Urban Maternity Photo Shoot

Why am I posting an Urban Maternity Photo Shoot when William Jack was born last week? Well, coincidentally, when I gave you the sneak peek on Thursday, that happened to be the last post before Baby Itz arrived! I have a few more photos I’d like to show you, so that’s precisely what I’m going to do today.

Now let me give you some background on these pictures because they are probably the most different maternity photos you’ve ever seen. My sister Stephanie Cotta Photography wanted to do something incredibly unique. So she gave me a maternity gown, put a flower halo in my hair, and we drove to the Delmar Loop area in St. Louis.

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“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

Dealing with infertility was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.  But you know what? None of it matters now that William is here.  The heartache, pain, frustration, and tears are not forgotten; instead, they are so very worth it.

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Itz funny that these pictures were taken the Sunday before William was born on Thursday. We were thinking we still had a few weeks left with that little baby in my belly.  We couldn’t be happier though that he’s here now!

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Stopping traffic. This was the photo taken in my sneak peek. Lots of you asked if it was photoshopped. NO! You see what I’m wearing. I literally pressed the cross walk button and waited for my turn to walk while Stephanie was squatting on the other side snapping away.

Was I self-conscious during these photos?  Surprisingly no.  The gown was really long, so when we were walking from location to location, I bunched it up and covered myself. Several people asked if it was my wedding day.  We laughed when my belly bump came out. Yes, people stared. People gawked. People made comments. People wanted to know what in the world we were up to. But it was all positive, I kid you not. People thought it was awesome. And that’s exactly how I felt.

Also, I’ve always trusted Stephanie. When she has a vision, itz best to go with it because of her creative eye and photography talent. When discussing this photo with others, some people called it fierce while some thought it looked out of place. We’re glad people think itz different.  Every woman is different. Every woman’s experience is different. Itz who we are and itz important to be proud of that – no matter what. That’s how I felt walking through the Loop with my belly bump and barely there gown.  I was growing a tiny human being inside of me, and regardless of what I looked like, I was darn proud of how far I’d come.

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Major thanks to Stephanie for these photos and for all of you for your constant support.

much love.

Introducing William Jack

Introducing William Jack!

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Thank you so much for your warm wishes on our new bundle of joy.  Obviously we have been more than busy around here in the best way possible, so today I’m just going to share some photos from William’s first day into our world while Jonny and William are snuggling on the couch together.  I was lucky enough to have my sister Stephanie in the delivery room (along with Jonny and my mom!), so she documented the whole thing. I’ll share more during our birth story post which will come…. at some point.  For now, enjoy the cuteness!

~ All photos by Stephanie Cotta Photography ~

My first look at William and I couldn’t be happier. He’s perfect.

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The kid proved his strong lungs right away!

william first look

After an hour of skin to skin, William got all cleaned off.

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And he rocked the mohawk.

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Coolest baby hair ever.

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I could stare at him all day long (and I do!).

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Proud daddy.

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Being a baby is hard work!

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So completely and totally in love.

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Cutest baby ever!

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xoxo

stopping traffic

My mom came to our house for over four hours last night helping me tackle some of the tasks on my baby to-do list.  We got a lot done, but ended late, so I don’t have a lot of time to blog because this pregnant momma needs her sleep! Instead of a full post, I’m giving you just a sneak peek of an epic maternity photo shoot that happened over the weekend in the Delmar Loop in St. Louis.

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photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography

Stay tuned. More to come.

What would you caption this photo?

creamy crunchy parfait

You all are the best, you know that? I really appreciate all the advice on my post from yesterday on what I still need to do before Baby Itz’s appearance. Let’s just say that things are getting very real very quickly and lil man will probably be here before his expected due date. I’ve been crazy busy and will continue to be until he comes with all of the preparation that still needs to be done. Deep breaths… Deep breaths…

Food lately has been…. undocumented (unlike my pregnancy – ha!).  I’ve eaten lots of good food recently, too; I just haven’t been snapping the camera. Last Friday, Jonny and I went out to a terrific little Jamaican restaurant with Jonny’s parents. Saturday night included barbecue at my parents. Sunday was my baby shower and Sunday night was a delicious dinner out with my family.  And this week? Well, itz been whatever is fast and easy.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, and peanut butter.

