DIY Nursing-Friendly Nightgown

The first few weeks after having a baby are my favorite; it’s the only time you’re allowed to just sit around in pjs all day long, resting, eating whatever you want and snuggling a precious new baby.  Life doesn’t get any better!

Today I’ve got a tutorial for the perfect postpartum nightgown: long, stretchy, lots of coverage and nursing-accessible!  Of course you can make one even if you don’t have a new baby, and if you leave off the placket, it’s a super quick project!

Supplies:

2 yards very stretchy knit fabric
4 matching buttons (if attaching optional placket)
10″ x 10″ piece of lightweight fusible interfacing
coodinating thread

1. Find the stretch of your fabric and fold in half with the stretch running horizontally (perpendicular to the fold).  Cut out front and back of nightgown according to diagram (the diagram show just the front bodice being cut out on the fold, but you’ll need to cut out a back as well!).  Cut out sleeves and placket also, ensuring that the stretch runs across the width of the sleeves.

2. Lay your front and back pieces on top of each other, right sides together.  Sew along the shoulders and side seams, using a stretch stitch or serger, Press seams well.

3. Sew underarm seams of sleeves by folding sleeve in half lengthwise, RST, and stitching along the long raw edge, using a stretch stitch.  Press well and repeat with second sleeve.

4. Turn bodice inside out and sleeve right side out.  Insert your sleeve into the sleeve opening of bodice (insert narrower opening in first!), matching up raw edges and underarm seam with bodice side seam.  Stitch sleeve to bodice using a stretch stitch; press well.

5.  Fold under raw edges of sleeves and bodice hem and topstitch using a double needle; press well.  You can also choose to leave your sleeves and hem raw since knit doesn’t fray!

6.  Create neck facing: Measure the circumference of your neckline and subtract 1-2″ (you want your facing to be shorter than your neckline so that it pulls the neckline taut when sewn together.  How much shorter depends on the stretch of the fabric…here I cut mine 2″ shorter that the neckline because my fabric was super stretchy; if your fabric is less stretchy, try making it just 1″ shorter.  It’s kind of a trial and error thing!)  Cut out a neck facing measuring 1″ x the length you just calculated (neckline minus 1-2″).  Sew short ends of facing, right sides together, to create a loop.

7.  Pin facing to neckline, right sides together, stretching facing to distribute evenly around neckline.  Stitch facing to neckline using a 1/4″ seam allowance and a stretch stitch, again stretching facing to fit.  Press facing & seam allowance away from bodice, and then press raw edge of facing under 1/4″.  Fold facing to inside of garment, pressing again.  Topstitch facing to bodice, close to folded edge, using a stretch stitch.

This video is a great resource for sewing a knit facing, in case you haven’t done this technique before!

8.  OPTIONAL button placket: Cut a rectangle out of the center front of your your nightgown measuring 10″ x 1″.  Here I’m gonna save you the chore of reading a really wordy explanation that doesn’t make any sense and instead have you watch this video! It’s a great, simple explanation for inserting a placket.  (Note: I used a very lightweight interfacing because I was using a very thin knit fabric…you don’t want to go too much heavier than your fabric!)

And voila!  A perfectly cozy, comfy nightgown perfect for lounging with or without a new baby!

Why your kids need you (and only you)

Doubts about our abilities as mothers are totally normal…but completely unfounded.
Here’s why your kids need you as their mom!

Happy Friday, friends!  Life has been verrrrry interesting lately, what with this new baby around and the stress of figuring out how to manage and balance all of my mothering responsibilities.  Every big transition is like that, don’t you think?  Super crazy and overwhelming for a while, then you gradually settle into a routine and, for better or for worse, this becomes your new normal.

I’ve realized that anytime life throws us curveballs, lots of insecurities and doubts tend to come along with them.  Thoughts about what we’re messing up and about how the rest of our life may be adversely affected by these changes.  Having a new baby means less housework gets done, less time spent with the other kids, fewer opportunities to finish work projects and thoughts about whether or not we’re up for all the new responsibilities and stressors.

Being a mom of a big family means that I struggle with self-doubt and insecurities every. single. day.  I strongly believe that God called me to be a mom, to have all these kids, to homeschool them and to lead the life we live.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t constantly wonder about all the ways I’m failing every day.

