Natalie Adams, of the blog The Senses Five, was kind enough to answer some of our questions on motherhood, her favorite newborn essentials, and raising her baby boy, Oskar, in Michigan. Be sure to check out Natalie’s Dear Oskar & Made series, too, for lovely letters to her son and interviews with creative types and business owners. Enjoy!
1. Oskar just turned 1 year old! How did you celebrate?
For Oskar’s birthday we spent the weekend at Wheatland, it is a folk festival in the middle of Michigan that has been going on for 41 years. We camped in a pinewood forest, stayed up past bedtime, took tent naps, made instruments, and got really dirty feet. It was a great time. Next weekend we’ll be having a birthday party with friends and family, so he can do the traditional cake thing.
2. What has surprised you the most this past year as you’ve raised him?
How easy it is. I know that sounds crazy. But I feel like when you are pregnant with your first you often hear about how hard it is. The sleepless nights, the crying, your marriage dies, your social life dies, etc. Don’t get me wrong, parenthood brings on challenges for sure, especially as he is entering the toddler phase. But it has truly been a joy and we haven’t felt like our marriage or social lives have been sacrificed. There were lots of times in the past year we would look at each other in disbelief that it was so easy. Maybe we’re just delusional with love for our baby boy. ;)
3. Is there anything you wish you knew before you became a mother that you know now?
There are a ton of things I know now that I didn’t know before I was a mother, but I don’t think I could have known them before Oskar. I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband, and about family. Part of the fun as been this learning and growing experience.
4. What are your favorite baby brands (clothes, toys, etc.) for boys?
For some reason, I thought having a son would be less fun in the clothes department and boy was I wrong. There are so many good brands out there now. I really love Bobo Choses, NUNUNU, KicKee Pants, & Tea. Plus, I frequently comb the thrift store, the girls dept at Target & the clearance rack at Gap.
Our toy collection is pretty minimal; I try to stick to simple toys that are nicely made and stimulate the imagination. HaPe, Green Toys, Plan Toys, & Brio are great brands for that.
5. What activities do you and Oskar enjoy doing together? What’s a typical day like?
Oskar loves being out and about. We love to go on walks around the neighborhood, search through thrift stores and estate sales, visit the farmer’s market or even just a good ole Target run. In addition to The Senses Five, I work from home full-time as a digital marketer – so our days can be a little crazy at times. We always have morning nursing and snuggle in bed after dad leaves for work and fill the day with lots of books and mess making while I cram in as much work as I can during independent play and naps. And then go on an adventure when we get stir crazy, which happens often these days.
6. What are some of your favorite parts of living & raising a family in Ann Arbor?
Ann Arbor is insanely family friendly and laid back. So no one bats an eye when you have your baby out late and strapped to you while drinking a nice stout at the local beer garden. We live on an acre just 3 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, but frequently visit my beloved Detroit and the west side of the state where my husband is from. I’m excited to raise Oskar in an environment where he is equally exposed to city and country.
7. Do you have any favorite parenting/motherhood blogs/websites that you look to for inspiration?
The Littlest – Elizabeth’s take on motherhood is so beautiful. A Cup of Jo – Joanna has great motherhood posts not only from her personal life but really makes efforts to show other parent’s perspectives. I’ve been enjoying the newly launched Mother Mag. And a bunch of Instagram mamas, which has been a great space for inspiration and support.
8. You have one of the most comprehensive baby registry guides we’ve seen! What were some of your pregnancy & newborn must-haves that you found yourself reaching for over and over again?
Honestly, my pregnancy was pretty easy and we were quickly renovating our house before the birth so I was often distracted. I did love using a nice body oil on my growing belly, I don’t know if it helped with stretch marks, but it did curb the itchiness and just felt good.
Oh, newborn must-haves, there are quite a few. I think don’t think we would have made it without our solly wrap, good pajamas, and friends and family… oh and nipple cream :)