the daily julie

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Shower for Baby C

This weekend, my best gals in Raleigh got together to throw a very special party for our little Cookie. It was held at a local art cafe with amazing food and teas (is it weird to call tea amazing, because oh my, this was some amazing tea). It’s obvious that this little baby is already so cared for by so many people (lucky duck!).  

My life has been uber cray-cray lately between work obligations and trying to “nest” a little bit lot that it was absolutely awesome to sit back for a few hours to chat with my favorite people over some delicious food and just be.

A big thank you to everyone that came (shout out to friends that are also  fellow bloggers)

BabyShowerScrapbook

(style) Maternity Dressing

I feel like that at 30.5 weeks, I’ve got enough experience dressing my belly that I can finally share what has worked for me. For reference, I work in a corporate environment where the dress code is business casual. Blouses and trousers make the cut, but legging and sweaters don’t. On the weekends, I am much more casual, so this post focuses on finding clothes that suit my entire life needs. Additionally, I didn’t/don’t want to spend that much on maternity clothing since I will only be able to wear it for a relatively short span of time. And finally, my philosophy on looking good while pregnant is that you didn’t look good wearing a sack of a dress or “babydoll” tops before getting pregnant, so why start now. I’m a big fan of showing off that belly and wearing clothes that hug rather than hang on it. 

So first, let’s focus on nonmaternity clothing that I have been making work a la Tim Gunn. Next, I’ll talk about what maternity pieces I picked up and have found to be essential. 

Non-maternity clothing essentials:

  1. Belly bands. These are stretchy pieces of fabric that you can put over non-maternity pants that are unbuttoned so that they stay up. I actually hated this contraption at first because I felt like my pants never stayed up like they were supposed to. Now that I’m much, much, much larger than I was when first bought the belly band, I have been using it more. In fact, I’m wearing my non-maternity skinny jeans in the post below, just with a belly band that I got at Target. So, I’d recommend picking one up but try it out at a few different phases of belly growth to see when you are most comfortable wearing it.
  2. Lulu Lemon Wunder Under leggings. My weekend uniform is basically leggings and some kind of long top or what used to be a dress on me and is now more of a tunic. I have two pairs of lulu lemon leggings from my pre-preg days that are going strong and I bought one additional pair in a size larger than normal. All pairs have done a great job stretching with my belly and since the wunder unders are basically the gold standard in leggings, I feel pretty confident that they will retain their original shape when I no longer need them to fit over my extra girth.
  3. Rachel Pally. Rachel Pally has been a favorite brand of mine since way before getting pregnant and I’m especially loving her stuff now that I’m expecting. Her jersey pieces are comfortable and easily stretch as needed, and I’m addicted to her maxi dresses. I know her items can be kind of pricey, but I regularly see Rachel Pally sales on HauteLook and Gilt Groupe and there’s no shortage on ebay either. Plus, it’s nice to know that you’re spending money on something that you can wear with or without child. #shoppingjustificationFTW
  4. Michael Stars. Michael Stars is another line that is great for the expecting mama, but also is something that you can wear after popping out the baby. His clothing is “one size fits most” and I especially like some of the longer tunics/tops for preggos. He also has a maternity line, too, and I have one dress that I picked up at a maternity consignment shop, but honestly I still prefer to wear the pieces from the regular Michael Stars line. 
  5. Skinny Tee tank tops. I have these in a few colors and wear them under my looser blouses and tops which really helps stretch the mileage on my pre-pregnancy clothes. One of the things about wearing clothes that aren’t made for maternity wear is that as your belly gets larger, everything hangs shorter in the front because it’s got to go around that tummy. Skinny tee tanks are nice and long and not too constricting. They just provide a nice smooth layer and cover up any stomach skin that might otherwise hang out.
  6. Jewelry. Let’s be honest - shopping is not really that fun when you are pregnant. Everything is larger and you notice extra blobs of your body in places you didn’t realize you could. But jewelry is size-independent and I love to wear a fun statement necklace both because it makes me feel a little spunky and also because it detracts attention from the basketball-sized bump below. J Crew (sale section, natch), Anthropologie and Bauble Bar are great resources for fun necklaces.

