My Maternity photo session


Jess-Maternity-For-Web-1 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-3 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-4 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-5 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-7 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-8 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-10 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-11 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-12 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-13 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-14 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-15 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-16 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-17 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-18 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-19 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-20 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-21 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-22 Jess-Maternity-For-Web-23 We took our maternity pictures with our good friend who also did our engagement and wedding pictures. I was 34 weeks and feeling very pregnant!  It turned out to be a really cold day so I wore a sweater between shots!  I think they turned out really pretty and natural looking and how about that silhouette shot!.  Thank you to our friend for capturing this special time for us, I know I’ll love being able to look back on this for years to come!Jess-Maternity-For-Web-24

Bump update: 27-33 weeks


IMG_0082

27 weeks: doing chores and still feeling pretty good.  Heartburn and my “displaced” rib are my major complaints at this point.  Caving in to my frozen yogurt cravings more often than I should.  Cleaning up after all our (5) animals is driving me crazy!
IMG_0133IMG_0083IMG_0054IMG_013028 weeks: still wearing my “old” clothes which means tunics and leggings.  Watching a bit too much tv (Season 1 Bates Motel, Call the midwife) and trying to get comfy at night using at least 2 pillows and sleeping on one side.
IMG_0160IMG_0239For our last Valentines day as a childless couple me and the sweetie went to the Dallas Art museum and then to one of our favorite restaurants in the Bishop arts district for goat cheese taters and other deliciousness.  My “displaced” ribs really started hurting walking around so much, but we made it through the day and enjoyed ourselves.  For some reason I couldn’t sleep at all that night and I had to cancel our plans so I could sleep all day sunday.
IMG_0225Thrifted this blue and red paisley dress for possible baby shower outfit…IMG_0250Wearing comfy denim shirt at 31 weeks…IMG_0307IMG_0292
32 weeks: had my baby shower at my aunt’s in Wisconsin with all my favorite ladies; it was a really special day.  (My lips turned blue after munching on these amazing cake balls my sister made and drinking blue punch). I ended up wearing a really loose horse print tunic with leggings, which did not show my baby bump well, but I was comfy and it was like 6 degrees so I just cared about staying warm.IMG_0367
IMG_040732-33 Weeks: at Ryan’s dad’s wedding ceremony in KY.  I thrifted a $6 Old Navy maxi dress to wear.

DSC_0257

Caught a cold and not sleeping well which is pretty typical when I travel (I’ve had about 5 hours total over 2 days in this photo–Isn’t my husband so handsome all dressed up!).  After all the excitement of seeing both our families in 2 weekends and being exposed to chilling weather, I spent the next week sick with a cold, my first time being actually sick this whole pregnancy (except the nassau during the first trimester). Despite all that yuck, Baby is growing perfectly and my bloodwork is great said my midwife later at our appointment.  We might be expecting a 7-8 pound (healthy) baby in two months!  We are lining up our families for visits and I’m reading some books about baby sleep and breastfeeding.  We are truly excited for him to be here but in the meantime enjoying as much sleep as we can get.  xo Jess

Chia seed coconut pudding


IMG_0511 IMG_0515 IMG_0518This pudding is really rich and reminds me a lot of eating tapioca with my grandma when I was little due to the formation of gel when you soak the seeds in liquid.  I started eating chia seeds just recently using them in my juice drinks to up my fiber. Being pregnant really changes digestion and adding chia really, really, helped me. Chia seeds are grain free, gluten free, full of antioxidants, fiber and omega 3s.  You could even use them as an egg substitute in recipes (about 1 tbs chia/3 tbs water) which I’m excited to try.  Here’s the pudding recipe:

1 C organic lite coconut milk//1/4 C chia seed//1/4 C agave nectar//a handful of chocolate chips

Add chia and agave nectar to the coconut milk in a cup or bowl. Refridgerate overnight. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. Enjoy! xoJess

Baby names we like but won’t use


I recently started watching YouTube videos on birth, cloth diapering, and baby product reviews which has actually been really helpful in deciding on what we really need to spend money on.  I came across several Youtube moms who tagged their videos “baby names we like but won’t use” and watched a few, and I thought it would be fun to post a blog on this topic.  I love reading baby names and contemplating their origins and meanings so this has become kind of a hobby for me these last few months.

