Hello, friends! A couple of weeks ago, I met with my friend Allie to take some maternity photos. It was such an amazing and empowering experience – if you are expecting, I recommend taking some photos to celebrate and capture this beautiful time in your life.
We took photos in my Christmassy home and at the Saville Dam in Barkhamsted, CT. It’s such a stunning place, especially in the fall!
I didn’t take any with my husband, but that’s because I wanted these pictures to celebrate me and my daughter. Pregnancy is an incredible journey. I have never felt more powerful and beautiful in my entire life. I can’t wait to meet her in 8 weeks, but I love being pregnant and feeling this deep connection just with my baby.
Allie made me feel so comfortable the entire time. I am an awkward photo subject, but she made me laugh and feel confident and beautiful throughout. The entire experience was perfect. She’s amazing, and I highly recommend her work. You can learn more about her services here.
About 10 years ago, a friend from college hand delivered a beautiful, homemade Christmas card to my dorm room before winter break. It was made from scrapbook paper (beautiful sheet music) folded into a card shape and adorned with ribbon and stickers. I remember being so touched and in love with the idea of making a personalized card for loved ones during such a giving season.
A few years later, I decided that I was going to steal her idea and make my own cards. I remember walking out of JoAnn Fabrics exhilarated; I had two giant bags filled with pretty Christmas scrapbook paper, ribbons, stickers … and lots of glue dots! I went home and made cards for my family and friends, and they were so well received, I have continued to make them ever since!
My cards over the years …
I make about 50-60 scrapbook cards every year, and I truly love the experience. It has become a calming ritual during the holiday season. With the hustle and bustle of parties, shopping, traffic, and noise that the holiday season brings, slowing down and crafting really helps. I set up my table, put on Christmas movies, grab some cocoa, and let my creative side take over. It’s my own form of therapy during such a busy time.
Here are my cards this year (a few favorites)
Making my cards this year was certainly bittersweet. I am 9 weeks away from my due date, and things are getting a little busy in our home. From holiday shopping and prep to baby prep, I feel a little overwhelmed. Luckily, making my cards has always kept me at ease. This past weekend, I made my holiday cards with the help of hot cocoa, good movies, and cookies … all while feeling my sweet daughter kick and punch inside of me. While I know I may not be able to sit down and make 45-50 scrapbook cards for my loved ones next year (they will most likely want a picture of our sweet girl anyway!), I do look forward to continuing this tradition with her one day. I can’t wait to watch her little hands move and see what she will create.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Share in the comments below (photos too, please!)
(Written over a week ago but my pregnant brain forgot to post it!)
Hey there, third trimester! I cannot believe you are here.
As you know, this blog is typically dedicated to bookish content, but as my life is evolving, I’m sure my reading habits will too! That being said, you may start to see some lifestyle-inspired posts on here as I navigate motherhood, my career, and all things books!
So, how am I doing?
Pretty good, I’d say! As a first-time mom, pregnancy has been quite a journey for me as I experience all of the known (and let’s be honest, unknown) symptoms that come with growing a human being. There were a lot of tears, panicked phone calls to the doctor, and texts to mom friends to help me understand what I was feeling. From “is this pain normal?” to “can I eat mayonnaise?”, I am beyond grateful for the support I’ve received these past seven months! And I’m sure these moms will be there for me two-fold once the baby joins us in February!
I found out I was pregnant at about 4 weeks when I noticed some sensations that I never felt before. From aches in my breasts and the beginnings of heartburn to cramps and nausea, I knew very early on that we were pregnant. I took an at-home test, but the results came out negative, so I decided to wait another few days before testing again. I just knew my body and noticed that something was different.
Over the next few days, the pregnancy test strips in our ovulation kit got darker, so I called my doctor who then sent me to get bloodwork to officially confirm. Ian and I drove there on a Saturday morning, I got my bloodwork done, and within the hour, we were clapping looking at the test results that said I was four weeks pregnant! We got a celebratory breakfast that day.
I couldn’t believe it. Ian and I went for a walk that day, and I held my belly in amazement. We found out our baby was the size of a poppyseed, and her nickname, Poppy, was born. It would be a few more weeks before we found out what we were having and what we would officially name her when she comes!
I will not lie; the first twelve weeks were super stressful. I was afraid every time I went to the bathroom, I was afraid with every cramp. When we heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks, Ian and I held hands and cried. With COVID cases increasing this summer, I was super grateful that Ian could be with me for these appointments.