Here’s the thing: your kids are your kids on purpose.  It’s no crapshoot that each family ends up together; all parents have personality traits, talents and abilities designed to help prepare their specific kids to become the best people they can be.  I know that sounds like a tall order to fill; personally it seems impossible that I could ever give all my children everything they need.

The important thing to remember is how little our kids actually need to thrive.  Yes, that’s right…how little.  They don’t need Pinterest parties or a mom in runway-worthy looks or even homecooked meals.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but when Luke and I got certified to become foster parents, we walked out of the training thinking about how we, and every single parent we know, are doing a pretty freaking stellar job.  We love our kids, we try to do right by them and we leave the rest up to God.

None of us knows exactly what sorts of trials we (or our children) will encounter in our lives.  But I really believe that we’ll be equipped to handle them because of the families we’ve been given.  Sure, our kids drive us crazy and our parents aren’t perfect – but we’re meant to be right where we are.

While our children don’t need picture perfect moms and dads, they do need parents who  love each other and their kids and who admit and apologize when they make mistakes.  They need parents who realize the blessings of being a parent and at least try to enjoy it now and then!  Parenthood ain’t for sissies…but I know each of us has what it takes to be GREAT at it!

New Mom Essentials GIVEAWAY!

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!
Congrats to our winner, Jordan F.!

I am SO excited for today’s giveaway post!  I partnered up with a few of my favorite mom bosses to give away some of the most amazing baby products…over $400 worth of gear!  Read on for all the details, share this post with all your expectant or new mommy friends and be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!

  1.  KB Cute knotted gown and beanie – I’ve followed KB Cute’s shop forever and have always loved their gorgeous fabrics and baby products.  Recently I got to meet Kerri, the brains and talent behind the operation and she’s as sweet as they come.  Every baby deserves one of her perfectly soft sleeper gowns and hats!
  2. Joonie Car Seat Cover – Not only is this ingenious car seat cover waterproof, windproof and made with ventilation windows, it also comes in 3 cute colorways, folds up into a tiny little carrying pouch AND was designed by my husband’s super talented cousin Danielle.  It’s the perfect way to keep baby comfortable and protected from the elements and curious hands!
  3. Puj Tub – If you’ve ever bathed a newborn before, you know that it can be a harrowing experience!  No matter where I’ve tried it (in a big tub, in the shower, in a sink, in a bulky baby tub) every scenario made me terrified that I would drown my baby or never be able to get her fully clean.  I bought the Puj tub when it came out years ago and have never looked back!  Perfect for bathing a squirmy, slippery baby comfortably and safely in any sink.  Plus, the company’s founder is my darling friend Katie who is both sweet and a powerhouse lady boss.
  4. Nesting Days Baby Carrier – There are a million and one reasons to wear your baby, and about as many ways to do it!  But my favorite way, especially in the early days, is with a soft cotton carrier.  The Nesting Days carrier mimics a traditional fabric wrap carrier, only without all the fabric and all the wrapping!  It’s especially designed to be used for skin-to-skin carrying with your new baby so it actually functions as a tank top, with easy nursing access and a fabric panel around your middle to hold you in and for modesty.  Brilliant!!
  5. Muslin Swaddle Blanket by Loved by Hannah & Eli – I’m in LOVE with this cute shop’s Mama & Baby Bear line…and their muslin swaddle blanket is to die for! Muslin swaddles are the perfect thing for wrapping up a new babe without overheating them (seriously, we have like 10 of them), and maybe wrapping your wee one in a blanket that says “Sleepy Bear” will convince them to actually sleep 🙂
  6. Puj Splash, Newborn Bath Set – Another must-have from Puj, this bath set has everything you need to keep bath essentials organized and ready when you need them.  It includes a travel-sized infant bath, 3 super soft washcloths, a hooded towel (which hooks around your neck so it’s ready to go when you pull baby out!) and 3 hooks for hanging your tub and towel on the bathroom wall or door.  I love having a Puj tub in each of our upstairs bathrooms so I can bathe Alice anywhere without hauling stuff around.
  7. Pair of Freshly Picked moccasins – If you want your baby to have any hope of a stylish future, then he/she will have to have a pair of these iconic baby shoes (did you know they even carry Mary Janes and hard soled shoes now??).  As a mom who has bought (and thrown out) countless pairs of little kid shoes, let me just say…quality matters!  And Freshly Picked’s quality is unparalleled.
    Fine print:
     Only open to USA residents.  Winners of any giveaway which included Freshly Picked moccasins in the past 60 days are not eligible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The 4th Trimester: Leaving the House

