Photography: Jessica Valentine Photo
Oh baby! Planning for a baby the third time around is a little different than in time's past. With the first baby, you have all the feels about baby's arrival... and dare I say, a little bit of an obsession (or was it just me?). When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I was obsessed with planning all.the.things. From a baby shower to my baby registry, I scoured over every detail and poured myself into everything. But because we were currently residing in a one bedroom condo in Georgetown, Washington, DC, I wasn't able to plan my first baby's nursery. The only thing I could plan was the corner of our 'master bedroom', which only fit a mini crib, or a travel crib at best. Despite my lack of space, I made the most of it, but it didn't involve a whole lot of planning.
Fast forward to my second pregnancy, and we had finally moved into our first home in Nashville! It was a whopping 3,000 square foot castle and each of my babies had their own rooms. Not only did I get to decorate Rhett's (my toddler's) room, but I finally got my dream of being able to decorate a nursery. One caveat was that we weren't finding out the baby's gender, making it slightly more difficult to plan. But I did my best, and the nursery turned out perfectly. I incorporated much of the same pieces as I did today, using gender neutral greens, browns, blacks and whites.
Now that I am on my third pregnancy, planning a nursery is slightly different. We have moved once again, this time to Dallas and to a 4,200 square foot home! It feels big, but somehow as my boys grow and with the thought of having a third, I feel like I could have even gone bigger (gasp!). Nevertheless, I am so very thankful that we have more than enough space, however, I didn't decorate this house with our prospective third child in mind. His/her room is currently our second guest bedroom upstairs, full of guest room furniture. A queen bed from Restoration Hardware, adorable lamps from Cupcakes and Cashmere, etc. The perfect room to house a guest, not necessarily a baby. And because the room looks so cute already, in my opinion, I am going to wait on changing it until I know more about this baby and his/her personality. Plus, who doesn't love the idea of being able to nurse a baby on a queen bed?
Thus, for the time being, I redecorated Vance's nursery with the thought that maybe the baby would be in here and my two older boys would bunk up together, or maybe the baby would (once again) be in the corner of our upstairs guest room with a crib, and I would leave the decorating until after we found out the gender of the baby. So, if the gender of this particular nursery looks a bit masculine, bare with me! It is Vance's room as we speak, but doesn't mean I can't make it more feminine, adding in some pinks and reds.
Wallpaper: Sweet Pea Wall Designs
Perhaps, one of my favorite things to incorporate in a nursery is wallpaper. It gives it that extra flare that maybe you wouldn't risk in another space, and you get to have fun with it. But because we constantly buy new homes, which means brand new walls, and often don't stay in one home for more than a few years at a time, I wanted something that was a little more temporary. Thus, I turn to removable wallpaper, and have partnered with Sweet Pea Wall Design on this fun, tribal nursery removable wallpaper.
Before trying removable wallpaper myself, I had fears about using it. Would it be easy to install? Would it look as good as regular wallpaper? It is worth the price? Does it really go on as easily as they say and stay up? And can I really remove it without damaging my walls? Suffice it to say, the answer to all of these questions is a big fat YES.
This is the third removable wallpaper that I have installed into a home, and yes, my husband and I have installed them ourselves. And trust me when I say that we are not handy people at all. In fact, we are quite the opposite. But installing removable wallpaper into bedrooms has become a very fun and actually romantic activity for the two of us. The time it takes to install in a normal sized bedroom is probably an hour or so, and all I can say is that it is easier than you think it is. I absolutely loved the way this tribal print turned out and Emily with Sweet Pea Wall Design was a gem to work with.
Crib Design + Decor
The crib is the Modo Crib from Babyletto and I love it. The crib sheet is from RH Baby + Child, however, I don't think they sell this print any longer; it is also organic. I love the RH crib sheets because they are organic, super soft and wash nicely, not to mention they are a great price, believe it or not. The leather pillow is also from RH. The Moroccan Pouf is from Houzz. The fiddle leaf tree is from RH, as well. Don't buy cheap fiddle leafs! You get what you pay for.
Wooden Signage: The Trendy Timber
Not going to lie, but I ripped off the idea of using The Trendy Timber wooden signage from a decor-savvy friend of mine from high school. She posted a photo of her daughter's room on Instagram and I was quick to DM her, inquiring about the adorable sign above her daughter's crib. I purchased directly through their website all for about $140, and totally worth it. It adds a rustic flare and personalization to the room. I plan on getting the new baby one, as well.
Nursery Glider: Pottery Barn Kids Grand Comfort Swivel Glider
When it came to purchasing a nursery glider, the bigger the better is what I thought. Again, by the time I had a nursery to decorate, we were on our second child, which meant that we needed to often fit not one but two kids in the chair. While some of the more dainty, smaller nursery rockers appear to be comfy, I was a seasoned enough mom to know better than to spend money on such a thing. I knew that a rocker is where I would live with my baby, and ultimately read stories to my toddler(s). What I wanted was the biggest and the comfiest chair around. I wanted it to glide and to rock. The only thing I might have missed out on was purchasing a reclining glider - and Pottery Barn Kids actually makes one (my sister bought it)! But, I will say that this Pottery Barn Kids Comfort Swivel Glider (Grand) has been a staple for rocking, reading, playing, napping, nursing, sleeping, and I can't imagine my kids' lives without it! Also, a big shoutout to Mooma (my MIL) for buying it as a baby gift for baby number 2!
Dresser, Art + Decor
I am a big McGee + Co fan and have been following their Instagram and the growth of their company really since its inception. When we bought our first home in Nashville and I FINALLY got to put my decorating skills to the test, there was one piece from their store that I had been eyeing from day one and it was this dresser. Sadly, I don't think they sell it anymore, but at the time, I purchased it from them (although a lot of other retailers carry the same piece) for about $1,000. I've never used a changing table because personally I think they are a waste of money. They cost as much as a fashionable dresser, which are generally way cuter than changing tables, and I usually change my boys on the floor. While this may not be sanitary, I am SUPER careful because I am OCD and like the look of a designer dresser better than a random PB Kids changing table.
As for the art, I purchased from HomeGoods for pretty cheap. The lamp is from Target. The little clock and the little Mexico boots were collected heirlooms. The gold elephant, candle and succulent are from Target and the license plate from Homegoods.
Well, that is it! Welcome to our baby's nursery... or should I say Vance's nursery. It totally fits the vibe of our family; fun, bright, cheery and a little bit masculine. Sorry, baby girl, you'll get used to it :)
Lots of love! xoxo
I am officially more than halfway through my pregnancy, and it feels great. This past week was pretty exciting with a 22-week doctor's visit and also the much-anticipated anatomy scan. My body is certainly changing and things are "squishier" than normal, as Rhett says. Overall, I am so thankful to be pregnant and can't believe how fast this journey is flying by. I will recap everything here; also, I did add in some questions from my Instagram that people had asked and I wanted to expand upon. Sorry if I repeat myself, just wanted to make sure I answered everything! I'm also a bit tired as I write this, so sorry if I sound a bit drab :) Here we go!
Body: My body is starting to feel a bit achier. Some days are better than others, but normal daily tasks that involve lifting the boys in and out of the car are becoming more of a challenge. I feel a lot of it in my lower back, just from carrying the extra weight and also in my belly. Sometimes it is aggravated when I workout, but the benefits of staying active far outweighs the downside.
Weight: At 22 weeks, I weigh 142 lbs, which means I've gained 12 lbs since conception. This weight gain is within the normal range, projecting me to hit anywhere from 30 to 35 lbs. However, in pregnancy's past, I have gained the majority of my weight in the third trimester and I don't expect this pregnancy to be any different. I do feel like I've gained more fat earlier on. This might be from age (I am 31 years old vs. 27, which I was with my first) and the fact that this is my third pregnancy, so my body is storing more fat earlier. Whatever the reason, I feel decent about my weight gain. I feel slightly worried to a certain level that I may end up around the 40 lbs mark, or even more, just based on my body's cravings and also the way my body has gained the weight so far. Despite that, I am trying my best to maintain a healthy diet and am keeping up my exercise. Not a whole lot more I can do! (More about weight gain at the bottom section in IG questions answered).
