Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Things I Want To Remember for 'The Second Time Around'

Pregnancy is a funny thing. Your body is constantly changing, growing and surprising you. There are many things that no one really talks about, and then there are the 'normal' things. Not all of them will happen to you, and some things that do happen may seem like they can't possibly be normal. 

I've done a pretty good job of cataloging my first pregnancy. I take a picture or two of my outfit or just my belly about once a day. I have been amazed at how much different I look in just a few short weeks' time. We're cruising right into the beginning of the third trimester now and that floors me and frightens me at the same time. As the 'weeks left' number falls closer and closer to single digits, I find myself thinking of all of the things we need to complete and prepare for before the big day arrives. 

But, there are some things I want to remember for 'the next time.' B and I intend to have more than one child. In fact, he already knows that it is my plan to do whatever it takes to get to the number three. So, for the next time we decide to take another ride on the pregnancy train, I want to remind myself of the following items ...

  • While it was fun to stock up on pregnancy tests, you do not, in fact, need to pee on five different ones to get a 'confirmed' positive. One positive is usually good enough, but I'm sure you'll go back for a second to be sure
  • Keep the pregnancy a secret between just you & B for as long as you can. It is something so truly special and means so much for your little growing family. Try to savor at least a few days with the news before you go shouting it from the rooftops.
  • Macaroni & cheese can be an acceptable meal as long as you don't abuse it. Eating a double portion of cheesy pasta twice a week for a 'late lunch' should be limited to the best of your ability.
  • Belly bands are your friend. Use them more often. Wear those cute jeans you just bought a few more times before tight denim feels like a death grip around your mid-section. 
  • Learn to nap. I am sure this comes in handy with a newborn around as well, but take time for yourself, even in the form of fifteen quiet minutes on the couch without feeling like you need to switch the laundry or start dinner. It makes a world of difference.
  • Do not plan road trips that exceed two hours in the car after 25 weeks. This can lead to intense discomfort in your rib cage, as the baby can't find quite enough space to move around when he/she is lodged in there and you're sitting in the same position holding a steering wheel and pressing a gas pedal for 3+ hours. 
  • Plan a mini vacation if at all possible. Get away, even for just one night, with B and talk. Catch up on how much life has changed lately.
  • Don't stress about every little thing. There are things that are 'strongly discouraged' during pregnancy, and then things that can be taken a little more lightly. Choose wisely, but don't let that burger you ate for lunch that day keep you up at night. 
  • Remember what those little flips, kicks and turns feel like. Savor those moments. Soon they become more painful, and I have a strong feeling I'll be missing the quiet time with G someday very soon.
  • And most of all, remember that this baby is a gift straight from God, and that carrying your child is one of the biggest blessings. Don't ever take it for granted.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Perfect Shades for Summer :: A Firmoo Review

Since about my junior year of high school, I have worn glasses for distance. And when I say 'for distance,' I basically mean that I wear them when I'm driving, and occasionally at a concert or movie if our seats are pretty far back.

I have never loved the way I look in glasses, so I try and rock sunglasses whenever and wherever possible. Whether on the beach, running errands on a sunny day, or just using my favorite pair of shades as a stand in 'headband,' I am one of those girls who can never have too many perfect pairs of shades.

When Firmoo asked me to review one of their designer style pairs of sunglasses, I jumped at the chance. Because, let's face it, this Momma-to-be could use an extra pair of shades, right? One in the car, one for the stroller and one in my purse. Sounds like a plan to me.

Have you heard of Firmoo before? I hadn't, but am so glad that they reached out to me. They have a website full of all styles of frames and sunglasses, all of which can be ordered in prescription and non-prescription. Firmoo values quality and service, so you can be sure that what you order from them will satisfy your tastes. Not only do they offer many styles, but their prices are affordable which is a huge plus in my book. I have never been one to spend a ton of money on my glasses, so Firmoo's selection and pricing was right up my alley.

It's easy to do everything online. From selecting your style to entering your prescription information, everything can be entered easily on their website.

I chose a classic yet stylish pair of sunglasses in black finish.