Maternity clothing essentials:

Most of the actual maternity clothes I have picked up have been so that I can still dress professionally for work. If I didn’t have a job, I could get away with maxi dresses and leggings forever, but such is not my life. Here’s what has been absolutely essential and what I’ve worn to death these days:

  1. Two pairs of maternity trouser and two maternity pencil skirts. Gap has been my saving grace for maternity clothing. They regularly have great sales of 30-40% off  and their maternity sizes match up exactly with your pre-preg sizes making it really easy to shop. I bought two pairs of trouser and two skirts - both in black and in gray - which I rotate around with different tops and jewelry for different looks using many of the same pieces. 
  2. One pair of nice maternity jeans. Since my office wears jeans on Friday, I picked up a dark wash, trouser style pair of jeans that I wear pretty much every Friday (Mine are by James Jeans and I really like them). I feel like I’m really getting the most out of my cost per wear and the dark wash ensure that the jeans can be worn for a lot of occasions besides just Casual Friday.
  3. Pea in the Pod tights. It’s winter, so the only way I can get away with skirts and dresses is with tights. I tried to wear my Spanx tights as long as possible, but that got old fast as my stomach continued to grow. The Pea in the Pod brand tights are really opaque, go over your entire stomach, and are extremely comfortable - all three of which are musts in my book.
  4. Hand me downs/consignment stores. I’ve been blessed that my sister-in-law was pregnant before me and also had to work in a corporate environment. She’s let me borrow some of her dresses and tops which have been a real lifesaver. I definitely recommend hitting up any female family members that have already been pregnant to see what they’d be willing to temporarily part with. Just remember, you’re borrowing so make sure to give it back at the end! Consignment shops have also been great. For local ladies, there is a great one called Babiology in Five Points. I picked up the aforementioned Michael Stars dress as well as a new with tags Isabella Oliver dress for $30 (normally almost $300)! If you’re going to spend money on maternity clothes, checking out a consignment store is key to sticking to a low, low budget like I am trying to do.

And that’s about it. Between working with what I have, picking up a few key essentials, and going slightly overboard with accessories, I’ve been able to maximize a lot of what’s in my current closet throughout the duration of this pregnancy. 

I’m definitely interested to hear what worked/didn’t work for you, too. Do tell!

30 weeks

30weeks

Welp, I’m 30 weeks pregnant! I feel like I’ve hit a major milestone as I’m now counting down the weeks until my due date using single digits.

Baby is growing great and everything is very healthy and normal according to my doctor. She actually told me I’m a great example of a pregnant woman and I thank my lucky stars that everything so far has been pretty easy. 

Our to do’s in the coming weeks include touring the hospital, touring day cares in the area and finishing up the nursery. All of which I’m pretty excited to do. I may not have much say so as to how this baby grows and how my body changes to accomodate it, but it’s nice to know I’m crossing things off the ole to-do list. I guess it makes me feel more prepared for starting this parenthood chapter of life when the truth is that I have no idea what I’m doing.

I also think I’m ready to write a post on maternity fashion. Hopefully, up tomorrow. Have a great Sunday! Who is everyone pulling for? I don’t really care much about either team, so I’m rooting for Team Beyonce.

(outfits deets above: top: Michael Stars // jeans: Citizens of Humanity // booties: Shoemint)

Thank you!

I just wanted to thank you all for your positive encouragement on this post. I’m still not really sure what direction this blog is headed in (was there every any direction for this blog?) but I know that I’ll stick around for a while. Still not sure how much or how regular I’ll be posting but I hope to ease back into things. 

And to do that, here’s a little belly update for ya at 29.5 weeks. I already shared this on instagram (you can follow me @thedailyjulie), so it might be redundant for some of you. I can’t believe that in just a few short days I’ll hit the 30 week mark.

The belly is getting a little out of control in size and Baby likes to do morning stretches at 5 am which means I’m usually up by then, too. We’ve made more progress on the nursery and painted it and hung curtains this weekend. It’s nice to feel productive! Our glider should arrive in February and then it’s just a matter of setting up furniture, organizing baby goodies and waiting. April will be here soon!

Five Things I Didn’t Expect in the Second Trimester

This list was a little harder to come up than the five things I didn’t expect in the first trimester because the second trimester was like a 8 on the scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being so easy I forgot I’m pregnant and 1 being child birth. But, nonetheless, there were still a few things I didn’t expect.