Diet: My diet has been okay. I think overall for a pregnant gal I am eating healthy, but as compared to my non-pregnant self, I feel like I am eating a bit more and feel hungrier than I normally would. When not pregnant, I am one of those people that can wake up in the morning, workout and not eat breakfast until later. While pregnant, this isn't the case, I generally am hungry first thing in the morning and feel the need to eat, which is weird. I also feel like I am wanting to eat more at meals. Usually at lunch when not pregnant, I can easily eat a lower carb meal including things like turkey with avocado and Siracha, and call it a day. When pregnant, I feel like I need to eat more - so I'll do things like tuna on a piece of whole wheat bread or a baked bean-filled Siete tortilla with avocado, cheese and lettuce. Not necessarily a whole lot more than I would eat when not pregnant, but definitely more. Additionally, I always crave something sweet after lunch, which feels a bit odd. Same with after dinner. Not sure if I've just gotten into a bad habit or if it is an actual craving. But on a general note, I don't feel like I am overeating or pigging out. I will say that my stomach feels like it has less room in it once again making it difficult to read my hunger signals. So I feel hungry, and then I eat, but don't eat that much because I get full very easily and sometimes even a mild case of heartburn.
Fitness: Still getting in my workouts 5 to 7 day per week at least 30 minutes to 50 minutes per day. I am sticking to my 30-minute tabata class that includes tons of cardio (mountain climbers, jumping lunges, high knees, skaters, burpees) combined with weight repetition in 30-minute intervals. This 30 minute class is just enough to get my heart rate up but also doesn't overdo it as a pregnant mama. I go first thing in the morning to make sure I get it out of the way. My body is feeling heavier, so the workouts are becoming harder, especially because the class isn't easy. I am also a little achey at times, which. makes certain moves harder. Aside from that, I also do spin and run. Overall, I am so glad to be active this pregnancy and definitely feel like it is helping with weight gain and mental outlook. Working out is like an instant boost of endorphins and I am motivated because of how it makes me feel after!
Going from Two to Three: This realization has become a little bit more real. I am trying not to overanalyze how much our lives are going to change with three kids, but I definitely have my moments of wondering. With your first kid, you worry about how your life is going to change with a baby in general. The hardest part in having one kid is that it really does turn your world upside down and forces you to readjust your priorities; and really forces you to grow up. Your kid feels like your entire world, and it's a big responsibility going from caring about yourself to caring for another human. But of course, you want two kids because that's what people do, so you go for a second. With the second, you worry about how your life will change now with two kids, and when you finally have two, you realize how easy it was to have one! Looking back, having one kid was a breeze (if only you could have appreciated it) and two feels like one hundred.
I guess I wonder how this will all change in having three. What I've heard is that once you are used to juggling two, juggling three isn't much different, you just have to learn how to juggle faster. I guess I have those same worries that I did with having two. For instance, how I'm going to give each of my kids the attention they need, and how we are going to manage nap times for the baby while stimulating my other kids and maintaining our adventures. I'm really trying to savor my moments with having two kids, like the fact that I am hands free when I take my kids to an activity; they are basically off on their own, playing, while I sit there and watch/patrol the activity. In a few short months, I will not be hands-free; I will have a baby in my arms while simultaneously watching my two boys!! I'm both excited and a little nervous about this :)
Newborn Thoughts: A girlfriend of mine brought her newborn son (her third) to our MOPs group the other week, and it reminded me why I am going down this road again for the third time. I think this pregnancy has been so different because I now have a four-year old kid and a two year-old kid, verses when I went through my last pregnancy with only a toddler who could barely put together words. It has made me feel more mature going through this pregnancy and thinking less fantasy and more reality. I think in pregnancy, us moms can get caught up in the fantasy of having more children; I know I certainly did when I had my second. This time around, I have been pretty matter of fact that we are bringing a third kid into this world and the craziness that lies ahead. I've been looking forward to the newborn life and meeting another kid, but also very logical about it.
Though, after seeing my friend's baby, I was able to feel that magic of it all and it really lifted my spirits. Not that I was sad about having a third, but I think I have been so logical about it all and so caught up with my other kids, that I haven't had time to really fantasize about the person we are about to meet. But yes, I am getting very excited to have another baby. I can't wait to hold him/her, see what he/she looks like, learn his/her personality. Will he/she be a good sleeper? Will he/she latch okay? How will my labor and delivery be? All of those things, I am mostly excited for, but also a little nervous.. because I really know what is in store for me (and my family)! More than anything you hope that it won't disrupt your life too much, but then again, you're welcoming a baby into the world! It doesn't get much crazier than that :)
Doctor's Visit: I saw the doctor yesterday, at 22 weeks, for a checkup AND for the much anticipated anatomy scan. We started with the anatomy scan. Ryan and Vance were with me, thank goodness, because I was a nervous wreck leading up to it. I went to the bathroom like six times before the appointment out of nervousness. My stomach was in knots for a few reasons. One being the general fear that my baby wasn't developing properly. You hear such crazy stories that my mind couldn't help but wonder, could it happen to me? I also am so thankful to have two healthy kids that I sometimes am like ah I hope everything is okay since I decided to go for a third. Regardless, when I calm these nerves, I realize that God won't give my anything I can't handle. This is morbid, but ever if the baby had died, we would eventually be okay. (oh, the crazy things you think)
I think there was just added pressure because it was with the third baby, which feels like a bonus, and it would have been heartbreaking and kind of preventable. But, once again, I knew in my heart that this all happened for a reason, and I think I was having these crazy irrational thoughts that only come naturally to parents.
Another thing I always worry about at the anatomy scan is that the ultrasound tech may give away the gender. Again, this wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would for sure be a let down to find out the gender on accident in a way that wasn't intended.
With all that worry, we started the appointment. I kept waiting for the tech to say that she saw a marker, like a cyst in the brain (which happened with both of my boys) or maybe that the baby had dilated kidneys (which happened with Vance) or that she would accidentally call it a "he" or a "she" giving away the gender... but nope. The entire time, she kept saying, everything looks beautiful! Healthy baby. Perfect. Wonderful. Beautiful. With each body part that she saw, she gave a positive affirmation. It really was the best ultrasound experience we've had to date. I walked out feeling so confident in my body and in my baby. And also so thankful that God has given us this opportunity to be parents to yet another miracle child.
Aside from the ultrasound, my doctor's visit was uneventful. She didn't check anything. Simply asked if I had any questions. I reaffirmed that we don't want to know the gender (as I always annoyingly do)! I also asked her about some cramping I was having during exercise. She said as long as the contraction goes away after I stop exercising that it is okay, and that exercising wouldn't cause any pre-term labor (another physician had also communicated this to me). Other than that, everything looks great!
Instagram Questions Answered
Will you go for a fourth?: I get this question a lot. I think that once you decide to have a third, you are now considered part of the 'big family club,' and people are more apt to assume that since you didn't stop at two, you may not stop at three. I can't say with all certainty that we won't have a fourth, but if I were to give the straight answer now, my answer would be that we are, in fact, stopping at three. Why? I feel like three is the perfect number for me. Again, everyone has a different threshold for how many kids is appropriate for them. I come from a family of two, which I loved, but looking back it might have been fun to have a fuller house. It also might have been way crazier and maybe I wouldn't have liked it. My mom came from a family of four and she didn't love it, which is why she decided to have two. So, it's hard to pinpoint what the "right" number of kids is to have, but I thought three would be nice because it is more than two. It adds another sibling dynamic rather than having only one option for a sibling. I think that sibling personalities can be very different, and hoped that three would give that direct sibling dynamic that comes with two a break just in case someone needs another perspective.
Another reason I decided to go for three is because I felt like I gave up a big part of me to be a stay-at-home mom. My kids are my entire life. I don't have a career to fall back on; I have my kids. Something about that scares the crap out of me, but something about that also liberates me and makes me the happiest I've ever been. I'm a mom! And I am a full-on stay-at-home mom. This is my life; my world, and I felt like because I personally made the decision to stay home with my kids, that I could handle having more. If I worked, I don't know if I would feel this way just because it would be one more thing to juggle. Again, everyone has a different threshold and everyone woman is different. My personal threshold given my career as a SAHM is three. I felt like I could handle more than two, but I also know that I want to be able to have somewhat of a controlled environment and really be able to give my kids quality, quality one-on-one attention, and I feel like I can do that at the number three.
