Bumpdate: 39 Weeks ~ Baby #2

How far along: 39 Weeks! I’ve made it longer than I did with Emmalyn. I actually didn’t think I would still be pregnant at 39 weeks, to be honest.

Total Weight Gain:
30lbs {see “cravings” below for explanation}

Labor Signs: Sporadic contractions throughout the day, but nothing time-able; been sitting pretty at 2cm for about two weeks now.

Symptoms:
Major heartburn

Movement:
Apparently Baby Girl still has a lot of room in there because she hasn’t slowed down a bit!

Sleep:
Just terrible! However, I feel fortunate that Pregnancy Insomnia has really only hit me at 39 weeks. Overall, I’ve been very, very lucky with sleep.

Cravings & Aversions: I was craving brownie batter the other day so I made a batch and probably ate at least ¾ of the (cooked) brownies (after I generously licked the bowl) myself. Oooohh they were soooo fudgey and gooey…. I don’t eat like that when I’m not pregnant, so no regrets… worth.every.pound.

Funny Moments: At my well-checkup yesterday, I closed the curtain to undress and Emmalyn said, “Are we going to put on a show?” Welp, depends on how you look at it, kid…

Not So Funny Moments: Carrying a kicking and screaming 30-lb three year-old, on top of carrying 30-lbs across my mid-section out of Story Time at the library. That’s 60 pouds of Super Fun.

Nesting: Basically doing laundry every day… just in case!

Best Moments This Week: Spending one last Mother’s Day with JUST my Big Girl. It was very bittersweet. The absolute best was when Emmalyn woke me up and (totally unprompted by anyone) said, “I want to be just like you when I grow up.” Simply the best!

What I Miss: My energy and “normal” body!

Looking Forward To: My mommy coming tomorrow! & Lil Sis’ appearance! However, it would be quite great if she could stay tucked away until after Emmalyn’s dance recital this Saturday. Then, she can grace us with her presence anytime! =)

loyally,

katie
Follow on Bloglovin

Book Review: Tiny Blue Lines… & I’m in it!

As a young woman who found myself surprisingly expecting a baby less than a year out of college and not married, reading Tiny Blue Lines was very nostalgic for me. I wish this book had been around four years ago for me, as I carried a lot of guilt and insecurities throughout my first pregnancy. At the time I felt like no one understood how I was feeling even though I knew I wasn’t the first person to have a baby out of wedlock. But no one reached out to me and it was quite lonely inside my head at times.

Chaunie understands the multi-faceted guilt that goes along with an unplanned pregnancy. I was reading and silently shouting, “Yes! She gets it! She gets me. She understands exactly how I felt.” Tiny Blue Lines tells young mothers that we are not alone! I appreciated that Chaunie wrote this book as if she were having a conversation with me over a cup of coffee in her home; like she was a comforting and nonjudgemental big sister. I felt as if she was holding my hand the whole way through cheering, “You’ve got this girlfriend—you can do it!”

Chaunie showcases real-life women who come from different walks of life, and chose different paths. Some put their education on hold, while others did whatever it took to graduate. Some shifted their dreams and made them a reality. Some decided to get married before baby, while others waited, or chose to co-parent instead. No matter what they decided, they all—we all—have one thing in common: 

  
Our lives changed for the better. Our babies were a surprise blessing—never a mistake. 
My favorite line from the book is “…things are not always as they seem. There are no accidents with God, and life is always an intentional gift.”

I enjoyed her “Marriage Before Carriage” advice which includes topics like: “There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to have a wedding,” “Accept help,” and “Wear comfy shoes,” among other things to consider. Her practical and sometimes witty advice is a breath of fresh air, contrary to advice I was once forced to hear such as, “Oh you’ll figure it out—don’t worry.” Therefore, I love that at the end of the book Chanuie provides detailed advice and specific resources. She never stops gifting the real-life advice young mothers need to help navigate such a huge change in their life.

