Friday, October 29, 2010

Maternity Clothes Review

Here is a review of my favorite maternity clothing stores:

Motherhood Maternity:

This was the first maternity store I explored and I happened to be there with my friend Kate. While there, we had the following conversation:

Bethie: Hmm. The clothes here look cheap. Is this like the discount maternity store?
Kate: Shh!! Keep your voice down! You're pregnant, you don't have tourettes!

Despite my initial impression, I actually ended up buying most of my maternity clothes there! There is a store conveniently located near my house which may be the main reason, but they also have really decently priced clothes. I don't care for a lot of what they have there, but they are good with the basics: t-shirts, tank tops, bras, nylons, etc. I also love that they have petite sizes which accomodate my short legs!

Most of all, I love the "secret belly panel" that they offer on most of their pants. It is SUPER comfy! The belly panel is thin and I believe made of nylon so it disappears under clothes which I also love.

I wore these pants constantly this summer:

The Gap and Old Navy:

Old Navy has some cute, really well-priced maternity clothes. I also love the maternity clothes from The Gap, but they are generally a lot pricier than Old Navy. The problem with both of these stores is that the merchandise is a pain to return as they don't take maternity returns in the stores. Not only do you have to ship the returns back to them, but you have to ship them back by a certain date or you get no refund at all! Bummer. Still, I can't resist checking out their websites when I am in need of a particular item. I just cross my fingers that it will fit!

How cute is this $26 maternity dress from Old Navy?!

Isabella Oliver:

My big maternity clothes splurge was a shirt from this store. I have to wear a lot of black when I perform. I inherited some cute black dresses from friends and relatives, but none of them really made me look all that great. I knew I would have a lot of gigs toward the end of my pregnancy and wanted something I could wear that wouldn't make me look and feel like a beached whale. Enter the Wrap Around Top (clever name, eh?):

It is fitted around the bust and then just has two long pieces of fabric that you wrap around your belly and tie on the side. It will accommodate a belly of any size. Not only does it fit me perfectly now, but it will fit me perfectly by the end of the pregnancy. I am also planning on wearing it post baby! Totally overpriced, but well worth the splurge in my case. (I only wish I could have purchased it in this gorgeous green instead of black!)


H&M is probably my favorite maternity store. Not only are their prices low, they offer maternity clothes that don't look like your typical maternity clothes (floral prints or polka dots with puffy sleeves). In fact, I just got the cutest pair of skinny jeans there and a pair of corduroy pants as well. I had to hem them myself but having a few decent looking pairs of pants is worth the effort!
One draw back is that you can't buy (or even see) their clothes online.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Nursery Progress!

The nursery is almost finished! Since the last nursery post, we've added more art to the walls, a new bookshelf and some more accessories.

We bought this bookshelf from Ikea last weekend. It is pretty empty now, but there is plenty of room for Charlotte to fill it with more books, toys and treasures!

I took down the noisy, metal closet doors and made some curtains from a few yards of fabric that I purchased from Ikea. I love how the leafy pattern fits in with the bird theme we seem to have going!

I adore this giraffe grow chart that we got from Jason's brother and his family. It was a bit of a pain to hang (it is all canvas and kept rolling in on itself when I hung it). Luckily it wasn't anything I couldn't fix up with tape, a wooden pencil and a few strategically placed nails. I also added the ribbon to the top which I think turned out nicely.

The last item we have left to purchase for the room is a rug. I've had a hard time finding something that is durable, affordable, soft and neutral but I finally have my eye on a few that might work:

This one is chenille:

This one is chenille and jute:

This one is jute, but is supposedly really soft:

They are all from Pottery Barn and are around the same price as rugs I found at Ikea and I might have to make a trip to my local Pottery Barn and check them out in person. Aside from the crib, the rug will be the priciest item in her nursery, so I want to make sure we make a good choice!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Belly Pic!

By request, here is a new belly pic. Jason took it for me this afternoon, so it is as recent as it possibly can be!

I'm now nearly 30 weeks along. Time sure flies when you're having fun. ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Too Cute!

My dad sent me this video and I just had to post it. It makes me smile. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cloth Diapers

I was a nanny for many years and it always hurt my heart to throw away so many disposable diapers. I swore that when I had children, I would use cloth diapers. Now the time has come to put my money where my mouth is! Enter Bum Genius.

Unlike cloth diapers of the past that used diaper pins and rubber pants, cloth diapers of today are pretty high tech. They have little cloth inserts (that also expand with snaps) and come in a variety of cute colors. The brand we decided to go with even fits the child from birth through potty training (with the help of some strategically placed snaps). They are secured with velcro and have a very straight forward and simple design.

