Maternity Wardrobe: Stores

Maternitywardrobetips
There are a handful of stores where most of my maternity clothes have come from - here are my thoughts on each (in no particular order).


Target.  I have found a lot of cute things at Target over the years, as I'm sure many other pregnant ladies could tell you as well.  Most of my maternity tops are from Target. However, Target is not fool-proof.  I have been really disappointed in their selection over the last winter season - in my first two pregnancies it seemed like I was always finding cute maternity clothes there, but this time around nothing has caught my eye.  

Forever 21.  I mentioned already that I usually look for non-maternity tops and bottoms that will work when I'm pregnant, and I've had the most success at Forever 21.  I sometimes expect weird looks from people when they see I'm shopping there, since I'm usually obviously pregnant, but so far I haven't noticed anyone give me a second glance.  However, if you do choose to shop at Forever 21, be considerate!  You are pregnant, after all - don't try on something that has no stretch to it.  Your belly might stretch the item out and make it hard to sell if you don't buy it.  Thankfully a large majority of their items are stretchy, so I haven't had too much of a problem with this.

Old Navy/Gap.  I mostly order from Old Navy and Gap online, since I can never find what I'm looking for in the store.  Thankfully they are amazing for returns!  I have found a pair of skinny jeans at Old Navy that fit well, and a couple tops from Old Navy and Gap, but unfortunately most of their maternity items are too baggy or otherwise unflattering on me.

Kohls.  I have had precious little luck with maternity clothes at Kohls.  I found one pair of pants there when I was pregnant with Wyatt . . . I think that might be it.

Motherhood Maternity.  I have bought a couple items from Motherhood Maternity.  Their clothes usually fit me fairly well - the reason I don't have more clothes from them is that they are pretty expensive in comparison to the other places I shop!  I just don't want to pay a lot for clothes that I will only be wearing for a little while.

Pink Blush Maternity.  This is the first pregnancy that I have ordered anything from Pink Blush.  What I like - they have an amazing selection! Better than any other store where I've shopped for maternity clothes.  And their stuff is cute.  The downside is that it's an online company, so you can't try any of it on before you buy.  I ordered a top from them that I used in some of my maternity photos, and a cardigan (I know, I said maternity cardigans were silly, but this one was cute, and it's something I can also wear when I'm not pregnant).  The thing I noticed is that the top and cardigan I ordered both seemed to run ever-so-slightly big - they are probably geared more toward the very end of pregnancy.  I probably would be fairly safe ordering a size down from normal.  I can't say anything for the sizes of their dresses or pants since I only ordered tops.


I'm curious to hear about any stores that you other moms have liked for maternity clothes!  These seem to be the major ones that I've heard of (or at least the major ones in my area), but if you have found good stuff at a place I didn't mention, please share!

Cake Smash

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Happy April Fool's Day!  It might have been funny for me to do a fake "I'm in labor!" post today, but then I always think it's not so funny when you find out I'm actually kidding.  Those kind of jokes are more fun for the prankster than for the . . . prankees?  I like sticking to jokes that are funny for everyone.

I've got nothing.  So instead I'm going to share pictures from Gwen's one year old cake smash!  Even though she's 15 months old now.  Can that count as an April Fool's joke?

Anyway, I do have Gwen's cake smash photos up today!  And they are cute, cute, cute.  Little Girl loves her some cake.  Go to my photo blog to check it out!

One And A Quarter

(For a picture overload of Gwen over the last couple months, click through to my photo blog!  I just but a few photos in this post of her little outfit, there are lots more here.)

My sweet Gwendolyn is 15 months old!  


I can't believe how much Gwen has changed since she turned a year.  She is growing so much every day!


A fun thing has been seeing how she has learned to walk!  She is a very good walker now, and follows us everywhere.  It's so funny to me to watch her walk around, because she is still a baby in a lot of ways - it's just funny to see such a tiny little girl walking around.  She toddles, and carries things that are bigger than her (like the step stool from the bathroom, or large stuffed animals), and she tries to run.  She really does live up to her nickname and reminds me of a penguin sometimes, because she'll walk really fast with her arms held straight behind her.  It cracks me up!  I think her learning to walk so well, so fast has a lot to do with her trying to keep up with Wyatt.  It's adorable.

She has several words now - I think we are up to twelve words?   "Hi", "Mama", "Dada", "thank you" (which sounds like "dee-doe" - she only says it when she is handing me something.  Both of my kids say thank you when they want you to take something away from them), "up", "out", "arm", "drink" (which sounds like "deek", and is usually accompanied by her reaching her hands out and opening and closing her fingers - that's how she lets me know she's thirsty), "cheese", "dog" and "doll" and "duck" (which sound exactly the same, but I know she's trying to refer to each thing individually).  And I think that's it.  Most of the time she gets away without talking because Wyatt does a lot of the talking for her, so I'm trying to make her say things herself more.



