Meet Jack!

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Hi friends!

Long time no talk! Sorry that I have been MIA on here, but also…not really sorry because I have been on a “maternity leave” of sorts! :)

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Everyone, meet baby Jack!

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Jack Benjamin Cohen was born on September 18th and he is perfect! We are so very in love with him…especially James! Seriously, watching James with his baby brother is about the cutest thing I have ever witnessed. James’ transition into the role of Big Brother has gone so much more smoothly than I was expecting and I’m so so very proud of him. He loves kissing Jack, doing tummy time with him, and he always includes him when we’re going to do things. For example, I’ll say, “Come on James, time to go to music class!” and he’ll shout, “And JACK JACK TOO!” haha He’s so sweet. I am so happy that my boys will have each other as they grow up.

So, back to Jack! He was 7lbs 15oz and 20inches when he was born - smaller than James. James was 8lbs 11oz and 21 inches. But, Jack was also born earlier than James was, at 38 weeks 3 days. Jack looks so much like James, but also very different. Jack’s nose is much pointier than James’, and Jack has a pointier chin as well. James has Ben’s strong chin (and under bite, which is the cutest), whereas it looks like Jack might have more of my jaw line. We’ll see! But Jack is blonde with big blue eyes, just like his brother. :)

Life with two kids is hard, but wonderful. But hard…haha I’ll do a whole blog post on this soon. Currently, we’re just figuring things out and settling into our new normal as a family of four (five!! Sorry Gunner!)

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I’ll be posting Jack’s birth story in the next few days so check back for that! If you’d like to read James’ birth story in the meantime, you can click here.

Thank you all for following along during my pregnancy, and for all of the continued prayers, words of encouragement, and love! I’m so thankful for you all and for the opportunity to have a “normal”, uneventful, scare-free pregnancy!

So thankful for my beautiful boys! And for all of YOU.

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Mommy Monday: 36 weeks pregnant with number two - cerclage removal!

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Ok, I've come to a conclusion: GETTING A CERCLAGE REMOVED SUCKS. haha I had hopes that this time around would be a more pleasant experience than last time, but - it wasn't really. Which leads me to believe that cerclage removals just suck in general. And that's that. haha And that's fine. It is what it is.

Bottom line is, MY CERCLAGE IS OUT, hooray!! And this time around, the doctor was able to get the entire stitch out, versus last time part of it was still left in because my doctor couldn't get it all. So I am very thankful that the entire stitch was able to be removed this time! My doctor showed me the stitch after it was taken out and it was much different looking than I was expecting! It was HUGE and thick and black...I was expecting something daintier and less horrifying looking haha.

Anyways, the removal was painful and unpleasant, but it's done and I am so happy to have the stitch out and to be completely "normal" and ready for this baby to come! :)

After removing the cerclage, the doctor checked my cervix and said I am 2 cm dilated and about 60% effaced - about exactly what I was after I got my cerclage removed with my first pregnancy.

Oh, before I forget: last week I had an ultrasound to check the baby's growth and position. Everything looked great! Baby boy is head down (woohoo!) and was estimated to be about 6lbs 6oz. James was a big baby at 8lbs 11oz when he was born, and the doctor said she thinks this baby will be not *quite* as big, but still over 8lbs. His belly was also measuring big, but the doctor said "not in a concerning way...in a CUTE way!" haha Which I think is adorable. I can't wait to kiss that big belly!

I've been really stressing out about going into labor and about getting to the hospital on time and about being able to get an epidural in time - and MOSTLY about having to leave James when I'm in the hospital. I've never spent a night away from James, and I know he'll be fine with my parents (they're coming to stay with him at our house). But I'm still stressing about it and so sad to have to be away from him!! I was "induced" in that my water was broken with James, so I never experienced going into labor on my own, unexpectedly. I'm pretty nervous for that! I hate when things aren't planned out and I just hope it happens at a convenient time and that I realize what's happening in time to get to the hospital!! I'm stressing big time, guys!! Prayers please! I'm really trying to just trust God and put it all in His hands and NOT WORRY. It will all be fine, I know. :)

Also, I know I express a lot of fears and worries and discomforts here in this blog, but I want you all to know how genuinely grateful I am for this pregnancy and for how smoothly it has gone and for my healthy baby boy. I thank God every day that we made it this far without any complications or scares! I am so thankful to have been able to experience a more "normal" and worry free pregnancy! I'm praying the duration of this pregnancy and the labor/delivery/postpartum recovery go just as scare and worry free!

Ok, on to this week's survey:

How far along: 36 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up around 40lbs.

Maternity clothes? Yes! Living in my maternity leggings and big t-shirts!

Stretch marks? So many above and below and around my belly button!

Sleep: Insomnia, frequent peeing, stress...it's been rough! But it's all part of the journey!

Best moment this week: Having my cerclage be OUT!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: SO MUCH! He's a very active little boy, and he particularly loves punching and head butting my cervix and pelvis area while simultaneously kicking my ribs. haha

Food cravings: Doughnuts, pizza, fruit...

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yep!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Back pain, period-like cramps, Braxton Hicks

Belly Button in or out? It's pretty much flat now.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy for the most part! But definitely moody and cranky and emotional as well.

Symptoms: Upper back pain on the right side - super horrible, pelvis/hip/groin pain, leg cramps at night, frequent peeing, heart burn, light-headed, out of breath, THIRSTY, stretch marks, spider veins, EMOTIONAL, hormonal, feet starting to hurt if I stand on them too long, tired, achey...

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Tracking Contractions With Bloomlife

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This post is sponsored by Bloomlife. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!

Hi friends!

This post is for all my expecting mamas out there. I have partnered up with a really cool company called Bloomlife, and I'm so excited to share it with you!

Bloomlife is a women's health company whose focus is on improving the health of moms and babies. Through the use of their clinically validated tracker, expecting moms can now automatically track and count their contractions - it is seriously so handy!

Here's how it works:

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You rent a tracker from Bloomlife (use the code AMC10 for 10% off your weekly rental!) and they send you everything you need to start monitoring your contractions.

Included in your box are the following: a Bloomlife sensor, patches, a sensor charging cord, and a quick guide that walks you through how to use your sensor. It's everything you need to get started and let me tell you, it is super simple. I was a bit nervous that the setup and everything would be complicated and tricky, but it was so easy to use. I was very pleasantly surprised.

To get started, you just download the app in the app store, and it will easily walk you through setting up your device.

Once you have the app and have gone over how to use the device, you can begin tracking and counting your contractions. All you have to do is apply the device to your belly (again, very easy to do and the directions on how to properly position the device are very straight forward.) Then, you get comfy, and start tracking! It's a great idea to get into the routine of wearing your Bloomlife for an hour or two every evening. You need to be sitting down, so I love to curl up with a good book while I'm tracking.

Most moms like to use Bloomlife for the last 6-8 weeks of their pregnancy to monitor contractions. But you can really start whenever you'd like, as Bloomlife allows you to match your rental period to your specific pregnancy needs.

