How far along? 24 Weeks 4 Days (in the picture) Maternity Clothes? The answer to this question should be just a straight yes, but I hit an unexpected roadblock when the season changed to autumn and I realized that aside from jeans, the majority of my maternity clothes were meant for warmer weather since I was my biggest with Em in the spring and summer. The idea of fitting into any pants that are non-maternity is a joke at this point, but I'm still trying to be as creative as possible with a few of my looser sweaters and long sleeve non-maternity shirts to stretch out my wardrobe for a little bit longer until I'm confined to wearing the three maternity sweaters I do have that actually fit on repeat. Sleep? For some reason sleep has been a ridiculous challenge for me during this pregnancy, to the point where I had to start taking a nightly sleep aide (suggested by my OB) for the sake of getting any sleep at all because I was struggling with nightly insomnia. I've honestly had a bit of a hard time not getting discouraged with the sleep issues because I hate feeling so tired during the day with Emery and I feel like the constant bags/dark circles under my eyes have robbed me of feeling any sort of pregnancy "glow" this time around, but I'm continuing to try and do everything that I can to get as much and as quality of sleep as possible (think yoga, meditation, chamomile tea + the sleep aide, early bedtime, etc) so that my body can continue to support this growing babe. Food Cravings? ALL the sweet things. I'd also had a specific craving for cinnamon sugar pita chips for AGES and was getting super discouraged because I couldn't find any in our local grocery stores until a few weeks ago when Kyle basically won husband of the year and found some for me, and has continued to shine by basically cleaning out the store of them whenever he happens to see them on the shelves. Queasy's? Not anymore which I am EXTREMELY grateful for. I still have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell that can pick out specific scents from a mile away, but any crazy, unexplained nausea has long since passed. Current Pregnancy Project? I'm including this in because while looking back at Em's bump updates I basically kept myself busy with prepping for Emery in every possible way from about week 17 on and it cracks me up because now if I wanted to do any fun little projects like that I honestly don't know when I'd fit them in unless I did them late at night but that would involve sacrificing sleep so.... yeah. No baby specific projects currently. I did find a baby book for him that I LOVE and want to start filling out, so maybe if I can figure out how to keep my head on straight while chasing around a crazy toddler I can make some time to actually get that started. Best pregnancy moment so far? Thus far, our best pregnancy moment has actually resulted from what was originally one of the toughest trials I've faced while pregnant. While pregnant with Em, my favorite prenatal appointment was hands down her 20 week ultrasound, and as my 20 week appointment with baby boy approached I could not wait to share in the excitement of seeing him move around on the screen with Kyle & Emery. Our ultrasound went as planned, and aside from not being able to get a great face shot, everything seemed normal. However, when we met with my OB after the ultrasound she explained to Kyle and I that although baby boy was anatomically perfect and growing well, that I appeared to have something called Placenta Previa (for those like me that had no idea what this is, basically my placenta was covering my cervix - aka the baby's way out). My doctor said that she had hopes of the placenta moving up to a normal position, but that if it didn't that it would mean planning for a c-section about a month earlier than my original due date to prevent me from going into any sort of labor on my own. We scheduled another follow up ultrasound for 24 weeks, and I left the appointment with a fistful of tissues and a heart heavy with worry and anxiety over the thought of possibly having a premie baby in the dead of winter. Kyle and I decided to keep the news really close to home until we knew more, only telling my immediate family and one or two close girlfriends to help me mentally make it through the four-week waiting period. As much as I'd like to say that I was able to stay optimistic and keep my head clear of the stress of the situation, getting through the month of October was really hard for me. I worked to keep myself as distracted and busy as possible with Emery and Halloween preparations, but the worry was still constant in the back of my mind and took it's toll on my ability to sleep or fully relax and let myself just "be" in any sort of present moment. Our follow-up appointment happened to be on the 30th of October, and to our pleasant surprise we were told that the placenta had made some incredible movements in the past four weeks, and had put itself in such a good, normal-looking position that my doctor felt safe completely putting the Previa risks and scare to rest. For how discouraged I'd felt for the month leading up to the appointment, I can't even fully put into words how good it felt to hear that things had gone back to normal. It was like a hundred pound weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and it was so nice to be able to see my little baby boy kicking in the ultrasound and know that at least for now everything with him and me together is a-ok. We even got a few really good face shots of him to make up for his shyness at the 20 week appointment, and it was literally the perfect way to start our Halloween fun without the anxiety. Looking back at the situation I realize that I probably stressed way more than I should have, but it was also a really valuable lesson for me to be in a situation where I literally had no control over what was happening, and really could do nothing but wait and try to find peace within myself and those close to me until we had more information and could plan accordingly. Getting the news that the Previa had resolved was definitely the highlight of the pregnancy thus far (along with seeing cute baby's face), but I'm also really grateful for the gentle reminder that I was given to let things be, and for knowing that I have such an amazing support of family and friends to help me get there. ❤️
Whew, this post ended up being a LOT longer than I originally intended it to be, but in all fairness I feel like I was literally trying to fit what could've been two separate posts into one, so maybe that's where all the wordiness came from. 😉 To anyone that actually read all the way through, thanks so much for following along! Your love and support for baby boy and our family seriously mean the world to me, and we love and appreciate each and every one of you!