My sunglasses came with both a hard and soft case, making them super easy to travel with. In fact, I packed them for our recent trip to Atlanta and wore them the whole weekend. The color and style matched well with everything I wore, and when the sun went down, they were easy to just pop right back into my purse for safe keeping. 

They were also the perfect travel companion for our long road trip back home after the weekend was over. They protected my eyes from harsh sunlight, but didn't make the outside world seem too dark, which I hate. 

But, the best part of this whole thing is the online offer! For a limited time, Firmoo is offering their 'First Pair Free' program, where all you pay is your shipping!

That's right - you can get your first pair of glasses for free when you visit their website and try out the First Pair Free program. Maybe you're in the market for some new prescription sunglasses for summer. Well, this may be the perfect time to get that crossed off your to-do list. With an offer like this, you can't go wrong!

I was not compensated for this review and the opinions expressed here are solely my own. I did receive one (1) pair of non-prescription sunglasses in return for my honest review of this Firmoo product.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Letter to Gavin.

I was gifted with a pregnancy journal by one of my besties shortly after announcing that we were expecting. I knew I would want a place to write down all of the fun memories, the cravings and yes, even the backaches, so I would never forget the joy that my first pregnancy has brought me. 

As I was filling out the pages for weeks 26 and 27 over the weekend, I stumbled upon a page that was left open to write your first letter to your baby. I was totally floored when I read this. I knew I'd be writing letters to Gavin in the upcoming months as we await his arrival, and the heartfelt new Mommy letter about how we can't imagine our lives without him in them was a must, but I hadn't thought about writing a letter to him at this point. As I stared at the page, I thought 'why not?' and I knew I would want to catalog the first letter here on my blog.

I thought a lot about how and where to start this letter, but I know that I often write (and think) best when I just pour my heart out. So, here goes. My first attempt at a mushy, heartfelt letter to our little man. 

Dear Gavin,

I can hardly believe that, in just three months, we will finally get to lay our eyes on your sweet face. We are so excited to meet you and want you to know how much we already love you.

I guess it would make sense for me to give you a bit of the back story on your crazy loving parents. Your Momma & Daddy met in college, but didn't start dating until after graduation. It was a love neither of us could deny, and we just knew that God had led us to each other for a reason. After about three years of dating, we got engaged and started planning our wedding. Then, on a beautiful fall day in early November, we tied the knot and there has been no looking back since. 

It might also be helpful to add that we didn't waste any time in the 'training ourselves to be parents' department. We rescued your furry, big sister Riley after just three months of marriage, and have been busy spoiling her and learning lots about each other ever since. Once our one year anniversary passed, we knew that the next step we wanted to take was starting our 'human' family.

So, we prayed that God would give us patience, and would bless us with children of our own. It sure seemed like a long road that He led us down before we got the big news that you would be joining our family in about nine months, but we know that we are stronger and more prepared because of it.

Ever since the night that we saw those two positive test results, we have been praying for you. Dreaming of what life will be like when you are finally in our arms, and knowing that it was truly God's intention that you be our first born.

Your Daddy was over the moon the night we found out you were a boy. You see, you already have some boy cousins, and a few uncles, so you will be in good company in this family. And, your Momma sure hopes you will grow into a strong and kind big brother someday.

Gavin, our hearts are already so full of love for you. We talk about you by name, and already act as though you are part of the family. We have big dreams and plans of what life will be like once you are here, but we are also pretty sure that you will be running the show (in lots of ways) from day one.

You have been so sweet to your Momma over these last seven months. Not one ounce of morning sickness and an overall joy to carry around with me every day. Sure, I have backaches and leg cramps and evenings where I cannot possibly get off the couch for anything other than ice cream, but your Daddy has been so sweet and compassionate in taking care of the both of us. 

Your nursery is coming together quickly and beautifully. You will learn that your Momma is a 'do-er' and is constantly running circles around herself trying to keep on top of every little thing. I have a feeling that God plans to use you to teach me that checking off my to-do list does not make the world go round.

We are getting our home and our hearts ready to meet you, sweet boy. We cannot wait to see what this next part of our journey has in store for us. Never forget just how big a blessing you truly are to us. You will be the one that formally names us 'Momma and Daddy' and for that, we will be forever grateful. We have prayed for you and dreamt about you countless times, and know that our world is about to be forever changed.

