Baby Elle 5 Months

Here we are on the tippy tail end of Aril and Elle is closer to 6 months than she is to 5, but I haven’t posted an update yet.

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At 5 months she weighed 17 pounds. She is in the top 25th percentile for weight. Maybe that’s why she isn’t very mobile yet.

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The day she turned 5 months (April 10th) it snowed, which is crazy, but as soon as the weather cleared up a little I took her outside. I wanted to get a picture of her in some winter clothes that she wouldn’t be able to fit in next year.

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Unfortunately Elle was captivated by all the sights, textures, and sounds of the outdoors and she didn’t give me and my camera the slightest glance. I eventually gave up. The perk of being a photographer is that when she woke up from her nap with a big smile on her face I grabbed the camera again and started shooting.

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She rolls over now. Mostly back to tummy and she can push herself up a lot more than what you see her doing in this photo.

She still has blue eyes although I can already see some pigment coming in. The jury is still out on whether they will be brown or green though.

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Elle continues to do well in occupational therapy and speech therapy. She is also still exclusively breast fed and obviously not missing any meals (I hear that comment a lot). So everything is going great with baby Elle. She could not be loved anymore than we all love her, that’s for sure. She is precious and I am beyond blessed to be her mom.

 

By | April 29th, 2016|My Life|1 Comment

Awaiting the ABR… Again

Elle is now 5 weeks old. She had her one month check up this week and is now 10 pounds 22 inches. The Doctor has been extremely impressed by her growth. Here is a side by side from her first check up and her last which were taken exactly 4 weeks apart. Elle looks completely different.

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She is really filling out. No more newborn diapers or clothes for her. She has outgrown them!

There aren’t a lot of updates. She smiles now, but it’s not often.

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She still sleeps about 18 hours a day.

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I did a little impromptu photo shoot of her on her 1 month birthday.

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I love that she was born close to the holidays. I think about how our birth story was so unconventional and I wonder how Mary must have felt and what her birth story would be like (of course we know the story, but not from the perspective of Mary).

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We have an important appointment coming up and I would love it if you would be in prayer for us during this time. I previously mentioned that Elle failed the newborn hearing screening. The first time they came in with the equipment to test her the tech lady had a unique personality and was rowdy. I think she was trying to be nice. For most people this is just a routine test. No reason to get too serious, but all kinds of faculty were coming in and out and joking around and making a racket so Elle woke up and was fussy for the second half of the test (the left side). So she failed on the left, but the boisterous tech assured us it was because she woke up and that’s all it was.

The next day a younger new tech came in while it was still dark and quiet in our hospital room. I asked if she could shut the door and maybe hang a do not disturb note or something. She looked at my like I was crazy, but at least it was a much more subdued and calmer atmosphere. She even let me nurse Elle during the test. Again Elle passed on the right, but she couldn’t even get a reading on the left. It was like it wasn’t hooked up right so the tech tried to adjust it. She never was able to figure out what was wrong so she said that she failed and she would refer us to an audiologist. I was hormonal, and tired, and obviously stressed so I sternly proclaimed “We have an audiologist. This is a big concern for us and I’d like to know what is going on” Then J and I asked more questions about the test. None of which she could answer. She looked really intimidated. She had never even heard of Connexin 26 which is the genetic hearing loss that we have in our family. It is the NUMBER ONE CAUSE of sensorineural deafness so you would think someone that tests for hearing loss would have some familiarity with it. I then asked to speak with a supervisor and  did, but she mostly just had some paperwork for me.

I immediately called SJ’s school and talked to our audiologist. She made me feel much better about the whole thing and gave me advice on how to proceed.


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I know a lot about hearing loss and I think Elle can hear. I feel very confident in that. I guess you could say we know she can because the test confirmed it on the right side. With Connexin 26 it is highly unlikely that it would be unilateral (only on one side) so chances are she is fine.

However, this whole thing brings up a lot of tender memories for me. We have to go through all the same testing that we did with SJ and we have to keep her asleep for 90 minutes which should be easy considering what I said about her sleep, but it’s still completely unpredictable and out of our control so that stresses me out.

I cried when I called and scheduled the appointment. I have openly expressed to people how I know that she is fine and it’s just a machine error which happens all the time. And hearing children do fail this test A LOT.