I laughed out loud at some of the stories she shared about the ridiculous things people (usually strangers) would say to her and other young mommies while out in public because I could absolutely relate. One time, as I was being rung up at a department store, the clerk looked at me and my (then) one year-old daughter in the stroller and said, “You must not be much older than the baby.” I even had my weddings rings on! But Chaunie has been there many times before and she understands. Reading her words makes you feel like you’re not alone.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when Chaunie mentioned me as an “inspiring woman.” It was a surprise to me, and I had the happiest and cheesiest grin glued onto my face.


Chaunie’s bravery and courage to put herself and her very personal story out there in the world for everyone to see is admirable. She is a blessing to young mamas everywhere.

Without a doubt, I would recommend Tiny Blue Lines to any young mom who finds herself surprisingly expecting a little blessing in her life. Every woman should have someone to hold her hand and cheer her on. Chaunie will do just that! 

loyally,
katie
// // // 

You can read & find out more about Chaunie Marie Brusie and Tiny Blue Lines, here. Do it!
Follow on Bloglovin

To-Do Before Baby

You know your Due Date is quickly approaching when:
a. You have done more loads of laundry than you can count
b. You cannot sleep 
c. You keep checking the front door for packages from Amazon
d. You feel like your next sneeze will send the baby through your birth canal
e. All of the above

If you picked “e” then you are correct, my friend. There’s a laundry list (no pun intended) of things I’d like to accomplish before the baby comes. Notice how I said: “I’d like to…” because really, nothing HAS to get done before the baby arrives. As long as my boobs don’t disappear anytime soon and the hospital sends me home with diapers (for both baby & me), I’m all set. Even the car seat doesn’t technically need to be installed–we can do that one there.

However, it would be icing on the cake if I could accomplish at least some things on my many on-going lists. With my first baby, everything was done weeks and weeks–if not three months–in advance (i.e., hospital bag packed). With more or less than 25 days ’til D-Day {eek!!}, I’m proud of what I’ve checked off thus far:

Wash newborn clothes
Hospital bag packed (ehem... does it count if I have at least written the list?)
Emmalyn’s bag packed (in case we have to send her off somewhere real fast)
Buy baby book
Wash breast pump (find it first…)
Buy new nursing bras
Install car seat (it’s washed and sitting in baby’s room. Good enough.)
Hang up wall art in baby’s room 


Order Big Sister gift from Mommy & Daddy
Get gifts “To & From” sisters (someone suggested the baby *get* Emmalyn a gift, and Emmalyn get the baby a gift. I thought this was a super cute idea)
Stock up on Tucks & pads
Emmalyn’s totally necessary outfit for meeting her new baby sister in the hospital
Deep clean the house
Mani/Pedi
Going Home Outfit, complete with ridiculously cute big bows

You would think I would be stressed with all the “To-Do’s” but I’m not. Not this time around! I know the importance of Letting Things Go. Sometimes you just need to take care of Y-O-U and I refuse to compromise my sanity and health for the sake of a clean house or fancy newborn outfits. For the most part, I’ve been having fun checking things off the list bit-by-bit, especially ordering things off Etsy and Amazon, and decorating Baby Girl’s room. I realize that if I can’t check off something from the list, it’s not the end of the world. That’s what husbands are for…


loyally,

katie

Follow on Bloglovin

Bumpdate: 36 Weeks ~ Baby #2

How far along: 36 weeks… 4 weeks left… 1 week ’til full-term 🙂
Symptoms: Oh how I despise you heartburn, indigestion, & acid reflux… especially in the middle of the night! Also, itchy legs, hip/groin/back pain, tiredness
Total weight gain: 24 pounds… less than what I gained with Emmalyn, so far. I have her to thank, too, because she doesn’t let me sit still.
Gender: girl!
Movement: Somtimes her kicks and punches are so sudden and intense that they can be painful
Sleep: I’ve been applying lavender essential oil to my face and have been meditating before bed and it has helped a lot! It also helps that Emmalyn is finally letting Blake put her to bed, so I can sneak in a little extra downtime like reading watching Dancing with the Stars before I call it a night.
Cravings & Aversions: I’ve had such a sweet tooth for chocolate
What I Miss: Not having to pee every thirty minutes (or less)!
Looking Forward To: Finding out what this new little one will look like!

