Flowy Dresses, Earth Tones

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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

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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??

Date night for Fall

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**GIVEAWAY CLOSED!  Congrats Heather P.!**

Hey all!  After loving this cute dress from Pink Blush Maternity earlier this summer, I was excited to shop their actual maternity section when this bump popped!  Anybody else have the darndest time finding flattering, affordable maternity clothes?

This time, I picked a cute sequined tunic that is perfect for date night or any time I want to dress up just the teensiest bit.  It’s lightweight which is great for fall in Arizona, but can be layered when it gets colder (I can’t wait to try it with leather leggings and boots!).

I really love buying pregnancy clothes that can still be used after baby is born since it seems such a waste to buy stuff I love, and then shove it under my bed for years.  Although admittedly, I’ve had more opportunities to wear maternity stuff than most people!

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Tunic: Pink Blush Maternity || Maternity denim: Madewell || Heels: Justfab ||
Bag: J Crew || Watch: Arvo || Necklace: Anthropologie || Sunglasses

A note about pregnant bodies: Guys – I SO get the angst that comes with watching your youthful, energetic body stretch and expand to accommodate growing a little baby.  It’s really hard sometimes to deal with these changes and maintain confidence in yourself and your looks (ask me how it feels to take regular pictures of myself and post them to the internet – yikes).

But in the end, the sacrifice of growing a baby is SO worth it, we all know that!  Just be patient with your body (including the weird emotions and crazy cravings that may accompany it) and embrace your growing shape.  Don’t feel like you can never look nice just because you’re uncomfortable or don’t feel like yourself.  Spend a little money to outfit your new figure and flaunt it.  Taking some extra time on yourself while pregnant can do a lot to boost your self-esteem and make you extra grateful for the miracle of pregnancy!

Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for some free cute clothes!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if all else fails, just start breaking out ridiculous dance moves…

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Check out this great link up post for some more Fall/Winter sweater inspiration!

This post created in partnership with PinkBlush.  All opinions are my own.  Previous winners of PinkBlush gift cards in the past 3 months are not eligible for giveaway.

 

DIY Flutter Sleeve Dress

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Well, I’m officially pregnant enough that it’s getting difficult to dress this bump.  You’d think I’d have this great wardrobe of stylish maternity clothes now that I’m on my 7th go around but, alas…my under-the-bed box of big-girl clothes was pretty sad looking when I opened it up a couple months ago.

Sundays are especially hard because I want to look nice for church…and not just squeezed into a too-small T-shirt dress.  I went rummaging through the fabric stash a while ago and found this floral from Joann Fabrics I’d bought ages ago.  I was saving it for the perfect project and I’m thrilled with how this flutter sleeve maternity dress turned out.  It’d be perfect for just about any body shape, pregnant or not!

The tutorial is pretty simple, and I’ve included a free pattern for the flutter sleeves.  They’re a little trickier to draft than your typical sleeve but they lend so much more to a basic dress silhouette.  Read on for the full tutorial!

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Knit dresses: a maternity essential

Comfy knit dresses are the perfect maternity staple!

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Just like this knit pencil skirt, I’m currently collecting only cute, belly-friendly pieces that can be worn a ton of different ways.  Knit dresses fit the bill and mean I can stay comfortable without sacrificing variety!  Cause feeling fat AND having nothing to wear is just adding insult to injury.

This one (non-maternity) is cute enough to be worn alone, but the layering possibilities are endless.  You can add cute sneaks and a vest, a cardigan and booties, button down tied around the waist or scarf and wedges for 3 separate and completely different looks.  I LOVE any piece that lets me prolong how long I can wear my fave non-maternity clothes.  I plan to live in this one until February!

Dress: Love, Fire (comes in 2 colors!) More great dress options here, here and here || Shoes: Madewell (on major sale!) || Hat: BP (Similar) || Watch: Arvo || Similar Bracelet (love this one!) || Similar Clutch || Lipstick: Jouer

Layers and Lipstick Linkup – Fall Colors!

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I’m excited and honored to be co-hosting this week’s Layers & Lipstick Linkup with The J Petite and Pucker Up Style!  I’m a huge fan of both these amazing style blogs, so check them out if you’re not already a follower.

And don’t forget to linkup your favorite Fall color looks below!

There are so many great Fall colors on trend this season…but if I had to pick one as my favorite, it’d probably be blush pink.  It’s typically such a Spring-y fresh color which is why I love it’s surprising arrival this season, especially in combination with all the other darker Fall colors.  Here I paired the same distressed jeans and baby pink tee with a few other cool weather colors, namely camel, wine and olive.  I love them all equally!

Which color combo is your favorite??

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How to survive morning sickness

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I haven’t done much pregnancy updating around here lately…but I do on Instagram so come follow me if you don’t already! (@bonniewhiskem)  Things are pretty similar this time around to most of my previous pregnancies except my morning sickness lasted quite a bit longer; I usually feel better right about the beginning of the second trimester but this time I wasn’t out of the woods until about 18 weeks.  Less fun!

