Berries Before Baby

Friday, June 15, 2018
Ever since knowing we were expecting a baby come June, I've associated berry season with a sweet newborn. For years now, June has marked the time of year when the blueberries are ripe enough for picking. When the best time to head out into the fields of deep purple and blue is before the sun sets itself high in the sky and the morning fog is just starting to lift up out of the valley. Every year the Hills excitedly await the arrival of opening season with anticipation for how high we can fill our buckets. But spring was hard in Virginia this year, pushing a lot of dependable dates around as the plants, flowers, and fruits had to wait out all of the snow storms that kept popping up well into April. And with this stall we worried the time spent picking those lovely berries would pass by without our fill of harvesting them before our newest bundle arrived. 

But this week brought a sweet surprise, with the opening of berry season and a handful of hours where the fields were open for picking. Yesterday, after our 39 week appointment, the three of us headed out into the late afternoon sun to pick our share of berries. Expectations were low because of the heat and intense rays of sun, but we found a row made for us, where the shade was plenty and coolness of the coverage kept mama, toddler, and husband cool and content. We walked away happy for our last little adventure as a family of three with four pints of blueberries perfect for snacking and dessert-making. We're super thankful we were able to sneak away for one of our favorite traditions,  which was such an unexpected gift as we near the end of this pregnancy. 

The look of joy that comes from eating the blueberries as you go. Nothing simpler, nor sweeter than this. Greer was delighted with finding all of the blue and purple berries she could reach and filling her very own bucket full. Next year, baby sister gets in on the fun. 

As round and plump as a berry, myself! This (very) pregnant mama has a blueberry crisp crumble on her mind, and if baby girl doesn't make an appearance this weekend, that dessert sure will! 

Hospital Bags The Second Time Around

Thursday, June 14, 2018
With just four days until baby's due date, it is surely time to have all the things packed and the details in place. Truth be told, we've had our bags packed since 37 weeks just in case this little lady decided early was more of her speed. Turns out, it's not. But, it has felt really nice to be prepared and ready just in case, taking some of the unknowns off of our plates as we wait for this girl's arrival. 

So, what are we bringing this time around? Mostly, the same items we felt compelled to pack the first time. But, what I did learn from baby #1 to baby #2 is to take some items that feel more like you're pampering yourself. What I mean, is that as a first-time mama I didn't think to pack pieces that would make me feel put together and pretty. I didn't want to be cliché about it, so I packed the old pajamas, a basic robe that I don't remember even wearing, etc. While there's nothing wrong with taking some of your well-loved and comfy clothing, there's a lot to say about taking a few items that are a bit more special. So this time around, I'm doing just that and bringing some pieces that are going to help me feel a little extra put together and, dare I say fabulous, after birthing baby.

First, let's talk bags! Over a year ago I came across Lyla Grace Design. She makes a variety of customized canvas totes for any and all ocassions. I immediately fell in love with her monogram duffle bag, which is a great weekend bag. The second bag that had me swooning was the monogram box tote with leather handles. Not only is this bag exceptionally functional (it stands all by itself!), it's also a statement piece that I use as a decorative item in my foyer when I'm not using it. This bag is superb for trips to the library, picnics, little adventures, etc. Both bags (and there are more options on her site) are customizable with names, monograms, sayings, etc. You just have to ask her! 

We'll be using the duffle bag (my husband and I each have one) for our clothes, baby's clothes, and our toiletry bags. The box tote will be used for our more random things like snacks, a blanket, our camera, and so on. And instead of worrying with a purse and diaper bag for the hospital, I'll be using my large canvas tote for those items. These bags are a beautiful way to take personalized items to the hospital while keeping all of the essentials together! 

Now on to what we're packing in those bags! 

S P E C I A L    I T E M S

  • Crochet Trim Robe
    • Having a feminine robe with sweet trim detail is going to be so nice to have for nursing and wearing during our stay at the hospital. It will be my little bit of fancy for a not so fancy place and give me a pretty way to cover up when we have visitors/are taking keepsake photos.
  • Nursing Sleep Tank
    • While I have some pajama tops that would work just fine, I wanted something new and fresh to pack for sleeping. This basic top is nursing-friendly and super comfortable. Sometimes it's the simple things that can make you feel great.
  • Baby Swaddle
    • Greer had a special swaddle, which we ended up using for her newborn session. At the last minute this time around, I decided that having a special swaddle for the hospital was important to me too. After going back and forth on two swaddles and which we would want to use for newborn photos, I thought the option we didn't opt for was great for taking to the hospital for those sweet photos! 
  • Coming Home Dress
    • This time, I ordered a dress (just a basic and simple one) for wearing home from the hospital. You're still toting a belly and you've just undergone a major milestone (hello, birthing a human!). So I wanted something that would make me feel pretty for leaving and arriving home. This will also be an outfit I can use for nursing since it's billowy and isn't maternity, while also being flattering during those transition months after baby is born and your body is finding its shape again. 

