Monday, November 27, 2017

Pregnancy Update – 25 Weeks

Hope everyone had a very great thanksgiving filled with love, cheer, and full tummies!

When I looked at Willie the other night on the sofa and said, “I’m 6 months pregnant today” and his response was “No, can’t be…it’s too fast”. I knew I had to get some updates written down. I was all set on trying to write a pregnancy journal since I didn’t with Hartley, but just with everything going on I have had no time to commit to that. I have barley done my weekly bump shots. I have 7 bumpie’s out of the 25 I am supposed to have…whoops!

How far along? 

  • 25 Weeks + Day 6 – tracking right along for March due date – 100 more days to go!

Baby is now the size: 

  • About 13 1/2 inches. Her weight – 1 1/2 pounds – isn’t much more than an average rutabaga (according to my app)


  • Girl


  • Feeling some pressure on another girl name, but once list is narrowed down we will wait until she is here to decide.


  • Some days I can feel a lot more than others. Once I get Hartley to bed and sit down with my nightly cup of hot chocolate is when I finally get to relax and enjoy all the movement in my belly. It’s the best part of my day!


  • So far I’ve been able to stay comfortable and sleep a majority of the night unless Hartley or my bladder wakes me. I am starting over the knee compression socks to see if that helps with the veins and restless legs I experience sometimes.


  • Still working out about 5-6 days a week. I have modified some of my high intensity classes (like Kazaxe (dance class), Peloton, and Insanity) and hope to make it a few more weeks before it’s too much. Pure Barre has been an amazing once a week lunch workout treat. I’ve started to tell the difference and modifications needed for core work, but I swear it has kept the definition in my abs much longer than my first pregnancy. I also think it’s lifted my growing butt too. At the gym I am sticking to the elliptical and lower intensity stairmaster for my cardio. I’ve kept up with weights and have just lessened my lower body weight. I have narrowed down two yoga studios for prenatal yoga that I want to start in December. I’ve been getting light stretching in but not a regular yoga class since I was directed not to practice Bikram. Need to get my zen on!

How I’m Feeling:

  • Feel great. I’m one of those lucky women who LOVES being pregnant. Only thing really bothering me is my hips. They are pretty sore by the end of the day. Mentally I am a little drained with still being a full-time working mother, worried pregnant lady, holidays, social events, growing my blog business, and trying to finish some projects around the house before the baby. I know I’m killing Willie on trying to finish renos, but I want to be done and just able to enjoy my home.

Weight Gain/Skin:

  • About 17 pounds so far. I feel it mostly in my bottom half. My legs by genetics are the worst part of my body and boy do they take a beating while pregnant. I have a huge spot of spider veins that have popped up above my knee that are super painful at times?!?! With Hartley I had to get varicose vein removal too which was UGHHH the worst experience ever. Ohhh and is normal to be itchy EVERYWHERE!?!?

Food Cravings: 

  • Bagels, bread, muffins, cereal, sweets, sweets, and more sweets. I have been trying to enjoy a bit, but don’t want to indulge too much. My pregnancy diet is such a departure from my normal healthy diet, but temporary.

Food Aversions: 

  • I seem to have less and less interest in more and more foods. Nothing really satisfies or tastes amazing right now.

Survival Items:

  1. Earth Mama Natural Stretch Oil (swear by this stuff!)
  2. Rainbow Light Prenatal Multivitamin
  3. Spectrum Prenatal DHA
  4. Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant
  5. Maternity Leggings & Blanqi Belly Support Leggings

Reading List:

  1. Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy
  2. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
  3. Birth Happy: The Savvy Woman’s Approach to a Satisfying Birth
  4. The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

Nursery Update:

  • Finished my changing table remodel. Found it for $10 at a yard sale. Painted it two-tone (pink was supposed to be rose color but more looks like Pepto-Bismol pink…oh well) and finished with pretty baskets and rose knobs (I will share later). Painted the nursery this weekend. Just used leftover paint from our main level living. It’s a stunning greige. I also found a large art piece from Target for above the crib. Probably not too much more since everything was in there from Hartley. Just need to switch their closets and just that organized as well.

Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Create a Maternity Closet on a Budget

Women normally need a good maternity wardrobe from about 4 months into their pregnancy to a month post-pregnancy. That’s a long time not to have enough pieces you can rock. But I also understand the huge commitment and hesitation of spending tons of money for new specific items.

So, here are my tips on how to incorporate your current closet while finding ways to save on maternity additions.

