Oh Baby. Growing #3!

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Gal Meets Glam Makenna Floral Maxi, Target Torri Two Brand Leopard Sandals, Stella & Dot Shai Bracelet

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We are so excited to add another wonderful little person to our family!

This first trimester has been my most challenging, ever. I’m a few days shy of 14 weeks and really hoping and believing that I will start feeling better, like really soon! My days are still characterized by the nausea, the exhaustion and just the PREGNANCY BRAIN. It has all been so much worse this time… it’s really true when people tell you that every pregnancy is different. This one has been so challenging and it doesn’t compare to my other pregnancies, so I’ve almost had to forget my other experiences and not compare this one to those. Which has been hard! I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months I’ve said things like, “I should be able to do this!” Because in the past, I could.

I didn’t really mean to take a break from blogging and Instagram, but my energy levels absolutely tanked and it’s been really quiet around here - so that’s why! Just keeping myself and my boys going has been where ALL my energy has gone. Because Stevie is gone a lot during the weekdays for work, I’ve crashed on the weekends and tried to soak up all the sleep. Can you tell it’s been a really special time?!

How I found out //
I always seem to know before I actually know. I woke up one morning feeling so off, so exhausted and grossed out by brushing my own teeth (such a telltale sign.) I decided to take a test and there it was - pregnant! I took 3 more tests to confirm. I kept coming back to look at them throughout the day. I couldn’t believe it! And yet, I could. I was elated. I still am!

How I told Stevie //
He was out of town when I found out, so I waited an entire day and night to actually tell him. I wanted it to be in person, although it was the LONGEST 24 hours of keeping this secret with just myself. It was kind of fun though. I actually wrapped up the 4 tests I had taken and put them in an iPhone box (the phone company had recently sent me a new phone so it was just lying around.) When he came home, I pointed to the box on the counter and said, “It’s the weirdest thing - look at what the phone company sent me. ” He opened the box and just stared. Then he goes, “THE PHONE COMPANY SENT YOU THIS??!” I died laughing. He seriously didn’t get that those were my tests for like a full 60 seconds.

How I’ve been feeling //
Really, really bad. Haha. Trying not to sugar coat it but I’ve seriously never been this sick pregnant. My mornings are okay mostly but by the evening I feel like I’ve caught the flu. My days end in a dramatic crescendo of nausea, exhaustion, and staying huddled on the couch. Also, my digestion has been a problem this time around so THAT’S BEEN FUN. Really believing/hoping that the next few weeks mark a big change because I am so ready to feel that second trimester magic. But even though I’m feeling crummy, I feel weirdly grateful because I know it means that my body is doing what it’s supposed to.

Pregnancy Cravings? //
I have yet to find what I’m looking for, but for weeks I’ve been craving a fresh squeezed lemonade icee. I don’t know where to find such a thing so that craving has gone unmet. Other than that, I’ve just had aversions to most things and I feel like I’ve been eating super unhealthy just to avoid eating gross things like salad and vegetables and meat. Even typing those words out makes me nauseous. I ate 1 piece of broccoli on Easter Sunday and I was sick the rest of the day.

Finding out Gender? //
Oh we most certainly will. I’m very curious!

How the boys are responding //
So, so well! I’m not sure Daxton totally comprehends it, but Everett is over the moon with excitement about “our baby”. He has been setting aside toys in his bedroom for the baby, and he’s been touching my belly everyday and saying, “Mommy, your belly is getting a lot bigger!” He’s also very observant, and been telling me that there aren’t enough parents in our family for the number of kids we will have. He’s right!!!


But truly, even in the midst of so many FEELINGS, I am so excited to hold another baby. We have wanted a bigger family and it took a little longer than I thought it would this time around, but I am so grateful to grow another life. I feel sensitive about sharing because I never want to hurt anyone who is going through their own journey of trying to get pregnant - it can be really emotional and seeing others’ birth announcements can be jarring. I really get that. If that is you please know that my prayers are with you and I hope that my sharing bits and pieces can be a place of hope and encouragement.

I appreciate everyone’s kind words and wishes on Instagram and Facebook - thank you for the love and support you’ve shown our family! xx

On the Phone with Jillian Michaels. (+ a giveaway!)

Oh, it's no big deal. I was just having a casual phone call a few weeks ago with Jillian Michaels about her new book - Yeah, Baby! - released by Rodale on Nov. 15, which is all about the modern mama's guide to managing pregnancy, having a healthy baby and the elusive subject of "bouncing back". (By the way, head over to my instagram for a chance to win a copy of the book!)