Do your Momma one more favor and stay inside for at least the next three months, but let's try not to push it too far past then, OK?!

See you soon!

Momma & Daddy

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep :: A Book Review

There are so many things to think about when preparing for the arrival of your first baby. Other than turning your house upside down with your new found love of nesting organizing, there is a nursery to design and setup, closets to clean, baby clothes to fold, doctors to choose and childbirth classes to take. And that is just the beginning.

One of the things that has had me the most curious is how we will do settling into our new life, and into important new routines. Of course I don't know what exactly to expect during the process of establishing said routines, but I do imagine there will be breastfeeding, new sleeping arrangements (read: no sleep) and the eventual pattern of sleep training. I can plan as much as I want to, but still not know how all of this will fall into place until the time actually comes and G Baby is giving us a run for our money in the sleep department.

But I thought that doing my research now and reading up on some popularly used sleep training tips and techniques wouldn't be a bad place to start. Especially since I still have time to read, and sleep, right now. 

So, when I was offered the chance to read and review Harper Collins' 'The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep,' I thought it might be a great place to begin.

'Backed by compelling science, common sense and decades of experience, Dr. Karp’s landmark guide will revolutionize how millions of children drift off to dreamland.' Dr. Harvey Karp does a great job dispelling some commonly used sleep training myths, and offering up useful tips and advice for any parent that is struggling to create a good sleep pattern for their baby or toddler. These tips include the following ...
  • How to train brand new babies to sleep better: Infants can be taught to sleep at least one extra hour from the first weeks of life! Dr. Karp shows how to safely boost baby sleep in just days. 
  • What’s the best white noise (and which ones worsen sleep): The right white noise (low pitched and rumbling) is the key to good sleep—even through teething—for all babies. Plus, it even gives parents a more restful sleep 
  • Why parents should always wake a sleeping baby: For good sleep, babies must learn how to self-soothe. The best way to teach babies how to fall back to sleep—when they rouse in the middle of the night—is to wake them just as they’re being put into bed. 
  • How to enjoy the benefits - and avoid the risks - of swaddling: Swaddling dramatically improves a new baby’s sleep. Yet, many states are shockingly banning this ancient parenting tool. Smart moms should do it and Dr. Karp will teach them how to do it properly and safely. 
  • The importance of powering down: Staring at bright screens at night (TVs, computers, phones) can wreak a toddler and a parent’s sleep. 
  • Easy "no-cry" tips that end infant and toddler bedtime struggles in just days!
While I am certainly no pro at employing these tips, I am working hard to build my knowledge of helpful advice like this while we prepare for Gavin's arrival. I figure I can't go wrong with doing copious research and then taking a bit from each style ad creating one that is personalized for our family. 

I plan to write another post touching on this subject once I have had a few months at home with G and have tried out some of the best tips that I have come across.

Have you tried the 'Happiest Baby' sleep training tips? Perhaps renting the DVD and having B watch with me would be a fun, educational idea?! 

Please share your thoughts and advice!

“I am participating in a book review campaign with One2One Network. I received this book from Harper Collins for the purposes of reviewing it. I have not received compensation. My participation in the campaign enters me into a drawing for a gift card. All opinions stated are my own.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Take the Strong Moms Pledge :: Encouraging Women & Other Moms

I have not yet been privvy to the amount of judgement and comparison that goes on in the 'Mommy world.' Although I already consider myself Momma to our G Baby, most of my experience thus far has been observing other Moms and the way they handle the day-to-day of their new roles. I have been open to your advice, after all, many of you have been in my shoes before.

What I have been witness to is the amount of sheer judgement, cruelty and comparison that we women, as a whole, use on each other every day. Whether it be over the envy of a shopping spree a friend was just able to take, or perhaps the fact that someone's husband appears to work less or make more money than yours. I can only imagine the amount of comparison once your child reaches a certain age. Did he hit that milestone at the right time? Why does her daughter seem so much more well-mannered than mine? And the list goes on and on.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by many incredible women. God has truly given me a strong support system in the women he placed into my family, and those he placed into my life as lifelong friends. I have a handful of women that I feel comfortable calling at the drop of a hat to talk through my struggles, my worries and my successes. It is in these women that I have found me safe haven over the last few months. Of course, I can talk B's ear off every night when he comes home about how my body is changing or what skills G is developing in the womb this week. But women just hear and understand things differently. And they totally get what feeling (and looking) 27 weeks pregnant feels like, and that opening your closet each morning is no longer the lighthearted task it used to be.