Hellooooo stretchmarks and creepy belly button! haha

Hellooooo stretchmarks and creepy belly button! haha

Something I really love about Bloomlife is how easy it makes it to track and count contractions. With my last pregnancy, I tried out several different contraction counting apps, and all of them were so hard for me to use. I had to push a button when each contraction started, and then push it again when it ended, and often times I wasn't even entirely sure when exactly they were starting or fully stopped. And then sometimes I would forget to use the app at all... it was just really inconvenient! Bloomlife makes it SO easy because if I'm feeling contractions, I can just sit down with my device on and it will automatically count and track all of my contractions for me. I literally don't have to do a thing but sit there, haha. It just makes it so easy!

Bloomlife gave me a code for you guys to use, if you'd like to try out a device! You can go to the Bloomlife website by clicking HERE, and then use the code AMC10 for 10% off your weekly rental!

I'm so excited to be able to share this company with you all because it is one I genuinely love and believe in. I've been trying out and using the monitor personally and I can honestly say that it is a product that I believe you will love if you are an expecting mama.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about Bloomlife and how it works and I will be happy to answer them!

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Mommy Monday: 25 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday!

I'm feeling so incredibly thankful this evening!

Here are a few things making me feel so so blessed:

  • An uneventful, normal, run-of-the-mill pregnancy and healthy, growing baby
  • My sweet little James
  • Ben getting safely home from London
  • My amazing parents
  • My grandparents
  • My loyal, gentle little old dog
  • My beautiful garden
  • My home
  • My health

What are YOU feeling grateful for right now?

This is going to be a rather boring Mommy Monday update. Not much to report, other than the fact that I'm quickly turning into a hormonal, emotional wreck! :p

James and I spent a night at my parents' house this weekend because Ben was in London for school. It was so nice being able to play in the lake and be with my dad on Father's Day! But we missed Ben terribly! It's so good to have him home!

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I swear, James is growing up so quickly right before my eyes. Every morning when we wake up he looks bigger and seems more grown up to me. It's going so fast, slow down!!

My belly is growing, my stretch marks are multiplying, my feet are starting to hurt, and my back is a little achey, and baby boy number two is kicking up a storm. It's the absolute best. :)

I have my next doctor's appointment in one week, so I'll have lots of updates and stuff for you guys in next Monday's post. I'm having my glucose test and my rhogam shot, so stay tuned for all of that!

Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 25 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far as of my last appointment. Will update this after my next appointment!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pretty much exclusively, at this point!

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: It's been ok!

Best moment this week: Surprising my grandpa on Father's Day!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much!!

Food cravings: Fruit!

Anything making you queasy or sick: No.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? The top part it out, the bottom part is in. haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Emotional!

Symptoms: Light-headed, out of breath, thirsty, hungry, stretch marks, spider veins, feet feeling really sore and burning by the end of the day.

Thanks for reading, and thank you, as always for your continued prayers for a safe, healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery!

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Mommy Monday: 24 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two! Viability!!

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Happy Mommy Monday!

I just have to say, I can't believe I got up THREE blog posts last week! Who am I? haha I have been *struggling* to get even one post up a week for the past year, and all of a sudden I just have this new drive to get back on the blogging train and get consistent content out. I'm not making any commitments or promises, but my goal is going to be to try to get 2-3 posts up per week. I'll do my best and we'll see how it goes!

Oh! Also, as you can see in my pictures, I have taken up gardening! I just got bit by the gardening bug and I am diving in head first! I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm LOVING it so far! Send any tips, inspo, etc... my way, please!

Saturday I hit 24 weeks - the first viability milestone!! Hooray! Always such an exciting point in pregnancy!

I'm still feeling so great! No scares, no changes, no real major symptoms, other than light-headed-ness and dizziness occasionally. I am incredibly thankful. What a blessing to be experiencing a healthy, "normal" pregnancy! I can't even express how happy I am. Our sweet boy is growing and kicking away. He has been moving so much!

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I've been trying to explain a bit more to James about the fact that his baby brother is growing in my tummy. I think it's a really difficult concept for a not-quite-two-year-old to grasp, so I'm not sure if he understands. But he does point to my tummy sometimes and say "baby", so something is registering! I'll keep working on explaining everything to him. If you fellow mamas of two+ have any tips for preparing a toddler for a new baby sibling, please share!

You guys, my stretch marks are so bad! haha I honestly am at a point in life where I don't care...well, a little bit obviously!! But not very much. But, I'm just surprised at how bad they are this time around compared to with my first pregnancy. With James, my stretch marks didn't show up until AFTER I gave birth. They were around my belly button, and they faded a lot over the course of a year and a half. But this pregnancy, my stretchmarks are back in full force, and SPREADING. They are mostly all above my belly button, which is such an odd place to have them I think! haha I use Biooil and Palmer's Cocoa Butter, but honestly I know it's mostly genetics. Oh well. Of course, SO WORTH IT!! But just thought I'd share because I'm amazed at how many I have now!!

Alright, I think that's all. Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 24 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far as of my last appointment. Will update this after my next appointment! (Side note: next appointment is my gestational diabetes test, and rhogam shot due to having a negative blood type. Big appointment!)

Maternity clothes? Yes! They are so comfy. I shall live in maternity clothing for the rest of my life.

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: Still working with a 5:15am wake up time, so pretty beat! haha

Best moment this week: James pulling Ben and I in for family love hugs before bed! He is the sweetest and he loves to hold onto Ben's and my necks super tight and bury his head in our chests in a family hug. It's the best thing in the world!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much!!

Food cravings: Doughnuts! Watermelon!

Anything making you queasy or sick: No! Well, bad smells are REALLLY getting hard to stomach.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Mostly out...haha still not quite all the way there yet!

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy but MOODY. But happy. BUT MOODY.

Symptoms: Light-headed, dizzy, tired muscles, thirsty, hungry, stretch marks, spider veins. :)

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Mommy Monday: 23 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday! Less than one week until viability - WOOHOO!!

That was SUCH a huge goal/landmark/accomplishment when I was pregnant with James, and even though this pregnancy isn't scary or high risk, it still feels great to be almost at that critical point!!

This has been a really great week...time spent with friends, quality family time, a doctor's appointment to hear the heartbeat, etc...it's just been a good one! :)

I'll keep this brief, but some highlights from the past week have been:

-A bbq playdate with James' friends from music class

-Family day at Ben's work and getting to see the building he works in

-A doctor's appointment and checking in on little man numero dos

-Taking James to his first play and him scooching his way up to the very front... he loved it!

-Family walk over the weekend

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My dress was sent to me by a company called Beachcoco and it is the COMFIEST, prettiest maternity dress. I love it A LOT. You can click here to get the dress ... it comes in 14 different colors and is under $25!

Here is this week's survey (and yes, I finally have a weight gain number for you this week haha):

How far along: 23 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far

Maternity clothes? Yes! Like this dress, for example: click here

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: James is waking up at around 5am these days...so that's not ideal. haha But I'm sure it's just a phase...RIGHT!?!?!?!?

Best moment this week: Seeing James having so much fun and making new friends at the play this morning! He is so much fun and so confident and SO sweet! I just love him!!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes, a lot!