Yes, you read me right, that Jillian Michaels. The celebrity fitness trainer, author, television star, and hardcore coach that scared me all those years ago when I did her 30-Day Shred DVDs with my bff Natalie in my living room.

I am still floored and oh so honored that I got the invitation to join the call, along with 6 other bloggers, to chat with Jillian about her motivation behind writing this book and also ask her some health and pregnancy-related questions.

Why She Wrote the Book.
Now you might be thinking what I was thinking when I first received this invite - "how can she possibly talk about pregnancy if she's never actually been pregnant??" And to be honest, I think that was how most of the bloggers on the call went into the conversation. So she broke the ice by first explaining that her paradigm on the subject is based entirely on her wife Heidi's experience being pregnant with their son Phoenix.

Along with a team of 3 doctors, an endocrinologist, a pediatrician and a registered dietician/pregnancy specialist, Jillian penned this book to share about her personal experience - ushering Heidi through the pregnancy, and her professional experience - training moms who want to "bounce back" after having a baby. She also shared that she didn't write this book to make oodles of money - "I could have just written another diet book for a million dollar advance" - but that it was written out of an excitement to share the significant information she had learned along the way. "I was stunned and aghast, on a daily basis, at A) the amount of misinformation, B) the amount of dated information and C), the tremendous influence that Big Food and Big Pharma have on mainstream pregnancy information mainly because they do the majority of advertising in magazines and on TV."

I had about ten questions prepared to ask her, but was only able to ask her 1 on the call because she answered everyone's questions in such depth.

Oh, and I also want to mention that she was suuuuuper warm and funny and not at all scary like on her TV show. It was a little shocking how down-to-earth she was, laughing with each of us and talking so energetically about the horrors of GMO food and the idiotic advice they dole out at the doctor's office - "why do they stress staying away from soft cheeses when a more real and present danger is the toxic chemicals in your makeup, your water, and your hygiene products?" She just seemed so real. Like a funny, albeit intense, girlfriend that you want to go to for advice because you know she will give it to you straight, even though it's not always the hard truth you want to hear. Below I've outlined some highlights of the call and some of her personal insights that really struck a chord with me, being 9+ months pregnant and dreaming of the day that I will wear size small underwear again. If ever?

My Top 6 Takeaways From Jillian's Perspective on Health and Baby:

1. The attitude of "I am woman, hear me roar" is a really bad and dangerous thing.
The notion of "it takes a village" is a very real thing when you become a mother, and Jillian suggests that you shouldn't be afraid to ask your mom, sister, in-laws and friends for help. "Women shouldn't be these rugged individualists, saying 'I am woman, hear me roar', because ultimately, you need to be okay with asking for help. You need help!"

2. Adopt the 12-Hour Rule.
Being a parent is hard work - you need to take time for yourself. "I have found that 12 hours is the magic number for me," says Jillian. "I take roughly 12 hours each week for myself - to go to the dentist, get a couple of workouts in, meet a friend for coffee, get a manicure, and those hours keep me sane."  She suggests hiring a babysitter, having your mom watch the kids, and doing whatever it takes to get those 12 hours for yourself. When I asked her about how to implement this rule with a newborn, she sort of laughed and said, "Well, with a newborn you might only get 8 hours a week. But make sure you get those 8!"

3. Set the example for your family.
Especially when it comes to a healthy lifestyle - your kids need to see you making healthy choices. "My kids see me teaching a spin class at the local gym, doing push ups that I share on my Facebook page or sharing a health tip on Instagram - and they want to do those things too." Jillian says that it's not about what you say, it's about what you do. "You have to make fitness aspirational, something that has a long-term end result that they're passionate about."

4. Tell your kids the truth.
Jillian explained how she handles Halloween at her house, "We did the Switch Witch on Halloween night. We let them eat some of the candy they got trick-or-treating, and we told them 'now the Switch Witch will come' and she buys all the candy for a present. We still give them treats, we just remove the chemicals and give them healthier options, like Justin's Organic Peanut Butter Cups or Green & Black's White Chocolate Organic Graham Crackers. And I explain to them about the traditional candy, "this stuff is bad, this is why it's bad, and here's what it's going to do to your health over time." And it sounds crazy, but they get it." Her whole point is that when your kids really hear you, and see your actions giving credibility to your words, you can have a really powerful impact.

