Pregnancy Update: 12 Weeks...

 
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First of all...I'm SO happy that the news of baby Markwood #2 is now public! It's so difficult to keep it all in when you just want to tell anyone that will listen because you're so excited :) Also...when you're feeling like absolute crap, it's also nice for people to know so you can be yourself and act how you truly feel! We only have one more week before I enter my 2nd trimester - so I thought I would do a little pregnancy update for you all! I'll just start by saying that my first trimester this time around has gone by at record pace! With a 2.5 year old, there's no rest for the weary and she keeps me SO busy that the days seem to be flying by! 

I had a pretty smooth first trimester, relatively speaking. Starting at week 5 I was hit with crazy fatigue! I felt like SUCH a slug! I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the couch all day and let's be honest, sometimes I did! Thankfully, Lo is so good at playing on her own, always has been, so she would play with stickers, puzzles, books, etc while I would lay on the couch most afternoons. Of course, we threw in the occasional Disney movie which was a real lifesaver. (Disney - bless your heart). The fatigue was pretty intense until around week 10! I mean, I'm still more tired than usual BUT happy to say that I have much more energy than I did during those first few weeks. Thank God!

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The nausea, sadly, is still present. Again, not as intense as it was weeks 5-9, but it's still lingering! I'm SO ready for it to be completely gone. I'm definitely counting my blessings that I never actually threw up, which I do know a lot of women deal with and I can't imagine! With London, I felt like all I could eat were english muffins, peanut butter and ginger ale but the nausea was completely gone by week 10; with baby #2, I can stomach a lot more but I just feel like I need to eat every hour! The time between eating there's this weird underlying nausea. It's so bizarre but that's the best way I can explain it!

Let's talk about cravings. I want ALL the greasy food. I'm telling you, this pregnancy is already SO different than London's, because I didn't really have many cravings with her. This time around, I literally want to eat burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and drink milk shakes all the time. The struggle is real! I am thankfully also craving fruit like oranges and pineapple. I'll be at the grocery store walking through the produce section and just HAVE to open the cut-up fruit right then and there. It's so funny, but cravings are definitely REAL! 

I'll be doing more "bump" updates as we go! I am so excited to share this pregnancy with you all considering my blog wasn't even in existence when pregnant with Lolo! Thank you for all of the kind messages and notes of congratulations - we are so overwhelmed by all the love and support! We appreciate it so much! 

xoxo,

Ashley 

Markwood, Party Of Four...

 
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SURPRISE!!! 

Today, I am so excited to share some amazing news! We are growing our family this July, and we couldn't be more thrilled! We had been trying for about 6 months before I took a test and it was POSITIVE! Best feeling ever! The fact that it took us a little longer to get pregnant with baby #2 than it did with London is a blessing. God's timing is perfect, and with a July 30th due date, we will bypass the craziness of my husband's busiest month (July). We are so thankful and blessed to be completing our little family! 

I'll be honest, it took me awhile to feel like I was truly ready to begin trying for baby #2. London and I have such a great thing going and are in such a groove together at home, that I wasn't sure I wanted to mess with that! I think what I really struggling with was fear. Fear of the unknown, worried about Lo feeling some type of way, etc. I just kept feeling God pull at my heart and tell me that we were meant to have another baby. I felt him preparing me slowly...and sure enough, just before Lo turned two, I felt ready! Seeing Lo with Shia (her cousin) has only further solidified our excitement. She is going to be the sweetest big sister in the world. I can't wait to watch their little love story unfold. 

We are so over the moon and excited to share this journey with you. Stay tuned for "bump" updates and more coming soon! 

xx, Ashley 

All of these amazing photos were taken by our dear friend, Patti Takacs with Kivalo Photography

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maternity style...

One of the things I looked forward to most during pregnancy was taking maternity photos! I am "that girl" who always dreamt about bump pics and would look for outfits that would perfectly highlight my round tummy! I tried to find dresses, mainly maxi's that really clung to the curves of my body. In terms of color, I think white is really beautiful - and other pastels as well. I did take a few photos in a plain black maxi, that actually turned out to be one of my favorites.

I've picked some of my favorites that I think would be perfect for any maternity shoot / or to rock during your pregnancy! Shop them above!

xx,

Ashley 

Summer Swimwear!

I don't know if it's because I'm currently 31 weeks pregnant or not, but I'm super into one-piece swimsuits!  I've definitely noticed a growing trend with more coverage and more high fashion ads showcasing full swimwear. I dig it. 
Forever 21 has an awesome selection of affordable swimwear, and particularly one-pieces ... so here are a few of my faves!

Toscanini's...Best of Boston!

Some believe it to be the best in the world (yes, world), and every list of "Boston's Best" includes this family-owned ice cream shop! Toscanini's has been part of my own "must try" list for some time now, created back when Chris and I first moved to Boston. Over the weekend, we finally ventured to Cambridge to see what all the fuss was about. 
To start, ALL of the ice cream is homemade right at the shop. They have been making ice cream every morning since 1986! Flavors like "burnt caramel" and "belgian chocolate" are mainstays, but there are always new ones in the rotation. An added bonus is that the toppings like whipped cream, chocolate sauce and butterscotch sauce are homemade as well! I can highly recommend the flavors "Butter Almond" and "CookiesXCreme" because Chris and I went with those - and they were amazing! I hope you all get a chance to check this place out if you ever come to the Boston area. It's definitely worth the extra calories :) 
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Stack'd Pancakes

I know what you all are thinking..."all she ever blogs about are pancakes..." and you may be right. Hashtag pregnant. 
I promise I will step up my game, and this will be my final pancake post ever (that's a lie). I will be limiting the pancake posts from now on though, and leave you with the amazingness that is STACK'D. I was first introduced to these protein pancakes by our friends in Portland and was sold as soon as I tried them. Let me tell you a few reasons why these should be the healthy pancake alternative for you.
1. They contain whole grains; 100% whole wheat and whole grain oat flour
2. You get COMPLETE proteins with every serving; 25 grams of protein to be exact
3. There are no refined sugars, sugar substitutes, or artificial sweeteners
4. Lastly, THEY TASTE AMAZING!
Chris and I have tried the Cinnamon Roll and Original Buttermilk flavors but they have others you can choose from! They are super quick to make (we had them before work this morning) ... and all you need is water and an egg white, plus the mix of course. I definitely look forward to eating them, especially knowing that they're GOOD fuel for my body! You can purchase the mix online ... so check it out and let me know what you think! 

 

 

Yummy Homemade Marinade

This is kinda random - but I made a really good homemade marinade for chicken tenders last night and thought, ehh...why not share? It's easy, quick, and very tasty. Chris was a big fan!
- 3 T soy sauce
- 2 T honey
- 2 T olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 T chopped cilantro
*Mix all together and place chicken tenders in baking dish. Cover with marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and cook for 15 minutes, turning half-way through. Enjoy!

 

Magical Newport Weekend, Part I

I hope everyone had a happy Easter celebrating the Resurrection! 
Chris and I were able to get away for a long weekend - and it was just as the title says...magical. Newport, RI is such a little slice of heaven, right in our backyard. After only a 75 minute drive, we arrived in this charming seaside town and were checking into our selected bed & breakfast, The Hydrangea House. We absolutely LOVE b&b's, and this spot was perfect for us. I can't say enough about the hosts, Grant and Dennis, who went above and beyond to make our stay extra special. We had turn-down service at night with cookies left on our pillows, wine and cheese in the afternoon, and the breakfast was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Each morning we couldn't wait to see what they had prepared for us...and it was nothing short of gourmet status. Bread pudding french toast with Vermont maple syrup, homemade glazed apple turnovers, oven baked bacon, raspberry pancake fritters, orange zest yogurt mousse...the list goes on and on. According to Chris, I put on a "legendary" performance at breakfast :)  It was quite funny actually, there were four other pregnant women (myself included) staying at the inn this past weekend! Three were due in June. You'd think there was some sort of "expectant mother special" going on, but it was all by coincidence! 
Anyway, I highly recommend a stay at the Hydrangea House ... even if it's just for a night of two. Below is a photo of the dining room (I was terrible with my camera this weekend) so just take my word for it...you would absolutely LOVE this b&b...especially the quaint rooms and fantastic breakfast! 
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Snoogle Pillow: The 2nd Miracle Worker

