Chic Winter Baby Boy Clothes

We’ve slowly started putting together a drawer of clothes for our little boy on the way. This has been one of the most fun aspects of baby prepping for me and I have loved every minute of it. Since we’re having a boy, I know I only have about three years of dressing him everyday before he starts having opinions and will want to pick out his own clothes. Then I’ll have to say goodbye to chic outfits in neutral colors and hello to superhero tee shirts. I’ve got a very small window of time to adore everything I put on him and I fully intend to embrace every minute of it.

Zara is one of my favorite clothing stores and they have an amazing selection of children’s clothes that look really luxe at an attainable price point. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites here for our winter baby with links below!

Boys Clothes Round Up PNG

/1/  /2/  /3/  /4/  /5/  /6/

How to Have a Happier Second Trimester

Hello! One of the topics I wanted to address in my blog was how to make pregnancy a happier time. This is the second post in this series. You can read my prior post on a happier first trimester by clicking here.

Share Your Excitement

For most women, the second trimester is a great “honeymoon” period in the pregnancy, as more uncomfortable side effects of the first trimester subside and their energy comes back. What I think adds to that feeling too, though, is that you finally feel free to start telling people that you’re expecting! While we of course told our families and close friends early on, we did wait until the second trimester to tell our larger group of friends, our coworkers, and to announce on social media that we were expecting. It made for a pretty wonderful month to continuously tell more people and feel them share our excitement.

Screenshot_20171230-233750

I adored the process of creating our social media announcement. I hand lettered the calligraphy on some kraft paper, surrounded it with loose flowers I bought at our local farmers’ market, and added a pair of socks and a Polaroid style copy of our first ulstrasound photograph made by Social Print Studio. If you are interested in creating something similar, I would recommend getting a matte print of the ultrasound photo made like I did. The film they print the strip of ultrasound photos out on is very high gloss and it’s difficult to make that work for a flat lay arrangement like this.

Exercise However You Can

There were, unfortunately, some complications that arose during my second trimester that made my pregnancy more challenging. I’ll be going into this in much more detail on a later post, but for now, what I can say is that I was told to take it very easy and to back off the running schedule I had been sticking to during the first trimester. However, I was still able to walk and do light prenatal yoga. I did start walking our dogs separately rather than together just to get a bit more movement in my day. I’ll be writing a separate post later with some of my favorite prenatal yoga videos available for free on YouTube. It’s pretty amazing to live in an age where you can simply follow along with those specialized workouts at no cost other than watching a brief ad.

Plan Ahead

While telling people about our pregnancy was a joy, it also made the pregnancy feel much more REAL! Real in the sense of hospital bills, maternity leave, paperwork, and a scary amount of products to buy for a teeny tiny person. It was overwhelming at first, but making a plan to address those things made the whole process easier and happier. Thankfully, I was able to take advantage of that extra boost of energy during the second trimester to plan ahead and tackle these looming issues, and would definitely recommend that you do the same if you can. Some topics we tackled during this time that made a huge difference in how we planned included:

  • Calling our insurance and human resources departments to ask questions about maternity and paternity leave.
  • Asking our insurance a LOT of other questions. We asked about billing for traditional VBAC, C sections, NICU costs, genetic testing, breast pump coverage, and so on.
  • Researching childcare options.
  • Changing our insurance deductible (This is not always possible, but as our annual renewal fell during the middle of my pregnancy, we were able to change our deductible prior to the birth of our child to the lowest option, which drastically will reduce the cost of the birth).
  • Putting together a baby registry.
  • Talking to our doctor about payment options for the birth. We are very lucky that our hospital allows us to prepay a certain amount for the birth in anticipation of average expected costs. At this point, we have essentially paid for what it will cost to have a traditional VBAC with no complications. I hope that this is exactly what happens, but, having seen many friends and family members have children recently and go through some scary experiences, I know that complications can arise at any moment. Should that happen, knowing that we have already paid a majority of what we would owe a hospital, regardless of how the birth progresses, will make it much easier to face those challenging circumstances should they arise.
  • Put together a reading list. I’ll be covering this more in a later post, but during this time I took book and podcast titles from anyone I knew who had had a child and made a list of literature to absorb. While I simplify a lot of things in my life as much as I can, I’m a “more is more” person when it comes to information.

