More than Worth It::

If you know me at all, you know that I have a thing for perspective.  In my heart of hearts, I know that perspective can change everything.  I am aware of the fact that my thoughts, words, and actions can be drastically affected by my perspective.  I don’t always remember, or live out this truth, but I know deep down how powerful perspective can be.

So, take a short trip down memory lane with me.  Let’s rewind to last Christmas season.  I was just creeping up on my third trimester and spending lots of time at Hobby Lobby purchasing the necessary supplies for several handmade gifts for my loved ones.  During one such time, as I waited in a seemingly unmoving line, the woman behind me meekly peeked at my belly and asked me when I was due.  After telling her it’d just be a few short months before Adam and I would be welcoming our first child into the world, she took a brief pause, and I prepared myself for what I was certain she was about to say.

“Ohhh, get ready…sleep while you can.  Take long showers while you can.  Eat dinner with both hands while you can.  Wear makeup while you can…but don’t worry, it’s so worth it,”  I thought to myself.  I’d heard all of those warnings several times before, so admittedly, I momentarily tuned her out.  Thankfully, however, what I thought this sweet woman was going to say and what she actually said were completely different.

The first words out of her mouth were, “Ohhh, get ready…you’re about to experience the most incredible gift.  I have a 7 week old daughter and I can’t remember what life was like before her.   She’s my everything and it’s only now that I truly understand love. It can be challenging, but it’s so worth it!”

I was floored.  This woman said the things I was longing to hear.  She said the things that I was sure other people felt, but just didn’t say.  She said the things that I had so hoped to read in all of those blogs declaring that they could enlighten new mamas to “The Top 5 Secrets No One Tells You About Motherhood”.

She and her perspective had a profound impact on me.  I left Hobby Lobby that day bound and determined to share in her perspective.

Fast forward to the present.  I now have a 3 month old daughter.  I am now a mom.  I have been forever changed, but I have held tight to the perspective I claimed that December day last year.  I have often replayed that conversation in my head, but there is just one thought that differs from the woman I encountered in that unmoving line.  I have found, time and time and time again, that the moments of hardship are more than worth it.

So, it is with that perspective that I give new mamas my “Top 5 Secrets No One Tells You About Motherhood”:

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  1. The highs are more numerous than the lows.
  2. The giant baby smiles are more heart-melting than the giant baby cries are upsetting.
  3. The scent of baby skin is more delicious than the dirty diapers are smelly.
  4. The nights spent at home as a family of 3 are more joyous than date nights out are refreshing.
  5. The duty of being a parent is more worth any “it” you can possibly imagine.

Like that woman in Hobby Lobby, I can’t remember what life was like before I met Piper.  Like that woman in Hobby Lobby, my heart has been so transformed by the blessing of becoming a parent that I’m not sure I actually understood love for the first 28 years of my life. Like that woman in Hobby Lobby, I am experiencing life’s greatest gift each and every day.  Like that woman in Hobby Lobby, I vow to share with future mamas just how beautiful their new journey is going to be.

And, like that woman in Hobby Lobby I will choose a grateful and joyful perspective every single day, with one exception: I will choose to see just how much more “worth it” all of “it” truly is.

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

 

 

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Baby Love::

This is going to be one of those posts where the photos speak for themselves.  A little less than a month ago, our good friend and insanely talented photographer Brandon Chesbro came to Orlando to shoot a wedding.  Fortunately, he was able to stay with us for a few days, get to know our sweet Piper girl, and snap some priceless photos of her.

If you’ve followed Nourish for any amount of time, you know that Brandon is our go-to photographer when it comes to any major life event.  He shot our engagement, wedding, and maternity photos, but none are as special as the ones he took of our baby girl.  Not only are they beautiful, but they capture our life as we now know it.  They capture our life as it will be from here on out; no longer focused on just the two of us, but on our growing family and the incredible blessing that it is.

