Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Building a Transitional Wardrobe

When last we met (well, when last we talked style), I talked about how my transitional wardrobe has helped me actually fit into my regular clothes in the first trimester while avoiding (for the most part) the "pregnant or just fat?" feeling that's kind of inevitable those first few months...



This is particularly important because I don't know about you, but my post-partum body settles into a distinctly first trimester shape for the first month or two or five after a baby is born.  And given our (lack of) child spacing, it just didn't make sense to keep buying clothes that I could only wear for a few months, at most!

Some of the most useful items of clothing I've found are:

Full a-line skirts like this one:

 Green crinkle midi skirt

Stretchy pencil skirts like this:

Zig Zag tube skirt

Flowy button-downs that can be tied or tucked, like this:

Mini daisy rollsleeve shirt (I love the idea of mixing the patterns with the striped pencil skirt and this shirt!)

Nursing-friendly dresses that hide a belly, like this:

Grey floral drape dress (and you could pair it with a button-down to switch things up a bit)

That's basically it!  I also love a good shift dress, but it can be hard to find nursing-friendly shifts.  Look for shirtdresses and belt them!

Factory chambray shirtdress Chambray shirtdress

Want more ideas?  I would absolutely buy this skirt (probably in tall so it hit me a little longer) if I could justify buying any more clothes right now:

 Knit circle skirt

And I already have this shirt (worn in the top picture), but it's worth mentioning again because it's AWESOME!  Lisa loves it too :)

Factory two-pocket chambray shirt Factory two-pocket chambray shirt

How cute are the polka dots on this chambray shirt?  Really, chambray is its own wardrobe staple that EVERY woman needs!

Factory classic button-down shirt in printed chambray Printed chambray shirt

You'll probably want to add some color, and this coral button-down would be perfect belted over your bump, tied to hide the belly, or tucked loosely:

Factory camp shirt in cotton voile Factory camp shirt

And I love sleeveless button-downs when the summer weather gets crazy hot and humid here in VA:
Factory gathered top Sleeveless gathered top

Right now I'm on the hunt for a new maxi dress - my beloved striped dress has a teeny tiny little hole in a very obvious and obnoxious spot, so I think it might be time to retire the trusty thing :(  But I'm a shorty, so I don't feel comfortable ordering one online!

What about you - what are your wardrobe staples in those transition times?

I'm trying out a new affiliate program - I *think* that how it works is I get a couple of cents if you click a link in this post, and maybe a few more if you buy something?  We'll see how I like it, but I noticed that the fashion posts on here get a LOT more clicks than the others, so I figured I might as well make a few bucks to justify my blogging to my husband :)  Thanks!

Monday, May 26, 2014

What They Said: Volume 11

Twin Week!




They're the cutest lately.  I don't think there's any way to truly make you understand, but I'll try!  

Take this exchange a few weeks ago, for example:

Mary Claire, pausing while nursing to notice that Elizabeth was clever enough to bring a bunny with her:  *ear-piercing shriek* BUNNY!!!

*Mary Claire snatches the bunny and Elizabeth shrieks.  I give the bunny back to Elizabeth because we are NOT having a fight on my lap while the babies are nursing.*



Mary Claire:  Diffent bunny?
Me:  Yes, you can go get a different bunny from your room.
Mary Claire, thinking:  Dada bunny?
Me:  Maybe Dad will get you a bunny if you ask him, 'Dada, different bunny please."
Mary Claire: Nurse, please.  Biff nursing. Mama nursing. (in the past few days she started calling her "Issabiff" instead of Biff.  Both are probably better than Beef, which was her name for a while...)
Me: Yes, Elizabeth is nursing.  Would you like to nurse more?

*Goes back to nursing*

A minute later...



Mary Claire:  Bunny!  Diffent bunny!
Me: If you get down, you can go to your room and GET a different bunny.
Mary Claire:  Dada bunny?
Me: Dad's not going to get you a bunny if you don't ask.
Mary Claire: Ah done!

*Mary Claire gets down off the couch and finds a bear instead*

Mary Claire, playing pat-a-cake with the bear's hands: Pah-cake, pah-cake, AMEN!