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Itz comforting, easy, delicious, filling, need I say more? And itz a recycled photo, but it all looks the same anyway!

My snacks at school yesterday morning included an orange and popcorn. Random.

Linking up to Peas & Crayon’s What I Ate Wednesday!

I felt like I’d been eating pretty heavy lately, so yesterday for lunch I wanted something on the lighter side. That’s how this delicious creamy crunchy parfait was born.

creamy crunchy parfait

Creamy Crunchy Parfait

  • 1st layer: cottage cheese & walnuts
  • 2nd layer: strawberry yogurt & hemp hearts
  • 3rd layer: plain Greek yogurt, honey, & almonds

Itz creamy. Itz crunchy. Itz healthy. Itz delicious. ‘Nuff said.

I order the hemp hearts from iherb.com. Use my referral code VAJ523 to save money!

Fiber Love Bars recently came out with two brand new flavors: Coconut Macaroon & Apple Crisp and sent me a couple of each to try. Yesterday while I was hooked up to the baby monitor, I was feeling a little snacky, so I opened the coconut macaroon bar.

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LOVE! I love love love coconut flavor anyway, and this bar was the bombdotcom, like seriously. (All is good with Baby Itz, by the way!) It reminded me of the inside (the good part) of an almond joy. It was super moist, and honestly just so good. I haven’t tried the apple crisp, but if itz as moist as the coconut macaroon, then itz gotta be great!

Dinner was brinner last night. I made eggs for Jonny and I had a bowl of cereal. I wasn’t super hungry since after my doctor appointment I went all snack-monster at my parents’ house. When hunger rolled in later in the evening, I had a bowl of frosted mini wheats. Can’t really ever go wrong with cereal, eh?

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Yes, I use a lot of milk. And yes, I even let my cereal sit a bit so it gets soggy. I like it.

What’s your favorite cereal? Are you a soggy cereal eater like me?

36 Weeks Pregnant | To Do List to Prepare for Baby

Itz time to nest! I’m 36 weeks pregnant and today I’m making a to do list to prepare for Baby Itz because time is ticking, and lil man will be here before we know it. I had a beautiful baby shower on Sunday and the women were more than generous with gifts. Now I’ve got to get organizing and washing and all that goodness (with the help of my own amazing momma, of course!). But first things first, let’s cover the bumpdate details and then we’ll get into the specifics of what must get done.

36 weeks pregnant

Bumping right along!

Baby Itz: 36 Weeks

Baby’s size? Head of romaine lettuce.

Maternity clothes? LOVE! The white lace maternity dress I wore to my baby shower was from Seraphine. I’ve gotten a couple other dresses from different places that I’m looking forward to wearing soon, too. I’m most excited about this warm weather that we better be having during our so-called “spring.”

Stretch marks? Nope.

Sleep: Not awesome. Saturday morning I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t go back to bed. Usually I wake up frequently throughout the night, but am able to fall back asleep. I also had a really busy weekend, so I’m feeling exhausted. Hoping to get some good sleep.

Best moment this week: My baby shower! (Full recap soon to come, promise!) In case you missed it: read my sister’s heartfelt baby shower speech: The Top 10 Reasons Why I Know Lindsay is Going to Make an Amazing Mom.

Miss anything? Not really. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m totally digging this pregnancy thing. <– SAME

Movement: Still so much movement! My belly gets lopsided at times when different parts are sticking out. Yesterday he was really under my ribs (or so it felt) and it was the first time I felt uncomfortable. I was like dude move outta there (just my ribs, not my womb)!

Food Cravings: No cravings, but I’ll be happy to eat sushi and raw cookie dough again (not together – ha).

Anything making you queasy or sick? No.

Gender: BOY BOY BOY!!!!

Labor Signs: Nope.