Similar jeans – Gap and Kut from the Kloth (on sale!) || Top – Lush (my favorite and on sale!) || Similar Vest – Levi’s and Max Studio
|| Slip-ons – Caslon (so comfy!!) || Watch – Michael Kors || Sunglasses – Amazon || Similar Tote – Sole Society || Earrings – Nickel & Suede

Our little Miss Alice is 2.5 weeks old now, which means that while my body is still nowhere near normal-looking yet, I’ve had to start leaving the house and wearing something other than pajamas – boo!!  I told Luke this last week that I’ve been feeling so great this recovery, every day I’m torn between getting up and scrubbing my dirty house or just taking one more day to lounge around in sweats and snuggle my babe.  It’s a struggle!

It’s hard to be both patient and forgiving with your postpartum body, especially while trying to look decent.  I’ve collected a few tricks over the years for embracing this fourth trimester, while still feeling confident enough to be seen in public.  Here are a few of my favorite items for flattering those extra lumps and bumps; and remember, a lot of the clothes that worked during the first (and early second) trimester, will work again after baby!

  1.  Mid-rise jeans and high-rise leggings: that soft and squishy post-baby belly is gonna feel much more comfortable tucked into some high-rise pants, rather than spilling over a waistband that stops at your hips.  Leggings are stretchy and forgiving so I like to go with the highest waistband I can find, but with jeans I prefer mid-rise since your waist and hips are kind of disproprotionate right after having a baby.  For example, right now I have about 5-6 inches to lose around my waist but only 2-3 around my hips.  That makes it difficult to find super high rise jeans that fit right. The boyfriend-style I’m wearing in these pics have been a favorite of mine for after the past 2-3 pregnancies (they’re about 2 sizes bigger than what I usually wear).
  2. Long, flowy polyester-blend tops: luckily for us new mamas, loose tops are in right now!  But beware of boxy and cropped varieties which don’t do round tummies and ample bosoms any favors.  And 100% cotton tees, while comfy, tend to cling to belly squish which is less flattering.  The top I’m wearing in these pics has been the BEST for most of pregnancy and now the post-partum period.  I have it in 4 colors!
  3. Vests, cardigans and jackets: these types of outerwear are key for adding an extra element of style, while camoflauging weight around the middle.  If I had more of them, I’d wear a vest every single day!  It helps dress up even the most boring of jean/tee momiforms and helps break up the wide expanse that is a post-partum nursing chest. You all know what I’m talking about.
  4. Good-fitting bra & underwear: do yourself a huge favor and buy new lingerie for this period of life! There’s nothing quite so awful as trying to squeeze a newly post-partum booty into old bikini briefs that you wore 30 pounds ago.  Don’t do that to yourself!  Buy some nice, high-waisted granny panties in an ample size and enjoy life 🙂 Ditto for a good nursing bra.  Nobody will know if you’re wearing panties 4 sizes bigger than you usually do…and the comfort factor is more than worth it!

In the end, just try to enjoy this newborn phase of life as much as possible!  Sure, you’ve got lumps and stretch marks and rolls in places you never did before…but you also have a perfect new baby to feed and cuddle and love on.  So put on your stretchy pants, eat a couple of cookies and relax.  You’ve earned it!!

Welcome Baby Alice!

Alice Jayne Wiscombe
February 21, 2017; 12:13am
7lbs, 7oz; 21.5″

It’s been a week now since baby Alice joined our family and this 8 kids thing is no joke!  I think it’ll take a few weeks before I start figuring out how to balance the basics of mothering this brood, getting essential homeschool stuff done, digging my house out from under the mess and blogging.

