Nesting Early? 24 Weeks (Baby #5)

I don't know why, but with every baby I feel the need to change up the nursery.  Up to this point it's been necessary since we've been alternating boys and girls, but this time I just wanted to make sure this baby still had a unique look to her room.  I put together Clarice's nursery specifically for her, and I want to put something together specifically for this baby too.  This week I picked up the last thing I was wanting for the Baby's nursery, and it's making me just that much more excited to meet this little girl!  Baby prep is in full swing, even though we've still got 3+ months to go.

This is still technically "viability week" I guess, even though babies have survived when born as early as 22 weeks!  It's always a little comforting to get past that point where you know all hospitals would try to do something if Baby was born early though.  I feel like she is getting stronger too - up to this point her little kicks have been so delicate, but this week she got in some pretty good jabs!  I am excited about it because I love the big kicks later in pregnancy, and I kind of forgot when in pregnancy they start to feel stronger.  With the other kids it got to the point where I could feel a little arm or foot under my hand, and I can't wait for that again.  It's the coolest feeling, and in my mind it makes for good bonding with Baby, because surely she can feel my hand too.

I'm feeling great overall - Baby Girl has been so easy on me this pregnancy.  I haven't really had any back pain, the round ligament pain has calmed down, I am tired but not excessively so.  I do have heartburn some days, but other than that I feel pretty comfortable!  It's probably good that I'm nesting early because who knows how long this will last, but I am just thankful that this pregnancy has been one of my easier ones so far.

The kids are still excited, but I think they've accepted that it's going to be a while before the baby arrives.  Wyatt keeps talking about wanting it to be fall, and I think the motivation is half because he's excited about the baby, and half because fall means it's closer to Christmas!  Gwen tells anyone who will listen that we are going to have "three little princesses" in our house.  Clyde asks to see the baby's pictures every time he spots an ultrasound.  And Clarice seems to be understanding more too - she pointed to my belly the other day and said "bebe tum-mee", which was adorable!

Back to the baby prep - I do think the nesting is kicking in early this time.  Or maybe it's partially pre-school-year cleaning too, but I feel like I need to organize every area of this house before this little one arrives.  Every time some difficulty comes up in keeping the house in order, I get the idea that this could be solved with better organization.  And maybe it can, but I hope I can keep things in perspective and not drive myself and everyone around me nuts with the to-do's!   

I'm going to try to get back to my old-fashioned blogging routine this week (it's just kind of falling by the wayside with summer!), so I'll save all the nesting details for then.  Stay tuned!

(Referral links below.)

Dress: PinkBlush Maternity
Bag: JustFab
Sandals: JustFab

The Most Misused Stories In The Bible (Highly Recommend)

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I saw this book, and the title intrigued me.  I wanted to know "The Most Misused Stories In The Bible"!  I am so glad I picked it up because this book exceeded my expectations.

Bargerhoff tackles so many issues and misinterpretations in this book, some that I was not even expecting.  However, the part that I was really pleased with is how he incorporates principles for proper biblical interpretation while sharing these stories.  He not only tells you how and why they are misunderstood, but how a proper Bible study method and interpretation of Scripture can help us avoid similar mistakes.

Everything in this book was biblically sound, the author shows the biblical support for his arguments about how certain Bible stories are misused, and he really got me thinking about new things with some of the stories he presented.  He also is not afraid to shy away from controversial topics, taking a strong stand on the truth of God's Word.

The drawback of having literally no complaints about a book is that the review ends up being rather short - but it's a pleasant problem to have.  This book was excellent, and I'd highly recommend it.  I think I'll be picking up the other book by the author, The Most Misused Verses In The Bible as well!

Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

Operation: Feel Cute While Pregnant

Note: The (very cute) dress in these pictures is one I received for free for this post in partnership with PinkBlush!  All opinions are my own.

I've always been one of those people that loves being pregnant.

In the past I've heard women make comments about how pregnancy is not their favorite state, and while I could understand that with my head, I had no personal experience with that feeling.

This pregnancy has been a little different for me though.  It's not that I am not enjoying pregnancy this time (I am), but I don't feel as...cute?...this time around.  I finally understand a little better why other women have made those kind of comments.