Food cravings: Savory things! Pasta, cheesey things, gravy, meat...

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really! Thankfully!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting bigger and bigger by the day!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still... haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy AND veeerrrryyyyy moody. haha I alternate between so serene and happy and pleasant, and then a cranky raging grouch. So, it's been fun.

Symptoms: Hungry aaalll the time, shortness of breath, thirsty, tired. Not too intense in the symptoms department, which I'm thankful for!!

Thanks for reading and for following along on this journey!

OH! Before I go: Ben and I are now leaning towards having the boys share a room. We'll have the new baby sleep in our room in the Snoo for the first three to six months. But after that, we're thinking of just moving the baby right into James' room. Any other parents have experience with a toddler and a baby sharing a bedroom/any tips? Thanks in advance!

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Mommy Monday: 22 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

My USA shirt:  ILY Couture  (  click here for the shirt  ) // James' USA sweatshirt:  Old Navy  (  click here for the sweatshirt  )

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Sorry that no post went up yesterday, but I took the day off due to Memorial Day. I just wanted to take a moment to say how incredibly thankful I am for the men and women who have given their lives to defend our great nation and to protect our freedom. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten or taken for granted.

I just finished reading The Nightingale which was really really good! I definitely recommend it. You can get the book here. But I was in tears for a lot of it because I just kept thinking about how blessed I am to live in the United States of America, where I am free and safe and have plenty of food and clean water and where my children can grow up safe and with endless possibilities ahead of them. The book really made me realize how good we have it.

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Ok, now onto the point of this post! I'm 22 weeks pregnant and still feeling great! I'm trying to think if there is anything new at all since last week as far as my symptoms go or anything...but there really isn't!

Something really exciting, though! Ben was finally able to feel the baby kick! I'm so glad! It's such a special thing and I'm really happy that he was able to feel the baby at last!

I have my monthly appointment with my OB tomorrow. I can't wait to hear little man's heartbeat! These appointments are always so short - about 10 minutes or less, haha. But I always love checking in and hearing that my little boy is doing well!

I did want to share these maternity tank tops with you guys ...they are SO COMFORTABLE! They are also very affordable. I sized up one size and they are just absolutely my favorite thing right now - so comfortable!! Click here for the tank tops.

Wearing   the tank top   in this picture!   Click here for the tank top    - comes in so many different colors!

Wearing the tank top in this picture! Click here for the tank top  - comes in so many different colors!

Alright, here's this week's survey:

How far along: 22 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss:  I have lost track, but I'll be weighed at my appointment tomorrow so I'll update you in next Monday's blog post!

Maternity clothes? Yes! The comfiest!

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: It's ok! James has been waking up pretty early in the morning and I'm not good about going to bed early, so it's been a bit rough. But not too bad!

Best moment this week: Ben feeling the baby kick for the first time! And watching James and Ben play out in the backyard together this weekend.

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: A lot! It's really picked up in the past week!

Food cravings: Savory things! Pasta, cheesey things, gravy, meat...

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! I was reeeaallly moody last week though! Like...CRANKY. haha

Symptoms: My restless leg has gotten better, thank goodness!! Starving all the time! Fatigued muscles...like, walking up the stairs makes my legs feel like they are going to fall off. haha

That's all for now! Still keeping up with my Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Workouts, although definitely not every day. I'm really listening to my body and just doing what feels right...which has meant a lot of rest days. :) Click here for the prenatal program!

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Mommy Monday: 21 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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My kimono is from Pinkblush - they have so many cute ones!! Click here to see all the kimonos

Happy Monday! 21 weeks already...wow!

Today, my dad asked me what I was doing at this time during my last pregnancy, and it got me thinking. My pregnancies have been so different - thank God.

During my last pregnancy, at 21 weeks I had been on bedrest for one week and we were all holding our breaths, holding out for viability at 24 weeks. You can read my 21 week blog post from my first pregnancy here.

It's pretty emotional and surreal thinking back on all that we went through last time around. I am so incredibly thankful for how well this pregnancy is going. I seriously can't stop thanking God for letting me experience a "normal" pregnancy! I pray that it continues going as smoothly as it has thus far!

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On Saturday night, Ben and I had a date night! It was a blast. We went to this super fancy restaurant and it was just a really special, fun night. Our dinner reservation was for 8:45pm and it was a serious STRUGGLE to stay awake, haha. But we made it and had such a wonderful time. I love that man so much!

My dress is from Ingrid & Isabel, but it's no longer in stock. Click here for a similar one, and click here for a similar sleeveless version. I also LOVE this one.

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Now for my 21 week survey:

How far along: 21 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  I have no idea! I have my next doctor's appointment next week, so I'll update then!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pinkblush and Target are my go-to!

Stretch marks? Yeeeessss...trying to embrace them! haha

Sleep: I've been a bit restless, so not great!

Best moment this week: Date night!!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much! :)

Food cravings: Muffins! Baked goods!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: Boy! Yay!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! But also grumpy. haha

Symptoms: RESTLESS LEG - it's so bad!! I didn't have this with James, and it is so so so very annoying!! Spider veins, stretch marks, bigger boobs, heart burn, always thirsty, congested, lower back is sore

Thanks for reading!! See you back next Monday for my 22 week update!

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Mommy Monday: 17 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Sorry that this post is going up a day late! This past week/weekend was packed!

Ben was at training for his new position at work, so James and I stayed with my parents all last week. We went to the tulip fields, and also visited a really cute park with a little farm. James LOVED seeing all of the animals! He was so adorable - he kept going and sitting down next to the chickens. And at the tulip fields, he had so much fun with all of the other little kids! He and the other little boys kept chasing each other and yelling in each other's faces. James had the time of his life, haha.

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We also had a fun play date with some of our friends from music class yesterday. I love watching James play with other kids! He is so adorable and I love watching him have fun and interact and explore!

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday - just my quick, monthly check. All was well! The baby's heartbeat sounded great and everything is going as it should be! On Thursday I have an ultrasound to check on my cervix. Prayers that there are no changes since I had the cerclage put in a few weeks ago!

Ok, I'll get to the survey in just a moment, but real quick: how beautiful is this dress?? You guys, it is not a maternity dress, but it works PERFECTLY with a bump! Win! And it comes in the most beautiful green floral print as well. Click here for the dress

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The best part is, this dress is UNDER $30!! And my shoes are only around $12! Click here for my shoes

Now for this week's survey:

How far along: 17 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss:  As of my doctor's appointment yesterday, up 10lbs since beginning of pregnancy.

Maternity clothes? Yes! But trying to find lots of non-maternity pieces that will work through pregnancy as well!

Stretch marks? My old ones are showing hardcore now!

Sleep: Not bad!

Best moment this week: Watching James sit with the chickens at the farm, and watching him run around with all the other little kids at the tulip fields!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not much, but a few little thumps!

Food cravings: Junk food. Give me ALL the junk food.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, but still not announcing quite yet!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out. haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ Moody/ Emotional

Symptoms: Acne, aches, tight muscles, tired, SHORT TEMPER, haha

Thanks for reading! See you back here next Monday, when I'll fill you in on the results of my ultrasound!

