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December 2012

The Second Time Around

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Well, here we are, the first day after my due date has come and gone. In some respect it takes the pressure off. You put so much weight on that specific date and then when it passes you can let go of that dream of being early. I’ll keep my complaining to a minimum here- I know I keep writing about how we are waiting for the baby. When you get to this point though, it consumes you. blah!

It’s been such a different journey this time around. With your first you can spend so much time focusing on the little one. Every moment is about them. You are filled with unknown hopes, dreams and fears of what it is going to be like with a baby. You wonder what it will be like to be a mom? How your life will change? You can sit on the couch if you want, when you want, your days are still your own. No matter when you are pregnant- 1st, 2nd or 5th it’s always a hard journey, but when there is another kid already around it becomes a little tougher. These past 9 months have been rough for me. I am sure moms with 2 or more kids will roll their eyes at me with only 1 because obviously it’s all in perspective. I know that and I keep that in mind on days that I think are particularly hard.

I’ve found myself filled with a lot of guilt this time around too. Oh “mom guilt” you are a tricky thing. Guilt over not being able to give Rowan the time or attention she truly wants. 9 months pregnant doesn’t really let you play or keep up with your 2 year old the way they want. Kev has (as always) been great with her, but Rowan and I spend all day together and sometimes I just have to tell her “Mommy can’t”. That is really hard. Then there is the guilt over not spending every waking mintue thinking about the new baby. When I was pregnant with Rowan I wrote weekly letters, took hundreds of photos and made weekly pregnancy blog posts. Your first consumes you. We are no less excited about this new baby but our time and energy has to go so many other places this time around. I know that it is just a “Mom thing” and that the new baby will not feel any less loved by any of this but it keeps me awake at night sometimes. I know deep down we will find our own special things for this new little girl and this will all feel so trivial one day.

I don’t want this post to be a downer though. Yes, the second time around has some downs but it also comes with so many unbelievable ups. When I was pregnant with Rowan, Kev and I were plagued with fear some days over the unknown. It’s very scary becoming a parent for the first time. You can try to imagine how awesome and hard it is, but you never really know until you experience it. The fact that we have experienced it now leaves us with so much excitement for the next. There is no fear. There is no wondering. We know the true joy that fills your life and makes your heart explode from having a kid. We are over the moon to experience it all again with another. We have learned that no matter what hardship you go through with your kid that it’s always a stage. It will not last forever. I think that’s one of the greatest lesson you can learn as a parent. That perspective alone is invaluable in those first few weeks, months of having a new baby. We had a really (I mean really) hard time the first few weeks with Rowan. Our world was completely turned upside down and I will confess it rocked us. Learning the ropes was not an easy task for us. I am so thankful for the perspective we have now. I can’t wait to experience all those new sweet newborn moments without all the fear and anxiety that comes with your first. I know there will be new challenges because Rowan will be adjusting to it all too, but I really know in my heart it will be a good change for all of us. I am dying to experience that moment when we get to bring Rowan in to meet her baby sister for the first time. Oh my gosh the tears are going to be flowing.

Maybe you don’t have to spend so much time thinking about being pregnant the second time around because you just know. You know what it will be like, you know that if you eat that one piece of brie you and the baby are not going to crumble, you know what round ligament pain feels like, you know what a contraction is, you know what it feels like to love a little one unconditionally, you know how to get through endless sleepless nights, the list could go on and on, but you just know what lies ahead of you. You know and you are ready…

Perspective is lovely hand to hold!

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Currently…

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EXCITED ABOUT: Snow! We just got our first storm of the year. There is about 6″ or so out there with more coming down. I love seeing Rowan’s reaction to the snow. She gets so excited. We took her out when there was just a dusting the other week and she loved it. I have big plans for us after lunch today. Snowball fight!

ANTICIPATING: Duh! This one is a no brainer. We are waiting for this baby to come. I feel like I was doing so good not getting all crazy about her coming. The months have just flown by, but all of the sudden I have hit a dead stop. Minutes seem like hours and days seem like weeks in these last days of pregnancy. It’s hard to not sit and wonder what it will be like with 2 kids? how will I handle labor again? how long will it be? The worries and fears start creeping in as I lay awake at night not being able to fall asleep.

WATCHING: I am not one for watching a lot of tv. I just don’t sit still well, but I have totally gotten hooked on Parenthood. I know I am like 3 years late to the game here. I just watched all 3 full seasons in like 2 months and then signed up for hulu plus just so I could watch the first few episodes from this current season. That show is so dang good. Characters I love: Crosby + Joel. Characters I don’t like: Grandmother and Haddie. Why is Haddie always so moody and rude?