7 pregnancies have certainly forced me develop some helpful habits for combating nausea and so I’m sharing those today!  Everyone’s experience with nausea during pregnancy is SO different: some women only experience at specific times of day (“morning” sickness is definitely a misnomer), some women feel sick during their ENTIRE pregnancy, and still others never get sick at all.  Regardless of the timing and severity of your pregnancy nausea, hopefully some of these tips will help you survive even when your current favorite position is hugging the toilet bowl!  

Click read more…

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Mini Dresses for Fall

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The Gift of a Body

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Hey all!  I’ve had some deep thoughts swirling the last few days that I really want to share with you all.  I’ve been ruminating on our miraculous bodies and how we act, think and speak about them.

If you’re a woman, then chances are REALLY good you’ve experienced some body angst.  Our world is just too obsessed with physical perfection for any of us to grow up in it without feeling a little (or a LOT of) insecurity surrounding our looks.  Deep down we all know that it isn’t right to feel this way, but most of us aren’t really sure how to overcome it.  I’ve been blessed with a few years of experience and gotten a fair amount of use out of my body (bearing 7 kids is a fair amount, right??) that I feel blessed to have overcome some struggles in this regard.  I want to share with you a few steps I think we can all embrace when it comes to how we view our bodies.

The first thing I want to really emphasize is this: you are NOT your body.  I believe that everyone has a physical body that houses a spiritual soul and that our bodies are only a portion of who we are.  In fact, it’s a portion that we have little control over.  We can’t choose how tall we are, or our hair or eye color (even though we may try!) or the basic shape of our bodies.  We can’t choose whether or not we tan or get freckles, or whether or not we need glasses or braces.  And yet, all too often, the world judges us as if these physical features DEFINE us.  They most certainly do not!  It can be hard to let go of past trauma regarding our bodies; abuse, taunting, snide comments or insecurities can be deep seated and very damaging.  But it’s important to remember that these things are not who we are.  We are more than our bodies!!

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Secondly, we can influence the world’s obsession with bodies for good.  I am sad and ashamed to admit that a person’t body shape used to be the very first thing I noticed about someone.  I didn’t mean to do this, and I have worked hard to stop this habit, but it was an automatic reaction I acquired after years of being obsessed with my own outward appearance.  I think our greatest influence in this area begins with our daughters and sons.  Did you know that what you say about your OWN body can influence your children just as much as what you say about THEIRS?  None of us would even consider insulting our daughters’ bodies and yet we often think nothing of ridiculing our own bodies in front of our kids.  If we want them to respect their own bodies and those of others, we have to model respect for our own.  Luke and I have talked a lot about this and have decided on some basic rules for our house: we obviously don’t call anyone “fat” but we also avoid the word “skinny”, and instead we focus on words like “strong” and “healthy”.  We want our kids to focus on how they feel, instead of how they look.

On that note, I’ll share with you that I’ve made a personal decision that I won’t alter my body surgically.  This is obviously not a very popular decision in some circles and I have lots of friends and family that have made other decisions in this regard…this is in no way meant to shame or judge anyone for their decisions!  But, I personally would only choose this route for purely selfish reasons, and so I’ve decided that it’s not the path for me.  I love the idea of embracing every stage of life, no matter what it looks like (and trust me, my abs don’t look like much anymore!) and not fighting the inevitable aging and sagging process.  It’s just a losing game, after all.  Again, I am not aiming to make anyone else feel badly about choosing plastic surgery and I completely understand reconstructive surgeries…I just don’t plan on any myself.

View More: http://redpoppyphoto.pass.us/wiscombe-family

The next step is to truly, TRULY appreciate our bodies.  This is so hard, I get it!  You just want to lose 15 pounds or really tone up your rear end.  Or stop having people ask you if you’re pregnant when your baby is 4!!  But here’s the thing…our bodies will never measure up to the world’s standard of perfection; it’s ever-changing and it’s just too impossible to reach.  But our bodies are so incredible! It is truly a divine miracle that two miniscule cells can combine to create the jaw-dropping complexity of the human body.  When something does go wrong with our bodies, we often marvel at how many minutes, days, and decades our bodies function normally without our even giving it a second thought.  Now, I am speaking as someone who has not had to endure any serious bodily trials  (except for one not-so-fun altercation with an open flame in my youth…yikes!); my body is whole and for that I am forever grateful.  But perhaps those with serious scars, lost limbs, death-defying illnesses and other broken bodies can attest even more intently how wonderful it is to have a body that can do what we need it to do.

A little disclaimer at this point: I obviously take time on my appearance; I wear makeup, sometimes color my hair and really enjoy dressing fashionably.  Some might argue that this is vain and that I shouldn’t need these things if I truly appreciate my body as is.  And they may have a point!  But doing these things actually does help me appreciate my body, and I really try hard to strike a balance between working on the exterior and on the interior.  On this note, showing gratitude for our bodies begins with treating it right.  If we don’t love how we feel, we can make changes!  We can eat better, we can exercise, we can get more sleep.  These things will help us to maximize our bodies’ potential and realize all the good they can do for us.  We have so many resources available to us in the form of good foods, holistic remedies and medications; we should all fight for good health!

