I did a couple of Stitch Fix shipments over the summer, my latest one in August (which I posted about). In early September, I found out I’m pregnant with baby #3 so I put Stitch Fix on hold for a while. I was, however, so excited when I discovered that they also do maternity clothing! Maternity clothes shopping is the complete pits—I’m more than happy to let someone else handle it for me every once in a while!

For those of you who may not be familiar with Stitch Fix… You sign up, fill out an extensive style profile (including sizes, price ranges, colors, etc.), and create a Pinterest board with some of your favorite looks (optional). The profile and the Pinterest board are meant to help the Stitch Fix stylists select items that are perfect for you. Each time you opt to get a Fix shipped to you, you are charged a $20 styling fee. You then receive five clothing items in the mail—these can include accessories as well, like jewelry, belts, and purses. You have three days to try on the items and decide what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to send back. If you keep anything—even just one item—your $20 styling fee is applied to the price of that item. If you keep nothing, you are out the $20 styling fee (that’s the only “risk”). There is a prepaid, pre-labeled shipping envelope included in each Fix for you to use for anything you want to return. And bonus, if your stylist really knocks it out of the park and you keep all five items? You get a 25% off discount on everything.

So my first maternity Fix arrived last week, just before the holiday—a welcome surprise, as it wasn’t supposed to arrive until afterward. I was really pleased with everything right out of the box. All nice looking stuff, things that I liked the look of right away, without even trying them on. Here’s what is what was in my Fix:

Pardon the awkward phone selfies in the mirror… I don’t really have a better way to take these pics without doing a whole fancy camera/tripod setup and I don’t have the energy, nor the time. :)

Loveappella Maternity: Davidi Button Detail Maternity Top.

This shirt is really nice and comfortable. I tend to like stripes, so that’s up my alley, and I do like the gray and white.

The button details on the shoulders are cute. This shirt ended up being a lot longer than I expected, though. As you can see from the side, it comes down completely over my butt, and when pulled down completely, it’s even longer.

(This is a pair of maternity jeans I already own, by the way—not Stitch Fix.) The length of this shirt actually makes it more appropriate for leggings, I think, instead of jeans. In any case, although I like this shirt just fine, I ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth the price—I’ve found plenty of nicer cotton maternity t-shirts from different places for less. Plus, I don’t have much need for short sleeves in January-April up here in New York.

Verdict: RETURNING IT.

Liverpool Reagan Maternity Skinny Pant. 

While I was waiting for my Fix to arrive, a friend of mine told me that if they were to send me Liverpool jeans, to KEEP THEM WITHOUT QUESTION. So I was super excited when I found these in my Fix, particularly because they are a fun color.

These.are.adorable. They are also incredibly soft and overall comfortable.

This top is also Stitch Fix—more on it in a minute. Just look at the pants! So burgundy and pretty! I seriously want them. But here’s the problem:

What is with this panel?! It’s not full panel, it’s not a demi panel. It stops awkwardly right in the middle of my stomach… and I’m only 19 weeks pregnant. Can you imagine when I’m bigger? I couldn’t even assess in the mirror and take photos without having to hike these up/fix the panel a hundred times—I can’t imagine actually wearing them. Womp, womp. The panel ruins these for me. I’m so disappointed!

Verdict: RETURNING THEM.

Madigan Dotto Cross Front Maternity Knit Top.

Here’s a better look at the top I was wearing with the skinny pants above. It’s a simple gray cross-front top, but the material is nice and thick, seems dressy—good for work or dinner or any other outing where you want to look nicer.

I know these types of tops are supposed to be flattering, but I always feel like they make my chest look enormous. I mean, let’s be real—my chest IS enormous right now, but I don’t like to really call attention to it by framing each breast in its own little cross-front cocoon. LOL. It really depends on the particular shirt, but I wasn’t loving this one.

This would transition really well into an awesome nursing top, though! So if the cross-front style looks better on you than it does on me, this would take you through the pregnancy AND into the “4th trimester,” so it would be well worth keeping. I also think I may have preferred it in a more exciting/prettier color? I still don’t know that I would’ve kept it because of the style issues as a whole, but who knows.

VERDICT: RETURNING IT.

Gilli Kary Maternity Dress
AND
Rune Porter Maternity Legging

When I pulled black leggings out of my Stitch Fix box, a little part of me was disappointed because 1) black leggings are pretty mainstream/easy to find, and 2) I figured they would be more expensive than any other leggings I’ve ever owned and that I’d be very unlikely to keep them.

