Introducing Older Siblings to a Newborn

There's two and half years between my girls so when Emily was born she didn't have a full understanding of what it meant to be getting a little sister.  However, now the girls are four and half and almost seven so they have a firmer grasp of a baby brother coming into the picture.  Even though they are older and can better comprehend, a new baby is still life altering for any child and perhaps even greater when your little ones are older.

Post Baby Wear

This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

My older, third baby post body is not exactly bouncing back as quickly as it did with the girls but I'm trying to cut myself some slack.  As soon as I'm all healed up I'm dying to get back to High Fitness but in the meantime I'm having to find other ways to get a bit of exercise.  Since Jackson is too young to take to the gym daycare I'm taking him on walks.  Luckily the weather is perfect for outdoor walking and it allows me to take family walks with my mini-me's.  The girls received these strollers from Joovy and they couldn't wait to walk their babies while I walked mine.

Since the weather is cooling off and Fall is in the air I needed to find some new gear that was comfy, and cozy.  Cuddl Duds offers warm, cozy yet stylish pieces that are perfect for layering which is great for Fall and Winter months.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am always cold so layering is a must!  This long sleeve Henley tee is like a thermal and super soft which I love.  It's lightweight so it works great on its own or under a wrap.  The wrap is the softest fleece material and couldn't get more cozy.  However, it runs big and is not that flattering.  The jogger pants again are so comfy but the material is very thin so for my post-baby body it makes me a little self conscious. 

Jackson Jeffrey's Nursery Reveal

When I was pregnant with Emily I was over the moon excited to design and decorate her nursery and it was just perfect.  Then when I was having another girl I couldn't justify changing the nursery even though by that time I was pretty tired of the decor.  When we found out we were pregnant with number three I assumed it was going to be a girl and I kept thinking oh boy 7+ years with this same decor, yuck!  So it was yet another reason to be so excited about having a boy!  He surely couldn't have a pink room so I started from scratch.

Newborn Must-Haves

This being my third baby I feel like I've really narrowed down what is essential and what's not.  I've rounded up everything that I love and sharing my must-haves with you.  My greatest tip is don't fall into all the marketing and buy everything under the sun.  Babies can get by with just a few things.  They mostly need nourishment and love!  The rest of the stuff is to make all of our lives a little bit easier.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

When packing your hospital bag I recommend keeping it light and simple.  As someone who has done this before you don't need a lot to get by.  I've looked at a lot of lists on Pinterest and can't believe how extensive they are.  Not only do you not need everything under the sun but keep in mind your husband or another family member can run home and grab something for you.  It's not like you're traveling by plane to deliver a baby.

One of my biggest recommendations is button sleep shirts.  I bought a pajama set my first delivery and found that it wasn't great for recovery (I'll spare you details).  A button up sleep shirt is great for nursing and for those pesky nurses checks.  You also don't have to worry about ruining pants.  A robe and slippers are great for walking around.  I found my maternity robe at PinkBlush Maternity.  I love the floral print and how light weight the material is yet it's not cheap feeling.  I wanted something blue since I'm having a boy but yet still feminine.  This robe checks all the boxes and I just love it.  My shift dress that I'm wearing above is also from PinkBlush and my favorite part is the ruffle detail on the sleeve.  I picked this up because I knew it would work during my third trimester as well as for my post-partum body which of course is a weird, in-between size.  It's also perfect to pack as a going home outfit.

I've packed a nursing bra and a pumping bra in my hospital bag which I found from Cake Maternity.  You literally can't survive without nursing bras and I'm very excited about these two new finds.  I'm most excited to try out the hands free pumping bra but it also is great as a nursing sports bra.  It's very comfortable and easy to maneuver for feeding.

I'm used to dressing up little girls to the nines so I'm going to have to probably hold myself back with little man.  But don't worry there will be no frills at all.  However, I still couldn't help myself in finding him the cutest little outfits for the hospital.  I have a personalized footed outfit with matching beanie and blanket from Jennifer Ann and a navy and grey swaddle set from Khloe & Kinley.  The Khloe & Kinley set has a matching headband for me and bows for the girls; I mean can we get any cuter?!?!  I also picked up a newborn beanie and name tag from Infanteenie Beenie.

Take your favorite snacks since hospital food is never fabulous.  In addition to food for yourself bring items for the staff.  I've always brought care packages for the nurses and make it known that they can share it with colleagues.  This is to get on their good side and hope for the best care.