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Lastly, if you still struggle with hard feelings towards your body, find something that it can do for you!  Make a goal to run a race, participate in a competition, or just go outside and jump on the trampoline with your kids.  While for me, pregnancy and birth have been the turning points in how I view and appreciate my body, many women are terrified of motherhood simply because of what it means for their appearance.  I can think of nothing more tragic than a woman missing out on being a mom, only because she fell prey to the world’s definition of beauty.  Flabby skin, stretch marks and extra pounds are nothing in comparison with the ability to conceive, carry, deliver and breastfeed a perfect tiny human; and while not everyone gets the chance to have these experiences, they have forever changed how I perceive my body!

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The VBAC: Making An Informed Decision

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Hey all!  I’m excited to be back with another post in my series on birth!  I’ve previously written about epidurals and c-sections and today, we’re talking about VBACS.

The term “VBAC” stands for “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean” and as the rate of c-sections continues to climb in many countries, so does talk of VBACS.  Moms everywhere are asking things like, “Is a VBAC safe?”  “Is it necessary or desirable?”  “Am I eligible to have a vaginal birth after a c-section?” and “What are the risks?”

I hope this post can answer some of those questions and inspire anyone with a history of a cesarean to become more informed and ready to face future births!

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As discussed in my C-section post, we know that cesareans are an unnatural birth outcome and present risks to both baby and mother.  That being said, just because you’ve had a c-section before (or even multiple!) does NOT mean you necessarily have to have a repeat surgery in the future.  I remember grieving after Liam’s birth because I knew I wanted a large family, yet I couldn’t envision putting my body through 4 or more cesareans.  Luckily, I found some great resources regarding VBACS and have been able to find supportive providers who allowed me to try for the births I had hoped for.  I’ve since delivered 6 babies vaginally after that initial cesarean with no complications.

If it is a safe option for you, there’s a good chance you can have one!

While my cesarean was unexpected, emergent and traumatic, I understand that not all c-sections end up that way.  Some are planned, peaceful and wonderful experiences.  If you were lucky enough to have one of these, you might be wondering why anyone would choose a vaginal birth over a planned cesarean.  Barring any life-threatening need for a cesarean , vaginal births are desirable for a number of reasons:

  1.  No surgical risks such as blood loss, side effects from anesthesia, adhesions (cases where the scar tissue attaches itself to other organs), blood clots, extended recovery time, etc.
  2. Less traumatic on mother and baby: c-section babies often have fluid in their lungs, trouble breathing and other complications.
  3. If labor is allowed to begin naturally at the end of pregnancy, there’s no risk of accidentally delivering a pre-term baby.  The bodies of both mother and baby work in tandem to signal when baby is ready to be born; it’s not usually wise to forcefully extract a baby before labor begins.
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On the flip-side, some of you with previously negative c-section experiences might be wondering why anyone would WANT to undergo another surgery.  Your doctor might choose to surgically deliver your baby if your first cesarean was due to (or your current pregnancy includes):

  1. Eclampsia
  2. Serious medical problems with mother or baby
  3. Poorly positioned placenta or unusual bleeding
  4. Any other life-threatening emergency

As discussed in the c-section post, some less clear-cut reasons for an additional surgery include a baby estimated to be larger than usual, a breech baby or a mother with a small pelvis.  These DO NOT always necessitate an automatic cesarean.  Do some research, get a second (or third!) opinion, pray/meditate, and follow your gut to make the best decision for you and your baby.

There can be risks associate with a VBAC as well.  The most dangerous (and one you’ll probably hear about most often) is the risk of uterine rupture.  The strain on a uterine scar during labor can sometimes cause it to reopen, and this usually has very serious results for mom and/or baby.  Luckily however, uterine rupture is very rare and occurs in right around .5% of laboring women who have had a previous cesearean (check out this great article for more details).

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There are TONS of amazing resources online regarding VBACS and how to decide whether one is right for you.  The VBAC Education Project is a great place to start.  The International Cesearean Awareness Network (ICAN) is another great place to learn more.  It’s difficult to even scratch the surface of all the great information these websites hold – be sure to check them out!

Lastly, I wanted to touch on the subject of homebirths and VBACS.  While there are still restrictions in many states regarding the ability to give birth at home after a cesarean, other states have now lifted bans and allow certified, licensed midwives to assist women attempting a VBAC in their home.  Three of my births occurred at home (all 3 technically considered VBACS) and I’m so grateful for these experiences!  I researched and prayed and listened and we decided that this choice would be the safest and the most peaceful for me and each of these babies.

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I believe that each woman is the most qualified to make these crucial decisions regarding the birth of her baby.  Regardless of what your birthing choices look like, it’s important to remember that you HAVE choices!  It can be both scary and empowering to face such important decisions, but they are the first of many you’ll need to make for your baby throughout his or her life.

You can do it!!

If you have any other questions about VBACS or want to hear more about my experiences, feel free to email me!  (whiskem {at} gmail {dot} com) I love talking birth and encouraging women to make informed decisions.

 

**Note: As I am not a medical professional, nothing in this post should be considered medical advice.  Please consult a qualified OB or midwife for more information about VBACS and to decide if it is the right option for you.