But perhaps it goes beyond the small circle of my little world. I want to be less judgmental of the women around me. The ones I 'know' through the internet, or women I run into during my daily travels that are complete strangers. I want to compare myself less, and value the person I am more. 

We have enough to deal with in this crazy world without nitpicking each and every thing that those around us say or do. As women, we take care of our homes, our children, our husbands, our work, and sometimes ourselves with the time we have left. I want to take this pledge seriously and work on building other women up. We are all trying to do our best, and although it may look different that the next girl, that is not the point. I want to be the friend that gets called for advice, for help, or just for a quick pick me up.

Will you join us in taking the Strong Moms Pledge?

I am participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network. I have not received any payment. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This Is Really Happening. Seeking Your First-Time Mommy Advice!

By now, you know that over the last few months, everything around here has been all pregnancy, excitement and Baby G. This is such a special time in our life. Preparing to welcome our first child into our world and our home. It's practically overwhelming most days. I'm learning new things every week about pregnancy, the growth of a baby in the womb, and the changes my body is going through. And, on top of that, I constantly have this pit of terror/elation running around with me. I am beyond excited to finally meet our little man, lay my eyes on his face for the first time, and finally see the beautiful miracle that God has blessed us with. But, some days, I am practically terrified. What will labor be like? Everyone keeps telling me how much our lives are about to change - will I even remember the blissful parts of our life before kids in a few short months?

This was all brought on this morning when I rolled over in bed (for the hundredth time) to try and ease the pain that was taking over in my left hip. It was just about 6Am and I knew B's alarm would be ringing shortly. I felt more awake than tired, which is normal for me most mornings, so I grabbed my phone and starting browsing through my favorite apps. One of my first stops was my 'What To Expect' app. Commonplace for me throughout each week of this pregnancy. I love seeing how much he is growing, and comparing his size to another piece found in the local produce aisle.

I am constantly updating B with little facts that I learn about what myself or Baby G are going through. As far as I know, he enjoys hearing about it, and if he's growing tired of all my 'facts' he sure doesn't show it. 

So, this morning, like many others, I showed him the home screen on my app. We both marveled at the fact that G is now the size of a cucumber and could be close to 15 inches long! Truly amazing.

It was then that B said 'only 13 more weeks until we finally get to meet Gavin!' Right then and there, my heart about burst. This is really happening. All of the dreaming, the praying, the planning and purchasing of baby clothes and furniture has brought us down the road that is leading us to our son. Even typing that right now, I sit here in amazement. Fully of joy and curiosity about what the next chapter of our life will be like.

This is my long winded intro into asking for your advice. The advice of other Mom's out there that have been in my shoes before. You have been there. Preparing your heart, your home, your pets and your relationship for your first baby. What are the best pieces of advice you ever received? What are the worst? Anything absolutely horrifying or overwhelming you want to share with me? You know, the good stuff that they say 'no one ever tells you.'

Maybe you don't have any 'words of wisdom' leaping out of your head, but you have a few items that you absolutely could not have LIVED without during those first few weeks after you brought your newborn home for the first time. I have been picking the brains of all my close friends with kids trying to make sure that I'm doing my best to prepare our home for G's arrival. Swaddles, swings, breast pumps, nursing tanks. What might I be forgetting? 

All advice is truly appreciated!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

26 Weeks & Learning About Braxton Hicks

Wow, another two weeks has gone by already? I feel like Baby G will be here before we know it, and boy do I have a lot to get accomplished between now and then.

The nursery is in great shape. Furniture is setup in the room, and we even hung a few pictures over the weekend. Once I saw actual stuff on the walls, it really started to feel like our boys room. Hard to explain, but such a surreal feeling.

