Friday, November 16, 2018

Third Trimester Recap

{sunset beach walk at 37 weeks}

I made it to the home stretch. I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant, and Jack could make his arrival any day. Pregnancy has been a truly unbelievable experience and I'm so thankful to have had a healthy journey. There have been tough days sprinkled in over the last 9 months but overall I've been happy, feeling pretty good and just beyond grateful for our little miracle. Greg and I have been together for 9 years and have always talked about wanting a family. After we got married last year, we decided it was as good a time as any to start trying, and we feel really blessed that we will be meeting our son so soon.

The aches and pains have definitely set in, but I've done my best to stay active during my entire pregnancy. Working out has become increasingly harder the farther along I've gotten, but I am still going for (almost) daily 30-45 minute beach walks, albeit at a much slower pace. Late in the second trimester, I began experiencing some pain in my abdomen and pelvis so certain exercises only made it worse. Between 34 and 36 weeks, he dropped and the pressure has been intense with random jolts of shooting pain that stop me in my tracks. I have had good days and bad days, but have taken advantage of when I'm feeling up to it to go for a walk, lift light weights, and practice yoga.

During the third trimester, my diet has remained pretty much the same - focusing on protein, fruits and veggies, but I've actually had a decrease in appetite as he continues to grow and take up more space in my tummy. Meals have become snacks, as I get full after several bites. The all-day nausea that finally broke around week 20 has come back but thankfully only in waves, usually after eating and dissipates within an hour. I really didn't have any cravings throughout pregnancy, so Greg got lucky with not having any crazy late-night runs :)

{29 week bump in a cherry-printed dress}

The recommended weight gain for pregnancy is between 25-35 pounds. I have tried my best to stay on the low end of that spectrum, given my petite 5'2 frame. I weighed 112 lbs pre-pregnancy and have gained a total of 26 pounds. I'm not going to stress myself out over losing the weight right away. I'm focused on recovering and healing, and spending time bonding with my newborn. It took 9 months to gain the weight in order to grow my son, so I'm giving myself at least that much time to try and get my body back to "normal." It has been amazing to see my body transform and looking back at baby bump progression photos is mind-blowing!

There are numerous physical changes with pregnancy, and a lot of them have to do with skin: acne, melasma, spider veins, the linea nigra, and stretch marks. Hormonal breakouts hit me hard during the first trimester, but have since settled down tremendously. I did not experience any melasma, which I contribute to wearing sunscreen on my face everyday, thanks to my SPF 30 tinted moisturizer. I also haven't seen any spider veins pop up. Around week 36, the linea nigra started showing on my belly, but it's very faint. Knowing that I'm prone to developing stretch marks (I have some from my teenage years), I've been super diligent about trying to avoid them. Starting at 9 weeks, I have applied Bio Oil and Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter twice a day. After every shower, I slather on Bio Oil while my skin is still a little damp, and every morning and night without fail, I have used the Burt's Bees lotion. Neither one leaves a residue on clothes, and neither one has a strong smell. I think using these products in combination with staying really hydrated (drinking a gallon of water a day, no joke) and gaining the recommended weight gradually, has helped a lot. I'm going to continue using both of these after delivery to help my skin stay moisturized while my tummy shrinks back down.

{32 weeks - when I officially couldn't see my toes anymore}

I've been wearing comfy dresses 95% of the time (maxis and stretchy bodycon styles are the best!) The only piece of maternity clothing I bought was one pair of jeans, but it's been such a hot year in Florida that I didn't wear them until the last week of October when "fall" finally decided to appear. The temperature dropped below 80 degrees and I decided I should at least wear them once before my bump is gone!

I previously shared all the details of our Baby Shower - it was a fun day filled with family, friends, BBQ and playing in the pool. My amazing co-workers also threw me a surprise shower in October which was so special! Greg and I feel extremely fortunate to have a village of loved ones to help us in this new chapter. Everyone has been very generous and we have everything we could ever need or want for Jack! My parents have been crucial in preparing for our new arrival, and we're grateful that they live only 15 minutes away. Nana and Poppy are over the moon about their new grand-baby!

Decorating the nursery was one of my favorite parts of pregnancy, and I loved finding all the special pieces that tie the room together. It's surreal to think that we will be bringing our son home within the next couple weeks! Greg and I did a maternity shoot at the 8-month mark and I know we are going to treasure those photos forever. For the most part, I have enjoyed being pregnant and it's so nice to have documented memories to look back on, between pictures, blog posts and my own personal journal entries.

{35 weeks pregnant at the pumpkin patch}

It's no surprise to anyone that knows my husband, but Greg has been the absolute biggest support throughout this entire journey - everything from coming to doctor's appointments to cleaning the cat box, giving me back rubs and getting excited every time he feels Jack moving. On days when I'm in a lot of pain, he totally takes over - setting me up with a comfy spot on the couch, cooks dinner, cleans, everything! I already knew he was an amazing partner but he has gone above and beyond these last 9+ months. He is anxious to meet his mini-me, and I can't wait to see him grow into his role as a father.