Symptoms: I was trying to fix a couple clasps on my shoes over the weekend, and I had some difficulty bending down to reach and see my feet! That was a first! And I may or may not had Jonny pull off a pair of tight pants the other day…

Belly Button – in or out?  I think this is the first week I can classify it as a full outtie. Check out the picture above – itz poking through!

Wedding Rings – on or off? On!

Happy or Moody? Happy!

Looking Forward To: My doctor appointment this afternoon. I’m going every week now…

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My wonderful mother has been and is always incredibly instrumental in helping me organize and prepare for whatever stage of life I’m in. Throughout my pregnancy, she been to just about every doctor appointment and has run all around town doing odds and ends. She’s spent hours at my house helping me clean out the baby’s room and begin to organize. She’s gone baby furniture shopping and registering. She and my dad came over yesterday when we were at work to hang the curtains. I know I couldn’t do it without my mom.  So, Mom, here’s our list that we’ll tackle over the next couple weeks (and I promise I’ll do some of it on my own!).

To Do List to Prepare for Baby:

  • wash, organize, and put away bedding, towels, and clothes
  • get carseats installed in my car and Jonny’s
  • clear out space in the kitchen for bottles
  • change rocking chair pillows (I bought a rocking chair, but didn’t like the pattern on the pillows, so I ordered something more neutral)
  • find a rug
  • pack a hospital bag (I haven’t made it further than making that list)
  • buy nursing bras and tanks
  • set up bassinet
  • prepare baby book
  • buy diapers and wipes (almost for that one!)
  • purchase additional essential items from registry

Well, that list doesn’t look too long, but I still feel like I have a million things to do! My breast pump is ordered and should be arriving soon, so that’s another big thing take care of. I know that list is loaded even though it looks short, but I still feel like I’m forgetting something major? Am I?

What else do I need to do before Baby Itz arrives?

Baby Shower Speech

Jonny, Baby Itz, and I were showered with love yesterday afternoon during an absolutely marvelous baby shower. We were surrounded by the kindest, most supportive women in our lives, and are so grateful for everyone’s generosity in helping us prepare for Baby Itz. The entire weekend was packed with goodness, so I haven’t had time to fully recap the events yet, but, rest assured, I will.

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For today, I’m letting my sister take over the blog as she gave the most heartfelt baby shower speech and I want to share it with you all. While some of them include inside jokes between us sisters and our family, I’m sure you’ll still be able to get a sense of the amount of love that’s shared between us.

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The Top 10 Reasons Why I Know Lindsay is Going to Make an Amazing Mom

by Stephanie Cotta

#1: You can always pull your act together when working in a time crunch.  Several things cross my mind here as examples – the science fair projects you and mom would be working on midnight the day before the project was due, you – writing your maid of honor speech for my wedding – on the bus on the way to actual wedding… you have always been able to pull things off – and do amazing jobs on them.

#2: You are so patient and so sweet and so giving. Whether you are surprising the kids with a new book or toy or bringing someone a new dish that you recently tried out, you are always thinking of others.

#3: You will show Baby Itz how to make healthy food choices. Like the times you have been babysitting Jacob and will text me a picture of him eating bananas with “chocolate sprinkles.” Otherwise known as chia seeds.

#4: We have been able to learn from the best.  And I know this speech is about you, but itz hard to talk about motherhood without mentioning Mom. There are some days when you know I have called you and said, “I just don’t know how mom did it with FOUR of us.” But she did, and she taught us how to love and how to be a mom and we are so fortunate for that. And know that if you thought you called mom a lot before you had kids, wait until he arrives…

#5: You aren’t scared at all by things like vomit. Oh wait a second…. Nope, scratch that.  And know for that one that Mom is just a phone call away!

#6: You know when to ask for help. For the past four months, I’ve received an email or text or two or three or four or ten each day, asking for advice on bottles and breast pumps, outfits, and the color of your bumper pads. And while we joke about it, you know how much I love that and I can’t wait for the array of questions that will come once he is actually here.

