Sunday, December 17, 2017

Final thoughts on D Day

Today's the day. 
In the stillness of my house, while everyone is out at their Sunday activities, I become emotional thinking about this day.

Tonight, I'll remove my Ruby necklace, as now it is time for my uterus to be empty again. It's only been removed one time before, when I had to enter the mikvah (ritual bath) after our forth failed cycle.  
At this time last year, I was anticipating the first anniversary of my due date that wasn't, not sure where I'd be in a year, not knowing if I'd ever be pregnant again.  

Tonight, we'll make our way to the hospital in anticipation of an early morning arrival.
Boy or Girl?!?
We'll soon find out!

Follow along on Instagram for more updates!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Final Bumpdate: 36 weeks

Total Weight Gain:  At my last appointment, on Tuesday, I was up a total of 32lbs.  This would probably still end up being my lowest weight gaining pregnancy, but, I'm also being induced three weeks early, so I'm sure I'd reach a gain of 40.  Add that to the additional 20 I gained's a pretty hefty number, but I'm so ready to lose it!  That will definitely be a journey I'll keep you posted on!  But, I did lose 55 lbs after Hannah, so I can do it again!  

Maternity Clothes: Oh definitely!  I realized I bought a lot of dresses this pregnancy, and while they've served me well...they won't work for nursing!  I do still plan to show you my maternity wardrobe because I'm very pleased that I kept it to mostly a minimum, and I'm excited to show you the transition to a nursing wardrobe.  I headed to Destination Maternity and I just can't wait to have the excuse to wear these stylish, yet comfy clothes!  Not having to go back to work this time around is a whole different ball game!  

Sleep:  Sleep has been ok.  I definitely wake up to pee, but with the long nights I've been pulling there have been less wake ups...#thereisntenoughcoffee

Best Moment this Month: We miraculously, got our roof replaced, got our bedroom painted, and had all 14 windows installed a couple months ahead of schedule.  #chanukahmiracleorjustcoincidence  It has also been a relief to have this month progress positively, and hopefully we'll end with all good things in a few days.

Movement:  The baby continues to be very active.  There are moments where I catch myself worrying about lack of movement, and usually after a few prods, I can get my 10 required movements.  I am doing daily kick counts-which everyone should be doing, but because the risk of stillborn is increased with my cholestasis diagnosis, I am extra cautious about movement.  

Exercise:  I pulled a muscle in my side when I fell taking Marshall out a couple weeks ago.  I saw the trainer once after, and it was fine, but by that night the problem was clearly exacerbated and we decided it was best to take time off to heal, and return after the baby.  

Gender:  I think boy! 

Labor Signs:  I've had some contractions that make me hopeful things are progressing.  Last week I was 1 cm, but I had been 1 cm for a few weeks.  I opted out of an internal exam this week because it does not chance our induction plan.  So...why bother.

Belly Button In or Out:  All of a sudden, in one day, it just kinda popped out! But it's not really noticeable thanks to the curvature of my stomach. 

What I miss:  Honestly, it would be nice to be able to put my shoes on normally. 

What I'm looking forward to: In 4 days, we'll God willing meet this baby!

For comparison, you can check out Hannah's bumpdate HERE 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Memories: Pregnancy Journals

My previous pregnancies were emotionally very different from this one.  My anxiety greatly increased once I found out I was pregnant, and that has impacted almost every day of this pregnancy.  It did not make documenting this pregnancy easy.  I feel badly, because I kept pregnancy journals with my other pregnancies, regular bump shots from the very beginning-but I just couldn't bring myself to do either of those things, no matter how hard I tried.  

I did take the step in the right direction though, and researched pregnancy journals.  I even bought one.  I thought having one, where I could sit and focus, would help ease my anxiety.  Even though it was hard to take those bump pictures, and make the purchase of a pregnancy journal, I knew if I didn't, I'd regret it.  And truthfully, no matter what extremes we go to to avoid connecting and acknowledging, should something bad really happen-we'll talk about it just the same as if it was a joyous occasion.  So, why not live in the moment, with a positive outlook?  I tried...I know I didn't always succeed, but I did the best I could, even when I was uncomfortable.  