When I experienced some spotting, panic set in. I know that spotting is completely normal now (especially if it’s brown), but my incredible team of doctors called me in to listen to her heartbeat to ensure that everything was OK. After that, I took some deep breaths, put my meditation app on, and started doing prenatal yoga to help ease the stress.
In the first trimester, my biggest complaint was nausea. It was constant. The *gestures* world calls it morning sickness, but I felt nauseous all day long. The only time I didn’t feel nauseous was when I slept, and even then I would wake up to waves of nausea. Combining nausea with the summer heat, I spent the majority of my time in the air conditioning sipping ginger ale and eating saltines.
By 12 weeks, we were ready for genetic testing and to learn the sex of the baby. We spoke with these amazing women at our hospital and paid for genetic screening. It was incredible to learn that they were able to scan the baby for any genetic issues and determine the sex by pulling her DNA out of my blood. Science is remarkable. That two-week wait was torture, but we got the phone call from one of the doctors excited to share the news: we were having a baby girl with “boringly normal” genetic results!
By around 12 weeks, my nausea went away, so I was ready to take on what many women call the “golden age” of trimesters. This is when most of your symptoms dissipate: nausea, sore breasts, cramping … and you have your energy back and feel amazing as you watch your body grow.
Sure … OK.
My nausea went away, but my heartburn didn’t! It got so bad that I am on medication to help ease the symptoms. And boy, it works! Thank goodness. I did get some of my energy back … but in waves. I’d have weeks where I felt super energized, and other weeks when I could only get up, work, eat, shower, and go to bed. And that was enough!
But what really threw me this trimester was sciatica and round ligament pain …. yeeeowwcch! As the baby is growing, she was really hitting on some nerves (LOL!) that make it feel like my entire right leg is tingly, numb, and hot. The pain is sometimes unbearable, so I got myself two pregnancy pillows (one giant one and this amazing pillow for sleeping) and planted myself on the couch. I learned that this will go away once the baby comes. My doctor recommended light stretching and listening to my body when I needed to. If I needed to sit down, sit down! If I needed to go for a walk to get things moving, go outside! If I needed to do some yoga, do some yoga!
Well, once I had sciatica down, the round ligament pain came … on my left side! At least my pain was balanced. I learned the importance of heating pads, belly bands, and getting up slowwwlyyy to avoid pulling or aggravating anything.
Despite these aches and pains, watching my body grow has been absolutely amazing. Around 17 weeks, I felt little flutters in my belly called “quickening,” and those little tickles and flutters have turned into full-on kicks and rolls from our little girl. She is VERY active. I feel her kick and move most of the day, and she kicks right before bed (and sometimes during the night) and greets me with kicks every morning as I start to rouse from bed. I love feeling her move ….!
As I approached the third trimester (within the last few weeks or so), I’ve developed this deep need to start nesting. Ian and I have been hard at work completing her nursery. Ian built wainscoting in her room and we painted it a lovely two-tone mauve. Her crib is here and built as well as her dresser, rug, and bookshelf (filled with books already … thanks to my amazing friends!!). All we need is the glider and we can start hanging up some décor and fill her drawers with the bags of clothes I’ve already received. It really takes a village, and this little girl is so lucky already.
So, third trimester: I welcome you. We are excited to celebrate the holidays in anticipation of meeting our sweet baby, and I look forward to seeing what these next 12 weeks will bring!
Red bows. Christmas trees. Garland. Reindeer. Ornaments and lights. Music. Joy. Stockings. Snow. Elves. Giving. Family. Cookies.
Doesn’t that list bring a smile to your face?
The holiday season is here, and in our home, we celebrate Christmas. Like. Really celebrate. We deck our halls to the extreme.
One thing that I love to do during the holiday season (besides make holiday scrapbook cards … blog post to come about that) is watch an abundance of Christmas movies. Yes, I have a schedule that I follow. It’s fine. I’m fine.
To have some fun, I wanted to share 25 of my favorite Christmas movies with you just in case you need some ideas throughout the month. And, I want to hear yours! Anyway, here goes:
The Polar Express
A Christmas Carol
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
A Christmas Story
The Year Without a Santa Claus
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Home Alone 2
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
TheLife and Adventures of Santa Claus
The Santa Clause
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow