Archives

Fashion, Pregnancy

the comprehensive guide to maternity fashion

April 26, 2017

maternityitems

I had the best intentions of sharing more maternity fashion posts this pregnancy, but that just didn’t happen. Truth be told, while I feel great this pregnancy, I feel anything but glamorous and stepping in front of the camera regularly to take photos of my outfits was just. not. happening. Ha!

That said, I have made an effort to try and dress normally and in a way that was put-together most of this pregnancy. And I have a lot of thoughts about clothes the second time around.

In short, maternity clothes stink. It’s hard to find good options that are comfortable and flattering throughout all stages of pregnancy. The clothes that do fit and wear well are almost always insanely expensive, and even when you do splurge on good quality, it’s not always a guarantee that your clothes will retain their shape and be worth the money you invested. Plus, aside from maternity-specific stores, finding brands that actually stock maternity clothes in their stores is practically impossible. I’ve purchased and returned so many clothes this pregnancy it’s comical.

So, after a nearly full-term pregnancy, what has made the cut, what brands have I loved, and what items have been worn time and time again? Let’s dive in!

My Most-Loved Items 
These are the pieces that I’ve found myself reaching for time and time again, the best of the best, if you will. It’s hard to know ahead of time what those items will be, but after 37+ weeks, it’s become clear that these are the winners. 

  1. Hatch Collection Bateau Top $158
    I know that some of you are going to say I’m crazy for recommending a top that costs this much, but it’s been a lifesaver. I’ve worn it time and time again, and have enjoyed the way it fit in the first trimester as much as the third. It’s designed to be able to be worn post-pregnancy, too, so I’m hopeful I’ll continue to get use out of it! It was the only Hatch piece I ended up keeping and I wish I would have purchased more.
  2. GAP Maternity Jeans $52
    I don’t have a specific link to the jeans I’m wearing since I bought them for Ainsley’s pregnancy, but the look similar to these jeans. They are comfortable, they hold their shape (!!!) and have worked well throughout pregnancy.
  3. GAP Rib-Knit Mockneck Dress $43
    I’ll go as far as to say this dress is a must-have item! I LOVE wearing it and feel like it’s very flattering throughout many stages of pregnancy.
  4. Liz Lange for Target Tee Dress $24
    I have the long-sleeved version of this dress, but I linked to the short sleeve version since summer is coming. I avoided all body-conscious dresses last pregnancy, but have really enjoyed this dress with the second go around.
  5. TK

Favorite Stores for Maternity Clothes

  1. Hatch Collection 
    Expensive clothing but from the one piece I kept and the others that I tried on, they are worth the clothes are worth the price! The only thing I really didn’t like were their jeans.
  2. Old Navy Maternity
    These pieces don’t fall into the “quality” category, but I do have a number of items from Old Navy that have worn fairly well during this pregnancy.
  3. Gap Maternity
    I’ve really loved almost everything I purchased from Gap this pregnancy. In fact, most of the items I’ve worn regularly have been Gap Maternity, so I guess that says something. Great for basics, including jeans, t-shirts and casual dresses.
  4. Pink Blush Maternity 
    This is a hit-or-miss recommendation. Some of their clothes have been really cute and fit well, others have been a total disaster. The dress I’m wearing in the photo above has been a favorite of mine as well as their robes (for labor/delivery/postpartum) and some of their tops. Proceed with caution and expect to return about as much as you buy.
  5. Stitch Fix Maternity 
    I got a couple maternity fixes, once during Ainsley’s pregnancy and once during this pregnancy. The two pair of leggings that I LIVED in with both pregnancies were both from maternity-focused fixes. I know Stitch Fix can be hit or miss, but I really appreciated that they had some different brands than what I would have found in stores or online.

Places/Items I DON’T Recommend

  1. H&M Maternity
    I didn’t have any success, despite trying a lot of items from their maternity collection. Everything ran super small and shrank in the wash. I would recommend just shopping their regular items and sizing up, which I did with some success in the sweater department.
  2. AG Maternity Jeans
    I’m so sad about this. I spent a ridiculous amount on a pair of AG maternity skinny jeans, and while they are certainly the most comfortable things on the face of the earth when you first put them on, they are a total nightmare as you wear them. I’ve never owned a pair of jeans that have bagged out this bad. I can’t wear them for more than a couple hours without needing to wash/dry them again.
  3. ASOS Maternity
    Maybe it was just me, or the fact that my style and preferences have changed since my last pregnancy, but I didn’t find ASOS Maternity to be a good fit this time. The clothes were all ill-fitting and the few items I kept ended up shrinking terribly even after following the wash/care instructions.