We don't have any bedding yet, but I changed my mind and chose a much less expensive set from Target. We will probably order it in a few more weeks, once all of my showers are over. And, speaking of showers, I am getting so excited for mine! My registry is all set, and I have my first shower (with B's family here in MD) coming up two weeks from Friday! I can hardly believe it will be May so soon. I remember feeling like my shower dates were SO FAR away.

I have taken a small break (OK, sort of) from ordering cute little baby things to focus on the house projects that we still have left to complete before G makes his big debut. The first of these is FINALLY completing our master bathroom. We have lived in this house for a year and a half, and our master bath has been gutted from day one. We had other priorities in the beginning, but have finally reached the point where having this bathroom is a necessity and I am happy to report that the tile is being installed today! We also bought a new light fixture, vanity and just ordered a mirror. It feels so good to finally have this project started and I cannot wait to see how it all turns out. 

But, back to growing this little human - things are still going great. I am noticing a ton more movement as the days and weeks go by, and definitely a bit more discomfort here and there, especially if I've been on my feet too long. But, for the most part, we are doing our best to stay somewhat active, get plenty of rest, and even indulge in froyo now that the weather seems to have turned a corner.

  •  How far along are you? 26 weeks as of 4/16/13 (today!)
  • How I'm feeling: Feeling great. Some discomfort at the end of some of my days, but mostly normal and energetic for now!
  • Total weight gain: 11 lbs. as of 4/1/13 
  • How big is baby? Apparently this is the part of pregnancy where they start estimating the baby's length from head to toe! Before it was just head to rump measurement, which would explain why he jumped from about 9.5 inches to a whopping 15 inches! He is also probably weighing in near 2.5 pounds. Whew! 
  • Maternity clothes: Errrm, yes. I have three words for you: dresses, tanks, leggings. I am sure B is tired of seeing me in the same type of getup day after day, but this growing thing is serious business!
  • Stretch marks? Nope!
  • Sleep: Sleeping pretty well. It takes me a while to get comfortable and I am still getting up to pee a time or two each night. Side sleeping is really getting old and my left hip starts to get sore if I sleep on it for too long without readjusting everything.
  • Best moment this week: Gavin is so active. I sit down each night around dinner time and just watch him kick and tumble around. I definitely never get tired of feeling him move, except for the mild pain I feel in the back of my rib cage from his little feet!
  • Movement: I adore this time with G.
  • Food cravings: So, my appetite has increased, but since everything has moved further up, I am getting full faster. Such a catch 22. Still eating pretty normal amounts, but some nights, I can barely fit more than a few bites of dinner at a time. 
  • Food aversions: Nada
  • Labor signs:  Well, I think Braxton Hicks may be starting to take shape. My belly will tighten up and it's shape will change here and there. I thought this was just G stretching out, but then read in my app that this is typical of Braxton Hicks. News to me! No pain, just notice the tightness and it happens pretty inconsistently. Third trimester is in sight, so I guess this was bound to start happening.
  • Belly button in or out:  Bahaha.
  • What I miss: Falling asleep on my back, and I would LOVE an Italian cold cut sandwich right now.
  • What I'm looking forward to: Finishing up a few small nursery projects, seeing our master bath come together, getting through my glucose test and my upcoming baby showers!
  • Milestone: G Baby 'attended' his very first wedding and did pretty well with all of the busyness and traveling.  He is starting to slow his Momma down a little bit, but we're still rocking most days. Thank God I work from home. I really think this has made a huge difference in both my energy level and overall health! 
  • 'Cause We All Need A Favorite Hoodie :: A DressUnited Review

    Remember back in high school when hooded sweatshirt were all the rage? Or was that just for my class?! Regardless, I was never a hoodie collector until about junior year of high school when they seemed to be the 'cool' thing to wear. You know, much cooler than a jacket, and this was before the North Face takeover.

    My collection grew pretty quickly, especially because I told my parents it was 'absolutely necessary' that I purchase one each new season for the sports team I was a part of. Because of this, I have about ten hooded sweatshirts that proudly display the name of my high school followed by 'Swimming' or 'Cross Country.' 

    In college I picked up a few more, because I couldn't rock my high school sweatshirts and expect many people to know where that tiny town in New Jersey was, after all. 