Those are all the words she says, but there are a lot more words that she knows.  It's amazing to me, because she keeps surprising me at how much she understands me.  The other day Derek told Wyatt to grab his shoe, but before he could respond Gwen ran over and got his shoe for him!  I also asked her for a kiss the other day, and she knew exactly what I meant and gave me a kiss right on my cheek.  It was so precious.  There have been other times when I tell her something, and I can just tell that she knows what I'm saying.

Favorite toys include cars, her purse, the push car we've had since Wyatt was little, and her glow worm.  She is especially attached to her glowworm.  She loves to turn it on, and then she'll sway back and forth to the music it plays.  She also gets a huge grin if you sway with her to the music!

She got her first two upper molars at the beginning of March, and I think she's working on her lower ones now.

She is still so funny about "no" - whenever I tell her no to something, she laughs at me, and then she obeys.  I kind of love that she thinks it's fun to listen when I say no!  The only time she gets mad when I say no is when she wants something to eat and I tell her she can't have it.  Then she cries.

I love, love, love the baby kisses.  Gwen is such a little girl - she loves to give kisses.  She presses her lips together and says "Mmmm" - occasionally finished off with a "wah".  She also knows how to blow kisses now, and it is just so adorable to see her little fingers all splayed out as she presses her hand to her mouth.  She is really good at waving goodbye to people now, and she loves to get attention.  She smiles at complete strangers and says "hi" (still her favorite word).  It makes me kind of sad when people don't say hi back, because her face just falls!


Lately she has been sitting still with me more, and she was fallen asleep on my lap several times.  She usually doesn't do that, so I just soak it up when she does.  I want to enjoy those times when I can get her to settle down next to me, because she is usually on the go all the time.  There have been a couple times when Derek has been gone that I have sneaked her into bed with me, and she just curls up with her head against my shoulder and falls asleep.  I love feeling her little breath against my collarbone. When the new baby comes it will be harder to have her sleep in bed with me, so I love every time we get to do that now.

She still loves her blanket (she has to have it when she sleeps), and I think it's so funny because when she gets sleepy she sucks her thumb - but not in a traditional sense.  She more just hooks it into the left side of her mouth, and it cracks me up!

She has the funnest little personality, and she is always laughing and playing.  When I was looking for her outfit for her one year old pictures I had to nix all the things that were more pastel-colored, because it just didn't seem to fit her.  She is just such a bright, happy girl, so bright colors fit her better.  I think that still holds true!  She brightens up everyone's day with her happy little personality, and I love it!


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Miss Gwen,

You are growing so fast!  I can't believe how much you have changed in this past month.  There are so many little things that make you "you", things that I love about you.  

The little gap between your front teeth when you grin.  The way your hair curls, and that impossible rats nest you develop on the back of your head (sorry baby girl, you got that from me).  Your tiny little feet - they are so small and delicate.  The way your face looks in the morning when you first wake up - cherub cheeks and squinty eyes.  Your chubby little baby legs and rounded tummy that make you look so much younger, even as you are running around the house like a "big" girl.  

The way you want to do everything that Wyatt does, how you follow him around all the time.  When you run over to your daddy with your arms stretched above your head so he'll pick you up.  The way your face lights up when you see someone you know. How you lay your head against my shoulder when you have a rare shy moment.  Your lips pressed together in that funny way when you give me a kiss.  

I want to remember all these little things you do right now, Sweet Girl.  You will continue to change and grow, and I know I will love every new thing I discover about you through the years, but I don't want to forget these sweet details - how you were at 1 1/4 years old.  You are so precious to me.  I love you, my Doll Baby.

Love,

Mama

A Broken Kind Of Beautiful Review

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A Broken Kind Of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert is the story of Ivy Clark, a high fashion model who is "past her prime" at age 25.  Desperate to take keep her creed going, she takes a job as a model for her stepmother's bridal line.  BUt being back in Greenbriar, South Carolina brings up bitter memories of her father.  She gets to know Davis Knight while she is there, but through it all she can't seem to get past her own emptiness, until she finally realizes she can find the unconditional love she always wanted in a relationship with God.

I really enjoyed this book!  I was afraid at first that all the focus on the emptiness of Ivy's lifestyle would make the book depressing, but I actually thought the book was a very interesting read, with a lot of truths scattered in.  I liked the way the author developed the relationship between Ivy and Davis - it was a sweet love story, without being too obvious.  However, their story was not the main focus of the book - the other relationships were just as much a focus point, and just as interesting.  Ganshert is very good at portraying character development (which I like).

