//Sunday Scrap / December Daily / Days 1 through 6

Hello, hello! This is my first year doing December Daily (for more information on this seasonal memory-keeping project, please visit the website of the creator, Ali Edwards) and I am really enjoying this project because it's the most scrapbooking/crafting I've done since Hazel was born. Also, the practice of regular crafting has been therapeutic and comforting and who doesn't like that?!

As far as the overall look goes, I am not really going with any one color scheme for this year and am just letting the products guide me.  I'm using a mix of products from a mini-kit released this year, as well as the main kit and other products from last year's offerings. In addition, I'm utilizing products from my stash and some finds from Target's Dollar Spot. Be sure to check out that section at your local Target, as there are some great scrapbooking products like stickers and paper pads and holiday-shaped sequins available! I love the use of metallics and don't mind mixing metallics, even on the same page, so there is a lot of that going on. I also love using glitter for this album (something I normally hate because let's be honest, it gets everywhere you don't want it to) because it just looks so fun and festive. In general, I'm trying to stay away from the traditional red-and-green color scheme and am incorporating lots of pinks and other fun, bright colors. Maybe next year I will stick with a certain color scheme, but this year it's more of an off-the-cuff process.

This album is also an opportunity for me to combine different techniques and looks to add visual interest. I love dimension in scrapbooks and although it adds bulk to the album, I can't imagine not including chipboard or wood veneer or layered elements. When I flip through this album years from now, I know I'm going to enjoy their inclusion.

Finally, I don't stress too much about this process. On the 2"x 2" collage pocket pages, I don't worry about adding things so that the back has something, too, and I love being able to see through to other pages. Some of the photos weren't edited and I don't mind that, either, because the important thing is to just include them and preserve the memories in some way. That is the whole point of a scrapbook in the first place, and even more so with December Daily.

Please take a look at the video of the flip-through for the first six days of my December Daily album. For those who are allergic to videos, I've also got photos of most of the pages with some explanations of techniques or details where applicable. I didn't include photos of each and every page because some of them are very simplified and hey, I don't want to bore you.

For other posts regarding December Daily, check out this link and view all of my pages!

//the text on this album was already printed, but I added the red acrylic snowflake shape and the rubber phrase to the front for added interest and to act as a "title" for the album//

//the opener to the album is two-fold. The top layer is a transparency from one of December Daily mini-kits, upon which I adhered a layered element made up of a wood veneer snowflake, a wood veneer tree, and a rubber phrase. Beneath that is a letter I wrote to my daughter, for whom the album is dedicated, and I repeated the text to create a block. I then printed it on vellum//
//this page contains various embellishments including shaped sequins, a pretty mix of sequins from a December Daily mini-kit, wood veneer snowflakes, wood veneer trees, and some flair buttons. I love that you can see through to the layout below.//

//this tag is from last year's offerings and I just added some washi tape, a rubber phrase, and a chipboard sticker. I made sure to include a number somewhere for each day's layout to designate the date//

//this was one of my favorite mini-pages. I painted glue in the place where the milkshake would be and then poured glitter over that so it looks like a cup full of glitter! Festive!//

//this chipboard "4" was used to denote the day after I realized that it fit perfectly in the rings of the binder. The back looked plain, so I coated it in a rosy-gold glitter...can you tell I'm really digging the glitter?//

//this page contains several 2"x2" photos and snowflake sequins (from Target!) and then I sewed across the rows to not only seal the pages so the sequins wouldn't fall out, but also because I love the look! Don't overthink this and try to get "perfect" lines. It'll drive you nuts and besides, the imperfect look adds more interest!//

//more sewing! This page has a patterned 6"x8" piece of paper, a digital image from Push Print Studio that I printed on vellum and trimmed down, some kraft paper, and a 3"x4" card with the number "5." I layered all of that and sewed around the edges. I like the look of the ends of the thread being a little long, but what you do is up to you!//

//this is the back of the page above. I really like the look of sew lines so I didn't want to cover that up. I simply added some foiled patterned paper and a chipboard "5" mounted on some foam squares. Simple and graphic. I didn't really have to do anything on the back of this since I already denoted the date on the other side, but I wanted to showcase those beautiful sew lines.//

//this is some detail on one of the 4"x6" cards that I used. I adhered two wood veneer trees and on the red one, I used dimensional adhesive to glue red sequins and the same adhesive to add "spots" on the tree. The blue tree is topped with a glitter chipboard star.//

//this is a gratuitous shot of my baby girl...but seriously, this is such a simple layout in which the top card has text printed onto cardstock and embellished with stickers and the bottom is a photo collage with a white dividing line so it looks like two 3"x4" cards. The white text is typed on the photo.//

//for December 6, I used a 3"x8" pocket page with a tree chipboard sticker stuck inside and then glitter added to the pocket. The tag is actually a card cut into a tag shape and then I sewed across the top of the pocket to adhere the tag and seal in the glitter. More glitter for everyone!!//

//Hazel's Birth Story

So, when I found out I was pregnant and I was putting together my "birth plan," there wasn't much I was sure about except that 1) I did not want an episiotomy unless the baby's life was in danger (don't Google that shiz because it will scar you for life) and 2) I did NOT want an epidural. It's not necessarily that I was all about wanting "an experience." It was more that I have a huge phobia of needles going into my spine and the thought gave me more willies than just about anything. Fortunately, I was able to make both of those a reality. The rest of it, however, was totally unexpected.