    Fast forward seven years, and I still have a plastic bin under the bed in our guest room that is chock full of my favorite hoodies that I've collected over the years. Some get worn more than others, but for some reason, I can't bring myself to get rid of them each time I do a 'closet clean out.' Maybe I'm holding onto the memories, but they are super comfortable, so who am I to just toss them?

    So, when Dress United offered me the opportunity to try out one of their customized, American Apparel hoodies, I jumped at the chance to add a new, updated one to my collection. Call me crazy, but this Momma-to-be foresees many opportunities in the near future to rock said hoodies around the house all day long.

    I got to choose my style, color, personalization and font color and the online design tool was so easy to use. I had my entire order ready in less than five minutes. How's that for convenient!

    Of course I tried it on as soon as I opened the box, and at just about 24 weeks preggo, it still fit with a little wiggle room to spare. Ask me again today in a few weeks, and the story might be different, but there's always post-baby! The materials is soft, warm and perfect for all those weekends we plan on spending at the beach in the near future!

    Now, here's the great news: I have a coupon code to share with all of you! You can get 30% off at dressunited.com, use code: BLOG30OFF4U starting today!

    Happy Shopping!

    *I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive one (1) hooded sweatshirt (pictured above) to review and the opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Our Weekend Retreat & My Sister's Wedding

    I have mentioned before how busy I tend to allow my life to become. My to-do lists, travel plans and social calendar pile up quickly, and I find myself reeling through the weeks and months, and then turning around at some point dumbfounded by the fact that another month has gone by. 

    This is exactly what happened during the month of March. I was out of town for over half the month, and on the days when I was home, I was catching up on work, emails, doctors' appointments, or spending time avoiding B's epic stomach bug like the plague and then cleaning our house from top to bottom like a crazy person. To say that the fifth and sixth month's of this pregnancy have flown by would be a true understatement.

    But, this past weekend, we got to take a break from our normal on-the-go routines and really spend time relaxing, enjoying the scenery, and best of all, spending some quality time with my family. We traveled to Adairsville, GA to the beautiful Barnsley Gardens Resort and spent the weekend preparing for and celebrating my sister's wedding day.

    A lot of planning, packing and effort went into us actually getting down there. We drove eleven hours, dropped Riley off at the sitters on the way, stopped at a hotel overnight, and packed any and everything that two people could possibly need for a long weekend.

    But, once we arrived, it was like I instantly relaxed. Our room was beautiful, rustic and spacious, and best of all, it was all ours for three nights. There is truly something to be said about staying in one place long enough to actually feel like you can unpack everything you brought.

    We spent the weekend relaxing, taking walks, the guys played golf and tennis while the ladies enjoyed the spa. We had several delicious meals and even roasted marshmallows over a bonfire the night before the wedding. 

    My sister did a fabulous job of choosing a destination spot. My Mom is already planning our next family reunion at Barnsley, and I can't say I would argue! 

    Here are a few pictures from our weekend. It's back to business as usual for the most part around here. How is your week going?!

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Monogrammed Yoga Pants :: A Crystal Faye Giveaway!

    I have talked about how my fashion, tastes, and go-to daily attire have already started to change drastically over the last few months as my ever-expanding baby belly continues to grow. Let's face it, when you work out of your home office every day, throwing on leggings and a maternity top feels like 'getting dressed' enough to me.

    I have also begun to think about what some of the items that I may find myself turning to post-delivery will be. With a recovering body and little to no sleep, this Momma is going to need some comfy threads to get her through the days and nights. And, it would be an added bonus if I could also wear said threads out to the grocery store, Target, or the bank, as these are the places I find myself frequenting the most.

    As many of you know, I started working with Crystal of Shop Crystal Faye Back in February, and the Monogrammed Tumbler was the first item I reviewed. The popularity of this fashionable accessory was instant, and I knew that everyone just adored the option of adding your own monogram to the product.

    So, when perusing Crystal's site for the month of March, I knew as soon as I laid eyes on Monogrammed Yoga Pants that they would be the perfect addition to my 'Mommy-to-be wardrobe' as well as another popular seller that I am sure each of you would love the chance to win!

