Pre-Fall Inspiration + 5 Fun Things to do with Your Kids in the DMV Area Next Month

Pre-Fall Inspiration + 5 Fun Things to do with Your Kids in the DMV Area Next Month

*The sweater below was gifted by Pink Blush but all opinions are my own.

 

I’m currently 29 weeks into my pregnancy and attempting to have a pretty low-key summer, but my family and I do have a lot on our agenda for August. I’m already thinking ahead to fall though, and I love that we’ll be transitioning to fall next month. I can’t wait for cozy sweaters, warm lattes, changing leaves etc in addition to the fact that I’m excited about having a fall baby this year. 

Speaking of cozy sweaters…I’m no stranger to the Pink Blush brand (I’ve worn their clothing in all three of my pregnancies and they also have non-maternity clothing for women) but they recently gifted me with this gorgeous and very on-trend leopard print maternity cardigan, and gave me the perfect opportunity to start thinking about my pre-fall wardrobe. I love that the leopard print is both bold and neutral, you can easily pair it with a variety of items in a neutral color palette. It’s also incredibly soft and I can’t wait to get cozy in it both before and after the baby comes. You can shop the cardigan here

Other items at the top of my pre-fall list include hats (they instantly add a dose of style to any outfit), open toe booties for the summer to fall transition, and denim. 

Another thing I’m excited about is taking my kids to do fun activities as the weather starts to cool down next month. I can’t say I’ll miss these 90+ degree temps. Here are 5 fun activities to do with kids in the DMV area in September:

  • Visit a farm- I love taking my boys to farms. Wide open spaces, fresh air, animals, and delicious fresh food are perfect for families with small children. Some farms even have elaborate outdoor play spaces. A few of my favorites are Cox Farms (Centreville, VA),  Miller Farms (Clinton, MD) and Braehead Farm (Fredericksburg, VA- worth a trip for families who live in the Stafford area). The Cox Farms Fall Festival also starts September 14. 
  • Visit the zoo- The Smithsonian National Zoo’s free admission makes it a great choice for families, and visits are much more enjoyable when the heat isn’t unbearable. 
  • Attend a Washington Nationals home game- Another activity that’s great when the sun isn’t beating down on you is attending a baseball game. The stadium has a great selection of food, fun family theme nights, and places you in close proximity to other DC area attractions.
  • Attend the Prince George’s County Fair (Sept 5-8, Upper Marlboro, MD)- who doesn’t love a good carnival? Find more info here
  • Visit a Museum- DC has a number of amazing museums with free entry every day, but take advantage of Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day to visit a handful that normally charge an entry fee on September 21. You can download tickets here starting August 15. 

Do you have any recommendations for fun things to do with kids in the DMV area this fall? I also travel a lot and would love to hear about activities in Hampton Roads, NYC, and other areas. What are you looking forward to the most about fall?

 

Xo,

Courtney

Body Positivity After Pregnancy

Body Positivity After Pregnancy

I recently thought about the fact that I have been pregnant every year since 2016 in the process of having three kids. This has not been easy on my body. Pregnancy has its beautiful, magical moments, but my body has also cycled through hormonal changes, weight gain and loss, and breastfeeding for the past four years. That much constant change can take a mental toll, and I do have some days when I’m not feeling my most confident, days when I look back at pre-pregnancy pictures a bit wistfully despite the fact that I have always had a short, curvy figure. But for the most part I have always been ok with giving myself time and have never felt the pressure to “bounce back” right away.
This hasn’t been an easy attitude to maintain, because we live in a society that is image obsessed, and for many people being thin is the most important marker of good physical and mental health. There have been countless times that well-meaning friends or family have casually referenced me “getting my body back” after the babies in conversation, and I know other women who have recently had children who feel pretty down about their bodies. I really believe this is an attitude we need to challenge.
People are starting to talk more openly about the immense mental and emotional challenges motherhood can bring, and the isolation many women feel, thanks in part to social media and a recent push for better maternal health care. I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of this subject. My own experience was that the transition to motherhood for the first time was tough. Hormones, surviving on very little sleep, and learning to cope with being responsible for another human’s well-being 24/7 really put me through the ringer. Thankfully I had an easier time when I transitioned to being a mom of two, but every pregnancy and every baby is different. For me, focusing on being in a good place mentally has always been vastly more important than bouncing back physically. I know that I can’t be the kind of mother I’d like to be if I’m not in a great mental or emotional state, and there’s time for everything else to happen later.
But I also know that prioritizing your mental health looks different for everyone. And for some people their mental and physical progress are linked. I would challenge women to think about what they really need postpartum, not what they feel pressured to want. If being in a certain clothing size will really make you feel happier and more confident, then by all means prioritize it (safely) postpartum. If being physically fit gives you the endorphins that make it easier to thrive in this experience, then work out as much as you can! But if trying to fit others’ expectations of what your body should look like, or trying to adhere to someone else’s timeline for when a woman should “bounce back” only adds to your stress, then let go of that and focus on what you really need. Don’t let anyone define your postpartum experience for you.
The time it takes to lose weight can also vary from person to person, and there are many factors that go into it. Some women shed weight naturally while breastfeeding. I am not one of those lucky women, I actually think its a bit harder for me to lose weight while breastfeeding. My personal goals after having my baby include prioritizing healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and working out when I can until I gradually increase my workouts over time. My goals don’t include focusing on any specific numbers, whether they’re on a scale or a clothes tag. That’s what I need to support myself in the best way possible. After having a baby you should be focused on the amazing things that your body accomplished and continues to accomplish. Women are really incredibly powerful.
What are your tips for dealing with body image issues? And if you’re a Mom, how did you feel about your body during or after pregnancy? Are you pro dieting postpartum? Let me know in the comments.