In fact, my favorite thing about these photos is that they were’t planned.  We didn’t have a set time to meet in a beautiful location.  I didn’t spend copious amounts of time getting my hair, makeup, and outfit just right.  No, these photos were taken in our home.  These photos revolved around nap times and diaper changes and hair thrown into a top knot to keep baby hands from pulling it out.  These photos represent us: The Weavers, family of 3.

Below are some of my favorites.  They are too numerous to share in their entirety, but they capture the essence of that which is most important.  This is us and my heart couldn’t possibly be filled with more gratitude and love.  I hope you enjoy!

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Prenatal Fitness-Part 2::

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you had a chance to read Part 1 of this series and weren’t too put off by my strong opinions regarding prenatal health and fitness.  I tend to be…let’s say passionate in this area and appreciate you sticking around if you’ve made it this far.  You won’t find me so high up on my soap box for parts 2 and 3 as they’re meant to be more informative and practical.

If you’re currently pregnant, or have done any research into the physiological changes that take place during pregnancy, then it comes as no surprise to you that the female body practically transforms into a foreign being while generating new human life.  From skin discoloration to bigger feet to the massive belly and widening hips, the simple fact is that your body is not your own while pregnant.  This does not mean that the body is no longer fully functioning and magnificently capable.  What it does mean, however, is that you must be thoughtful, careful, and smart when embarking on a prenatal fitness routine.

In part 3, I’ll share some really great types of exercise that women who are experiencing a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy can safely participate in.  Today, though, I’d like to arm you with some facts and general tips to consider before trying any of said workouts.

First things first, when it comes to ANY workout routine, you MUST listen to your body.  I’ve discussed before the importance of adhering to the internal alarms with which we’ve been so divinely armed.  The human body was designed to be in motion and it will certainly tell you when enough is enough. I think this is where a lot of people go astray in exercise, in both directions.  There is a population that is competitive and stubborn that will ignore tell tale signs of overuse and injure themselves and, conversely, a population that treads too lightly for fear of pushing too hard, resulting in a lack of progress.  I say this as I have fallen into both categories, perhaps in the same workout in some cases!  It can be difficult to find balance in a physical endeavor, but my body never spoke to me more clearly than when I was pregnant.  So, be confident and cognizant of the signals your body sends.

Now, if you pair this connection with your body with the following facts regarding changes during pregnancy, you’ll be more than equipped to safely, and effectively tailor a workout regimen for yourself and your unborn babe.

The Cold, Hard Truth::

  • Hydration is key! During pregnancy, your blood volume nearly doubles meaning you need more fluids to maintain hydration.  Keep water handy at all times and take frequent breaks. This increase in blood volume also means there’s more blood circulating near the surface of your skin causing you to feel warmer more quickly, so more fluids and breathable clothing made for physical activity are super important.
  • Hormones rule. Important to remember during this time is that hormones are running rampant. This means that special considerations must be taken into account before, during, and after exercise.   A few of particular note are:  HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is responsible for telling your body you’re pregnant and overall regulation of the pregnancy.  Responsible for the fatigue and nausea you feeling during the first trimester, HCG levels even out during the second trimester making exercise more appealing. Another important hormone in regards to exercise is relaxin,  the hormone that allows your joins to loosen and pass that baby through the birth canal.  Most prominent during the third trimester, it is important to recognize that increased flexibility likely has less to do with all that prenatal yoga and more to do with hormonal changes, so being careful not to over stretch is extremely important.  It can be misleading to feel like you’re gaining flexibility when, in reality, you can increase your risk for injury. 
  • The “talk test” (mentioned in my last post) is the best guide to determine your perceived level of exertion during a particular exercise. Whether you’re performing cardio or strength exercises, you can test your level of intensity with a few simple words.  Try speaking 3-5 sentences.  If you’re able to deliver your lines without any effort, you can safely take it up a notch.  If you’re breathless before you reach the end, it’s a good idea to dial it back a bit until you find that you have just enough air to finish your talk test.
  • Lying positions can present problems.  It’s fairly obvious that your growing belly will prevent you from performing prone (face down) exercises at some point, but supine (face up) positions can be problematic as well.  As your baby grows, lying on your back can compress the vena cava, a major pathway for blood getting back to your head and heart from the lower extremities.  Should compression take place, you can find yourself feeling dizzy and/or faint.  So, depending on your body and baby, you should avoid any exercises that put you flat on your back starting around 16 weeks, give or take.
  • Core, Core, Core! A strong core, which includes your abs, back, and pelvic floor is crucial for a comfortable pregnancy and strong delivery.  Again, as your belly grows, the exercises you perform will need to be modified to accommodate your changing body.  As your uterus rises from your pelvis into your abdomen, your rectus abdominis (aka-your 6 pack!) must separate to make room for baby.  This means that you’ll want to avoid any core exercises that will put pressure on the center of your abs.  Traditional movements like crunches and sit ups can actually damage your abs by placing too much pressure on the connective tissues that’s stretching and ultimately causing prolonged separation.  This condition, called diastasis recti (pictured below), can be treated post pregnancy with specific gentle exercises, but is better avoided in the first place.  I’ll discuss several modified core exercises in Part 3 to help prevent any core damage.
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Source: mutusystem.com