For me, I think I would get overwhelmed with four. I get overwhelmed by unmade beds and a messy house, and also by children screaming 24/7 and quality bedtime routines and bath time, etc. With two its a lot and with three it's going to be even more! .. I can't really imagine life with four, but I can totally, totally see how people have more than three. Children are gifts from God. You get to partake in life's most magical creation, and to stop having kids seems like part of that magic is over, but it is also the beginning of really diving into each child that you do have. So ya, that is the basic answer!
How do you gain the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy?: This is totally and completely a case-by-case basis, and I don't want people to think my answer is a one-size fits all because it's not. Women are different; our bodies are different; we carry babies differently; we all have unique strengths and weaknesses. I am lucky that I get pregnant super easily. I have generally healthy pregnancies, and birth full-term babies who are at a healthy birth weight. My babies have been good babies; good sleepers and good eaters. I have much to be thankful for! One of my unlucky departments is in the pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight loss department. I tend to be one of those women who gains quite a bit during pregnancy and carries wide. I get chunkier thighs and a droopier booty. Postpartum, I don't lose weight while breastfeeding and even tend to gain weight. I carry the weight in my belly and thighs and it doesn't come off until I stop breastfeeding. Like I said, we all have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to pregnancy, and I need to be thankful for mine. But can weight gain be controlled? Yes, I think to a certain level, but also no.
I have a unique story in that I gained 60 pounds with my first baby. I started at 130 lbs and topped the scales at about 190 lbs close to delivery. Looking back, I had a hard time handling pregnancy, as I was a first-timer. Morning sickness threw me for a loop and I ate constantly. I also felt like I needed to eat more because I assumed that is what pregnant women did. I stopped working out because it didn't feel right. I ate past the point of being full and often ordered unhealthier dishes because I was pregnant. I wouldn't say that I gorged myself on donuts and ho-ho's because I didn't. I just loosened my diet and packed on the pounds. I lost the weight at a year postpartum through a healthy diet and consistent exercise. I didn't have to try hard; the weight pretty much fell off at a consistent rate.
With my second, I vowed I would not let myself go. I was 130 lbs when I found out I was pregnant and I had a goal of maintaining a healthy and fit pregnancy. When morning sickness hit, I didn't give in to the nausea with food, instead I worked through it by hydrating and keeping myself busy with other activities. My diet was clean as a whistle and looking back I probably wasn't eating enough, but I also didn't feel the need to. My pregnancy was very easy and my symptoms were not as drastic as my first (and third) pregnancy. I don't want to say it was easy to eat a healthy diet, but I also want to say that I had minimal cravings. My body gained weight at a slower rate, and I think I had a huge part in that because of the choices I made. I was also very active, maintaining workouts at least 4 times per week. Still, I gained 30 lbs. - within the weight gain guidelines.
My first and second pregnancies were very, very different experiences. With my first, I kind of let myself go and with my second, I was very disciplined. With my second, I was more disciplined than I would be if I wasn't pregnant because I knew how quickly my body packs on the weight. So what I would say to moms who want to stay within the recommended weight guidelines, is to come up with a plan before you get pregnant.
A few disclaimers... some women gain more than the recommended weight no matter what they do. I believe this! So I don't want to make anyone feel bad that totally disagrees with this. It worked for me to control my diet, but it also didn't work for me because after I had my second baby (even just having gained 30 lbs), I couldn't lose the weight after! For whatever reason my body held onto it for breastfeeding. It held onto like 10 to 15 lbs. It was such a letdown because I had worked SO hard to maintain a healthy weight, and it kind of felt like all for nothing. Not entirely all for nothing because I felt and looked amazing during my pregnancy, but definitely a let down when I retained and gained a bunch of fat for breastfeeding. And this was all while maintaining the same diet and exercise routine. So, sometimes you really can't win. Sometimes your hormones are going to win every time and you just have to be okay with that. Give yourself grace during this time, and know that you aren't alone. I, along with millions of other women out there, went through the same body struggle. Just know that it is all worth it and once your hormones calm down (sometimes well after you stop breastfeeding), you will lose the weight!=
Last question, what helped you decide on spacing/timing between kiddos?: Once again, this is totally personal preference so I am just speaking for myself here. My husband and I both come from families in which the kids are spaced about 2 years to 2.5 years apart, except for I come from a family of two (my sister and I are 22 months apart) and Ryan comes from a family of five (all sibling roughly 2 to 2.5 years apart)! I think it comes down to a few things and really is only something you can decide on a kid-by-kid basis. After we had our first, we were so in love with being parents to him, that we couldn't wait to have our second. Once we hit the one year mark with him and started to get into a groove, we were open to getting pregnant and it happened the first time around. I think a lot of the timing had to do with our excitement to grow our family and the openness to it, and the fact that we were lucky/blessed that God allowed us that timing. While I say we are blessed that our first two are twenty-two months apart, it also came with a lot of challenges. Having two kids is freaking hard and having them so close together is even harder.
After we had our second, I went in and out of wanting to have a third. After our second was first born, I thought hell no, we are not having another kid (because the newborn stage is freaking hard and I was so sleep deprived), but after we got out of the newborn stage, I was quick to knowing that I wanted another baby. I wanted to have three kids for the above reasons that I just talked about. That said, I wasn't ready to dive in right away. I knew that I needed a little bit more time than I had had with the first two, so when Vance turned one, I still wasn't open for business.
It took me a little bit of time to really feel like I could handle three. At the same time, Ryan and I both really wanted the kids close together. I imagined the age gap between my oldest, who will be a little over 4 when the new baby gets here, and I didn't want that age gap to be too big. My dad comes from a family of three; the first time are closer in age and the third is several years born after the second. My dad's oldest sister commented that having the third sister so far in age was hard and wished she was closer.
So the way I saw it was that I wanted us all to be a super tight knit family (not that you can't be with a further age gap), but I think my personal belief is the longer you wait sometimes the more that child may feel like an only child. The goal in having three kids is that all of our kids would be able to be doing life together. That they would be in school together, involved in activities together and all that. Not just for their own sakes, but for the sake of my husband and I. I'm sure there are SO many benefits to waiting, but I feared that if I waited, I wouldn't want to have a third. I also feared going through the baby stage again after we were so far past it. I still feel like I am in the thick of being a mom to kids under five and I wanted to keep that groove going. I didn't want to have to go, then stop then restart again.
Once again, this isn't to say that people who wait are wrong for doing so. I think that there are plenty of benefits to both, I just saw so many personal benefits for exactly what we wanted out of having three kids, and what made the most sense for our family was to have them all pretty close together!
Today I am in the final day of the 18th week of pregnancy, so figured I'd begin talking about my 19 week pregnancy update! Here we go...
Doctor's Visits: I'll start with doctor's visits since I recently had my 18 week appointment last Tuesday. My health checked out great - blood pressure was in range and weight was healthy. I've gained about 6 to 7 pounds since my 8 week appointment, but 9 lbs since pregnancy test results. I will talk more about my gains in the "weight" section! We heard baby's heartbeat at 150 BPM. Doctor said baby was nice and healthy in there! I also had blood drawn for spinal bifida, which came back negative. Thankful for those results. To be honest, the appointment was quite uneventful. I mean, I was SO excited to hear baby's heartbeat because I get nervous between each appointment, wanting to know that he/she is healthy in there, so hearing the heartbeat made for the appointment, but other than that, it was a rather boring appointment ha! The doctor looked at me as if to say, "Do you have anymore questions?" I tried to think of something to ask her, but honestly couldn't think of anything. We did talk about my weight (of course), and I told her I was about 4 pounds heavier than I was with my last pregnancy at this point, but she insisted that my weight was completely find and on track. I will be seeing her at 22 weeks and at that point we will have the anatomy scan, so prayers for that appointment for sure!
Overall Energy: My energy feels great! I am sleeping like a rock, mostly 9 hours+ at night. The only thing that wakes me up is to use the restroom. I think I pee either once or twice per night, which. honestly isn't that bad. Sleep is great, so I can't complain, and on most days my energy is plentiful.