Even though my pregnancy journaling is happening now, in my final week of pregnancy, I'm glad I have the journal to do it, to sit and reflect in these precious last few days.  To remember where I came from and how far I've come.  So, I want to pass along the pregnancy journals I found to be the best purchase worthy...

The Emily Ley Story of You journal was one of my favorites.  I absolutely love her products, they are darling.  However, this journal is meant for beyond pregnancy, and that's not what I'm looking for in a journal.  However, if you're looking for a one-stop journal-where you can keep pregnancy, birth and up to two years, this one is for you!  

Who knew Anthropologie sold baby books?!?  I couldn't resist the baby journal from one of my favorite stores!  Again, this journal is also to be used post birth, and was just not what I was looking for, but the price is totally right at only $30!  

I was interested in this journal because I figured it would allow me a quick and easy way to daily document the pregnancy, which would also by default allow me to focus on being positive, address my anxiety and reach a good place daily.  

This is the journal that ended up being perfect for me! Not only in price, but it also focuses only on the pregnancy.  It's colors are simple, and whimsical yet mature.  

It feels so wonderful, in these last few days, to sit, in the stillness of the night, alone in thought, and truly reflect on where I was a year ago, 10 months ago, even 20 weeks ago-in the pregnancy, but not really in it.  I do wish I had pushed myself to document more in the moment real, true, raw thoughts, but I'll take these fleeting moments.  

My favorite pens can be found HERE.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Skincare: Pregnancy Routine

Hi everyone!  I'm so glad I'm getting the chance to get this post to you-all about my pregnancy skin care routine!  I'll let you in on the not-so-secret-secret...I'm being induced Sunday night #cuepanicattack so, I am going to hopefully jam pack this week with the pregnancy related posts I want to so desperately get out to you before this baby comes! Eeeek-can you believe it?!? Who would have thought we would go from this day, to this coming Sunday??? #crazytalk #allthefeels 

Anyway, excuse the "thrown togetherness" of this post-we took these pictures in a hurry, but I'm so excited to finally share my skin care routine because these products were game changers for me, and I'm sure some of you will find them just as beneficial!  

I sometimes use the Simple Micellar Water-if you've seen the ads for this product and were just as confused as me, let me explain how it works, it's really very simplesee what I did there...You apply it to a cotton ball, a cotton pad, perhaps a washcloth, heck I've even used it on a tissue in a pinch! Then use it cleanse the skin! That's it...yes, that is all folks...there is no water needed for this product!  And did I mention that it's under $10, and can be found at almost any convenient store?!?  I've tried the Garnier version, and in my opinion, it's not as good.  So, I can tell you, without a doubt, this is one product you don't need to break the bank on!  When I'm not using this no-water cleanser, I will use this cleanser.  

This product is fabulous for getting off makeup, including eye makeup-but I can't say how it removes water proof eye makeup, because well-I don't wear it!  This is my go to for a cleanser because it doesn't require water and with being so dry in the winter, plus I've been indulging in long hot showers, I don't need more water to deplete my hydration.  It's also super convenient for gym bags, and while traveling!  I prefer to use a cotton pad, and I like mine to have a smooth side and more of an exfoliating side.  

I recently switched to this toner after reading about it in a Fit Pregnancy article.   This product can be found on Amazon and I'm loving it.  Again, I use the cotton pad for application.  

If you follow me on Instastories, you know I'm in the midst of trying a new line of repair/color correcting products and this is one of them. Spoiler alert: the other two made me break out, so I'm choosing to continue with this one to see if I think it makes a difference.  A post about these products is in the works, so stay tuned!  I apply this with my hands-it goes on almost like water-doesn't feel oily or have a gel consistency.  