By the time this bump update goes public for everyone to read I'll already be into my second trimester of pregnancy, but one of my favorite things about blogging is the opportunity that it gives me to document and journal life as we know it, regardless of who actually reads it or how specific timelines match up. With Emery, I started updates at about 15 weeks and then did them monthly throughout my entire pregnancy, and if I'm being honest with myself I just really don't see monthly pictures/updates happening with this pregnancy while chasing around a crazy two year old, so I thought that I'd try for a more realistic goal of three trimester updates instead so that I can still have some sort of documentation to remember the experience with.
How far along? 12 Weeks 3 Days (in the picture) Maternity Clothes? Yes & No. At this point in time we'd only told family and a couple of close friends that we were expecting so hiding my bump was still a priority BUT I also started showing a lot sooner with this baby than I did with Emery and have had a distinct bump to hide since about week six. I've found that elastic waisted pants with a few maternity shorts, loose fitting tee shirts, and loose dresses have been my main go-to's. I had worn the outfit pictured to my 12 week prenatal appointment and it felt SO good to actually dress my bump instead of hiding it, and I'm looking forward to the news being out in the open so that I can let this baby bump shine! Sleep? Getting a good night's sleep has probably been my biggest challenge with this pregnancy so far. Fairly early on insomnia became a regular occurrence, and I'd find myself awake in the middle of the night tossing, turning, and snacking for several hours at a time. I've made it a habit of trying to be in bed by 9:30 or 10 each night to try and offset it, and would nap with Emery if I'd had a particularly bad night. I also finally caved and bought one of those fancy pregnancy pillows on Prime Day, and that combined with moving out of the first trimester seems to be improving my sleep quality. Food Cravings? Veggie sandwiches (usually from Great Harvest or Jimmy John's) and fresh fruit. While pregnant with Emery I basically lived off of Olive Garden's minestrone soup, and I feel like having my first trimester in the dead heat of the summer instead of the fall/winter has switched my veggie cravings to a less hot dish. 😂 Aside from the sandwiches and fruit, I've also found that I can consume a ridiculous amount of Hot Tamales candy, which is weird because those have never been a candy that I'd of chosen off the shelf pre-pregnancy. Queasy's? I haven't been completely clear of the first-trimester nausea, but also feel EXTREMELY blessed/lucky because I feel like the nausea this time around has been much more manageable than it was with Emery. Typically as long as I can get enough sleep (cue 10 o'clock bedtime), avoid an empty stomach, and stay away from certain triggers (specific smells, extreme heat, etc) I've been a-OK. Gender Prediction? This pregnancy has been SO funny with the whole gender prediction thing because literally every. single. person that we've told about the pregnancy has predicted that we're having a girl, and I feel like usually people's guesses are more split. From the beginning Kyle said he also felt like we'd be adding another little girl to the family, and even though for weeks I wasn't getting any hunches or intuition the further along the pregnancy goes the more I feel like it's a girl as well. I'm too impatient to wait longer than necessary to find out the gender, so it'll be a lot of fun to go back and read this once we know and see if we all guessed right! (actual gender result here!) Best pregnancy moment so far? Easily the most fun part of this pregnancy so far has been the process of trying to introduce Emery to the fact that she'll soon have a new baby to love as a part of her family. She got a baby doll for her birthday and has been obsessed with taking care of it, and we bought her a big sister book that has since become a daily read for us. I literally can't even handle the cuteness of Emery taking care of her baby, or pointing at the little girl in her book and saying "Emery" and then pointing to the baby and getting excited about "her baby" too. She's also taken to trying to lift up my shirt to see the baby growing inside, and whenever she says "hi baby" in her sweet little voice to my stomach it literally makes my mama heart burst. 😍😭 I feel so incredibly excited and blessed to be able to grow our family from three to four, and can't wait to see how the journey progresses.
