July 25, 2019

Mom Style (That #momlife)

Three years ago, when the blue line read, “pregnant!”  I immediately started investing in a few high-quality maternity/nursing outfits as this was done on purpose because 1) We wanted more than one child and 2) I like to think of myself as a wannabe “minimalist time capsule” kind of gal. I do like modern and classic pieces, yet I don’t hop completely on the “new trend train” every year because I want to wear clothes more than once! Hence my love for the classics. The secret to always being in style ; )

For maternity items I have found H&M has the best maternity/nursing basics such as this blouse I’ve been wearing a lot over in Instagram stories lately (and styled above) I also really like there nursing dresses since they’re extremely functional while also very modern and classic.  

Big Moments/Photo Shoots
For my baby shower and important photo shoots (like maternity or family photos) I’ve always gone with Pink Blush or ASOS for a good dress. Their dresses are always unique and beautifully made for a decent price.  For our newborn family photos last month, I actually got there “regular” lace maxi dress instead of maternity because I know I’ll wear it again. Plus, the detail on it is amazing! Even our photographer said she feel in love with the dress! : )

Brands That Carry You Through 
Hands down for this category, it would be Ingrid & Isabella, H&M, Seraphina (this one is a bit pricy) and ASOS Maternity. I’ve tried cheaper brands and the clothes never last or hold up. Especially the cheaper nursing items after spit up had landed on them. Unfortunately for those, after a few washes, I had to throw them out. 

Investment & Quality
Even though Seraphina is a bit pricy, I can wear all of the pieces I’ve purchased from them while pregnant, nursing and after. Even last spring I was walking around wearing one of the sweaters I got from them. Ingrid and Isabella brand is equally the same quality, yet cheaper. They both “grow” with your ever-changing body and needs as that’s why I believe they're priced the way they are. 

On A Budget
If you’re on a budget, I think H&M is by far the way to go! I like how they are cut and designed to fit you better than other brands and the maternity pieces are certainly higher quality. Yet the price is the same elsewhere. To really break it down, here are my favorites for each category.  

Favorite Maternity Brands
Ingrid & Isabella

Favorite Nursing Brands

Favorite Maternity Undergarments 
Motherhood Maternity (nursing bras)
Motherhood Maternity (lounge pants)
Target (bigger undies)

Maternity Activewear
Nordstrom (Zella)
H&M (fantastic sport/nursing bras)

Shoes (for those enlarge feet!)
Nordstrom (for more than 1 pregnancy)

Favorite Brands That Do It All
(clothes that are designed to be worn during & after pregnancy!)
Ingrid & Isabell

mom style
mom styleKeeping living the dream! That #momlife  : )

Warmly, Steph

July 17, 2019

Transitioning From 1-2 Kids || Bringing Baby Home

(That Initial Change At Home)

Transitioning from 1-2
Transitioning from 1-2
Transitioning from 1-2
Transitioning from 1-2

I’ve purposely been waiting the last 5 weeks to write this post because going from 1-2 kids feels like anything else in life before you start: a little scary, anxious, excited, yet also thrilling! 

My girls are almost exactly 3 years apart, and to our luck, this is exactly what we wanted! Having two kids is what I’ve personally dreamed of for years. This is the stage of life I’ve always wanted. Two little ones to hold and squeeze. To be there biggest cheerleaders and to raise them. So even though reaching your dreams and goals in life feels AMAZING! (along with no longer being pregnant!) change is always very tricky at first. Correction. At first for me.

I can’t fully believe anyone who says, “having a child is easy.” Especially when you go from zero-one, two, three etc. Motherhood is amazingly beautiful yet none of us have it all figured out! Hence why we all lean on one other and spend nap time over in Instagram (or is that just me?!)    : )

Transitioning from 1-2

What’s Been Helpful

Getting That Alone Time
Once Emma turned 2 weeks old, Steve and I started switching off on watching “the girls” for 1-2 hours each day (Abby isn’t taking naps anymore!!!) so we quickly realized we need to help each other out and take a break! This has been our BIGGEST secret in getting things done and staying on top of both girls, our house, and life. In general, Steve’s support is the reason I’ve been able to blog since day 1. 

Paternity Leave
Ok I HAD to add this one in! because every family’s situation is different and so many of you responded to me on how well I’m doing and that I'm “rocking this two-mom thing.” Which no I’m not. I have help!

Help In General
Steve has 2 extra weeks compared to his paternity leave 3 years ago with Abby. This truly makes a difference! He takes Emma a lot in the middle of night to burp her and change her. Just like we did in the hospital (more on that here).

Even though I had a fairly smooth delivery (Emma’s birth story here) I’m still recovering and healing. I remember trying to walk with Steve and Abby to the mailbox on day 5 of being home and having to turn around and go back. I could barley walk! Even trying to vacuum got me dizzy and I felt weak. I’ve REALLY slowed down by letting Steve help during this transition. Now at 5 weeks, I can vacuum like the best of them. 