With each baby comes the necessity of streamlining tasks, rebalancing priorities and relegating the unessential to the sideline.  It’s HARD, I already know this.  In my perfectly controlled world, I’d give my housework as much attention as my own self care but sometimes you just have to focus on the very essentials: feeding yourself and your kids, giving them love and making sure you stay sane.  Everything else can learn to wait.

If you caught my FB Live video about Alice’s birth then you already know the drama behind her big world entry!  Birth never ceases to amaze me, and as much as I’ve loved my peaceful, uncomplicated home births, I can very acutely see God’s hand in the others as well, and this birth was no exception.

My technical “due date” was February 9th, but I always go late so I wasn’t terribly surprised when 41 weeks came and went.  The whole weekend before she was born, I was in really easy early labor and even went to bed with some strong regular contractions once or twice, but they always went away sometime during the night.  By Monday (President’s Day) I was getting really frustrated and was tired of being pregnant.  It was also Luke’s last day home before the start of a new week and I just didn’t have the energy to take care of kids by myself the next day.

I decided to take castor oil that morning (despite hating it the last time I took it!  Desperate times…) and it started working several hours after that.  At about 4pm, Luke and I decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood to get things moving.  I only made it about 100 yards from my front door, however, before I felt a gush of fluid.  I was hoping it was amniotic fluid but when I looked down, I realized it was bright red blood.

My midwife suggested we go to OB triage at the hospital to get checked out and after hours of waiting around (and a reassuring peek at a healthy, happy baby), we finally got to see a doctor.  I’d never seen this OB before but I immediately liked him.  Even after I experienced more bleeding in traige, he said that they still weren’t sure what it was but that he’d work with me on getting the birth I wanted.

At this point I really didn’t feel good about going home (and neither did my midwife who assured me that if the bleeding continued, we’d just end up right back at the hospital) and so I chose to stay and be gently induced in order to keep an eye on the bleeding and the baby.

We used a combination of a foley bulb and breaking my bag of waters to get things going. All this time, we continued to see bleeding and finally surmised that there was probably a placental abruption going on (in other words, the placenta was starting to pull away from the uterine wall).  The dangers of this are twofold: excessive bleeding for mom and the potential loss of oxygen to the baby.  We talked briefly about a c-section, but given my history of a past cesarean and all those VBACS, we decided to try everything we could to avoid surgery.  The OB said that as long as baby’s heartbeat looked good, we’d be OK in continuing with a vaginal delivery.

Once my water broke, however, things started moving fast.  The bleeding kept coming and my contractions got really hard.  Within about a half hour I was really working through labor, and during one particularly intense contraction, things got really weird.  My midwife said the baby’s heartrate dropped really low and they moved me onto my side.  Right then there was a HUGE gush of blood, I started to feel weak, and my vision went snowy…I didn’t even really have the mental capacity to work out what was happening, but my blood pressure had plummeted (at one point it was down to 55/25!).  I lost consciousness briefly but they gave me some O2 and I came back pretty quickly.  I clung to that oxygen like crazy, because it was the only thing that made me feel like I wasn’t going to die!

Another 15 minutes or so of contractions and I started feeling “pushy”.   I got on my hands and knees and let myself start pushing her down; then once I felt baby’s head crowning I just went crazy pushing because I knew I didn’t have the energy for more than one push!  After just a few moments, out she came, bright red and wailing like crazy.

They started cleaning me up and handed me the baby and she was so beautiful!  But I wasn’t out of the woods yet.  I was so, SO tired that it was hard to even hold her.  The doctor went to town trying to get my placenta out because I was still bleeding heavily and that was almost as painful as labor!  Once that was out, they gave me something to stop the bleeding and made sure I was getting plenty of fluids.

At one point, while I was holding the baby, all of a sudden everyone was calling my name.  I opened my eyes and everyone was staring at me and the nurse was holding my baby.  I was really confused about that since I didn’t remember handing Alice over, but then I realized I’d passed out again and almost dropped her!  Other than low BP and exhaustion, the other side effect of the hemorrhaging was cold.  I was so, SO cold.  As they were cleaning me up, I just started shivering so hard I could barely talk.  At that point they decided I needed blood and put in an order for 2 units.