EATING: I guess you would call it a craving per say but I have been wanting to eat pizza like everyday. Mmmmmm! Also, have you had that edamame hummus that they sell at target? Holy cow that stuff is yummy. I could eat a whole container in one day.

LISTENING TO: We have been listening to a lot of the new Avett Brothers cd in our house lately. Of course on top of our christmas favorites (Elvis, Mariah, Ella, Frank). I made quite a large birth playlist the other day. I think I might share some of the songs here if i get a chance. It is full of mostly calm or very meaningful songs to me. It’s pretty darn good. When Rowan was born we just listened to Cat Power over and over. I’ve mixed it up this time around.

THANKFUL FOR: My parents. My Mom has gone out of her way to make us comfortable and ready for this baby to come. My fridge is stocked, our bathrooms are cleaned and our entire house is almost done being painted. We never would have gotten a fraction of this stuff done without her help. My Dad, Kev and my Mom busted out painting our bedroom yesterday and it looks fantastic! I didn’t think we would get it done before the baby came. It’s now a beautiful, peaceful place to bring this baby girl into the world.

For those that are curious: Rowan’s Coat: Target, Boots: c/o UGG, Hat: Marshalls

Christmas Day

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I was really hoping we would have the baby before Christmas rolled around but I tried my best to put my discomfort aside and enjoy the day with family. I really wanted to focus on this special time left with Rowan. All in all, I could not have asked for a better day. Rowan was so excited (how could you not?) about all the presents. She of course got spoiled by both sets of Grandparents and well, just a little by us. We decided our big gift for her would be a dollhouse. I’m always so afraid to spend lots of money on a big gift for her because kids are so hit or miss on what toys they like, but she LOVED it. She has been playing with it nonstop.

We took our time opening presents. She would open one present, want to play with it for a bit then put it away and open the next. It was slow, relaxing I think it helped her not get overwhelmed with so many new things. Oh man, having kids around at Christmas really make it like a million times more fun. The older she gets the more fun it is too. I can’t wait for next year to have 2 little ones.

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I was really excited about the presents we got Rowan this year. I tried to find a really good balance between toys that would help her learn, keep her entertained and be a lot of fun. My favorite things we got her were a Kid Kraft dollhouse, an awesome penguin domino set, dress up clothes, stamps, and a color sorting game.

and lastly here are a few sneaks of some of my favorite baby things we’ve gotten lately. Come on baby girl we are waiting for you! The awesome headbands are from Little Hip Squeaks, the onesies are from elSage Designs and goodness I love our simple little crib.

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Choosing to Have a Home Birth

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/5078919702/(pictures of Rowan)

I want to start off this post by making it very clear that no matter how you choose to give birth, you need to be proud! Stand behind your decisions and don’t let anyone else’s opinions or convictions make you feel any less or any greater about your own birth experience. We are all super women with super powers for giving birth. That means in every and any way you do it. We are all entitled to our decisions of how we give birth though too. I am totally on board for discussions and having differences, but I DO NOT agree when it puts down others or makes anyone feel bad about themselves.

I don’t know why Motherhood has to be such a battle. We should be joining arm in arm with each other in support. There are far greater battles out there to make a commotion over then the personal choices a mother is allowed to make for her family. There are starving kids, kids with out families, etcรขโ‚ฌยฆ that could use the attention that we give to fighting over choices such as to breastfeed, to cloth diaper, to get an epidural, to immunize, the list could go on and on.

Let’s all respect each others decisions and show a little more support instead. As Moms we need to remember just how hard it is to be a parent!

END OF RANT

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With that said, I did want to share my thoughts on why I wanted to have a home birth. I have been asked a lot about it and I would like to share my thoughts here on my blog. For me, it has always been very important to have unmedicated, low intervention births. I have read article after article on pros and cons and have done my research on drugs used and the downward spiral they can (remember I said they can, not that they will) lead to. Again, it’s just a personal choice of something that is important to me if possible. I never give advice to anyone on how they should give birth, but I do firmly stand behind the idea that we should all be informed. I think that is important. Yes, things can change during labor and it’s important to be open to those changes for the health and safety of your baby, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn everything you can about the process.