#7: #hessocute #lookhowcute #ohmycuteness #babyitz #youwilldocumentallhislittlemomentsonyourblog

#8: You don’t give up.  In one of your most powerful posts on your blog, you wrote in regards to your journey, “Itz an emotional roller coaster and nothing like I’ve ever experienced in my life.  Itz sad.  Itz scary.  It makes me mad.  It makes me worried,” but you concluded that post with, “Believe. That’s a word I’m clinging on to with all my power.  I believe I will get pregnant.  I believe my doctors are doing what’s best for me.  I believe we are meant to have a baby.  I believe when the time is right, it will happen. Itz hard, but I believe.” Fast forward three months after that post and you were delivering the most amazing news to me…which brings to reason number nine

#9: You think of the best ways to deliver news. Like when I came over for services on Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – and you handed me a present and, while I was opening it, I asked “What is this for?” and you said, “For my upcoming maternity and newborn photoshoots.” And it took only a half a second for me to process what you were telling me and it was honestly one of my happiest days.

#10: And finally, you know how to love. Itz no surprise that you are a favorite of Jacob and Audrey Rose’s. You are so kind, warm, caring, nurturing. And while you never know exactly how you are going to feel when he is actually here, I know I’m not the only one in this room that knows that he is one of the most lucky babies in the world to have you as his mom.

In your blog post in which you announced your pregnancy, you began with a quote from Walt Disney…“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly & unquestionably.”  You did that. We all did that and I am just beyond happy for you that your dreams of a family are coming true.  I love you.

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my dress and belt are from seraphine maternity

There is no better friend than a sister. And there is no better sister than you.

Thank you, Stephanie. I love you. xoxo

Studio Maternity Photoshoot | St. Louis Maternity Photographer

Last weekend I was fortunate to spend some time with Stephanie Cotta Photography, St. Louis Maternity Photographer, for my studio maternity photoshoot.  She’s the best of the best and her pictures of precious newborns and gorgeous belly bumps speaks volumes of work. Here’s my all time favorite of the photos she took of me:

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LOVE.  If itz possible to feel sexy and pretty while being nine months pregnant, Stephanie sure helps in making that happen.

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If you’re anywhere in or near the St. Louis area, hiring Stephanie Cotta Photography is a must. Aspiring photographers should get in contact with her, as well. She hosts newborn mentoring workshops nationwide and sells her newborn posing guide and e-workshop of Mastering the Art of Newborn Photography all across the world.

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Have I mentioned that she’s my sister and I’m the luckiest pregnant lady around?

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Stephanie is crazy busy, but always, always, always makes time for me and gives so much of herself – not just to me, but to her family, her clients, her friends, everyone.  Thank you, Stephanie, for being the best sister (and photographer!) ever! Itz because of you that my pregnancy is so beautifully documented, and I’ll have these images to cherish forever.

Itz hard to believe that the next time I’ll be in this pose, I will be cuddling my new baby boy!

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Have a lovely weekend, friends. xoxo

Be sure to like Stephanie Cotta Photography on Facebook – each and every picture will make you “oooh” and “awww” and will definitely bring a smile to your face! Guaranteed!

Stylish Reebok Skyscape Shoes

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

Check out my shoes, y’all.

pregnant reebok skyscape

Pretty fashionable, huh?  Wearing sneaks with everyday outfits is totally the new thing and Reebok has got a fabulous new pair. They’re the stylish Reebok Skscape Shoes.  I’m all about them because they’re super comfortable, add a great pop of color, and can fancy up any old outfit whether itz skinny jeans, leggings, skirts, dresses, or even a belly bump!

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Their official hashtag is #StyleNeverStops and I just adore it. What I take it to mean is that any woman, any time, no matter what can and should feel stylish.  What is stylish?  Is it just about the clothes?  No.  Itz about being confident in your own skin.  Itz about being happy with who you are, from the inside out.  Am I reading too far into a shoe company’s latest campaign?  Maybe yes, but maybe not.  The fact of the matter is that we should all embrace ourselves, and one another, for who we truly are.  We don’t need to change, we don’t need to try to be someone we’re not.  We are who we are and that’s a beautiful thing.  Being true to yourself is most stylish in my book!