So... the secret is officially out! Kyle and I are over-the-moon excited to announce that a sweet baby BOY will be joining our family come February 2019! Keeping our surprise quiet has been no easy task (mostly thanks to my belly popping out really early on) and we are so happy to finally have the news out in the open! We feel so blessed to be able to give Emery a younger sibling, and even though it might seem a bit crazy to some that this will put us having not just one but TWO babies while in dental school, we feel really fortunate to be able to have another baby with the same incredible doctor & hospital that delivered Em, as well as while still living in our amazing community of close friends out here in Kentucky! The timing of everything just feels so right, and we're so grateful that things have worked out the way that they have.
When we found out that we were expecting, Kyle and I both thought for sure that we were having another girl, so to find out that baby #2 was actually and indeed a boy was equal parts exciting and surprising!! Kyle is ecstatic about the thought of being less outnumbered by girls, and I'm already going crazy trying to clear out all of Em's old baby clothes so that I can start filling up the space with baby boy clothes instead. 😂 We were originally planning on doing a little gender reveal party with friends to announce the news, but ended up having to wait about a week and a half later than expected to get the results, so by the time we actually knew it was a boy were so antsy and excited that we ended up just telling our family and close friends that knew we were expecting the second we'd found out the news! Because at heart I actually am a planner, I'd bought these non-returnable smoke cannons before we knew the gender (or how impatient we'd be to announce it) but.... I didn't want the cannons to go to waste so we decided to still have some fun and snap a couple of pictures with them. Em was a little unsure of being in the colored smoke and I ended up burning my hand thanks to a faulty cannon, so I guess you could say that in the end it was a good thing we didn't use them in a full on party situation. Moral of the story: smoke cannons look really neat in photographs, but maybe aren't worth the hassle once all is said and done. 😆 If there's one thing that I've learned in these past 15-ish weeks of being pregnant with baby #2, it's that things are never going to go as expected and things will most likely be different than they were with Em's pregnancy journey and that is OK. Figuring out how to simplify is forever a challenge for me, but one that I'm trying to take in with open arms for the sake of making this pregnancy journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible!
Because everyone always asks, here are a few quick FAQ's and their answers for anyone curious as to how things have played out so far with our sweet little baby #2:
How did you tell Kyle, family, friends, etc? I found out that I was pregnant right before Father's Day weekend and was totally planning on waiting until the actual holiday to surprise Kyle, then soon realized that I was incapable of keeping a secret this big from my husband for more than 24 hours. I ended up making him open up his Father's Day present early and included the news in the gift! We told both of our families together while celebrating Em's birthday out in Utah with a "sister" t-shirt, and have been breaking the news to friends basically by me just awkwardly blurting out the news in the middle of random conversation.
When is the official due date?! I think that the official date is February 20th, but for the sake of my sanity I'm working hard to get that date out of my mind and expect to be due simply at the end of February. While pregnant with Em it helped a ton forgetting the actual due date to not get overly antsy/anxious when I went over the expected timeframe, and I'm planning on doing the same thing with this little guy to keep things easy!
How are you feeling? Physically I have felt really well which is something I'm SO grateful for. I dealt with the expected nausea/morning sickness at the beginning but ended up going through the worst of it while visiting family which was great because my parents are amazing and helped a TON to take care of me, Em and Kyle while I wasn't feeling well. I'm much more tired with this pregnancy than I was with Em, but that could be due to the fact that I spend all day everyday chasing around a crazy, high-energy toddler. 😉 Overall I feel just really lucky to be doing so well so that I can keep up with Emery and carry a healthy, growing baby.