Once I had the first unit in me, I felt like a new person.  I had energy to talk and hold the baby and generally be so glad that everything worked out as well as it did!  I’m so grateful that we didn’t end up with a cesarean (I’m not sure how anyone recovers from surgery with a whole passel of little ones at home!) but even more grateful that Alice tolerated labor, that it was a quick labor and most of all that I followed my intuition and didn’t go back home to have her.

A lot of people think it’s strange and even dangerous to have a baby at home…but my decision to do so is always accompanied by lots of prayer and listening.  The interesting thing about this birth is that even though I originally felt good about a homebirth, as the time got closer and closer, I started to feel some vague misgivings.  Every time I’d look over at the birth tub in my living room I’d get anxious.  I thought it was because of Marilyn’s birth (the pushing part of her labor was HARD!) and so I did more hypnobirthing and meditation and prayer…and yet the nervousness didn’t go away.  I didn’t feel fully at ease until we checked into the hospital.  At that point, even though there was a chance my baby could be in danger, I felt totally comfortable with the resources there and knew that the outcome would be a good one.

Birth is usually the first important experience we undergo as mothers and we are completely entitled to receiving revelation (or intuition or whatever you want to call it) for ourselves and our babies.  Being a mom is often a scary road, but we’re never completely alone!  The moment when a new life comes into the world is truly a special one, and I’m so grateful I’ve been able to experience it over and over again.

Nursery & Toddler Room Reveal!

Get all the details on this fun gender neutral kids’ room redo…plus my unsponsored review of an online decorating service!

Bunk Beds – Wayfair (awesome quality and a GREAT deal!)|| Crib – Babyletto || Dresser – Craigslist || Rolling Cart – Ikea ||
Black Shelves – Target || Rocking Chair – Amazon ||Black & White pillows – handmade from this curtain || Curtain Rod – Wayfair ||
Pink Fleece Blanket – Wayfair (SO cozy!!) || Gold Task Lamp – Target || Hanging Pendant – Home Goods (similar) || Curtains – Wayfair || Crib Sheet – Target || White comforters – Walmart || Rug – Urban Outfitters || White Faceted Vase – Lulu & Georgia ||
White Frames – Target || Artificial Plant & stand – Target || Ribbon Mobile – Etsy || Art prints – All from this Rifle Paper Co. calendar ||
Quilt – Handmade (details here) || Clock – Target

I’ll be honest: home decor is not my strongest suit.  I know what I like, and I’m fairly picky at that, but I just can’t seem to recreate what I see on Pinterest in real life!  I’ve wanted our home to look put together for years, but since we’re on the track to moving in the next year or so, I’ve sadly stopped putting forth too much effort.

That is, until I got pregnant with this baby and we realized that we needed to do some rearranging in order to make this 4 bedroom house fit 10 bodies!  The big boys are settled and happy in our basement bedroom, while the 3 big girls share a full-twin bunk bed in their room and Mimi has her own room (perks of being a baby).

Poor Finn, however had simply been relegated to a crib mattress on the floor of the girls’ room…but let’s be honest, he ended up in our bed more often than not!  I knew that he needed to move in with Mimi, but that it needed to be a special place where he could feel grown up and important.

I also began reading reviews of Decorist late last year and thought an online decorating service sounded fantastic, especially if I could snag it on sale.  I stalked their site for Black Friday deals and grabbed a room re-do for just $150!  That was all the motivation I needed to get started.

The pre-design process was very simple and pretty fun!  I submitted measurements and pictures of the room, as well as a pinterest board full of ideas.  I also included a list of what furnishings I wanted to keep for the room (Mimi’s crib, a light fixture, basket and dresser), and submitted my (very low) budget of $1-2K.

My designer, Becky, was super nice, friendly and down to earth and assured me she could totally work with my budget.  We discussed how the room needed to be gender neutral and include a set of bunk beds so that Mimi would have a big bed to grow into.  She also created a private Pinterest board for us to collaborate on and toss ideas back and forth.  That was my favorite part!

After a few weeks, she came back with 2 initial digital designs that I then weighed in on and told her what I did and didn’t love…this was my favorite of the two! (I really wanted to go with that pink on the walls, but alas, my 3 year old boy would’ve had something to say about that.)