However, I have determined to enjoy this pregnancy, and well, I learned a long time ago that if I am no longer feeling good about my appearance, it's probably time to change things up!  This is what I've done so far this pregnancy:

1. Changed my skincare routine.

In past pregnancies, I haven't worried too much about skincare.  I knew there were some skincare ingredients to be avoided, so I just grabbed an inexpensive moisturizer that looked clear of anything harmful, and the pregnancy glow kept me feeling good about it.  I figured out pretty quickly this time though that it was not going to be the same.  Maybe it's just because I am getting older, but my skin was dry and dull and crying out for some TLC, and I didn't want to postpone getting the good stuff until after baby.  So searched until I found some skincare products I was comfortable with during pregnancy, and I got into a really consistent skincare routine for the first time in my life!  Taking a little extra time on my skin makes me feel less worn out in the morning and night, because my face feels fresh and healthy.

2. I got a gym membership.

I have mentioned before that the weight is coming on alarmingly fast this time around - yikes!  After hearing me griping about it for a few weeks, Derek finally suggested that he add me to his gym membership.  

I have never actually worked out while being pregnant before (confession time), so this was a new thought.  But I tried out the gym, and it was glorious!  Not only do I weirdly enjoy the exercise bike, but heading to the gym a few times a week gives me some much needed refresh time in the evenings after a busy day with the kids.  I can't say the weight gain has slowed down any, but I do feel healthier regardless, which goes a long way in feeling more "cute" again.

3. I got new maternity clothes.

This is my fifth pregnancy, I figured it was time to refresh my maternity wardrobe!  A lot of the items I bought for my first pregnancy (seven years ago), are faded and out of style now.  Being stuck with faded, out-of-style clothes does not make you feel cuter during pregnancy, I'll tell you that.  In some ways it seems a pity to get new clothes that I'll only get to wear for a few more months since this is our last baby, but I decided not to feel bad about it.  If this is my last pregnancy, I should enjoy it, and after four pregnancies in those other clothes I figured I have earned a few new things.  

The dress in these pictures is my latest new piece from PinkBlush!  I love the fitted t-shirt dress silhouette, and it's fun during pregnancy since it shows off the belly.  The material of this one is perfect for more formal occasions (I wore it out on our anniversary), but I think it's easy to dress down too.  Since I do a lot more online shopping these days (it really is hard to try on clothes with four kids in tow), I've been browsing PinkBlush quite a bit this pregnancy, and they have so many cute maternity clothes!

So that's my strategy thus far in Operation: Feel Cute While Pregnant.  And I think it is working for me! Next up on the agenda...get a haircut.  In case you haven't been around that long, my hair length in these pictures is pretty long for me, and I'm ready to have less hair.  Stay tuned!

Guilt-Free Breastfeeding: Advice From A Mom Of Five

I partnered with/received compensation from Babywise.Life to write this post.  Even though this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

First I should probably clarify for new readers that I'm a mom of four on the outside and one in the oven, who I plan on nursing despite my difficult beginnings with breastfeeding!

I was never an obsessive breastfeeding advocate before I had a baby, but before Wyatt was born I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed him for a year.  I was pregnant with him seven years ago, and maybe this is the case with new mothers now as well, but I felt like the pressure to breastfeed was at the highest it had ever been.  There were plenty of studies about the benefits of breastfeeding, and I heard them all.  I felt that if I was really going to do the best for my baby, I had to try to make it to a year.  That’s what good new mothers did.

Wyatt was born at 37 weeks after an induction from pre-eclampsia, and all the nurses were surprised about how quickly he caught on to nursing.  They expected small babies to have a tougher time, but we didn’t seem to have any problems.  I left the hospital proud of my baby, and proud of myself that everything had gone so smoothly.

That didn’t last long.  

About a week after I brought him home from the hospital, we started having problems.  And by problems, I mean that I would cry out in pain every time he latched.  I couldn’t figure out what went wrong!  I talked to my doctor and lactation consultants, I read online great articles about breastfeeding trouble-shooting and about what a proper latch looks like.  But every time he went to eat, I ended up with tears streaming down my cheeks.

On top of that, I developed mastitis, which took a little time to be properly diagnosed.  I remember a few days being laid out on the couch with a fever and a hard knot in my chest, knowing I needed to nurse more often to try to get it out, but crying when I thought about it because I knew it was going to hurt so badly.