As I'm nearing the end of pregnancy, I have a lot of mixed feelings. I am thrilled by the thought of meeting our little man, but I'm going to miss having him with me every second of the day. I already feel so connected to him, knowing that my body made his, everything from his eyelashes to his toes. I have been his home and know he's safe in there - protected and getting all the nutrients and sleep he needs. The thing I'm going to miss the most is feeling Jack move in my tummy - I'm soaking up all the kicks, jabs, hiccups and rolls while I can. He's running out of room in there lately but every movement is the sweetest reminder that he will be in my arms soon.

Greg is planning to take off work for the first four weeks after Jack arrives and I couldn't be more excited for the time we are going to spend as a family of three, enjoying all the new baby snuggles, learning about our little guy and being sleep-deprived together. Our hospital bags are packed and waiting by the door - the final countdown is on!

{Halloween costumes: baby under construction // my tool belt was complete with a rubber ducky, diapers and a bottle!}

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Smile Brilliant CariPRO Electric Toothbrush

Who doesn't want a bright, white smile? It's such a confidence-booster for me. I worked with Smile Brilliant last year, and loved the whitening trays that kept my teeth sparkling for our wedding day, so I jumped at the chance to try out their new CariPRO Electric Toothbrush.

As someone that has used a regular manual toothbrush forever, the CariPRO was a game changer. After using it twice a day for a week, I'm seeing and feeling a noticeable difference in how clean and white my teeth are. With a sleek design, interchangeable brush heads and long battery life, this toothbrush is a winner. 

The CariPRO toothbrush has five settings - clean, white, massage, gum care, and sensitive. I'm loving the "sensitive" setting currently, as pregnancy makes your gums more susceptible to become swollen (thanks, hormones). It also has a timer that pauses every 30 seconds to alert you that it's time to move to the next quadrant of your mouth, totaling 2 minutes. I've seen such a difference in my smile in a short period of time, I'm ditching my regular toothbrush for the foreseeable future!

I'm so excited to offer my readers a 20% discount and a chance to win a CariPRO Electric Toothbrush!

Click below to enter the Giveaway:

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Maternity Photoshoot Favorites

Greg and I celebrated our first Wedding Anniversary on October 7th, and our gift to each other was a maternity photoshoot. We met Bia Schaefer at Rock Springs in Apopka bright and early and had a great time shooting around the property. She captured gorgeous images of such a special time in our life. The gallery turned out so beautiful and we will cherish these photos forever. See some of my favorite shots below.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Reese's Blondies

Combining Greg and my favorite candies into a delicious dessert - the Reese's holiday shapes are my go-to (double the peanut butter!) and Greg loves the crunchy pieces. I mixed both into blondies and they turned out so good - thick, gooey and loaded with festive treats! If Reese's aren't your thing, you could easily substitute with any kind of candy as this recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover Halloween sweets. 

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reese's Pieces, divided
10 Reese's Pumpkins, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep a 9x9 baking dish by either lining with parchment paper or spraying with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
In a stand mixer or large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, mix to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, carefully fold in 3/4 cup of the Reese's Pieces and the chopped Reese's Pumpkins.
Spread dough into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining Reese's Pieces, lightly pressing them into the top of the dough.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, and the middle looks dry and does not sink in when gently touched. Remove and let cool before serving. Cut into large squares and enjoy!

{recipe adapted from}

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jack's Nursery

One of my favorite parts of pregnancy has been designing Jack's nursery. We decided to go with a nautical theme, which feels like a natural extension of the decor in our beach bungalow currently. I had so much fun curating all of the pieces - a sign with his name, wall decor, and pillows - all in shades of navy, blue, white, grey and touches of seafoam. The end result turned out exactly how I had envisioned! It's hands-down my favorite room in our home and I've been spending a lot of time in there just daydreaming about our little guy.

The Jack sign was the first thing I bought for the room - it's custom from Etsy and I love the rope and anchor design. My Aunt and Uncle gifted us the crib for our baby shower, and surprised us with a beautiful baby blanket that my Aunt Patty hand-crocheted!

When my parents moved out of their house earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to inherit a lot of furniture - including a day bed and dresser that Greg re-painted for the nursery. We picked out 5 paint swatches to coordinate the dresser drawers with the rest of the room. The throw pillows are all from Home Goods and Pier 1, and the grey blackout curtains are from Amazon.

 I absolutely love the way the dresser turned out - Greg did an amazing job flipping the former black dresser into a colorful piece that really ties the whole room together. The whale lamp is a Home Goods score, and we found the ship wheel on Amazon, which matched the dresser perfectly!

Greg also re-did the whale tail wall art that we found at T.J. Maxx, by painting the background the same grey as the top drawer of the dresser and then sanded it down for a distressed look.

We bought the reclining rocking chair and throw pillow from Target, which is so comfortable! Can't wait to rock Jack to sleep every night. A little over 2 months to go!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Baby Shower

We had our Baby Shower on Sunday, which was nothing short of perfect! Greg and I decided to do a BBQ and pool party, rather than a girls-only affair. We wanted a laid-back vibe and for everyone to just have fun! Enter: the backyard BaByQ!