I’ll start with girl names I had listed before we found out our baby’s gender: (I used behindthename.com and nameberry.com for some of these meanings)

Anabelle:  We wanted to somehow use a family name, Ann, and this is so pretty.  It was our first pick.

Marley: From a surname which was taken from a place name meaning “pleasant wood” in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the Jamaican musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).

Olive: From the English word for the type of tree, ultimately derived from Latin oliva.

Alexa/Alexandra:  In Greek mythology this was a Mycenaean epithet of the goddess Hera, and an alternate name of Cassandra. It was borne by several early Christian saints, and also by the wife of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia.

Aurora(I’d call her Rory for short): Means “dawn” in Latin. Aurora was the Roman goddess of the morning. Plus it’s the princess’ name in Sleeping beauty which I love.

Maisey: This is just so cute.  Maisie, a hundred-year-old favorite. Spelled Maisy in a popular children’s book series, Maisie is rising in tandem with cousin Daisy. While Maisie might be short for Margaret, Mary, or even a name like Melissa or Marissa, it stands perfectly well on its own. In literature, Maisie is the name of the precocious young title character in the Henry James novel What Maisie Knew(also a movie I watched on Netflix), and is also the main female character in Rudyard Kipling’s The Light That Failed. And to bring things up to date, Maisie is a half-blood character in the Harry Potter series.

Avery: For years I loved the name Ava for a girl but with its  huge popularity now I got sorta sick of it and Avery sounded like a cute version.

Eloise: From the Old French name Héloïse, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis, composed of the elements heil “hale, healthy” andwid “wide”.

Jemma: “precious stone” in Italian, pretty cute.

Marlo: a modern invented name that’s super sweet sounding.

Here’s a list of boy names we couldn’t agree on, so therefore they’re a No:

Felix: the cat? The name of four popes and sixty-seven saints, Felix has long been fashionable in upscale London. The name was first adopted by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. In the Bible, Felix is a Roman procurator of Judea.

Finnian: This lilting Irish saint’s name shone in neon lights on Broadway for the classical 1947 musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” later made into a film starring FredAstaire as Finian McLonergan, and there was also a character on “General Hospital” named Finian O’Toole.

Jacob:  the Number 1 boys’ name for more than a decade now–given a huge boost by the Twilight phenomenon. The downside is that Jacob is at this point way overused. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel.

Jackson:  so popular that it now ranks higher on the Social Security list than either John, which is Number 28, or Jack, at 46, perhaps because parents see it as more modern than John and a fuller name than Jack.

August: August has been heating up in Hollywood. The French version is Auguste (ow-GOOST), as in Edgar Allan Poe’s clever detective Auguste Dupin and famed sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Easton: a stylish Ivy League-ish place and surname name, more modern than Weston, on its way up for both sexes as part of the new direction baby names are taking, as in North and West.

Rhys: There’s Rhys and there’s Reese (now more popular for girls) and there’s Reece, which has been climbing since it entered the list in 2004, possibly influenced by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, of The Tudors and Dracula (we love), and Welsh-born actor Rhys Ifans. Always widespread in Wales, where it has deep historic roots, Rhys is also a Top 70 name in England, Ireland and Scotland. Former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre named his son Rhys Edward in 2009.

Other names we can’t use for whatever reason, like it ends in the same letter, R, that our last name begins with:

Asher:  means “fortunate” in Hebrew. Asher was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who gave their names to the tribes of Israel. A cute nickname is Ash.

Hudson: literally means ‘son of Hudd’, which was a nickname for both Hugh and Richard in the Middle Ages. Streamlined spelling Hud was the name of the macho title character of an iconic Paul Newman film; John Mellencamp has a son named Hud.