All this lasted about a month, and I started to almost resent when Wyatt would get hungry and want to eat.  Even though it wasn’t great for our relationship, I’d suck it up anyway, and scream in pain, and cry a little.  Finally someone told me something that I will never forget (even though I forget who exactly told me this amidst this painful newborn phase).  

Someone told me that your bond with your baby is more important than whether you breastfeed or not.

That little bit of advice meant so much to me - because someone had finally given me permission to let breastfeeding go if I needed to.   Someone had finally acknowledged that there are more important things in motherhood than whether I breastfed or not.

That advice helped me to take my doctor’s advice when she suggested I stop nursing on the affected side and just pump until there was some improvement.  That advice gave me permission to not breastfeed because I felt I had to, but only if I wanted to.

It was the most freeing thing I could have heard at that time in my motherhood journey, because it made me realize that breastfeeding is not what makes a person a good mother.  The love and care you have for your baby, and the bond that forms with or without breastfeeding, is what makes you a good mother.

I did end up finally healing and I nursed Wyatt until six months old.  Even with future troubles with my supply and nursing a baby with a food sensitivity (Gwen), nursing has been a such a sweet time with all my babies.  But it’s been sweeter yet knowing I breastfed my babies because I wanted to, and not because I was obligated to.  I am most proud today not of how long (or not long) I breastfed, but that it was a guilt-free journey.

So if I were to give advice to a brand-new mom today about breastfeeding, it would be that: Breastfeed because you want to, not because you have to.  Know that if everything doesn’t go as planned, you can fight through it and still have a successful breastfeeding story - or you can decide to let it go for the sake of reducing the stress on your bond, and that is a good choice too.  Your bond with your baby is not dependent on how successful you are at breastfeeding.  Loving your baby, and caring for their needs as best you can, until someday they don’t need you anymore - that’s what makes you a good mother.  Regardless of how this part of your motherhood story goes, it’s only one brief part, and not anywhere close to the most important.

Patriotic Gender Reveal Party!

Since we found out the gender of Baby #5 on July 3rd, I knew I wanted to do a patriotic-themed gender reveal party this time around! Kind of a late 4th Of July celebration/gender reveal.

It's pretty easy to do patriotic food too - I made some swirly patriotic fudge, and a s'more dip in the colors of an American flag.  Throw some American-inspired Hershey kisses and red, white and blue flowers in there, and there you go!

We served hamburgers to our guests, and asked everyone to bring a side to share - and there was plenty to eat!

We had our friends and family wear a pin with their guess.  I basically just cut up some decorations from Hobby Lobby and hot glued them onto pins - red hearts for a girl, blue hearts for a boy.

Everyone expects some sort of gender reveal party games at our parties, so I came up with a couple...

Game #1 - Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar.  There were slightly more red M&M's for those who thought they would be talented candy guessers.  There were 311 pieces of candy, with $5 Starbucks gift card for the winner!

Game #2 - Our Baby Name Game involved learning the names of everyone in the room, and then coming up with a baby name (opposite of each person's gender) that starts with the same letter.  There may have been ulterior motives to this game, since we don't have a girl name pick out yet.  I got a couple ideas from everyone's sheets!  For participating, guests were entered into a drawing for another $5 Starbucks gift card (the promise of a prize just makes any little game so much more appealing).

I won't show all the pictures of our friends and family here, but we had a great party!  It was fun to visit with everyone and enjoy all the wonderful food that everyone brought!  And of course, our family dressed up in all our patriotic attire.

Finally, for the actual reveal we did a little contest too.  I made pudding/whipped cream pies for a "pie" eating contest...

In each pie was a paper with the combination to open this box:

I put a pink glow stick on the inside!  We had originally planned this party in the evening because we wanted to announce Baby's gender with a sparkler...but our county was put under a fire ban right before our party, so I resorted to a glow stick instead.  It worked out pretty well!  Everyone was extremely competitive and fought over the box, but in the end, my sister got to open it!


Baby #5 is a sweet baby GIRL, and we are so excited!  

Also, for those of you who entered your guess on Baby's Gender...the poll ended up being almost dead even for boy vs. girl guesses!  Thank you to everyone who participated, I had so much fun reading through all the guesses.  And the winner of the drawing from those who guessed correctly blog friend Alex, from Inspiration Clothesline!  I'll shoot you an email soon Alex so I can send you your prize!

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