Thank you all family and friends who have gifted us food! This is truly the BEST gift to give parents of a newborn! (I feel). A family friend even ordered us pizza and had it delivered! How fun and creative is that?! Thank you Janie : ) Feel free do this for yourself too! (Which we’ve done)  My thoughts? If people want to come over and visit the baby, they can swing by Starbucks for you.

Transitioning from 1-2
What I’ve Learned:

Getting back home from the hospital we had organized ahead of time for Abby to “go off and have fun” with a few family members to break her daily routine. However, Abby just wanted to be with Mom and Dad. To know what was coming each day… basically the girl just wanted her schedule!

Steve and I were completely caught off guard when a separation anxiety kicked in! Abby wouldn’t even let me walk out of the room at first… let alone close the door to the bathroom without me in sight (goodbye personal space!!) or did I ever really have it when I became a first-time mom?!?!

Ease Anxiety
So, after two days of Abby not leaving the house with family, Steve and I decided the best thing for her, and us, was to just embrace this whole family of four thing.  Which we did.  I also learned to be more patient by letting her express herself and then correct any outburst. Which disappeared by two weeks post-partum. Steve really helped with this too! I know I’m very lucky to have a supportive spouse and it’s something I don’t take for granted. Believe me.

Supporting Your Oldest
 I gave BIG hugs more often (and then some) and constantly validated how she was feeling. This really seemed to help her relationship and mine stay in intact as I was very much dividing my time and attention between her and Emma. 

Then at about 3 weeks, we started asking for HELP by getting family to come back and just “hang out” with Abby in the backyard/playroom. This allowed both Steve and I to take a break and or spend time with Emma. 

Maybe help is the form of ordering groceries (which we’ve also done) hire a maid, calling a friend to talk, and or joining a mom’s support group with the hospital, etc. We are so blessed to live in a time where if we need something, mostly likely it’s out there! We just have to be active and go get it!

I hope this answered allll of your questions you asked me! If not, feel free to ask me below. And a huge shout out to Marissa over at Ciccarelli photography for capturing the "beautiful side" of motherhood in all of these photos. ; )

Warmly, Steph

transitioning from 1-2

transitioning from 1-2
My Dress  ||  Abby's Dress  ||  Emma's Dress (sold out in white) pink version here  || Both Girls bows (sold out, similar here)  || Steve's Shirt

July 12, 2019

DIY Big And Little Sister Shirts

Big and little sister shirts
Big and little sister shirts
Big and little sister shirts
Big and little sister shirts
 4 Step Tutorial:
DIY Big And Little Sister T-Shirts 
Big and little sister shirts
 ||  Step 1  ||
 Then wash, dry, and iron.

Big and little sister shirts
||  Step 2  ||
Cut out letters (I used these ones) then place on shirt as desired.

Big and little sister shirts
||  Step 3  ||
Iron letters on by holding iron to shirt and count up to 10 or 15. 
Then lift iron off shirt.

Big and little sister shirts
||  Step 4  ||
Repeat to complete both shirts. Ta-da! All done!
Big and little sister shirts
||  Step 5  ||
Style with matching pink skirts found here, and then take your little one's out for cake pops! ; )

Big and little sister shirts
As always, thank you for your readership! 
I hope this post inspired you to make your own fun DIY matching BIG & Lil sister shirts! 
And happy "cake popping" out there!

Warmly, Steph

July 2, 2019

Emma's Birth Story

birth story

Please note that all mothers and babies are different, and that my story is just that. My own personal experience. It is my hope, that Emma's birth story or someone else’s doesn't let you feel like your story is something to be sad or ashamed about. As your story matters because it’s yours.

Emma’s Birth Story

We were getting ready for a family walk after I had just decided 30 minutes earlier to be a “cool mom & wife” by going on a Starbucks run for my family. It must have been 10 minutes at home with lattes and breakfast sandwiches in hand that we decided to test out our new double stroller for a walk. So naturally, being 39 weeks pregnant and waddling to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes, I reached the top of the stairs when my water broke in the hallway. It took me 20 seconds to realized what was happening (it sort of shocked me! Both times!) I then called to Steve….. STTTEEEEVVVEE!

Steve calls my dad to come over and watch Abby while I’m sitting on a towel. Meanwhile Abby’s playing with her favorite dog stuff animal running everywhere (mainly around me), completely unaware of what’s happening.

I call my doctor.

My doctor calls back and tells me to head to the hospital since second babies tend to come quick. (Basically, get your stuff together and go now Steph) which we did!

We try to explain to Abby what is happening as best as we can. She kind of gets that baby sis is coming…but just wants to watch a show. So yeah… we let her. (I honestly don’t even remember what show she was watching that morning!)

Steve and I both shower and get ready (switching off) on who watches Abby. Then we start cleaning and organizing the house as much as we can. I was so nervous that my contractions were about to kick in at any minute! All I can remember feeling was my body physically shaking as I walked around the house getting things in ordered and feeling Braxton hicks’ contractions starting to ramp up.