Screenshot_20171230-233946

Maintain What You Can

With so many changes going on with my body, it was very reassuring to be able to keep some things the same. My doctor advised me that after the first trimester it was safe to go back to coloring my hair and I was very eager to make that appointment to refresh my highlights and lowlights. Since then, I’ve gone in regularly every eight weeks to refresh my hair color and trim the ends. I also kept up pedicures and manicures and still put in the same amount of effort into my daily hair and makeup. Finally, I found a few pieces of clothing that worked well during this transitional time, when you’re too big for regular clothes and too small for maternity clothes. I had a lot of luck finding cute tunic style tops at Forever 21 and Target for pretty affordable prices. This self care and investment in my appearance did wonders for my self esteem and made me feel more like an individual and less like a baby incubator.

I’d love to hear from other moms as well! Did you get your energy back in the second trimester? What did you do to make life a little better during this time?

 

New Year’s Resolution: I’m a Wife, I’m a Mom, But I’m a Woman First

I hope everyone had a great time ringing in the new year! I was toasting with Martinelli’s this year, but had a great time with our friends nonetheless.

I am a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Really, it’s just that I love the concept of continuous self improvement and love that there’s a time of year when, even if it’s only briefly, people make a stab at carving out a better life for themselves. Over the years, my resolutions have been focused on lots of different things, ranging from health to knowledge building to quality time. They’ve also varied in scale. Last year my resolution was simply to spend more time talking to my brothers (a constant group chat makes that pretty easy to do!). Often, though, they have come from looking back at how I have lived during the past year and focusing on something that I want to change.

Screenshot_20180101-133122

This year, however, is slightly different.

We’re anticipating a major life change in February, when our first child is due. As that due date has crept closer and closer, I’ve found myself facing some anxiety about the idea that life will change… forever. It feels childish to write that, but the enormity of the lifestyle change that we are taking on has felt a bit overwhelming in the last few weeks. The word “forever” is what I keep pausing at.

My identity and ego are strongly tied to my independence. For some reason, this didn’t change too much when Jon and I first got married. Both of us have strong personalities, separate identities, and individual goals; we have always respected that about each other. Now, however, as I’ve been absorbing more information from mom blogs, parenting books, and podcasts, I’ve started to really consider how my identity could change when I become a mother and more importantly, specifically how I want it to change.

This brings me to my resolution for this new year:

Wife Mom Woman First Graphic

Of course, I know that motherhood looks different for everyone. I don’t pass judgment on anyone who approaches this change in a different way. Having witnessed many of my friends and family members bring children into the world over the past few years, I know this transition can be handled in a variety of ways to create a beautiful life and a happy family. Some women want to be a mother, first and foremost.

I do not.

I long for motherhood to be a part of who I am, and a very, very important part of who I am, but I do not believe that that role must define me singularly. I believe that I can be more complicated than that and no less a parent; in fact, I believe I will be a better parent by caring for myself first. I need to put on my own oxygen mask, per se, before helping others.

Of course, it is lofty to say these things now. It’s entirely different to put them into practice. I’ve spent some time considering what it actually means to be a woman first, what those small steps are that take you to that larger lifestyle concept. For me, this will mean that I tend to my health (mental, physical, and emotional), relationships (including my marriage, family, and friendships), appearance, and career. I’m planning to revisit this idea as a monthly series to share how specifically that month I have cared for myself as an individual. I’m excited to share this journey with you, and would love to hear your input as well. What are things that you do to put yourself first?

How to Have a Happier First Trimester

I feel like I need to first post a disclaimer here:

My first trimester wasn’t that bad.

At age 29, I am not the first of my friends to get pregnant and because of that, I’ve seen some truly nightmarish first trimesters and also some totally normal ones. I wouldn’t even say that mine was normal. I got very lucky. I didn’t experience any nausea or morning sickness, for which I am eternally grateful.

What I did experience amounted to food aversions, low energy, and dealing with a changing body that, while it didn’t look pregnant yet, also no longer felt like my own.

Those experiences can still be rough, but I did find a few ways to make life a little better and happier during what’s supposed to be the worst part of your pregnancy.