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Mommy Monday: 15 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two, Cerclage!

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Hi there, friends!

Friday I had my cerclage put in. I was so nervous for the surgery, even though it was planned this time and the whole thing was very relaxed. As of Friday, my cervix was still very long and normal looking, so that was great to hear, and I'm so glad that we did the cerclage before anything started changing or going south.

Even though I was super nervous, I also felt overwhelmed by a sense of peace and the knowledge that everything was going to be ok. It was such a great feeling - all of the prayers were really felt, so thank you to everyone sending them our way!

As I was waiting in the hospital room to be taken to the OR, I was overcome with emotions. I felt so incredibly thankful that I was able to have this surgery and that I was able to go through all of the scary hospital stuff in order to protect my new baby and keep it safe before anything went wrong.

Also, when I first checked in to the hospital, they sent me to the lab to get blood work done. I am a Certified Medical Assistant and have tons of experience drawing blood, but let me tell you - I HATE having my blood drawn. Like, HATE IT. I get so anxious and nervous and sweaty and so I was dreading having lab work done. Well, I got to the lab and check in, and the phlebotomist came out and said, "sorry to disappoint you, but you don't get to have a blood draw today!" I WAS SO HAPPY!! Already my second cerclage experience was going amazingly! haha

Then, I met with the anesthesiologist to discuss options and a game plan. With my first cerclage, I had a spinal, where I was numbed from my waist down and couldn't feel a thing. But I was wide awake and totally aware of what was going on and so stressed and nervous the whole time. The anesthesiologist this time said he could put me under with general anesthesia, or do a spinal. Although, he said that there was a nation-wide shortage of the medication they usually use for a spinal, so he'd have to use a different medication that takes a couple of hours longer to wear off. I told him whatever he thought was best for the baby. He decided to do the spinal, but said he'd give me something to help me relax too.

Well, whatever he gave me, the last thing I remember is being wheeled into the OR, rolled onto my side on the operating table, and the OR nurse rubbing my back as I *think* they gave me the spinal. The next thing I remember is being wheeled into recovery. I asked the anesthesiologist, "did I just fall asleep on my own or did you put me under?!" and he laughed and said, "I helped you out a bit!" haha I was SO CONFUSED!! I thought I had slept through the whole thing! I remember nothing! What I now think happened is that he gave me a sedative, so I probably was awake but just so relaxed and don't remember? I don't know, haha But it weirds me out to think that I was maybe chatting away saying who knows what during the surgery and don't remember ANYTHING!! HAHA

But, I am totally fine with whatever they did because it wasn't scary at all since I wasn't aware of what was happening and I don't remember a thing. I just remember going into the OR and leaving the OR, haha. Very pleasant!

I then had to wait a few hours for the spinal to wear off and to be able to move/feel my legs again. Then I got to go home. The whole thing was very easy and really no big deal. SUCH a different experience than the cerclage I had with my first pregnancy!! I'm so thankful for how everything went the day of my surgery and for my wonderful husband and my parents for taking such good care of me and of James during all of this!

Now, I'm 15 weeks pregnant, and everything is going well and I'm praying that the rest of this pregnancy stays as normal and uneventful as it has been thus far!!

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I've just been taking it easy the past couple of days. I'm feeling great, just sore. My back hurts a bit from the spinal, but it's getting better every day. I'm waiting on a call back from my doctor today to give me the "OK" to start lifting James and resuming my previous activity level. I'm dying to get outside and go for a walk around the neighborhood!

Yesterday afternoon I started having Braxton Hicks which I had basically MOST of my pregnancy with James (I think I may have irritable uterus), but since they started happening so soon after my cerclage I was of course freaking out a little. But they stopped and there was never any pain or bleeding so I'll mention it to my doctor when I talk to her today, but I'm pretty confident it's nothing to be concerned about. Braxton Hicks are oh-so-fun and I'm just preparing myself for  a lot of them over the next few months!

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Time for this week's survey!

How far along: 15 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  6 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes, some!

Stretch marks? No new ones yet!

Sleep: Pretty good at the moment actually!

Best moment this week: Watching James and his little friend on their play date!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes! I've felt a few thumps over the past few days!

Food cravings: Pineapple, crunch wrap supreme, doughnuts :p

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, but still not announcing quite yet!

Labor Signs: Some Braxton Hicks over the past day or two since the cerclage.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ EMOTIONAL!!!!

Symptoms: Congested, round ligament pain, emotional, peeing all the time, haha.

Thank you, again, for all of the prayers and positivity being sent our way! Please keep them coming!

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Mommy Monday: 14 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Click here for my dress (Comes in so many colors and under $100! It's my favorite dress ever!) // Click here for my shoes // Click here for my necklace (It's customized with James' name on it - you can get any name put on it! I love it so much!)

I hope you all had the happiest Easter!

We had such a fun weekend! Saturday we had a lazy morning and we all watched Homeward Bound together in our jammies and it was just such a nice, cozy day. Yesterday, James and I went to church with my parents. Then later, Ben James, Gunner, and I headed to my parents' house for dinner with extended family and an Easter egg hunt for little James. It was James' first Easter egg hunt and he did SO well!! He loved it! My cousins set it up for him and it was the cutest most fun thing!

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I was seriously dying over James' Easter outfit and how CUTE he looked!! His little tie was just the most adorable thing. I want to dress him up in fancy clothes every day!! His shirt is my favorite color - mint! And his slacks are a bit big so they will fit him for all of our events coming up through the summer!

I'm also so obsessed with the dress I wore - it's not a maternity dress. I barely squeezed myself into the dress and had to have Ben zip me up, haha but it worked with my little bump!! It's just the most feminine dress with such pretty detailing and I love the length. It's very classy and elegant and perfect for any occasion. It comes in a lot of colors and is under $100 which is SUCH a great price for the quality!! (Click here for my dress)

So, I am officially in the Second Trimester now!! Hooray!!

This week, I'm getting my cerclage, so please send all your thoughts and prayers and good vibes my way! I'm pretty nervous for the surgery and just want to get it over with!

Oh also, I found the BEST maternity jeans ever...seriously. If you're pregnant, GET THEM!

They are really comfortable (like leggings), and are super cute and actually fit well unlike a lot of maternity jeans. They come in several colors/ washes. Click here for the jeans!

Now, for this week's survey:

How far along: 14 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: 6 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes! Like these maternity jeans I've been raving about!! (Click here for jeans)

Stretch marks? No new ones!

Sleep: Not great - SO congested!!

Best moment this week: James doing his Easter egg hunt! And watching James during the church service yesterday! He's so sweet!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: I *think* a few little flutters - but none that I'm absolutely positive about yet. I have an anterior placenta this time, so it will probably be harder for me to feel movement until later on.

Food cravings: Pineapple!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Oooooh yes. ;)

Gender: We know! But we're not announcing yet! ;)

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring now! :p

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!

Symptoms: My weird dreams are gone, yay! Now symptoms include congestion, weakness, shortness of breath, and moodiness.

Have a great week, friends!!

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Mommy Monday: 12 weeks pregnant with number two!

