He's Here.

It's hard to believe but our sweet son Loyal Gideon arrived almost two months ago, August 12th, at 5:09PM! He weighed 7lb 1 oz, and was 20" long. We've been in the newborn fog of being half awake, half asleep at all times, but I wanted to share with you all the first photos I took of our son when he was a day old, and a little about his birth!

As with Imogen, my water broke early and my labor didn't start right away! I can't really complain though because even at just 38 weeks I was SUPER OVER being pregnant. Poor Josh had to live with me in Whine City USA for way too long. Whadda guy - best guy I've ever known, come to think of it!

Another funny thing about going into labor: it never really happens how you envision it. I mean maybe it does, but for me, it seems like whatever birth plan I have carefully drawn up gets turned on its head. With Imogen, I went into labor imagining this ethereal experience, after reading about these beautiful natural labors (Curse you, Ina May...). I practiced the Bradley method and brought battery operated candles and lavender oil and my pretty robe and pictured myself glowing and beautiful holding a tiny, perfect newborn at the end of a magical day. As it happened, I was holding a tiny, perfect newborn at the end of the day (or rather, TWO days), but I learned a couple of things about labor that I took with me this time.
1) Why the H would you bring friggin candles to a your birth? Like, you're going to be in the most pain of your life and you're like, QUICK TURN ON THE FORTY-TWO BATTERY OPERATED CANDLES SO I CAN CHILL. 
2) A couple of hours in and you're gonna rip that pretty robe off because it is HOT AND EVERYTHING BOTHERS YOU.
3) Don't even bother doing your makeup before hand because that ish is gonna melt off your face and you're gonna be a sweaty, racoon-eyed goon holding a baby in your photos (not that it matters, by that point).
4) Still bring the lavender oil. Thumbs up on that one.
5) That natural labor you dreamed about might take way too long and you're gonna have to succumb to drugs, and despite yourself, you are gonna LOVE IT once the epidural kicks in.

So, noting that last point, I firmly decided I wasn't going to be an idiot this time, and spend 26 hours in excruciating pain when I could just get an epidural. Logical, right? I thought so.

We checked into the hospital with fewer bags than before (note: like a hundred battery operated candles we didn't have to carry this go around), and I immediately made clear that we were going to plan on getting the epidural. Definitely.

I guess it never occurred to me that even if you WANT the epidural, you might not be able to get it. Like, what if the ONE anesthesiologist guy in the hospital is in surgery for like four hours? And it happens to be right when your baby decides it's ready to come on out? You know, just usual circumstances. I'll spare you the long and hard story, but basically because I was on pitocin, I went from a 4 to an 8 super fast, and by the time I knew my body was trying to push, I knew there would be no more hope of pain relief- I was going to have this baby naturally.

So once I accepted that I had to push this kid out the old fashioned way, it all happened really fast. I followed my midwife's instructions, I probably yelled back at her a few times (sorry), argued whether I could / could not do it, and then finally, after about four or five pushes, the sweetest relief I have ever known, out into the world and into my arms came our Loyal.

In retrospect I'm really thankful for how this happened! What an experience. One minute I was sure I was dying and then the next minute, to feel no pain, just pure joy that Josh and I were able to share as we held our son for the first time. It was incredible and it's made me feel like a stronger person.

Nearly 8 weeks later and we are more in love with this guy every day. He's almost doubled his birth weight and he still doesn't sleep much, but he gives us some pretty incredible smiles in the middle of the night, so it evens out. :)

Josh took this photo the night Loyal was born. Pretty incredible, right?

34 Weeks

Last time I was pregnant, I remember lamenting to SO MANY PEOPLE that I was afraid once I had a kid, that I would become lost in this total mom identity. The fear of slowly sinking into a world revolving around children consumed me.

I've been a mom now for almost 20 months and I laugh at that, and I think about how many of my mom friends probably patiently nodded as they laughed inside whenever I confided in them these fears. I think being a parent is a lot different than I imagined, but certainly a lot better.

It's better because I'm not the same person. We are challenged to think every day about how the things we do or say or how we react might shape our kid's life. Reactions - that is a big one, right? Actions are a lot easier than reactions, I think. I can plan out our day all I want, but when something unexpected happens, my reactions could be everything to how she sees us, if that makes sense. I heard someone say recently that as a mother, the tone that you speak to your daughter in will be the same voice she hears as her inner voice as she grows up. At first I was like, that's dumb. And then I thought about it and realized I hear my mom's voice pop up in my head a lot, and there's probably some truth to that.

And yet, being a parent is different than I imagined because nobody has yet forced me into listening to Michael BublΓ©. And I still wouldn't wear khakis. I had this mental image of the person I would become once I had Imogen, and I'm pleased to say it is just absurd to think that one life change would turn you into this predictably boring person that you don't want to be. I did cut my hair shorter, but I have always liked my hair better short. So take that. I like who I am. A baby doesn't change that.