  • Every body is different, therefore every pregnancy is different, and ultimately, personal responsibility must be taken. Consulting with your doctor is important, but their knowledge of your unique abilities only goes as far as you’re able to reveal.  So, be smart, be careful, and arm yourself with the power of self awareness. Below are some very serious guidelines as set forth by the ACOG in regards to contraindications of pregnancy and exercise.  Should you experience any of the following, you’ll need to seriously evaluate your personal ability to exercise during your pregnancy.
contraindications

Source: Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 267. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 99: 171-173, 2002.

It is my hope that the information presented in this post will allow you to start an informed personal journey as your navigate your own prenatal exercise routine.  I’d love to hear about your experiences, whether you’ve done this pregnancy thing before or are currently in the midst.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I’ll give present some safe and effective prenatal workouts.

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Carats & Cake::

Adam and I just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and it’s hard to believe it’s already been than long since we said, “I do.” Considering I’m a few years removed from the wedding planning scene, it’s no surprise that I’ve been a bit out of the loop when it comes to helpful tools for future brides. However, I recently discovered a site that makes me want to jump right into the planning pool once again!

Last week, I received and email from Carats & Cake informing me that Adam and my wedding has been featured on their site.  Our incredible photographer, Brandon Chesbro, is clearly in the know with these sorts of things and submitted photos of our big day to the site.  Having never heard of Carats & Cake, I was immediately intrigued having been contacted by them directly and checked it out.

Let me tell you, if you are a bride (or groom) currently planning your wedding, do yourself a favor and get over to C&C. More than a wedding blog, beautifully designed and thoughtfully curated, Carats & Cake features only real weddings where real brides review and recommend real vendors.  The weddings featured are all tastefully captured and showcase the entire event in a way that makes it simple and easy for the person planning a wedding to digest.   And, perhaps my favorite part, engaged brides can connect directly with these former brides for personal advice.  How cool is that!?

The site is broken into three main tool categories for planning your dream wedding: popular weddings, local vendors, and wedding inspiration, allowing users to hone in on what’s important for their planning needs without getting tangled in a worm hole of linked content. This is a huge plus if you’ve ever used some of the other popular wedding planning sites that are currently out there.

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As you can see, the clean layout makes it easy to find what inspires you, while giving you a practical look at what went into making that inspiring image a reality. It’s this kind of functionality, a marriage of style and easy-of-use, that makes Carats & Cake a bride’s dream planning tool. And, what’s more, it’s a great place for vendors as well, featuring honest reviews from satisfied customers on a platform that’s of the highest taste.