With my first pregnancy, 3 hours after my water broke, I was feeling very strong (REAL) contractions. So I was hustling! We had most of the house cleaned and ready to go, but unfortunately there was still a lot to do! (We weren’t truly ready for her arrival!) The last thing I can remember doing at home was setting out Abby’s clothes and things for bedtime routine while Steve forwarded Abby’s daily/bedtime routine via email to my dad.

We get a call from my dad that traffic is bad and that we should bring Abby to the hospital with us to get checked in. Then he’ll come and take her.

We get checked into the hospital and got settled into the waiting room. They check to see how many centimeters I was dilated. 3! So right away they started to prepare the birthing sweet for us. (My doctor was right, second babies come quicker)

My dad comes and meets us. Steve and I explain to Abby what is happening and I give her big hugs. Like long,….ok mom… get off me now kind of hug. I teared up a bit and at the same time I was relieved that my dad was here before the real contractions started to intensify.

We transferred to the birthing sweet.

Steve runs down stairs to Starbucks and grabs lunch for us (remember that "Hospital bag Checklist" blog post? Yes… I wasn’t kidding when I said, “god bless our men!”)

I’m 3.5 centimeters dilated, and my doctor warns me that it’s slow moving until all of a sudden, I’ll be 10 centimeters dilated. (I truly thought that she wouldn’t actually be right on this, but she was).

We call for the epidermal

I get the epidural and start to feel a bit better.

My doctor calls for more pitocin since I'm still 3.5. centimeters dilated. I can tell she wants to help move things along, as does my nurse. 

Steve takes a nap, it’s quiet in the room and it’s right about at this time I really start to feel them…

Strong contractions (where I can’t breathe) every 3-5 minutes. After 35 minutes of this I call for the nurse. I know that it’s either A) she’s here or B) I need a higher dose. I can feel everything so much more this time than with my first pregnancy/epidural that I had with Abby. I knew something was up.

The nurse is shocked to see how much I’m contracting and checks me. I’m 10 centimeters dilated!! She smiles and says, “you’re contracting like crazy! I’m going to lower your Pitocin and call the doctor.”

I’m ready to go though they can’t find my doctor! The nurse pages her twice and tells me she wants to be here for the deliver since she has been with me all day. (Of course, I feel the same!)(She was amazing) So all three of us (including Steve )is feeling very anxious to meet our baby girl.

The doctor arrives and it’s time for me to push. Shockingly enough this lasted for 15-20 minutes (I blame it on my dancer trainer for all those years (20+) of constantly being in tune with my body). Plus, I was SO ready to meet our girl! Since I’ve done this entire process before I knew exactly what to do physically and I was on a mission. I wanted her out and in my arms. So, I really pushed!!

We meet Emma for the first time!! All I remember is being so, so grateful to see her sweet little face and beyond grateful to feel her on my chest. Steve and I both immediately started crying the moment we saw her. Next to marry him, seeing your children for the first time is only other time I’ve cried tears of joy in my life. Emma was so tiny! We both mentioned to each other it’s crazy to think that we forgot how tiny newborns are! 

After skin-to-skin contact, breast feeding and all the little details they do such as weight, measure height and etc. Steve finally got to hold his baby girl. Emma was so easy going and didn’t fuss as all of this was happening. She’s truly been an easy-going baby since the moment we welcomed her to the world. Something that Steve and I know were exactly lucky about!! This was not the case with our first (high maintenance is a nice way of saying it). Emma is truly the most easy-going little baby I’ve ever met! 

(And for those of you who have a great first kid and are afraid to have another since everyone tells you, “well you know... the second is always harder! And crazier than your first!” and or the typical, “You’ve been warned.” I'm here to tell you that isn’t always the case. Already 2.5 weeks in we can see her sweet temperament is coming through. Our second is actually easier, way easier! Which I’ll have more on that for a later blog post...

We get transferred to our room (me via wheel chair with Emma in my arms) and our parents stop in for about 10 minutes to see and hold Emma. My right leg was more way more num than the left from the epidural, so moving my legs was out of the question. I just remember feeling exhausted yet so relieved to have Emma here.

The Hospital Stay
I don’t remember very much about that first night except that every few hours Steve and I would team up. I would feed Emma and he would then burp her and change her diaper. He and I both agreed that we feel way more relaxed this second time, and do I dare say… we are having fun taking care of our newborn in the hospital?! Did I just say that?

We choose the same hospital we had  Abby in since we had such a great experience with the nurses, doctors and staff there. The second time was no different. It was overall a very smooth experience (as best as labor and delivery can be.) We had lots on family coming stop in the next day including Abby! If you’re curious to hear how that first sister meet and great went, you can read about that here, including what "sister gifts" we choose to help them bond.

It's my hope, by sharing with you today that you please don’t let my story or another one else’s let you feel like your own is something to feel sad or ashamed about. As your story does matter because it’s yours. Since so many requested her story, I'm happy to share. And I hope that by doing so, I helped you learned something if you plan on adding another little one to your family, and or simply enjoyed the story. 

Thank you for your readership! 
And you bet the next post will truly be a “jot!”  : )

Warmly, Steph