MILA'S F I R S T BIRTHDAY

Our little bloom bebe turned a year this past weekend...

{{A year!!}}

And since we wanted to celebrate this little life, but also {{since our budget was near zero for a party}}, I promised Kavs that I would only use decor we already had.

Which means...I had more FUN getting creative and using sweet vintage finds from the Studio, our house, and we were also blessed with a few wonderful gifts from some of our favourite businesses on Instagram (details below).

A few streamers, heirloom tea cups, handmade cupcakes, and a homemade bubble concoction {{with some of the BEST friends and family imaginable}} made this Woodland Tea Party a precious, whimsical day we will not soon forget. {{And a HUGE THANK YOU to my parents, for graciously opening up their home!}}

Celebrating a birthday doesn't have to be an extraordinary expense!

Keeping it all about LIFE and LOVED ones was our goal, and what a sweet day it was!

Happy First Birthday, to the apple of our eye...

Plates I have collected over the years...at flea markets, The Good Will, and from my sweet mama!

Glass teardrop bottles  from our "message in a bottle" theme from our wedding and my great grandmother's tea set.

Banners that my grandmother made for Mila's nursery {{here}}, a bird cage from our wedding, and a thrifted chalkboard for Millie's monthly photos board.

This high chair crib was from Mila's baby shower {{here}}.

Since I made these little ladies flower crowns, it was only fitting the little men had Peter Pan hats..{{tutorial below}}. :)

...And gigantic bubbles a mile long seem to make any party a hit!

It was sweet Lukey's birthday that day too!

And the babes weren't the only ones having fun! This beautiful mama is one of my life-long besties!

Mila's Birth Story & Awesome Natural Remedies For Labor & Delivery

"You are the poem I dreamed of writing. The masterpiece I longed to paint. You are the shining star I reached for, in my ever hopeful quest for life fulfilled. You are my child. Now with all things I am blessed." - Author Unknown

This girl came into the world in a way I find hard to describe.

We had heard every heart-wrenching difficult child birth story and since I had been so horribly bed-ridden sick for the first 5 months, we prepared for the worst. I won't get into details, but everything from praying through contractions to watching our sweet girl be born on a mirror - it took our breath away. Of course it was painful, but dare I say,...I enjoyed labor and delivery? 

Yes, contractions were painful, but as a woman who experiences extreme pain once a month anyways, it was a pain I was unfortunately already somewhat acquainted with. When contractions started the day before her birth, I woke at 3:30am and couldn't sleep so I started scrubbing my floors and answering last minute business emails. It was several days before her due date, but I knew this was it and I wouldn't have time or energy to clean for weeks! 

Kavs and I ran errands throughout the day to keep our mind off of things. We stopped every time a contraction came so I could catch my breath. When they became difficult towards the end, he would take a tennis ball and run it along the small of my back until it was over.

 

Here we are...timing contractions. I laughed at the idea of an app for this, but my goodness did I adore it!

When I was all connected and waiting for dilation, they turned out the lights and told us to try to rest. Of course I couldnt.  I journaled to Mila and prayed for our unborn baby girl.

Then...it was time to push...

12 minutes later...she arrived. Our hearts burst. 

There simply aren't words for this kind of heart-swelling unconditional love.

Daddy? He was instantly smitten...

Before Mila came...I researched all kinds of natural remedies to assist in labor and also to induce it.

I cant say that any of these are guaranteed remedies, but in our situation, they all seemed to work!

First, there was pineapple. I was told it was a labor inducer, so I ate an entire pineapple two days before. She came 3 days early...so this may have helped?

Two days before I started drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea in the morning and evening. Tastes lovely and is also meant to induce labor.

via

via

I popped Primrose oil pills. They are said to soften the cervix and since she came so quickly, again, I would imagine perhaps they helped!

via

Lavender Essential Oil was diffused in our room during labor and it gave the room a lovely spa scent. It also proved to helped to stretch skin during labor and delivery.

via

Finally, I had a wonderful friend lend me some clary sage! I was told it would help speed up dilation and effacement by my beautiful friend Heather. The incredible thing is, as soon as I rubbed it on, I dilated from 6 to 10 cm in 45 minutes!

via

I cannot guarantee these products will work for everyone, but I am thrilled to share them if they make your L & D more manageable! I would so love to hear if they work for you!

{Life}

What's In A Name? Naming our Mila

You will bear a child...and their name shall be...

Biblically and historically the past is littered with accounts of the importance of naming one's child. God would "ordain" specific names for children in the womb or even re-name adults when they had become a new person in Him, reborn by the Holy Spirit.

To us, this importance has not changed. 

Last Christmas Day we were overwhelmed with joy and grateful souls as our hearts soared with the news...we were given the ultimate gift,...we were expecting a baby.

Soon the name search commenced...and from the historical importance God placed on naming a child, this was something we did not take lightly.

Since Nick and I both have a heart for our heritage and family, we climbed the limbs of our family tree, reaching for a name that would prove the trifecta of precious, beautiful and significant to us. Nothing quite stuck as we swung from these proverbial branches, so we began to dive deep within our cultural roots to find that name that would fit our sweet baby girl. 

Nick and I share a Greek family heritage so we began reading online to find the right name that would represent our babe. After searching and searching...one name kept coming back to us...

Mila. 

As soon as I read it, I recalled the ending of our family's much loved film, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," a silly name for a film, but nonetheless this scene stuck with me. The family patriarch, Gus, is sharing the meaning of their family names and explains that "Miller" comes from the Greek work "Milo" ("mee-lo") which means "Apple."

At that moment I stopped in my tracks. How precious would it be to name our first born girl (the "Apple of Our Eye") the female derivative of the Greek word "Apple?"

Instantly I was smitten by the name.

I went online to search the more common significance of the name Mila and I was hooked:

"Gracious, dear."

"Friendly, soft, and pleasant."

and

"People's love."

Then came the middle name.

Our last name is quite long so we wanted to keep it short and as sweet as our babe.

Ultimately it came down to a few family names: Christine (after Nick's Grandma), Lou (after Nick's Grandpa), Marie (after several loved ones on my side of the family), and a few Greek and British names we had come to adore. Embarassed to admit, we actually left the hospital and still no middle name chosen. Yes...we were those parents who had 9 months to figure it out with no conclusion.

It proved too difficult to choose one family name and we decided on another name of Greek origin that has a precious meaning.

We chose Kate.

We loved that in this corrupted world...this world that is not our home, a name that means "purity" would be our sweet girl's namesake.

As I write this, I watch as our dear Mila Kate coos and sweetly stirs from her morning nap and my heart aches with love for her. 

So what's in a name?

To us?

A heritage. A momma and a daddy's deep, passionate, unconditional love. A blessing for our babe's future to live out it's meaning. A beautiful reminder of God's unconditional love.

Mila Kate Kavelaris - we pray over you daily. Our hearts over flow with love.

We adore you.

We will love you forever.

DSC_0107-4.jpg