I had a fairly easy pregnancy. I didn't swell, I didn't gain weight in my face, I didn't have morning sickness in my first trimester. The only things of note were a couple incidents of spotting (each one was harmless) and some insane heartburn that decided to kick in about midway through my second trimester. So when I went in for my 39-week OB visit, I was pretty shocked to learn that my blood pressure was very high--this was the first time I had any issue with my blood pressure whatsoever. My doctor came in and said, "Decided to develop a touch of preeclampsia, did we?" My heart sank. I knew all about preeclampsia and I was trying my best not to freak out. The doctor sent me to Labor & Delivery for monitoring and as I headed straight to the hospital, I texted someone from work to let them know I wouldn't be coming back (I was either getting induced that day or else I would have to take it easy until the baby was born) and I called Josh to let him know the situation. I also called my mom and began to cry, mostly out of shock but also a little out of fear. I had an induction scheduled for several days past my due date, but I never anticipated needing one prior to that.

I pulled up to the hospital, parked my car, and schlepped my giant hospital bag inside. I wanted to make sure that I would be prepared in case they induced me in a few hours. I got admitted and they put in a room and hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff that took my BP every 15 minutes. They were also monitoring the baby's heartbeat. Oh, and the best part was that my urine had to be collected for 24 hours to check for protein, so every time I went to the bathroom I had to call a nurse and have her save it in a special container. Yay! They took my blood and ran some tests. After a few hours, my BP went back to normal and there was nothing from any of the tests to suggest that I needed to be induced that night, so they sent me home.

The next morning in the wee hours, I started to get a headache so I took Tylenol and it eventually went away. Then a few hours later, I got another headache. One of the warning signs of preeclampsia is constant headaches that don't go away, so I got worried and called my OB. They told me to come in and get checked out. At around 2:00 that afternoon, I went in for a checkup and my worries were confirmed--my blood pressure was very high again. The doctor said that since I was so far along in my pregnancy, there was no point in delaying the delivery, so she was sending me to the hospital to get induced.

Josh and I left the doctor's office and I think that we were in a little bit of shock. We went home so that I could shower and make sure everything was packed. I was trying hard not to panic. I let my family know that we were on our way to have our baby!

I was admitted at 4:30 PM and put in a labor and delivery suite. I got undressed and put on my chic hospital gown and grippy socks and got into the bed to be hooked up to two monitors--one to monitor the baby's heartbeat and the other to monitor contractions. They put in my IV and started me on Pitocin at 5:30. At that point, it was a waiting game.

I first started to notice the contractions around 7:00 that night. I was expecting them to feel "crampy," but in truth, they felt more like waves of pressure in my lower abdomen. They began to pick up around 8:30 in that they would come closer together and more frequently. I tried to sleep that night, but it just wasn't happening. Plus, I was starving since I hadn't eaten since 2:00 PM the previous day. So at about 5:00 AM on October 14, the nurse checked my cervix to see whether I had progressed. I was only dilated an additional centimeter but I was much more effaced (i.e., "thinned out") and the baby's head was much lower. So that was something. At that point, I was up to 14 mU/min (for reference, I started at a dosage of 2 mU/min and ultimately, I was up to 16 mU/min).

Somehow, I was able to get about 40 minutes of sleep which ended up getting interrupted by my doctor coming in to break my water at 7:30 AM. The actual "breaking" was painless and I felt a huge gush of wet warmth coupled with a sense of relief. Not too long after this, my contractions became way more intense. They were coming one on top of another and seemed to last forever. The only position that provided any comfort was standing upright with my arms around Josh and moaning through the pain with my face buried in his neck.

At 8:30, the nurse checked me again and found that I was almost fully dilated but not quite fully effaced. She stretched my cervix and if there was any way I could have anticipated that pain far surpassing the pain from the contractions, I wouldn't have been so willing to allow it to happen. At least now I was ready to push, and it was good timing because at about 9:00 I started to push in earnest. I alternated between being on my back to being on my side, holding my knees back in either position. At some point, I even used a bar with a scarf to give me leverage. Pushing was probably the stage that made me feel like nothing was progressing because I would push and push and push and feel like there was something going on, only to be told that she wasn't nearly out yet. Fortunately, Josh and my nurse, Brit, were amazing cheerleaders and gave me the strength to keep going. Josh's emotions were really hitting me because I could hear the awe and disbelief in his voice as she was more and more visible.

FINALLY, after one hour and two minutes of pushing, I was at the point where I had to give a final push. I pushed with every fiber of my being--one of the nurses was even pushing on my uterus to guide her out--and I felt her body leave mine. It was the strangest sensation. Relief but also emptiness. She didn't cry straight away and I was on edge waiting to hear her. She finally gave a wail and I was able to relax a little, albeit while completely and totally out of it. Josh cut her cord (which he said was tougher than he expected) and they placed her crying, shaking little body on my chest after the nurses unsnapped my gown to expose the warm flesh.