The dress, however, I was excited about. Simple top—although it IS a crossover style again, it is black so it minimizes the chest as much as possible. Plus, adding a long necklace helps. And then the bottom pattern is fun. I don’t wear a lot of dresses in the winter months, but I figured I’d pair it with the leggings and see what happened.

You can see I even styled these pieces with a pair of booties. Going all out, haha.

The leggings are AWESOME. They are thick, almost like a compression legging for the gym, yet comfortable and I like the full panel on them. I had a few pairs of maternity leggings from Old Navy for my pregnancy with Vivienne that I HATED WITH A PASSION. They weren’t very high quality (nothing from Old Navy really is), and the panel was funky on them—kind of like the panel on the skinny pants above, it fell in an awkward place and resulted in me tugging on them all day long. And up until now, I’ve been getting by with a non-maternity pair of black Lularoe leggings which have not been ideal for my growing belly, either.

So although I never expected to keep them, I think these leggings will be worth the splurge. I could see myself wearing them at least once a week, if not more.

And I really like the dress with them, so… outfit made. I might have to travel for work in February, so this would be a go-to outfit for that, I think. I’ll just need to pair it with some more reasonable/comfortable shoes for walking/standing a lot—a black ballet flat, or maybe even a black boot.

VERDICT: KEEPING BOTH THE DRESS AND THE LEGGINGS.

In the end, I’m ending up with 2/5 items. So my stylist didn’t completely nail it, but it wasn’t bad, either. I’m happy even if I only end up loving ONE item, so 2/5 ain’t bad. And I’ll be honest, I toyed with keeping all 5 items at first because all had good qualities—but in the end, I’d rather keep only my favorites, spend less money, and get another Fix in a few weeks to see what that might have in store. :) I was really afraid the panel on the burgundy skinny pants would drive me insane, so once I decided to send those back, I decided not to keep the shirts, either.

I’m off to formally “checkout” on the Stitch Fix website and provide feedback on each of the items… which will help make my next Fix even better!

If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix for yourself, please use my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5558605  And let me know how you do with it!

I’ll report back with the items from my next Fix.

 

So yeah. Our third baby is on its way.

The funny thing is that if you had asked me a year ago, I was still firmly in the “No way. We are done. D-O-N-E” camp. In fact, in the year after Vivienne was born, I was so sure that we were done that I sold most of our baby gear. Swaddle blankets, newborn outfits, bouncer, car seat, play mat, rock ‘n’ play, Bumbo, Snuza alarm, jumperoo… all my maternity clothes. I saw absolutely no reason to keep it lying around here if we could get rid of it for some cash back in our pockets.

Ha. Haha. Hahahahaha.

Before we were married, we always talked about having three kids. We had two siblings each, and enjoyed growing up with more than one sibling. We have good relationships with our siblings, and wanted that for our kids. But then we started having children. Nora was a fantastic baby (and has overall been a great kid), but even just after her birth, I began reconsidering the three kids thing. Once we actually had a baby, I switched over to a “let’s see how it goes” mindset. I mean, I never wavered away from having at least two children, but I was definitely unsure about three.

Even after declaring we were done after two, though, I always said I would never say never. Still, I would say I was at least 95% sure it was a done deal. Then, one day last January, I started to notice some doubt creeping in. Maybe… just maybe… I didn’t feel so done? Vivienne was 17 months old. I spent a lot of time trying to push the “one more” feelings to the back of my head and heart. But I remember admitting my feelings for the first time at a hair appointment, of all places. My stylist is a good friend I went to college with, so we have history. At this time, her second baby was about 5 months old and we were talking about kids. She asked me if I was done and I told her, “I used to be 95% sure. Now I’m maybe only 75%.” She laughed and said if I needed to get back up to 95%, she’d lend me her baby to remind me of what it’s like.

So, still, I wasn’t dying to have another baby or anything. It was just this persistent nagging somewhere inside that was urging me not to be so sure about shutting that door. Literally RIGHT around this same time, a blogger friend, Erin—one who had often expressed her satisfaction and the desire to be done with two—announced she was pregnant with #3. My reaction was seriously like WHAT.THE.HELL. How could you do this to me? What is this betrayal?! LOL. I’m exaggerating, of course, but I did send her a note/left a comment to say “You were one of the moms who gave me such confidence in being done with two! I’ve been having these feelings about #3 and now YOU of all people go and announce you’re having a #3?! WHAT HAPPENED?!” She ended up posting about how it came about (her husband was the first to bring it up), their thought process, and she wrote that her husband had said something that struck me as profound—”Our 55-year-old selves will thank us for this.” DAMN IT, BEN (whom I have never met). Why must you be so logical?