However, lately there have been other thoughts popping into my head that make me wonder why it was the left ear BOTH times. Maybe just a coincidence? I mean if something is going to go wrong with the test you have a 50/50 chance that it will be on the left side. Still part of me wonders if she has another problem on that side that doesn’t even have to do with Connexin 26. Or what if her hearing gets progressively worse, which can happen. What if she is one of those rare cases?

Luckily, most of these frantic thoughts didn’t really come into my mind until this week so at least I haven’t spent the past 4 weeks panicking.

Please pray that we get some answers with this test. I do have a peace about it, and all in all I think everything is going to be okay, but I hate the idea that if she doesn’t sleep we have to drag this out for another month or so. That would be terrible. I just want this to be over with.

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The reason I titled this “Awaiting the ABR… Again” is because I wrote another post about 3 1/2 years ago when I was waiting for this same test for SJ. You can read “Awaiting the ABR” to find out what the test is and what the waiting period was like for me in that time when I didn’t know for sure whether or not SJ was deaf. It feels like a world away.

Thanks for all the prayers and support. Of course I will keep you posted.

By | December 16th, 2015|Babies, Hearing Loss, My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|4 Comments

The Smallest Person. The Most Laundry.

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In the past three weeks my mom, my husband, and I have all collaboratively worked toward keeping the piles of dirty laundry from taking over house. It’s like some kind of horror movie. I could just picture the clothes eventually coming to life and forming a mutiny. Instead of The Walking Dead it’s The Walking Threads.

I am grateful for the help I have had with these excess loads of laundry, but since when did washing clothes become such a massive effort?  It feels like it is endless! All because of a sweet little baby? How could one tiny new family member triple our laundry?

Her socks could fit on my thumbs. An entire new born baby outfit is smaller than one of my three year old’s pant legs. It’s not like she is a fashionista. She’s three weeks old! WHERE IS ALL THIS LAUNDRY COMING FROM?

When I really stop and think about it, it does make sense though.

Sure she’s cute and small, but don’t let that fool you. She’s a mess.

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Every time I change her diaper she pees. I try to be really fast and wipe her while the dirty diaper is underneath and then get a clean one on her bottom immediately, but somehow in that brief moment with no diaper she always pees and it’s often accompanied by poop. I have learned to put a changing pad under her, but then that means her outfit and the changing pad are now soiled and need to go into the hamper.

For her first Doctor’s appointment she peed on their exam table and then I picked her up so that they could change the paper out and she pooped ALL OVER ME. She wasn’t even 8 pounds at the time so it’s pretty amazing that she could even hold that much bright mustardy yellow poo and yet there it was, all over my shirt.

Ohhh and the spit up! Projectile spit up. Spit up everywhere.

Maybe you are familiar with the Moby Wrap? It’s cool. My sister in law is letting me borrow hers. How it works is that you wrap yourself and the baby with 5 yards of fabric. Then you get enough spit up or a blow out diaper on that thing and that’s a half a load of laundry right there.


Plus all the burp cloths, sheets and blankets that get pee, poop, or spit up on them.

I can’t really blame her for my leaky breasts, but I kind of can, so I will. I usually wear pajamas several times before washing them because I generally don’t have a reason to. Well, that used to be the case. Now I am lucky if I don’t have to change shirts in the middle of the night. YIKES!

Blankets + sheets + wraps + shirts + pants + changing pads + baby = a BUNCH of laundry.

It’s all good though. Before you know it I’ll be hauling her prom dress off to the dry cleaner. I look forward to those days too, but for now I’m cherishing all the burp cloths…

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and teeny tiny jeggings. 

By | December 7th, 2015|Babies, Laughter|3 Comments

Her First 3 Weeks (with photos)

I recently shared how difficult the first three weeks postpartum have been for me, but the good news is Elle would never know it. Her life has been comfy and sheltered.

12195876_10153760323994700_2412055774264314316_nI feel like being born two weeks early really did make a difference for her. My sister in law said she has friends who had preemies and noticed that on their original 40 week due date it was like they suddenly had an alert fully developed baby. Elle wasn’t a born premature (she was 8 pounds!) but she did practically sleep through her first two weeks of life and I wonder if that’s why.