I'm sure you're all wondering what the heck a "snoogle pillow" is...or maybe you've already discovered it if you're an expectant Momma like myself. I just REALLY felt the need to dedicate an entire blog post to this little slice of heaven. I am heading into my 7th month of pregnancy, so sleeping is becoming a bit of a challenge. It's difficult to get comfortable, especially since I can't sleep flat on my back or stomach, as I normally would. My husband and I went to Baby's R Us this weekend to finish up our registry, and we came upon the "pillow" section. Knowing how much sleep has been a struggle for me, Chris was pretty insistent that we get the Snoogle (I think he's just fed up with hearing me complain in the middle of the night! Ha!) I thought it was silly to spend $60 on a pillow...but this might be one of my favorite/best purchases of 2015. The past few nights, I have slept like a champ only waking up once to reposition myself. Last night, I fell asleep and woke up in the same exact position...amazing. The pillow itself is pretty large and in charge...it really takes up some space in our queen bed (which now feels like a twin), but it's so worth it. You can purchase it on Amazon, Babys R Us, Bed Bath & Beyond...so many websites - so if you have any gift cards or discounts to those stores - check it out! Below are some photos of a rando lady (in killer pj's) thoroughly enjoying her Snoogle....and just think, THAT COULD BE YOU! 
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Friday Five

Is it Friday already? This week has gone by in the flash, but I'm not complaining. It's been a week of discovery for me as I learn to adapt to my growing body and work out the kinks in classes like prenatal yoga and coconut oil massages. I also started reading a new book "Bringing Up Bebe" and I'm finding it rather entertaining. I hope you all had an amazingly fulfilled week! XX!

 

One // ILY Couture "donut tee"

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Two // Multi layer necklaces...Wildflower Shop

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Three // Wood prints...*swoon*
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Four // Cinnamon bun pancake cravings...

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Five // My new read...

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Papaya Smoothie!

Pregnancy has definitely given me a heightened awareness concerning the benefits of eating certain foods, mainly fruits and veggies! Thanks to our Nutri-Bullet, I am able to make awesome smoothies in the morning, loaded with rich antioxidants and vitamins. This morning, papaya was on the menu! Papaya is rich in Vitamin C and E, and is also a good source of fiber and folic acid. It prevents constipation and heartburn, which are both perils of pregnancy. Even if you're not pregnant, these smoothies are a great way to kick start your day! See the ingredients below:
- Papaya juice
- Water
- Half of a banana
- frozen blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (*Can use all three, or choose two of the three)
*Blend in NutriBullet for less than 60 seconds and enjoy!

Unique Decor for Home!

In my search for creative Valentine's Day gifts...I came across a few home decor items from various sites that I thought would be cool to share! Since we use a leather chest as our coffee table, we have been needing some coasters to set our drinks on. I came across these super cool ones from Poketo that come in a set of four. Of course, we would choose the "East Coaster" set since that's where we live and obviously it's the best coast (duh). The site also has some cool stationary and other interesting pieces to browse through. 
Another cool site is Mapiful...where you can create map posters of the exact place you fell in love, where you grew up, or just any place that is uniquely special to you. The prints come in the mail and you can have them framed or even frame them yourself. I'm thinking of doing one of Boston for the baby's room, as the place that Chris and I started our life together and where she was conceived. For that reason (and so many more) Boston will always have a special place in our hearts. Check it out...make a print...and let me know what you think! 

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Baby Inspiration Part II

Fashion Finds For Less!

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes!