I’m obviously a fan and am pretty sure I’m going to need to create a couple of fake weddings to satisfy my reignited wedding planning flame.  So, if you’re engaged (or hope to be so some day), I highly recommend adding Carats & Cake to your wedding planning arsenal.

Oh, PS-one of my absolute favorite things about C&C: they have a whole page dedicated to giving couples ideas to use their weddings to give back, making them a socially conscious company as well.  Love it!

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Fill Me Up Fast::

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The daily dilemma in my house has nothing to do with who’s responsible for what chores or who’s turn it is to take Elvis out. No, the daily dilemma in the Weaver house is always sparked by one simple question: “What do you want for lunch?” Lunch is my least favorite meal of the day, unless it involves socialization with the ladies. Otherwise, I just want something that’s going to fill me up…and fast!

Yesterday was no exception to the rule, but I’m incredibly happy to say that with a little bit of digging into the fridge and pantry, I came up with a fast, delicious, filling (and when you’re breastfeeding filling is muy important), and healthy lunch! The best part about this lunch is that it’s truly enlightened me to so many possibilities for future midday meal distress. Keep the base the same and swap out some of the toppings and you’ve got a whole new meal. That’s a win-win in my book!

Take a look at the original lunch creation and let me know if you make something similar and what you put in it. I can’t wait to reinvent this new lunch time staple!

What You’ll Need::
• Quinoa. Any whole grain will do, but I love quinoa because it’s a complete protein, making it super filling and is quick to make!
• Baby Spinach. Any green would work here as well!
• Raw Almonds
• Raw Sunflower Seeds
• Fresh Raspberries
• Feta Cheese
• Oil Based Dressing

What To Do::
1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions
2. Mix with all other ingredients
3. Enjoy!

Now, how easy was that?! Cheers to the obliteration of our daily dilemma!

Nourish and be Nourished::

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Prenatal Fitness-Part 1::

Week 12 of Bikini Bod Bootcamp | Week 27 of Pregnancy

Week 12 of Bikini Bod Bootcamp | Week 27 of Pregnancy

I recently realized that while I’ve made mention here and there about exercise during pregnancy on the pages of Nourish, I’ve really only shared my full thoughts on the subject in guest posts on other blogs. So, this post will serve as Part 1 of a 3 part series on prenatal fitness.

I’ll start at the beginning.  Last Summer, when I found out I was pregnant, I was in a place physically that I was really proud of.  I’d wrapped up the first Bikini Bod Bootcamp in the Spring and had really found my groove with regular classes at barre54.  Of course, I knew that there was a possibility of my becoming pregnant at that time, so I was even more diligent than normal in my workout routine.  I knew that I wanted to start my journey as an expectant mother off on the right foot and, looking back now, I’m SO glad I did!

For the first couple of weeks, I felt great! I did notice small changes in my stamina, like being incredibly winded just after a barre warm up, but overall I still felt strong and like myself.  So, at my first doctors appointment, I admit that it came as a bit of a shock when my doctor told me that my only guideline was to keep my heart rate below 140 bpm while exercising throughout the duration of my pregnancy.  Excuse me, I thought? My heart rate gets up to 140 in a matter of minutes after starting an intense workout.  I questioned him and despite his knowledge of my current fitness and activity level, he stuck to his blanket recommendation and did not waiver.

So, that’s when I took matters into my own hands.  I recognize that my doctor had my safety (and that of my unborn child) in mind when he gave me the guidelines that he did.  However, I didn’t quite buy that his recommendations were actually what was best for Piper and me.  I just couldn’t reconcile how such a decrease in physical activity could be a good thing for someone whose body was conditioned for more.  Sure, growing a human takes a TON of energy, but I still wasn’t convinced that there could be a one-size-fits-all prescription for prenatal exercise.  And, according to my research, I was right.  You see, my doctor had given me a rule of thumb to follow that had been given to him by the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)…in 1989…based on a study conducted on rats. 