loyally,

katie

Follow on Bloglovin

Only-Child Expiration


I’ve been pretty emotional lately, thinking about Emmalyn no longer being an only child, and how our moments of just “Emmy-&-Me” are fleeting. Really, just thinking about it now—to type these words—is sending me into basket-case mode. It seems selfish to say I’m “mourning” the loss of her being an only-child, when we are about to welcome such an incredible gift into our family, but that’s how I feel. I never imagined or wanted Emmalyn to be an only-child, and having another baby is a blessed miracle come true, but I can’t help but feel insanely emotional over it. Maybe it’s because I’m an only-child, and I’m losing this ‘piece’ Emmalyn and I share together? I’m not sure…
With more-or-less than five weeks to go until we become a family of four {say, what?!?}, I’m desperately trying to make extra lovey-dovey and exciting memories; and freeze these moments, engraving them deep into my marrow. We even went out for ice cream, which if you know me personally, is a big deal for me because I only let Emmalyn eat ice cream at birthdays. I’m carrying this huge bag of guilt around, and am finding myself becoming a pushover when it comes to my soon-to-be Biggest Girl. I want to do everything I can to make her the happiest she can be in these last few weeks of being an Only Child.
Like the other day… I really didn’t want to walk to the park because my big ‘ole belly makes me feel like I’m carrying around permanent 50-lb. weights, but Emmalyn wanted to and I wanted to make her happy. Taking her to the pool by myself over the weekend was also physically exhausting, but the pure look of giddiness on her face and the sound of her non-stop laughter was simply magical. I traded in my permanent weights for a permanent smile across my own face. It made every ache and pain in my pregnant body 100x worth it.
I’ve almoststopped complaining about laying in her bed (for sometimes up to an hour) while she falls asleep, and instead, sit there in silence, replaying her beautiful smile over and over in my head. I know the moments of catching her in a peaceful slumber are becoming less and less frequent. I try to remember her little idiosyncrasies, like how I have to turn every!single!page! in the book at the end even if there aren’t any words or pictures on these pages. Or how her pillow has to be placed just so in order to lay her little blonde head down. Or how she has to pick out the “right” silverware to eat from. The list goes on and on…
I never want to forget these moments with her. 
For the past three-and-a-half years, Emmalyn has been my life—my “best girl,” as I say to her. And in five weeks, her world will be flipped upside down and she will have to share that title. A part of me is sad for her–to have to give up a part of her time with me to share with her little sister. Some days I’m just not ready. Then there’s the other part of me who couldn’t be more ecstatic to witness my two girls become the best of friends, each other’s maid of honors, and partners in crime (even if that involves lying to me and sneaking behind my back)!

I know she’s a happy child and her love-tank is filled. This is only the beginning of some pretty amazing memories being made, so I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I know it. I do. But I can’t help it. I find myself terribly teary-eyed throughout the day (damn hormones!) over how incredible my little girl is. 
She’s the light in my life; what makes my world so perfect. She’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and I love her more than anything else in the world.

loyally,

katie

Follow on Bloglovin

Bumpdate: 34 Weeks ~ Baby #2

{34 weeks with a baby gator… how about them apples?!}

How far along: 34 weeks

Symptoms: heartburn, indigestion, itchy skin, major hip/groin pain, tired, back pain

Total weight gain: 17lbs. and counting…?