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Dress: Soprano (Exact pattern sold out, same dress in different color here and here) // Shoes: Target

Happy Monday, friends!

Welcome to the first round of Mommy Monday for pregnancy number two!

You guys: I started showing SO QUICKLY this time around!! Seriously, I think the moment I got pregnant my uterus was like, "Ok, this again!" and blew up. haha I was showing when we were in Hawaii and that was only at six weeks...granted I'm sure a lot of it was bloating, but still. I started showing waaaayyyy sooner than I did my first pregnancy. I'm glad I've announced that I'm pregnant because now I can just let it all hang out, haha.

This week I am going in for a pre-op consultation with Maternal Fetal Medicine because...yup, I have to get a cerclage again.

As of my eight week appointment, my cervix was still looking perfect and hadn't started shortening or anything, but my OB told me "once a cerclage, always a cerclage". So I'll be getting one put in at 14 weeks as a precaution. And at least this time around it wont be an emergency or a scary unknown hurried thing. I can plan ahead, prepare for it mentally, go in to the hospital in my pajamas and glasses (last time I was wearing tight jeans, high heels, and contact lenses...NOT COMFY POST-OP, haha). Oh, and this time I can tell the anesthesiologist ahead of time that I puked on the operating table last time, so they can plan ahead and give me medicine for that haha. Anyways, this time should be a much more pleasant and calm experience, God-willing! :)

So, this week is my pre-op consultation for all of that. I'll fill you guys in on all the details of that appointment in next monday's post. I'll be getting an ultrasound so I'm really looking forward to seeing the little one!

As I mentioned in my last post I'm not experiencing any morning sickness any more, so that has been wonderful! So much better in that regard, compared to my last pregnancy!

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You guys all know how much I love and adore the Core Rehab Program from Knocked Up Fitness, right? (Read about my posts on it here and here) Core Rehab helped me heal my abdominal separation postpartum and just helped me to get my body back to looking and feeling it's best after having James. Well, I'm so excited to be doing the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program during my pregnancy this time around!!

You can learn more about the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program here. I'd love it if some of you other pregnant mamas did it along with me! Let me know if you're doing it and we can hold each other accountable!

Ok, now to the weekly survey, which I'll be filling out each Monday, just like last time:

How far along: 12 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Not sure! I haven't been weighing myself. I was 107lbs before I got pregnant.

Maternity clothes? Some! They are way more comfy, and like I said, I am getting so big so fast with this pregnancy that already some of my non-maternity clothes are getting too tight!

Stretch marks? Just the old ones so far!

Sleep: Not great! Having so many weird dreams and such bad allergies. I keep waking up with an itchy nose, haha.

Best moment this week: Hitting the 12 week mark! It just feels like a milestone, as we're basically out of the first trimester now!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: None really! Sour candy has been my jam though!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Vegetables, unfortunately. Just the thought of them makes me gag. :(

Have you started to show yet: Yes, SO quickly this time around!

Gender: Don't know yet!

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In/flat

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy but SO emotional!!

Symptoms: Weird dreams, dry skin, acne, tired.

Pregnant Again!!

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If you follow me on social media, you saw that last weekend I announced that I'm PREGNANT! Ben and I are expecting our second baby in September and we are SO excited! Sorry it took me a week to get this blog post up... I actually started writing it last Sunday and...well, here we are! I'm pulling the #momlife card. ;) Going forward, I will have a new pregnancy post up every Monday for Mommy Monday, starting this Monday with my 12 week update!

We met with doctors and specialists this past fall to discuss our fears and concerns regarding trying for a second baby (if you aren't familiar with my story, I had a somewhat scary/stressful pregnancy with my first son, James). We felt confident after our talks - and after LOTS of deep thought and prayer - and felt like it was the right time to start trying. We both really want one more child, and our conversations with the doctors really helped to put our minds at ease. Read more about our thought process/concerns/conversations with doctors here in this blog post.

Anyways, once again we got pregnant right away! With James it was *literally* our first try, and with this one it was within a month. We feel so blessed and we were (are) SO excited! When I first took the pregnancy test and got the positive result, Ben wasn't home from work yet and I had just put James to bed. When I saw the two pink lines, I instantly fell on my knees and started sobbing. I prayed so hard and told God that I was SCARED - but so thankful. I know he has a plan for this baby and for our family, and I know that His hand will be on this pregnancy just as it was with James'.

After I spent some time crying and praying, I felt SO overwhelmed with peace and joy and the strongest sense that everything would be ok, no matter what happens, no matter what this crazy journey has in store for us...we'll be ok.

I told Ben when he got home from work and he was shocked but super happy and excited. He instantly wanted to tell everyone and we did tell all of our parents that night. I'm pretty sure he ended up telling all of his coworkers/siblings/etc... within a week or two. haha For some reason this time around was much harder to keep a secret. We just wanted to tell everyone right away. We ended up publicly announcing last Saturday when I was 11 weeks, which is slightly early. But we figured even if something ended up happening, we would want the love and support of our friends and family, and I would probably blog about it and share about it on social media anyways because that is like therapy and such a great outlet for me.

So, here we are! We had our first ultrasound at eight weeks and saw and heard the baby's heartbeat. It was so special. It was like a dream, reminding me so much of when we first saw and heard our little James. But this time feels so incredibly different as well. I nearly had an anxiety attack as Ben and I waited in the room for the ultrasound. It just brought back so many memories of all of those weekly ultrasounds, checking my cervix, holding my breath, praying desperately that they wouldn't see a change in my cervix and that our James would be safe. My last pregnancy and labor and delivery definitely changed me. It changed my entire perception of this process. But, while I am so much more aware of just how much can go wrong during a pregnancy, I feel such an incredible peace that it will all work out and that I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

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First Trimester Symptoms

My main symptoms during the first trimester were fatigue, nausea, and CRRRAAAAAAZZZZYYYYYY dreams, haha. Seriously, the WEIRDEST most in depth, detailed, bizarre dreams. I'm still having them most nights, and I'll often times wake up in the morning thinking what. the. heck. haha

My fatigue hasn't been as bad this pregnancy as it was during my first trimester with James. Maybe it's because I have a toddler now and I just couldn't possibly give in to being exhausted because...well, it's just not possible to nap and lay around all day when you have a one and a half year old.

My morning sickness started around six weeks and lasted until around ten weeks. Which is much shorter than it was with my first pregnancy, and my nausea definitely was not nearly as bad this time. Now I don't have any morning sickness *knock on wood* and I'm hoping it stays away the rest of this pregnancy!

I will give more detailed updates in my 12 week post on monday! This is just a quick little intro to pregnancy number two! I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into by getting pregnant again and by signing up for two kids under three years old, but I'm sure that whatever is in store is going to be beautiful, wonderful, and perfect in it's own way and I am so thankful for this blessing and for getting to experience pregnancy again! I almost can't even believe that we're going to have another little one running around soon... it's too good to be true! James is going to be the BEST big brother! It's going to be so much fun!

Thank you for following along on this new adventure! As always, your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and good vibes are MUCH appreciated! And if you have any questions please don't ever hesitate to reach out either in the comments or through e-mail!