Ryder:  one of the current favorite er-ending boys’ names, has been in the spotlight since Kate Hudson  chose it for her son in 2004; it has jumped nearly seven hundred places in the past decade, now at a high Number 100.

Kai: a strong, evocative, exotic multi-cultural name — meaning “sea” in Hawaiian, “forgiveness” in Japanese, “willow tree” in Navajo, and “earth” in Scandinavian.

Orion: one of the brightest constellations in the night sky. Sounds so much like “Ryan”, but we like it.

So there it is, not a comprehensive list since there are many more on our Maybe list that I don’t want to give away yet.  Naming our baby has to be one of the most fun and also hardest tasks to do.  We most likely will wait until he is born to name him.

I love hearing other people’s baby naming stories, so feel free to share! xoxjess

Nursery DIY: Felt Hot Air Balloon Mobile


IMG_0530For the nursery I want to DIY as many projects as I could for the decor and after researching mobiles I knew I didn’t want to spend $40 on buying one.  I don’t have a nursery theme but I thought with the stenciled cloud wall a hot air balloon mobile would be perfect.  I found this tutorial and mostly followed her instructions, except I used my sewing machine and not hand stitching to complete the balloons. IMG_9959 Using colorful pieces of felt I cut out 8 of these shapes per balloon. To make the balloons a bit more detailed I cut off the tops of the shape and sewed them on to one of another color.IMG_9958I used my sewing machine to stitch together the 8 pieces.IMG_9967and left an opening at the bottom on the last one to turn it inside out and stuff it with polyfil..IMG_9961IMG_9969 Once stuffed I used a small circle of felt and hand sewed it over the opening..I then used pieces of wine corks and hand sewed them on so they would hang like a basket.IMG_9972 I also sewed a couple little clouds and stuffed them..IMG_0101IMG_0104and made a tiny bunting for this balloon..IMG_9975 I used more felt to cover the piece it hangs from and hot glued the balloons to ribbon. and here’s the completed mobile! I think it turned out really cute and I just love it.  Hopefully baby R will too;) xoJessIMG_0526

Gluten free Chocolate donuts


IMG_0272 IMG_0274IMG_0273IMG_0264 IMG_0259 IMG_0257I used this bloggers recipe and slightly altered it to what I had in the pantry. The husband loved them. They’re a perfect snack or quick breakfast.

Here’s what to do:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease donut pan. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl:

1 C gluten free flour, 1/4C agave nectar, 3 tbs cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, salt, 1/2 C almond milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 egg.

Pour into the donut pan and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Cool for 5-10 minutes then slightly turn and pop out donuts.

Frosting: (this is my own recipe for PB cream cheese  frosting): 3 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs agave nectar, 2 tbs almond milk, 1 tbs cocoa powder, 3 tbs kefir cream cheese.

Enjoy! xoJess

DIY Woven Baskets


IMG_0117

For our nursery, organization and storage is essential due to the small size of the rooms so I came up with a cheap way to add storage.  I had already started on the closet organization and filled it up with clothes already!

Supplies: Dollar store laundry baskets (for $1!), old pillow cases (using what we have!), scissors.

Cut the pillow cases into strips about the width of the basket holes, about 5 inches for the larger one and 2.5 for the small size.  I used about 30 strips for the larger basket and cut up 3 pillow cases (with lots of leftover scraps) to make these 2 baskets.  In the end I made 6 of the small baskets to use as storage for the changing table and 1 large to hold stuffed animals.

All I did for the smaller baskets was weave the strips in and out of the holes then tied a knot at the end of the row.  I also wrapped a strip around the top rim of the basket.  I had to tie about 2 strips together to make it long enough.  For the large basket I wrapped the strips up and down over the top and tied the knot in the bottom hole of the basket.

IMG_0003IMG_0005IMG_0118 Perfect changing table storage!IMG_0154