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I know my mom was slightly concerned, but the Doctors said as long as she’s eating, pooping, and gaining weight then she’s good. She definitely was doing all of those things so I’ll take it as a blessing that she was so easy going.

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Sure enough on her due date she started acting like she was “out of the womb”

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From then on she was so much more alert. Her eyes were really wide open and she would express herself a little more. She had several “firsts” at two weeks.

She went to church for the first time.

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She visited SJ’s school. On a side note, I could be a millionaire and it wouldn’t matter. There is nothing in the world that I could buy or do for SJ that would amount to the kind happiness that she gets from her little sister and the joy of having a baby to help take care of.

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She and all of her classmates have been anticipating the arrival of baby Elle for a LONG time and I told her she would be able to have her visit her school before Thanksgiving break, but then I got sick. I was so worried about canceling the plans I made with the teacher and with SJ because I knew it would devastate her.

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So I took a Motrin and rode over to the school, but my mom was the one that actually went in and introduced the baby (I wasn’t contagious or anything, but I was just feeling too fatigued and achey thanks to my bladder infection). I was sad that I missed it, but I got to see pictures and it sounds like the introduction went really well.

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The other two week milestone was that Elle had her first bath. She liked the water, but she didn’t like being cold afterwards!

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She also had her first Thanksgiving, although that was pretty uneventful since she didn’t eat anything and slept the whole time.

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She is three weeks old now. I don’t have the latest photos uploaded yet. She is getting control of that neck though and  trying to lift her head up. She seems to like to sit upright more (with support of course) rather than being completely in the cradle position.

I have been blessed that all 4 of my children breastfed really easily. Elle has had no problems latching on and she loves to eat.

The biggest obstacle we’ve faced with her so far is thrush, but my friend gave me some Colloidal Silver and I just put a drop on my finger and rubbed it around in her mouth once a day and it cleared right up. Her diaper rash is gone too, but it was really inflamed so we used nystatin cream for that.

I’ll admit I am hormonal and emotional these days. It’s been bitter sweet to watch how quickly they change from being a tiny precious infant. I used to not care for the newborn stage so much. I wanted to skip to the part where they were walking and interacting. Now I LOVE this stage of innocence and simplicity. I absolutely adore it.

And her dad and siblings are just obsessed as I am.

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Next up, baby’s first Christmas!

By | December 3rd, 2015|Babies|5 Comments

3 Year Gap

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Tomorrow I am 35 weeks along in this pregnancy! Let’s just say that if history repeats itself (as it has consistently done with all of my other pregnancies) then a month from now I will NOT be pregnant. I might still be in the hospital, but more than likely I’ll have my baby! So, I am getting so very excited, but also nervous.

Even though, yes, I have done this 3 times before it was over three years ago. For some reasons I have forgotten so much since then. All three of my children are 2.5 years apart, like clock work. This will be the first time the youngest is over three years old. It’s not that big of a difference, but somehow it is. I haven’t breastfed in over a year. I haven’t changed a diaper in 8 months. We rarely use a stroller and it’s been a long time since our home has seen a pacifier, crib, or highchair.  We have one child proof doorknob, other than we just don’t do baby proof these days.

It wasn’t like that with my other pregnancies. When each child turned two I already knew I was pregnant so we never fully vacated the baby zone.

Obviously a three year gap is NOTHING compared to the many friends and family I know that had surprise pregnancies after 8, 9, or even 10 + years! I could tell you some stories (and you probably have some for me). So I’m not implying it’s a big gap I’m just admitting that I feel slightly more rusty this go round. It’s like I have to loosen those muscles again and make more of a conscious effort to remember what post partum stuff I need or did my belly really stretch this much before!?

I told the midwife that I had a growth spurt. I was convinced this baby was bigger and would come sooner than my other three. As far as we can tell from her exam that is not the case, but I just don’t remember stretching this much!

On the other end of the spectrum I feel like enough of a veteran that I don’t worry too much about what to expect. In fact I feel old when I am on Facebook reading about all these new moms touting what the latest and greatest must-have baby products are.

