Our maternity photos

Hi, friends! It's been crickets around here, I know, and I'd like to say that's going to change but the reality is that it probably won't, haha. I am rushing around like crazy trying to get a zillion things done before this baby is born - he's due one month from tomorrow! - while also taking plenty of time to slow down, be still and cherish some much needed time with Matt. It's a whirlwind! So posts will probably be sporadic for awhile yet. Sorry! I did want to share our awesome maternity photos and give all you pregnant mamas some unsolicited advice - have maternity photos taken!! Whether you want to do the whole bare belly or not (I didn't), do a more formal session or a super casual one at home, it is so so worth it. We actually did two sessions, one with my sweet friend Caitlin in downtown Indy, and one with my friend Tessa in our home and a few in a nearby field. Although I wasn't feeling super into having my photo taken at eight months pregnant when I feel sooo unlike myself, I am SO glad we had these done and I will cherish them forever. They truly capture a precious time in our lives, on the brink of meeting our son, falling in love with each other in totally new and unexpected ways, and about to embark on a huge adventure. I get all mushy when I look at them and am so, so grateful we'll have them to look back on!

Our session with Caitlin Sullivan was downtown Indianapolis and I am 100% head over heels with these images! Caitlin rocks colorful shoots like no other and I'm such a fan. We brought my mom along to help wrangle Scout, and learned that the "bacon trick" - having her hold a piece of bacon riiiiiight next to Caitlin as she was shooting - was the best idea! Scout's face in some of these is PRICELESS. He was SO intent on that bacon!

We also did a session with my dear friend Tessa, who photographed our engagement and my head shots several times. I knew I wanted a really casual, laid-back session in our home to remember this time, and also wanted to throw on a flower crown and feel like a hippie for a minute, too ;) Tessa delivered, as always. Love that girl!

The photos in our house are ones I will always treasure!

And these ones in the field made me swoon when Tessa sent them to me. So grateful for you, T! And for you, C! So blessed by both of your girls' incredible talent - we will cherish these photos forever!!

some thoughts on being a boy mom

2015-05-01_0002 When the ultrasound tech said, "congrats! You have a baby boy!" my world stopped for a moment. It was a mixture of shock and trepidation; I had truly believed it was a girl -- so much so that I almost bought a few girly onesies at a garage sale last weekend, so convinced was I that I was having a daughter. In addition to being surprised, I was a little nervous. I had never pictured starting motherhood with a son. It wasn't disappointment, which I've been trying (and failing) to explain. It truly wasn't. It was more like bewilderment. I couldn't, in that moment, envision what it'd be like to bond with a little baby boy. Of course, I know tons of moms of boys, and they all clearly have great relationships with their sons. But for 20 weeks, my mind had been filled with tea parties and sewing cute little rompers and dressing my little lady up in flower crowns and headbands, having a little mini-me sidekick. In one teeny, fleeting second all of that went out the window and I was staring up at my squirmy, wiggling, camera-shy son and wondering "what on earth are we going to do together? How on earth am I going to mother you?"

And in the very next second, I pictured Mary, the mother of Jesus. I wonder what she thought when the angel appeared and told her she'd be having a son. Of course, we all know of her great obedience and faith and her "yes" which resounded throughout the centuries and brought us our savior. But I wonder, did she worry about mothering a baby boy? Did she wonder how they'd bond, or how she'd do it? I'm so grateful to have her as an example of what mothering a son can and should look like; to have her gentle, grace filled parenting as a model for my own.

So many mamas have sent sweet texts and left comments this week, telling me how special it is to have your firstborn be a boy. Of course, I think a firstborn (and every single baby, whether it's the 1st or the 12th) is magical and special and completely perfect. But it's encouraging to hear from these seasoned boy moms how much they loved ushering in motherhood with a sweet little boy. I wonder how it must feel to be a son. Are they protective of their mamas? I like to think so. And it's fun to think about any future kids we might have, and how they're all going to have an older brother. I love having an older brother, and so many of my friends without older bros wish they had one.