I've been on the hunt for a sunscreen that won't impact my makeup, won't increase my oil, but also has good protection.  I bought this product from the Dermstore after having used a couple Super Goop items, which I plan on blogging about soon!  I really try to apply the proper amount-which if looking to apply to the face, is a nickle size amount. 

I wrote a whole post on my experiences trying out all the popular primers these days-but this is one I discovered after I tried out all those products.  I've been using it ever since!  It smells great, it's on the cheaper end, I see great results immediately, and it lasts throughout the entire day!

Who would have thought to double up on primers? Well, thankfully I'm here to tell you that you can absolutely trouble shoot your primer. I was told to apply the base primer all over, and then apply this oil-controller, pore minimizing primer to my trouble areas, which are really my cheek bones and chin.  

These two primers combined have been an absolute game changer! 

For my nighttime routine, I will either use the same Simple Micellar water, depending on how I feel, or I'll use this cleanser. Hint: this product will last almost forever, so no need to buy a full sized bottle, save your money and buy a smaller size!!!  I use the same toner, but then will apply this face butter, followed by this oil.  I have very dry skin, especially in the winter.  I see a huge difference in my skin in terms of dullness and acne when I don't hyper moisturize in the winter.  

So far, I'm very please with how my skin has been throughout this pregnancy.  I've had some minor breakouts-all things considered, and am so thrilled with these products.  Stay tuned for more! 

You can read about the products I used while on accutane here

Friday, December 8, 2017

Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour-Hallway

Welcome back! What's so exciting about a hallway you ask? Well, when you've lived in several tiny houses and small apartments, you become an expert at utilizing all the hallways, corns and nooks and crannies!  This apartment was no different!!!

This hallway led to the kids' bedrooms-there were two, and the second full bathroom.  It was fairly wide, which was why I was able to take advantage of it and turn it into another unique play space.  You can check out our other unique play space HERE.  


This was the hallway's entry point and it veered off left.  Right next to this room, clearly Hannah's, were the boys' room, and essentially across from the gallery wall was the bathroom.  Another one of my favorite spaces, but you'll have to wait a couple more weeks to see that one! We stuck the piano here and it was wide enough, which was great it didn't have to take up space in a bedroom or the main living space.  

This is taken from standing at the entrance to the boys' room; you can see the hidden wall from the angle. 

This is where we kept the kids' shoes, it's an IKEA shoe cabinet.  

This apartment was a major downsize from the house we were living in the previous year.  I lost a lot of wall space, but still wanted to keep all my sentimental pictures, framed art, and this mirror that was in Hannah's room, but didn't have a place that year.  This blank space was the perfect place to just hang everything I still loved.  

This print was bought on Etsy 

I can't remember where I bought this, but it was online!

Both of these prints had been by my coffee bar, but that space got downsized #ofcourseitdid but I still love these messages...

This is from Home Goods and had been hanging over the boys' desk that we did not bring with us.  It's just a wholesome reminder...

Both of these were also from Home Goods, but the Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful was also from the boys' desk area, and the heart print says you are loved which ironically were lyrics to one of the songs in my sister in law's off broadway musical she wrote, so this sung to me #literally 

I also hung some random old family pictures that were just missing a home but had too much sentimental value to just put away in a box.  There was honestly hardly any thought put into this-just sentiments and love and it ended up giving the apartment such a homey feel-not everything about decoration has to follow a rule!

Between the two rooms was a wicker basket with stuffed animals the kids loved to play with!  I've mentioned before I love baskets for additional storage that looks stylish, put together, but is also practical and functional.  What's also great about baskets is that there is always something or somewhere that could use a basket! Baskets get recycled all the time in my house! 