First I feel old just for being so out of the trend loop and then I feel really, really old because my reaction is usually

Eh, you don’t need any of that overpriced mumbo jumbo. You got some diapers, boobs, and a carseat? Then yer all set. 

Yeah, the voice in my head is a hillbilly apparently.

Anyway, I will definitely keep everyone posted. This is the last week that I have no prenatal appointments. After this I’m full term and I’ll be seeing the midwife once a week. At that point it will be all hands on deck as far as nesting, planning, and preparing. You can expect some tunnel vision. I apologize in advance for the lack of diverse content on the blog. It’s baby or bust!

By | October 19th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|8 Comments

Trying Out My New Maternity Clothes!

While this is not a sponsored post I did receive a complimentary subscription and promotional item in exchange for my review. 

 

I said I would be bombarding you with pregnancy pics and showing off all of  my Bella Gravida maternity clothes so here is the first installment!

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Last week these packages showed up at my doorstep.

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What a treat!

The first outfit (shown on the top left) was a basic black dress by Imanimo. I wanted to like this dress. It was soft sweatshirt material, but modern and chic.

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It had so many fun details like the zipper in the back

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Or the asymmetrical grey piping and kangaroo pocket in the front.

 

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It’s a cute dress and I did have an appointment this week that it was totally appropriate for, but in the end I would say the dress did not do me any favors. The cut on my body was like wearing a potato sack (you probably can’t tell from these poses, but just take my word for it). Oh well, it was still worth a try! That’s one of the perks of Bella Gravida maternity rental wear. You can try stuff without any obligation to keep it, but if you do love it they do have purchasing options available.

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Next up I got to try this Everly Grey Eunice Dress. It was much shorter than I expected, but I paired it with leggings so it was more like a shirt.

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The first day I wore it I got to go on a little coffee date with J followed by attending Z’s graduation from his robotics class. It happened to be really cold that day. The red lips, boots, and trench coat made it such a classic autumn look. I loved it and wore it again to church the next day.

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Lastly, I had a similar look with with this lightweight knit sweater. It’s perfect for this unpredictable weather because you can stay cool when it warms up, but it’s not summery. Coincidentally it’s called the Evelyn Top and Evelyn is what we plan to use as our baby girl’s middle name. Ahhhh! Did I even just say that!? I’ll admit, I have had a really hard time not just announcing the name.

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As long as I’m talking about baby stuff, I should mention that I am 33 weeks now. I feel like she is going to be a fairly big baby. I probably have just forgotten what it feels like to be “with child”, but my stomach is so heavy and tight! The braxton hicks have been increasing and so has the insomnia. Also, I am all over the map emotionally. Last week I felt invicible whereas this week I have felt a ton of anxiety, but I am hanging in there.

I have been more intentional about taking ALL of my vitamins. I want to be in tip top shape when it comes time for labor. My next prenatal appointment is on Monday. I’ll be sure to give updates on that and my next Bella Gravida package!

This whole rental maternity fashion experience has been awesome, but it’s even better getting to share it with you, so thanks for that!

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By | October 7th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|12 Comments

Update on Baby #4


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Yesterday I was trying to remember how many weeks pregnant I am.

Thirty-two. The answer is THIRTY-TWO! I feel like everything is hitting me all at once. I really want to meet and hold my baby. I can’t wait to see the excitement and joy of my other three children to get to meet their sister.

I am also nervous though. There is still so much left to do and even though this will be my 4th natural birth I am also a little scared about the labor and the post partum period. I love pregnancy and babies and all the emotional miraculous stuff that goes along with it, but it’s hard work. I always compare it to running a marathon, which for the record I have never done. You train, you prepare, you have great expectations. You love running (again this is just hypothetical none of this applies to me) and there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when your first foot crosses over that finish line, but there are times of exhaustion that make you think you are crazy for trying. Times you need a cheerleader and a second wind.

Things are moving along though. J and I went to an orientation class at the birth center.  I was amazed at how geared toward natural birth it is. It’s actually within a hospital so I expected it to be a little bit more mainstream, but it wasn’t. Which I liked. The one thing I was shocked about was that they don’t allow video during births! I don’t know if it’s a legal issue or what. This was the one birth I was going to video tape and it’s the one birth where it is not allowed! Out of all the things to be frustrated about though, that isn’t really a big deal.