Gender: girl 🙂

Movement:
Major jabs to the bladder


Sleep:
It’s getting harder to stay asleep longer, and to find a comfortable position

Cravings & Aversions:
  I smelled someone chewing Big Red gum the other day and wanted some so bad! I don’t know where that came from because I haven’t had that gum since I was a kid! Ha! I didn’t find any at the grocery store today–darnit! The smell of the seafood section at the grocery store makes me want to run in the other direction–gag!

Funny Moments:  When asked about how she felt about her little sister Emmalyn said, “We will be the best girls ever… The baby is in mommy’s belly and is coming in a few minutes.”

Not So Funny Moments: Almost every time I sneeze or cough….

Nesting: It’s interesting, and also frustrating, that one day I will have the energy to “nest” and the next I won’t. 

Best Moments This Week:  Having my in-laws visit us and letting The Hubs and I sleep in. While my body will not let me sleep past 7am anymore, it was still nice to wake up to a quiet house while they took Emmy out for breakfast. (Thank you!!)

What I Miss:
  Running around after Emmy with ease

Looking Forward To:
  Seeing Emmy become a big sister!
loyally,
katie
Follow on Bloglovin

How to Have a Successful Family/Maternity Shoot

Here are my top eight tips on how to have a successful family/maternity shoot:
8. Have your photographer wear a monkey on her head to capture your three year-old’s attention
7. Clone your photographer or sneak her a magical drink to grow an extra set of arms
6. Hire a retired Olympic runner to chase after your wild free-spirited child
5. Bribe! Bribe! Bribe! said free-spirited child with cookies and/or lollipops
4. Allow child to eat sand just so you can sneak in a pretty picture with your husband
3. Imagine the worst possible scenario, like your child throwing The World’s Greatest Tantrum, then be pleasantly surprised when that actually doesn’t happen
2. Pray
1. Just let it be
Does this look like the face of a child who would run wild and free??
 ^ ^ I’m seriously obsessed ^^
Maternity pictures were so much easier the first time around, but I’ll admit they’re so much sweeter the second time around, being able to include “The Big Sister.” 
Have you gotten maternity/family pictures taken? What tips would you add?
loyally,
katie
Thank you to Danielle Wilkinson Photography… Can’t wait until the newborn shots!
Follow on Bloglovin

It Ain’t Easy


–>

This whole being-eight-months-pregnant-with-a-three-year-old-thing is no joke! It is rough & tough business! It makes my first pregnancy look like a walk in the park. Really, it was, until about the last month when sleeping was super uncomfortable. 
There are some days when I let Emmalyn watch three hours of Peter Rabbit, just so I can close my eyes on the sofa. And then of course I feel completely shitty for not playing with her instead. But she doesn’t seem to mind. The majority of the time, she’s quite content snuggling up against me. It’s when she starts kicking the dog in the face that I know she’s reached her limit of patience, and it’s time to get my big ‘ole belly up off the sofa. There are days where I feel like I’m Super Mom, schlepping Emmalyn with me to the grocery store and craft store, and even to the park for an hour… all before lunchtime. Then there are days I realize I haven’t even brushed my teeth until I hear my husband pulling into the driveway. But the important thing is Emmalyn and I don’t miss a meal, and we are showered every night.

There are days when pregnancy really kicks my butt: Heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, sciatic nerve pain, nausea, headache, piercing jabs to my ribs… all mixed together and tied with a bow. It can really bring a girl down. It’s heartbreaking to listen to Emmalyn cry for me to pick her up. Some days I feel strong, and don’t mind; others, it’s just physically too much on my back. It’s hard to tell her our tea party has to be on the sofa and not her blanket that she prettily laid out on the floor because “it’s just too hard for Mommy to sit on the floor.” It’s hard because she’s three—still my baby—and she doesn’t get it.

