How far along? 36 weeks, 3 days. Fun fact - I didn't realize it until I went to actually write up this post, but I was also exactly 36 weeks 3 days along in Emery's last bump update, and I love that we now have pictures documented at the same time from each pregnancy! Sleep? I've reached a point where not even makeup and photoshop can hide the dark circles under my eyes I've gained these past nine months. I remember struggling with sleep at this point in pregnancy with Em as well from waking up to roll over and pee in the middle of the night, but it seems like adding in an actual toddler Emery to the equation has made it so that I can't even remember the last time I actually got what could be considered a good night's rest. Needless to say, Em's afternoon naps and chai lattes have become some of my favorite things. 😜 Food Cravings? Cold water, fresh pineapple (specifically from Trader Joe's), and cold cereal with unsweetened almond milk. My stomach is compressed enough at this point to where I've had to shift to eating smaller snacks/meals throughout the day, and these seem to be the things that I've found myself subconsciously keeping our fridge/cupboard constantly stocked with to get me through day to day! Current Pregnancy Project? At my last OB appointment my doctor informed me that because of baby boy's size the likelihood of me making it all the way to my due date is fairly unlikely, and I've since then gone from what could be considered "nesting" to running around like a full-on crazy person trying to get all of the last minute to-do's done before our little babe makes his debut. Still on my list of tasks includes starting his baby book, meal planning for when my parents are in town, vacuuming out our car so that we can install his carseat, packing snacks for our hospital stay, filling up my birthing ball with air, and trying to continue to clean/declutter our apartment as much as possible before he gets here. I'm sure there's more that I'm probably forgetting, but for the sake of keeping some sort of inner calm/peace I'm working hard to remind myself that it is 100% OK if everything doesn't get done right away, and am feeling grateful that at least the majority of the basic big tasks (baby's laundry, hospital bag, Emery's care plan while we're away, etc) are already done. Funny Pregnancy Moment? I literally can not go ANYWHERE without getting asked when I'm due, having people assume that I'm having twins when they realize that I still have a little ways until said due date, and/or people making comments like "you're due any day now aren't you?" My belly has grown to the point where not even maternity tops/sweaters cover it fully (I have to layer with 2-3 shirts every day to cover everything) so the comments aren't fully unwarranted, and I've reached a point where I've found that it's much easier to laugh about the awkwardness of it all instead of getting embarrassed about the size of my midsection, or Kentuckiana's constant need to point it out. 😂 Best pregnancy moment so far? I had the chance to have an ultrasound just this last week (at 36 weeks) and it was SO much fun being able to see baby boy so fully developed! I never had an ultrasound with Em after her 20 week appointment and I was blown away at just how real and close seeing baby boy so far along made everything feel. Based on his pictures he's set to have the most perfect chubby cheeks and my nose, but I guess we'll know for sure once he's actually here on the outside! Last minute pregnancy thoughts? Honestly, this last little bit of pregnancy has been a Disneyland-worthy rollercoaster of emotions for me. I didn't even realize how much of a hot mess I'd become until my sweet two and a half year old started feeling the need to console me with fairly constant kisses, hugs, and "oh it's ok mommy I love you's!" when she'd catch me silent crying during something as simple as our lunch time together or while trying to get my shoes on before we'd head out to run errands for the day. There's a part of me that's so nervous for this baby to get here because I know that it means getting thrown back into the newborn stage which for us with Emery was freaking HARD. I'm SO excited for Emery and her baby brother to officially meet and can't wait to watch their relationship grow, but then also anticipate how she'll adjust once her now beloved "baby brother" is on the outside and requiring a lot of attention, and I so badly want her to know and feel just how much Kyle and I love and care about her even with a new baby in the house. I'm so excited for baby brother to be able to officially join in on our family adventures, and also wonder constantly what those adventures will look like not only as a family of four, but also out of dental school and in a completely different state away from our community that we've grown to love and depend on so much over these past four years. I literally haven't even been able to make it through typing up these thoughts without getting teary-eyed (just in case there was any misunderstanding as to just how much of an emotional mess lack of sleep/pregnancy hormones have made me) BUT above all of these crazy emotions I especially feel grateful, for this incredible opportunity and most of all for the people that I get to experience it with. I still can't help but feel completely amazed at the body's ability to grow and deliver a human child, and am so grateful that me and baby boy have been able to make it through this pregnancy without too many scary complications or challenges. I'm so grateful for my close