*sits down in front of me*
Mary Claire: DOING?
Me: What are you doing, Mary Claire?
Mary Claire: Sittin'!

*Elizabeth notices Mary Claire has a bear*



Elizabeth:  Ah done!

*drops bunny on floor.  Mary Claire picks it up.  Elizabeth starts screaming.  Mary Claire now has bunny and bear.*

Me: Mary Claire, you have two animals.  Can you share?
*Mary Claire hands bear to Elizabeth*

Elizabeth:  Share!!!

This was her reaction when she saw the Mary statue in the garden...

Do you see?  They're the cutest.  Now I get why people are obsessed with twins - we're getting to the "more cute than crazy" stage!

...

Both babies are really into playing "Shark Attack" which is basically me "attacking" them with a shark finger puppet while singing the Jaws theme song.  But then the other day I looked over and saw Mary Claire reading a children's Bible and thrusting it into her belly...



Mary Claire:  Tuh-nuh...  Tuhhhhh-nuh...  Tuh-nuh BIBLE 'TACK!!!

And then later on in her high chair...

Mary Claire: Tuh-nuh...  Tuh-nuh, WAFFLE 'TACK!!!

There you have it.  The three fiercest creatures on earth: Shark, Bible, Waffle.

...

Elizabeth doesn't talk quite as much as Mary Claire, but still says a ton.  Mary Claire is more into the "repeat everything everyone says, including using the first person and correctly conjugating verbs" sort of talking, and Elizabeth is more into the "narrate everything John Paul and Cecilia do and occasionally pretend to be all the different animals" sort of talking.  Thus the following conversation:



Cecilia:  Elizabiff!  What's your favorite color?
Elizabeth: Fav-wit co-wor!
Cecilia:  Yeah, what's your favorite color?
Elizabeth: Puppy!  Arf arf!!!



Yup, my favorite, too.

...

And another favorite from Elizabeth - she was in her crib not going to sleep while I nursed Mary Claire in the glider.  She stood up and started rocking from side to side singing, "Iiiiiiiiiiiiii poooooooped, Iiiiiiiii poooooooped!" in the very cutest high-pitched voice ever.  



She didn't win.  I left her in the crib.

...

Mostly Elizabeth's favorite word is "No."  But always in the cutest way possible, like this (you might have to click out of your feed reader to watch it):


and she always has to make this face:


And before you add your link, I'll leave you with one last picture:




Friday, May 23, 2014

Giant Bugs, Monkey Children, and All the Talking: 7 Quick Takes

It's that time again...  Friday!!!

--1--

Last week there was a GIANT bug in our house.  Like, so big that Mary Claire saw it and said, "Birdie fwyin'!"

So I told her it was a bug...

"Ladybug!"

No, not a ladybug...

She and Elizabeth were very distressed when it landed and wasn't flying anymore.  Sadly, it was too high for me to reach, so Andrew had to take care of it when he finished getting dressed.  Seriously, what is this thing???


--2--

You know those nights when you haven't planned what to make for dinner and you just have to plug all the things you DO have into a recipe finder?

This one was a winner!




The lemon zest added such an interesting kick!  And creme fraiche is not something anyone ever has on hand, but it's easy to make a substitute.  So yummy!

Cecilia said she only liked the bacon part.  She is the worst eater in the world.

--3--

She likes me to put her hair up at night so that when she wakes up it looks curly.  This time it just crazy...


--4--


I don't think any of our kids have ever loved legos as much as Elizabeth.  She will just sit there patiently building "Tall tall towers" and "tall tall twucks" over and over again...  It's adorable!

--4--

Not quite as adorable? 


Take all the metal bowls out of the drawer and drop them on the floor!


And maybe put the lamb in one?


Okay, maybe it is adorable...

--5--

Do you see the adorable curly tendril hanging down?  Cecilia won a facebook contest on Mandi's Lilla Rose page and chose this adorable Flexi-clip.  I can't get over how cute it is!  She wanted to carry it around in the little pink bag Mandi sent it in for quite a while, and now she brings it to me several times a day asking for a ponytail, or a bun, or a "braid bun" or a "braid ponytail" and as long as she doesn't pull it out, it holds really well!  The picture below is after an hour, during which she ran through the hose spray, did multiple somersaults and headstands, and was basically a complete maniac in the yard.