We still get to make time for friends, and I get to sew or paint while Imogen is napping. Josh + I get to spend time together, or make pizza, or watch our favorite shows after she goes to bed, and I still read every night (something I was always afraid I wouldn't have time for, because I had heard so many other moms say they don't have time to read). You make time for the things that are important to you. Right? I remember even when Imogen was a newborn and I barely had any sleep, once when she was napping and I was exhausted beyond belief, I stubbornly stayed awake and painted my nails instead of napping myself. I just needed that. It sounds trivial but I remember it being such a big deal that I make that decision that moment.

I'm glad that this pregnancy, I've been able to focus less on my fears of losing myself, and more on the joys that are ahead of us! I'm so excited to meet this little guy, to raise a boy. We have a little over a month to go (hopefully no more!) and we are really ready to meet him. I can't wait to see Imogen become a big sister and to see them grow up together, play together, fight together, everything. And I'm excited to see Josh with his little son. Oh yeah, and hands in the air if becoming a mom made you way more sentimental? Holy crap. Probably 3 times a day I have to tell myself to pull it together because you just never know when something is going to make you emotional. ;)

Big thanks to my friend Chelsea who was kind enough to take these photos of me after our breakfast date in Tempe on Saturday! <3 The beautiful sculpture we found was created by artist Shelby Larson.

Outfit// Shoes: Lotta from Stockholm. Jeans: Old Navy. Shirt: Gap (altered into a short sleeve top). Bag: thrifted. Necklace: a gift. Earrings: Gorjana. Photos were edited with Stella from The Signature Collection - my fav!

Pregnant in the Summer in Phoenix

"Pregnant in the summer in Phoenix, that'll be fun." - said everyone. I used to laugh and shrug it off; after all, I was pregnant through a summer in Phoenix with Imogen. Just not THIS pregnant. So I wouldn't call it super fun, but it's definitely doable! And it's nice to have friends with pools. :) But let's be honest. Being largely pregnant doesn't really feel great in any season, right? So we're just trying to stay positive, and "it's a dry heat" is a really popular phrase around here but it's really true, although even a dry heat presents its challenges in figuring out what to wear some days.

Yesterday the high was 109Β°, but we had life to live and stuff, so we decided to head out, run some errands, and take some maternity photos in the bright mid-day sun downtown. I haven't been great at documenting pregnancy this time around, so it's been nice the few times that we've remembered to shoot. And with a toddler, you just have to shoot when you can, right? No more waiting for this magic hour stuff, because magic hour happens exactly one hour after her bedtime, and that would be fun for NO ONE. Oh plus, something about feeling massively huge and insecure (32 Weeks). :) I'm the type that gains weight everywhere when I'm pregnant and I can't really relate to most maternity style posts, but I've found a few things that have worked for me this pregnancy!

1. THESE jeans have been my go-to.

They're light weight (the only jeans I can tolerate in this heat!), cheap, and stretchy. I order a size up and get a shorter length and then use the hairband around the button trick. So far this pregnancy, I've tried so many pairs of maternity jeans, and these beat them all by far. And no... Old Navy is not paying me to say this. Hah!

2. Buying shirts that you can wear after baby.

Maternity shirts, while comfy and ruched on the sides, are going to all be banned to the back of the closet once the baby comes. You'll want nothing that accentuates your post-baby belly, at all. Ever. In fact, you'll want to burn all your side-ruched shirts. So after having learned that last time around, this time, I went for oversized, flowy shirts that I know I'll feel comfortable in while I'm working on slimming down my waist after the baby comes. This shirt I found at Anthropologie actually last time I was trying to lost post-baby weight, so I know I'll still want to wear it later! (side note: I do think maternity tanks are worth the investment. I bought a few early on and they're great for wearing regular shirts over, because you'll need that extra length coverage.)


Lord knows those cute little feet of yours are gonna change too. My feet grew a half size when I was pregnant with Imogen! I love these clogs (the ones I'm wearing are the low wood brown oiled nubuck clogs from Lotta From Stockholm - LOVE THEM) and I also love their classic clogs because of how easy they are to put on (who wants to bend over with a giant baby belly? Not me, ever). I love the low wood clogs for how just a little bit of heel makes a gal feel a little more dressed up... and yes, they're so comfy too!

And of course I had to end it with a few photos of the one of us who isn't totally awkward around the camera. ;) Hah! My little tiny dancer. I can't help but take photos of her if she's around. You know?

It's so crazy to think that there's a little boy in there that we are going to meet in a couple months and love forever. What's he going to be like? Is he going to be like a little smaller boy version of IQ? Is he going to be so chill, or really rambunctious? Is he going to have freakishly tan legs like his sister or blindingly pale legs like his mama? Whoever you are, little guy, we already love you so much, and you are already loved by so many of our friends and family, too.

Extra sources// Imogen's shirt is from Geo Fox Apparel. Her shoes are Mini Melissa. My colorful bag was a lucky find at Junkee in Reno, NV. And thanks Josh for taking photos of us!