friends and for my parents and long-distance family members that have been such an incredible support system to me throughout this entire journey, and am so dang excited for my parents to get here in a few weeks to join in on the fun of welcoming in our new addition. More than anything I'm so thankful for Kyle and Emery. Without a doubt they were both heaven sent especially for me, and there is literally no one else that I could imagine myself doing life's crazy journey with than the two of them. We are all up for what I'm sure will be a bit of an adjustment once baby brother joins our party, but in my heart I already know that he is the exact person that our little family needs, and that once he's here the adventures we have together can only get more wonderful. Cheers to our soon-to-be family of four, and everything that's ahead. 💙
Since having a baby I feel like our lives have been moving in fast forward, and I swear it wasn't that long ago that Kyle and I were at the hospital coming to the realization that we were about to meet our baby girl that we had waited so long for. Yet here we are, now with an extremely energetic, talking, running and giggling TWO year old, scratching our heads wondering how time went by this quickly, but still loving the new stages and adventures that having a toddler brings. Last year while planning Emery's 1st birthday party, I worked feverishly months in advance anticipating the day, making my mama heart feel allllll the emotions of my baby turning one for probably a lot longer than necessary. This year, I forced myself to hold off on planning her party until the actual month of, and even though it did help tone down the crazy on my party planning addiction, the mama feels still came and I was still a huge cry baby leading up to Em's big day blubbering to Kyle about how much she's grown. Turns out that no matter what I do I'm still bound to turn to mush when my child's birthday gets close enough. 😆
tablecloths + ribbon (garland): hobby lobby | chalkboard: home depot | toy planes + amelia earhart book: amazon
cake stands + wooden "E": target | small wood planes: amazon | larger wooden plane: local NJ craft/art fair
For Emery's birthdays I decided last year that I always wanted her parties to be focused on something that she really enjoys, and this year that thing happened to be airplanes! I don't know if it's been the fairly constant airplane rides to visit family throughout her life or just one of those random toddler interests, but Emery is OBSESSED with all things airplane related. While finding it near impossible to find her shoes sitting two feet away from her when we're trying to leave the house, she'll spot an airplane 20,000 feet up without any problem, and always with an adorable amount of excitement (think Em's little voice squealing "air-pane!!!!" and then "anoder one!!! about 20 times a day) 😉. While visiting our aunt in New Jersey in May I'd found Emery an adorable little handmade wooden airplane toy at a local craft fair, and that combined with the constant notification of airplanes in the sky sparked the idea for an airplane themed party. It turned out that finding airplane themed things for a party that weren't obviously meant for a boy was a little tricky, but I managed to find a few cute airplanes that were natural wood, then just added in little pops of more girly colors on the propeller/wheels, and then brought in more color into the rest of the decor with the plates, napkins, banner, cake toppers, etc.
While planning the party I wanted to try really hard to keep things simplified (a genuine task for me sometimes... or all the time) and to make sure that everything was really toddler friendly for Emery and all of her friends to enjoy. Last year I had done her party at a local splash pad, and although it was fun, the splash pad was PACKED with people and having to drive there brought up a lot of unexpected hurdles that added unnecessary stress to the day. This year we did the party in one of the local picnic areas of our apartment complex so there was no driving required, and we kept all of the food really simple & toddler approved with popsicles, powdered "cloud" doughnuts, mini bottled water, and of course birthday cake! I also found these adorable little pull-back airplanes for the kids to play with, and after laying down my giant chalkboard on one of the picnic tables and drawing a few runway lines, the kids had a blast flying the planes all over the table setup as well as running around with them throughout the picnic area. It was so much fun watching the kiddos all play together, and I really appreciated the change of pace by keeping things a little more quiet and close to home for the sake of simplicity.
Also, I need to give a HUGE shout out and thank you to my girlfriend Kami for offering to make Emery's birthday cake for me. Leading up to the party the only aspect of planning her party that was really stressing me out was the idea of trying to make an actual free standing birthday cake, and Kami literally just took all of that stress off of my shoulders and made the most beautiful and tasty cake for Em's party! I was able to stick to my craft-loving self and made all of the little toppers to go in her cake, and then Kami took care of the rest so that the toppers would actually have a cake to go in! 😉 I feel so lucky to have so many talented girlfriends close by to help with fun things like this, there's no way I'd be able to survive out here in Kentucky without all of them! Thanks a million and a million again Kami! You're the best!