Workouts: Still working out almost every day, although last week I had a few hiccups because Rhett was sick with HFM for the first time! We had to take a hiatus from all of our routine daily play activities, including my trips to the gym. I was super bummed about this, selfishly, because working out makes me feel SO good, and I also love to workout first thing in the morning before we get our day started together. With him sick, we were mostly stuck at the house. I'm not great at motivating myself to workout at home and because of that, ended up working out a few less days than I would have liked to. Now that he is better, I am back on track. I have still been doing spin, but have found a newfound love for the body shred class. It is a thirty-minute tabata type class, and it is awesome. I still do most all of the exercises - burpees, squats, jumps, etc. The only thing I try to avoid is the ab portion, although I still do planks, which I read are actually good during pregnancy (correct me if I am wrong). I am still spinning on occasion, but am starting to feel a little uncomfortable on the bike. Second trimester is known for round ligament pain, and I'm definitely having some painful sensations in my lower abdomen if I workout too hard. For instance, I was running the other day and had to stop because of the pain. Just trying to pay attention to my body and switch up my routine when it's called for, but overall, happy with how active I have been this pregnancy!
Diet: My diet has been pretty good. I've noticed it is a little bit harder to dictate my hunger sensations and also my satisfied sensations. What I mean by this is that I am less in-tune with how hungry my body is and how full it is. Generally, when I'm not pregnant, I am very in tune with this aspect of my body, which makes eat easy to eat when hungry and stop when full. However, when I am pregnant, something happens - whether it is my hormones or the increased energy used by my body to grow baby - that is making it hard to read hunger signals. That being said, I think overall I am doing a great job with my diet. I am not overly strict, and allow myself to munch on things maybe that I wouldn't otherwise munch on - like the kids' gluten-free pancakes in the morning or a spoonful of almond butter during the day, but I wouldn't say that I'm going overboard. In fact, I think I have a good balance when it comes to diet. The problem for me is that when I become pregnant, the weight sticks to me like glue. So I could be eating as I would when not pregnant, and if I decide to indulge, the weight sticks. I try not to beat myself up over this, but it can become disheartening when you feel as if you are eating SO healthy, and any sort of imperfection in my diet packs on like 5 lbs. I know this is part of pregnancy, it just feels a little unnatural. I've noticed that a lot of the weight has already packed on in my thighs, but and lower back, and even my arms - a place I generally seldom carry weight. Thighs are to be expected for weight gain, but in my arms?? Come on! Anyways, I've somewhat come to terms with the fact that as long as I make healthy decisions, I am making a good decision for my body and my baby. Other than that, there is not much I can do about pregnancy weight gain. God is for sure in control of this one, and my body knows what to do to keep baby healthy. Sometimes I just wonder how some women stay so effortlessly thin while pregnant, and also lose the weight so fast during the postpartum period. And no one can sit here and tell me that it is because of diet! While I believe that a healthy diet is a HUGE reason for pregnancy and postpartum weight gain/loss, I also think that are far more other important factors that play an even bigger part. For instance, I know some girls that drop weight like crazy while breastfeeding, and others retain or even gain weight while breastfeeding. It is the weirdest conundrum, and I wish I could figure out the reasons why it happens. I have been on both sides of the situation, having lost a ton of weight while breastfeeding my first son, and then having gained weight while breastfeeding my second son. I guess we will see what happens with baby number three, although I'm not holding my breath for rapid weight loss!
Weight: 139/140 lbs. I am holding onto the 130's for dear life!! Since I hit the second trimester, I have been gaining at a steady 1 lbs per week, which is what every single doctor would recommend during pregnancy. I guess the annoying part is that given my past history with pregnancy weight gain, I generally gain the MOST in the third trimester. And sometimes in the second trimester, I even lost weight or held onto the same weight for a long period of time. For example, when I was pregnant with my second, I was 135 lbs in the second trimester until like 22 weeks or so. This time, I am already pushing 140 lbs an I'm only 19 weeks. I know I shouldn't be concerned, I know how much I gain in the final trimester of pregnancy, so I try to keep the weight underwraps until then. Maybe I will gain less in the third trimester this time around? I guess we will see? I have a theory, also, that the reason my weight held so steady in my second pregnancy is because my pregnancies were back-to-back and also because I was still breastfeeding my first son through the first several months of my pregnancy with my second son. This could have impacted by hormones, thus causing a lower weight gain in the second trimester. Just a theory :)
Baby Movement: Feeling baby move is SO exhilarating! The movement started around 17 weeks and I try to track it and feel at least some movement daily, which I have. I obviously am not at the stage where you can see the movement from the outside, but I can certainly feel the movement from the inside. This baby is active, but I can't tell how active. My next door neighbor just had her third boy and before she gave birth (they didn't know the gender), she predicted it was another boy based on how active he was, and surprise, it was another boy. Based on how active this baby is, I think it might be another boy, but I guess we shall see!
Boy or Girl: No idea at this point. Most people think a little girl is on the horizon, which would totally shock my heart. We still don't have a girl name that totally blows my mind away, but again, we do have our boy name and it does blow my mind. I remember having this vivid moment when I was at the end of my pregnancy with Rhett as I was walking to class on the Georgetown campus, about his name... on my walk it hit me in that moment what his name was going to be and it was almost like it was predestined. At that point, we loved our boy's and our girl's name, but for some reason the boy's name stuck out so vividly. I love our current boy's name so much and would love to use it - so weird. I just need to find a girl's name that I am equally excited about! I guess when you don't find out the gender of the baby, the next best thing to feeling close to your little one is knowing what his or her name will be if it comes out that gender. Knowing the boy's name almost makes me feel a little closer to the baby if it were a boy; while not having a girl's name makes it hard to fathom. Not sure if that makes sense. But, I would LOVE a little girl (especially if she looks like me haha!!). If she looks like Ryan I would be so confused!! The desire for a girl was somewhat solidified this weekend when we were at the book store and all the boys wanted to look at were superhero books or Star Wars book or fighting books or Pokemon books. In that moment, I considered how fun it would be to have a little girl who I could take over to the princess section! While I always wanted a family full of boys, sometimes there is no room left for girly stuff - although my boys do make me feel like a princess every so often :)
Belly Size: so it felt like my belly popped right at 8 weeks and since felt like it has grown. Even the other night, my husband commented on the fact that I looked pregnant in my belly! I asked him if I really looked pregnant or if he was just saying that. And he was like, wait do you want me to tell you you look pregnant. This time, I was like, yes!! I want to look pregnant! At least in my belly lol. Then literally this morning I woke up and it felt like my growing belly has somehow disappeared! Maybe the baby just switched positions on me? Honestly, I don't know how I look so not pregnant today and looked so huge yesterday. Such a weird conundrum.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I am so happy that I am pregnant with our third baby. I took the boys to the zoo this morning and as we were driving home, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by happiness. I thought, I am so lucky that I have two beautiful little boys in the back of my car and a belly full of another on the way. I am one lucky mama. I also had another thought that I can't imagine not being pregnant again, but whooaaaa, I need to stop myself way ahead of the game. I'm pretty sure that three will be plenty for the home and heart to handle.
Until next week!
7 of My Favorite Product categories to SWAP out for Cleaner Alternatives during pregnancy to Reduce Toxic Exposure
1. Cleaning Products
Every modern-day mama, knows that cleaning products are to be considered both during pregnancy and with young children in the home. "Dirty" cleaning products wreak havoc on your endocrine system, and are a known contributor to cancer, autoimmune responses and other ailments. Especially during pregnancy, the first thing I would switch out is my cleaning products! But we all know that is easier said then done, especially when our nesting response kicks in. So, how do you stay away from cleaning products during pregnancy?
First, give yourself an excuse to clean less. I said it. Rather than wiping down the counter with disinfectant nightly, try wiping it down with water or consider using Norwex cloths, which are chemical-free, microfiber cloths that incorporate natural antibacterial properties to clean by adding water. If you just can't stand it and need the chemical clean (which I am guilty of), consider using a safer alternative, such as The Honest Company or Mrs. Meyers products. Or, take it one step further and hire a housekeeper every so often. This will keep you away from harsh chemicals, while also keeping your house in tip-top shape. Whether you or a housekeeper are using the products, I always opt for cleaner options. Here are a few of my favorite brands:
2. Facial Skincare Products
The next thing I would consider switching up is your skincare routine. Personally, I don't take chances with skincare products, which is why I use (and sell) Beautycounter. Beautycounter is, yes, a multi-level marketing company that sells skincare and cosmetics products that are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. That isn't the company's only bottom line though, it was founded with the intent of getting safer skincare into the hands of everyone, not just us pregnant women. This is why Beautycounter ensures their products are not only safe, but that they are also effective. The line isn't 100% organic because Beautycounter argues that not all synthetic chemicals and ingredients are harmful. Similarly, Beautycounter argues that not all organic ingredients are beneficial. The key is to include the right ingredients that are safe for your body, that will also leave your skin glowing and radiant.