Madison

Family

the years are short, of that I’m painfully aware

April 14, 2017

madisonmaternity-38

Anyone who has prepared for parenthood has heard the adage: “The days are long, but the years are short!” When I was in the trenches of life with a newborn the days did, indeed, feel long. And while I knew that the years would fly by, I don’t think I really believed it. These days, I find myself feeling every ounce of the shortness of life with little children. My baby, I swear she was just a baby. How can she possibly be two? Having conversations with me and running around the house like a maniac, developing her very own personality and preferences.

As I wait for our second little girl to arrive, I find myself painfully, achingly aware of how short the years are, how quickly the days fly by and how quickly these little babies turn into toddlers, kindergarteners, high schoolers, college students. Be still my heart. I don’t know if I can handle it.

I’m aware that sometimes I can come off extremely unsentimental to those who know me well, but it’s not really that at all. If anything, I’m so sentimental that I can’t handle the big feelings that threaten to overtake me on a daily basis. I look at those little fingers, those tiny toes that have curled up like that since she was itty bitty, the way she giggles and curls up next to me on the couch while watching “Monkey George” and calls milk “mookie!” You guys, I can’t handle it. I’ve always been a believe that the best is yet to come, but lately I’ve been searching for a way to freeze time. Because these days, while exhausting, challenging, physically demanding, are so very sweet.

I look at those two faces in the photo above and I melt. Our family isn’t perfect, we aren’t perfect or ideal parents. Heck, sometimes we aren’t even good parents! But they’re my people, my crew, and getting to do life with them every day is the biggest blessing I could have asked for.

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

A letter to my second-born

April 5, 2017

img_0829

When I was pregnant with Ainsley, I wrote A Letter to my Firstborn a few weeks before she was due. All jokes about middle or second children aside, I didn’t want to let this precious time before I meet our second daughter go by without writing a letter to her.

To my second daughter, my sweet baby girl, a child I don’t yet know and yet love more than I could have imagined; we’re ready for you. If you anyone asked me about how I was feeling just a few weeks ago, I would have probably given them a different answer. But now, as I sit here writing this letter, listening to a playlist created just for this little girl’s birthday, I can say without a doubt that we are ready.

Your big sister informed me last night that she’s excited for you to arrive so you two can “play toys.” And because we’ve promised that when you arrive we will celebrate with birthday cake. Everywhere we go she tells people that when baby sister arrives we are going to have CAKE! All jokes aside, I have already been praying over your relationship. Because while everyone is quick to tell me that sisters are the best, I’m also aware that sibling relationships can be strained, competitive and forced and I want nothing more than for you two to be the best of friends.

Late at night and early in the morning I find myself wondering how my arms and heart can possibly make room for two. It makes my heart swell and crumble all at once, thinking about you and your sister both here in this house, asleep in those two bedrooms side by side. How will I have room to care for and love another just as much as I have loved the first? It seems nearly impossible. And yet I’ve seen your sweet little profile on ultrasound photos and I’ve been kept awake by your kicks and rolls and I know without a doubt that our love will multiply in a way made possible only by God.

Ainsley has a BIG story matched only by her big personality. But I’m already praying you to develop your own unique, distinct personality and that you feel comfort living in the story God has written for your life. I pray you are compassionate, tender-hearted, self-assured and deeply rooted in God’s word and truth. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you might end up being a little introverted like your momma. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking since your sister is your dad’s twin in almost every way.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to experience pregnancy again, to experience motherhood and yes, even the newborn days once more with you, sweet baby girl.

I feel ready. I don’t feel ready. But I know that we’ll figure it all out along the way.