I loved Rowan’s birth. There were no drugs, no complications (thank God), low lights, calm music (hello Cat Power!) and was the most empowering moment of my life. I loved my midwives and I am glad I chose to have her in a birth center for my 1st child. Even after doing all the reading on how birth happens, I was still scared out of my mind. After Rowan was born I have this very clear memory of being in the hospital room that night feeling very alone. I had just given birth to a tiny little baby that I was now responsible for, Kev was trying to sleep in a small chair bed like 5 feet away, it was cold, sterile and just not home. I was scared and overjoyed all at the same time. For me, that night is not something I look back on with a lot of fondness.

I knew when we left to go home with Rowan I would never have another baby away from home (of course if all was going well) again. I could not wait to get home. As soon as we found out I was pregnant again, I was so excited at the idea of having a home birth. We are not having water birth though. I think most people think that you have to have the baby in a tub when you have a home birth, but that just isn’t for me. I am not sure where she will end up being born in the house but I’m not worried about it. I want to go with what feels right at that moment. I can not wait to already be in our home with our sweet little one the moment she enters this world.

Our midwife is the most wonderful lady ever. I trust her more than anyone with the health of the baby. I know she will make the right calls, at the right time if we need to transfer for whatever reason to our chosen hospital. I pray that doesn’t have to happen, there are no reasons why it should but of course we are prepared for all that we can.

In the end it’s what feels 100% right for us. I know it’s not a choice everyone would be comfortable with and that is totally ok. I don’t expect everyone to agree with it. For Kev and I it has been something that fits our personalities, our lives and we really couldn’t be more excited about it all.

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Maternity Style: Week 37 & 38!!!

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Hello full term! Yay! We made it. Well actually I am closer to 39 weeks now than 37. (We took these pictures the other weekend, whoops!) This baby is coming sometime soon and we can’t wait. Well, I would at least like to wait until I am finished Christmas shopping for everyone on my list. I’ve been on a mad dash lately to try to get all my Christmas shopping done. I’m the girl that usually waits until the very last minute, but with a baby on the horizon I’m trying to be better about it. That’s why when Lucky and Last Call by Neiman Marcus asked to join forces for a post I gladly accepted. Have you been to Last Call before? It is awesome!! So many awesome designer items for great prices. I love that they have a ton of Ben Sherman stuff for Kev. I’ve gotten a few presents for family there already this year (Hello cashmere cardigans!). If I didn’t feel like a giant whale right now I would totally get this Alice & Olivia dress for a special holiday party!

I was pretty excited about this outfit! I felt pretty put together for being 37 weeks pregnant. That’s quite a feat now a days for me. I’ve been wearing this sweater nonstop since I got it in the mail last week. At church the other day I got 3 compliments from friends after I had hugged them on how soft I was. Now that is a sign of a good cardigan!

Happy holiday shopping friends!
Head over to Lucky to win a shopping spree to Last Call by Neiman Marcus if you want.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Neiman Marcus Ribbed Cashmere Cardigan: c/o last call by Neiman Marcus
Button up: Destination Maternity
Mavi Twill Maternity Jeans: Destination Maternity
Diaper Bag/Purse: JJ Cole
Elie Tahari Bow Flats: c/o last call by Neiman Marcus

Life Lately…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8260331569/

We’ve had to slow things down around here lately. I have been put on partial bedrest because of my blood pressure. How you lay down on your side and rest for even just part of the day with a 2 year old running around is beyond me. Kev is of course being super supportive and helpful and I am trying to accept that there may be more tv than what is usually allowed the next few weeks for little Miss Rowan.

Laying around today though I was feeling extremely grateful for my growing family. I have so many things to be thankful for. I spent a lot of time looking through pictures on my phone and thought I would share a few from over the past week or so…

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Daddy/Daughter Nap | Full Term! | Our Christmas Tree | Feeding Goats | Double count down | Story time | New to us dresser | Quiet time on the couch | Cool baby | Pomegranates and christmas decorations | A classy lunch of mac and cheese and kale | Little baby clothes

I Can’t Help Myself….

I don’t normally post stuff like this but I saw this video this morning and I can’t stop watching.
Hope this sends you a little holiday cheer this morning…

DIY Baby Legwarmers

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There is nothing I love more than a brand new baby in a plain white onesie. It just seems so sweet and pure. To keep that new baby warm though, I love the idea of adding baby legwarmers. Then their little legs are warm, but there is still easy access to all the diapers you have to change when they are a newborn. It’s hard for me to justify paying $10 or more for legwarmers for a newborn though. They really are just big socks. Plus, I don’t love overly cutesy things for babies. That is just not my style. Why must most newborn clothing/accessories be so ugly?. Making them let me pick out patterns that fit my style better.

