorry for all the returns, Target). So, I went ahead and compiled a quick list of things I've found that I couldn't go without, and I hope it helps you when deciding what you (really) need for your own babes! 

This is an absolute lifesaver/ back saver. I am totally that person who always has way too much stuff in my diaper bag, so having a backpack is perfect. It balances me out so i’m not juggling a baby in one hand and a bag in the other, and it has stroller clips on it so I can always easily access it right in front of me while we’re out and about. Below is a photo of the one we have, and it’s a super flexible and sturdy material, and the side pockets are insulated! It’s been great for summer to just throw on my back when I’m also juggling pool stuff, the babe, the dog, and whatever else I almost forgot to grab on my way out the door. 

I had no idea how many stroller options there were out there. I mean really, how is the market that saturated with strollers in such an insanely large range of prices. It’s truly ridiculous. At the time we were ordering ours, I really went with a travel system based off of friends recommendations and the fact that it was easier to just order it all in one place. But now I’m finding that I am SO happy we went with it because it’s truly all-in-one. We won’t have to buy another stroller until we eventually have to upgrade to a double in the future, and it’s so great to have a three-wheeled one for easy steering, especially when I have the dog in tow. It even has a sun shade that covers her whole carseat, so I don’t have to worry about her skin getting too much sun if I’m out for a walk or we’re out and about all day. 

A very kind soul gifted this wonderful invention to us, and it’s seriously amazing. The fabric is incredibly lightweight so I don’t ever worry about the baby overheating on hot days. It’s also easy to tie and not as bulky as other carriers, so I can tie it before we leave and even wear it in the car, saving time once we’re out! It was especially wonderful when Oaklyn was a newborn, it was so nice because she was still a little small for the regular carriers like the Infantino and Baby Bjorn ones. She slept SO well in it, and I could bundle her all in just like she was back in the womb. She digs it. 


Did you know that babies can get sun burn from the reflection off of the sand at the beach? Yeah, me either. But they can. So when we were prepping for vacation, the first purchase I made was a UV-protective tent. Poor babe has my fair skin, so I’m not taking any chances this summer while she’s still too little for sunscreen. I’ve found that it’s so great for every day outside use as well, and she’ll just hang out in it by the pool or while I'm outside gardening. It’s been a major help for keeping the bugs away, too! This one has an awesome bug net, so it’s perfect for any time of day! There’s also a toddler/multi-kid sized one here. 


I LOOOOVE this lotion. It is so moisturizing on baby’s skin, but doesn’t leave it feeling sticky (which is a major plus when you’re trying to get a wiggly 4 month old in her jammies after bath time). I also love that it’s got oatmeal in it, which is really great for soothing dry, itchy skin or even sunburn. I worry about how sensitive my baby’s skin is right now, so having a lotion with such amazing ingredients in it is a must. I use Aveeno products myself, so it’s great to use a name I can trust for my whole family! 

I got this one FOR FREE just by doing a baby registry through Amazon! I take it everywhere. It’s thicker than a lot of muslin swaddles, so now that we are out of the actual swaddling phase, I find that it’s a perfect blanket to have on hand for if it gets chilly in the evening, if I want to lay her down somewhere, if I need a more breathable nursing cover for hot days, or if I just need a backup spit cloth. It’s super lightweight and easy to fit in my diaper bag, and I never leave home without it! 

Since the day we brought Oaklyn home from the hospital, she has slept in her Dock a Tot. We liked the idea of co-sleeping, but felt nervous after reading so many warnings against it. The Dock was a perfect solution so that we could have Oaklyn in our bed with us, but did’t have to worry about rolling over on to her, or the dog laying on her while we were sleeping. It also made transitions to new sleeping environments much easier. We have taken it to Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, and it’s where she’ll sleep when we go on vacation in a couple of weeks. It’s easy to travel with, and the pillow inserts zip out so you can toss the whole cover in the wash! It’s been a total lifesaver, and it’s so great to know that no matter where we are, she’ll sleep well if we have it! I also love that they have 2 sizes, so if you decide you just can’t live without it as you baby grows, it’s easy to upgrade for the toddler years. 


We’ve just started entering into the pre-teething phase, so Sophie has been around A LOT lately. She is Oaklyn’s constant carseat companion, and really keeps her occupied on longer trips. But even before teething, I liked that she was rubbery, so as Oaklyn is learning to hold and grasp things, she can hold on really easily. She is made of a non toxic rubber and painted with food grade paint, so I don’t have to worry about her chewing away all day, and the rubber is so easy to clean off at the end of the day! You can find Sophie here or here. 