Food Aversions

This one was pretty simple. I stayed far, far away from anything I didn’t want to eat and ate copious amounts of what I was craving. My doctor, bless her, gave me the go ahead to eat plenty of what I craved during the first trimester, as so many things just sounded disgusting, as long as I was taking my prenatal vitamins to supplement any potential nutritional shortcomings. For me, this meant I ate a ton of plain toast with butter, Caesar salad, and pineapple (never at the same time, I didn’t get that weird, thankfully). This also meant saying yes to takeout for my husband, because I’m not a monster and didn’t expect him to stay on a weird diet of toast and pineapple with me. It was a slightly expensive, and obviously not super healthy, habit for him to constantly order Chinese food (his favorite, which I could not bear the thought of eating during the first few weeks), but it did get make our lives a lot easier and happier to both get the things we wanted.

Pineapple

Low Energy

About a week after taking my positive pregnancy test, I felt like I got hit by a truck at the end of every workday. I would arrive home between 6:30 and 7 at night, put together my simple dinner, as nothing I craved was very complicated, eat, work out or spend time with my husband, and then would promptly fall into a deep sleep at 8:30 PM until 7 AM the next day.  Again, this symptom was pretty simple to work around. I just let it happen and let a lot of other things go, like dishes and laundry. I can reassure you that your energy definitely does come back in the second trimester, so it’s not very long that you’ll be putting things off. Truly, there’s no point in fighting the exhaustion. I’d much rather give my body what it needs than struggle through a full work day operating with half of my normal amount of energy (I’m told you have to do this later anyway with the baby, so why not give yourself a break for three months, right?). It’s ok to ask your partner to take on more too during this time. There were plenty of days when my husband had some toast ready to go for me as soon as I got home so that I could immediately change into sweats and start reclining in bed.

Changing Body

This first trimester side effect is the hardest one in my opinion, because it means accepting yourself as you are, and a lot of us need self help books, therapy, and years of self reflection to do that effectively. I’ll try to help out here, though!

Right away, I had a lot of bloating and immediately noticed that it looked like I was gaining weight. This didn’t surprise me terribly, because I’m someone whose weight fluctuates pretty easily, but it was scary to think that there would be no “down” fluctuation. As I vented to my mom, “Everyday for the next nine months, I’m going to wake up fatter than the day before. Never thinner, never the same, always fatter.” After about two weeks of feeling sorry for myself, however, I moved on. I got sick of going through three potential outfits every morning to finally pick one that I didn’t hate. To do something productive about that feeling, I spent a Saturday going through each piece of clothing that I owned. Anything that wasn’t flattering, that didn’t make me look awesome, went into an underbed storage tub. A lot went into the tubs. I didn’t realize it before that time, but I owned a lot of body-conscious fitting clothing, which is definitely not first trimester friendly. Let’s be honest, none of that stuff will probably be friendly to my body until a year after the baby is born. I also picked up a few loose fitting, larger sized dresses and tops for relatively cheap prices so that I had some more flattering options, like this tee shirt dress I wore throughout my vacation with my husband during the first trimester.

Colorado Dress

I really can’t recommend this highly enough, especially if you are experiencing some of the worst symptoms of the first trimester. It’s incredibly liberating to have a closet full of nothing but clothes that make you feel great about yourself, even if you wake up that day feeling downright rotten. Just put everything away that doesn’t work and remember that there’s nothing wrong. It’s the clothes’ fault, not your fault, that something doesn’t fit, feels weird, or just no longer looks great.

While, admittedly, I did spend about two weeks feeling unhot, unsexy, and very sorry for myself, what turned it around was considering that, for all I know, this may be the only pregnancy I ever have. There is no guarantee that I’ll ever be able to conceive and carry a child again. This may be my only chance to experience the really remarkable changes that my body can go through while creating a life. This may be only chance I ever have a baby bump to dress around. If that turns out to the be the case, what a waste of nine months I could have savored and spent indulging myself, rather than hating myself.

This perspective, I think, is really what carried me through the first trimester- the idea that this may be it for all I know. If that’s the case, I want to lean into the good moments of pregnancy as much as possible and, at least, try to shift my thinking about the bad moments. Bad moments are inevitable, as I’m sure I’ll go into in some later posts, but we do have full control over how much those moments cloud our thinking.

I’d love to hear from other moms and moms to be as well! What are some things you did to make the first trimester more bearable?