This is far from a unique idea. You can find tutorials all over pinterest, but I decided to try it out myself. I headed to Target and picked up some adult socks with cool patterns to give it a go. The socks were $2-$3 each which is way cheaper than buyings already made legwarmers.

1. Pick your socks. Since I’m making these specific for a newborn I picked regular length socks. For older kids I would say you need to get at least knee high socks. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8250416056/

2. Cut your socks. Cut straight across above and below the ankle and at the toe. Discard the toe and ankle pieces.http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8249348179/

3. The part that would go around your foot is going to be made into the cuff. Fold in half, right sides out. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8250416854/

4. Pin and sew the edges together. I used a zigzag stitch to make it a little stronger. It is annoying because the sock will roll but try your best to sew close to the edge.http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8249348881/

5. Turn the tube of the sock inside out. Stick the cuff (still right sides out) inside the tube part of the sock. This will make it so right sides are together.http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8249349271/

6. Again do your best with the rolling edges but pin and sew all parts together at the edge.http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8249349555/

7. To make the legwarmer a little tinier for a brand new baby leg, I sewed a seam up the back to take it in a little. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8250418144/

8. You can see the difference between leaving the sock the way it was and taking it in a little. It is up to you how wide you want the legwarmer to be. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8249350247/

I think I might be addicted. I have been making them all morning. They are so, so easy. Takes about 10 mins per pair. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/8249351041/

HAVE FUN!

What Rowan (and Jen) Wore…

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Welp, we are getting there. The count down it on! It’s weird to feel like a human ticking time bomb. Back when I was teaching, I would always have bad dreams the last few weeks of summer. I would dream about missing my alarm and being late on the first day, not being prepared, etc… Well, those dreams have started again. Not about school though, about birth. I woke up like 5 times last night stressing about things that I didn’t have ready yet. Do we have enough towels? Do we have a blanket to use right as they put her on my chest? What do I want to wear during labor at home? (Have I mentioned we are having a home birth?) I know if she came right at this moment none of those things would really matter and wouldn’t make or break anything, but it gets the best of me while I sleep I guess.

I am ready to be done. I’ve mentioned it before but I am not someone who loves pregnancy. I used to carry a lot of guilt around because of that but I’ve accepted it. I wish I was someone who made statements like “i’ve never felt sexier” but grunting when I put on my socks or the constant pressure I feel on my crotch is not what I define as sexy. I know Kev and I are blessed to be able to get pregnant. It is something I don’t take lightly, but I am still entitled to having feelings about it. It really is a miracle (and super science fictiony) that you grow a human inside of you, but I struggle with the journey. I would really just love to hold our baby girl and put this all behind us. I am so excited to meet her, to love her and for her to be a part of our family.

I pretty much wear some sort of combination of this outfit everyday. Jeans, a tank top, an open flannel or denim shirt, shoes and accessories. I was never pregnant in the winter with Rowan, so this is a whole new ball game for me. It is difficult!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
(on Rowan)
Shirt: H&M
Belt: Crew Cuts
Skirt: H&M (similar)
Tights: Target
Minnetonka Boots: Zappos
(on Jen)
Striped Top: H&M (similar)
Maternity Denim Top: H&M (similar)
Maternity Jeans: H&M (similar)
Scarf: LOFT
Boots: c/o Wanted
Glasses: c/o Lookmatic

Remember to make your online shopping go a little further this year by helping Rowan and I raise money for our monthly service project!
Here are some great deals online…
25% off at Madewell and free shipping with code CHEERS

30% off Bundle Up Styles over at J.Crew

30% off at Gap Online with code GAPGIFT

Need gift ideas? Here is an awesome gift guide!!

A Weekend Tradition

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One of Rowan’s favorite things to do now a days is bake together. As soon as you start cooking anything she drags her little chair over to see what you are doing. She insists on doing “eggs and milk, Mommy!”. She doesn’t care what we make as long as we use eggs and milk. We usually just end up making some sort of banana bread with the bananas that didn’t get eaten that week. It’s turned into a fun little weekend tradition!

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Before we put the muffins in the oven, I asked Rowan if she wanted to help me “sprinkle” the crumble topping on each muffin. She said in her usual response “yeah, sure Mom, sure!” Next thing I know she had pulled out green sprinkles looking to “sprinkle” them on the muffins. Ha! It was too cute to not let her have one special sprinkle muffin.

On Saturday we used this recipe to make Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Muffins (now that’s a mouth full!)

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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