Since this is my third baby I have some recommendations on what not to bring.  Use the hospital and get a lot of your items from them.  Not only is it less packing but hey you are paying them a fortune to be there so get your money's worth!  Ask for diapers (extra to go home as well), burp cloths, Lanolin cream, breast pump parts, breast pads, wipes, Dermoplast, pads and anything else they will give you.  Speaking of pads I CAN NOT wear those mesh panties with the "diaper" they provide you.  I almost choked when that's what they offered with my first delivery.  Luckily I said no thanks and found out they have normal pads to use instead which I paired with granny panties I bought specifically for post-partum recovery.  I've brought my DSLR camera in the past but I'm not packing it this time.  I have an iPhone 8 Plus which takes great photos plus I'm having a professional photographer come to take Fresh 48 photos.  If you can't live without electronics than bring your laptop or iPad but it's on my list to leave home.  I found in the past that I didn't have any free time to play on them between visitors, nursing the baby and doctors and nurses coming in for checks.

Let's not forget the bag that you have to put everything in.  For each of my deliveries I've ordered a personalized bag for the baby so they can have a travel bag for future use.  You know my love for Thirty-One Gifts so I of course got this Retro Metro Weekender Bag from them.  It's lightweight which I find important for a travel bag.  I also love the option of arm straps or a crossbody long strap.  I picked up a coordinating bag for my toiletries called the Ditty Dot Glamour Case which has a clear  interior pocket.  I'm just a tad obsessed with anything from Gigi New York and snagged the All In One bag for my makeup.  Most of you also know my obsession for personalization so adding my initials was a must!  Make sure that you pack your bag ahead of time so you're not scrambling and stressing once you go into labor.  

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.  Thank you for supporting the companies and brands that have received my stamp of approval.

A Mist for Baby J

I've been overwhelmed with the feeling of joy recently.  Not only am I expecting our third baby (and first boy) any day now but I've got to share my pregnancy with one of my best friends.  Recently, some of our dear friends threw us a little shower even though we both said it wasn't necessary.  I'm not sure how I got so lucky with amazing friends but I sure did.  My cousin hosted the Mist (smaller than a Sprinkle she said, lol) at her home along with two other of our friends.  Everything was done to perfection and it was such a lovely day with our closest friends.  Jackson is already very loved and I am just so grateful.

Thank you Dede, Alexi and Pam for being so thoughtful and generous.  Also thank you to everyone who attended and made us feel so loved.

How to Throw a Client Appreciation Party

If you work in sales or with clients you may consider hosting a Client Appreciation Party to give back to your wonderful clients.  I recently threw just that and I have a few suggestions on how to make an impact while keeping it very simple.  

To start pick the appropriate venue:  I picked a nice local park that had picnic tables, play structures and large grass areas.  This was perfect for families and it was cheap to host there (read: free).

You don't have to serve lunch or dinner; I offered beverages and dessert and so the start time of the party was after dinner.  We have a local vendor, Pop's Emporium that makes gourmet popsicles that are to die for!  Some of my favorite flavors include Cookies & Cream, Pistachio, Cheesecake and Watermelon.  There is something for everyone's taste and they won't last long.  I highly suggest you consider having these at your next party if you are local!

I also had a local professional photographer, Melissa Gotelli on hand for clients to take family photos.  In the invitation I alerted everyone that she would be there so they would be prepared.  My thought was that clients could save themselves the time and the money to take Christmas photos and use these instead.

Towards the end of the evening I hosted a raffle where everyone got tickets based on their attendance and the clients they've referred to me in the past.  Lastly, everyone left with a very small token of my appreciation; a lotto ticket with a tag that read, "I won the LOTTO with you as my client!"

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands and companies that have received my stamp of approval.

Jackson's Maternity Session

It's so strange to think these are our last moments as a family of four.  Kevin and I always said we wanted three children but to ask us after two.  After I had Madi I needed a break because being a working mom is a lot of work!  Although I always felt busy and overwhelmed our family never quite felt complete; God was still tugging at our hearts.  Kevin was ready long before I was but finally last Summer I got on board with trying for another baby.  We were perfectly okay with three girls and definitely were not having a third just to try and get a boy.  I figured there was no chance and the odds were too high for another girl.  All these months later I still haven't fully absorbed the idea of having a boy.  To say we are excited is just an understatement. 

We are so excited and feeling blessed to complete our family any day now.  I wanted to capture this milestone with a maternity session and Little Lion Photography Co did a beautiful job of preserving this moment.

Friday Favorites 9/21

I've got some catchin' up to do and share our adventures from the past two months.  We tried squeezing in some last minute fun at the end of Summer with play dates.  We've had birthday parties, activities at school and a family wedding amongst all the normal "stuff".

