Lyla’s Nursery Reveal

NDHL1051I’m so excited to share Lyla’s nursery with you! I had so much fun (and a few sleepless nights) putting this room together. Interior design is a great outlet for creativity. I think we all feel like we have an inner Joanna Gaines just waiting to come out! Today I’m sharing my inspiration for her room, how it all came together, and where all the pieces are from.

The inspo:

The first thing I chose for Lyla’s nursery was the color. I love everything pink, but I didn’t want to design a room for me. I also believe in how colors make us feel. I chose a very soft lavender because I knew it would be soothing. 

The next step was to choose a “theme.” I didn’t have anything that I wanted to commit to, so I chose Team No Theme. I just wanted the room to be soft, timeless, and feminine. I wanted it to look like a baby lived there, not an adult hipster. I knew I wanted to incorporate florals, but I didn’t want to go too crazy. I also had the luxury of knowing we are moving sometime next year when Andrew’s residency ends, so her nursery didn’t have to transition into a little girl’s room. As long as we were living in this house, it only had to be a room for a tiny baby.

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The process:

Decorating this nursery proved to be one of the hardest projects I’ve done. You only get to bring your first baby home once, and I wanted everything to be just the way I envisioned. That desire combined with pregnancy brain gave me decision paralysis like I have never had in my life. I am normally a VERY decisive person. But while putting together the nursery, I second-guessed everything. I literally lost nights of sleep over the curtains. I kept having to remind myself that all my baby actually needs is love, food, and a safe place to sleep, and I had those covered.

To somewhat preserve my sanity, I made a list and a Pinterest board of all the elements I wanted for the room. That helped me stay focused while shopping.

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The sources:

I’m not a cool enough blogger to have an account where I can link all the sources for you, so I’ll list them here for those curious:

Crib: Buy Buy Baby

Dresser (used as changing table): Leah Shea Interiors in Paducah, KY

Blanket ladder: Facebook Marketplace

Paint color: Sachet by Valspar

Rocker: Target

Side table: Marshall’s

Cube storage & floral cubes: Walmart

Gallery wall: Frames are from Goodwill, Marshall’s, and At Home. Mirror and cross are from Hobby Lobby. The wooden sign is from Home Goods. The other pieces in her gallery wall are:

-“The Rose Fairy” print from this series by Cicely Mary Barker. She was an English artist in the 1920’s and 30’s, and I love her prints for nurseries or little girls’ rooms.

-Vintage sheet music for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I’ve had this sheet music for years and I saved it knowing I would want it in a nursery someday.

-A vintage Barbie sketch print from a set of greeting cards like this one.

-The Art of Disney theme parks “Vision” postcard. I tried to link this but couldn’t find a source I trusted. This is a postcard I bought while I worked at Disney. It depicts the land on which Magic Kingdom is built as it looked when Walt purchased it, with a hologram of the castle over it.

That may be more detail than you ever wanted to know, but that’s the story on our little girl’s nursery! We can’t wait to bring her home!

The story behind our baby name

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I tried to brainstorm non-pregnancy topics for the blog, but what can I say? I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I have baby on the brain! We haven’t kept our baby name a secret, but we also haven’t made a big announcement. Word, get ready to meet Lyla Rose Cude! I thought I would share the story behind her name for those curious and anyone who may be in need of baby name inspiration!

Andrew and I both have middle names that were passed down from family members. I’m named after my great-grandmother Myrtle Rose. She and I had a very special connection. By the time I was old enough to really interact with her, she had suffered a stroke which took away most of her verbal abilities. I would sit with her in her chair and she would pat my hand and hug me, unable to speak. Once, after sitting with her for a while, my aunt asked me if Grandma had said anything to me while we were together. I instantly replied, “No, but I heard her say she loved me in my head.” She passed away when I was four. Through the years, I’ve learned more and more about the woman she was, the impact she had on my dad’s life and therefore my life, and about the things she and I shared in common. Needless to say, I wanted to pass her name on if I was ever blessed with a daughter.

With a middle name of Rose already chosen, I knew I wanted her first name to be Southern, timeless (not trendy), and a little bit unique. I love my name because it’s not a name you hear every day, but it’s recognizable. I have a soapbox about “different” names. If you give your child a difficult name, their first interaction with every person they meet will be correcting them. I chose a name that could be easily pronounced and spelled.

In the spirit of full transparency, I got the name Lyla from the show Friday Night Lights. I thought it was so pretty and I didn’t get tired of it over the years. It’s also fitting that my daughter’s name would come from a TV show, because my first name came from the TV miniseries “North and South.”

Andrew and I are both very Type-A, so we had our baby names picked out when we were engaged. If you’re struggling to choose, I would say you’re probably over-thinking it. I know it’s a huge decision, but if you think about it that way, it’s almost paralyzing. Decide what’s important to you in a name. If you’re uninspired, try searching popular baby names through the decades. Or dive into your family tree and look at middle names and maiden names as well as first names. You just might have a hidden gem somewhere in there!