I just stared at Hazel, this skinny little thing that I grew and kept warm for over 39 weeks. She was crying but paused at one point to look at me with these huge, gorgeous eyes. I held out my finger and she wrapped her entire little hand around it and it was magical. I inspected her tiny fingernails and her beautiful face with the plump cheeks and lips. I was talking to her, telling her how much I love her and that I'm her mommy and shushing her because that was my first instinct even though the nurses were encouraging her to cry. You see, there was a span of roughly 50 seconds between when her head and her body were delivered because her shoulder got caught a bit. For those 50 seconds, she was without oxygen and that ended up causing a problem. She also had some fluid in her lungs and crying was a way to move that.

After only a few minutes, they moved Hazel into a warmer and gave her oxygen and did whatever it was they had to in order to make her better. But it wasn't really working. So they took her away to the nursery for monitoring and tests. I was heartbroken. And terrified. It was five hours before they finally brought her back to us, and during that time I was unable to visit her even once. My blood pressure tanked and I was a little anemic, so I had to stay in the bed. Josh was able to check in on her several times and even took photos so that I could see her, but it wasn't really the same. It wasn't until they handed her to me, all swaddled and calm, to lie against my chest, that I felt like things were right with the world.

//Introducing a New Nerdling

Josh and I would like to announce the arrival of our little babe, Hazel Violeta Lou. She was born on October 14, 2016 at 10:14 AM. She weighed 7 pounds and 14.6 ounces and measured 21 inches long. She is beyond perfect and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her with us.

//A Blogger's Life for Me?

Hey, folks. Remember way back when, when I posted a schedule for my blog? HA! What an optimistic and naive fool I was! I didn't realize that having a full-time job and being pregnant zapped you of virtually all energy, if not the will to live. So I've been thinking about what I want to share on this blog and how to make that happen.

First and foremost, I still enjoy scrapbooking and other art. I don't do it nearly as often as I used to--or nearly as often as I'd like--but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things since I know I'm really, really going to want to document my daughter's life once she's born. So on Sundays I plan on doing something scrapbook-related. I'm toying around with the idea of Sunday Scraplift, in which I take someone's already-completed layout and use that as inspiration to create my own. I recently signed up with Big Picture Classes and am steamrolling through "Paige's Pages" and all of it is giving me MAJOR inspiration and motivation. I thought it would be fun to do a series on scraplifting layouts from her classes (and I've checked that it's okay that I do so and post to my blog, so we're good to go there!).

I also know I'm going to spam the world with my little baby and being a mom and whatnot, so I anticipate that Momesty Corner is still going to be a thing. I really enjoy being able to be frank on my blog and talk about issues I'm having while pregnant and things that are on my mind regarding pregnancy and motherhood. I don't know how much of it resonates with those who read my blog, but it sure is therapeutic for me!

Aside from those two things, I'm not sure what other content I should regularly include. I love the idea of posting inspirational/motivational things and general life updates. But if anyone has anything they would like to see, please let me know!

//Project Nursery / The Painted Lady

When I started thinking about how I wanted the nursery to look, it was a little difficult narrowing down the color palette to something that I thought was not overly girly, could transition well to a toddler bedroom (assuming we stay in our current home long enough for that), and that Josh and I would enjoy looking at given that we are grown ups. I wanted to avoid using a singular theme in the room because I felt that would be too limiting for me, and if I used a color palette instead then I could mix and match a variety of items and everything would still go together. What was not at all difficult, however, was knowing that mint green was going to be a major color in the room--after all, it's my absolute favorite color (you just have to look at my wedding photos for proof of that).

I ultimately decided on a palette where mint and grey would be anchor colors, and a couple of different pinks, peach, and yellow would be accent colors.

This past weekend, the hubs and I painted the wall colors. The wall that you first see upon entering the room will be an accent wall. I have big plans for that wall and it starts with a base of this beautiful mint green. We used Valspar Reserve and added a product called Floetrol to the paint, which supposedly eliminates brush marks and roller streaks by conditioning the paint and "flooding" it in those areas.

I'm not sure if it was the Floetrol or the paint itself, but everything dried beautifully, even though it made me anxious to see what the wet walls looked like. The entire time we painted, I kept looking at the walls and thinking that we would have to do a second coat for sure simply because it looked patchy. However, we were able to get away with one coat because it looked so different--so much BETTER--when dry.

Josh finished touching up the paint and edging the corner where the green and grey meet, so now the mint wall is ready for its final touch. I'm not going to share exactly what I'm doing with it just yet...you know, in case it totally blows up in my face and ends up turning out horrible. FINGERS CROSSED!

//Momesty Corner / Emotions? Yes, I'm Familiar with Those...

I work a mere 3.5 miles from my home, which gives me the luxury of going home every day for lunch if I so choose. Trust me, I so choose at every chance I get. So a couple of days ago, I'm making the short drive home and out of nowhere, I started to cry. It wasn't a gradual cry, either, but a full-on, ugly cry that caught me completely unaware. Earlier that day, I was listening to one of my current favorite podcasts, "The Longest Shortest Time" and it got me thinking about my own impending delivery.