So far we have only acquired two white ones, but we will probably need around twelve total. They run about $18 per diaper. Our initial investment will be around $200 but over the next two years we will save well over $1000.

I was talking to my brother and his wife who cloth diapered their two children and told them about this handy dandy toilet sprayer:

Though I think it will come in handy, they said they used to just dunk the entire diaper into the toilet and call it a day. Sounds a bit yucky to me, but it would save us nearly $50! They also recommended keeping the diaper pail in the bathroom. Seems pretty obvious, but I was planning for one in the nursery. I had my eye on one of the fancy diaper pails (Diaper Dekor, Diaper Genie, etc.) but I'm thinking a simple lidded garbage pail will end up being easier. Something small would fit better in our tiny bathroom anyway!

The true test of these diapers will come once Charlotte is born, but we've ready some pretty good reviews online. We'll have lots of diaper washing in our future, but we both agree that it is the right decision. The next part to figure out will be whether we should also use cloth baby wipes. Jason has done some research, but neither one of us are completely convinced yet. I'll keep you posted on what we decide!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maternity Coat Update:

I tried on both the coats I wrote about on this post and they were both flops. The down coat made me look ridiculous and the gray coat didn't fit well: the small barely fit my six month belly and the medium looked way too big on me in the shoulders. I was about to give up when I saw this one:

I didn't love the picture of it on the website, but it was really cute once I got it on. The small fit my shoulders perfectly and left plenty of room to grow in the belly! It isn't a super warm coat, but it will get the job done. I feel much better knowing that I'll pass it on to one of my sisters-in-law who will probably be needing a maternity coat right around my due date!

Glucose Test

I had my test for gestational diabetes this morning. I arrived at 7:50 (I always try to get the earliest appointment!) and drank the lovely "glucose drink" for breakfast. After an hour I got some blood drawn and then they sent me home. All and all it wasn't so bad. I thought it was funny that of the other pregnant women who wrote about the glucose test, many of them talked about how tasty the glucose drink was! I have to agree that it was pretty non-offensive. I can't say I would ever choose to drink it again, but it went down with no problems. It kind of tasted like a flat glass of orange soda.

I had an appointment while I waited and got to hear Charlotte's heart beat. It was nice and strong! My blood pressure is normal and I am gaining weight like a champ. It is hard to believe that I've already gained about 30 pounds. Yikes. That is especially scary since I still have 12 weeks to go! I still haven't gained much weight in the rest of my body, and am grateful that my face hasn't ballooned up either but I'm not too concerned if that does happen. I'll lose it eventually!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Maternity Coat

I've been in search of a maternity coat since I got pregnant. I knew it would be tough to find something nice and cheap and I was right! My due date is January 4 so I won't need the coat for more than a couple of months and really hate to spend a bunch of money on something I will only use for a brief period of time. At least maybe my sisters-in-law might be able to get some use out of it after me and perhaps I'll have another winter baby at some point.

I have been scouring Craigslist for something decent but I haven't found much. I did find a nice Gap down jacket someone was selling and drove 40 minutes round-trip to go try it on. Not only was it ill-fitting, it also had multiple stains that the seller "forgot" to tell me about. Fail.

I have decided to check out my options in the stores. A Pea in the Pod is too expensive and Gap and Old Navy don't seem to have anything decent. Both of the top contenders are from Motherhood Maternity and both are $89.

This first one looks nice and warm, but I worry it will look dumpy on. I also worry that it won't be dressy enough for nicer occasions (not that anyone other than me would care!).

The second option looks good and could be dressed up or dressed down. I like the way this one looks but I worry it won't be as warm and comfy as the down jacket.

I probably have another few weeks to decide. Unfortunately, Motherhood doesn't allow returns (only store credit) so I can't just order both and see which one works better. Last time I checked in the store they didn't have winter clothes in, but perhaps I should check again. The sun is out today, but we've had a couple of chilly days here over the last few weeks! I can only go coatless for another couple of weeks before I'll have to make a decision!

Monday, October 4, 2010

And the winner is . . .


After much back and forth, it seems we've decided on a name for Baby Girl: Charlotte.

(For those of you not up on your pop culture references, the picture is of charmingly demure character Charlotte from Sex and the City.)

Charlotte is the French feminine diminutive of Charles. Though neither one of us has any French blood running through our veins, Jason's step-dad is of French origin. Charles is of German origin and I am 1/4 German, so that is also connection. Charlotte became a popular name in Britain after it was introduced there in the 17th century; our ├╝ber English last name is testament to the fact that there is a lot of English ancestry in Jason's family!

It is so nice to have an actual name for Baby Girl. In fact we think it is terrific!