    My yoga pants arrived in the mail last week, and I was immediately swooning over them. The fabric is soft and comfortable, and the monogram adds just to right amount of personalization to this wardrobe staple. I have already packed them up for our road rip to Atlanta this weekend, and plan to wear them all morning while we get ready and 'beautified' for my sister's big day.

    Whether you're a gym rat, a Mom-on-the-run, or just like to have affordable, comfortable and cute options in your wardrobe, everyone could use a pair of these pants!

    I am happy to announce that I am hosting another giveaway where one lucky reader will be chosen to receive their very own Monogrammed Yoga Pants from Crystal Faye FREE! Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. This giveaway will close on Friday, April 12th, so get your entries in! 

    And, if you're anything like me, and you don't consider your week complete without at least a little online browsing, check out Crystal's shop, and don't forget to use code: NEST10 for 10% off any order!

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    So, I Guess 'Pregnancy Brain' IS A Real Thing?!

    I am lucky enough to have several close friends that have navigated the 'pregnancy-to-new-mommy' road over the last year or two. As hard as it was to wait to get pregnant, I feel like God's timing was just perfect, and am so happy to have friends to call/text/nag with each and every little question.

    One of the things I had heard about pregnancy was that it can cause the symptom 'pregnancy brain.' I had learned that pregnancy brain was something that could start to happen as soon as you were pregnant, or may sit dormant until you least expect it. It causes you to be clumsy, lose your words, and pretty much act like you're totally out of it. And, it comes out of nowhere.

    Well, the rumors are true. I still had my doubts up until a few weeks ago when I was just about 22 weeks preggo and visiting my sister in Atlanta. I found myself confused at simple things, forgetting something I just did or said, and totally saying the wrong thing when my brain was thinking something else. 

    For example, my sister's house is setup in a sort of circle type layout. Very simple. Granted, this was my first visit to her new home, but the place isn't quite big enough to find yourself lost, yet I would still manage to turn the wrong way down the hallway practically every time I left the bathroom. Call it a habit, but I'm calling pregnancy brain on this one.

    Or, what about forgetting whether or not I had replied to an email that I sent no longer than 15 minutes before?!

    Please tell me this doesn't get worse once the baby arrives, because if that is the case, I will need to relinquish my duty of 'feeding our pets' to B before either of them are starved by accident! 

    So, make me feel a little better here ladies. Has this happened to you, too?!

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    DIY Furniture Refinishing a la Annie Sloane Chalk Paint

    A few weeks back, I mentioned that I had finally bought my first Annie Sloan Chalk Paint with the intention to use it to refinish a dresser for our bedroom. Another 'pre-Baby G' project that B and I were excited to finish.

    Let me start by saying that I was a bit skeptical that one quart of this pretty paint could cover more than one piece of furniture, despite the fact that I had heard countless amazing things about it. Both of the pieces that we decided to paint were originally a medium-dark cherry colored oak with brass hardware. There was nothing 'wrong' with their of them, but they were dated, and needed an update, in my opinion. Plus, we were desperate for some more drawer space in our bedroom, so taking this old dresser out of storage and giving it a facelift was the perfect solution.

    For the life of me, I could not find a picture of what the dresser used to look like, so the 'before and after' won't be as striking, but trust me, the paint made a huge difference.

    I purchased our Chalk Paint at a local retailer that carries it. We decided to use the color 'French Linen' because it was a nice, soft grey, but still made a statement. 

    B started by lightly sanding down the entire dresser from top to bottom including each of the drawers. He then wiped down the whole piece with a damp rag. 

    Once the dresser was clean and sanded, he applied one, even coat of the paint and then allowed it to dry for an hour or two. The second coat was light and went on nicely to even out the color.

    Be sure to purchase the Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax (we just bought the small tub) when you are using her paint. Once the dresser was completely dry, B used a rag to apply the wax, then after about 30 minutes or so, he used another, clean rag to buff the wax off. This allows the furniture to have a smoother finish and will also allow you to clean it without messing up the paint in the future.

    I purchased the new hardware from Home Depot (black handles) and the fancy knob from Anthropologie to add a little sparkle.