To be perfectly honest--and that's the point with these posts, right?--I haven't really been all that afraid to give birth. Sure, it's probably me being completely naive, but I've always had the attitude of if I want to do something, I'm just going to do it and that's that. I don't think of things like that in terms of them being a challenge to me, but rather an opportunity to gauge how much I'll need to improve. Totally crazy, right? Probably. Anyway, whenever I would think about the natural, drug-free, vaginal birth I plan to have, I just assume I'm going to power through the pain until it's over. It helps that I have a relatively high pain tolerance, I guess, but most of that thought process is likely due to my being totally nuts.

So why was I crying? Hell if I know. Okay, so some of it was probably due to hormones. But there was another factor contributing to all of this--the element of the uncontrollable. No, I'm not referring to the waterworks (though I suppose that also counts...). I'm talking about the fact that SO many birth plans don't seem to go the way you were hoping. Like I said, I am planning to opt out of drugs (the idea of an epidural literally makes me more squeamish than anything on the entire planet...the thought of a need being inserted into my spine makes me cringe just typing about it) and have a vaginal birth. I don't want the hassle of recovering from a C-section and I certainly want to avoid an episiotomy unless it absolutely can not be avoided (I won't go into what an "episiotomy" is for your sake).

So listening to this podcast, where so many women have gone on and said how different their birthing experience was compared to what they had planned and prepared for for 40ish weeks, made me dwell a lot on that being a very real possibility for me, too. What if I need a C-section? I haven't even read up on those and how the recovery can be managed! What if I really can't handle the pain, regardless of whatever I've tried, and I NEED the epidural? How will I deal with someone coming at my precious spinal cord with a huge needle to perform a procedure that requires total precision?! What if I get an episiotomy and it doesn't heal right? What if the baby aspirates meconium upon birth? What if something ELSE happens to me or the baby and puts one or both of our lives at risk? There are just things I can not anticipate and that--THAT--makes me scared as hell. So I cried.

Then, while eating a piece of pizza on the couch, with said pizza literally being in my mouth, I cried again. It was for about 15 seconds, but still. Now THAT I blame on hormones. My point with all of this is, it's okay to be scared, to cry, to fear the unknown--especially if you're a type-A "planner" like me. There WILL be things that you will never be able to anticipate going into this, and that's okay. The best you can do is relay your wishes to all of the respective people and to trust those in the delivery room with you. Trust that they know what they're doing and that they will do whatever is necessary to help you and/or your baby. And it's always okay to cry, whether you're pregnant or not.

//Our Little Hazelnut

Initially, the hubs and I were not planning on sharing the name we chose for our little girl except for a select group of people--i.e., our immediate families. But as we talked about it, we realized that we were telling others and the point of keeping it a secret was then moot. Being the memory-keeper that I am, I decided to make it "official" by putting together a little photo announcement of the name.

Without further ado...

It has not been lost on me that our child's name will be similar to the name of this blog. "Hazel" is a word that I just love the sound of. There is something soothing about it to me. I actually had never considered it a candidate for a name until my husband and I were discussing it, and then things clicked. So now the blog name has an extra special meaning :)

//Momesty Corner / Either I Don't "Look Pregnant" or People Just Suck

As I mentioned in my previous post, Josh and I took a babymoon to downtown Chicago over the 4th of July weekend. I was so excited to show off my very-obvious-to-me bump, so I packed some dresses that I thought would do a good job emphasizing this new addition to my body. Not that I really needed to do that because I've gotten in the habit of rubbing or touching my belly almost every chance I get now that she is moving a lot more in there. Pretty quickly into our trip, I began to take note of something that, at first, I assumed I was imagining--no one acted as though I were pregnant (aside from my husband, natch). Allow me to clarify...

Whenever we would be walking down the street together, not a single person ever made way for me to pass. Nor did anyone ever give up or offer up their seat to me if I was standing. No one congratulated me or asked me those semi-intrusive questions that strangers love to ask when they find out you're expecting, even when I was engaged in aforementioned belly-stroking. In fact, the only time anyone commented on my expectant nature was when I brought it up (the waitress at Lawry's asked if we were celebrating anything special and I told her we were in town for a babymoon...though there really needs to be a phrase I feel less silly saying out loud to people).

At first, I thought maybe it was all in my head. Then I was convinced that I must just look fat instead of pregnant. Why else would no one bestow upon me those random acts of kind favors that I hear about happening to other pregnant ladies all the time?? I'm not one to play the pregnancy card, but there were definitely times that I would have loved to sit down but all the seats were taken...not a single glance given my way at all.

When I brought this up to my husband, his response was very simple: "People are assholes." Sure, easy enough to say but was that really the case? So I recounted my experiences to other people and their answer to me was virtually the same. So this begs the question of who, exactly, is getting this preferential, expectant mother treatment these days that was touted to me by formerly-pregnant women?

I'm really curious to ask other currently-pregnant or recently-pregnant women about their experiences and see if they encountered similar treatment. In the meantime, I'll keep one hand on my stomach at all times to really drive the point home ;)

//Oh Baby, Baby...

Hello, there! There have been a few baby "developments" since I last posted on this blog, and it's kind of exciting to see my pregnancy progress and approach the end! Today marks my entrance into Week 26 of pregnancy, meaning that I'm nearing the third trimester. That's a little hard for me to believe because I still feel like there is so much to do before our little girl gets here!