Two days in a row of food posts....blame the pregnant lady :) 

This morning I woke up a little bit earlier (like 10 minutes) so instead of running around frantically preparing my breakfast/lunch...I had time to put something yummy together! I'm a HUGE pancake fan...anytime we're out to breakfast I order them, hands down. With the flour, sugar, etc...they aren't always the healthiest option UNLESS you make them the way I did this morning. I usually mash one whole banana into mine for extra sweetness, and you can add any berries that you have kickin' around as well. They're very hearty and the oats will keep you full longer throughout the morning!

Here's what you'll need:
*Makes 2 pancakes
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 banana (optional; Can use just berries or have plain)
- dash of water
Directions: Cook in prepared pan on medium heat, as you would normal pancakes. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

 

 

Nursery Inspiration!

Our city apartment may be too small for a classic nursery...but that hasn't stopped me from dreaming about the perfect one! Gotta love Pinterest and Etsy...so many fabulous ideas, I could just die! If we end up moving out of downtown Boston, I would love the nursery decor to carry a slightly vintage tone throughout...with whites and creams and natural wood fixtures. I'm not one for crazy color schemes or "winnie the pooh" themes - and thankfully, my husband isn't either! 

 

 

How To Cope With Morning Sickness!

I am almost through my 15th week of my first pregnancy and I must say, I'm feeling rather good now! Not nearly as nauseous as I was at the beginning and I find myself much more energetic. Honestly, weeks 5-8.5 were pretty miserable...so much so that I wasn't truly able to enjoy the initial excitement of our little blessing. I don't know why it's called "morning sickness." That needs to be changed to "all day hellish sickness." I was living off of saltines, ginger ale, and gin gin candies and actually lost a few pounds, which I think it pretty normal in the first trimester for sick mums. I must say, my husband was a GIGANTIC help to me during that time. Even with his extremely busy schedule, he was waiting on me as I needed, making me breakfast, and making his own dinners since I couldn't stand to look at or smell food. His support was so amazing, and it made me even more thankful to have him as a partner. Now that I'm feeling better, we are having a lot more fun and are able to enjoy this time all the more together. 

I wanted to share a few ways that I dealt with my nausea in the first trimester, in hopes that it can help any soon to be moms out there! The biggest thing is, try (and I know it's not easy) to stay positive...remember that it will pass, and just focus on making it through the day at hand. "Survive and advance" was literally my day to day motto...that mentality helped get me through as did the following:

1. Ginger ale - I brought it to work, kept a can in my car..wherever I went I was taking small sips of ginger ale.
2. Gin Gins - My sister gave me a box of these candies and I felt they really helped for a time. I am not a fan of ginger, which was the unfortunate part of this, but I would force myself to suck on these candies. 
3. Sea Bands - I wore these elastic wrist bands on both wrists to combat the nausea. I'm not sure if it was a mental thing, but I feel like it did help a little.
4. Warm Baths - When you're sick, the last thing you want to do is even go through the process of showering, but it's kind of hard to skip many of these :) ...I found myself drawing a lot of baths so I could sit and wash my hair or do whatever I had to do. 
5. Small Meals - Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day (even though you don't feel like it) really helps fight the nausea. Stick to bland foods like crackers and bread. It's easy to miss meals because you feel so sick, but I found that I was even more nauseous on an empty stomach. 
Do you have any ideas to combat pregnancy sickness? 

We're Having A Baby!

It was an extra special Christmas for us this year, as we got to share some REALLY exciting news with family and friends! We are expecting our first child...'Baby M' coming July 2015! It's been a wild year for us...engaged, married, and now baby on the way! We are so thrilled to be parents and can't wait to share this adventure with all of you! I am almost 14 weeks along...starting to have more energy and feel better overall; so far, the second trimester is amazing! 

Please share with me your favorite brands for all things 'baby'! We are first-timers, so we'll take all the help and advice we can get :) I hope you all had a great Christmas, and are going into 2015 feeling fulfilled, happy, and eager for the new year ahead!

xx,

Ashley