I still like to look beautiful and glowing during pregnancy, which is why I have invested BIG TIME in Beautycounter and their respective products. Here are a list of my favorite products:
If you vehemently despise MLM companies, check out the Drunk Elephant.
As a daily makeup wearer, I failed to change up my makeup routine with my first two pregnancies... and I regret it, majorly. Yes, my two little boys are perfectly healthy, but there is something about makeup (heavy metals, lead, etc.) that sets off a flashing red siren when it comes to things I am cognizant of during this third pregnancy. Because I wear makeup everyday, I need to be even more scrutinous of things like foundation, which goes all over my skin! Again, this is why I have invested in selling Beautycounter. In addition to their skincare/bodycare line, they also have a makeup line. The products are 100% safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and are also made to enrich your skin. So when you wear your makeup, you are not only doing your body (and your baby) a favor, you are doing your skin a favor, as well. Hello, anti-aging makeup during pregnancy!
When it comes to makeup, be smart with what you choose to invest in and don't break the bank on things that may make a minor difference. For instance, I feel that foundation is extremely important to switch out because I wear it daily and I put it on all over my face. Alternatively, mascara goes on the ends of my lashes, so if I had to pick and choose, I would choose to switch out foundation over mascara. However, it all adds up, again which is why I have totally reinvented my makeup routine with Beautycounter (at least for the time being).
Also - a heads up if you are a heavy makeup wearer like myself, Beautycounter is a lighter finish and a lighter look. While at first, I wasn't sure I could get used to the look and feel of the makeup, I have grown to love it. I can no longer put my old products on my face. One, they totally destroy my skin with how much progress I have made since switching over to Beautycounter. Two, they feel so heavy now that I am used to the lighter, more natural feel of Beautycounter.
Here are a few of my favorites that are part of my daily routine:
4. Bath and Body
Another category that is super important, seeing that your skin is the largest organ, is products that come in contact with your body, aka what you keep in the shower. Truth be told, I never switched out my shampoo and conditioner for a safer alternative because I could never find one that worked equal to or greater than my current routine. Enter Beautycounter. The Beautycounter Daily Shampoo is actually what sold me on the company. I rationed that if they could figure out something as complex as shampoo and make it effective, their line must be something to consider, and I was right. Lo and behold the rest of the bath and body products are nothing short of incredible. In fact, a lot of people consider this to be a highlight of the Beautycounter line, including people like Gwyneth Paltrow. Here are a few of my favorites...
Supplements are a category that I see as super important for prenatal (and also postnatal) health. Generic prenatal vitamins include unhealthy fillers, don't absorb as well and can actually contribute to a toxic buildup in your body if they don't include the correct form of supplementation. For instance, if you have the MTHFR gene mutation and take a vitamin that includes folic acid rather than folate, the folic acid can buildup in your system causing toxicity. Not only that, your body is unable to absorb and breakdown the folic acid, which in turn means your baby isn't getting the benefit that is so important for development. Instead, physician grade supplements ensure that you are getting all of the right and up-to-date nutrients when it comes to your prenatal vitamin.
If you are interested in taking our prenatal vitamins, which are all physician grade, you can check them out here. We require that you fill out a health questionnaire, which you can find here. This is because our supplements are physician grade! Not everyone is able to get their hands on them and it is technically a practitioner/patient basis that we sell them based on.
Here are the vitamins that I take:
I recommend downloading our Postpartum Slimdown Guide, even if you aren't pregnant. You won't be able to partake in the detox/product portion of the program, but there are some helpful tidbits about diet in the 21-Day Maintenance portion of the program. This includes a long list of foods to avoid and why. I won't go into why, but here is the list. If you are interested in reading, please checkout our guide!! Foods to avoid:
While dairy and gluten may not necessarily be things you must avoid during pregnancy, I've felt it important to at least so how my body reacts to both of those food groups. Personally, I do best while not consuming dairy or gluten. That said, dairy can be very beneficial during pregnancy. Gluten, eh, probably not so much. I say just trust your body and don't try to cut out too many food groups if you aren't used to it! If you are used to cutting out things like gluten and dairy, I'd say give it a try during pregnancy and at least try to consume these food groups in moderation.
7. Water Filtration System
Okay, these may seem like a big jump and I may lose some people on this one. Not to mention, whole home water filtration systems cost around $3,800. So why is it so important to get a whole home water filtration system and at the very least a reverse osmosis water system for drinking water? Well, Hayley Cate has a whole post on why tap water is bad during pregnancy; you can read it here.
Basically, bacteria and nitrates can make their way into our water and potentially the following harmful elements:
These are obviously bad for your body and your baby. Mercury and lead are classified as heavy metals, which are a big no-no during pregnancy. Why? Toxic levels of heavy metals can displace essential minerals and may affect the development of your baby during pregnancy. High chlorine consumption has been found to be linked to a variety of ailments including various cancers, reproductive problems, problems with the immune system and heart attacks. Antibiotics, on the other hand, wreak havoc on your body's microbiome, killing both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria in your body during pregnancy is necessary and also shapes your baby's development of his or her microbiome. And synthetic estrogen? Dare I go further.
Now that we know that tap water or unfiltered water is problematic, especially during pregnancy. What can you do to help it? Opt for filtered water if feasible.
Two Most Common Water Filter Technologies:
Alrighty, ladies... that's it for now! Hopefully I didn't scare you away, but if you're into this stuff (like I am), it is interesting and worthwhile to invest in you and your baby's health. And it starts at pregnancy. Do what you can to start your little one ahead of the curve. Health is their birth right!
Photos: Jessica Valentine Photo
Today marks 17 weeks along my pregnancy journey! I am feeling incredible, fully like myself again, but at the same time am starting to look pregnant... and not just from the side, if you know what I mean. We will get into all of that good stuff here in this blog post, so might as well get started talking about my 17 week pregnancy update; here we go...
Current Disposition: Overall, I feel totally and completely like myself - woo hoo! Energy-wise, mood-wise, and personality-wise. I feel like I keep saying that from week to week since 15 weeks, but it feels like it's getting better and better. At 17 weeks, I mentally don't feel like I'm pregnant. I kind of wake up and go about my day, and tend to forget that I have a baby brewing inside of me. On the flip side, while my mentality is going strong, my body feels fully pregnant ha! I will talk more about this in the body section.
Boy or Girl?: Most of you know that we are not finding out the gender until delivery. Again, this is something that Ryan and I did with both boys and because of our history with it, we've decided to keep the tradition alive. I don't need to reiterate, but there is something so special about waiting til the day-of to meet your little bundle of joy and to find out who he or she is. So where does that leave me in terms of my own thoughts about gender? Well, I haven't the slightest clue! Lately, I've been feeling like this baby is a girl. Almost completely sure that it has to be a girl given the odds that we already have two boys. I mean, right? With two boys, how can we possible get another little boy? Currently, the room that will become baby's nursery is somewhat geared towards a little girl, so I think I presumably feel like it has to be a little girl. With that said, we have no clue what our girls name would be and alternatively, we have the strongest little boys name. I've heard variations of it, but have only heard this version of his name once on a documentary (which is actually where we got the idea for the name!). I love this name so much that I almost hope we have a little boy. Is that weird? Also, I think I feel more comfortable with the idea of having a boy, but then I quickly give it to God and say, "Just give us what you think we need to complete our family... (or even not to complete it), but to make it exactly how HE wants it." Giving up the gender - out of my control - makes me stop and remember that this baby's gender isn't about me. It is about glorifying God on this earth and teaching me more about who I need to be in order to glorify Him. Even still, if you asked me what I want (a boy or a girl), I honestly couldn't give you a straight answer. And that is from my heart of hearts!
Diet: Okay, so my diet has been crap the last week. I mainly attribute it to the fact that we had family in town for Vance's second birthday party. That meant that I was off of my normal routine and was faced with opportunities to eat more crap, such as leftover birthday cake in the morning, bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, heavier dinners, more sugary drinks, and so on. Generally, I am able to control my diet in these types of situations, but for whatever reason (maybe the fact that I am pregnant), I let myself go a little. Doing so, I can definitely feel the excess weight on my body. Yes, I am pregnant which means more weight, but this weekend caused an even bigger weight gain, in my opinion... which is totally fine, just means I need to get back on the horse and continue on with my pregnancy and health journey.
