Pregnancy + Babies

You know what is fun about knowing whether you’re having a girl or a boy? EVERYTHING.

Not surprisingly, one of the things I was most looking forward to about being pregnant was planning our baby’s nursery. I’ve been pinning nursery ideas for months, and now I can finally start making some decisions.

It took me all of 48 hours to make said decisions. I SAID I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT, OKAY?

Here is what I have culled together from a few of my favorite pins:

Vivian's Room

 

I want the room to feel girly without being too princess-y, so I’m working with a color palette of pink, mint, and loads of neutrals. I’d like to paint the room a very, very pale shade of pink (currently thinking Benjamin Moore’s Hint of Pink):

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Then I would really like to add a statement wall behind the crib of peachy pink peonies. I’m a little nervous about my ability to actually pull off said wall, but Joey and my mom are both pretty artistic, so maybe I can sweet talk them into helping me.

I’ve had a white crib picked out for a while now, but I want to balance out the femininity with a mid-century modern-style wood dresser and this ADORABLE (but yeesh-is-it-expensive) mint glider. A fluffy neutral rug will also ground the girly and create a soft landing spot for baby cuddles. For bedding, I love this DIY black, pink, and white quilt (and am hoping my crafty mom can maybe whip one up), and then I’ve been looking at mint, gray, and black-and-white polka dot bedding.

The rest of the details I’m trying to keep eclectic in keeping with my decor style in the rest of the apartment. A few mint, pink, gold, black, and white prints, as well as a display bookshelf in one corner. I’m also fairly smitten with that Gummi Bear nightlight and, come on, that piggy rocker? I die.

So that’s what I’m thinking so far! When I first showed Joey a few pictures of what I was thinking, the conversation went like this:

Him: Cute! I like the bear print. But you know not everything has to be pink, right? 😉

Me: …

I promise I’m trying to temper my excitement about it being a girl, babe. I’m trying.

So there you have it! You know, I think I’m really going to like this whole nesting thing.

My heart is so full after this weekend. I try to make myself pause from time to time to really take in all the good things in my life and appreciate how fortunate I am, and it’s weekends like this that make that almost too easy to do.

On Sunday, we had a little gender reveal party to find out if our bub is a boy or a girl. I wanted to keep the event small, and had originally planned to hold it in our new apartment, but ultimately had to move it to my in-laws’ backyard due to the water damage at our place. Here’s a little recap of how the party went down — plus the ultimate reveal!

And bear with me…this one has a lot of photos.

My dear friend Michelle and sister-in-law Kelly were HUGE helps to me in planning the party. Kelly helped by creating an adorable Polaroid-inspired photo booth:

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Delicious red velvet cake pops for the dessert table:

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And these amazing flower crowns:

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Seriously, can we get a close-up of those?

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These were all random ideas I had seen variations of online, and I sent them to her hoping she could create something similar. The results totally exceeded my expectations — thank you again, Kelly!

Michelle also had what you might call an important job: creating the reveal confetti poppers! I had seen a similar idea online, but purchasing the poppers pre-made would have cost me literal appendages. Knowing Michelle is pretty dang crafty, I entrusted her to putting the poppers together. And MAN OH MAN did they turn out amazing!

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She also created these adorable bow and bow tie pins for everyone to wear to declare their baby guesses. She used pink and mint construction paper and outlined them with gold marker before gluing each to a clothespin.

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Team Girl!


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Team Boy!

Michelle also made these delicious pink lemonade cupcakes (with surprise centers) to enjoy after the announcement. Joey may have eaten three of them — they were so dang good.

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For the rest of the refreshments, we served a chicken apple sausage pasta, burgers, and a big salad. The drinks were themed (of course); a Baby Blue Punch with Malibu and a Pink Arnold Palmer for those of us who can’t drink. (It was still pretty delish, if I do say so myself!)

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But what am I boring you with party details for? Let’s get to the good stuff!

For the actual reveal, we gathered everyone around Joey and me, including my parents who FaceTime’d in on Joey’s laptop.

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Then there wasn’t anything left to do but pop!

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And it’s a GIRL! Even though I had suspected our confetti might be pink, it wasn’t until I actually saw it that everything became real. Joey and I can’t wait to meet our daughter in less than four months!

Thank you again to everyone who helped make this party a success — we are so happy we got to share the moment with you. And to our little girl: Honey bun, we can’t wait to meet you!

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In less than two weeks, we find out whether our baby is a boy or a girl or a dinosaur.

(Just kidding about the last one…making sure you’re paying attention!)