Needless to say, upon learning this, I concluded that my soon-to-be-mama instincts were correct and that this was one area where my own research was going to trump the outdated recommendation of my doctor.  Fortunately, the ACOG has updated their guidelines to fit a broader audience.  They now suggest that pregnant women use the “talk test” to determine the level of intensity they’re able to withstand while exercising.  In other words, if you’re able to speak a few sentences while exercising, you’re in the safe zone and can continue at that level of intensity for the duration of your workout.  What’s more, they even go so far as to acknowledge that that level of intensity is going to be different for every woman. Imagine that! ;)

So, armed with instinct and the medical credibility to back it up, I proceeded to tailor an exercise program for myself and my growing baby that would keep us healthy and strong for the duration of my pregnancy.  I lead another 12-week round of bootcamp, the majority of which I participated in.  I continued taking barre classes several times per week and I worked out at home using a set of pregnancy workout DVDs.  I even used the time during my pregnancy to become a certified personal trainer.   I felt great physically and was emotionally empowered knowing that I was doing what was best for my baby by listening to the messages my body was sending on a regular basis.

Much to my disappointment, however, I still received negative, albeit well intentioned, feedback from people regarding my level of physical activity while pregnant.  It was hard to believe that I could be criticized for keeping fit, yet encouraged to give into typical pregnancy cravings of cookies, ice cream, and cake.  Seems a little off if you ask me.  I did my best not to take those criticisms personally, but the bigger issue at hand truly bothered me.  It made me realize how fragile we, as a population in general, treat pregnant women.  It made me sad to think that we would encourage unhealthy habits simply because pregnancy is hard and we women carrying these little babies “deserve” to indulge.  [BIG DISCLAIMER: I definitely gave into my fair share of pregnancy cravings, most of which had to do with Chick-fil-a or Oreos] Instead of treating pregnant women like the life-giving vessels that they are, created by God to protect human life from a cellular level through to a fully developed infant, we’ve chosen to coddle them in ways that would appall should we dare treat a child as such.

So, I’m here to stand up for the pregnant women who want to do things a different way.  For the women who feel shameful when they question their doctor’s authority [BIGGER DISCLAIMER: I, in no way, advocate blatantly dismissing medical advice, rather, I encourage every woman to conduct her own well-informed research and, most of all, to listen to her own body in every moment].  For the women who are sneered at because they didn’t inflate to the size of a small cow by the time they gave birth.  To those women, I say, “I’m so proud of you for taking charge of your pregnancy in a way that you truly feel is best for your child. You go girl!”

Now that I’m on the other side of pregnancy, with my sweet, perfectly healthy baby asleep on my chest as I write, I can honestly say that I’m beyond grateful that I didn’t listen to the naysayers and the skeptics; that I took cues from my body and not society.  I had a long, hard labor and I am certain that the Piper’s speedy delivery is a direct result of my being physically strong when it came time to push.  And, despite feeling as if I should hide this fact, I am proud to say that I only gained 18 pounds by the end of my pregnancy, yet gave birth to a perfect, healthy 8lb 9oz baby girl.  Finally, now that I’m 3.5 weeks postpartum, I can say that I wouldn’t be feeling as well and have healed as quickly as I have, had I not been intentionally active during my pregnancy.

So, if you’re currently expecting, or hope to be in the future, I encourage you to take the reigns in your pregnancy, do some smart research, and plan a healthy, active 40 weeks!

In the next two segments of this series, we’ll cover general tips for working out during pregnancy as well as some very doable exercises for each trimester. So, stay tuned!