Are you planning on a natural birth again? Yes absolutely. My birthing experience with Em to this day is one of the most beautiful and special experiences I've ever had in my life. I'm a strong believer in the ability of a woman's body to naturally birth her baby, as well as in all of the benefits that it provides to the baby (and mama) to birth naturally if possible. As long as baby boy is healthy and my doctor gives us the go ahead, we'll plan on a similar birth plan to Em's.
How has Emery reacted to the idea of a new baby? Em's reaction to her new baby brother has honestly been my favorite part of this pregnancy so far. I don't know if she's really caught on yet to the fact that she's getting a brother specifically, but she's always lifting up my shirt to check on her baby and will talk to him and give my belly kisses and hugs. 😍😭 I get a little emotional every time I think about our little world being more than just Emery, but with how excited and protective she's been over her baby already it makes me so excited to see how she'll be with her baby brother once he's on the outside!
A big thank you to our family and close friends that have already shown us SO much love and support with this new baby while we've been keeping quiet with the news. It makes my heart burst knowing that this baby boy is already loved by so many and we can't wait to meet him!
I've always been more of the sentimental/nostalgic type, and becoming a parent has magnified those specific traits of mine tenfold. Emery hit her 18 month mark on Christmas Day a few weeks ago, and it made me a little sad realizing that she's now fully into her toddler stage of life, and that this is the last "monthly" age mark that I'd be able to document without sounding like too much of a weirdo. So before time slips away from me anymore, I'm going to take a second to slow down and reflect on my sweet baby girl and all that she's currently doing. 💕
weight & height: 25 pounds and 33.3 inches long. She's in the 75th percentile for her weight and the 88th percentile for her height, and her doctor figures that as she grows she'll probably end up being long and lean like her parents.
current vocabulary: mama - dada - Chelsea - please (vocally + the sign for "more") - thank you (vocally + signed) - hi - bye - see you - peek a boo - breakfast - banana - blueberry - yes - no - mine - sorry - show - book - bath - dog - baby - all done (vocally + signed) - high five - bow - wow - yum - yay - again - uh oh - milk - water (vocally + signed) - bite - happy - beep - love you. ❤️ If we're remembering everything then she currently knows how to say over 30 words on her own without prompting/in the correct context, and will also say a few others (mainly colors and people's names) with prompting.
family & relationships: Emery absolutely adores Kyle and will ask for "Dada" several times a day while he's away at school, but is also my little shadow, rarely ever being found far from my side. She has also taken to calling me "Chelsea", despite all of my best efforts to get her to call me "Mama" again. 🙄 She's rarely shy and loves pretty much everyone, especially her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and her dental school baby/toddler friends.
energy levels: Kyle & I are convinced that Emery has somehow inherited the energy of about 16 fully grown adults, and unless she's sleeping, will spend almost all of her time, running, jumping, dancing, climbing, and trying to get into everything that she shouldn't. She doesn't love taking long naps and we're lucky if she sleeps for longer than an hour and a half most days, but she gets a solid 13 hours of sleep at night so we count our blessings and don't complain.
favorite foods to eat: Breakfast is usually Emery's favorite meal (buttermilk waffles, milk, and a banana/blueberries), but she also loves most fruits, yogurts, cheeses, and any type of cracker/graham. She's not a super picky eater, but refuses to eat raw vegetables, and will take mac & cheese over anything else if it's being offered. She's also a huge fan of peanut m&m's, and if I ever grab myself some as a snack you better believe I'll be expected to share.
favorite things to do: Aside from taking apart everything in our apartment, Emery LOVES playing pretend and is under the impression that she's a fully grown adult about 60 percent of the time. She loves playing with her kitchen and cooking food, trying to get herself dressed, talking on the phone, taking pictures, shopping (grabbing her purse and walking around the house opening and closing doors while saying "bye" to everyone), and brushing her own teeth. She also loves getting out of the house to either go outside or at least go somewhere new, and will usually cry if someone leaves for somewhere without taking her with them, even if they're leaving to their own house. 😆 She loves reading books and taking baths, and is EXTREMELY affectionate, giving hugs and kisses to everyone and everything as often as she can.
mom & dad's favorite part of this stage: Kyle loves that Emery is in a constant state of learning and that she's at a point now where if we try to teach her a new skill, she'll catch onto it fairly quickly and work it into her everyday routine. He'll always be first to jump to the task of teaching her something new, and loves whenever she does something that he considers "adultish". I love that we're currently at a point where I feel like I'm getting the perks of a sweet little baby that loves to cuddle and give kisses, and a sweet spunky toddler that finds no greater joy than following me around and keeping me company every day. Although there are days with plenty of sass and tantrums, more often than not Em is filled with so much enthusiasm and excitement for the life around her and it's contagious. I love how quickly and readily she loves, and I hope she never loses her incredible spunk for life. We sure do love this crazy, sweet girl!