I thought I would be more stressed out about finding out. Well, stressed isn’t the right word. Anxious? Emotionally charged? Whatever it is that I thought I would be, I’m actually pretty zen about the whole thing.

It probably helps that I’m not that concerned about it going either way. Sure, I little part of me hopes it’s a girl (I need to do SOMETHING with my master braiding skills), I would be equally as thrilled with a little boy. When either result results in happiness, it’s hard to be too stressed/anxious/emotionally charged/whatever.

I am excited to find out, though, if only so I can start planning a nursery and calling the baby by a pronoun other than “it.” Nothing makes you feel like a terrible mom like calling your child “it,” let me tell you. Probably because this image flashes through my mind every time I do:

a-child-called-it

BUT I CAN’T HELP IT. It’s either that or confuse everyone by just switching back and forth.

Anyway.

Before the official results come in, I thought it could be fun to play the What Am I Having Game: Old Wives’ Tale Edition!!! Hang on to your hats, folks — let’s see what completely unscientific guessing games have to say about my fetus.

How am I carrying (high or low)?

The baby moves a bit, but I feel like the most solid part of the bump is down low.

Survey says: BOY

How am I carrying (front or sides)?

Anyone who sees me will tell you that my bump is a little thing, but I can’t deny that I’ve generally thickened all around my middle. (My pencil skirts will confirm.)

Survey says: GIRL

Is baby “stealing my beauty”?

This is probably my least favorite wives’ tale because it seems undeniably sexist, but in theory, bad skin/hair/etc. indicates a girl. My skin has been breaking out a lot for me (usually clear skin is the one thing I can count on), but I’ve also had several people tell me I’m glowing. (Pregnant women love to hear this, by the way.)

Survey says: INCONCLUSIVE

Dry hands and cold feet?

This is one I actually had never heard of, but apparently dry hands and cold feet can indicate a boy. My hands have literally been flaking off the last couple of weeks, and my feet are always chilly. (But the feet thing was true even before I got preg.)

Survey says: BOY

Baby’s heart rate?

If the baby’s heart beats under 140 beats per minute, tradition says it’s a boy. Our little bean had a heart rate of 150 at my last sonogram.

Survey says: GIRL

What am I craving?

Apparently sweets mean girl, salt and sour means boy. I have definitely had a taste for sour, and I can’t get enough lemonade and pickles. (Though I’ve always liked these things.)

Survey says: BOY

 

How is Joey doing?

As the story goes, if your partner is packing on pounds while you do, it’s supposed to indicate a girl. I have NO IDEA why this is true, but as far as I can tell, Joey is as skinny as ever.

Survey says: BOY

How am I feeling?

The sicker you get, the more likely it is that you’re having a girl. I actually had very little to no morning sickness, and all my nausea went away at 12 weeks.

Survey says: BOY

What’s your parental history?

This is a fun one I had never heard of: If the mother is the her mother’s firstborn, she will have what her mother had second. If the mother is the middle child, she will have what her mother had for her third child. If the mother is the third child, she will have her kids in the same order her mother did.

Survey says: GIRL

How are my legs?

Finally, a tale that actually favors girls! This old tale says that if your legs swell up, you’re having a boy. Fortunately, mine have stayed pretty much the same so far.

Survey says: GIRL

Graceful or clumsy?

Apparently, if you’re a klutz while pregnant, you’re having a boy. I haven’t noticed a marked change in my grace, but I wouldn’t say I’m tripping all over the place.

Survey says: GIRL

The toddler test?

I laughed at this one: If a toddler boy takes interest in you while you’re pregnant, you’re having a girl. There’s actually a 5-year-old boy in my Kingdom Hall who recently asked me on a date, so what do you know?

Survey says: GIRL

Side you rest on?

If you prefer the left, it means you’re having a boy. I’ve always preferred the right, and that hasn’t changed since getting pregnant.

Survey says: GIRL

How’s my head?

An increase in headaches can indicate a boy. I never used to get headaches, but I usually get at least one a week now.

Survey says: BOY

So that’s six votes for boy and seven for girl — shockingly, not a conclusive answer! Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the sonogram says :)

What do you think I’m having? Vote in the comments below — and I’ll reveal the answer on May 10th!

18 weeks

18 weeks

I felt my baby kick for the first time last night.

That’s a pretty quick sentence, so imma give you a minute to let it soak in. I know I needed a minute even after it happened.

We were at our weekly meeting, and it was the last talk. I had been feeling especially pregnant because my belly had officially started popping out pretty much that day. (Having a uterus the size of a cantaloupe will do that to a girl.)