Weight: As for weight, I am still within the healthy range of weight gain, but on the upper end, which gives me reason to tighten up my diet a little bit over the next month or so. I believe at 17 weeks pregnant that I should have gained between 5 and 8 pounds, and I have gained about 7 - at 136/137 lbs. Not bad, but also not great. I do go to the doctor next Tuesday, which means a real weight checkin, but honestly their scale is always a pound or two heavier than my own, so I usually just go with my own scale!
Nursery: Currently trying to figure out how I am going to house this little babe. Right now, we have two guest rooms in our house; one downstairs and one upstairs. The baby is planning on going in the upstairs guest room, which is currently setup with a queen bed and cute furniture. While I'd love to space plan a nursery, I am also trying to get creative with how I am going to do it without moving the queen bed in and out. What I am thinking of doing is just keeping the bed in the nursery for nursing and for reading, since we have a huge playroom a few steps away that can be used for tummy time and the like. Anyhow, currently the room's colors are black, grey, cream, pink, blue and purple. I know, totally girly. Again, I think I may leave it until he or she gets here ( I totally almost called it a SHE by the way! Which I never did in my past pregnancies with my boys.. they were always he even though we didn't know the gender). Anyhow, we will indefinitely be doing a nursery reveal whether it is making over V's current nursery or redoing the new nursery altogether. Stay tuned!
Exercise: As for exercise during this pregnancy, I am crushing it! No, I am not working out everyday, but pretty dang close to it. What do I do for exercise? Generally, I do spin class a few times per week, maybe some barre, a tabata class and throw in a few 30 minute 3 mile runs. All in all, I workout either 5 to 7 days per week. I'd say that is pretty good for a pregnant lady. Also, to make my workouts more manageable and comfortable, and given my round ligament pain, I have partnered with Baobei Maternity and am using one of their ProBump Pregnancy Belly Support Bands. So far it has helped reduce round ligament pain and discomfort SO much. During my second pregnancy, I had to stop running at 20 weeks pregnant given extremely painful round ligament pain. Thus, I am hoping this belly band will help to prolong my runs into pregnancy, if possible.
Feelings About Going From Two to Three: In the first trimester, I had the worst anxiety about our decision to have a third. Looking back, I fully think it stemmed from how lethargic and nauseous I felt. Because I felt terrible and thus unable to care properly for my two sons, my thoughts shouted, "And you're having a third?? How is that going to be possible when you can barely take care of these two boys?" Yes, Satan shouting in my ear constantly. I was filled with doubt and sometimes bitterness. But, after hearing a mom speak at a MOPs talk, she reminded me that doubt is not believing that God will get it right, while bitterness is believing that God got it wrong. Ummm hello, Brooke! God got it right, and I prayed for him to show me a sign, when I should have known that Him putting it on both my husband and my heart to get pregnant was our sign... AND THEN me getting pregnant was the ultimate sign!! But to stop and think that he got it wrong... oh no, no he did not. And like I said, I really think this notion stemmed from the fact that I felt so helpless during the first trimester. My boys were watching so much TV, something that I rarely let them do during the day... they literally get like 45 minutes of screen time at night, if that. But compared to us parking in front of the television screen first thing in the morning until the afternoon and sometimes until my husband got home, it felt like a lot. I began to feel like a failure as a mom. What I needed was to give myself a big dose of grace, and to reiterate to myself daily that God certainly got it right, and that I needed to parent with the cadence of my capability at the time. And at that time, during the first trimester, I wasn't able to do much as a parent.. and you know what? That is okay! I am growing a baby and with that comes setbacks, but ultimately, this baby is going to be the biggest gift to our family and also to my two little boys. I just know it. All in all, I feel very confident going into this third pregnancy with the idea that we will add a third kiddo to the crew. I do have some reservations about Vance, my youngest, because he is SUCH a mama's boy right now. Literally, he won't go to sleep unless I read him stories and rock him to bed... no one else. If Ryan tries to do it, Vance will wail, crying out, "Where's mommy??" And only calms in my presence. He also loves physical touch - totally his love language - and loves being close to me or having me hold him. I've also noticed moments in which he becomes a bit jealous of other kids, even Rhett sometimes, if they get too lovey with me. So ya, I am a little lost at how I am going to handle him no longer being the baby and having to share myself with him and another, but I also know that I will find a way. Rhett, on the other hand, is cool as can be. The joys of him getting older and more mature! He is so excited about meeting the baby. He really could care less. In fact, he is more excited to attend his big boy school next year than anything else!
That is all for now mamas! Please leave me comments with where you are at on your own journey. I love reading them and having a community along the way. Stay tuned for next week!
Photos: Jessica Valentine Photo
Hi ladies! Whoa. I can't believe I am already 16 weeks today, but also feel like the 40 week mark is so far away. Doesn't pregnancy always go so fast, yet so slow? I just keep reminding myself that it's a long journey until the end and that the wait is actually a gift. It means more time to experience the miracle that pregnancy is, and also more time with my two boys because we all know how crazy the first year of motherhood is when adding a new baby to the crew. Nevertheless, I wanted to update y'all on where I'm at with my third pregnancy adventure at 16 weeks! Here we go...
Current Disposition: Mentally, I feel so much more like myself. In the first trimester, I definitely had some pregnancy blues. I felt a little down, a little distant, a little less like myself. I was not motivated to do any sort of work, and I felt helpless in the sense that I couldn't take care of my kids like I normally can.
I can't point at what actually caused these pregnancy blues. It could have been the grey skies that persisted in Dallas through the winter season for, what felt like, several months. It also could have been my changing hormones; hormones can make you feel a little down and not like yourself, and that might have been the culprit. It also could have been the fact that I felt horrible; nauseous, sick to my stomach and fatigued beyond being able to lift an arm to put on a show for the kids. Whatever the cause of my pregnancy blues, suffice it to say that they are gone. Woo! At 16 weeks, I feel energized, motivated, happy; almost as if I'm not pregnant.
The weather has also changed and spring has sprung here in Dallas, which is making me feel even more joyful. I wake up with energy, and feel like I can and want to workout. I also want to play with my kids and get outside with them to adventure as much as possible! Also, the mental weight of having three kids isn't weighing as heavily on me, as it did in the first trimester. I attribute this feeling in the first trimester to my inability to care for my two boys properly; so the thought of adding a third seemed insurmountable. Now that I am out of that funk, I'm starting to feel like supermom once again. Having three kids is indefinitely the path that God has laid out for me, and one that I can absolutely thrive in. This is what I was made to do!
Energy Level: Okay, so I just talked about this, but yes, my energy is definitely back. I feel *that* second trimester energy that I love and adore from my prior pregnancies. I was hoping it would hit right around the 13 week mark, but this time around, it took me until (really) 16 weeks to get there. Point is, I'm there! And I'm thankful that God has blessed me with energy!
Diet: My diet has been hit or miss. Truth be told, I am not as strict with my diet as I was during my second pregnancy, but not as lax as I was during my first pregnancy. I probably sound like a broken record. But I'll recap it again... in my first pregnancy, I gained 60 pounds with zero exercise and eating my way for two through those 9 months. Vowing to never let myself go again, my second pregnancy was entirely different. I exercised regularly and ate very clean. I still managed to gain 33 healthy pounds. Rewind back to my first pregnancy, I lost all of those 60 pounds effortlessly within a year, while with the second pregnancy, I thought I would lose the weight within weeks, if not by baby's 3 month birthday. But no. My body retaliated and I started gaining the weight I had lost after delivery at 6 months postpartum. Moral of the story is that with my third pregnancy I have learned that your body is going to do what your body is going to do. You can try and control what you eat, but if your body wants and needs to gain weight, it's going to do that. Sure. Eating healthy makes me feel way better than eating poorly does. But I also have the perspective from both pregnancies to know that eating what my body needs rather than depriving in order to avoid weight gain is what I am going to focus on this time around. But that is me. I am not a fitness pregnancy model, nor am I striving to be. I strove to be last pregnancy and it came back to bite me in my big ol' postpartum bottom. So humbling, that I'm really just giving my pregnancy diet/weight to God and trusting in my body's signals to know what I should and shouldn't eat. No, I'm not scarfing down bagels and cinnamon rolls (because my body doesn't need that; some women's bodies do!), but indulging in a bite or two of sweets then gearing it back to my glowing green smoothie? You bet. I'm enjoying my diet a little more than I otherwise would when I'm not pregnant.