That one thought honestly changed my perspective on the whole thing. From that point on, any time the feelings of doubt came up—and then when I tried to fight them—I urged myself not to base my feelings or decision on the tough times that are short-lived. So I didn’t want to decide NOT to have a third baby because I didn’t want to be pregnant again. Or because I didn’t want to go through the sleepless nights anymore. Or because I didn’t want to deal with a third “threenager.” In the grand scheme of things, these phases of life are so very brief, and although they can be tough, I needed to also remember how rewarding it all was.

But the truth was that I really didn’t want to be pregnant again. I had finally gotten into an exercise routine (CrossFit) that I love—something that I hadn’t been able to do since before Nora!—and was feeling really good about my body. Selfishly, I was so hesitant to “ruin” that progress. Thinking about being up multiple times a night, nursing, pumping, signing up for 2-3 additional years of diapers, MORE DAYCARE… it was not exactly appealing. And logistical things like getting everybody ready in the mornings, leaving the house, getting everyone where they need to go, more sicknesses, shopping with 3, carting everyone to extracurriculars as they get older, and so on… that was all so very overwhelming.

We don’t know very many people with three kids, which made it even more intimidating. It felt like we were venturing into somewhat uncharted territory, even though we both come from families with three kids. Somehow, it feels like that was a different time, it’s different today, blah blah. I felt like all of the moms I know with three kids have some kind of special circumstances different from mine—they stay at home, they work only part-time, they have really helpful/available family (so therefore don’t pay for daycare). I questioned whether we could really do it.

I had a lot of thoughts about the future, though, and how nice it would be to have THREE children to (hopefully) come home at Christmas. How heartwarming it could be to watch the relationship between the three of them blossom and change as they grow up together. More grandchildren (potentially). More voices. More laughter. More love.

You might be asking where Michael was in all of this. OBVIOUSLY I never intended to make this decision myself, but I wanted to have my own feelings in order before I started processing his. After Vivienne was born and I was sure about being done, Michael basically left it up to me. He said that I’m the one who has to do all of the hard stuff (not really true—he does a lot) so it was really my decision. When I started having the “third baby” feelings, I still didn’t bring it up for quite a while. I continued to feel really unsure about it, and like I said, a large part of me was still trying to convince myself that I didn’t want to do it. It was such a gradual process. I was 95% sure, then I was suddenly maybe 75% sure… 70%, 60%… it took time. And then I was nervous. What if Michael didn’t want a third? And perhaps even more scary… what if he did??

I think it was April or May when the feelings had become so persistent and strong that I finally had the guts to bring it up. We were hanging out on the couch one Saturday night with beers and TV. And I just… said it. That I was starting to think I wasn’t so sure about being done. I think he was surprised. But he said he was definitely open to it. The only reason he had been done was because I was so done. We had a long discussion about it.

Looking back, I think the decision was basically made during that one conversation that night. It seems obvious in hindsight that after that conversation, a third baby was definitely in the cards for us. But it had to marinate for a while. We mentioned it in passing, in conversation, a lot. We talked frequently in hypotheticals about it. “IF we have a third baby”… “IF I’m pregnant next year”… “IF we’re a family of 5.” We didn’t do anything rash, we didn’t make any moves. We just let the idea sit out there for a while, visiting it whenever it felt right.

When we were on vacation in Ocean City in July, I started to realize that we were creeping up on the “ideal timing.” I’ve always tried to avoid having winter babies. I mean, if it had worked out that way for us, fine, but if we were blessed to be able to plan such a thing, I wanted to. I feel like I have seasonal affective disorder/winter depression during the cold months (at least from January-March) every year, so I never wanted to stack baby blues and a maternity leave on top of that. Sunshine and warmth is good for my soul when I’m NOT a hormonal mess, so that weather is even better for me when I am.

Anyway, Michael and I had a “go or no go” conversation and made the official decision to make the leap.

In September, the week leading up to Nora’s birthday, I felt weird. I was having these strange yet somewhat familiar “stretching/pulling” type feelings in my lower abdomen and I just had a feeling. It was really early on and it seemed crazy, but I was feeling pretty sure that I was pregnant. I bought a box of pregnancy tests on my lunch break, and the next morning, I couldn’t resist the temptation to pee on a stick and find out for sure if my feelings were correct.

There was a very faint second line. It was September 10th.