That’s not to say Reebok Skyscape shoes aren’t pretty sweet…

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Because they are!  You can just see the pillowy softness; just imagine what they feel like!  Here are some of the sweet features:

  • Foam material in the upper for softness and flexibility
  • Low-cut design for added mobility
  • Seamless construction for minimized rub and irritation
  • Unique architecture designed to support the foot and provide all-day comfort
  • Minimal rubber accents only where needed for traction
  • Skyspring technology – features a unique design architecture designed to help support the foot and provide all day comfort
  • Lightweight – only 5.0 ounces

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As an elementary teacher and as a 35-week pregnant lady, I have got to be comfortable on my feet as I’m on them all day long.  These shoes are rocking my world.  When I’ve been wearing them with my skinny jeans, I’ve been wearing them with socks because you can’t tell. However, once the weather [finally] warms up enough, I’m going to try the look with a skirt or dress and no socks.  At first I was worried about stinky feet and shoes, but the Reebok Skyscapes are machine washable! Itz best to remove the sole and laces and wash on gentle, and then just air dry. Stinky shoes be gone!

Reebok Skyscapes can be purchased online HERE, or in stores at a Reebok FitHub or Outlet. (Check locations HERE.) Select locations of Kohls also carry them.

They come in three colors: pink (my favorite), purple, and black.  They’re sure to match any outfit, but you may find yourself planning your outfits around the Skyscapes instead of the other way around.  Or maybe that’s just me…

reebok skyscape

Reebok Skyscape – so lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on!

What does #StyleNeverStops mean to you? What color Skyscapes would you get?

not quite a recipe yet

Did anyone do or receive any noteworthy April Fool’s Day pranks?  I didn’t, but my older brother Jason sure did!  He filled up my parents’ sink with four pounds of corn flakes and left a note that read, “Itz important to start your day with a good breakfast!”  He also proceeded to wrap 100+ rubber bands around my mom’s computer mouse.  Jason got his co-workers, too! He scraped the cream out of Oreos and replaced it with toothpaste, and emptied someone’s hand sanitizer with warming lube! But the best prank of all was played on my mom (my poor mother!), as he attached a sign to the back of her car.

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Yes, the sign really did read, “Honk, wave, and yell ‘Hi Susan!’ It’s April Fool’s Day and she doesn’t know.” LOL! But the real kicker is that my dad knew about these pranks my brother was going to pull, so he sprinkled red pepper flakes in Jason’s travel coffee mug in the morning that he took to work. Oh my family is just the funniest!

Alright on to food!  I tried a couple different food concoctions lately that I thought I’d be sharing the recipes with you today, but… they weren’t food fails, but they definitely are not quite a recipe yet.  First up, breakfast – some type of banana bread:

breakfast

It tasted good, but it didn’t stay together very well. It included bananas, peanut flour, chia seed, flax seed, cinnamon, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and applesauce, but it was too loose. However, I spread a big glob of NuttZo on top which trumped the not quite a recipe yet status.

Linking up with Peas and Crayons’ What I Ate Wednesday!

Lunch was another not quite a recipe yet.  I tried to make a meatloaf, but wanted to include tons of vegetables, as well.  Like the banana bread, it didn’t hold together too well despite itz looks in the picture below.

lunch

I used lean ground beef, oatmeal, mixed vegetables, onion, eggs, and spices.  I drizzled ketchup on top halfway through baking.  Jonny and I both agreed it tasted great! It was just crumbly. What do I have to do to get it to stick together better? Use additional eggs?

Dinner is something I take no credit for because last night I met my good friend Heather at Il Bel Lago. They have a fabulous happy hour of just four dollar appetizers!  It was bar food and not the healthiest, but it sure tasted good!

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And of course the more important part was spending time with my friend catching up.  But the pizza, toasted ravioli, and meatballs were pretty darn tasty and ya can’t beat that price!

Any good April Fool’s jokes or pranks you experienced? Do you have a good meat and vegetable casserole/meatloaf recipe you can share with me?