Weight: So how has this diet, being a little looser than my second pregnancy diet and a little stricter than my third pregnancy diet faired for me in terms of the number on the scale? Well, I am measuring very close to where I was with my second pregnancy, believe it or not. I may be 1 pound heavier, but once again, I'm thankful the scale is working (somewhat) in my favor. But let's be honest, does the scale ever work in our favor during pregnancy? It feels like I just got back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 130 pounds when I found out that I was pregnant with our third (this also happened to me when I found out I was pregnant with our second); jokes on me. But my point is that I was so used to seeing the numbers on the scale go down; and they finally went down; all the way down, and just when I started to bask in my weight loss, I got pregnant, and albeit, the number started to go up. Mentally, this can make a girl feel defeated. Some days I am, but I know this path all too well. I will gain weight. I will gain weight. And... I will lose the weight. Not sure when, but it will happen. Once again, my mind feels like it is in the right place this time around. Yes, I still hop on the scale totally naked in the morning (don't even put on my Apple Watch!), suck my tummy in, close my eyes, then open one and hope that the number has magically gone down, dare I say. Most often it's gone up, and this is a tough reality to face, but I know that that is what my body is supposed to be doing, rest assured.
Exercise: Enough about weight, let's talk about exercise. For me, exercising during pregnancy really is all about getting my endorphins going and seeking that feel-good after-exercise feeling. Exercise gives me more energy thought the day, which means a better attitude towards my kids and also the motivation to do more with them, such as adventures, walks to the park, playing outside, etc. So for me, exercising during pregnancy isn't really an option, instead, it is something I seek to achieve every day for the reasons I just mentioned. What I've found to be key in consistent exercise, is to first and foremost, remember how exercise makes you feel, and the secondly, to find exercise that you love and want to come back to. For so long, I have loved running, but since we moved to Dallas, I've yet to find a running trail that I like. Not only that, but running has felt pretty hard on my body. Everything is jiggling, I have a groin tear that is exacerbated during pregnancy, my ligaments tend to hurt more, and I feel super stiff the following day. I still appreciate my runs, but I've realized that there are many other forms of exercise and fun classes to experiment with that can be fun, and potentially not as hard on my body. One of these lower impact workouts I've come to love during (and also before) pregnancy is spin class. The YMCA in Dallas has a great spin instructor, and it is the perfect duration (45 minutes) and perfect cadence to allow for that feel-good feeling, while being lighter on my body. In addition to spin, I love barre and step class. Any sort of class, is great for me during pregnancy.
Doctor's Appointments: A few weeks back, I had my blood drawn for genetics testing. We received the callback and were classified as very low risk. Very thankful for the news. The nurse also almost gave me the gender results, but I stopped her as soon as she said, "And we have the gender results..." So, they have the gender results too, but once again, we aren't finding out. Wow, does it make it hard to not find out knowing that those results are already ink pressed on a piece of paper somewhere. Nevertheless, we are so excited for our surprise! As for upcoming doctor's appointments, I have the 17 week appointment next week, followed by the 21 week anatomy scan coming up. Prayers for that!
That's all for now, ladies! Can't wait to share more along the way.
It's been awhile since I wrote a pregnancy update, but I figured I'd start somewhere. Along my pregnancy journeys (each one), I really enjoyed reading where other mamas were at in terms of symptoms, body changes, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Plus, I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed going back and reading my entries from when I was pregnant with Vance. Boy, have all of my pregnancies been different - not by a landslide, but certainly different. I wish I would have journaled during my first pregnancy! Anyways, here is a basic recap at fifteen weeks pregnant!
Current disposition: I'm starting to feel more and more like myself. I definitely have a lot of emotions going into this third pregnancy, and maybe more than I'd care to admit. It's in my personality to clam up when I too many emotions begin to overload my mind, and I feel like that is what has happened since the beginning of my pregnancy journey. This pregnancy decision (having a third child) and this pregnancy itself feels slightly different because I am doing something that is definitely outside of my comfort zone! It is different than what I had growing up, coming from a two-sibling family. To a small degree, I feel like I'm out on a limb. Sometimes it feels amazing, and other times it feels scary.
Having two kids was always in the cards, so long as my body permitted it. And it did. Having three kids was something I thought that I wanted since I met and married my husband - and everything in my tells me that it's the right decision, - yet there are still things that scare me about it. Three kids means getting three kids dressed, three kids fed, three kids into the car, three kids buckled in their carseats, three kids out of the car, three kids nighttime routines, three kids into college... you get the point. It's already hard with two, and that didnt stop us from having a third, but I guess I am trying to say that there is definitely some anxiety around the reality that we will have a third come September. Once again I want to reiterate that I have ZERO regret that we went for a third. In fact, I have never been more sure of anything. I am just scared because now that I know what it takes to raise TWO kids; there are moments when THREE kids seems like it'll be a lot.. I guess I'm really needing to lean on God in these moments and remember that He put it on our hearts to have three, and really remind myself that THIS exact situation is what I was made to do. A three kid mom is who I am!
Energy level: Oh gosh. Well, to be honest, I don't know what it's like to have full energy anymore. It feels like it's been so long since I've gotten through a day feeling "good" that I don't even remember what it feels like ha! My first trimester was FULL of fatigue, and fatigue that I gave into. With my second pregnancy, I definitely felt tired in the first trimester, but I didn't give in to the tiredness. I maintained my exercise, kept doing my outings, and didn't really rest - probably as much as I should have. When the second trimester rolled around (right at 13 weeks), I instantly felt energized and carried on per usual. This pregnancy feels different. The fatigue was almost unbearable - like I couldn't get myself off of the couch some days. I was able to somewhat consistently workout, and that gave me some energy, but not like it did in my second pregnancy. Having two kids at home, I had to have grace with myself for allowing myself to take days off as a mama, and to allow my kids to watch a bit more TV than I would have liked them to.
Now that I am in the second trimester, I expected my energy to return to usual, and maybe even anticipated heightened energy, as I had felt with my second pregnancy (can't remember what I felt during my first pregnancy - it was a blur!). But, that hasn't happened yet. I do feel much more energized than I did from weeks 8 to 12 weeks, but at 14 weeks, I don't have the kind of energy that I had hoped for. That said, I am still anticipating the return of energy, just recognizing that it might come a little later than I originally thought. My mother-in-law reminds me that pregnancy is much harder and more exhausting when you are running around after two young kids! She should know too, she is a mother to FIVE.
Diet: My diet has been alright, but is certainly different than when I am not pregnant. If you've been following my weight loss journey after having my second, you know that I finally lost all of my baby weight, getting me to 130 pounds! Let me tell you that this weight loss didn't come easily. There were months of frustration when I realized that breastfeeding (or hormones) was causing me to gain weight during the postpartum period. Once I stopped, I finally started to drop the weight with my Postpartum Slimdown Program. However, it didn't happen necessarily over night. I mean, the initial weight loss did, but the long-term weight loss took some time. With that, I was definitely watching my caloric intake. Quite honestly, cutting calories was really the only thing that enabled me to ultimately lose the weight. My point is, I got used to being able to consume a smaller number of calories during the day. Once I became pregnant, you obviously realize that you can't continue along this path of minimal calorie consumption, and that you need to focus on feeding yourself and your baby. Not only that, but even if I wanted to eat fewer calories, it's almost as if my cravings and my body itself wouldn't allow me to. I am not one to deny my body of what it feels like it needs. When I am not pregnant, I have very few cravings and can easily get through a day eating a very light diet - and I feel great! When I am pregnant, I have cravings (for random food), and certainly for more food. I found myself needing to consume an extra meal at night - usually a spoonful of peanut butter and milk. Another thing, when I am not pregnant, I never drink milk. I generally try to avoid dairy (except for cheese - I love cheese). But since becoming pregnant, I can't get enough dairy. So that sums up the fact that I have been eating more during pregnancy, which might come to a shock to my body, which was used to the fewer calories I had been consuming.