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Anxiously Awaiting Anxiety::

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Allow me to set the stage:

I’m 28 weeks pregnant, just creeping into my 3rd trimester.  I’m at my regularly scheduled checkup with my OB.  Adam is waiting in the room with me when, all of a sudden, I feel very uncomfortable.  My belly has started to get a lot bigger than it’s been and the little lady growing inside me has recently invaded my lung space making it harder than normal to breathe.  I mention to Adam that I’m feeling anxious as my feet dangle from the exam table.  I lie back. That makes me feel worse.  I sit back up. Still no relief.  Suddenly, I feel like I’m going to throw up, my body breaks out into a cold sweat and Adam asks if I should try to make my way to the bathroom.  I say yes and, with his help, begin to cross the hall.

Cut to black.

Now I’m on my hands and knees, in the middle of the office hallway.  I see feet scurry by, stop, reverse and ask Adam if I’m ok. I don’t remember his response, but realize that there is now a nurse kneeling on either side of me.  One opens up a small white vial and tells me to take a quick sniff.  Instantly I come to as the smelling salts snap me out of my panic.  As I look to my left, there’s my doctor.

“Hi,” I sheepishly say.  “Well, I didn’t expect to see you on the floor,” is his reply.

Neither did I doc, neither did I.

This little scene was the first of several panic attacks that I experienced during the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy.  Having never suffered with anxiety before, this was a scary and inexplicable event.  My mind went from zero to sixty in a matter of moments and my body took the brunt of the mental storm.

If you’ve ever dealt with anxiety, I’m sure you know exactly what kind of acceleration I’m talking about.  And, if you haven’t, then I hope you never do.  As someone who loves yoga and warm baths and practically melts into a massage table, I can’t tell you just how frustrating a panic attack can be.  For me, they come out of nowhere, with no rhyme or reason, and there is very little, practically speaking, you can do to make the anxious feelings subside. Talk about a terrible place for a control freak to find herself.

Feeling helpless and confused is exactly where I ended up each time I encountered an episode of panic over the last several weeks of my pregnancy. And, to make matters worse, I was in a near constant state of anticipating the next anxiety attack.  It was truly a viscous cycle that could be ignited at the drop of a hat.

So, what was there to do?  I will tell you that I tried nearly every common remedy suggested by family, friends and Google.  I worked on deep, relaxing breathing,  I put drops of lavender behind my ears,  I prayed,  I talked to my counselor, I focused my attention on my external surroundings, yet the internal sirens continued to sound when my mind had gotten worked up enough.  I truly felt like anxiety and panic would plague me for the rest of my life.

Then, it dawned on me: there was no reason that I should feel anything other than grateful in my life.  I couldn’t pinpoint the why and how of my anxiety, but I knew that it started while I was 7 months pregnant.  That’s right. The only thing I could attribute my anxiety to was my pregnancy, and my pregnancy is the single biggest blessing my life has ever had.  And that’s when it all clicked.  How could I be anxious when I had so much for which to be grateful? Not only was I carrying a child, the most perfect reflection of God’s love for me as well as the love between Adam and I, but my pregnancy was text book perfection.  My baby was healthy and thriving and I was just the same. It was this realization, the fact that I should be nothing but thankful, that allowed me to choose to pursue gratitude and lift up my worries to God, the only one who could truly handle them anyhow.

Now, this shift in perspective didn’t magically cure me.  In fact, I had a few more episodes where I found myself on the brink of passing out.  However, in those moments, I could actually see the big picture.  I could submit to the fact that my body/mind connection was shorting out and realize that these moments would pass and I would come out on the other side continuing to be healthy and joyful for the blessing bestowed upon me.

So, if you suffer with anxiety, even on a small scale, I encourage you to evaluate the positive in your life.  Take some time to recognize the things for which you should be grateful and focus on those in your moments of worry.  Considering that this is Holy Week, I’d suggest exercising such a posture of gratitude without an anxious trigger.  After all, who has time to sit around and wait for panic to strike?  I know I don’t!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

 

Baby Sanctuary::

As many of you know, Adam and I welcomed our daughter, Piper Mae, into the world on March 29th, 2014 at 12:07pm.  One of these days I’ll have to share the details of her birth, but the quick stats are: 8lbs 9oz, 21.75″ long, perfectly healthy, and devastatingly precious.