Xo,

Courtney

My All-Time Favorite Clothing/Accessories for Pregnancy and Beyond

My All-Time Favorite Clothing/Accessories for Pregnancy and Beyond

I’m currently at the 20 week mark of my pregnancy. That means we’re officially halfway to our new adventure. Actually I’m probably a little more than halfway- my babies have a tendency to come a bit early. Mason made his debut at 38 weeks and Myles made his at 36 weeks. I’m praying I make it to 37 weeks just to be safe and also taking progesterone to help my chances. With my first pregnancy I didn’t really start showing (in an obvious way) until almost third trimester. With my second and third pregnancies my baby bump made a much earlier appearance. That means I’m already reaching for some of my favorite pregnancy items.

Below I’ve listed some of my absolute favorite accessories (and a couple of must-have clothing items) for pregnancy and beyond.

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Everlane Tank Bra

During my first pregnancy all of the hormonal changes left me feeling like I had barbed wire strapped to my chest when I wore bras. I tried switching to wireless bras and nursing bras from maternity stores but I never found anything that was truly comfortable, especially when I had a dramatic increase in cup size (c cup pre-pregnancy to DDD during breastfeeding).

I had pretty much given up on ever feeling comfortable in a bra again until I tried Everlane’s tank bra. It’s so soft and lightweight I barely feel like I’m wearing anything, even with pesky pregnancy hormones. It’s shaped like a sports bra, but has the effortlessness of a bralette, and the low cut is very flattering. Unfortunately, this may not be a great bra for work (there is no padding whatsoever) but it’s perfect for lounge, sleep, and weekend wear. I’ll definitely be wearing these bras well past my pregnancy.

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Ingrid & Isabel Bellaband

I honestly loathe buying maternity jeans and pants. They’re very comfortable, but they can often be a bit of an investment considering the short amount of time you’ll be wearing them, and it’s not always easy to find styles that are as flattering as your pre-pregnancy jeans. A bellaband makes life easier by allowing you to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans much longer. Just keep your jeans unbuttoned and put the bellaband over your waistband. It looks like you’re simply wearing a tank layered under your shirt. You can find the original here and a less expensive version at Target.

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Dwell and Slumber Caftan

Dwell and Slumber has a cult following for a reason. Their caftans make the perfect hospital gown. I changed into mine right after my delivery with Myles and got so many compliments during my hospital stay.  They’re incredibly comfortable and easy to wear without the structure and fussiness of a traditional dress, and they’re more stylish than the standard issue hospital gown. They accommodate a baby bump or postpartum belly perfectly, and the bust unsnaps for easy breastfeeding. During those late nights that turn into early mornings with a new baby, I was so grateful to have these caftans to throw on. You can also belt them and throw on some cute accessories for a casual daytime boho look.

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Bably Baby Diaper Backpack

When I was in college, I spent one summer babysitting a two-year old boy. His mom had a gorgeous floral Vera Bradley diaper bag that really stuck with me. When I became a mother I celebrated this transition with my own Vera Bradley diaper bag, but it didn’t work out for me. While some people may love it I found it a bit too heavy and cumbersome to work as a shoulder bag. And then when my second son arrived I quickly ran out of room in that bag and other traditional diaper bags that I tried. I transitioned to a diaper backpack, and liked being hands free much better, but I ran out of room in that as well ( clearly I need a lot of stuff for two boys who are 18 months apart).

Not long after I found out about my third pregnancy I went into panic mode thinking about how I would tote around all of the things two toddlers and a baby would need. I started researching as many bags and backpacks as possible, trying to find one that would be large enough and organized enough to accomodate my growing family. I found the answer to my prayers in the Bably Baby Diaper Backpack. Not only is it large, but it’s also extremely organized and has a lot of cool features for a very reasonable price. I love it so much I recently featured it in my Instagram stories. Some of the highlights include 4 insulated drink holders, a wipe dispenser, a tablet slot, packing cubes, a changing pad, a wet bag, and built in stroller clips. You can find this backpack on the Bably Baby website and on Amazon.

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ToteSavvy

If a diaper bag or backpack isn’t your thing, you can stick with a regular tote bag and turn it into a diaper bag with a totesavvy insert. There are different sizes, and the inserts feature a variety of pockets and a changing pad. I know these are a popular addition to luxe totes like the LV Neverfull, but they can work with almost any tote bag. I personally love Everlane’s tote bags. They’re made from buttery leather and are chic and minimal.

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Adidas Casual Sneakers

A chic casual sneaker is a must when you’re going to be pushing a stroller around or running after small children. I love Adidas because they’re comfortable, perfect for running errands or taking my kids out, and stylish. Two of my favorites are the Gazelles and Pharrel Williams’ Tennis Hus.

 

Those are some of my favorite items for pregnancy, postpartum, and life in general. What are your must-haves or gifts that you know another Mom really appreciated?

 

Xo,

Courtney