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.

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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.

Black and White and Red

Dress – H&M old (similar herehere; maternity version here) || Bag – J. Crew (other cute color-blocked option!) ||
Heels – Payless (similar here)

There’s no way around it  – it’s hard to feel cute at the tail end of pregnancy.  But if anything will help, it’s a fun pair of red high heels! Fitted dresses are also about the only thing I wear anymore and I give any comfy, knit version two thumbs up.  If you’re dressing a bump like me, then knit tunics and dresses are the one thing you can almost always get away with buying non-maternity because they’re so stretchy!

Here’s hoping there are only a few more days of dressing a bump instead of a baby!

If You Love Them, Leave Them

Getting away from the kids and house can do wonders for any mom’s soul.
If you need a recharge, chances are good maybe you need an escape!


If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I recently spent a few days in sunny, colorful Palm Springs for Altitude Summit (also known as Alt), a conference for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers.  I’d been looking forward to mixing, mingling and learning from other amazing creatives at this conference for almost a year…but it was only a couple months ago that I realized I’d be 38+ weeks pregnant at the time!

I decided to take the risk and make the four hour drive with some friends (including another very pregnant blogger) and I’m so glad I did!  You all know how passionate I am about taking time for yourself as a mom and homemaker and even though this was technically a “business” trip, it was just what I needed to recharge.

Moms spend their days pouring their hearts and souls into their children’s lives and their homes, it’s only right that we take time for ourselves sometimes.  Whether that comes in the form of a weekly art class, a lunch date with friends or a weekend away with the hubs, the important thing is that we never forget to take care of ourselves first and foremost.

I’ve found that I love being productive during my alone time by working on my blog or creating something of beauty.  At Alt, I met and saw women (and a couple brave men!) who were sheer powerhouses in their businesses and creative ventures.  Stylish fashion bloggers, savvy PR and marketing managers, creative Instagram moguls, you name it!  They were all in the business of kicking butt and taking names.

Every one of these women had taken something they were passionate about and turned it into a a fulfilling career that they were pursuing regardless of all the other obligations hanging over their heads.

While I’ll always consider the time invested in my children and husband the best use of my time, I remind myself regularly that by developing my own talents, hobbies and interests, I’m becoming a better mother and wife to those I love.  And I’m confident that our eventual transition into the “empty nester” phase of life will be a lot less jarring if we’re already pursuing some of our own passions.

What do you do to make yourself feel recharged and ready to take on the tasks of motherhood?

The Magic of Black



Dress (worn as top): Socialite on sale! (similar) || Faux-Leather Jacket: Topshop || Leggings: Zella ( and these are my maternity favorites) || Booties: BP Faren (I wear these every day!!) || Necklace: Anthropologie || Sunglasses: Duduma (in pink)

This last month of pregnancy is hitting me hard lately and it’s a rare day that I don’t plop on the couch for an hour or so to just chill.  I don’t know if  it’s the chaos of all the other kids, Mimi getting into a naughty stage (that kid is into everything!) or just my “advanced maternal age” 🙂 but I’m pooped!

I did manage to get off the couch to share this look with you because it’s made up of my maternity faves!  Now that I’m as big as a house, only a handful of items are comfy enough to qualify for space in my closet and leggings and tunics continue to make the cut. Notice the abundance of black in this otherwise color-loving mama’s wardrobe.  There just ain’t another color that minimizes a belly (and hips, and thighs, etc) like black!

But my latest faves are this jacket and these booties.  The jacket caught my eye a while ago and I couldn’t get it out of my head.  I bought it right after Christmas and wear it multiple times a week – it’s so cute and warm!  I’m usually a medium (without the huge belly) and bought a size 8, for reference.

The booties are the result of literally months and months of looking for and trying on shoes.  I’ve been looking for a great pair of low heeled, black booties since last winter and can’t tell you how many pairs I tried on.  These fit all the criteria: low enough to wear with long pants, interesting cut-out and mesh detail, low heel and super comfy!  Bonus: they can be slipped on and off without bending over.  Score!

My other top three bootie contenders were the Caslon Tara, the BP Tripp and the Sam Edelman Petty Chelsea.  I seriously could’ve been happy with any of these, but the BP Faren were/are perfection!

Top 5 Maternity Essentials

Overwhelmed by all the pregnancy changes your body’s going through?  
Get a headstart on a great maternity wardrobe with these 5 fashion essentials!

I’m a HUGE fan of changes, goals and fresh starts so the new year is one of my favorite times!

I also love making lists for everything and fashion is no exception.  I find that I shop much more intentionally and purposefully when I know exactly what my closet needs and what I should look for.