About 1 week later she came back with the final design, which I again tweaked just a bit.  The cool thing is that she sourced and linked to all the products she used in the design, and you can even order the products through Decorist instead of shopping all over the internet, which I did for a few things.

As you can see, I ended up doing a few things differently from the final design, due to budget & practicality’s sake, but I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  Finn also loves his new top bunk (complete with Star Wars sheets conveniently hidden under a pretty white comforter) and he and Mimi have been getting along swimmingly in the same room!  It makes me SO happy to have at least one room that’s totally done and fun to look at.

All in all, I would definitely use Decorist and Becky again, especially at that sale price! Although I probably wouldn’t order directly through Decorist again…I found out the hard way that most items ordered through them are final sale and even if you can return something, you only have 14 days.  I didn’t love the colors of the Lulu & Georgia rug in the final design once I got it, but after we got through Christmas and I decided to return, it was too late.  Kind of a bummer to get stuck with an expensive rug I didn’t want!

*Update: Decorist did end up working with me on returning the rug –  but I still think a 2 week return window is crazy short!

So, what do you guys think of the final product?  Have you ever considered using an online designer?

Check out this collection of amazing boy-friendly rooms (including my design) to see more darling ideas!

Leggings: A Maternity Essential

leggings-tunic-maternity

leggings-tunic

fall-style-pregnancy

casual-fall-look

hat-fall-style

Similar Tunic || Leggings: BP || Similar Loafers || Hat: Similar and love this one! || Watch: Michael Kors ||Earrings: Nickel & Suede

It’s now officially cool here in Arizona…and it’s about freaking time!  Now that I want to wear pants all the time, leggings are definitely on major rotation.   As in, like, every day.

I posted a few tips about wearing leggings responsibly (haha!  I love that term) last year here, so check that post out if you have hesitations about wearing stretchy pants in public.  After swapping out my tunic and loafers for longs sweaters and booties, I plan on wearing this for look for the forseeable future!

*Note: I actually forgot about the pictures from this shoot for a couple months…don’t worry, the current 30 week baby bump is MUCH bigger!  And so is baby Mimi…why do they have to grow so fast??

The Induction: Making an Informed Decision

induction-how-to-decide

Hey all!  I’ve got another birth post for you today!  Being pregnant means I’ve obviously often got babies on the brain and since birth is the culmination (and finale!) of 9 months of growing a sweet baby, it’s probably what I think about the most often.

Today I want to talk inductions: the what, the why and the how!  Just like all the other birth interventions I’ve previously written about, inducing labor comes with benefits as well as some risks.   Hopefully this helps you, or someone you know, be as prepared as possible to choose (or refuse) an induction.

Click read more!

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DIY Diaper Caddy: Simplify Motherhood

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias

diaper-baby-crib-organizer-hero

Hey mamas!  Today’s post is all about simplifying life as a busy, crazy insane mom….specifically, diaper time!  Plus a super easy sewing tutorial!  Click read more below!

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You’re Not a Good Mom…You’re a GREAT One

family-pics-mom-baby

I’ve got a deep(ish) motherhood post for you today, because so much mom-stuff has been on my mind lately.  These posts can get really wordy though, and so I’m excited to be working on some brand spanking new videos for the blog!  I can’t wait to share more mom-musings and DIY tutorials via video because they’re just so much fun! (But also so, SO much work…yikes!).  Here’s hoping they’ll be ready soon!

Before our France trip last month, I’d found myself turning into a pretty mean mom: there was lots of yelling, impatience, frustration and I was really slow to appreciate my kids.  We all get this way sometimes, and for me as a full-time SAHM (especially one who doesn’t send her kids to school…believe me, there are days I WISH I did – haha!) it can be really difficult to pull myself out of that funk.  Summers are especially hard on us here in Phoenix cause it’s so darn HOT and everyone’s cranky and miserable and stuck inside with too much screen time; i. e. recipe for disaster.

Then Luke and I took a 10 day trip away from everyone and I came back with a fresh perspective.  Life didn’t get any easier (coming back to real life is always an adjustment, especially after a selfish vacay where you only take care of yourself!), but I noticed that my mindset had shifted, just the tiniest bit.

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