I also felt like the overall story was very touching.  Throughout the book Ivy has a hard time believing God could love her unconditionally because no one in her life has ever loved her like that - but as a reader, you know that Marilyn, her stepmother, has had a deep love for her from the time she was a little girl, and she repeatedly shows her love even when Ivy pushes her away.  By the end of the book Ivy finally realizes that Marilyn has shown her the kind of love she always wanted, and if Marilyn could love her, mane God would too.  I felt like crying at that breakthrough, because int he first part of the book I wanted to shake Ivy for not seeing how much her stepmother cared.  It was just really sweet.
Anyway, I'd definitely recommend this book, and now I want to read more from Katie Ganshert!

Note: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multonomah in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Maternity Wardrobe: Tops

 I'm continuing my series on building a maternity wardrobe today - if you missed my first post (my thoughts about maternity pants), you can check it out here!

I have a few thoughts when it comes to finding cute tops and outerwear when you are pregnant.

1.  Don't limit yourself to the maternity section.  You would be surprised at how many non-maternity tops will work (and look cute) while you are pregnant.  And I don't just mean the looser, flower styles that have room for a belly.  You can find fitted tops too.  

2.  Look for tops that are extra-long.  My favorite place to look for tops is Forever 21, because they sell "bodycon dresses".  These are basically skin-tight, super-mini "dresses" that I would never in my life actually wear as a dress.  Why do they work?  Because they are usually made of stretchy fabric, and they are long.  Anything that is stretchy is good for obvious reasons, and if you can find something that would normally hit just past your bum, you can take the fabric and bunch it up so it will accommodate your pregnant belly.  Like this:

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(Baby #3 at 32 weeks - this lace top was one of those Forever 21 "dresses".)

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(28 weeks with Gwen in a "dress" that I just bunched up around my belly.  This one is so stretchy that it looks fine even when I'm not pregnant.)

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(Almost 39 weeks pregnant with Gwen - that is a non-maternity top too.) 

All of those tops are just long shirts or dresses.  I usually buy a size larger than my normal size (one size larger will still fit relatively well in the shoulder/chest area, but it will give you more room in the tummy).  

3.  Look for things that will work during and after pregnancy.  The major plus to buying extra-long non-maternity shirts or dresses is that they usually work well after you are no longer pregnant too!  When you shrink back to your regular size you can wear them as a tunic with leggings, or if you are done having kids you could probably even shorten them to shirt length.  Obviously it helps a lot if the fabric has some stretch to it, because it will be less likely to stretch out too much in the belly.  I wore/plan on wearing all the shirts I showed you above after I have this baby too.

4.  Sweaters and jackets always work, whether you are pregnant or not.  I think the open maternity cardigans that some stores sell are so funny, because they are basically no different than a regular old non-maternity open cardigan.  If you want a cardigan or jacket that will button over your belly, you'll need to go to a maternity store - but open jackets and cardigans look just fine.  I wear all my regular sweaters and jackets unbuttoned when I'm pregnant, or I might throw a belt around a cardigan over my belly.  Save yourself a little money and just stick with non-maternity cardigans and jackets.

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(The jacket Derek gave me for Christmas, 23.5 weeks pregnant here.)

5. Layering tanks.  I haven't bothered with maternity layering tanks.  The ones I usually buy when I'm not pregnant are these inexpensive, exra-stretchy ones at Charlotte Russe.  My regular ones fit during the first half of my pregnancies, and then I have a couple of the same layering tanks in the next size up for the second half.  Toward the very end of my pregnancies they have a hard time stretching all the way around my belly, but for the most part they fit great.

6.  Coats.  I have no advice on where to buy a maternity coat.  Even though I have been pregnant during the winter all three times, I have not bothered to buy a maternity coat.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money.  When I was pregnant with Wyatt, I went to Ross (yay discount stores!), and found a coat/jacket that had a good amount of stretch to it, and it lasts all the way through my pregnancies (I can even button it up all the way!).  For the most part I just wear my regular coats and jackets open, or I use my Ross faux-maternity coat, and I just don't stay outside that long.  Would a maternity coat be worth the money?  In hindsight, yes, it probably would have been worth it for me since I have been largely pregnant in the winter months all three times, but there was no way of knowing that beforehand.  If my next babies had been summer babies the maternity coat would have only been used once.  You just have to decide whether it's okay for you to buy a coat that you might only wear one winter in your life.