//at the Adler Planetarium//

Now that I'm at 26 weeks, she is moving around a lot more regularly and today I was able to actually see her moving from the outside! It was hypnotic and I'm excited to share that with my husband tonight--even though seeing the baby moving like that kind of freaks him out haha. Overall, I feel pretty great and think I look all right for someone who is almost seven months pregnant--it's just the heartburn that's becoming a nuisance. But that's what Pepcid and Tums are for!

//we found these amazing blocks at Galt Baby in Chicago!//

We've already cleared out what will be the nursery, so we still have to take the things off the walls, clear out the closet, steam clean the carpets, and paint to get it ready for furniture and decor. I think once we see the nursery all set up, it's going to feel all too real to us that our daughter will be here soon!

//we're hoping this Marie Curie doll will spark an interest in STEM with our daughter// 
My first baby shower is in about a month. It will be the one my mother-in-law is throwing and while being the center of attention makes me anxious, I'm still looking forward to it. Then, the following week, is the "friend shower" and I'm so excited and thankful for my friend Kim taking on this task! The invites she showed me are beyond adorable (hint: they feature Batman) and the fact that she offered to do this just blows me over. I'm very lucky to have such wonderful, loving friends and I don't take that for granted in the slightest.

//these puppets were at Open Books, where we found some awesome concert posters for the nursery//

At the end of next month I will be getting my maternity photos taken and I've just ordered the dresses for it. I'm stoked to see them in person and since I trust my photographer immensely, I can't wait to see the end product because I know she'll do a gorgeous job. Of course, I'll have to dedicate a blog post to just those photos ;)

//my handsome baby daddy at Grange Burger Hall where we gorged ourselves//

Over 4th of July weekend, hubs and I took a "babymoon" to downtown Chicago for three nights. It was perfection! We spent the weekend indulging at wonderful restaurants and buying up adorable things for the baby. We did our fair share of walking and I had the blisters to prove it, but it was all worth it. That same amazing friend of mine, Kim, volunteered to watch the doggies so Josh and I could lurve on each other all weekend and we are both BEYOND thankful to her for that! It helps that our dogs absolutely love her.

//Chicago, here we come!//

//our hotel was right on the Chicago River//

//Stan's become a go-to almost every day we were downtown...YUM!//

//I found these "digestif candies" at Eataly and just love the packaging (I even saved it to frame later)//

//lemon AND cucumber water at Grange Burger Hall//

//we went to Lawry's our last night in town and I have never eaten that much food before in my life!//

//we stood in line for the Planetarium for over an hour...sort of worth it//

At my most recent OB appointment, they did another ultrasound to try and get some of anatomy scans they couldn't get last time. Naturally, our girl was in essentially the same position as before, so there were still a couple of areas they weren't able to scan. But from what the tech could see, things looked good and that's a wonderful thing to hear. My next appointment will involve the infamous glucose screening. That means I get to drink what amounts to a very sugary, flat soda after fasting all morning, wait an hour, and get my blood drawn to see if my body process glucose in a satisfactory manner. If not, I'll get the privilege to do a longer test--I'd rather avoid that, so I'm hoping my body cooperates. It's still so strange knowing that after my next appointment, I'll be entering the third trimester and seeing my OB every two weeks instead of every four!

//not to be too cheesy, but pregnancy has me feeling sexier than ever...even with the dry, splotchy skin haha//

//taken at Eataly...can you tell I'm in love with this dress?? I'm wearing it right now. Literally//

//Momesty Corner / Thanks for Touching?

Hello, folks! In this edition of Momesty Corner, I'm going to give my take on an all-too-common and familiar experience that expecting mothers have--people touching their bellies/bumps. Is every pregnant individual going to take issue with this practice? Probably not. But I know of a lot that do, and I think it's something that every pregnant woman goes through at some point in her pregnancy.

My first experience with this was when I was just about 13 weeks along. I had publicly announced to family and friends that I was expecting only the week before, and I was attending a First Communion where I saw and interacted with a lot of my family. Mind you, at this point I wasn't even showing yet. I'm not the fittest gal on the block and I had some fluff pre-pregnancy, so I was already a little more than self-conscious of my belly. Then, when I was saying my goodbyes, one of my relatives reached out and touched my stomach to "say goodbye" to baby. Look, I know they didn't mean it to be an offensive gesture and I know she was only trying to be sweet. But damn it, it bugged me--and continues to bug me when it happens.

Case in point: a salesperson at the Jo Malone counter at Nordstrom decided she should touch my belly. Again, I was NOT showing yet. Lady, what you're touching there is my fat, a'thank you very much. Also, just because you're friendly with my mother does not make it okay to touch a freaking stranger. Maybe it's because I, myself, could never imagine touching the stomach or bump of a person I barely know or am not good friends with? Whatever it is, I think it's a weird thing for people to do.

Now that I'm showing more (and at almost 23 weeks, I think everyone expects me to be showing), I am expecting that a lot more bump-touching is going to go down. I don't mind my husband, mom, and a limited group of particular individuals doing it. But so help me if a stranger decides that they would like to come in contact with a precious vessel for human life. I'm liable to be quite brusque about it.