Cravings/Aversions: Adding onto the diet portion, I definitely am craving random food this time around. Like I said earlier, I am wanting more dairy. Cheese, yogurt, cream cheese!, milk. I have this big craving for dairy, especially in the first trimester. I also crave food right before bed. So weird.
Alternatively, in the first trimester I had food aversions to basically everything. Nothing tasted amazing. Well, the only thing that did was cheese and crackers. My dinners usually meant picking at everything in the fridge to find out that nothing was appetizing. Or having Ryan run out and get me something I thought that I was craving - such as PF Changs, only to take a few bites after he returned and then turn up my nose because I felt as if I was going to barf. The only thing I could really stomach (other than cheese and crackers) was sushi (cooked sushi and/or avocado rolls), cream cheese on sourdough toast - or anything on toast -, and popsicles. Other than that, everything else made me want to gag.
Maternity Clothes: my clothes don't fit anymore at 14 weeks. I could wear my pants with a rubber band around the waist button up until about 12 weeks. Once 13/14 weeks hit, my pants certainly feel out of reach. Could I put them on with a rubber band cinching the waist? Sure. But would they feel comfortable? No. So, it's back to my dear old friends: leggings and Lululemon pants. I'm not going to complain because I certainly chose to get pregnant, but it's definitely a sad day that I just bought about four pairs of super cute size 28 jeans, and now I won't be able to wear them at least for another year. Oh well! The joys of pregnancy!
Skin: My skin has finally stopped breaking out. The first trimester was horrible in terms of acne! I haven't had that kind of acne ever in my life, and it certainly hasn't been as bad during either of my two pregnancies. Safe to say, the acne is clearing up and I'm starting to get that pregnancy glow! Woo woo. I've also noticed that my hair is shinier and growing like crazy - my hair dresser even noted that I have a lot more new growth coming in.
Workouts: I'm actually surprised at how often I've been going to the YMCA to workout - even through the death of what was the first trimester. Working out was one thing that made me feel better during the first trimester. I maybe felt like I was going to barf mid-spin and probably went at half the rate I usually do. Nonetheless, working out boosted my energy and somehow helped (a tad) with my nausea. My favorite workouts this pregnancy have been spin, barre and walking on the treadmill. During my first pregnancy, my working out was non-existent. During my second pregnancy, I ran at least three days a week, 3 miles per day up until about 20 weeks, then switched to step class and spin. This pregnancy, I definitely don't feel as comfortable running. Maybe it's the extra weight, but for whatever reason, I don't feel as comfortable as I did during the second pregnancy to run. I had this same sensation during my first pregnancy. On the other hand, spinning has been an amazing workout. It is more doable because you are essentially sitting. My heart rate also doesn't get as elevated, which was probably a good thing during the first trimester. Barre has also been great for toning and what not.
Body: Well, well, well.. my body has felt like it has changed. I have that bloated feeling, you know when you feel like a whale and it makes you want to sit on the couch all day? Yeah, you'd think that feeling like a whale would make me want to workout more, but no, it makes me feel lazier. My body changes - specifically bigger thighs, way bigger boobs, and even bigger arms has happened a lot sooner than in my other pregnancies. Unfortunately, I am one of those women that does pack on some extra cushion during pregnancy. It is my bodies way of doing pregnancy, and there really isn't anything that I can do about it. I know this because during my second pregnancy, I worked out constantly and ate very clean, and I still had the thigh growth and bodily changes of gaining that extra cushion. That said, the increase in fat stores happened later on in my pregnancy. This pregnancy, I've felt that fat gain sooner. I'm not sure if it's because my hormones are slightly different this time around or because I had more lag time between my pregnancies or because I just came off losing all of the baby weight. Whatever the reason, my body certainly feels "squishier" as my toddler has told me. HE even notices! No joke. Made me self-conscious for sure, but he also reminded me that it's a good thing because I have a baby. Such a sweetie.
Photography by Jessica Valentine Photo
Life as a mom of two and pregnant with our third has my feeling all sorts of crazy lately, especially through the first trimester! Now that the second trimester is underway, I feel like I can finally wrap my head (and emotions) around the idea that we will welcome another little one into our family in a few short months. With that, I feel a bigger sense of responsibility and have become even more cognizant of the mom I want to be, especially when it comes to purchasing "stuff" for my growing family. And a big part of that stems from the desire to purchase more thoughtfully, and to help create a planet that is beneficial for my babies.
While I can't do everything, I can do something, which is why I have partnered with EarthHero, a company that puts thought into our tomorrow's and into the future of a children's planet.
I love EarthHero because the brands they carry must meet certain criteria, and all must be sustainable in one way or another. This includes brands with:
As such, I wanted to compile my Top 7 Favorite EarthHero /Sustainable Products for the entire family.
Use code SOUTHERNISH for 10% off.
1. Earthwell Maple Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle - $39.95
I carry a stainless steel water bottle around with my 24/7, especially while pregnant. During pregnancy, water consumption is even more important, and it is recommended you consume 12 glasses of water per day. That means 50% more water than when you are not pregnant. Whether I carry strictly water or lemon infused water, this stainless steel water bottle is a must. Not only that, but my kids also love it and love having the water on-hand whenever we are out and about.
2. Born to Explore Organic Cotton Onesie - $19.50
When it comes to babies and their onesies, many modern-day moms wonder if buying organic cotton matters. In my opinion, the answer is yes. Organic does matter. Baby's skin is much more delicate and porous than adult skin, which means that babies are more susceptible to the effects of harmful chemicals. Organic cotton is free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which is good for your baby, and is also better for the environment. Lastly, did you know organic cotton lasts five times longer than regular cotton? Investment recouped! This Born to Explore Organic Cotton Onesie is totally worth it for all of the above reasons.
3. BiOBUDDI Learning Letters Planet Based Baby Blocks - $24.99
These BiOBUDDI Plant Based Baby Blocks are a great toy for the entire family. Made in the Netherlands, these blocks are made from 97% Sugarcane plants, which includes their stickers too! Say goodbye to plastic and hello to these new, improved and eco-friendly blocks. There are several different versions, including letters, animals and shapes! My boys love them, and I personally love that there is a learning aspect involved with the use of letters. Go, mama, go.
4. EZPZ Silicone Happy Mat - $24.99
I am a huge proponent of encouraging baby to feed him or herself at an early age to help establish fine motor skills. But, there is one problem: the mess. However, with EZPZ's Silicone Happy Mat, which is 100% food-grade silicone - naturally unbreakable and toxin free - it makes mealtimes easy and mess-free with their sustainable suction mat. Almost impossible for tiny hands to tip over! Both boys love this product, as shown in the photos.
5. Kids Bamboo Utensils Forks and Spoons Set (6pk) - $12.99
Feeding kids, much less babies, with plastic utensils is something that drives me a bit crazy. Do I own plastic kids' plates, cups and utensils: yes. Does it make me cringe on the daily: yes. This time around, I vow to change that. Plastic tends to erode overtime and may leech chemicals into your food that can be endocrine disruptors, yuck! That is why using alternative materials matters. This is why I love these Kids Bamboo Utensils Forks and Spoons Set. Completely BPA and phthalate free. Not to mention, heart and stain resistant, and dishwasher safe.
6. United by Blue Whittier Kids Backpack - $27
I love backpacks. Not sure if it's because they remind me of back-to-school, something I lived for as a kid and teen, and even as an adult, but it's true, I love me a good backpack. And, with a newborn in our horizon, on-the-go storage is a necessity. What makes this Whittier Kids Backpack even better than most is the fact that it is made from 100% recycled polyester. Not to mention, United by Blue is a certified B corp, which means their mission is to basically make the world a better place (a certification that is very hard to come by).
7. Solo Eyewear Peru Bamboo Polarized Sunglasses - $88.99
These Peru Bamboo Polarized Sunglasses are for mama. Like backpacks, sunglasses are something I cannot get enough of. Maybe it's the Dallas sun or maybe it's my light green eyes - whatever the case, polarized sunglasses during the spring and summer are a must! What's cool about Solo Eyewear is that they donate 10% of their profits to eye care initiatives for those who need it. SOLO’s outreach has already touched the eyes of 13,000 individuals across 32 countries! Not just that, but the temples of their glasses are made from 100% repurposed bamboo, while the frames are handcrafted black cellulose acetate with metal trim. Plus, they are polarized.
Happy shopping, mamas!