Disheveled? Yes. Falling out? No!

I love mine too and am getting more soon - we had a facebook party last night, and if you want to order through my party link that would be awesome because then I get free or discounted stuff!

--6--

"Children headstand" or "child headstand" is consistently a top search term that leads people to my blog...


Hopefully they found what they're looking for?  John Paul has kind of incredible balance and can do a headstand on his own with his feet *almost* straight up in the air.  Because he's ridiculous.  But not as ridiculous as this:

Photo: Apparently when they're downstairs watching tv, they're also practicing scaling an 8-foot pole...

#monkeys

8-foot pole.  You know, just scaling it like nobody's business.  Next up?  State fairs and greased poles.

--7--

Photo: Every time we get to this page, Mary Claire cries, "Yellow balloons!" Yeah, not gonna correct her...
#sperm

"Owange balloon!  Yellow balloon!"

Yup.  Balloons.  Not sperm.

They talk SO much these days, especially Mary Claire - I'm thinking I'll focus the next "What They Said" volume on the twins :)  Want to link up?  Let's plan on Tuesday the 27th.

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary - go check out more Quick Takes!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Answer Me This: First Car, Dead Possum, and What I Wore


Haley's hosting Answer Me This because Kendra's gallivanting around Europe.  Not jealous.  Nope.    

But I wanted to tell you the story of a really gross thing in our yard soooooo I figured I'd answer all the questions!

1. What's the scariest thing that's ever been in your yard?

Oh man.  So last summer we had a priest friend and a deacon friend over for dinner.  And after dinner we were in the back yard and the kids were playing and one of them found some sort of animal...  And it turned out to be...

(this is gross, you may want to scroll down) 

...a dead possum.  But then Andrew picked it up with a shovel and it had no bones or insides at all, and it was just a possum carcass that some animal had brought to our yard and left there for maggots to feast on.

I told you to scroll down.  Scary.  Gross.  Yuck.

And perfect for company, right?  Luckily they seemed unfazed.  

2. Beards. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Well, mostly thumbs up, but for selfish reasons...  It takes Andrew a LOT less time to get ready in the mornings now that he doesn't have to shave!  

It tickles my nose sometimes, but I can get over that.  

3. If stuff breaks, can you fix it?

Depends on the stuff?  I'm a pro with hemming tape, and I can sew a button on and mend basic tears.  But like, fix a computer?  Um, no.

4. What was your first car?

My dad totaled the car I should have had, an old Ford Explorer (he fell asleep in the parking lot and crashed into a cement planter?), so somehow I convinced my parents that a Mustang was both budget-friendly and safe.  Yes, I did the research and convinced my SUPER-frugal mom.  We bought it used.  And I was pretty hot stuff until I scraped it on a cement barrier in a parking garage a few weeks after I got it.

What can I say, we have serious driving skills in my family?  Luckily I didn't total it, and my little brother still drives it to this day.

5. How often do you eat out?

Like, actually go out to a restaurant?  Almost never.  Twins.

Photo: Pretty sure this is the first time we've ever been to a sit-down restaurant since before the twins were born...
#neveragain

This was the first time we've ever been to a restaurant with all four kids.  It was IHOP.  It did not go well.

But we've been getting carry-out or delivery more often than I'd like, because pregnant.  Also, I love me a bacon egg & cheese bagel from McDonald's, so I probably get one once a week ($3.38 for 3 sources of protein in one delicious meal!).  Too much.  Soon we'll be back to almost never...

6. Why is your hair like that?

Because I haven't gotten it cut since before the twins were born...  I cut layers myself in January, which helped a ton with volume.  But I donate to Locks of Love every few years, then pretty much don't cut my hair forever and ever, and eventually get so sick of it that I get it chopped off again.  I cut my bangs myself, since nobody ever does it right, so why pay them to do something I can do myself?


I'm due for a chop soon.  This is getting ridiculous.

(Almost) 15 weeks, full belly, actual maternity clothes, tummy muscles have surrendered.