If you've had this experience, I'd love to hear about it! Did it bother you? Did you let it slide? Did you say something clever to the toucher? Let me know in the comments!

EDITED TO ADD: I've come to terms with the fact that family is going to do this, and I'm okay with it for the most part. But I still get squirmy when strangers and the like try to touch my belly...to me, that's still odd.

//Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

I am so happy to announce that the hubs and I are expecting a sweet (hopefully!) little girl!! We are beyond excited to know we are having a daughter and we are already anxious to meet her. We even refer to her by name now--though we won't be publicly sharing the name we chose except for a few people (everyone has their comments, you know?).

In similar news, this past Monday marked my reaching the 20th week of my pregnancy--HALFWAY THERE!! It is so hard to believe that so much time has passed, and while I know we still have a ways to go, it makes me giddy knowing that our daughter is coming in less than 20 weeks. At least, I hope so because if I go too long beyond my due date, I doubt I'll be feeling that great! ;)

For those wondering about the photo above, that was how we told our parents and my brother the news! The process to make the eggs took a while, but I think the frustration and effort was well worth it to get the reactions we did! First, I hollowed out some eggs by creating small holes in the top and bottom and carefully blowing out the insides. Then, I submerged the entire egg in pink dye--this is how I got the inside to be pink, as well. Then I glued patches of white tissue paper to cover one of the holes, filled the inside with confetti and glitter and a scroll of paper that read "It's a girl!", and covered the other hole with tissue paper. Finally, I spray painted the entire egg gold to cover the pink dye on the outside. My number one tip for this is MAKE SURE TO LET THE EGGS DRY before filling them! Trust me on this. Give it several days, if you can.

Enjoy the videos below of our family cracking open the news :)

//Momesty Corner / Dealing with Wacky Pregnancy Skin Issues

Two things you should know about me as it relates to my current...situation (i.e., being a vessel for precious human life): 1. I am really enjoying being pregnant. Overall, I've had a pretty good pregnancy so far and I'm just so flippin' excited to actually BE pregnant (after years of doctors telling me this probably wouldn't happen for me), that it's hard to feel too down about the negatives. 2. My skin has absolutely FREAKED OUT on me because of all the super fun pregnancy hormones coursing through my body.

Pre-pregnancy, my skin was oily/combination. I avoided heavy moisturizers and adding too much face oils to my skin, and I used a clay-based cleanser to help my skin be nice and matte and get that oily mess under control. I also avoided any dewy-looking foundation because trust me, I had no problem getting that "dewy look" naturally.

Now, my skin is very, very dry on my cheeks and around my mouth, and a little oily on my T-zone. I've also started breaking out a lot--well, a lot for me because before, I didn't really have any acne. Now, however, I have this acne that is more under my skin and there are virtually no products I can use safely during this time. Hooray! Oh, and my cheeks have taken on this redness that is a total pain.

So how can I deal with this given that I'm virtually limited to natural remedies for acne and I've NEVER HAD TO DEAL WITH DRY SKIN BEFORE EVER IN MY WHOLE LIFE?! There a few things I've begun to incorporate into my skincare regimen.

I used to use a very light moisturizer or a face oil twice a day to keep my skin soft and moisturized without keeping it too dry (that would result in my face producing MORE oil to compensate...doesn't that sound like a contradiction?). I can't get away with that so much now because it's just not enough for my skin. I have an awesomely hydrating overnight mask (it's basically a super-thick cream) but when it came to a daily moisturizer, I was S.O.L.

After doing some research, I found this moisturizer and I fell in love. It claims to contain "a full bouquet of a dozen roses," which is a nice thought whether it's total crap or not. A little goes a LONG way with this, making the value that much better to me, and the salesperson told me it should help with the redness in my skin and that's a bonus! I can honestly say that after the first couple of days of using this moisturizer, I have not had any of that patchy, flaky dryness on my cheeks and around my mouth that I was previously dealing with. WOOHOO!


Are you beginning to sense a theme here? My previous cleanser, as I mentioned, was clay-based. It was meant to suck out excess oil and balance out my skin. That's awesome--when my skin was oilier. Now that it's drier than the Sahara, I was basically pulling ANY oil there was and leaving my skin EVEN drier. Booooo!

I swapped for a cleanser containing goat milk and it essentially comes out in a consistency similar to Aquaphor and it doesn't lather. The salesperson told me she applies it to her dry face and uses a damp washcloth to wipe it off. I go the route of wet face, massage product onto face, and rinse off. Do whatever works for you! One thing I don't particularly care for about this specific product is the scent because it's a little odd to me, though I can't quite place it. BUT that's about the only downside. Another good thing about this product is that it's pretty darn good at getting stubborn makeup like mascara and gel liner off.


It is recommended that pregnant women avoid almost all over-the-counter acne products...which means that any product that actually works, you can't put on your face. Awesome. That leaves you with fun stuff like tea tree oil and I don't know about you guys, but that doesn't cut it for my blemishes. Like I said, pre-pregnancy I didn't really have to deal with acne all that often. I'd get the occasional breakout, I'd slather it with Clearasil or something, and it would go away within a week. Now, I have this deeply-embedded acne cluster on each cheek that just. won't. go. AWAY.