The rest is history, or so they say. I can write more details about the pregnancy itself in future posts, but that’s the road we took to get here. We feel very fortunate to be blessed with a third child. It’s still sort of surreal and hard to imagine.

One thing for sure is that the desire to “go for a boy” was nowhere on our radar during the process of making this decision. We DO.NOT.CARE. Seriously. That seems to be a common assumption so I’m just putting it out there. See my post from over a year ago on my feelings on “the perfect family.” At my first OB appointment at nine weeks, my OB gently inquired, “Are you guys really pulling for a boy this time?” I told her honestly, no, either would be fine—we’re not putting that kind of pressure on this pregnancy. She responded, “OK, good, because you should know that after you have two children of the same sex, your chances of having another of that same sex are higher.” She went on to say that instead of it being 50/50, it goes up to like 54/46. So, nothing crazy, but good to know. We shall see. It’s going to be another delivery room surprise. :)

I’m going to try to post regular updates on this pregnancy like I did with Nora and Vivienne. I’m already behind, though. Figures. If I thought the second child got the shaft in some ways, this third baby is going to have it even worse. Sorry, baby. I love you, though. I swear.

So, three kids. I’m going to be a mom to three kids.

 

A very little turkey. Or not even a turkey at all.

Officially due May 24. I’m 14+ weeks along. Wheeee!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Our Strawberry Shortcake took the neighborhood by storm. Since Halloween fell on a Saturday this year AND we had good weather (not too chilly, and no rain!), we hit up more houses for trick-or-treating than we ever have before.

We had to wrestle and totally bribe our owl to even get her into her costume (and to be completely honest, away from her beloved Curious George on TV) but after a house or two, she was totally into it. She never even showed interest in actually eating any of the candy… apparently it was just fun to go up to people’s houses and gather things to put in her basket. She IS our little bag lady and collector, after all, so I guess I should’ve realized that this would be right up her alley.

My mom made the Strawberry Shortcake costume. I bought the leggings and wig on Amazon but the dress and hat were all Grammy. Perfection. So, so cute and she loved it.

Up until about five days ago, we were planning to put Vivienne in a hand-me-down puppy costume. Michael and I were both kind of underwhelmed by it but I really felt like she was going to give us problems wearing a costume (and to be fair, I was right), so I wasn’t particularly motivated to spend time and/or money on a new costume for her if she wasn’t even going to wear it. BUT I didn’t want to look back—or have her look back—at pictures of this Halloween and think that I half-assed it for the poor second child, soooo… Pinterest to the rescue. It took me a few hours over the course of a couple of nights, but I made her cape out of nothing but felt and hot glue (and a couple pieces of ribbon). We had the hat already. WINNING.

On our trick-or-treat outing, she eventually was super enthusiastic about shoving her hands into candy bowls to grab anything and everything. And always ended with an adorable little “tank you!” as we trotted off to the next house. One annoying neighbor stood there for an awkward amount of time, withholding the candy from her. I said trick or treat. He goes, “I’m waiting for her to say trick or treat.” DUDE SHE IS SPEECH DELAYED. And two. For crying out loud. I wanted to kick him in the face. Here I am all proud of her thank yous and this guy is the trick or treat police.

For costumes, it’s always fun to see what Nora comes up with each year. This year was definitely the year of Strawberry Shortcake since it was the theme for her birthday party AND her Halloween costume (just as last year was the year of Frozen). Next year, I’m sure Vivienne will have her own opinion on her costume as well. I’m looking forward to that. :)

Perhaps even more fun than trick or treating for Nora was getting to hand out candy to other kids after we came home. She and her cousin sat at the front door, watching out the storm door as they ate their selected pieces of candy from their haul. So adorable. Fun memories being made, for sure. I love our tradition of trick or treating with all of the cousins!

We tucked the girls into bed an hour or so later than usual, hoping it will help to offset the time change tonight. Because let’s be real, there is no “gaining an hour of sleep” when you have kids. Will it be wrong to put them to bed at 6:30pm tomorrow? HAHA.

As I’m sure you can tell, blogging has taken a major hit for me this year, but especially lately. Life is good, I’m just… living it. Tonight I felt compelled to put something up for the first time in a long time. So… I did. That’s all. Again, I update way more often on Instagram so if you’re on there and want to follow, I’m @heatherkj.

Happy Halloween to all! I can’t believe tomorrow marks the start of November already. I saw something on Facebook a couple days ago that said there are only 9 weekends left until Christmas. How? Maybe I’ll get around to posting a few more times before then. :)

 

Today was Nora’s first day of kindergarten. She handled it like a champ.