In the two weeks since her arrival, we have learned tons about each other and, more importantly, I’ve learned more about God’s love and grace and power and divinity than I have in my previous 28 years of life.  Motherhood is a whirlwind that I don’t expect to ever calm and I’m so grateful to be on this journey fully supported by a God that does not fail.  More on that later, too. :)

Now, as you might expect, our home has accumulated lots of “stuff” in the last couple of weeks.  From diapers to swaddling blankets to bassinets to car seats, we definitely have more baby paraphernalia than I thought we would.  Some of it may be superfluous, but on the whole, we’re using it.  And something that I am so grateful that I planned for before Piper’s arrival was having a home for all of it within our home.  I initially thought that a nursery dedicated only to baby things would be overkill.  After all, Piper spends most of her time with/on me, so why would she need a whole room to herself?

Let me tell you.  Her possessions need a place of their own more than she does.  Each day, I round up the baby items that have wandered into the living room, bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen, and bring them back to their place of belonging in the nursery.  It’s one of the best parts of the day.  It’s where my house gets to be itself again.  It’s where I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished for the day.  And, perhaps my favorite part of all, it allows me to appreciate the love and work and thought that went into planning and preparing Piper’s nursery before her arrival.

Below are some photos of the finished product.  I love this room more than any other room in our house.  It represents a time in our lives that we’ll never experience again.  A time when Adam and I poured a little bit of ourselves into a baby who we’d yet to meet.  A time when we had SO many unanswered questions, but a promise of unfathomable love to come.  A time when we wanted to create a sanctuary for our sweet daughter when she came into the world.  And, truly, I feel like we did just that.

We were smart with our money; finding the perfect dresser on Craigslist for $100, converting an armchair we already owned into a rocker, and making the curtains and crib skirt with Lala (my Mom/Piper’s grandma) instead of purchasing them.  Not only did these details allow us to be fiscally responsible, but it allowed P’s nursery to be truly one-of-a-kind, sprinkled with the joy of her family waiting for her.

It’s my hope that Piper will one day play in this room and feel so much of the love that was poured into it just for her.

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2nd Trimester Survival Guide::

Well, folks, tomorrow is my “official” due date.  I can hardly believe the time has flown by so quickly and although I am SO excited to meet our girl any day now, I’m completely at peace with allowing her to come on her own time.

So, while I wait, I figured it’d be a good time to offer up some tried and true tips for that second, glorious trimester.  If you recall, the first trimester can be rough.  The second, however, is truly magical.  The third, less magical, but we’ll get to that later.

Below, you can get a peek at my favorite must-haves for weeks 14-28.  As you can see, it’s really all about keeping yourself, and budding babe, healthy and thriving.  If I’m being honest, these really aren’t survival tools in the sense that the first trimester musts were.  These are just the items that helped me to have an amazing second trimester and hopefully they’ll do the same for you!

2ndtri

 

1. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter: Your skin definitely starts to feel the stretch of pregnancy in the 2nd trimester, so having a rich, yet lightweight moisturizer you can turn to is key! This particular body butter is so luxurious and smells delicious. It’ll leave your skin silky, smoothy, and stretch mark-free!

2. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish: This stuff is a great compliment to the above body butter.  Filled with tiny exfoliants, this body polish will prime your skin to soak up all of the moisturizing benefits of whatever product you choose to slather on!

3. Tracy Anderson’s The Pregnancy Project DVD Set: Ladies, this DVD series is a MUST during your pregnancy! Tracy was pregnant while she filmed the workouts and has created separate DVD’s for each month of your pregnancy! The low-impact moves are great for sensitive joints, but man do they pack a punch! I was leading bootcamp 3 times/week and take barre classes 2-3 times/week during my 2nd trimester, and these workouts were still killer!

