Thursday, February 8, 2018

Maternity Photos

I wanted to get some photos with Dan before the baby came, so of course we called upon our talented friend Steve Cross to take them for us!  Steve shot our engagement photos and wedding photos, all in Franklin, so it was only fitting to head back to the park at Harlinsdale Farm where Dan and I got married in 2015 to take some pictures.

I did my own hair and makeup, which is not my forte, but in the end I think that it made it just that much more natural and authentic.  I was 36 weeks pregnant, so baby was moving quite a bit during the shoot!  It felt like our first family portrait with him, in a way.

You may recognize the barn area from our wedding photos if you've been around this blog for a while.  It was kind of magical to stand where we said our vows and think about how our relationship and family have evolved.

There's going to be lots more baby stuff on this blog, I imagine.  It's hard not to be consumed by it when you're largely pregnant or about to dedicate so much of your time to caring for someone else.  But I'm hoping that this blog and our family continue to be authentic and natural, always Aubrey as my blog title says.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Pregnancy: Things I've Learned These 9 Months

So... my baby was born on January 31st, and I never posted this!  Here you go... promise to come back later with maternity photos, baby birth story, and more.

At my last general pregnancy check-in here on the blog, I'd made it 7 months... and now I'm past 9 months, and I have a few more notes to share!  Honestly, if I had to sum up my pregnancy, Weeks 0-20 felt like this endless nauseous, heartburn-filled saga of exhaustion.  Weeks 20-37 have been more relatively easy, though I'm at the point I'm starting to get uncomfortable.  I feel like this is the complete opposite experience from what some women go through.  It's crazy how every pregnancy is so completely different for everyone!

Attending my company holiday party

My favorite pregnancy app has been The Bump (free), though there are a lot of similar apps out there.  I liked that each week I could read up on baby's development but also what symptoms I could expect for myself or changes in my own body.  I think that it's the kind of thing you only use during your first pregnancy (kind of like reading pregnancy books, if you're into that like I was!) but for us it was useful.  Dan downloaded it to his own phone, so it was nice because he kind of felt connected to how the baby was doing and also informed him of some of the things he might observe in my behavior or health.

My favorite photo app has been Little Nugget (not free), which will also be useful once baby arrives.  I feel like the stickers are on trend and plentiful once you buy it, and I found that I liked it more than using my letterboard or something else.  It keeps things at your fingertips, and you can customize colors and whatnot!

My least favorite pregnancy symptom, aside from the pregnancy nausea last year, has been swelling.  CANKLES.  In my 35th week, I ballooned up in weight, and it was almost entirely in my feet, legs, and hands from water retention and swelling.  Most of my shoes don't fit!  We had to keep an eye on my symptoms in case preeclampsia became a risk, which was nerve-wracking for me.  I did find my compression socks (with cute cats of course) were helpful, as was elevating my feet whenever I could.

Sausage feet stuffed into socks

My favorite maternity clothes were either non-maternity (like my Three Bears Company pieces), Target maternity solid-colored dresses and tops from my Mom, and a handful of maternity pieces I got via Stitch Fix.   I got a lot of compliments on my Dwell & Slumber pieces too, but I found that as the weather cooled off I got a lot more wear out of mixing solid layers and leggings with dresses.  (I found the Dwell & Slumber pieces harder to layer because of the way the caftan sleeves bunched up for me.)  I wore a lot of non-maternity stuff the entire time, using leggings and maternity camisoles to make them work.

The Stitch Fix pieces I kept

My maternity clothing fails were Le Tote for Maternity (I just didn't like the fit of what I ended up with, so I cancelled), maternity jeans and pants that weren't ponte or leggings (like a bad tube top, I kept having to pull them up), and buying tops with a distinctive print.  The two print tops I had, I felt like I couldn't wear them as often as solid colored pieces, which could be mixed and matched more often.  That's why I recommend solids, because you can wear the same stuff every week and just remix it like a capsule wardrobe.

What else have I learned since my last post?

I still stand by a lot of what I wrote a couple of months ago.  Pregnancy is still gross.  And you still have to surrender, even more as you get bigger and rounder and more exhausted.

Other thoughts...  Nesting is real, and I love it.  People love to talk about pregnancy and be super nice to you.   People love babies and will surprise you with gifts.  Sometimes I cried for stupid reasons, like because I felt too tired and swollen to go out with my girlfriends one night, or because my laundry basket was too heavy.  Hormones!

One thing I've grappled with overall is just fear...  I've never been hospitalized, and I've never had major surgery.  So yeah, childbirth feels scary.  And not knowing when it's going to happen?  That's scary too.  But now that I see the light at the end of the tunnel, the level of discomfort that I feel plus the excitement of meeting my baby is starting to outpace the fear.  I think a little fear is natural, but it definitely feels like it's going to be worth it!

Lastly, I'm trying to be kind to myself.  I think a lot of women beat themselves up over things related to childbirth, breastfeeding, motherhood, etc.  I hate seeing wonderful mothers do that.  So while I know I'll have those moments, I'm still going to try to focus on not having crazy expectations of how things are going to go.

Here's hoping these last weeks of pregnancy are healthy and happy as can be!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Baby Showers & Breakfast

In January, I was blessed with TWO more baby showers, both of which ended up being brunch or breakfast events!  Given that I love breakfast foods, it was pretty perfect!  The first, thrown by my friend S, was a local celebration that brought together a bunch of my favorite Tennessee ladies and some out of staters too.

I didn't do a great job getting a bunch of photos, but my favorites were the mimosa/bellini bar (with sparkling water for me!), the breakfast buffet with favorites like biscuits and hash brown casserole, and doughnuts instead of cake.  Yum!

We had folks from Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, but also longer hauls like Knoxville, Cookville, Crossville, Chattanooga, Monteagle, and even Illinois and Indiana!  I think it was really good for my Mom to see what a great community I have here in Tennessee.  After six years, it's definitely my favorite place I've lived thus far as an adult.

Then at work, my friends J and P put together a shower in one of our conference rooms.  The snowy weather caused a reschedule, but it ended up being a really nice breakfast "open house" style shower.

And the super-fun balloons from my shower made their way up to my desk later too.  :)  People who missed the shower are still bringing gifts by my desk, and it's so touching and sweet!

Something we've received that wasn't necessarily on our registries: tons of books!  Here's a nursery sneak peek where you can see how we've displayed a bunch of them, and we are going to store the rest in a book bin.  We love reading (I worked at the public library in high school) so it's wonderful to have these already to read to baby Kenny!

Now after three (yes, three!) baby showers, I've written over 100 thank you notes and counting.  We are just so grateful for all of the gifts and love that we've received, I wanted to make sure to thank everyone individually for thinking of us.  I'm old school about notes and snail mail like that.

I also wanted a way to keep all of the adorable cards we've received.  I decided to use the same method I used for our wedding cards; I punch a hole in the corner and use a loose binder ring to keep everything together.  I even included the invitations to the baby showers, so I could keep those together with the cards.

When I'm sitting in the living room with swollen pregnancy feet, it's encouraging to flip through the cards and read what people wrote to us.  I'm tempted to stick it in our hospital bag, just so I can read it if I need the encouragement.  :)

I'm so grateful for the blessings and love we've received in anticipation of our new arrival!

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