After the orientation we explored the city and made a date out of it. The last time we went on a date was in March when we took the pregnancy test so we were long overdue.

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All of these photos are ones that J took that day. So these are the most current pics I have of my belly which is getting huge.

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I am feeling really great. Lots of fetal movement. We have a name and it’s really hard for me not to say anything, but with only 7 weeks to go I’m going to hold off. I get the normal braxton hicks. Call me a weirdo, but I’ve always liked braxton hicks. It’s an empowering feeling to me, but as I already mentioned this time around they scare me just a little because my mind starts racing with the reality of it all. The baby is already head down so as long as she doesn’t flip that’s one thing less to worry about.

My iron is still really low and I do not want to give too much info, but if you don’t like to hear about gory pregnancy details you can stop here.

I have been trying to be good about taking my perscribed iron supplements (which they have now doubled the dosage on), but they make me constipated so that is really annoying. I asked my midwife what I could do and there was a range of answers, none of which I wrote down or have yet to try so I guess I can’t complain.

I should be getting my Bella Gravida maternity clothes in the mail soon and then I am going to bombard you all with tons of baby bump pictures because before you know it the baby bump will be gone and I’ll be able to bend down and pick stuff up again. I know most women can’t wait to be done with pregnancy, but it’s bittersweet. I am just trying to take it all in.

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By | September 30th, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

Mini Van!? Help!

What is significant about September 24th? For me it’s that my due date is November 24th and that means 2 months from now I will more than likely be holding my baby girl. So things are starting to get real and now that J has a job, getting a mini van is our next priority.

I love my Toyota Highlander, but we cannot legally pack one more child into my car. 

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So it’s time to upgrade! We haven’t even started the hunt yet, but we have some ideas in mind. 

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We bought J’s 2000 Toyota 4Runner in 2007. It’s hard to believe we weren’t even parents yet in this photo, but I was pregnant with Z. J just recently hit the 300,00 mile mark on his car and we’ve been very happy with it. Out of our two vehicles it’s the only one with a tow package and we own a trailer, so this is our truck and we do not intend to trade it in anytime soon.

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About a year after falling in love with the 4Runner we bought my 2002 Toyota Highlander, which my husband refers to as the “glorified minivan”. That’s what he calls any SUV that isn’t really sport utility material.
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All though it’s seen better days aesthetically (thanks to my messy clan) I have loved this little gem we found on Craig’s List 8 years ago.

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Needless to say we are Toyota fans and so we would like to stay in the Toyota family for this next upgrade. We also have had success with purchasing USED, but staying around 6 or 7 years old. So we are thinking about a 2008ish Toyota Sienna minivan. We aren’t set on that though! A Honda would probably be our next choice in make, and it doesn’t have to be a minivan, but you would really have to talk me out it. I look forward to the day the doors slide open and I don’t have to panic about my children leaving dents in the unfortunate cars parked next to us. Also, gas milage and safety rating are things I definitely like to consider.

So I would love any and all feedback about vans, brands, amenities, you name it. Both of our cars are paid off and we like it that way so we’re definitely wanting to keep things somewhat simple while still upgrading. Because if things continue the way they’ve been going for us we won’t be thinking about another car for a close to a decade. It’s such a big decision! Alright, let me hear your thoughts and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

By | September 24th, 2015|My Life, Simple Living|11 Comments

What I Wore the 2nd Trimester

From the creator of What I Wore the 1st Trimester comes the next set in the trilogy. Unfortunately, I have been very busy the last three months so unlike the first installment where I had my fancy camera and set up a little session just to feature each outfit, I have nothing like that this time.

I do have some shots of my baby bump along the way though and I thought it would be fun to look at some of my outfits from the summer. So here it is. What I Wore the 2nd Trimester.

 

what I wore the first trimester

I had the opportunity to dress up and go to the Aronoff theater and I didn’t get any decent photos other than these super grainy ones from the phone camera. It’s shame too, because who knows when I’ll do something like that again.

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I was 15 weeks here so not quite showing, but I definitely could not fit into any of my usual formal dresses so I headed off to Goodwill and was pleased to find the deal for the day was buy two dress for $6. I got this dress and the one I will share next.

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Cute from the back too, although not that comfortable to sit in through a whole production. Ahhh, the things we do for fashion.

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Here I am outlining my 19 week bump, just before finding out we were having a girl.

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This is supposed to be a dress, but no way I am ever going to wear it without pants, however I might wear it without being pregnant because it isn’t actually maternity it’s just stretchy.

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Moving forward to 24 weeks.

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Shirt/ Kohl’s- this is also not maternity, but it’s billowy enough to work if I hoist the belted area up.

Pants/ Gap Maternity.

 

If you subscribe to the Messy Mom newsletter then you have probably seen this photo.

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I was 25 weeks here (I am 30 now!).

Dress/ thrift store

Shoes/ Given to me from a  friend whose feet didn’t get along with the lack of support (they are tricky to walk in)

Necklace/ Charming Charlie and since that day I have never worn that necklace with that dress again. After seeing the photos I didn’t like the combo at all.

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That’s about it. It’s fun to highlight some of my favorites, but most of my 2nd trimester summer days were spent in a tshirt, shorts, and flip flops.

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Shirt/Motherhood (I snagged it second hand from Once Upon a Child)

Shorts/ Gap maternity. 

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I plan on taking an annoying amount of pregnant selfies in a few weeks because I have a really exciting opportunity to work with a  maternity clothing company and review some of their stuff. I can’t wait to share more!

I potentially have only two months left before meeting the baby. It’s so hard to believe. I have tons emotions going on right now, but most of them are all goooood.

By | September 15th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

Goodbye 2nd Trimester

 

I was explaining to the kids that I was in the last trimester or the final third of my pregnancy. I said “It’s like if you were running 3 laps, we already ran two of them! Only one lap out of three left to go!” Z responded in a total serious tone, not being sarcastic at all “Yeah, but it’s more like we walked.”

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Okay, fine. So maybe I didn’t sprint through the first two trimesters, but I really can’t complain about this pregnancy so far. I’ve had some rough moments, but I am grateful about how uneventful it’s been for the most part.

 

Looking back at the past three months there have been some really great memories.

Of course we found out that we are having a GIRL!

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The gender reveal painting was so special and memorable, I can’t thank my brother enough for making this video possible! I will cherish it forever!

We also did our annual dress like a cow tradition for Chick-fil-A cow appreciation day. This was my second year to be a pregnant cow. The last time was with Ezie 3 years ago. I was just one month further along then.

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I know I am such a nerd, but one of the first things I got excited about after finding out we were having a girl was knowing next year she would get to wear SJ’s little Baby Gap cow overall dress for cow appreciation day.

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Our little trip to Michigan was also a very memorable part of the pregnancy

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and lastly, this past weekend we did the Color Dash Bubble Bash 5K and had the best time.

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We did run part of the race, but I’ll admit I am not in running shape! That might be what Z was referring to when he said we walked 2 laps. I am still proud of myself for staying active all summer even if I’m not a runner.

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The funny thing was when we got home I realized my belly (and ONLY my belly) had been stained blue! Of course it washed off, but it definitely caught me off guard because that did not happen last year.

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As far as all the little prego details, my glucose tests came back with good results, other than the anemia. My SPD actually hasn’t been bad at all, so thank the Lord for that. I am starting to feel the acid reflux increase. Last night I went ahead and took one of J’s antacids for the first time because it felt so yucky and the chewable definitely helped. I crave ice the most, but anything crunchy hits the spot- baby carrots, rice krispie treats, ice cream cones, cashews. These are not things I normally eat!

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Everyone wants to know about the baby name and I am going to be a meanie and make you all wait. This is by far the longest we have ever gone without knowing the baby’s name. We are on the brink of finalizing it! In fact we talked about it yesterday, but I was on my way out the door and I said “Well, I am definitely not ready to make it official right now when I’m in a hurry, but that sounds good”. At this point I think we will wait until the birth, but maybe not.


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As you can see by the pictures we are all in love with her already and even though I am not ready for her to be here I am awaiting the day with great anticipation.

We get to tour the birth center and have an orientation in two weeks! It’s all starting to get real and I couldn’t be happier!

By | September 2nd, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|6 Comments