Check back next week when I take you into Hannah's room!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Alright people, I've been planning this post for oh so long and I'm so glad to finally knock it out!  If you follow me on Instastories you know that awhile back, I tried out #alltheprimers and then some!  I was in a makeup funk, and I decided to try out new primers and these were my initial testers.  I've mentioned my Sephora addiction before, and thankfully with their return policy it allowed me to purchase all of these either in full size, travel sizes, or as samples with other orders.  One or two tries was enough for me to know if I'd be sticking with it or, to save you the headache, I've tested out seven of the most popular primers out there!  

I was really interested in the Murad primer because it has SPF in it.  I had been using the Clarins SPF  and I was hopeful this would eliminate that product. This has a gel like consistency, but dried into what felt like a smooth texture, but I noticed my face inconsistently felt oily throughout the day.  This product is also supposed to reduce the look of pores, and I did not notice that effect at all.  In fact, I noticed an oily look to my face.   

People talk a lot about this primer, but it did not do me any favors-I could see every pore!  My makeup did not blend well after, it looked streaky, and by mid-day, you'd never know I was wearing any makeup!  My face was also shiny after this primer.  

I am a huge Hourglass fan!  I've been using their foundation for years now, and I recently switched to their new stick foundation.  Just like their foundation, this primer did not disappoint! It  has a super silky feel to it, it dries matte and was pretty darn perfect. 

I was so curious to try Cover FX because it's one of those new brands that has a lot of unique products.  But this primer was disappointing.  It was very hard to blend my makeup and I ended up looking like I was wearing a mask.  I had creases around my eyes, and it did not reduce the look of my pores.  It was cakey over my chin, which is one of my trouble spots.  My makeup easily came off on the nose pads of my sunglasses.  My face was shiny and felt wet throughout the day.

This Blur Stick was pretty impressive, in fact, I thought it was going to be the one.  It lasted most of the day, dried matte, felt like the silkiness of Hourglass and I did not have any post-gym wipe off!  I felt like my pores were hidden and my makeup blended well.  However, towards the end of the day it started to come off on the nose pads of my sunglasses and I started to look oily.

People love Becca products, so I was curious about this primer!  It was very hard to get out of the tube, but it dried right away and did not feel wet.  However, it looked like a mask and required a lot of blending.  

 I've used several Tarte products over the years and am usually very impressed, and this time was no different!  This primer had the perfect feeling, gave good coverage and did not impact makeup blendability.  It never looked oily and my pores looked well hidden. 

Overall, it's important to keep in mind that everyone has different skin needs-what works for me, might not be the answer for you!  Thankfully, Sephora has a great return policy and customer service, and many of these products mentioned can be purchased in mini sizes, costing less!  

I used almost all of the Tarte primer before my search expanded...stay tuned for my pregnancy skincare routine which includes the new primers I've been using, and loving, and a special blog post on SPF products!  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour, Dining Room

For Flashback Friday I'm taking you back to our apartment in Baltimore!  
The dining room. 

Admittedly, this was a hard room to work with.  It was a shared area with the living room, was kind of tight, and was also the walkway into the kitchen. And many times it stored our hanging laundry from the washer.  While I don't love that it was kept minimal, that allowed it to remain functional. Often times, the table top was full of mail, homework, groceries, and stacks of papers.  The corners held overflow bulky was the minimal side of the room, while the other living area stole the show.  Had we lived there longer I would have loved to re-work the space with a better, more stylish, statement buffet and hutch, but for the 12 months were were there, it worked.  

The dining room table and chairs were Craigslist finds!  I wanted a natural farmhouse table, and Ikea does have one, but it was too costly in my opinion and this was able to fit the bill-it has a leaf so it's expandable and collapsible, as well as in the somewhat style family I was going for.  The lucite chairs are so in,  and the two head chairs were a set, and the other four were a set.  The chairs add a really awesome style aspect, and they were truly comfortable, surprisingly sturdy, and definitely easy to clean!  

The white buffet/hutch was a Craigslist find several years ago, and has gotten a few coats of paint.  I used white chalk paint again, to ease with painting.  