Love,
Mom

Family, Food & Recipes

thoughts on a (nearly) vegetarian pregnancy

April 4, 2017

img_1194

A vegetarian pregnancy. It was something I had hoped to have the first time around with Ainsley’s pregnancy, but for a number of reasons it never really happened. While I still ate a lot of my favorite vegetarian foods during my first pregnancy, I at a fair amount of meat as well. So many people told me that I couldn’t have a healthy, balanced pregnancy if I wasn’t eating meat, and because I didn’t know any better I decided they were probably right and I should fall in line with more of a standard diet.

This time around, I was more informed and more committed to eating like I usually eat – vegetarian. Sometimes (a lot of times?) pregnancy has a way of stripping you of the things that make you feel most like yourself. I’ve been trying to combat those feelings by doing very normal things, exercising like normal and eating like I normally do when I’m not pregnancy.

Since nausea plagued me for a lot of this pregnancy, and because I live in the heart of the Midwest where there is a shortage of good vegetarian options, I’ve eaten meat from time to time this pregnancy. I’m not militant about it, choosing to eat for health rather than to follow a strict set of rules, but I would say that I’ve been about 95% vegetarian this go around.

My overall thoughts?

Being pregnant and vegetarian is pretty much as easy as being pregnant any other time in life. I don’t think I would recommend becoming a vegetarian while pregnant or if you were a new vegetarian prior to becoming pregnant because learning to eat a well-rounded vegetarian diet that works for your body takes a little time and trial and error. Probably not a great idea when you’re growing a tiny human who needs well-rounded nutrition to grow and develop. But if you already have a good handle on eating a well-rounded vegetarian diet then you shouldn’t have any issue while pregnant.

I’ve been more diligent about making sure I’m eating complete sources of vegetarian protein (Ezekiel bread, beans and grains paired together, peanut butter on toast, hummus and pita, loaded salads) and have also consumed plenty of eggs and breakfast quesadillas, especially during the first trimester. I’ve also relied on my favorite Vega Protein & Greens for smoothies during this pregnancy, which made it easy to get in a few servings of veggies and protein on days when I felt like all I wanted to do was eat carb after carb.

Actually, when I’m left to my default I find that I eat primarily vegan many days. I can go days where the only animal product I consume is the cream in my coffee, so I’ve been working hard to make sure I’m consuming enough dairy, too. A day of eating for me, while pregnant, usually looks like:

Breakfast //
Bowl of oatmeal with chia seeds, almond milk, peanut butter and sliced banana or fresh berries

Lunch //
A large salad served with a side of hummus and whole wheat pita bread or a loaded veggie sandwich on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread

Snack //
Post-workout smoothie made with almond milk, frozen banana, Vega Protein & Greens, powdered peanut butter, chia seeds and ice

Dinner //
A veg-friendly version of whatever we are having for dinner as a family. This is a mixed bag of different meals, so it’s hard to point to anything particular.

Dessert //
I always have to end with a healthy sweet treat, like my healthy microwave mug cake recipe and a dollop of peanut butter

So, long story short, yes! You can be a vegetarian while pregnant. It hasn’t caused me to gain any more or less weight than the first time around, but it’s certainly helped me feel a lot better. I don’t know if it’s all the way I’ve been eating, or the way I’ve exercised or the supplements I’m taking but the energy I’ve had and the great sleep I’ve enjoyed this time around have been night and day different than the first go around. So I’ll chalk a little bit of that up to the way I’ve been eating. 😉

Madison

Family, Fashion, Pregnancy

March Mom Edit :: What I’m Loving Now

March 29, 2017

fullsizerender-13

At nearly 34 weeks pregnant, is it safe to say that I’m in the home stretch? I’m certainly embracing that mentality, and the products I’m sharing about below have been making my life a little more glamorous and bearable during the last month and a half of pregnancy. Here’s what I’ve been loving lately…

I took a break from regular fixes for a while, but scheduling a maternity Stitch Fix at 30 weeks was a fantastic way to get excited about getting dressed while super pregnant.

I recently ordered these bottles for baby and I’m intrigued.

Someday I’ll get my eyebrows micro-bladed, but until then this has been doing the trick.

Yesterday I ordered a custom name sign for baby girl from House of Belonging. Can’t wait to show you!

I’m combating stretch marks with this and this and so far so good.

It’s official, this is the most perfect diaper bag around.

The hair care system that’s been transforming my tresses over the last two months.

A podcast for moms that’s encouraging me on work from home days.

We finally settled on this double jogging stroller.

Madison