See you on Monday!

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Baby After Bedrest? My Thoughts On Baby Number Two

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Warning: This will be a long one, guys! It's probably the most personal blog post I've ever written.

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know that my pregnancy with James turned out to be a really challenging and scary one, leading up to an even more frightening birth experience.

To summarize, I was given an emergency cerclage and put on bedrest at 20 weeks due to having a shortened cervix. Being on bedrest for the next 16+ weeks was the most challenging experience of my life, both mentally and physically. It was 16 weeks of being terrified for my baby's safety, my body deteriorating, and being bored and antsy and...it was just a really really emotional and hard time.

I ended up having my cerclage removed at around 36 weeks and I was taken off of bedrest at that time. At 39 weeks 3 days, I went in for my weekly check in with my doctor and he noted that my right leg was waaay more swollen than my left leg. He said he wanted to have me induced and to check for a blood clot. I was sent right over to the hospital where I was admitted and was told I would be given an ultrasound on my leg to check for blood clots. The doctor on call who would deliver James came in and basically told me that there was a good chance I would die suddenly and that she was very very concerned. When I told her I was scared she said "I think that's reasonable, I am too." Um. Without going on and on too much here, what AWFUL bedside manner. It REALLY messed me up, to put it lightly. I burst into tears and was horrified (read more details here). Bottom line, I DID NOT have a blood clot. They went ahead and broke my water and I went into labor and delivered James without any further complications. (Click here to read our birth story)

I haven't opened up too much about the mental aspects of how all of this affected me. I'm not sure I really want to. I have shared with my close family, because I DEFINITELY had (and still do have) a lot to work through. It was a traumatic experience from the moment I was told my cervix didn't look right at the anatomy scan. Then after all of that and being told I would die, I was thrust into the throes of new motherhood which is a huge life-altering experience on its own, let alone after all I had been through. I still struggle with everything that happened. I'm scared. My anxiety is through the roof. I'm more emotional. I'm more aware of how very quickly life can be taken away, and how fleeting and fragile and precious life is. I'm still healing emotionally, and probably will be for a long time. My experience, without trying to be too dramatic, has forever changed me - has forever changed my mind - and it will haunt me for the rest of my life in some form. BUT I ended up with the most beautiful little boy, and I am absolutely so grateful for how everything turned out!!

At first, Ben and I were pretty scared to even think about the possibility of having another baby. We both want more kids, but we are also SO SO SO VERY happy with just James. James is EVERYTHING. He is our perfect blessing - healthy, happy, strong, whole, beautiful, smart... we are so thankful for him and for the fact that we were blessed with a son and that we all came out of that pregnancy and labor and delivery SAFE. We are so thankful to be parents, and we thought "why mess with what we have?" Because what we have is perfect. Why risk having to go through that again? Why risk me dying? Why risk losing a baby if all didn't go well? I was suffering from PTSD and so so unbelievably scared to even consider doing that again.

As time went by, and James turned a year old, I began to feel a pang of baby fever. My little boy was becoming a toddler and babyhood was slipping away so quickly. I pictured having another little one close in age with James for him to play with. Ben and I talked, and decided that I should sit down with my doctor and talk about if it was a good idea for us to get pregnant again, or if it was NOT recommended. We didn't want to be selfish by getting pregnant again just because we wanted another kid, and then put the new baby at risk because of a shortened cervix, or risk me dying, or upset James' perfect, happy, charmed little life.

I met with my doctor and laid out all of my thoughts, concerns, fears, questions... he looked at me, smiled and said "have a baby!" He explained that bottom-line: I DID NOT HAVE A BLOODCLOT. Bottom-line: Nothing happened to the baby. Bottom-line: Everything turned out FINE and I made it nearly to my due date, and maybe would have longer if they hadn't moved things along. Bottom-line: we will NEVER know if I even NEEDED a cerclage and bedrest at all, because my cervix never changed and I maybe would have made it full term even without all of those precautions. Bottom-line: I may not even have any issues with my cervix next time around. My doctor said, "If you were my wife, we'd be having a baby. Hopefully I'll see you back here soon pregnant!"

I was relieved, but still skeptical. My doctor recommended that I meet with Maternal Fetal Medicine, since high risk pregnancies and all of that are their specialty. So I did. I met with ANOTHER doctor from MFM, and he basically told me the EXACT same things that my doctor had. This doctor told me that if I get pregnant again, I wont be put on bedrest because it has been found to do more harm than good in most cases, because of inactivity and how it can increase the risk of blood clots, and also how bad it is for a person mentally. He said I also wouldn't have a cerclage again. He explained that there is no scientific evidence that a cerclage or bedrest do any good or make any difference. He told me to get pregnant.

A number of emotions went through my head after my meetings with the doctors. I was relieved and excited. I felt a bit angry that I had been through a cerclage and bedrest for maybe no reason, but then quickly I felt guilt for feeling angry because God knows I would have done ANYTHING ANYTHING ANYTHING in the entire world to keep my son safe inside of me until he was able to survive in the world. I felt confused. I felt a LOT of skepticism. These doctors were not the doctor that did my cerclage and put me on bedrest and monitored me up until I was around 30 weeks pregnant - did they REALLY know??

Ben and I have discussed everything at length. Most of all, we don't want anything to negatively impact James. But having received such adamant and confident assurance and encouragement from two separate doctors, we feel very encouraged and excited that we have the option of trying for baby number two, if we choose to do so.

A lot of prayer is going on over here. Prayer for guidance and for strength and for the right decision to be made and for God's will to be made known. We will see what happens. We will see what we decide to do. But for now, I am clinging to the words of each of my doctors, telling me that I have to remember that EVERYTHING TURNED OUT TO BE OK. My son was born full-term and healthy, and I did not have a blood clot. I wouldn't be considered high risk going into another pregnancy.

I'm ok. James is ok. I am ok to get pregnant again.

But I'm still scared.

So we'll see. But that is where we are at. We have been given the go-ahead by two different doctors, and Ben and I would both love to have more children. But we'd also be SO SO SO fine with just having our bright, sweet, shining little boy! I am an only child and I loved it.

Whatever we decide to do and whatever happens, I pray that it is God's will.

So that's where we're at!

Have any of you had another child after having a scary or hard pregnancy and/or birth experience? I'd really love to hear your story if you have.

 

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Best Toddler Halloween Costumes!

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Sorry for being MIA again. I've just really felt conflicted with social media and blogging lately...I mean, life is what is happening right in front of you...right NOW. It's NOT what's happening on your phone or computer...it's not about "keeping up" with Instagram, or spending endless hours taking and editing photos and creating content. I love blogging and social media - they're my JOB, and I feel really blessed for that. But I definitely LOVE being a mom, watching my little James grow and learn, and spending quality time in the NOW with my family MORE. SO, I've been stepping back a bit. But, I'm still here! I'll still be cranking out new content when I feel like it. But if I'm quiet, you can just know that it's because I am busy LIVING this beautiful life of mine. :)

Ok, down to the point of today's post:

There is hardly a single thing cuter than a baby in a Halloween costume! Am I right?? This year, James is still too little to go trick-or-treating, so we aren't investing in a full-fledged costume. But I did get him these really cute glow-in-the-dark skeleton jammies for him to wear all day! Unfortunately, his jammies sold out, but they are SOO cute on him!