    E S S E N T I A L S

    • Nursing Bras + Cloth Pads
      • In my book, comfort is everything. So I snatched up some new bras that were my favorite while nursing Greer. The elastic is firm and the fit is great while also being cozy. Can't beat that! Most likely I won't need the cloth pads just yet, but I'm brining some to have on hand in case. 
    • Toiletries + Make-Up + Hair Ties
      • I'm so particular when it comes to my bath items and make-up products. So I make sure to bring all of my stuff like shampoo, conditioner, body gel, lotion, etc. Keeping my normal routine in the hospital helps me feel more like myself. I know some ladies opt not to bring these things, and it's completely a personal preference. I choose to bring these things because it's important to me to feel fresh and taken care of too. I also love my mascara :) 
    • Chapstick + Lip Ointment 
      • I can't go anywhere without chapstick, but especially after birth! Specifically this chapstick and this lip ointment ( a huge help after anesthesia, which dried my lips out terribly)
    • Socks With Grips
      • Even in the summer, socks with grips are great for getting up and moving, especially after a c-section. This way, your feet are covered on those hospital floors and you can move around when needed.
    • Nightgown/Nursing Top + Shorts
      • It feels so nice to transition from a hospital gown into your own clean clothes that have easy access for nursing. I mentioned the top I'm brining this time. And here is a nightgown option I love too. 
    • Flip-Flops
      • For showering! 

    • Toiletries
    • Comfortable clothes (ie: sweatpants, gym shorts, t-shirt, sweatshirt)
    • Slippers (cheap for tossing after the hospital stay)
    • Flip-Flops
    • Snacks + Powerade
    • Water Bottle
    • Kindle 

    • Blankets
    • Basic White Onesies + Nightgowns
      • We are taking some to have on hand even though the hospital will put her in one. We have long sleeve and short sleeve options packed. And then we'll have a nightgown for her for nostalgic reasons since big sister wore the exact same one after her first bath. 
    • Mittens + Socks
      • Because those baby nails are sharp and we want to protect her sweet little face from scratches. And we want to keep her cuddly and warm. 
    • Bows
      • We have some matching sister bows that I can't wait to have both of my girls in! Having several options will be great for pictures too. 
    • Baby Caps
      • For keeping that sweet, little head warm, we've got this cute cap packed and ready. It will match one of her swaddles. 
    • Pacifiers + A Clip
      • I have an assortment of pacifiers that we have sanitized and packed in case they are needed. 
    • Burp Cloths
      • I use some cloths my friend made me + these
    • Coming Home Outfits
      • We are packing a couple in different sizes so we have something no matter how big or little she may be. 
    • Car Seat Cover
      • For leaving the hospital to block out any sunshine (or rain if that's the forecast for the day)

    • Phones + Chargers (we have these extra long cords, which are great so you can charge while in bed)
    • Camera + Fresh SD Card + Extra Charged Batteries
    • Pillows & Thick Blanket

    **A tip to keep in mind. We packed everything that we could ahead of time, but for those items that we use daily, we have a running list on husband's phone that he is in charge of grabbing when it's go-time! This way we (hopefully) won't forget anything and we aren't trying to think of what we still need to grab when our minds are on getting to the hospital! 

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    Maternity Photos || Junebug 2018

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018
    What a fleeting season this has been. From the moment we found out we were expecting at the start of October to the start of baby's birth month in June, time has found only a few ocassions to slow down. Once I hit the third trimester, I started thinking about our maternity and newborn photos. Husband and I wavered back and forth on whether or not we wanted to do a maternity session. Would it matter if we opted not to? Would we regret the missed opportunity? We went back and forth, then husband ultimately decided that we would be sad to see this chunk of time go by without documenting it properly. Plus, he wanted this little girl to have keepsake photos, just like big sister does. Right then and there we decided a session to document the end of this pregnancy was worth it. So we booked a day during my 36th week, and crossed our fingers for no rain.

    Ashley Powell went above and beyond to capture this season. I'm SO glad to have found her; not only is she super sweet, but she's also extremely talented as a photographer. If you're local and really love a photography shot in natural light, this girl is your girl! I'm very much looking forward to our newborn session with her too! Can you imagine photos with my two girls?!

    Oh my heart! How is my first baby so big and grown-up looking? Time really slows down for nothing. She's going to be an incredible big sister, and I can't wait for her to meet her baby sister whom she has so lovingly been snuggling (her head gently on my belly) every chance she gets. 

    I love this photo (the b&w above) more than words. I can't believe we are approaching five years of marriage, two-and-a-half years as parents, and welcoming our second little girl. I so vividly remember our dating days during senior year of college. Who would have guessed then that life would like this now. Almost seven years together has brought about my most loved and happiest moments. This guy, loving him and liking him more every passing day. 

    Here's to the next final days as a family of three. I hope they are sweet and relaxing, full of little moments we'll tuck away and hold onto forever. Then on to a family of four with more love, less sleep, and abounding joy. Junebug, we're over the moon to meet you!

    Outfit Details:
    Him: Slacks || Button-up (similar) || Loafers
    Her: Maternity Dress || Clogs (similar)
    Toddler: Dress (similar) || Sandals || Bow

    All photos taken by Ashley Powell of Ashley Powell Photography
    Thank you so much for these beautifully taken memories! 

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