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


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.


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 and 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

DIY Woven Baskets


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

Bump pics: Week 15-27


DSC_0030IMG_999619 weeks//at my sister’s winter wedding in WisconsinIMG_9991IMG_9990Here he is! We found out he was a boy at 20 weeks in mid-December.  Look at that little profile and that round belly! He was breech at the time and everything looked perfect.26 weeksAt 21 weeks I visited Wisconsin again and had a great family Xmas at my aunt’s (my first since we moved to Texas 6 years ago)..and it was freezing.IMG_9988Still just wearing baggy clothes because I feel big but not hugely pregnant yet..
IMG_9986And almost through the second trimester! Time is really flying by now whereas for the first 5 months it seemed so slow.  I think once I started feeling him kick and move every day (at 20 weeks on the day) makes it feel like he’s really real and this is happening.  Really starting to see the baby bump for what it is now..25weekbumpIMG_0031(Above: 26 weeks) We got another ultrasound at 26 weeks because the first one we got was not at a medically licensed facility (a pregnancy spa) so we didn’t get the full medical report, even though the sonographer did show us that everything was developing and looked great. We chose to get another just to be sure things were still going well and to get the medical report to our midwife.


Look how much bigger he is already! according to the machines measurements Baby R is growing perfectly and is at about 2 pounds, his femur bone is almost 5 cm long and his head is about 24 cm around.  He was taking a few swallows of fluid in this picture and stretched for us a bit.  A few times he elbowed me on screen and I could feel it too.  I’m so super attached to this  little guy and can’t quite believe we’ll meet him in 13 weeks! (below shot taken Jan. 27) xoxojessIMG_0078

Nursery update: Cloud wall

I went back and forth over what to do with the nursery colors, paint, and theme but I kept going back to a more neutral look that wasn’t too “baby”ish if ya know what I mean.   I had pinned a similar cloud wall for inspiration and decided to go for it, using what we had at home too.

Here’s what we did:

My husband drew the cloud onto a piece of cardboard which I cut out and taped around the edges to prevent the cardboard going soggy from paint.  He then measured out where each cloud would go. This was complicated because we both are terrible at measuring and math, so I won’t explain how we measured.  He put blue painters tape where each cloud stencil would line up with.  We taped up the stencil then painted using a mini sponge roller. IMG_0032IMG_0084 IMG_0040IMG_0043IMG_0044Our walls are super textured so I was worried about the edges bleeding/blurring outside the lines, but it worked really well.  I did have to touch up missed spots the next day but overall the project took us 4 hours one Sunday afternoon.  IMG_0098IMG_0097IMG_0096I think it turned out so well, I just love it.  There’s lots of tutorials out there on how to do this if you are interested as well. xoxojess

DIY Maternity leggings


At about  25 weeks pregnant I was no longer fitting comfortably into my pants or leggings anymore due to about a 15 pound weight gain (which about half happened around the holidays thanks to an unleashing of pastry and frozen yogurt cravings). I’d much rather buy baby things than maternity wear so I used several pairs of old leggings to re-make into maternity size.  Other than these leggings I stay comfy in sweats and tees. I’ve found two maternity shirts while thrifting but I really have plenty of clothes right now that are loose and big enough to keep wearing.
IMG_0015Supplies: Leggings, stretchy jersey type tank top or material, sewing machine, scissors.

I cut the elastic waist off the leggings and simply sewed the tank top on as the new waistband.  I’m not going to try to explain exactly how I did this because I don’t really know and it certainly is not a professional job, but it works for me and after 2 wears the leggings have held up fine.  The tank top material is stretchy enough to hold up the pants even while out doing errands. I cut the straps off the tank and left enough material so that I could fold it over like yoga pants or hike it up over the bump.  IMG_9981 What do you think about diy maternity? It sure beats buying new in my book and it’s a great way to save your baby $ budget for the important things.  xoxojessdiy maternity leggings

A Birth conference

I discovered a blog called Birth Without Fear when I was about 6 weeks pregnant and learned they were sponsoring a conference in N. Texas within a few weeks, so I signed up.  I already had an idea that I wanted a midwife and a natural, (meaning medication and hospital free) birth but I wasn’t really sure what it all meant.  I knew the conference would have a lot of information that I would use so I was super excited.


And, I loved it; it was for 2 days and I was able to attend all the lectures and get the swag bag and becco baby carrier (it’s awesome guys, can’t wait to use it right away with baby R!).  I didn’t sign up for the ultimate package which included a massage or other mommy-love treatment, yoga class, and mother circle time because I didn’t stay at the hotel and wouldn’t have made those times.  If I had had a friend with me or had to travel really far I totally would have done the whole thing because it sounded great from what I heard.


Here’s what I learned about: Your perfect birth space, cloth diapering, Essential oils, chiropractic care, menstrual care, Transitions of motherhood, choices in childbirth, post partum depression, mothering the mother, breastfeeding, massage and maya abdominal therapy, birth and the subconscious, Birth affirmations, Healthy postpartum care and support…doulas, birth centers, baby carrying…it was so great.


One statement I really liked during the last talk about postpartum care was that in asking others for help, its a sign of being strong!  I don’t think we are taught that enough, we think it’s better to be independent and figure it out on our own-it’s your journey and such and such, but I think we need people and we need to ask people for what we need.


(look at all the baby wearers! so neat) It was so amazing to be around all these mothers and babies and to be so inspired by the talks.  It was pretty emotional at the very end and everyone was in tears.  I’m so glad that I’ve come to the realization that even though this is my first baby, I feel it’s about time we give thinking about birth a positive spin and stop being afraid of what is so very human and natural.  I’m so grateful I was able to attend this conference before having this baby so I could really engage on this journey of having the birth I want.  If you are interested in any of these topics I would recommend the Birth without fear blog and look into the upcoming conferences they have, it could change your life. xoxojessIMG_9169 IMG_9166 IMG_9164 IMG_9167 IMG_9171