It's fun because his music class is on Tuesdays and this year, Halloween falls on a Tuesday!! So all of the kids in his class get to dress up (parents too! - I'm going to rock this sweatshirt, or if I'm feeling really bold, I may dress up like Elsa from Frozen!), and J can wear his skeleton jammies to class!

I had a lot of fun looking for costumes for James this year, and even though I ended up going with the skeleton jammies, I found some ADORABLE ones. I wanted to share them with you guys in case you need a last minute idea for your little one. And be sure to order TODAY to make sure it arrives in time for Halloween!

What is your little one being for Halloween this year? How old were your kids when you first took them trick-or-treating?

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Recipe Box: Healthy Baby Bars

Happy Monday!

James is turning one year old on Sunday (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??) and we are having a little Birthday party for him. Well...it was going to be little, but somehow we have over twenty people coming now! It will be fun to celebrate our sweet boy with our friends and family!

I am going to be baking James a cake from scratch, and I'm going to be using this recipe. It's all healthy ingredients and has no sugar in it. I make this a lot for James, but usually I cut it into bars for him to have as breakfast or as a snack. For his birthday I will leave it as a cake and I'm going to make a home made icing for it.

Anyways, here is the recipe I use for these healthy baby bars!

Here's What You Need:

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of sugar-free applesauce
  • 3 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Here's What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Then, add in the mashed bananas, apple sauce, melted coconut oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Coat a cake pan with cooking oil. Pour the batter into the pan, and place the pan into the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes. Check to see if the cake is done with a toothpick (should come out clean).

Let the cake cool.

Slice into bars, if you'd like, or leave as a cake!

Enjoy!

Beach Day, Baby + 10 Things

How was everyone's Memorial Day weekend??

The weather here was SO beautiful! It really felt like Summer and it got me so excited for all of the fun outdoor adventures that we'll be having with James! We went to a beach near our house and it was so fun seeing how excited James was. He was having such a blast running around on the stones and stepping in the water and watching Gunner dive for rocks. :) It also got me really excited for Summer clothes. This dress is so comfortable and lightweight - perfect for a hot Summer day. It's also under $30. You can get it here.

I've seen other bloggers do "10 things" types of posts and I always really enjoy reading them. So I'm going to start doing them every now and then as well! They'll just be 10 random things on my mind.

  1. I'm having SO much fun picking out all of the details for our new house that's being built!! But it's also a little bit stressful, if I'm being completely honest! I'll share more in my new real estate series that I'll be kicking off soon!
  2. James has learned how to fake laugh and it is the CUTEST thing ever. It makes me laugh so hard, which just makes him do it more!
  3. Ben and I just finished watching 'The OA' - so creepy and weird and GOOD! Looking for new show recommendations, so send them my way!
  4. James has started napping much more regularly and for longer periods of time, which has been really nice because I've been able to get so much more done! But, I MISS him while he's sleeping!! haha
  5. I feel like I'm in a bit of a slump at this point in the Bikini Series...needing to snap out of it and find my motivation again! A new bikini, perhaps?? Stay tuned for my Swim Lust List, coming soon! ;)
  6. I want to go to Italy so badly! I've been seeing all of these beautiful pictures lately of Lake Como and am planning us a trip there because - SO BEAUTIFUL!!
  7. I'm planning out all of the things that I want to make sure to document/do for James' 1st birthday! We aren't having a party, but I for sure want to do a smash cake, and maybe a ball pit for him and do something super fun on his Birthday. What are MUSTS that you other mamas recommend absolutely doing/documenting for a little one's first??
  8. I shared in a recent blog post that the mini pill was making my skin break out and giving me horrible cystic acne, which I've never dealt with before! I switched birth control pills, and my skin is definitely getting better, slowly but surely. I've also found a few products and tricks that are helping, and I'll do a blog post about them soon.
  9. Ben and I have been talking about FINALLY trying to do an overnight getaway without James...but we both really dread leaving him over night!! It's going to be so hard, but I think once we're gone, Ben and I would have a blast. So we're working on planning that for sometime in the near future.
  10. I haven't done my toe nails in over a month now...what in the world. #momlifeI should probably go get a pedicure, STAT.

Have a wonderful day!

Mommy Monday: What My 10 Month Old Eats

First off, I want to say 'Thank You', from the bottom of my heart to all of the men and women who have given their lives in service to our great country. As most of you know, my husband served in the United States Marine Corps, and we personally know many brave men who lost SO much protecting the freedom and way of life that we tend to take for granted in the United States. This Memorial Day, let's remember what it's really about. I'm forever grateful.

Ok, so James is 10 months old now, and his diet has evolved as quickly as he has!!

When we first started him on solids, he was eating purees. All of his food was super blended and watered down with formula and basically soupy. I would make big batches of pureed carrots, bananas, green beans, spinach, avocados, yams... lots of different foods, and I would freeze them for the week ahead. James loved every food we gave him to try! He's always been such a great eater.

But the puree phase was short-lived... maybe three months? James quickly transitioned to eating table food. Now, he basically eats whatever we eat.

We give him whole bananas to munch on. He loves peas, and clementine oranges are his FAVORITE!

A lot of you have asked for me to share what I feed James, so here you go!

Breakfast

James has a bottle (around 8 oz) and then he'll usually eat some combination of the following items:

  • fruit: a banana, clementine oranges, berries, kiwis, steamed apples, etc...
  • scrambled eggs and toast
  • avocado
  • old fashioned oatmeal
  • egg and banana pancakes (mash up one banana and mix with one egg, and then pour the "batter" into a pan over medium heat and cook)
  • smoothie: spinach or kale, oranges, banana, mango, pineapple, berries, etc...
  • egg and veggie breakfast muffins

Lunch and Dinner

James will usually eat another bottle in between breakfast and lunch, and then a third in between lunch and dinner. Then for his meals, he typically has a combination of several of these:

  • shrimp
  • steamed veggies: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas, onions, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc...
  • ground beef
  • white fish (like cod or halibut)
  • toast with almond butter
  • fruit: berries, banana, clementines, steamed apples, etc...
  • chickpeas
  • black beans
  • tomatoes
  • whole grain pasta

I always give James a sippy cup of water with each meal, and he sips on it, but doesn't usually finish it.

I hope this is helpful!! Please let me know if I can clarify anything for you or answer any questions. Everyone has their own opinions and ways of feeding their children, and I respect that. This is what works for us! James has never had "baby food" or store bought pouches or cookies or anything. I make all of his food, and he loves it and we're happy with the way we've been feeding him! :) And of course, ALWAYS consult with your pediatrician.

Have a great day, friends!

Mommy Monday: 10 Month Old Baby!

James is 10 months old tomorrow...how did this happen??

This is for sure my favorite age so far! James is so much fun!! He has the BEST personality and has quite the sense of humor. He laughs and giggles and gives me a sly smile when we're in on a joke together. He makes funny noises and cracks himself up. He feeds off of my laughter, which in turn makes me laugh more until we're both a big pile of giggles.