    I was a bit overwhelmed when we originally took on this project, but it ended up being super easy and painless, and B even surprised me after my trip by using the extra paint to refinish the filing cabinet in my office! 

    So, if you're looking to refinish some old furniture, I highly recommend purchasing Chalk Paint to do the job. It's a bit pricey, but in my opinion, well worth every cent! 

    Furniture Refinishing Project

    What You'll Need:
    - Local Retailer that sells Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (unfortunately, it can't be purchased online in the US)
    - 1 quart of Chalk Paint in the color of your choice
    - 1 small tub of Soft Wax
    - A few fine sanding cubes
    - Several clean rags (that you don't mind ruining)
    - Paint Brush
    - A few hours outside on a beautiful afternoon.  Or, if you're preggo like me, a handy husband that is willing to paint outside and/or while you're out of town once you've provided him with all of the tools necessary.
    - New hardware (optional, but fun!)

    Anyone else do a similar refinishing project lately? I am so thrilled with the way it came out, that I'm itching to do another before G Baby arrives!

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    24 Week Bumpdate :: Cruising Right Along

    Whew, I am a bit late for this bumpdate because B was battling an epic stomach bug yesterday. So, I spent the day cleaning, praying, shopping for every vitamin, supplement and tummy helper, and then praying a whole lot more. 

    Thankfully, B started feeling better yesterday evening, and I am still doing fine, so we're praying that things stay this way as we get ready to leave for Atlanta for my sister's wedding weekend. 

    But, back to more fun topics, like G Baby. He is growing fast and furious, and if a baby's activity level inside of the womb has anything to do with their activity level once they're on the 'outside' then we are really in for it with this little guy. He is active often and every single day. His kicks are getting stronger and I can actually see my skin moving from time to time. I am loving this part of pregnancy and getting to know him more and more. 

    If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that nursery progress started last weekend. We have all of his furniture here and in the room. Next week I will work on cleaning everything and then starting to move the piles of clothing and gifts that we have already accumulated into their new homes.

    We also have our first shower coming up in a month, and I am already so excited and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that our little family continues to receive as G Baby's due date gets closer and closer. 

    I don't have any formal '24 week' pics because of all of the mayhem around here over the last week or two, but I did snap this comparison shot when I was just about 23 weeks last week. I can hardly believe the difference a few short months has made. 10 weeks feels like it was yesterday!

  •  How far along are you? 24 weeks as of 4/2/13 
  • How I'm feeling: Still feeling great! Sleeping better thanks to my body pillow and my energy level is still up. Plus, I can't get over feeling Little G kick each and every day.
  • Total weight gain: 11 lbs. as of 4/1/13 
  • How big is baby? G is the size of an eggplant this week. Just about 9 inches long and a little over 1.5 lbs! Wasn't he JUST the size of a raspberry?!
  • Maternity clothes: Yes, please. I am still rocking my pre-pregnancy yoga pants, but my maternity comfies have become my go-to about six days per week.
  • Stretch marks? Nope! Learned that they're genetic and it turns out my Mom never got them, so here's hoping!
  • Sleep: Actually getting better sleep most nights. Still starting my days on the early side, but I am only getting up about once per night and feel pretty well rested each morning.
  • Best moment this week: Heard his heartbeat again at our 24 week appointment on Monday, and the doctor said everything looks perfect! I am anxious to get through my glucose test (5/1) and gearing up for our first baby shower in a few short weeks!
  • Movement: Love it. So much movement and so often. I adore this time with G.
  • Food cravings: Not really craving anything, but my appetite has definitely increased over the last two weeks or so. I try to eat pretty healthy, but can still put away my fair share of mac n' cheese on the day(s) when I just NEED it for lunch.
  • Food aversions: Nada
  • Labor signs:  Nothing yet!
  • Belly button in or out: Bahaha. Wayyyy out.
  • What I miss: Skinny jeans and fruity cocktails.
  • What I'm looking forward to: Finishing getting his nursery together over the next few weeks and my sister's wedding this weekend!
  • Milestone: Nearing the third trimester. What?! Feeling healthy and strong most days and hoping this continues. Oh, and bringing a crib into our house sort of rocked our world last weekend.