As hard as it is to watch my baby grow up, the whole birthday experience with Emery this year has been SO much fun! Emery actually knew this year that her birthday was something special and it made everything more exciting! She spent the whole day saying "Happy Berfday Emery!", got SO excited opening all of her cards & birthday messages from family back home, and was grinning from ear to ear throughout her whole party, asking to blow her candles out on her cake again after we'd sung to her. 😂 All the hugs, kisses, and thank you's to all of our family back home and all of our sweet friends here that made Emery's birthday so special! We love you all dearly! Here's to the toddler two's and all of the adventures this year will bring!
dress + tights: baby gap | bow: little poppy co. | teddy bear: build a bear workshop
Christmas is without a doubt my favorite holiday, and with December officially being upon us I'm SO excited because it means that I can now more fully dive in to all of the festivities without the "less spirited" (cough, cough Kyle) getting on my case about starting Christmas too early. 😉 December is also one of my busiest times of the year with holiday preparations, and as much as I hate to admit it, I am that person that wants everything about my Christmas to be picture perfect. I want the pretty tree with the matching wrapped gifts, the cute holiday pictures, the Pinterest worthy Christmas cookies, the clean untouched snow on Christmas morning.... you get the picture. Last year I remember making a goal to avoid any unnecessary "holi-drama", and as much as I'd love to say that I only had to learn that lesson once, as the holiday prep started up this year I found myself getting flustered when I realized that having an able bodied toddler makes for a LOT more messes and crazy than I'd originally planned for in my ideal Christmas imagination. As we were putting up our Christmas tree this year, Emery was having the time of her life throwing all of the "balls" around the house, and although her enthusiasm was adorable to watch it definitely threw a wrench into my usual methodical tree decorating process. It was at that moment however that I realized that I had a choice. I could choose to get frustrated with Emery and the situation, or I could choose to laugh and embrace her sweet enthusiasm, and congratulate myself for thinking ahead of time five years back when I bought plastic ornaments instead of glass. 😜 This Christmas season I'll still be busy, but this year I want to work to make it a different, better type of busy. The more time goes by, I realize that the true joy of the holidays is found more in the people that we spend them with instead of everything else on the outside. We'll still keep plenty busy with all of the traditional Christmas activities, but this year I'm choosing to keep my focus much more on the family togetherness of the activities and much less on the prettiness of them. My family is my greatest gift, so this Christmas, I'm going to embrace them for everything that they are, toddler messes, tantrums, tree destroying tendencies and all, and hope to have it be one of our best, busiest Christmas's yet, spent with those we love the most. ❤️🎄
I hope that everyone has had a happy start to your holiday season!
This year marks our third autumn in Kentucky (and the start of our third year of dental school, how weird is that to say aloud?!), and even though the weather lately has been unseasonably warm for October, that fall feel is still in the air and Kyle and I felt like we had to take advantage of it. Every year since we've moved out east we've made it a point to visit a nearby orchard for apple picking as a kick off to fall, and it's something that I've really come to always look forward to. There's always guaranteed to be amazing fresh apples for picking and other produce for purchase, pumpkin spice doughnuts (if you haven't had a chance to try one of these yet you NEED to find a way to get them into your life), and more than anything amazing company from good friends and special time together with my sweet little family! Last year on our apple picking trip Emery was still pretty young and didn't fully understand what was going on, so this year it was a blast being able to have the experience brand new through her curious eyes.
This year was also our first time visiting Huber's Orchard specifically. It's easily one of Kentuckianas's largest orchard's partly because of the winery and distillery also located on the property, and after visiting I honestly don't know why it took us so long to make the trip! They had live music, wine tasting and distillery tours, tractor rides, apple and pumpkin picking, and literally everything else related to fall and fun that you could possibly think of! It was such a neat experience being able to see all of the different parts of the orchard and I really felt like there was something there for any age and interest! Emery's favorite part was riding on the tractor and then of course trying ALL of the apples, regardless of who they originally belonged to. 😂 She loved running up and down the rows of the apple trees, and found pure joy in being free to roam wherever she pleased, and enjoying unlimited snacks whenever she wanted them.