And to be honest, a lot of my fear over having a little boy was so superficial. I told Matt in the car as we left the appointment, "but I'm not a tomboy! I like girly things. Pink may not be my favorite color, but I like to look pretty. I like painting my nails. I like to feel feminine. I don't want to be frumpy." And all he could do was laugh, and suddenly I was laughing too, at the silliness of it all. Because I know and admire from afar SO many hip and stylish and decidedly non-frumpy boy moms (like Gail and Hayley and Ruth) and having a son does not mean I have to throw my nail polish out the window. In fact, the more I've thought about it, the more excited I am to maintain my position as the only girl in the house ;) All these boys around to do the heavy lifting and protect me! Ha, just kidding. Well, kind of ;)

All this to say, I'm thrilled to be welcoming a son into our live. A son! It still feels crazy to say, or type, or see those words on a screen. I have a baby boy. He's real and he's alive and he's being perfectly formed by the Father, who destined exactly him for exactly us. Oh man, typing that brings tears to my eyes. I've been praying since the early weeks of this pregnancy for God to bring the exact right baby into our family, for the perfect little lady or guy who brings the exact right vibe. It's so cool to think that before I was even born, before my parents were even born, God knew. God knew I'd come to be, and that this baby boy would come to be, and that not only would He give me the gift of pregnancy and motherhood, He'd give me the gift of beginning this vocation with a baby boy to usher into this world, disciple and love. Oh, I am so grateful.

My house might never be clean again and I should probably get rid of everything white I own, but my heart is so full. A son! I can't wait to meet you, darling little boy. xoxo, your mama.

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stylish diaper bags

diaperbags-01 Are you a diaper bag fan? I've been looking at tons online and I don't think I fall into the "traditional diaper bag" camp. I know, kind of a silly thing to spend soooo much time researching, but then again, this bag is going to go with me EVERYWHERE. I need it to be cute + super functional! After lots of searching, I've narrowed down my faves to these four. I love that they're all super versatile and can work as a carry-all long past when I'm toting around bottles and diapers and pacifiers. They're all pricey for sure, but I'm hoping to just invest in one super great bag instead of having a bunch of inexpensive ones. Quality over quantity, y'all. For the totes, I'm looking at purchasing this insert to keep all that baby gear organized.

My favorites, in order: Cuyana / Leader Bag Co / Lily Jade / Everlane

Did you buy a diaper bag for your little one, or just a big roomy carry-all? Any other super great options I missed? Let me know!!

maternity wardrobe: part 1

So, I had every intention of curating a capsule wardrobe: maternity edition. In fact, I've probably had 3 "finished" capsules over the last 15 or so weeks. I was determined to find that handful of solid pieces that would last me all throughout pregnancy and stick to them. But the thing is, it seems like every week (nay, every day!) my body feels radically different. And it is!! There is a teeny tiny human growing and changing every single day inside of me--so no two days ever feel the same. An outfit that fits and feels great one day hugs and pulls in all the wrong places the next, which makes it hard to find + stick to a minimal number of pieces. And to be honest, I'm wearing a lot of Matt's cozy work sweatshirts and leggings around the house, and jogging shorts when I go run errands. I put so much pressure on myself, especially last month, to figure the capsule wardrobe thing out. I felt like I owed it to someone--my instagram followers maybe, readers of this blog, people who've "followed" my capsule journey--to prove that a maternity capsule wardrobe that is frugal, stylish, comfy and practical can be done. And maybe it can! I haven't given up hope. And I do still have some semblance of a capsule wardrobe--I'm just still tweaking it, modifying it, and not pinning myself down to any certain number of pieces, shooting for comfort and practicality instead. Even if that means jogging shorts all summer. I'm still hoping to share my real-life pieces with you soon, but for now I wanted to share some generic mix-and-match pieces that have been my staples, my go-to's, over the last few weeks. If you're testing the waters of the capsule wardrobe thing, or just find yourself feeling like you have no clothing options in this pregnancy season of life, these pieces have been lifesavers for me and might help you, too! Of course, this is all centered on the fact that I'm pregnant during the spring and summer in central Indiana. I'm dressing for warm days (high 60s and 70s), chilly nights (40s and 50s) and then once summer hits, it will be 80s to low 90s and HUMID. Your pieces might need to look different based on where you live.

Regardless, here are my recent clothing go-to's:

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bottoms

1. Dark wash skinny maternity jeans / I scored mine secondhand from a maternity Facebook group. They're GAP Maternity, have the demi panel (full panel is really bugging me, I'm discovering) and the dark wash makes them a little more versatile, so they can be dressed up with heels or down with sneakers. I live in these.

2. Super comfy leggings / I bought two pair of full-panel maternity leggings around week 9, but really can't stand them now. The full panel irritates my belly! So I've been wearing my pre-pregnancy Old Navy leggings. The waistband now fits right below my belly, so they are super comfy. I was also given a pair of GAP Maternity leggings (demi panel) that I wear sometimes too. Those ones are soooo soft.

3. Maxi skirt / I bought a cheapie, basic version from Meijer, but these from Garnett Hill look so dreamy and comfy (out of my price range, though!) The waistband sits right below my belly and is so, so comfortable. It's also non-maternity, so I can still wear it even after baby is here!