5. Don't rush your "bounce back". But make goals.
Bouncing back after having a baby is an elusive and coveted goal of most moms. However, Jillian recommends a gradual, slow return to exercise and having "very realistic expectations" about that return. "Reconditioning your pelvic floor, reconnecting with your core muscles, helping heal up - give it time for that process." She highlights that the recovery from a c-section or diastasis especially need time to heal. "Don't go on a crash diet, but monitor what you're consuming and how much you're consuming. Identify a regimen, like - I want to take a postnatal yoga class - and commit to it. Then once you've got the eating and the fitness in a good routine for a few months, really do your best to prioritize your sleep." These might seem like laughable goals all at once, but little by little, you will have a better mood, energy and metabolism.

6. Find a balance - and realize it's not going to be perfect.
Figuring out how to schedule your workouts can be tough, but not impossible. "You just have to give up the notion that life will ever be what it once was." She shared how she goes about scheduling her workouts in the midst of juggling career and parenthood, "I started to piece together a workout schedule that wasn't perfect, but it's the best possible outcome for the season that we are in. For example, my mom will watch the kids on Saturday so we can go to this yoga class we love - that's one workout. I will have my assistant carve out another morning once my kids are at school - that's two. Can I fit in a crappy lunchtime workout in the middle of the day? That's three. Can I get one in when they're running around the house like savages? That's four. It's not ideal, and it won't be as perfect as it used to be, but it will still be a whole lot better than nothing, and it will work. Paired with relatively common sense eating, it will be enough."

She shared even more than I can capture here in one simple blog post. She is passionate about this subject and it really shines through in her energy and language, because she could rattle off statistics and examples without pause. What I love most about the book is the month-by-month workout routines, accompanying meal plan and recipes that are specially designed with the baby in mind for each stage of pregnancy. As the baby develops and as the pregnant body changes, the workouts are modified and the eating is tailored to the specific growth needs of the baby. I was actually really bummed to receive this book at the end of my pregnancy - I could have really used this resource 6 months ago!

Tell me - do any of the things she shared strike a chord with you? What is one takeaway that you could actually utilize in your own pregnancy and/or health journey? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

And now for a giveaway! I wanted to give you all a chance to win a copy of the book, and you can do so by visiting my instagram (@oykristen) and following the prompts in today's post. Best of luck to all of you! 

Many thanks to Rodale and Big Honcho Media for sending me the book and connecting me with the opportunity to chat with Jillian!

Baby #2 - 34-Week Bumpdate.

How Far Along: 34 weeks. My goodness.

Gender: BOY.

Name: Everett calls him by name and it melts me.

Sleeping? Sometimes! Sometimes I sleep terribly and sometimes, like last night, I slept like a baby. I appreciate the cooler temperatures these days, I think it helps with the sleep :)

Eating: So, the no-sugar mission has turned a challenging corner. Halloween teased me, I finally had to throw all the candy away because it was a temptation. Not because I want tons of sugar, but just a little here and there semi-regularly. Oh, and I want hot chocolate with marshmallows. I just WANT it. And I'm not a big self-deprivation person because I don't think that's psychologically healthy, so I give in here and there. But I know when I am eating completely clean, I feel better and lighter. So it's a tough balance. Also, tacos are a thing right now. Give them. And lots of crushed ice in my water. I've been chomping on ice like its my job. I know it's not good for my teeth, but it just feels so good...

Emotional Check: I've finally accepted that this pregnancy is completely different from my first, and it's just okay. Even though I'm still having contractions semi-regularly, I feel peace in my heart that this baby isn't coming out too soon. I've also been making positive, out-loud declarations over my body and this baby, and I really believe in the power of those words. Re-reading sections of my pregnancy books has also helped ease my heart a bit, and remind me what I am about to have to do - give birth! P.S. my book list from the first pregnancy here.

Movement: Whoa, yes. He must be so long because there are moments (like all the time now), where I feel him poke in two places simultaneously that are faaaaar apart, like the top of my right rib and the bottom left corner of my hip bone. He is reaching for the stars in there. Too bad he's bumping up against my lungs and bladder and whatnot.