  1. The hair on my stomach turned black. BLACK, I tell you! I’ve always had blonde hair on my arms, legs and stomach, but for some reason, my stomach hairs have switched to the dark side. Thanks be to grilled cheesus that it’s the season for thick sweaters and leggings.
  2. I can’t control my gas. I toot a lot, and I don’t even know that I’m going to do it until it’s too late. I was feeling pretty embarrassed about my unpredictable bodily functions until a friend of mine told me about the time she was pregnant with #2 and she peed on herself while relaxing on the couch and was convinced it was her 1.5 year old daughter until she checked the daughter’s diaper and realized that it was totally dry and that the pee had indeed come from her pregnant bladder. Your body produces lots and lots of a hormone called Relaxin (which sounds like some sort of pharmaceutical to me, but it’s au naturale), and it softens everything up in your pelvis region and you lose a little or even a lot of control over what’s going on with your organs down there.
  3. Speaking of peeing, incontinence was something I figured I’d worry about when I’m closer to 71 than 31, or at the very least, after I have a baby.  I quickly learned my lesson and if I have the slightest inkling that I need to tinkle, it’s time to find a bathroom. stat! God bless my drawers if I sneeze or laugh too hard with anything in my bladder. 
  4. The sheer number of questions and conversations struck up by strangers no matter where I’m at or where I’m going. But, I already covered this one over a month ago and I am NOT going there again. 
  5. Just how much my body has changed to accommodate this tiny person. I feel like every day I see a new change or learn something new that’s going on inside. It’s really amazing to see nature at work and how every change is designed to grow and support a new life. I’m awe struck every. single, day. 

Twelve and half weeks to go!

26 weeks

26weekbelly-2

I snapped this photo last night on the way to bed, and I’m actually closer to 27 weeks than 26 weeks. Which means I’m entering my 3rd trimester. Woah, nelly!

It hit me on New Year’s Day that the baby will be here in a little over three months and we have done absolutely nothing to prepare. I’d figured I just get to nesting after the holidays but now - wham bam - that time is here. Cue the waking up at 3 am every night with my mind racing about what we need to do - schedule tour of hospital, tour day cares, purchase and install car seat, get a crib, paint nursery, buy diapers, figure out maternity leave… and the list goes on. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and enjoy these last few months of having my baby in my belly, but wow there is a lot to check off the ole to-do list.

Our little Cookie now weighs over 2 pounds. S/he is growing like a weed and so is my stomach. I’ve taken to not weighing myself any more and at my last doctor appointment, I had gained nine pounds since my previous appointment just four weeks earlier. Luckily, I have an awesome doctor who made me feel really great about it and told me I’m totally on track for a normal weight gain over all. All this stretching and expanding is for the miracle of life and that makes me so happy, but for someone who’s always tried to exercise regularly and eat mostly healthy, seeing your body expand in ways and at rates you never knew possible is… strange.

I’m working on putting together my list of the top five things that surprised me about the second trimester. Check out my list of first trimester surprises here.

22 weeks

22weeks

I was halfway out of my work clothes when I remembered I hadn’t snapped a pic to commemorate 22 weeks. whew. disaster averted.

I could probably spend the rest of my pregnancy in the second trimester and be a-okay. I’ve heard that the third trimester gets worse, so I’m really enjoying basking in uninterrupted sleep, minimal potty breaks, being able to lay on my back and still fitting in to the occasional non-maternity dress. Thank goodness for lycra!

La bebe is growing hair this week, but there is no pigment so the hair is bright white. How do I know this? Whattoexpect.com tells me so.  It occurred to me last week that we’re in the teens when it comes to counting down the weeks until we become a family of three. To think that we started counting down from 40 and now there’s only 18 to go. I know it will fly by. I even scheduled my next regular dental cleaning for May and it was crazy to think that I’ll have a baby by then!

I don’t think I ever shared the results of the anatomy scan we had a couple weeks ago, but this little Cookie is looking to be in tip top shape. Four chamber heart? check! Tummy full of amniotic fluid? check! Femur at appropriate length? check! Spine intact? check!

In more ME news, have  I mentioned lately how over my braces I am? Because I am. I asked my orthodontist if we could work it out so these braces come off before April. He didn’t seem too optimistic. womp. womp.