Enter Mario Badescu.

I've heard of this Drying Lotion from several beauty sources and they all touted the magic of this pink, weirdly-scented stuff. I bought from Anthropologie and kept it in a drawer, essentially forgetting about it, until it was time to call it to the front lines. The way you use this product is A) DO NOT SHAKE IT! See how in the photo above the liquid is pink throughout? Yeah, that's because some moron shook the bottle to make for a better photo. When you get it in the store, there will be a thick layer of pink sediment on the bottom of the bottle. B) You insert a Q-tip into it, touching the pink sediment. C) Apply the sediment to your blemishes. Yes, you will look like you have chicken pox because the Drying Lotion looks an awful lot like calamine lotion (it's actually one of the ingredients). Yes, the product smells because it contains sulfur. Yes, it DOES contain salicylic acid and while you should check with your doctor before using, it's generally not considered dangerous when used topically in small amounts and only infrequently (and you really don't need to use this more than once a day). Again, CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR before using any product containing salicylic acid. Some doctors say it's okay and some don't, so just check before using.

If you don't feel comfortable using salicylic acid at all, or would prefer not to, then the Mario Badescu Drying Cream is another good choice for dealing with pregnancy acne. I've recently changed over to this product because it says on the website that it's good for acne under the skin and I'm all about that right now.

You may be doing this already. You may only wash your face at night before bed. If you're dealing with pregnancy acne, your best bet is to wash your face with an appropriate cleanser once in the morning and once at night. This should help with any clogged pores, which might be contributing to the joy that is acne. It's recommended that you not OVER-wash your skin because that could lead to overproduction of oils and, consequently, more acne. YAY! While not conclusive of how to deal with pregnancy acne, I found this article to be helpful (along with others scattered around online).


Normally, I couldn't really use a lot of shimmer on my face because it would look like my skin was drenched in oil. No joke. NOW, since my skin is so dry, I can get away with using a shimmer product to give my face a dewy look or a glow. I really like the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in its gel form because I can mix it in with my foundation for an all-over glow, and then going over certain areas--my cheekbones, my brow bones, etc--after I apply my foundation. I set everything with a translucent powder, using as light a touch as I can get away with, to avoid having a cakey look. Alternatively, you use a powder shimmer to highlight certain areas of your face after applying the foundation and/or powder.

Now,  let me super clear: this is a regimen that I have found works for me. Consult your OB and/or dermatologist before using any skincare products during pregnancy because I'm not a medical professional. On another note, if you are NOT pregnant, these are some good things to do and use if you just generally have dry skin!

If you have any tips for dealing with dry skin and/or breakouts--especially while pregnant!--please leave a comment below. I'm curious to hear what others have to say!

PS. "Momesty Corner" is a feature where I will be pretty darn blunt about the whole pregnancy process...and later, mom life. It's a place where I encourage others to share their honest experiences with me, free from judgment, so that we can freely express ourselves <3

//Hey Girl Hey! / I Should Have Bought Stock in Pepcid...

So...I'm still super pregnant. As of today, I am 16 weeks and 3 days and not showing yet (at least I don't think so). My stomach is definitely bigger, so I'm pretty sure my uterus is pushing my stomach out, but I have yet to get an adorable baby bump. Overall, I feel pretty great. My energy is mostly back--meaning I don't pass out by 8:00 PM anymore. YAY! This translates to me being a slightly better guest at social events. The "worst" pregnancy symptom I'm currently dealing with is some insane heartburn. I used to pop a Tums throughout the day but a pregnant friend of mine recently introduced me to the magic of Pepcid AC--and it has (not-quite-literally) saved my life. The good thing about this is that there is truth to the folklore behind heartburn indicating your baby being born with a lot of hair on its head, and I'm stoked about that because I was basically as bald as a bowling ball when I was born. Fingers crossed!

Last Saturday, the Hubs and I ventured about 45 minutes to get an elective ultrasound done to determine the sex of our baby. I had booked this a couple of months ago and was looking forward to it SO much--which basically means that nothing is going to work in our favor on the day of. And that's exactly what happened. Initially, I had booked one of those 3D/4D ultrasounds and the session was supposed to be 15 minutes. When the technician began her 2D ultrasound (which is how a 3D/4D appointment always starts out anyway), she told us that the given the position the baby was in, a 3D/4D ultrasound probably wouldn't be so awesome. Basically, the baby was facing my back--meaning it was mooning us. Smart kid. The tech changed our ultrasound to just 2D (which was cheaper) and tried her best to get the baby to turn around and show us its privates. I began to feel kind of pervy, getting my kid to flash us its bits but damn it! I wanted to know what I'm having so I can start blowing my money on adorable baby crap! I tried everything--drinking freezing cold water, jumping jacks, turning from side to side. That baby wouldn't budge. I mean, it was wiggling around and all, but it didn't open its legs and/or turn to face us. Thanks a lot, baby.

Naturally, I had a little crying fit in the car on the way home because pregnancy hormones are super awesome. My dear, sweet husband did his best to console me and calm me down, but let's be honest--I wasn't in a place to be rational about it. After a little while, I snapped out of it and we had a good laugh at our baby showing us its butt when the chips were down. We are going back this weekend and hoping that our stubborn Baby B-Wing will throw us a bone and provide us an answer to this riddle.