What about you? What’s the story behind your name or your child’s name? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear it!

 

& Baby Makes Three.

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Andrew and I celebrate our three year anniversary this week. Three years ago on July 9th, we chose forever with each other. This year is extra special as we await the arrival of our first baby. Below is a letter I wrote to our little lady as we celebrate this milestone and look forward to all the milestones to come.

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Dear Lyla,

As I write this, I am 30 weeks pregnant with you! You are very active in my belly, which may be uncomfortable at times, but keeps me reassured that you are doing just fine in there. You’ve already shown us some of your personality. At our first ultrasound, you were so stubborn we couldn’t get all the pictures we needed. When we came back for our follow up to get those pictures, you stuck your tongue out at us the whole time as if to say “Ha ha! I won!” Our ultrasound tech said she rarely sees the tongue that well, but you were determined to show off. We already love you so much and can’t wait to meet you!

Each week with you brings new milestones to celebrate. This week is extra special because we’re also celebrating three years of marriage. You see, before there was you, there was just me and your daddy. We had three wonderful years together where we were just Ashton and Andrew, not mommy and daddy. It’s impossible to put the significance of those years into words. But as you come into the world, I want you to know how sweet those years have been. I want you to know that they were full of laughter and so much love…true love like you read about in fairytales. I want you to know what a good team we are, and that no matter what comes our way, we stick together and trust Jesus to get us through. I want you to know that even though we’ll always be your mommy and daddy, we’ll also always be Ashton and Andrew-the husband and wife who love each other very much.

I know this season marks the end of something we will never get back, and yet the beginning of something even greater. The best is yet to come for our little family, and we are so humbly grateful to the Lord for giving us the gift of you. The sadness that these years of “just us” are ending is vastly overshadowed by the anticipation of all the joy set before us. You are going to have the best daddy in the whole world, baby girl. Trust me, I’ve had him all to myself for three years now.

With love,

Your mama

Transitional Maternity Style

I’m alive! I recently shared on Instagram that pregnancy has made it challenging for me to keep up with my blogging goals. I’ve been blessed with a healthy pregnancy so please know I’m not complaining! In the interest of keeping it real with y’all, my first trimester kicked my butt a little. I had fatigue like I’ve never experienced. I also had hormonal acne that I couldn’t treat because most acne products are unsafe for pregnancy. As you can imagine, being constantly fatigued with severe breakouts didn’t exactly encourage weekly photo shoots. I was so determined to be consistent in the beginning because I’ve heard from experienced bloggers that consistency is the best way to build a following.  The more weeks went by without me getting a post up, the more defeated I felt. I wanted to get back into blogging, but I felt like I had already blown it. BUT…the belief that you can’t do something just because you don’t do it perfectly is a LIE and I’m not letting it hold me back!

This week I’m sharing some ways you can build a maternity wardrobe that will transition past your pregnancy. Pregnancy is such an awkward time when it comes to clothes. You don’t want to get rid of things that don’t fit anymore because you don’t know whether they might fit again after baby. You also don’t want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe for just nine months. Even if you hope to be pregnant again, that’s still a lot of clothes to buy to only wear a few times. To add another layer of struggle, your pregnant belly doesn’t appear overnight. You outgrow things gradually. What fit one day might look ridiculous the next. I’ve found the best way to combat these challenges is to find non-maternity options that work for pregnancy. That way I know I’ll continue to wear the items I’m buying long after baby arrives. These three categories have been my wardrobe staples throughout my first and second trimesters. I know in my third trimester I’ll need to rely more heavily on maternity clothes. But for now I’m getting the most bang for my buck (and the best fit) out of these pieces!

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Empire waist/loose-fitting tops

The first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant was a bunch of these tops. I knew these styles would carry me through most of my pregnancy and be a welcome relief from tight-fitting shirts in those new mama days. These shirts have made me feel cute and comfortable…a huge win for anyone but especially those of us with a bun in the oven! The top I’m wearing was a Goodwill find so I can’t link this exact one for you, but I’ve linked a few options that are currently available:

Forever 21 Blush pink ruffle top (I love this tucked into something high-waisted for after pregnancy, or worn loose during!)

Target Knox Rose peasant top

Old Navy flowy floral top

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Flowy Dresses

Over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve attended a Derby event, two graduations, a banquet for my husband’s class, church on Sundays, and during my first trimester I was still working as a bridal consultant. That’s a LOT of dresses for one pregnant lady to wear. This is where opting for non-maternity styles has saved me. Anything that has a higher seam at the waist and a flowy skirt leaves enough room for my growing bump. Another great thing about dresses is they allow you to create an outfit with just one piece. When your body is changing every day, it’s so much easier to throw on a comfy dress than to put tops and bottoms together. Maternity dresses can be really cute, but your options are fairly limited in terms of style and price. Expanding your horizons to other styles will keep you from having to be a serial outfit repeater. (Honestly still not over that moment in the Lizzie McGuire movie.) The dress I’m wearing above is from TJ Maxx, but I’ve linked a similar one below along with other styles I love!