And nooooooow...  Here's what I wore Sunday!


Full, belly-hiding skirt?  Check!

I tried sitting in the balcony with the kids for the first time in ages.  Then I remembered that the balcony is really hot, and was miserable.  And John Paul kept begging to go in the front, because there were signs that said "No children under the age of 10 in front row" so of course he had to argue.  But he didn't loudly lie to the priest about being old enough to receive communion, so that's something?


Peek-a-boo!  There's the belly!

Also, do you like our baby-proofing system for the fireplace? Cram it full of toys!  Yeah, gonna need to come up with a better solution...


Blouse (which needs to be tucked better... whoops!): Ann Taylor via Twice
Shoes: DSW

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple - might as well hit two link-ups in one post, right?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fashion in the First Trimester and Fourth Trimester: 7 Quick Tips

If you've been following this blog for a bit, you may remember how I've been working to build a wardrobe that works for those transitional times - first trimester, post-partum, nursing all the time, etc...  (Missed it?  Here it is: Mom Style: How to Start).  And I've been kind of excited to see how my new philosophy of dressing (and my new wardrobe additions) ended up working in this first trimester of pregnancy.


Am I in the second trimester?  I think so...  14 weeks is 2nd, right?  Oh it all gets so confusing!

(P.S. If you missed the announcement...  Here it is!) 

Affiliate links included below:

Anyway, it seems like things are working really well!  I *did* go online shopping, probably the day we got that positive test...  I got a super-comfy maternity jersey skirt (similar to this one) that I know is going to last through this whole pregnancy, no problem!  



--1--

Tunics are terrific!


Yup, this was that first week...  With my stomach muscles the way they are, I could easily look pregnant in the right outfit, but I didn't *want* to look pregnant yet!  Belting a tunic over a pencil skirt is one of my favorite looks, and if you're a skinny jeans-wearing lady, it works great with skinnies, too.  Move the belt up  higher on the ribcage later in the pregnancy, and the outfit's still good!

(Just please don't wear leggings and call them pants.  They aren't.)

--2--

Scarves hide bellies!


Here's that skirt again, and me about 6 weeks pregnant.  Do you see what a nice slouchy sweater and scarf can do to hide a bump?  It's too warm here for sweaters now, but a nice drapey top will serve you well!  Dolman sleeves are my favorite, and banded bottoms work really well early in pregnancy and ESPECIALLY post-partum.

Sweater: Limited via Twice
Skirt: Gap Maternity (similar)

--3--

Full skirts are your best friend!


This skirt has served me well over the years (and it's on its last legs, sadly...) - full skirts are SO forgiving, and I love how all I have to do is hike up the waistband and suddenly it's a maternity skirt!  Because of the extra fabric, there's a lot of room for belly without it turning into a high-low skirt (I'm talking 30 weeks worth of twins room - it's magical!).  


Skirt: Forever 21 (similar, similar)
Shirt: Express (similar)

--4--

Don't be afraid of dresses!


Dress: J.Crew via ThredUp
Belt: Banana Republic via ThredUp

I can't tell you how many times I hear people say, "Oh, I never wear dresses because I can't nurse in them."  

NOT TRUE!!!  There are so many styles of dress that you can nurse in!

Look for: Surplice necklines
Wrap (and faux-wrap) dresses
Shirt dresses
Henley dresses

Steer clear of: 
Empire waists (unless you WANT to look pregnant)
Super-fitted dresses with no stretch
Anything dry-clean only

--5--

Try (and tie) a button-down!

 

Skirt: eShakti
Shirt: J.Crew via ThredUp (similar)

This is one of my favorite looks, pregnant or not - if you get a shirt in the right material, the long sleeves won't matter in the heat, because it breathes.  But you can find them sleeveless too, no problem!

Tie it over a dress, belt it over a skirt, do a half tuck with your skinnies or a pencil skirt.  This makes me feel SO much more put-together than just a simple t-shirt.

--6--

Belt it!