Today I’ve got a list of my 5 favorite maternity fashion essentials to keep you covered and comfortable for the entire 9 months.  Pregnancy is a great time to experiment with a capsule wardrobe because it can be more difficult to find things that fit, and because you only have to dress your cute bump for less than a year!


  1.  Leggings: Find yourself 2-3 pairs of comfy, stretchy leggings and they’ll be wardrobe staples until (and after!) your sweet baby is born.  My favorite non-maternity versions  are the BP leggings pictured here (available in 3 colors) as well as this pair of black Zella leggings.  I’m absolutely in love with these Ingrid & Isabel maternity ones…I want to live in them!  The great thing about leggings is that you can often wear non-maternity versions and they’re great for pairing with your non-maternity tunics and dresses as well.

  2. Knit Dresses:
    If you find yourself pregnant during the warmer months of the year or live in a temperate climate, knit dresses will be your best friend!  They’re stretchy, flattering and you just can’t beat one step dressing.  This lace up Topshop dress is on regular rotation over here and here’s a link to lots more maternity options.  If you’re concerned about camouflaging lumps and bumps, read on for my last maternity essential. 
  3. High Quality Maternity Denim:
    It can be hard to justify spending a chunk of change on pants that you’ll only wear for 9 months but hear me out!  If there’s one time in your life you want clothes to fit well and be comfortable, pregnancy is the time.  Premium denim (like these amazing Madewell jeans) will give you a better fit and do a much better job of stretching with you during your 9 month adventure.And if you’re planning on having any more children, you’ll wear a great pair of jeans into the ground.

    Finally, a good stretchy waistband will be worth its weight in gold in the 4th trimester when your waistline is nowhere in sight but you still want to look and feel good.  

  4. Lightweight outerwear:
    Long cardigans and vests are my secret weapon this pregnancy!  They help stretch a capsule wardrobe by adding a cute layering option to just about any outfit and they cover any squishy bits around your hips or bottom.  The black cardigan pictured above is a ridiculously comfortable fleece version – I wear it almost every day (plus it’s on sale!).
  5. Knit Pencil Skirts:
    Again, knit anything is key during pregnancy.  I love any excuse to look a little bit nicer when hauling around a big baby bump and elastic waistbands are the only way to go.  I’ve never worn maternity versions, I usually just size up skirts like these for pregnancy.If I had to add one more important essential it would be over-the-belly underwear!  (You can thank me later for not taking a picture of this one for you).  I know they look and even feel kinda silly, but they are THE best way to keep any lumps and bumps all smoothed out.  I never wear a fitted dress in pregnancy without these!
    Good luck shopping for this exciting time in your life; embrace your changing shape and enjoy growing your little munchkin!

Maternity DIY Roundup

If you’re expecting a baby, and running out of cute outfit ideas, check out these amazing maternity tutorials!

maternity-diy-roundup

Being pregnant is such an exciting and wonderful time of life…until nothing fits!  If you’re loathe to spend money on stuff you’ll only wear for 6 months (or can’t find anything you love) click on over to some of these amazing maternity DIY’s!  They’re all free, simple tutorials and will have you feeling like a million bucks in no time.

  1.  Ruffle Hem Shift Dress by Merrick’s Art
  2. Flutter Sleeve Dress by Whisk ‘Em
  3. DIY Maternity Jeans by What’s Up Moms
  4. Chartreuse Easter Dress by Elle Apparel Blog
  5. Quick Criss Cross Maternity Top by Cotton and Curls
  6. Maternity Dress by The Sara ProjectHappy sewing, mamas!

Flowy Dresses, Earth Tones

customizable-dress

custom-womens-clothing

eshakti-dress

eshakti-dress-maternity

online-womens-custom-dress

Dress: eShakti (I customized mine with shorter sleeves for our warm weather) || Watch: Arvo || Bag: Target Similar options || Wedges: Forever 21 Similar Options ||Necklace: Anthropologie Similar

Shopping trips for myself should really be called “If Only…” trips: “If only this were longer”, “If only this had sleeves”, “If only this had a different neckline…” and on and on!

That’s why I was blown away when I hear about eShakti.com‘s customizable clothing…eShakti is an online women’s clothing retailer that customizes ALL of their clothes to your specifications!  You can change length, sleeves, neckline and other details to make sure you get the style and fit you really want.  It’s absolutely brilliant!!  Learn all about how eShakti works here!

In other news, this season is really a GREAT time to be pregnant or have a few extra pounds hanging around.  Flowy dresses are everywhere and are SO comfy.  This dusty green color is another of my fave Fall colors – and it pairs perfectly with the other hot colors this season: pale pink, merlot and navy; I love them all!

What color combo are you loving the most right now?

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??