Every day is different. Some days I can barely find enough energy to keep my eyes opened (even with caffeine), while other days I’m swimming laps at the gym (albeit, rare). Some days I spend hours crafting for the baby’s room, while others I spend watching hours of television on the sofa. But like I said, every day is different. I never know what cards I’ll be dealt with in the morning. I’ve got to let go of the guilt of not fulfilling everything I want to get done on my list, and coming up short of who I want to be that day. You’d think I could cut myself some slack–after all, I’m growing a human being for goodness sake! It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s pretty spectacular. 
Only 53 more days to go…
loyally,
katie

Follow on Bloglovin

Bumpdate: 32 Weeks ~ Baby #2

 {Emmalyn playing around with the baby bump at the maternity store–haha! She didn’t want to part with it either.}

How far along: 32 weeks. 8 more to go, yo!

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks, sciatic nerve pain (which I didn’t get with the first pregnancy), heart burn, indigestion, acid reflux, headaches, shortness of breath. Oh the price you pay for a precious little life. Totally annoying, but totally worth it!

Maternity Clothes: Yup. Just bought a new dress for our family pictures next weekend.

Gender: girl!

Movement: Tons. Over the last few weeks, the baby has started getting the hiccups. She loves to do her biggest and best Olympic gymnastics moves while I’m trying to go to sleep.

Sleep: See above. Sleep is alright. I wake up about every couple of hours, but can go back to sleep fairly easily.

Cravings & Aversions:
Craving just a bite or two of mint chocolate chip ice cream–but the white ice cream kind, not the green kind. I’m very particular about it 🙂

Not So Funny Moments: Handling three year-old tantrums when you’re also permanently carrying a bowling ball across your midsection, 24/7. Let’s just say there’s been a lot of tears lately. On both ends… Three year-olds and pregnancy hormones make for a great combination, my friends.

Nesting: My parents were in town last week so we got the crib together, and the furniture in Baby’s room rearranged. My mom and I washed all of Emmalyn’s old baby clothes and sorted them by size. It was fun looking through all the little clothes again. Oh! & her rug arrived–I’m in love!

Best Moments This Week
: The Hubs no longer working nights! yayyyyy

What I Miss: Walking for long periods of time without feeling like I need to rest and sit down.

Looking Forward To:
Figuring out Baby Girl’s middle name. We are stumped. Again. Emmalyn doesn’t understand the concept of having a middle name (even though she knows her own) because every time we talk about it in front of her, she yells, “NOOO!” & then tells us, “It’s JUST {insert Lil Sis’ name here}.”

loyally,
katie
Have you heard?
Loyal, Loving, & Learning is now on Facebook!
Follow on Bloglovin

Bumpdate: 30 Weeks ~ Baby #2

How far along: 30 weeks (yesterday)… The 10-week countdown has begun! Yay!

Symptoms: heartburn, indigestion, itchy skin, major hip/groin pain, tired

Total weight gain: 17lbs.

Gender: Bows before bros

Movement:
I can literally feel the shape of her head poking into my ribs. It’s crazy… & I love it!

Sleep:
Besides having to get up to pee every other hour, not too bad.

Cravings & Aversions:
I was totally craving Twizzlers, but by the time I got home from the store, I didn’t want them anymore.

Funny Moments: I asked Emmalyn what she was going to teach her little sister and she said, “I’m going to teach {Lil Sis} how to do rolls and the Slinky.”

Not So Funny Moments: Trying to tame a three year-old throwing a tantrum (say that 5 times fast!) at the park when I didn’t have a pocket for my phone and we rode her tricycle there. It was physically exhausting.

Nesting: I cleared out more toys from the playroom/new baby’s room, and rearranged the guest bed. I put up her monogram initial on the wall, too!

Best Moments This Week: Whenever Emmalyn talked about being a big sister.

What I Miss:
Being able to get up off the floor without a crane.

Looking Forward To:
My parents coming in town this weekend to help out with All!Things!Baby! Hoping to get the crib set up and Emmalyn’s old baby clothes out from the attic and washed.

loyally,
katie
** For some reason my computer doesn’t want to upload a picture right now, so if you’re curious about the “bump” find me on Instagram: @katievanbrunt
Follow on Bloglovin