//Hey Girl Hey! / Little Baby B-Wing

When I found out I was pregnant, the baby was teeeeny. According to babysizer.com (a fun website for all the pregnant folk out there!), the baby was the size of a waterbear--a microanimal that can withstand a whole mess of stuff, even though it looks funky. For some reason, that really stuck in my mind and so I started calling the baby Waterbear. Now that many weeks have passed, I thought it would be interesting to come up with a new nickname. Babysizer to the rescue yet again! At 14 weeks, the baby is apparently the size of an original 1977 Star Wars action figure...which prompted this conversation with my lovely husband.

//we are adults...trust me//

I originally suggested Baby Death Star, but I guess the hubs is more on the Rebels side of things. Works for me! So Baby B-Wing it is!

The last ultrasound I had, I was at 11 weeks and some days. I wasn't supposed to have an ultrasound at all, but the baby was being difficult and the doctor couldn't pick up its heartbeat on the doppler. When we saw the baby on the screen, it turned to face us like it knew we were watching! So trippy! This baby was moving so much that it's a little hard to believe all of that is going on inside my body and I can't feel it!

//we have a wiggly kid on our hands!//
Speaking of a doppler, I ordered one a few weeks ago and it was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. The first time I was able to find the baby's heartbeat on my own, I was just hypnotized. It was SUCH a reassuring feeling! I was a passenger in a car accident a couple of weeks ago and it was terrifying because while I felt fine, I didn't know if the baby was okay. The driver of the car is also pregnant, but she's far enough along that she could be reassured by the baby's movements and kicking. I don't have that luxury quite yet, so that night I used the doppler at home and found the heartbeat and it saved me a trip to my OB. I knew the baby was okay. And then I was okay. I recorded one of my doppler sessions--the galloping sound is the baby's healthy heartbeat.

Since becoming pregnant, I have been suuuper tired. I hear that the fatigue and exhaustion subsides during the second trimester so I'm hoping for that silver lining. For now, I get as much sleep as I can--you know, before the baby gets here and I forget what sleep is.

//getting a sleep mask was one of the best choices i've ever made//
Surprisingly, I have not had many cravings that I can really think of. The other day, I really wanted fried rice from this certain Chinese restaurant. So I freakin' got it. Usually, though, I'll just want lots of water or lots of fruits--strawberries, kiwi, etc. Sometimes I'll get a real sweet tooth and the only ting that will suffice is some frozen custard or Oreos and milk. To be honest, I'm not sure if the cravings I'm having are pregnancy-related or just my regular ol' fatty cravings. Either way, it works for me!

//"fruit is a GREAT substitute for cookies," said no one ever//
Anyway, this past weekend was my cousin's daughter's First Communion (oh, the joys of being in a Catholic family!). It was the first time I was going to see a lot of my family since we publicly announced the pregnancy. I was a little nervous to go, what with not feeling great (fatigue, headache) and not thinking I looked all that good (bloating, dry skin, acne). But I glammed myself up and the hubs and I went. I'm glad we did! Everyone was congratulating us and asking how I felt and saying how happy and excited they were. It was truly a wonderful experience and it made me feel so darn good about myself!

//the hubby and i at the First Communion//
One thing I definitely plan to do with Baby B-Wing is babywear. I think it's a marvelous way to bond with your baby--even daddy can do it!--and it allows you to be hands-free! YAAASSS!! So I got a couple of wraps from Happy! Baby Wrap to give myself plenty of time to practice (confession: I even got a doll from Target...DON'T JUDGE ME!). One evening, I decided to try on a living creature...and my dog, Chewie, happened to be a good size and weight to give it a shot. Surprisingly, he handled it really well and just hung out there, his dopey little paws hanging outside the wrap. Seriously though, I am pretty pleased with how easy it is getting for me to wrap around my body and position everything correctly. I even put one on my husband so he could see how it works!

//Hey Girl Hey! / I've Been a Bit Busy...

I know, I know. It's a classic excuse utilized by just about everyone. But in my case, it's been an exceedingly accurate description of my life lately. The job I had at the beginning of the year I ended up leaving, and instead took a job much closer to home with a lot more appealing qualities. So far, I'm feeling like this is a great fit (at least for me, and I hope for them, too!) and I could certainly see myself here long-term.

But there's been something else, and now that we've told everyone I guess I can share it here :)

That's right! We're expecting our first little pumpkin this October! My husband and I couldn't be more over the moon about it! Today I entered week 12 and so far, it's been a pretty complication-free pregnancy (a couple of "scares" but everything seems okay). We're anxious to find out the gender in mid-May because I'm pretty sure that's when my mom and I will really starting buying up baby goodies ;)

So I haven't posted in awhile because my entire life lately has revolved around this baby and since I couldn't share anything yet, it makes it tough to find other things to talk about haha. Today, I also told my new boss about the baby since I want to give them plenty of time to get things adjusted around my maternity leave. I think they took it well and everything will work out, but it's always pretty stressful when you're in that situation.

I've been putting together a pregnancy scrapbook album, so after this week I'll put up a flip-through video of the first trimester.

Stay tuned for a TON of baby posts ;)