Off the shoulder floral dress

Old Navy Cami dress (I bought this in an ivory floral print and wore it to a graduation.)

Old Navy wrap dress (I have my eye on this one for 4th of July!)

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Elastic waist shorts

The day I walked into Aerie and found an endless supply of elastic-waist shorts, I think I heard angels sing. These have been a lifesaver since most of my pregnancy falls in the summer months. They will be so cute worn high-waisted with a shirt tucked in after baby comes. For now, they stretch comfortably around my bump and are so much more comfortable than maternity shorts. I’ve linked the two pairs I have along with another pair I’m eyeing.

White tie waist shorts

Frayed denim shorts

Striped guaze shorts

Other tips

Here are a few other rules I’ve learned as I’ve built my maternity wardrobe:

-Avoid buttons. Unless the top is super blouse-y, there will definitely come a day when those buttons are begging for mercy. And no one needs that weighing on their self esteem.

-Minimize layers. Choose tops you won’t need to wear with a cami. The less layers you have to put together, the better. Plus, camis trap heat and you will be plenty hot without their help! I was cold-natured before I got pregnant and now I feel like I’m in the midst of a nine-month hot flash!

-Size up. One of the simplest ways to make non-maternity styles work for you is just to size up one or two sizes to give you a little growing room.

-Watch your length. Make sure tops and dresses are long enough to accommodate your growing bump. Crop tops are such a huge trend right now and it’s not always obvious at a glance that a shirt is cropped. Unless you want your belly playing peek-a-boo, make sure you either try on or at least hold items up to you to check length.

Now you know everything I know about building a cute, comfortable maternity wardrobe! Everything I’ve talked about should also work for those who aren’t pregnant but prefer a more relaxed fit, especially for summer. Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to support and encourage me, even when I was MIA. Let me know if there are any other pregnancy topics you want me to cover!

 

Announcement: Baby Cude is on the way!

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It has been so hard to keep this news a secret! Andrew and I are expecting a baby in September 2019! We are so grateful and we don’t take it for granted that the Lord has blessed me with a healthy pregnancy thus far.

I hope this explains why I’ve been quiet on Instagram and the blog for the last couple months. Not only was I afraid I would accidentally spill the secret, but I also had pregnancy symptoms that made keeping up my blogging schedule difficult. Thanks to Kelsey Malicote for these gorgeous photos that give me some new things to share!

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Now, for the frequently asked questions:

How are you feeling?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had a relatively “easy” pregnancy. I only got morning sickness once! While I was so thankful to avoid being sick, I definitely had some symptoms that threw me for a loop. For several weeks in my first trimester, I had fatigue that made me feel like I literally could not get up off the couch. Over the weeks, my energy has gradually improved, but fatigue remains my number one symptom. I’ve just had to accept that I have limited energy for the day, and the rest of it is going toward building a healthy baby! My other main symptom has been hormonal acne. The rest has just been little odds and ends that can all be traced back to the miracle of pregnancy. The book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” has been my best friend as I navigate what’s normal for expectant mamas!

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Will you keep working?

When we originally thought we would be moving this summer with the military, I had given both my jobs an end date of April 30th, 2019. Over the months we spent walking through Andrew’s discharge, applying for other opportunities, and determining that we would be in Lexington for another year, we kept my job decisions on the back burner. Once all the dust had settled, it became clear that it was time for me to stop working every Saturday and look into something that would give me my weekends back as Andrew transitioned into a new role. Fun fact: jobs in the wedding industry are wonderful, but they take up every single Saturday. We had reached a point where that no longer made sense for us. Shortly after we made that determination, we found out Baby Cude was on the way! Taking all these factors into consideration, I’ve decided to keep my original end date of April 30th and stay home for the foreseeable future. I will have plenty to keep me busy this summer as Andrew graduates and starts a new job and we prepare for the arrival of our first child! Once the baby is here, I will rock the stay at home mom life while Andrew is in residency.

In addition to momming, I’ll still be blogging, too! Needless to say, extreme fatigue and perpetual acne are not exactly a recipe for blogging success. Either I was so tired it was all I could do to get up and go to work, or my skin was so bad I didn’t want to jump in front of a camera. Now that I’m getting a bit more energy, I’m excited to get back to connecting with everyone and sharing more about this exciting new season!

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Will you find out the gender?

Yes, we find out the gender very soon and I’ll be sharing it with you shortly after we know!

Do you have names picked out?

Yes, we’ve had baby names on reserve since we were dating (when two Type A’s get married, ha!). We will share this sweet baby’s name after we share their gender.

I think that covers the main topics people are curious about! We are so excited and truly feel so humbled by this blessing. At the risk of sounding cynical, there are just so many things that can go wrong when trying to grow a family, and thus far the Lord has been so merciful to us every step of the way. Thank you so much to all who have rejoiced with us over this news! I can’t wait to share more with you as we move further into this new chapter!