Evaluate Your Closet and Make it Last
  • First thing I did when I needed a little more breathing room was look for items that fit comfortably while also hiding my slightly growing belly until I was ready to share our news. For work I was able to wear loose blouses and leave a pant button open. There are also such great belly band options to make your pants last, I’ve just never invested in one because my thighs and hips seem to grow with my belly so I have to go up a pant size anyways.
  • Sweaters, wraps, stretchy tops and skirts, or drawstring pants that are already in your closet are fabulous for your first and into second trimester. For example at 21 weeks I’m wearing a non-maternity sweater dress with leggings and boots.
  • From my first pregnancy, even though babies will be born in completely different seasons, I was able to pull and incorporate the maternity clothes I had saved. Save everything! I was able to have jeans, work tops, summer dresses that I will pair with leggings for a fall look, and some workout pants and tanks.
Where/How To Buy Retail
  • You’ll be surprised at how many options you will have a more budget-friendly retailers like Old Navy, Target, Walmart, Zulily, and even Amazon. These retailers have a huge selection and enable you to buy more pieces for less.
  • Specialty shops like Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in a Pod are expensive, but by finding a factory outlet in your area let’s you wear their fabulous pieces on a budget. For this pregnancy I found two great patterned pants that I can dress-up for work or dress-down for weekends that were only $13 each on clearance. Our outlet also offers additional coupons via a coupon book, so don’t forget to ask the mall’s customer service!
  • Watch for department store sales. Macy’s was having an amazing maternity sale right at the beginning of my pregnancy. I went through and picked everything I loved that was on super clearance and with my mom’s additional coupon I was able to get about 10 pieces for around $150.  It was a wonderful birthday gift and actually made me super excited to start my belly bump journey again.
Buy/Rent Pre-owned Maternity Clothes
  • It wouldn’t be a post without me mentioning pre-owned clothing. There are just so many options for buying used maternity looks. Here are some places to look:
    • Thrift Store
    • Consignment Stores
    • Yard/Garage Sales
    • Craigslist, FreeCycle, FaceBook groups, and other online selling groups
    • ThredUP
  • Renting is also now a fabulous option for those special occasions during your pregnancy. Some options include Le Tote, Mine for Nine, and Borrow For Your Bump.
Friend Connections/Swaps
  • Having a friend almost identical in size is the best! One of my best friends has gotten through both of her pregnancies and breastfeeding phases without having to purchase much at all because her dear friend (even being across the country) sends her all her maternity/nursing clothes for her to use. Having this option is fabulous especially if you are having kids about a year apart.
  • Reach out to your friend network and see if anyone can lend you items or if you can buy them off them. This is a great way to recycle and also a way for them to feel great about cleaning out their closet.
  • If you have a lot of preggo friends, hosting a clothes swap is a fabulous way to get new looks throughout your pregnancy without spending a penny!

Pin and Share!

This is such an exciting time! Feel and look beautiful from the inside out and your mama glow will be just radiant!

Let me know if any of these tips work for your maternity fashion.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ice Cream Parlor Gender Reveal

I looked for gender reveal ideas for weeks and finally had a brilliant idea…ice cream! I knew I wanted us all to be surprised at once, including Miss. Hartley. So thinking of a creative idea that didn’t require one of us or a friend to coordinate was hard. And since I am a HUGE ice cream fan, I couldn’t imagine a better way to reveal the sex of baby #2. The plan was to just hand our sealed envelope to the nice person working to let them work their magic on hiding the color underneath a mountain of whipped cream and sprinkles.

However, this perfectly planned photoshoot DID NOT go this way. We went straight from our ultrasound appointment to meet our friend and photographer at the selected location. Excited and giddy we just couldn’t wait to see what was hidden in the envelope we were given. BUT, when we gave our envelope to the ice cream counter, we got the most awkward reaction…”Am I supposed to read this? There is nothing listed in this envelope”. What?!?!? Even after repeated requests to our sonographer to include a written sticky or note within, she didn’t. And after about 10 people at the ice cream parlor trying to read our little baby’s private parts with no luck, we declared this a huge #genderrevealfail. So after 4 days of waiting, we finally reset for a new day. And hey, what’s the big deal of waiting a few days more. It made the final reveal super anticipated!

Hartley was so adorable and absolutely LOVED this ice cream shoot. She was showing off all her poses and completely eating up all the attention. She also declared she was Team Blue with daddy.

So after a few teasers with pink, blue and sprinkled ice cream we dug into our sundae to find out we are having a…


Using this opportunity in the retro-designed Jitterbug’s Ice Cream Café in Old Town Manassas, Virginia, we also snapped a few annual family photos. Thanks to the owners of Jitterbug’s and our fabulous photographer Heather Adams for making my vision come to life! Every pregnancy is unique and should be cherished. Capturing these special moments of our growing family means everything to me. For more pictures, check out Heather’s blog!

The Howdyshell house is going to be filled with all the sugar, spice, and everything nice that come with little girls and I couldn’t be more excited!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our Tribe’s Birthday Party

Months of planning finally paid off and we had an amazing time celebrating our tribe’s birthdays all together! Willie turns 32, I turned 30 (ekkk), and Hartley turned 3 all within a few weeks of one another, so I thought, why not have a combination birthday bash?!? Oh and finding out I was pregnant (YES) on July 4th weekend pushed me even further to have the most amazing surprise for our family and friends in September.

So SURPRISE!! We are having our 2nd child. The first trimester was stressful. I am so lucky in some ways to have skipped this nervous, anxious, worrisome first 3 months with Hartley. But we made it and everything looks healthy so far, so onto our second trimester already…whew.

We are very blessed to have such an amazing support system. Our family and friends always go over and beyond to help and support us, so having this party to enjoy with them was fabulous. I made heavy appetizers and with help we rounded out a great menu that kept everyone full and happy. Ohhh and did I mention these adorable DIY teepee food labels I made using scrapbook paper, chalk labels, and little feather toothpicks from Hobby Lobby? I mean…how perfect are they?

For the cake I bought 3 different round cake sizes and flavors from Whole Foods and tiered and decorated myself. It turned out perfect! I will have to do a detailed post on this, because for a little over $60 this cake turned out perfect and was super yummy!!

Some other details I created were using leftover mini dreamcatchers from Hartley’s room, making fun kid goodie bags, farmers market flowers, fun tribal designed plates, napkins, toothpicks from Hobby Lobby.

Thank you everyone again for showering us with love and support!

Photos: Kimberly Lyddane Photography

My Makeup: Beauty By Brigid