In fact, just that morning I had been thinking about how stereotypical my other symptoms had been (mild nausea until exactly 12 weeks, exhaustion until 14 weeks, etc.) and wondering if the kicking would be the same. (I’m supposed to start feeling it anytime during or after the 18th week.

So there I am, sitting quietly with my hands on my belly as they often are these days, when suddenly it dawns on me that I feel a little poke — and it’s different from digestion or indigestion or anything I’ve ever felt before. I knew immediately this was something that was not, well, me. I may have stopped breathing for a second. I pressed down with my hands a bit more…and was rewarded with a second little poke.

Here are eight things that go through your brain the first time you feel your baby kick:

1. Hmmm what should I have for dinner? I’m so hungry and — wait a second, what was that?!
2. Relax a second, are we sure that wasn’t just gas?
3. It didn’t feel like gas.
4. Oh my goodness, do that again!
5. …please? Please, one more time?
6. Maybe it was just gas.
7. OH MY GOODNESS IT HAPPENED AGAIN!
8. *tears*

I managed to not actually cry (dang hormones), but I could barely contain my excitement. Later, after eating dinner, I could feel a few more tiny movements, but unfortunately nothing strong enough for Joey to feel yet.

But…you guys. Just when I think I’m done being amazed at this whole pregnancy thing, the little bean has a new bag of tricks to throw at me.

I can’t wait to see what he/she thinks up next.

I’ve never described myself as particularly “crunchy” of a gal. I appreciate modern medicine, I don’t always buy organic, and I’ve made peace with the fact that I live in a big city and probably consume a million pollutants a day. That being said, I do appreciate when I can cut out any harmful chemicals from my life, and that goes double while I’m growing another human.

Recently, a friend and her mother started a company that produces more natural pharmaceutical and skincare products called Branch to Nature. I had never had the opportunity to try their goods before, but they recently launched a Mommy Collection, and my friend asked if I would be interested in trying their natural deodorant in exchange for a review.

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Total confession: I have always been skeptical of natural deodorants. One time, in the seventh grade, our science teacher told us that regular deodorant would give us alzheimer’s because of the aluminum, so I scoured the drugstore shelves for one that didn’t have the metal ingredient. Two days later, I was running back to my chemical-laden version because, folks, I was a sweaty beast. I have never strayed since then.

But I have always felt a twinge of guilt using the regular brands. And, as I said, guilt is twofold when you are eating (and, I guess, deodorizing?) for two. So I readily accepted her offer.

My first impression of the deodorant was that the smell is very strongly herbal. I actually came to like the smell in the next couple of days (the lavender and chamomile smell much fresher than what I was using before), but initially I was a little concerned about smelling like potpourri. Fear not, though, the smell doesn’t linger.

The Branch to Nature Mommy Collection Deodorant is not only aluminum-free, it’s also without parabens, sulfates, and triclosan — in fact, it’s made virtually exclusively with natural oils, herbs, and butters.

Of course, it’s not as strong as that prescription-strength bottle you picked up at CVS. But it does work pretty well. You just might have to apply once in the morning and once in the evening. I did this on days I worked out and had no issues. And it is nice knowing that you’re not putting anything harmful in your (or your baby’s) system.

To my readers with kids: Did you switch a lot of skincare products when you got pregnant? I also switched out my facial regimen for products made for pregnant women (AKA, no more anti-aging products…sigh.)

To my readers in general: Do you use (or have you tried) natural deodorant? What did you think?

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I’m quickly learning that with motherhood comes a hefty dose of not really being in control of much.

Today I had my ultrasound that was supposed to tell me our little bub’s gender. We wanted to have a little party to celebrate the big reveal (y’all know I’ll take any excuse to party), so we had planned to hold it this Sunday.

Of course, even as I planned I was nervous about setting the date. I have heard enough stories of shy babies concealing the goods on an ultrasound or two, but nearly everyone I asked seemed confident that it wouldn’t be an issue.

Apparently they had forgotten what contrary genes I’ve passed on to this child.

Despite being his or her usual wiggleworm self on the monitor, my baby kept his or her legs resolutely shut for the whole scan. On one hand, I’m happy my baby isn’t flashing its goodies for just anyone. On the other, come on, baby! Your type A mother needs to plan a nursery over here!

But, as I said, I’m pretty sure this is the least of my worries in the list of “things I can’t control about my child”. So maybe I should just get used to it.

And while I was super bummed when the nurse first gave me the non-news, I’ve made peace with waiting another month. It gives me more time to get the apartment ready for company, and at the end of the day, the only thing I really care about is that the little bean is healthy and happy in there. Besides, my mother tells me that I did the exact same thing when she was pregnant with me, so I can’t really blame the kid for taking after its mother.