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dresses

1. Basic jersey dress / I got mine for 30 bucks from Old Navy and it's the best. I first tried one from American Apparel, but it was super thin and just looked baggy on me, instead of hugging those newfound curves like this one does. Like the dark wash jeans, this dress is soooo versatile, which makes it ideal for a capsule. I've worn it to a funeral, to a business networking event and to run errands around town. I love that it can be dressed up or down and is super comfy while also being trendy and cute. And, bonus, it's non-maternity! It's really stretchy so I just bought my normal size. I did buy it specifically for pregnancy, so I don't mind if it gets stretched out and I can't wear it after the baby arrives. But if I can, then bonus! It's really easy to add pieces to this base, too, like a blazer, a statement necklace, a denim vest or a belt!

2. Black maxi dress / Ahh, the maxi. If you buy ANYTHING for a summer pregnancy, buy a basic black maxi dress. This piece is a godsend. It's so comfy and soft and can be worn a thousand different ways. I just know I'll be living in it all summer! I got mine from Old Navy and bought the regular, non-maternity version. I did get it in a size up, but kind of wish I'd stuck with my original size--the straps are a bit big (but nothing my mama can't fix!)I've worn mine with a denim vest, belted, and tied a tshirt over top to make it look more like a high-waisted skirt. The options are endless!

3. Structured dress / I rolled over the grey play dress I've had in several other capsules, and it's working great. I like having a different option besides the basic, straight cut jersey dresses. The play dress I have is a lot like this one--it has a bit of a waist but it's not tight or really defined, so right now it sits up over my bump. I don't know that I'll be able to wear it to the end of my pregnancy, because it might get a little short once this bump is in full force, but it works really well for now!

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tops

1. Maternity cami / Oh, the maternity cami. These super long tanks come in super handy! I wear them under most shirts and other tank tops, which has allowed me to continue wearing pre-pregnancy and non-maternity versions of things. Most of the shirts I already had are too short by now since this bump is growing, so the camis are great for layering underneath and keeping that belly covered.

2. Basic tanks / I have a handful of pre-pregnancy tanks I'm still able to wear, but I doubt I'll be able to say that much longer. I really love the look of these tanks from American Eagle, and will probably get one or two once my current tanks no longer cover my baby belly.

3. Basic tees / I bought 4 basic, crew neck tshirts from Old navy for super cheap ($5 each!) and love them! I wear them basically everyday. I'm wearing one now in fact! Again, I don't know if these will last all the way through pregnancy, but they've been working great for the last 6 weeks and still have plenty of stretch room. They're non-maternity so if I can wear them after baby arrives, that's awesome, but they were so inexpensive that even if they get stretched out, it won't be a big deal.

Overall, most of my current "pregnancy wardrobe" is pre-pregnancy pieces or non-maternity pieces, with a couple maternity staples thrown in (like the jeans and camis!) When I wear an outfit that is comfortable, makes me feel pretty and I can stay in all day, I make a note of what I wore in my phone so I can refer to it later. That's been really helpful when I stare at my rack full of clothes and feel like I have nothing to wear.

Once our April spending freeze lifts and I have a small clothes budget again, I'm hoping I can round out my spring/early summer capsule in early May and share the official results with you all! Have you ever built a maternity capsule wardrobe? Any tips or tricks for maternity dressing? I'd love to hear! XOXO!

some recent favorites...

Overall, I don't think my likes/dislikes/preferences have changed too much during pregnancy (except for in the clothing department, which is another post altogether) but I definitely have a handful of favorite things that I'd qualify as "pregnancy favorites." I've read about a zillion "pregnancy essentials" lists, and I think that term is so funny because what's essential for one mama might seem completely ridiculous to me, so I thought I'd share my favorites instead :) pregnancyfaves-01

1. Barre classes // I've been going to a 50-minute barre class two or three times a week since about week 7, and I loooooooveeeeee it. I did barre for several months last summer and fall, and I've never loved a workout class or method more. I'd heard it was a GREAT workout for pregnancy and I'm happy to report that it IS! Even though it's been a struggle to find confidence in my new pregnant body and give myself grace for the extra pounds I'm toting (I KNOW it's for good reason. I know I know I know. I tell myself every day. But it's been tough to convince my emotional brain of that truth!), I always look forward to class and leave feeling stronger and better about myself. Plus, my instructors are amazing and always offer modifications when I can't do certain exercises (like a lot of abdominal twists, or laying on my back for a long period of time.) If you're expecting and looking for a good workout routine, I'd highly recommend barre!