Zoo Play Date:

Mommy Daughter Date

Last weekend I was feeling like I needed a break and was going to take some me time but then at the last minute I decided what was really needed was a Mommy-Daughter Date.  I figured it was probably our last opportunity for just a girls day and it was just what the girls needed before baby brother arrives.

We went to Build A Bear where the girls each made a bear and then together they made a teddy bear for little brother for when he arrives.  Emily named her bear Bella and Madi couldn't come up with one so Emily spits out Diamond or Crystal.  I asked if she aspired to be a stripper?!?!  Then thankfully Madi came up with Emma.  They named Jackson's bear Brownie.

After the bear building fun we went to BJ's for lunch and the girls were spoiled with pizza and a pizookie.  It was the perfect day and just what we needed.

Front Porch Refresh

When we moved into our new home five years ago I started making deco mesh wreaths for every holiday and my mom made me pillows for our bench.  Each holiday I would change out the decor.  After five years I was completely tired of the deco mesh wreaths and the pillows were worn and faded.  I decided I wanted to keep the front porch simple and not change it for every holiday.   It's funny that when we moved in I wanted Chevron everything and now I'm over that and in love with Buffalo Check.  My mom made the pillows and I grabbed the runner rug from Amazon.  I'm in love with the layered rug look and added a fun coir door mat from Danielle at Girl and Her Guys.  The boxwood topiaries from Hobby Lobby I added to either side of the door.  I had the boxwood wreaths already and just made new buffalo check bows.  I'm super excited about the new look of our front porch!

Girl's Room Refresh

As I was starting to think about designing baby boy's nursery I decided that I wanted to revamp the girls room as well so they felt special.  Honestly when we put the girls together I never quite finished their room so this was the perfect time to do so.  

My best friend Gina of Family, Food and Furniture helped me immensely with the room and worked on three major projects.  Gina is super talented at building and restoring furniture and the first project was a long picture shelf.  Gina constructed, painted and hung the shelf and I added the frames and pictures.  Next she made three cork boards for the girls to display their work.  The girls were always working on masterpieces and paper was accumulating or I was throwing their works of art away.  Now that we have the cork boards I'm able to hang the pieces they want to save.  Gina used baseboard to construct the frames around the cork board and I just loved how they turned out.  Her last project is by far my favorite.  But likely Gina and Kevin's least favorite because it was a lot of work for them!  I found an old, beat up dresser that Gina restored and Kevin worked a crazy amount of hours putting on new drawer slides.  The piece turned out gorgeous and just completes the room.

Contractions: To Be Concerned or Not?!?!

All of my pregnancies I've experienced pre-term labor and even had to be put on medication to slow down contractions.  I've also had gestational diabetes with all three babies which is considered a high risk third trimester.  Because of that I've had to have NST's to monitor the baby and my contractions.  There's so much unknown with pregnancy and contractions just happen to be one of those areas.  Are they Braxton Hicks or something more serious?  Even though this is my third time around and I should be an expert by now contractions still had me guessing.  That was until I found Bloomlife, which is a hands-free, cord-free, clinically validated wearable contraction monitor.  It's such an easy and comfortable system that gives me such peace of mind.  

You rent Bloomlife weekly and can start as early as you like.  Once it arrives you charge the device and then snap it into the patch.  You stick the patch three fingers below your belly button and then start up the app.  It's suggested to wear for one hour at night right before bed.  You need to be still when you wear the device so I usually put it on, sit on the couch or my bed to watch tv and work on my computer.  The app shows you real time activity of uterine activity.  You can learn how many contractions you are having, how long they last and how close together they are.  I especially love that I can take the data back to my OB so he can know exactly what's going on in between my appointments and NST's.

I give Bloomlife an A+ rating and highly recommend it for anyone who is pregnant.  You don't have to guess if your contractions are real or not and it also helps when it comes time for real labor and helping you to decide when its time to go to the hospital.

I have yet another reason for you to try Bloomlife now... get 10% off your weekly rental with CODE AF10.

Something else I'm needing during my third trimester is clothing that fits my growing body!  As you can imagine my clothing options are becoming more and more limited.  However, I just snagged this top from PinkBlush and it's perfect for my belly yet still flattering.  It's light-weight, cute and comfortable.  I picked it out with the intention of being able to wear it after pregnancy as well so it would last me way longer.   For your reference I"m wearing a Woman's Small (not maternity because PinkBlush tends to run on the bigger side).

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.  Thank you for supporting the companies and brands that have received my stamp of approval.