Our good friends, The Tuckers, offered to throw the BaByQ at their house and it turned out amazing!  My parents and Britt & Zach went above and beyond to make it a special day. They made tons of appetizers and slow-cooked barbecue pulled pork with all the sides: my mom's infamous mac 'n cheese and broccoli salad, along with a few staples - fried chicken and baked beans. The desserts were from a local bakery and featured carrot cake and vanilla cupcakes, mini chocolate cupcakes & cake-pops. 

Greg and I were blown away by our 40 friends and family members that came to the party! We have the most amazing support system, near and far, that helped us prepare and celebrate Baby Jack. We can't thank everyone enough for their love and generosity! 10 weeks to go!

{dessert table filled with cupcakes and cakepops}

{dining table decor: my favorite sunflowers, tassels and balloons}

{diaper raffle prize: a bottle of Jack}

{grateful is an understatement!}

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Second Trimester Recap

{Greg and I on our nightly beach walk with Jack at 21 weeks}

The second trimester is often referred to as the "honeymoon" of pregnancy and I have to agree for the most part. Between finding out we have a baby boy on the way, feeling flutters and kicks, having more energy, less nausea, my skin clearing up a bit (the first trimester hormones did a number on my acne-prone skin!) and my baby bump starting to show, it's been a great three months!

I previously shared all about our gender reveal, but it was definitely a highlight of the second trimester and a day I'll never forget! Greg and I are so excited for our little guy's arrival and love being able to refer to him by name. My bump started to show between 20 and 21 weeks. It was like as soon as we knew it was a boy and started calling him Jack, he really made his presence known.

As for my style, I've gotten away with not buying maternity clothes so far. I retired my jeans (it's too damn hot to wear them anyways!) and I've been living in dresses and rompers. Between maxis and stretchy bodycon styles, I've been really comfortable and can dress my bump with closet favorites and a few new pieces that I can wear after pregnancy as well.

{beach bump at 18 weeks}

After a long Sunday morning walk on the beach, I was doing my makeup and felt the first flutters at 15 weeks and 5 days, which felt like a little tapping from the inside. Movements and kicks (the best feeling in the world!) started getting stronger and more regular by 22 weeks. On August 1st, right at 23 weeks, Greg felt the first kick on the outside! Jack tends to get active in the evenings and we were laying on the couch watching Netflix when I felt some movement so I held Greg's hand on my belly and within 2 minutes he felt a little thump against his palm. Now every night after dinner, we both like to feel him having a dance party in there, and he's getting so strong that we can see his kicks!

I've definitely had more energy the last few months and have been able to get back into my workout routine. A typical week for me consists of weight lifting 3 times per week with arm and leg exercises (no more abs or moves that required me to lay flat on my back), yoga & stretching, and a ton of walking - incline walking on the treadmill before work 2 days per week, 15 minutes around the block on my lunch break, and 30-60 minutes on the beach after work with Greg, which is our most treasured time together.

{before my Saturday workout at 25 weeks}

Pre-pregnancy I was following a modified paleo diet (loosely put: no dairy, no carbs, no sweets, no alcohol) and the 80/20 rule to allow myself a few treats without the guilt (I love pizza, sushi & cookies!) Since becoming pregnant, I have stopped doing paleo and have eaten what I please, while still focusing on nutrient-rich foods to help develop my growing babe, and drinking as much water as possible. I eat about every 3 hours to keep the nausea at bay. I have been trying my best to stay healthy the majority of the time, eating mostly protein, fruits and veggies, but don't beat myself up if I occasionally want Chick-fil-a or a little dessert here and there. It's all about balance! 

Most days I start with a protein shake (a banana, strawberries or spinach, peanut butter, almond milk, vanilla protein powder & ice), for a mid-morning snack I eat Greek yogurt with a dozen almonds mixed in, lunch is usually a salad with chicken, my afternoon snack is either a Halo orange or Kind bar, and dinner is generally a home-cooked meal involving a protein, veggie and grain. I haven't had much of a sweet tooth since becoming pregnant, but once in a while I'll have a little something.

After completely cutting out caffeine during my first trimester, I started drinking one cup of coffee only on the weekends starting around 16 weeks. By 24 weeks, I was craving iced coffee so I introduced it back into to my morning routine, with just half of a cup of iced coffee each day to stay under the recommended 200 milligram limit. 

Although I've been blessed with a healthy pregnancy, it hasn't all been rainbows this trimester - between daily backaches, severe pelvic and abdominal pain, and trouble sleeping (a mix of insomnia, acid reflux, getting up to pee 2-3 times a night, and not being able to get comfortable without sleeping on my stomach or back). I also experienced my first Braxton Hicks contractions at 23.5 weeks. I'm trying to embrace every little change and kick in the ribs, and enjoy this journey to the fullest. I can't believe we are mere months away from meeting our little Jack!

{ending the second trimester at 27 weeks}