Maternitywardrobetips

Check back soon for a post on the stores where I shop!

Home Stretch! {36 Weeks With Baby #3}

Nine months pregnant this week!

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I am feeling pretty good overall.  I get this awful hip pain at the end of the day sometimes (mostly in my left hip).  Heartburn is still pretty strong, especially when I lay down at night.  I feel some pressure down low, mostly when I've been on my feet for a while.  And I've been having a lot more Braxton-Hicks contractions in the last week or so!  Not more than three in an hour though.

The nursery is pretty much completed!  I got the glider put together (all by myself, I might add - yay me), I got the quilt back and finished it, and I sewed together a pillowcase for the glider pillow.  I have a few more ideas for decorations on the walls, but I can't do them until we know his name for sure.  Even though we are 95% positive we have his name figured out, I just feel safer waiting until we see him and it's on the birth certificate.  Just in case we change our minds last minute.  I'll probably do the full nursery reveal after he's born and I have a chance to finish the walls, but I will show you the baby quilt before that, so stay tuned!

I have my hospital bag packed, and it's in the car ready to go.  I want to have it ready whenever I go out, and especially on days when I have doctor's appointments, because you just never know if they might catch something at the office and send me over to the hospital.

I think Baby has definitely been growing bigger the last couple weeks.  I was thinking maybe he moved back up under my ribs again, but then someone commented that maybe he's just getting bigger, and I think that is more likely.  He's definitely heavier - when he pushes out the side of my belly it is more forceful.  I don't think he is in the same position as Wyatt and Gwen were at this point though - I'm not sure what that means.  It just feels different.

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I'm kind of crossing my fingers that he'll decide to come by 39 weeks, because Derek will be working closer to home for the next couple weeks (only two hours away)!  After that he'll be about five hours away. I wouldn't mind a bit if this baby decided to show a week or two before my due date if it means we can skip having Derek so far away!  We shall see.  It will all work out, right? (I always think of the movie Leap Year when I say "it will all work out").

Updates from my doctor's appointment today - I am dilated 1 cm, and about 50% effaced.  That is about where I was with both Wyatt and Gwen at 36 weeks too.  Next week will be the interesting appointment, to see if there is any progress.  

I didn't gain any weight in the last two weeks, so the rapid weight gain has finally evened out!  I didn't change my eating habits much in the last two weeks either, so it's probably that weight plateau you can hit before baby decides to come.  I'm holding steady at 28 pounds.  We'll see if I gain any more in the next week.

They measured my uterus today and I'm measuring about 3 weeks behind - 33 cm.  So they decided to schedule a growth check ultrasound after my appointment next week to make sure he's growing well in there.  My doctor didn't seem too worried because she says he's probably just tucked further down in my pelvis. This happened with Wyatt as well, and he measured fine on the ultrasound, so I think this little guy will too.

I can't believe I'm 36.5 weeks already - this pregnancy went by really fast in a lot of ways.  It's crazy to think that in a few more weeks we'll have another little one here in our arms!  It almost seems surreal to me right now.  The end of this pregnancy snuck up on me, but I'm getting more anxious to see his precious face!  I am so thankful, and excited to meet this sweet little blessing!

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Hermie And Friends DVD

We don't watch  ton of children's TV around here.  If I let Wyatt and Gwen watch anything on TV, I put in a pre-approved movie for them, referable one that teaches biblical lessons.

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Tommy Nelson gave me the opportunity to receive a Hermie and Friends DVD, and I thought it would be a great addition to our collection!  We received the I Will Trust God set, which included two Hermie and Friends episodes.

In the first episode, God tells Hermie (a green caterpillar) to build a boat.  He doesn't tell him why he just wants Hermie to trust Him.  Hermie obeys and builds the boat, and saves himself and all his bug friends from the upcoming flood!  It was a cute bug-version of a Noah and the ark story.

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The second episode is about Freddie the Flea.  Freddie realizes how talented all the other bugs in the garden are, and he starts to feel like he can't do anything special.  He has to trust that God has made him for a reason and has a plan for him.  

Hermie and Friends was created by Max Lucado, and he comes on between episodes and pulls the lessons out of the stories in cute conversations with Hermie.

I thought these stories were really cute, and I loved that the lessons were stated so clearly.  The kids really seemed to like the videos too.  Gwen giggled and bounced up and down at all the exciting parts, and Wyatt was enthralled through the whole thing.  I'd definitely recommend these videos - great movies to entertain young kids and point them back to God!

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Tommy Nelson is also offering one of my readers their own Hermie and Friends DVD!  Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win!

Note: I received this DVD for free from Tommy Nelson in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

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