Experiences like these make me feel so grateful for Emery and the stage that she's currently in. Toddler life is so messy ALL the time, and even though it's constantly a struggle for me to let go of my control freak side and thinking that everything needs to be perfect all the time, I'm finding more and more than once I make it over that mindset that I'm able to so much more fully embrace moments and all the joy that they bring. We didn't think to get a picture of all three of us until the very end of our trip, at which point Emery was a sticky apple mess with sun kissed cheeks and only one shoe, and after putting so much thought into what her apple picking outfit would be I'd be lying if I said I didn't cringe a little bit at the thought of us not being able to get that "perfect" family shot. However, after looking back at the whole experience through pictures and reflection and seeing just how much fun Emery and all of us were able to have together, I'm gently reminded of a friend that said it will always be better in life to be more present than perfect, and I'm grateful for the chance to choose that more present path.
Happy Fall Ya'll!
While I was pregnant with Emery, I remember one of the nurses asking me how I was feeling during a prenatal appointment. I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and hadn't been sleeping very well because of my bulging belly and the need to pee every five minutes, and responded that I was a little tired but otherwise fine. The nurse laughed and then made the comment that motherhood could make anyone tired, and that she personally didn't start drinking coffee until after she had kids - at which point a daily cup became a necessity. I remember chuckling at what I thought was a little coffee joke; it took me until three days after Emery being born to realize that the joke was really on me, and that any form of fatigue that I'd experienced during pregnancy was nothing compared to the perma-tired that motherhood would continue to bring me on a daily basis thereafter.
When Emery was a newborn I was SO tired ALL the time. I had gone about 36 hours without any sleep once she was born because of the timing of my labor, and then after that only managed two to three hours of sleep a night for her first three weeks of life because I was so worried about something bad happening to her while I slept. Extreme sleep deprivation didn't help my paranoia, and I found myself deeply consumed with mom guilt. I didn't understand why I didn't have that new mom glow and energy that I had read about in all of my natural birthing books, and found myself constantly second guessing my ability to properly mother my child. I was beyond tired, felt like a failure, and worse than anything felt completely alone in my feelings because all of the other moms around me in my friend group and on social media seemed to have their lives together perfectly and I was the only one falling behind.
Now that Emery is older and we're both getting more sleep, things are better, but I still have times that I just feel tired and can't seem to figure out why, and then I remember that sweet nurse, laugh, and remember that it's because I'm a mom, and that's just one of the perks that comes along with the job.
It's taken me a long time to get up enough courage to write about this topic because learning how to conquer my own mom guilt & fatigue is a battle that I'm still fighting, but I know that there's got to be other moms out there that are fighting their own guilt demons too, and if you're one of those moms reading this then I want you to know that you're not definitely not alone, and that you're doing better than you think. One of the things that helped me the most in breaking through my mom guilt was to realize that it's OK for life to sometimes not be ok. Motherhood is messy, and regardless of what social media wants to make us think, no one has perfect children or a perfect house or a perfect life, because that just doesn't exist. Once I was able to break through that mindset it made me feel more comfortable talking to Kyle and friends about how I was feeling, and I found that instead of feeling alone, I was able to feel like I had a support group of an amazing husband and mamas that could help me through my hard days and congratulate me on my good ones. I learned that it was not only ok but necessary to take time for myself and for my marriage, and that my support group would help make that happen because they all need it in their lives too. There are still days and sometimes even weeks that I'll feel tired (thus the timing of this post), but that's ok and doesn't mean that I'm a bad mom, just a mom that needs a good night's rest, some "me" time, or maybe even a cup of coffee. 😉
Some days when I'm feeling especially overwhelmed, Emery will walk up to me out of the blue like a heaven sent angel and give me a big hug, and in that moment it helps me to remember that everything is ok and that despite the challenges that motherhood brings, that the experience is overwhelmingly more good than bad. If you're reading this and need it, consider this message a huge from me (and Emery) to you, and know that you're an amazing woman and mother. Even when it's hard to tell, your kids love you, you mama tribe loves you, and amongst the craziness of motherhood, always remember that we're all in this together. ❤️
(a final note) : if your mom guilt battle goes deeper to the level of postpartum depression or anxiety, you're still not alone and it is a battle possible to overcome. ❤️ Below are some resources to help, and adding your OB doctor to your support group is a must. They deal with PPD/PPA more than you'd think, and their help really can make a world of difference.
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.