How to Talk to a Pregnant Lady

Chances are you know, or at some point in your life, you will know, a pregnant lady. Most of the time, the questions you ask a preg are seemingly harmless and well meaning and most of the time, they are met with a smile by the recipient, but I’ll tell you a secret: She really wants to pull her hair out because it’s the one millionth time she’s heard the same question and inside her head, the pregnant lady really is only thinking about if she will ever again be able to sneeze without peeing at the same time because she’s already memorized all of the answers to all of the questions she knows you’re going to ask. Imagine being asked how you like the weather 174 times a day. That’s what it’s like to be asked any of the following:

1. When are you due? Maybe you’re curious, maybe you just don’t know what else to say, but this is the number one question that any pregnant lady is asked every single day. I should just get a temporary glitter tattoo across my forehead that says April 11.

2. What are you having? Um, a baby? I know you mean to ask the gender, but really I don’t know and really it’s none of your business.

3. Have you picked out names? I find this question to be really personal. Maybe I have but maybe I don’t want tell anyone. Or maybe I’ve been thinking about names for 21 weeks and still haven’t figured it out. Either way, this question puts me in an awkward position, so best not to ask and stress me out, mkay?

4. Are you hoping for a boy or a girl? It’s cliche, but most pregnant ladies really just do hope for a healthy baby. There’s SO much that can go wrong during the course of pregnancy that it’s a miracle that so many babies come out healthy and perfect. 

5. Any sort of unsolicited advice about child rearing, breast feeding, birthing, etc. In general, it’s uncouth to give unsolicited advice on any topic. The same is true for preg topics. I don’t care if you’re Michelle Duggar and have been around the block 19 times. If I would like your opinion on babies, boobies or birthing, I’ll ask. And trust me, there are some people I totally ask for every morsel of knowledge they are willing to share and others I just don’t care because I’ve seen your kids.

So steer clear of these questions and you’ll be set. Now, you might be wondering what else you have to talk about with a preg. How about how she’s coping with limited wine consumption, reminiscing over that one time in college when…, and talk about what’s new with YOU. Pregs spend 85% of their time thinking about the baby in their belly and their soon to be new life, responsibility and lifestyle. When I get together with friends or acquaintances, the very last topic I want dominating the conversation is “Baby.” Let’s talk about the great vacation you had, the wedding you are planning, the new boy you are dating, and all the wine you are drinking. Let me live vicariously. 

***UPDATE: My apologies to anyone this post offended. That was not my intent. Of course, you should still talk to pregnant women and I for one love talking about being pregnant. The intent of this post was simply to imply that questions surrounding due date/names/gender have been asked to the same person many, many, many times. So, ask about something else pregnancy-related if you’re curious. The lady you’re conversing with will really appreciate it.***

21 weeks

21weeks

I’m 21 weeks pregnant. I feel like over the past two weeks my stomach has grown like woah. We had our big doctor’s appointment on Friday where they could tell you the gender if you want, but we are sticking to our guns and keeping the sex of this little one a surprise. It was still very exciting to see our Cookie on the ultrasound screen and look at all it’s organs and systems. Everything looks great! The litte bean even took a few gulps of amniotic fluid while we were watching and it was so surreal to see it’s little mouth open and close. S/he is about a pound and the size of a large banana. Grow baby, grow!

I’m still feeling great these days. I’ve pretty much succumbed to 90% maternity clothing. Though, ironically, nothing I’m wearing in this picture is maternity wear. We’ve been having insanely nice temperatures these past few days, so I’ve been able to bust out some of my looser spring dresses. I’ve gained 8 pounds so far so I’m hoping I’m on track to cap out around 30 or so.

(outfit deets: dress: Splendid // boots: Steve Madden //scarf: do not remember // earrings: Kendra Scott)

bye bye belly button

My belly button is slowly but surely giving up the ship. What was once a cute little button on a belly is now a hole on a belly. I’ve got a belly hole.

Yep, that’s my belly button hole in black and white (literally). I haven’t had a piercing in it for like five years, but I’ll always be reminded of my youth because that dang piercing hole is still there and stretching right along with everything else.

You guys, I can literally FEEL my stomach skin stretching every day. I woke up this morning and said to Jason that I think my stomach looks bigger today than it did when I went to bed last night. He took one look and just nodded his head. Babies… they grow up so fast.

To make up for that picture of my belly hole, here’s a picture of my nephew when he was three months old and wearing my aunt’s wig.