She woke up a little earlier than she has been recently—around 6:30. She came into our room saying that the “Ready Confetti” her teacher had given her worked. “It really helped me!” she said. We snuggled for a few minutes and she said she was excited to go to school.

I had barely slept myself. It took me a while to fall asleep last night, and then this morning, I woke up at 4:30 and could not drift back off. Only about five hours of sleep… and feeling anxious, not knowing how the day would go.

Things happened quickly and over the next hour and a half, we got everything ready to leave. We went outside to take photos. She got annoyed with it quickly (to be expected).

The neighborhood began to come alive with the sounds of other parents and children making their way out of their houses and down the street to the bus stop. It was time. We walked, Nora confidently and excitedly leading the way.

We met up with the bus stop crew and it wasn’t long before the bus was coming down the street. As soon as I saw it, I felt the tears stinging my eyes. I brushed them off, fought them away, annoyed by my own emotions. Nora was holding it together; why couldn’t I?

The bus pulled up to our stop and Nora fell into line behind the other neighborhood kids. I gave her a quick kiss and she climbed onto the bus like it was no big deal. In fact, I had to yell to her to turn around and look at me for a quick photo. The bus driver was a sweetheart, as she made sure to remind Nora to turn, too. She yelled out at us with a smile, “Take your time, get your pictures. I totally get it!”

I lost sight of her as she walked back into the aisle. I waved aimlessly, in case she could see me but I couldn’t see her. She told me later that she sat by the window, but clearly she was on the other side of the bus. The kids were loaded up and it was time to go. The doors shut, the bus pulled away.

The tears flowed.

Vivienne may have sensed my emotions because she insisted on being held by me in that moment, when she almost always prefers Michael (she’s a Daddy’s girl, what can I do?). “Nowa?” her little voice chimed in. “Nora went to school,” I told her. “And you’re not ever allowed to grow up, okay? Just stay this little forever.”

That has, perhaps, been one of the hardest parts of this whole kindergarten thing—at least for me. The fact that Nora and Vivienne will not be together during the days anymore. Vivienne has never known more than a few hours at a time without Nora. She’s never really been without her.

Anyway, I let myself be sad for a few minutes and then I pulled myself together to be excited again. My neighbor friend and I hopped into the car and drove to the school to see the kids off of the bus. Again, I didn’t know what to expect. Did Nora freak out on the bus ride? Start crying? Was she going to be a mess?

She came down the steps like she had been doing it all of her life. Okay then. Good stuff. She was a little disoriented in the crowd so I reminded her that when she gets off the bus every day, she needs to walk inside and find her classroom. I followed her steps and guided her only when she needed it. Soon enough, we were in her classroom and it was time for me to go. I gave her a quick kiss and as I walked out, I turned to look—she never even looked back at me. Girlfriend so had this under control.

In the middle of the day, I got an email from her teacher with a photo of her smiling, playing with some little blocks at her desk. “Having a great first day!” she reported. YES. So good for a parent’s soul to get an update like that on a day like this.

The day CRAWLED. I couldn’t wait to leave work to go pick her up from the after-school program she’s at.

When I did first lay eyes on Nora again, she was standing in a line of students waiting to go outside. I immediately noticed she looked like a zombie. Hot. Tired. And maybe upset? I noticed she was clinging to my leg, something she hadn’t been doing all day.

Eventually, she confessed to me in tears on the way home that she had been missing me. Not during the school day, but after school. She said she got upset and cried because I didn’t come to get her when she expected me to. I know now that she didn’t fully grasp the new routine. When her teacher said at the end of the day that it was “time to go home,” she took it to heart, not remembering/realizing that she had somewhere else to go to spend some more time before she’d be coming home. Poor thing.

But that was our only hiccup. Well, that and the fact that I sent her with apple slices for a snack that apparently “got yucky” due to the crazy heat in the classroom (it was near 90 degrees today and there is no A/C in the school), so her teacher gave Nora her own apple to snack on. (I need to get some of those really thin ice packs, stat.) Oh, and she lost one of her pretty new hair bows. And Michael forgot to put the straw in her Thermos so she “couldn’t figure out [her] cup.” HAHAHA. We told her tonight that we’re all new at this and we’re all learning. We’ll all do better tomorrow, with everything.

Overall, though, the day was a serious success. She says she’s ready to go back tomorrow, and I’m hoping that she’ll adjust quickly to the after-school routine. We celebrated with ice cream.

We’re ready to tackle the second day of kindergarten tomorrow.