The Reason for the Season: Teaching My Toddler How to Keep "Christ" in Christmas. (12 Days of Nativity With Free Printables)
Growing up as a child, my mom always had a very strong dislike for the term "X-Mas". She always said that the slang took the most important part out of the word, and helped the real focus of Christmas to get lost in the process. Her opinions on the matter spread to her children (or at least her oldest 😉 ), and with Emery being old enough this Christmas to actually understand more of what is going on, I wanted to make sure that I did everything that I could to teach her about the original Christmas story and the reason for the season.
As a way to start trying to teach Emery about the Christmas story, I found her this adorable wooden nativity set and got her a book that goes through a few of the basic nativity characters in rhyme, but I still felt like I needed something more to try and balance out the plethora of traditional Christmas activities that I knew we'd also be doing throughout the month. While talking with a girlfriend I got the idea to do a 12 Days of Christmas focused specifically around the Nativity. I loved the idea, but surprisingly had a really hard time finding anything on the internet that had what I felt like was the "full package" and was age appropriate for Emery. I knew that I wanted activities for each day for her to do as opposed to the traditional 12 gifts that is sometimes done, but also wanted to be able to focus on an individual person/part of the nativity on each of the 12 days. After a good amount of researching, I finally decided on a combination of resources found on the internet and a bit of my own creative juices to create a packet for Emery that I was happy with, so I thought I'd share it for anyone else that has toddler/pre-school aged kiddos and hopefully save you all a few hours of internet stress. 😉
For the activities, I was able to find an ADORABLE packet from Lovely Commotion on Teachers Pay Teachers that was filled with several play-based, tot/pre-school aged appropriate activities with all of the supplies and resources needed. I knew there was no way I was going to find or make anything better than what was in this packet, so I downloaded it and then took it on a flash drive to my local Office Max to get the activity pages printed in color on card stock. I don't have permissions to share the actual packet since the license I purchased is for personal use, but the cost to download the packet is only $6, and then I spent less than that to get everything printed (if you have a color printer than you don't even need to worry about that). The instructions in the packet are focused much more for teachers with classrooms of children, but once I had access to all the activities, I was able to fill in the rest myself to make it work for my 12 day project. To focus on the individual parts of the Nativity, I created these 12 individual cards to go into different envelopes with a specific activity from the purchased packet. Each card has a short rhyme talking about it's person/part in the Nativity and a relevant bible verse to reference. I can't take credit for the rhymes but couldn't find anywhere who to give credit to either so apologies for that, but I hand drew in all of the characters to match the packet to make it more fun for Emery and all of you, and then after a bit of cutting everything out, coloring in the cards, and separating it all into envelopes the packet was complete! We're going to start our 12 Day Nativity adventure on the fourteenth, and I'm so excited to be able to do the activities with Emery and hopefully give her the same appreciation that I do for the Christmas story.
If you'd like to put together your own 12 Day Nativity packet in time for the 14th, then all you'll need to do is pay for/download the activities from Lovely Commotion, and then print off these FREE-12 Days of Nativity cards that I put together for you, as well as a lesson plan that I put together showing the order that we're planning to use the cards, as well as the activity that we're planning to play that day and instructions on how to play. For anyone not wanting to pay for the actual packet of activities, feel free to still download and print my FREE Nativity cards, and have fun each day leading up to Christmas reading the rhyme and scripture for the day, and matching up the cards to your own nativity set at home! I hope that anyone who decides to join us in on these activities is able to have a fun time with them! We're still technically in our first week of December and although Emery already knows how to say "Santa", she will also say "baby" and point at the baby Jesus every time she sees one in a nativity or in her book. I LOVE all of the traditional Christmas celebrations and know that our holiday season will be filled with plenty of them, but hope that this will help to keep that dreaded "X" out of Christmas, and help us remember in the business of the holiday what Christmas is all about. ❤️
To download everything you'll need for your own 12 Days of Nativity:
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.