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    Golden Hour

    Three kids into this parenting business, and I have learned a couple things. Never have great expectations for taking photos during the newborn weeks. The baby will be fine, but the other kids will be anything but cooperative for photos as they deal with their new sibling angst. Those pictures will not be shared.

    However… a few months later everyone will bounce back, you’ll carefully align naps and feedings and sugar bribes, motivate your husband to smile (“genuinely!” you beg) for half an hour, and pray for the best as the sun drops in the sky.

    And sometimes your prayers are answered as your toddler and preschooler twirl in the golden rays, the baby is calm, everyone smiles, and you catch your breath as you realize how beautiful the scenery is right in your very own neighborhood.

    Thanks, God.

    *All photos by Abby Sue Photography.

    Photo credit: Abby Sue Photography. If you are local to Orange County, Abby is a gem!

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    Sandy Feet

    Last spring, Micah’s sweet cousin, Ciara, came to visit us while we lived at the beach. Ciara is a talented photographer, so while she spent the week with us, she snapped the most amazing pictures of our kids. I love having these beautiful candids of life by the ocean, and I can’t believe we didn’t have to pay a penny for them. Thanks, C!

    Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach Newport Beach

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    Le Tote Maternity: Is it worth it? (An honest, unsponsored review)

    Over the past few months, I’ve been packing up maternity clothes and all those silly newborn items you use for just a few weeks but store in your garage for years. I’m looking at you – nursing tanks, boppy pillow, tiny swaddles, and burp cloths.

    Le Tote Maternity

    I’m starting to feel like my non-pregnant self again, mostly sleeping at night and simply needing to lose 15 pounds (easy, right?). I recently reactivated my subscription to Le Tote, where I rent my clothes instead of buying them (see my past review here). During the final trimester of pregnancy, I used Le Tote’s maternity subscription to keep the bump looking cute without buying even more maternity clothes I would later have to stash in a storage bin or pawn off on a pregnant friend. Before I wipe all the maternity items from my closet on Le Tote, I thought I would share a quick review of their maternity subscription. This is NOT sponsored by Le Tote. I just want to fill you in on how you can feel cute during week 39 of pregnancy without spending all your money in the Target maternity section.

    When I was pregnant with Zianne, I had fun buying some cute maternity dresses and tank tops to get my large body through the brutal Phoenix summer. I also had a friend loan me all her maternity clothes. I thought she was being generous, but it turns out she was just being crafty. She was in the middle of moving and lending her maternity clothes meant one less box to pack up and store. After I had Zianne, I realized it’s actually not that fun to own maternity clothes, because you only wear them for three to six months, and then you have to figure out where to keep them. They are necessary, but highly impractical.

    Side note: I know some women solve this problem by wearing flowy, non-maternity items throughout pregnancy that can still be worn after the baby arrives. While I like the idea, I often notice that non-maternity clothes make pregnant women look frumpy and extra large, especially in photographs. I prefer to wear real maternity clothes, at least in the final months of pregnancy. They are more comfortable, since they are designed for the uniquely-shaped body of a pregnant woman, and they extenuate the bump, while allowing the thinner parts of my body to still be seen.

    Even though I’ve only had spring and summer babies, I have found that even the difference of a few months between my due dates has meant fairly different wardrobe needs during pregnancy. Zianne was born on the last day of a typical 110+ degree Phoenix summer. I was not teaching and could float in my pool in a bikini every afternoon. Eisley, however, was born in April in California, which means my bump was significantly popping by Christmastime. I was teaching full-time, so I needed professional, yet comfortable clothing for mildly cold weather. My Old Navy maternity tanks that I lived in with Zianne would not suffice.

    Enter Le Tote. I switched over to their maternity package when I was around 30 weeks, and I lived in their gorgeous dresses for the rest of my pregnancy. I had pretty bad varicose veins with Eisley, so I was desperate to keep my legs covered, but didn’t want to buy more maxi dresses. Instead, I borrowed Le Tote’s dresses and kept my legs hidden in style.

     

    Le Tote Maxi Dress

    Le Tote Maxi Dress

    Le Tote Maternity

    Le Tote Tunic Top

    I loved this dress so much, I added it to two separate totes! (I also loved this black mermaid dress, this striped midi dress, and this striped maxi dress.)

    If I were pregnant right now, these would be my favorite pieces for fall:

    Tops: Ruffle sleeve / High-low textured / Embroidered yoke

    Bell sleeve dress / High shine leggings / Cross front sweater

    To sum it up: I loved using Le Tote Maternity during my 3rd trimester. I own a solid foundation of maternity pieces, but it was great to use Le Tote to fill in some gaps as far as professional clothing, spring styles, and long items to keep my legs covered. I also rented a few nursing items after Eisley was born, but then I put my account on hold for the summer while I was fluctuating sizes and off work for a few months. I love that you can freeze your Le Tote account at any time for as long as you want. I actually extended my freeze for an extra month or two, when I realized I didn’t really have a need for Le Tote until school started up again. But now that fall has arrived, I am using my Le Tote subscription again and I love it. The downside is that the maternity option is expensive. It costs about $10 more per month than the regular subscription. I thought it was worth it, especially since I only used it for about ten weeks and then paused my account for a number of months, but cost may be a hinderance to some people. I truly wish Le Tote would drop their prices a little bit…

    If you are interested in signing up for Le Tote, you can use this referral link for one free tote. This post is NOT at all sponsored by Le Tote; I just really love their service and wanted to highlight their maternity option.

     

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