I also changed out the knobs.

It was a great piece that allowed us to store necessary items, like cookbooks, overflow paper goods, my dreidle collection, but also show some sentimental items. Like those candles.  When my parents redecorated the house I grew up in, those candles were brought it.  When I got married, my parents sold my childhood home, and I've taken those with me to every home as a memento.  

I love this picture!

I've talked about my Masterpieces collection a few times; I order the decal from Etsy and the hardware can be found at Ikea.  I've done this in four apartments and I love it.  It is such an easy, beautiful, and space saving way to show the kids' artwork.  With older kids we're making the transition from artwork to classwork, and this is just as great! I can't wait to get this back up in our new place!  I collect the artwork all year long, and then at the end of the year I divide it up by family member and send it off so they have something to display!  

Across from the buffet/hutch is a three drawer Ikea Hemnes dresser, another second hand find!  It was here that stored snacks, tin pans, and disposables.  

The top was used for my candles, pictures and the flowers are another memento from my childhood home.  

I had both of these picture frames made on Etsy.

How sweet is this frame?!?

I also keep some of the religious artwork here as keepsakes.  

I kept a recent family picture above, thank you Abbie Sophia; time for a new family picture!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend, and check back next week for a continuation of Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

34 Week Bumpdate

Total Weight Gain: I'm up 30 lbs this pregnancy, which is my lowest gaining pregnancy thus far. However, I gained 20 lbs before I was pregnant, and I was still 10lbs over my desired weight before I gained the 20. So, that puts me right around needing to lose 60ish lbs.  It's a big number, but I'm not concerned.  I'm noticing stretch marks in the weirdest places, but I'm indulging while I have these last few weeks...

Maternity Clothes: Definitely!

Sleep:  I still sleep much better if I have my fan running, but it has helped a lot now that it's cooler.  I still need lots of pillows and the heartburn definitely kicks up a notch as soon as my head hits the pillow! I sleep with a bottle of tums next to my pillow!

Best Moment this Month: I met my new OB, and it was so nice to be back with a doctor who values my opinion, lets me advocate for myself and lets me have a voice in my care.  All the baby movements are incredibly reassuring as well.  I enjoy that it wakes up with me, and sometimes even keeps me up at night!
We also had a special new addition to the family and he has been a major perk in our house.  My transition continues to be rough and I was so hopeful that a puppy would help ease that, and even my husband commented tonight that, "Marshall is working his magic..."

Movement:  It's not as frequent as it was in the previous weeks/months, but I can definitely get movement on command, and it typically will wake up with me and go to sleep with me. 

Exercise:  I am still with my trainer twice a week, but we will bump it up to three times a week in the upcoming weeks.  I thought I would be able to make it to the gym the other days, but my schedule is jam packed with appointments that I don't have that chance, and now that we're in the home stretch, with a to-do list a mile long, I'm willing to put exercise on a bit of the back burner. 

Gender: We still don't know!  I'm getting asked all the time!!! I still think boy, but am having to remind myself that there could still be lots of pink in my future!

Labor Signs:  I've had a few contractions that seemed different, but nothing that stuck around for long or was cause for concern. At my next appointment they'll check to see if I'm dilated! 

Belly Button In or Out:  Still in, but every day is closer to being out!

What I miss:  I don't really miss anything.  I'm sleeping, I'm able to move well, exercise, no real health concerns...but I do miss my thighs not rubbing together so much...

What I'm looking forward to:  With my recent diagnosis of cholestasis, the end of this pregnancy is drawing!  I am hopeful to get maternity and newborn pictures all squared away soon!  I've had to let go of exactly where I thought the house would be when I gave birth, especially since I'm going to deliver 3+ weeks earlier than expected...but there are still some major projects to get done, things to organize, and I can't wait for those to be complete!

For comparison, you can check out Hannah's bumpdate HERE 
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