Looking Forward to: Oh, I am in the stage now where I am just enjoying each day as it passes. I am really soaking in my moments with Everett, cuddling on the couch and watching Mickey Mouse. Wandering through the Christmas section at Target and letting Everett pick out ornaments while also getting covered in glitter (it's not Christmas violation if you're giving birth at Christmas, we have to prep early over here.) Finishing up little things in the baby room, ordering last-minute items online, continuing to add to my hospital bag, which is at the foot of my bed. All these things are still in preparation-mode, but I feel a shift from the frantic feelings I had a month ago, and now I'm just sort of relaxed in my heart a bit more. He is going to come when he comes. And it will be exactly as it should be.

I can't wait to snuggle my baby, you guys. I actually know all the good things to look forward to this time around, and I am dwelling on that anticipation.

Preparing for a New Baby.

He's coming soon. It's only a matter of time now.

I've been a little anxious, not necessarily about the baby coming (because I'm excited to meet him!), but more about all the things I want to get done before he comes. And I also feel pretty limited, because some days I feel absolutely fantastic and super productive, and some days I have a lot of back pain and contractions and I'm restricted to sitting or laying on a heating pad to get some relief. Those days are tricky, figuring out how to still have quality time with my toddler, even though he's super active - "Mommy, play golf with me!", "Mommy, play choo choo with me!" I want to enjoy every single one of these days, I want to relish the marrow out of each moment with my family, and I want to remember.

I am preparing for the new boy. I am preparing for a shift in season. I am preparing for my life to never look or feel the same again. It's sort of hard to prepare for the unknown, but I am doing my best based on previous experience. I just know there are always wild cards! But in an effort to be ready, in mind and body and spirit, I am focusing my dwindling energy in the following areas:

Spending Quality Time with Family.
I shared last week about how we made time to get out to the Pumpkin Patch. It was so so fun, playing around the farm with no agenda except to HAVE FUN. We are making an intentional effort to do some special family things before baby boy #2 arrives. We are also just making time to be intentional with seemingly uninteresting things - like encouraging Everett to help me bake muffins for him (he stands on a stool and helps me dump flour and honey into the mixer - yes, it's a complete mess), like flopping into piles of leaves out in the yard, like making a trip to Target a special mommy-son date with a treat at the end :) I'm just trying to make everyday moments charged with life, because soon these days will be over and the season will look different.

Finishing Last-Minute House Projects.
I've been very reliant on my family members for these projects, and I am so so grateful that they are willing to oblige me. Last year we were gifted a beautiful mahogany dining room set that I've been slowly repainting a chalky, antiqued white. It's been a long process, something I started when I was newly pregnant (don't worry, I've been using a safe paint!), and I am just jonesing to get all the pieces finished up before the baby arrives. Taking a month to go to New York and then having some pregnancy setbacks (AKA being forced to sit and lay) kind of threw off my time line for completing this project, but I am still attempting it while I can! We will see how far I get.

Washing/Folding Baby Clothes.
This one is so therapeutic. Pulling out all the newborn/baby items from their storage space in the attic has been super soothing for me - the nesting urge is so present and real right now! Folding and washing these sweet little baby clothes has flooded me with memories of Everett's first few months. I'll admit, those were hard times for me, and I've been flooded with reminders of sleepless nights and zombie-like days and the unending cry of my colicky baby. But they were also significantly rich times, knitting my heart to the eternal spirit of my beloved boy. I am in awe that I get to do this again; I am so privileged to be entrusted to foster another little soul within my care. I am so excited and nervous, all at once.

Assembling Baby Gear and Creating "Stations".
Stations are going to be my best friend, according to all my mama friends of multiples. I am assembling swings and rockers and pack n plays strategically in different areas of the house (including next to this bed of mine) so that my new little guy can hang out while Everett plays and while I scurry around and do dishes, fold laundry and you know, do the life things.

Buying Last-Minute Items.
Everett might have broken our baby monitor (he's such a Bam-Bam), and we might have lost the cord to his sound machine while we were in New York. There are all kinds of little things that need some upgrading or replacing, and I have been slowly making these purchases so that our budget doesn't balloon out of control in December, which is already the most expensive month of the year. Thankfully, we have most everything we need, so I've just been filling in the blanks here and there. The Cat & Jack section at Target has been a nasty lure, but I've resisted the temptation to buy all the things. I still need to make a few necessary purchases - can anyone recommend some bottles and nursing bras that you really loved?