2. Coobie bras // Real talk: finding a bra for my increased décolletage was exactly zero fun. I went through what felt like 10 brands and styles, getting more and more discouraged every time. Until someone recommended this style, and now I'm sold. They are cheap, comfortable, perfect under tees and tanks and they've been a lifesaver. I was so skeptical of the "one size" model but it fits me perfectly! I also like that the straps disconnect so I can wear it with racer back tank tops or even as a strapless if I want. You can get them on Amazon.

3. Water tumbler with straw // I don't know how many times I wake up during the night feeling super parched. I don't know about you, but keeping a full glass of water on my nightstand is a recipe for disaster (I'm picturing knocking it over onto the stack of books on the floor--yikes.) So having a tumbler with a lid and straw that I can reach for without hardly opening my eyes? Genius. I have a couple different tumblers I use for water throughout the day, including a glass one I use when putting essential oils into my water, and they are a lifesaver. You have to drink sooooooo much water when you're pregnant, and I find that it's way easier through a straw!

4. Maxi skirt // I know I keep saying I'm going to reveal my maternity capsule wardrobe soon, but the reality is that I don't quite have it figured out yet, despite declaring exactly 4 times that it's "finished." Every week it feels like the outfits that fit great the previous week and made me feel like myself suddenly don't fit right--and that is likely going to continue as this belly grows. I've been super discouraged about it because I feel like I'm throwing all the work I did nailing down my style and creating my capsule wardrobes out the window (not to mention wasting money on clothes that seem to only last a week), but I'm gradually learning to just ride the wave and cling to pieces I find and love. Enter: the maxi skirt. I actually found an amazing, super-soft heather grey maxi skirt with pockets (!!) at Meijer, of all places. I've been wearing it constantly and I know it's going to be a staple all summer long.

5. Clementines // Oh my gosh you guys, I cannot get enough citrus. I hear this is common during pregnancy? I eat between 3 and 8 of these little gems a day and there's no end in sight to my obsession. Thankfully they're super good for me...unlike the potato chips that I'm also constantly craving ;)

6. Essential oils // My Young Living essential oils have been a godsend these last few weeks. I find myself using them more than ever, for everything from aching muscles after barre, to getting rid of migraines, to helping me get good sleep at night. I've been loving lemon EO in my water, grapefruit as a natural perfume, and since I'm extra sensitive to smells lately, I diffuse Purification almost everyday to keep the house smelling fresh and dispel any lingering cooking smells.

7. Mom's One-Line-A-Day Journal // My friend Chelsea gifted me this beautiful journal right after I told her we were expecting, and I absolutely love filling it out each day. There's just a few lines for each day, and it's been so fun to jot down one tiny memory or thought from the very beginning of this pregnancy. Things like the first time Matt and I read a book out loud to the baby, or the day I wrote the prayer I've been praying for the baby every day. Little milestones that I don't want to forget. It's been so sweet already to flip back through the entries from the past few weeks and reminisce. I know this will be a treasure for the years to come!

8. Pregnancy Journal from Val Marie Paper // Speaking of journals, this pregnancy journal from Val Marie Paper has been another favorite. It's broken down by trimester and then by weeks, with space to jot down your feelings, fears, prayers for dad, prayers for friends trying to get pregnant, answered prayers, and other sections in between. It's been a super great tool to focus my prayers for the baby and bring so many of my specific worries and fears before God.

9. Statement necklaces // I feel like my style has become SUPER basic and kind of, well, boring, since getting pregnant, since my wardrobe is so limited and I'm still figuring it all out. So accessories have been my go-to to jazz up the same old daily uniform of jeans and a tshirt. Statement necklaces are especially fun as we head into spring and summer for adding some pizzaz to less than exciting outfits.

10. BabyList Registry // Matt and I decided to create an online baby registry using the amazing, free service through BabyList. It's a universal wish list that allows you to easily add items from any store, including Etsy, along with heartfelt gifts like help with meals and babysitting. My sister in law introduced me to it (her and my brother-in-law are also due with their first this summer!) and I'm in LOVE. I've added items from a million stores, including some local ones, and even Etsy! I love that we've been able to almost completely create our registry from our couch, instead of taking an hours-long trip to Babies-R-Us. True story: I haven't even set foot in a Buy Buy Baby or Babies-R-Us yet. They kind of freak me out. We're planning on going soon to see some of the items we registered for in person, like the stroller, to make sure we like them, but other than that, I'm happy to keep adding to the list from my laptop :)

If you're an expecting mama, is there anything you found during pregnancy that you LOVED? I'd love to hear! XOXO!