He's CONSTANTLY exploring and on the move. For a few months, he was army crawling and scooting around on his stomach, pulling himself around by his arms. He was FAST doing this!! But now he officially crawls, and oh my goodness, the kid can cover some serious ground!

James has been pulling himself up to stand for a couple of months now, and has recently started letting go of whatever he is holding onto. He falls pretty much right away, but always pulls himself right back up. He'll be standing on his own and walking before we know it. His pediatrician guessed within the next month or so.

Speaking of his pediatrician, he went in for his 9 month check last month. All is well and on track! But it was hilarious: they couldn't get a measurement for his length because as soon as we set him on the table and tried to get him to lie down still, he would start screaming and thrashing around. The minute I picked him up and he would grin and giggle and give us a sly look. hahaha It was hilarious. Then we tried to get his weight, and again as SOON as I set him down on the scale he was screaming and thrashing and rolling around. We had to weigh him by having me hold him and then having ME get on the scale. Then I set James down and they weighed me along and THEN subtracted the two weights. Not super accurate, but according to that he was almost 20 lbs.

Anyways, when the doctor came in she said, "so I see here that the nurse put that the patient was combative and we couldn't get a length for him." HAHA Ben and I are pretty proud that our nine month old was labeled "combative" in his medical chart. So freaking funny! And James was just grinning and laughing at us...he knew exactly what he was doing. We're going to have our hands full!!!

James eats pretty much everything that we eat. He eats "table food" and has never eaten baby food. I've always prepared everything he's eaten. I made our own purees out of fresh fruits and vegetables and meats, and now I cook him healthy, whole foods for his meals.

Would you guys like more information on the types of foods and meals that I make James? I could do a sample menu post or something like that, just let me know!

James loves music, playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake, walking around non stop holding onto his walker or our hands or the furniture, playing with Gunner (he throws the ball for him, it's SO cute to watch them play together!!), being outside, playing with blocks and buckets, and he LOVE LOVE LOVES BATHTIME!! He sticks his face under the water and giggles and splashes and just has the best time! :)

As far as how things are going for me 10 months postpartum, here's an update:

I feel like my old self. My tummy is tightening up more and more as I continue to focus on exercise and healthy eating. I still have stretch marks and my belly button is all droopy, haha, but I've learned to love those parts of me because of how I got them!

The one main update is about birth control! I have been on the mini pill since my postpartum exam at 7 weeks pp. Over the past few months, I've gotten HORRIBLE ACNE, which I have never had an issue with before in my life!! It's been so frustrating, and I tried everything - different cleansers, new makeup, NOT wearing makeup, changing my diet, supplements ...everything! Then after doing some research, it hit me: THE MINI PILL. My HORMONES were the issue, and the mini pill is the culprit. So, I went off of the mini pill a couple of days ago and switched to a new birth control pill. We'll see if things start clearing up!!

I'll keep you guys updated. I was also having SUCH irregular periods...like, having one for three weeks off and on, then skipping a month, then only having one for a day, etc...seriously messing with my body. I've read horror stories about the mini pill...any of you have any experiences with it??

OH! And I had my first Mother's Day!! Well, first one with James out in the world, that is! :) It was so special, and we got to spend it with my parents too! It was fun to celebrate my mom AND me being a mom this year!

Alright, that's it for our 10 month update! Let me know if you have any questions!! I'm planning things for James' first Birthday already. I don't think we'll have a party...maybe just a SMALL get together with close family. I definitely want to bake him a healthy smash cake (let me know if you'd like me to post the recipe!!) and I have a few other things planned for him!

Have a great week, friends!

How To Be Happy: Lessons From My Son

His little face is still all chapped from his cold, but I lovelovelove these photos of my sweet, blue-eyed boy. James is such a joy - always smiling his big, bright-eyed, tooth-y (he has FIVE teeth now!) grin that lights up the room, as well as the hearts of everyone who sees him. He is a happy baby...people tell us that everywhere we go. He loves life and loves people and just always has so much fun, no matter what we are doing.

It's contagious!

Watching my happy, cheerful, bright baby boy, I can't help but admire his optimism and joy. I want to capture some of it and infuse it into my own life.

Everything is new and interesting and exciting and wondrous to baby James. As we grow and have more and more experiences, some of that newness and wonder unavoidably and inevitably fades away. We discover that, along with the amazing and fun and beautiful, life also holds many unpleasant things. We learn what it means to feel pain, betrayal, disappointment, and fear. We become disillusioned, losing that innocence, blind trust, and curiosity.

But watching James, I see that he is the perfect example of how to be happy. Here are some things that I've learned from my son:

  • Try new things, new foods, new places, new activities. Step outside of your comfort zone - new things challenge us, thrill us, scare us, and teach us. We grow mentally and physically by doing new things. The mundane can be depressing, discouraging, boring...no growth takes place there.
    But to try something new...that is what puts the excitement in life. That is the adventure of it.

  • Trust. Dare to trust. Dare to give people the benefit of the doubt. With age comes wisdom and intuition and good judgement. Use those. But also, try to let your guard down and trust. Take a leap of faith.
    Time can harden our hearts...try to let yours soften and see what happens.

  • Ask for help. When James wants a toy that he can not reach on his own, or when he wants to go somewhere that he can't get to, he turns to me and makes it clear that he would like help. He has no pride that gets in the way of receiving help when he needs it. Our pride often stands between us and our goals, and at times, even our needs. We become so intent on independence and self-sufficiency, which are important things, without a doubt. But it is also important to recognize the times when we would be better off and more successful by asking for help. There is no shame in acknowledging that we can not or should not do something on our own.

  • Appreciate the little things. My son takes such pleasure from the very littlest of things. Tickles on his tummy, a funny sounding voice, a silly word, birds chirping, a squirrel standing on a path, splashing water, a spoon banging a pot, his dog licking his face... watching him giggle and experience SO MUCH GENUINE JOY from the simplest of things makes my heart swell and yearn to be so easily HAPPY. We should remember that happiness, joy, and grace can be found in the little things...the things and events and items and experiences that maybe we have come to take for granted.
    Try to be consciously and intentionally grateful for the little things.

  • Show more affection. Cuddles, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses, gentle caresses of the face and arms and chest, a warm bright smile, holding hands...these signs of affection are second-nature to James. He shows his love so openly and so honestly. That kind of love is so rare. Life lends itself to heart-ache and each of us has - or will probably - experience betrayal, hurt-feelings, or heartbreak at some point. Experiences train us to be guarded with our emotions and with our feelings. We hold back, even at times when maybe what we should really do is rush into someone's arms and give them a big smile and kiss. Sometimes it is right to be unashamedly in love, enamored, and infatuated. Sometimes we need to cuddle, to touch, and to openly, genuinely adore...in all of the vulnerability that that entails.

My son is honest, kind, grateful, curious, loving, vulnerable, trusting, and brave. He has so much joy and happiness in his heart, and he has already, in his short little 8 months of life, been the greatest teacher I have ever known.