This app is AMAZING. Ethan and I are constantly googling when Oaklyn will do this and that, and this has completely changed the game. With breakdowns by the week of when to expect changes in behavior, new skills, and how to know if we’re on track, I don’t find myself ever worrying that she isn’t developing normally or isn't learning things at the place I think she should be. You can also add multiple children in the app, which I think is a really nice touch. 
They have a book, too! You can find it here. 


I was never weird about germs until I had a baby. Now I find myself constantly washing or sanitizing my hands. This spray is AMAZING. I have the lavender one, and it’s one of the only scented hand sanitizers I’ve found to not leave my hands feeling coated in sticky film and not actually clean. It’s so light and fresh smelling, and it’s always in my diaper bag for constant use. I really love that it's a spray, so I feel like I don't need to use as much product at once and it lasts much longer! I snagged mine at Target for only a few bucks! 

If you're a new or expecting mama, are any of these on your list? 
If you're an experienced mama, what's a must-have item you can share with the rest of us? 

Drop a comment below! 

Until next time, friends! 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Oaklyn Mae: 4 Month Update


It’s been 4 months (woah) since we welcomed our perfect Oaklyn Mae into the world. The past few months have gone by insanely fast, and I’m loving soaking up every milestone and every moment with her. Watching Ethan become a father has been a magical time in itself, but now that Oaklyn is learning to do things and interacts with us, it’s even more fun to watch him with her. Ladies, if you think you love your husband now, just WAIT until he fathers your children. It’s really amazing how instinctual becoming a parent is, and going through this process together has proven to be both challenging and incredible all at once. 


Oaklyn is doing SO many new things this month! 

She loves her playmat, and grabs at the toys on the mobile, and since she’s found her feet, she loves to kick at them too! She has rolled over a few times (although it’s not consistent, so i don’t think she really knows how to roll yet.) She also started laughing, which is basically our favorite thing ever. She’s become incredibly vocal and constantly makes noises and talks to us (and herself). We started going to the park a few times a week, and she loves to lay on a blanket and look at the trees and people. 

She is insanely squirmy and strong! She loves to stand up and move her legs around. We’re currently working on getting her to sit up, since she loves to look around at everything. She LOVES when daddy comes home from work, and she giggles at him all the time. Nala is finally warming up to her, and spends a lot of time sniffing at her.  

We take photos of her all the time (duh), and are more and more smitten with her every single day. 

This month, She took her first trips to Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, and at the end of this month, she’s have her first trip to the beach! We can’t wait to see how she likes it, since being outside is one of her favorite things to do.

Oaklyn Mae Ballantyne, you are so loved by so many people. We love adventuring with you, and can’t imagine our lives without you. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My Favorite Zoodles Recipe

Zoodles, y’all. 

I’m new to the Zoodles craze. I have a thing about squash. I don’t know if its the soapy taste or spongy, weird texture, but that’s generally a big N O from me. 

So I had this stinkin’ Veggie strip maker from Pampered Chef that’s been collecting dust for a year. Or more. So one night, after seeing about a dozen friends go bananas over these stringy little things, I did it. I made Spaghetti with little strips of zucchini (or Zoodles, if you will). And LET ME TELL YOU, my friends. Worth. the. hype. My slightly veggie-phobic husband approves. So that’s a major win. 

So after my initial shock of falling in love with a vegetable wore off, I decided it was time to branch out, and mix it up with my all time favorite thing. Avocado Pesto. 

That’s right. It’s amazing. And you’ll agree once you try it. 

Major pluses include: it’s gluten free, low carb, and vegan. And picky husband approved. Yum. 

So, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Here it is. 

And for those of you newbies (like myself) who thought it was hard to cook Zoodles, here is the basic recipe I used to heat them.  

Also, you don't have to have a veggie strip maker, but if you want one, here's the link for the one I have, and here's the link for the spiralizer from Target!


2 Avocados (ripe)
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
1 cup tomatoes (i prefer cherry tomatoes sliced in half)
2-3 cloves of Garlic 
Juice off 1/2 Lemon 
1/3 Cup Olive Oil 
Salt and Pepper to taste 

2 large or 3 medium Zucchini 

[Serves 4]


1. Combine avocado, basil, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Add Salt and Pepper. Add oil in a slow stream until emulsified. 

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; stir in zucchini and cook for 1 minute. 

3. Combine sauce with noodles. Sprinkle with sliced tomato. Serve hot. 

It’s so easy. It takes less time to make than it took me to type all of that.