Blog Collaborations.
I am so grateful for this blog of mine. I love writing and sharing and I especially love the record it's served as a place for our family memories to live. It's opened up some really fun, unexpected opportunities over the past year, and I can honestly say there is nothing that I would rather be doing with my margins of time. In fact, I am trying to figure out how to continue to grow this space and balance the whole motherhood gig. And from now until Christmas I have some really fun collaborations ahead that I'm excited to share, so I am in the process of getting those buttoned up :)

What advice can you lend a mama in the final stage of pregnancy? Any last-minute preparations you made before your baby arrived that made all the difference? I am so open to all input over here - please share in the comments friends! xox

P.S. - I forgot to mention that I got my nails and toes done this week. I rarely forget to pamper ;)

Keeping Up With The Boys.

This was the day that my two-year-old wrote in pen on my white bed spread.

This was also the day he lunged toward the garage door as it was closing. Thank God for motion sensors.

This was the day that I cleaned bedrooms and went through old baby clothes while my 2-year-old zoomed trucks around my piles for his soon-to-be-bro. This was the day I did a zillion loads of laundry and cooked some freezable meals while he built block towers around my ankles. This was the day we finally collapsed in exhaustion onto the couch, and decided to watch Christmas Mickey Mouse on Netlflix (his favorite) with our feet up (my favorite). We both ate graham crackers in silence. Mickey gave Minnie a necklace.

This was the day that the 31-week-along baby in my belly learned how to do somersaults. Nay, learned to master somersaults.

These kinds of days aren't for the faint of heart. Keeping up with these boys requires all my concentration and energy, and even then, sometimes it doesn't feel like enough to fuel me through the day. When someone asks a mom (especially a pregnant mom), "How was your day?" the answer is almost impossible to summon. My day was wonderful, hilarious, exhausting, infuriating, impossible, delightful, and then exhausting again. As a mom, you can't sum up your day in a few words. Each new hour ushers in a set of circumstances and emotions that unbutton my pride and reveal my weakness once again.

During this pregnancy I've been on my feet a lot. I'm trying to refrain from being on them too long, but let's be honest - a woman's gotta walk! A mama's gotta play trains! And this lady has to get the laundry done, beds made, and meals doled out. After being on my feet too much and an enlightening visit to the ER (which I shared about here), it was recommended that I find a really good belly support band to help alleviate the weight and pressure. I shared last week about my favorite 2nd Trimester essentials, and one of those was the Blanqi Support Band that I started wearing when I was about 27 weeks pregnant. The band has made such an enormous difference in my day-to-day, and when I reached out to the company to spill my praise about the amazing support I've received from it, the lovely ladies over at Blanqi sent me a few more support pieces to try. And I am almost undone about the quality and, for lack of a better word, magic of these clothes.

If you want to know what I've been wearing for the past two weeks (by themselves and layered under other pieces), you're looking at it. The Maternity Belly Support Tank Top offers insanely maximum lifting support - it literally lifts my belly up and take so much pressure off my lower back.  The Maternity Support Wear Leggings offer moderate support and keep everything smooth and taut underneath clothes. And I've been wearing these two items together since they came in the mail - imagine the double support I've been experiencing! I was actually really sad yesterday when I was laundering everything again, just because I was missing out on the inexplicably great lift of this shapewear. I'll admit that the only downside to this shapewear is feeling hot from time to time- if you're like me and feel hot all the time when you're pregnant, then wearing leggings in this 80-degree Georgia heat can present some challenges. But still - I wish I would have known about this game-changing gear during my last pregnancy. It would have really alleviated that last 6 weeks of back pain.

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I love sharing when I find things that really, really work for me. And these pieces are the real deal, a must for any maternity wardrobe. I am so grateful that I discovered this brand so that the final leg of my pregnancy doesn't have to be quite as miserable as the last time around. And it's just a bonus that the ladies who run Blanqi (which is based here in Atlanta - what are the chances?!) are the sweetest, kindest moms who just want to help other women have easier, more comfortable pregnancies. I love supporting U.S. businesses, women's businesses, and most importantly, businesses creating something that MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

These pieces might not be able to get the ink out of my bed spread, but they are allowing me to stay on my feet a bit longer to get all the home life chores done that need doing. So I can not only keep up with my boys, but keep myself well cared-for, too. Every pregnant mama's dream.

You can shop Blanqi with this link and receive 20% off your order, friends!

P.S. if you have a pregnant friend, this is the perfect gift to give her - seriously! She will thank you every single day for the remainder of allllll her pregnancies :)

Outfit Details:
Blanqi Support Tank (c/o), Blanqi Support Leggings (c/o), Wendy Bellissimo Maternity Poncho (on sale here!)

Many thanks to Blanqi for sending me the featured support wear. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.