4. doTerra On Guard Essential Oil Beadlets: If, like me, you are/were/will be pregnant during flu season, it is SO important to keep your immune system functioning at top notch! These beadlets are perfect and convenient for the on-the-go Mama and helped keep me healthy all flu season without ever having to consider getting a flu shot.

5. Vitamin D3: Your prenatal vitamin will already contain Vitamin D, but depending on what brand you use, it may be Vitamin D2, which is synthetic and doesn’t contain the same flu/cold fitting properties of Viatmin D3.  The D3 variety is the same vitamin your body produces when you’re exposed to the sun and has long been attributed to immune defense during those sickly Winter months.

6. Fresh Produce! This one is a bit of a catch all, but so necessary. I had some really weird food aversions during my first trimester that literally disappeared once I cleared the 14 week mark. I finally craved vegetables again and ate a giant salad for dinner 5-6 nights/week.  It was an amazing time for my taste buds and the health of my budding babe.

7. Extra Thick Yoga Mat: This one may seem unnecessary, especially if you’re a seasoned yogi, but hear me out.  When you’re pregnant, you gain weight.  That’s a given.  However, what I failed to realize prior to my pregnancy, is that the weight gain is a totally foreign experience.  The majority of those extra pounds hang out around your midsection, meaning that the disturbance to your body isn’t evenly distributed.  I found that having some extra cushioning under my hips and knees was incredibly helpful as I worked out once I started to get bigger.

8. Liz Lange Maternity Tank: This tank, from Target, has seriously been a LIFE-SAVER! I have it in 4 different colors and may not go back to wearing normal tanks after the baby body is gone.  It’s super long, soft, stretchy, and flattering, making it a pregnancy quadfecta   (as in one more element of perfection than a trifecta).  Early in my pregnancy, when it was still super long, I used these tanks to layer under my  non-maternity tops giving them some more longevity. Now that I’m at the very tail end, however, I have them on permanent rotation as the foundation to my everyday wardrobe.

Hopefully you find some  use for these products that helped make my second trimester so great! I encourage you to stay active, eat fresh, and focus on your health during this time.  It will make for a happy mama and babe!

Maternity Mama::

Y’all, I’m now 33 weeks pregnant.  As in, our baby girl is due in 7 weeks.  Like, less than 2 months from now. Eee! (that’s been my go-to phrase for the last several weeks when I think about how soon our babe will be here).  Amidst all of the excitement and preparation and showers and planning, I had the opportunity to have some maternity photos taken by our wonderful, talented friend Brandon Chesbro.  If you recall, he took our engagement photos and documented our wedding in the most beautiful way, so it was a no-brainer to ask him to capture this new, monumental chapter in our lives.

Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I’m not the biggggggest fan of maternity photos.  I think they can be really cheesy and almost voyeuristic.  There is a level of intimacy that is present between mama and babe, and most certainly between mama and babe and daddy, that I feel should be left to personal experience.  So, if you’re like me in that regard, feel free to click away without feeling bad.  However, I definitely think that pregnancy is a remarkable miracle and blessing and one that I want to document for our daughter.  She is already such a big part of our lives and these photos show that in a special way.

So, without further ado, I present to you the (most recent) Weavers: Adam Spencer, Jordan Michele, and Piper Mae.

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Jordan Maternity Web-47 Jordan Maternity Web-45 Jordan Maternity Web-37 Jordan Maternity Web-36 Jordan Maternity Web-35 Jordan Maternity Web-33 Jordan Maternity Web-30 Jordan Maternity Web-24 Jordan Maternity Web-22 Jordan Maternity Web-21 Jordan Maternity Web-13 Jordan Maternity Web-7 Jordan Maternity Web-4PS-The property where these photos were taken is an amazing vacation rental near Franklin, TN called “Farmhouse in the Fork.” I highly recommend looking into staying there if you’re in the area!

 

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