Dress: Gap via ThredUp (this popover tunic would be PERFECT for a similar look)

I used to steer clear of "shapeless" dresses, but now I gravitate toward them - they're so forgiving to a less-than-flat tummy, and all you have to do is hike your belt up to make it a maternity look!  It might even be worth going up a size if it means a dress will work for the first trimester AND post-partum, honestly.

All of the above outfits have proven to be nursing-friendly (even tandem-nursing!) and first-trimester friendly, which means that for me they're post-partum friendly, too!

--7--

Figure out where to shop!

I love eShakti and ModCloth for their vintage-style clothes, and I love that I can find the brands I love on ThredUp (they even have maternity clothes now!) without having to pay full price.  And you know what I love about all of it?  Not leaving the house!


There will come a time in your pregnancy when you need to buy some actual maternity clothes - check out my maternity shopping guide to find the best stores to try!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Five Favorites: Pregnancy-related and Random

Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife for Five Favorites!

Soooo before we knew we were having baby #5, I wanted to take some steps to make the early stages of pregnancy a little easier on all of us.  Things were BAD when I was pregnant with John Paul.  Not so bad with Cecilia, but really pretty bad again when I was pregnant with the twins...  I was researching what supplements to take to avoid bad morning sickness and I happened upon this blog post on the REAL cause of morning sickness.  It sold me!  I wasn't really willing to take a million different supplements, but magnesium oil?  I thought I could do that.

--1--

Ancient Minerals Ultra Pure Magnesium Oil 8 oz.

Magnesium Oil

I've been using this once or twice a day, and started pretty much right when we found out we were expecting.  I had read that you should start before you got pregnant, so I was a little concerned that it wouldn't make a difference.  But it has had a HUGE effect on my cravings, food aversions, and overall nausea.  It's not gone completely, but for the first time in ANY of my pregnancies, I actually want to eat meat.  And the smell of onions and garlic doesn't make me want to puke.

Come to think of it, I haven't puked AT ALL this pregnancy, and I'm 14 weeks along now!  That is some kind of miracle.

I still feel gross overall and have good days and bad days.  But it's SO much better than it has been in the past, and I'm convinced it's the magnesium oil!

It's a little sticky-feeling on my legs if I don't do a good job wiping it off.  But I'll take sticky over puking and confined to the couch ANY DAY.

Apparently you can make your own spray too, and pretty easily.  It's just a cup of Magnesium Bath Flakes dissolved in a cup of hot, distilled water.  Mix.  Spray.  Repeat.  Whenever my spray runs out, I'll probably make my own because it's cheaper.  But considering I've been using it for 10 weeks and have *maybe* used an ounce or two, I think it'll be a while!

--2--

I don't usually have problems with pregnancy insomnia, but for some reason it's been hitting me hard this time around.  So when Lisa told Ana about Sleepy Dust, I forgot about it for a while.  But then I remembered and I made it (okay, my own version which is just organic sugar with kosher salt because that's what I had on hand...) and it's been working great!

Easy fix.  And tasty, too!

--3--



Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almond

 A student brought me these the other day and ooooohhhh they are so good!  I want to eat them all immediately.  Right now.  I wish I hadn't left them in my office, and I may eat the rest of them tomorrow.  They are good.  Really good.  Really, really good.

--4--

Okay this one has nothing to do with pregnancy...




SpiceStack Organizer

It sits in my cabinet and ORGANIZES ALL MY SPICES!  I am totally incapable of remembering where anything is, but this makes it SO much easier.  And they have all different sizes for different types of cabinets.  The only problem is that I can't put Costco-sized containers in the slots, but I just transfer them to smaller containers and it works fine.  We've have the same one since we got married and it's lasted almost 6 years and through 4 moves and is still doing great.

--5--

And while I'm on an Amazon kick, have you used the website Camel Camel Camel?  I swear I've used this as a favorite before, but I keep forgetting it exists...  You paste the url of whatever product on Amazon to check price trends before you buy, so you know that the $10 measuring cup you need is USUALLY $4 and you just need to wait for the price to drop (or set up an alert so you buy it when it's your target price).  Amazing.

Thank you for anything you buy through my Amazon links!  I get a (very) small percentage of the cost of whatever is purchased through my links, which helps me buy books by other bloggers!


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