Life and All That.

 

I always say that the better my blog looks, the messier my life is. The times I've poured the most into my blog are often the moments that are the least exciting- wasting away hours at a bad job, sitting on the floor of the airport killing time during a massive flight delay, or in the midst of a messy house neglecting all my real responsibilities. 

On the other hand, when my blog gets quiet, it's typically a reflection that life is going really well and I don't want to stop and waste time to blog. I'm enjoying life too much to stop.

This might be why I'll never categorize myself as a professional blogger. Because rather than staying professional, I often default to doing what I prefer personally. Oh well. After five years of these shenanigans, you probably have learned to expect that, right? I guess you're stuck with me now, sorry.

But yes, it has been quiet around here because the days have just been so good around here. Don't get me wrong, my body is still only running around 85% of what it should from sleep and recovery, I have a stack of laundry the size of a mobile home sitting by my bed that needs to be put away, and my dissertation needs a zillion more hours put into it... but while there are glaring factors of imperfection glaring at me from various places, I'm just enjoying this time for what it is. 

These early days of a baby's life are only here for so long, so I'm savoring them. 

(Also, I'm wearing a tank top and shorts in the first pic... scouts honor! I was just accused of appearing naked by my husband.)

 

And when things aren't glossy and beautiful... they're often like this.

 


So that's what we're up to around here. What have you been up to this month?





*images original to Aspiring Kennedy



Posted on June 24, 2015 and filed under life, home.

Give It To Me | Baby Mama Edition

 

As I've mentioned previously, space right now is at an all-time premium. My mode of nesting over the week before delivery or so wasn't to deep clean the oven or scrub the hard-to-reach corners of the bathroom... it was to dig out every object from ever drawer and cabinet and put it under inspection for staying/going.

Progress has been made... but not much. It's getting to the point where it's really hard to throw things away... since most of the things we actually need and use. I may need to pay one of my friends $50 to come and toss the ugly things I can't or something... because I feel a bit at a standstill.

But somehow, new babies bring the arrival of new things, so here are a few things (and why), I'm glad to have right now. So consider this one of the most random gift-guides ever... you may be a bit surprised at some of the non-traditional items on here. (But then again, why repeat what so many others have already done well?)

 

 

1. LALABU SOOTHE SHIRT | I love a good way to hold my babies. This shirt is so genius- it holds a baby up to 15 lbs. You can wear them around without getting all geared up. How cool, right? I've been using mine day after day already. Harrison sleeps the entire time he is in it.

2. NEW UNDERWEAR | Someone gave me a stack of pretty, fresh new underwear after I had Viola and it ranks with one of the best gifts I got. Something about it just made me feel like a woman again. Do a friend a favor and get them some nice, soft cotton panties. Nothing sexy- just clean and new like these from GAP. It'll do a wonder in their lives.

3. J CREW ROBE | Again, nothing life changing really... but actually, for something that you'll be wearing all the time- go ahead and buy a nice robe that you like. I finally traded up and got a new one after years of wearing the same one. It felt like getting an upgrade from coach to business class. 

4. MAMAROO | Honestly, I basically only held Viola... but with two kids- I realize this won't be a reality. This is the ONE item of baby gear we have added to our house... in fact, we tossed all our old stuff. (They were pretty basic and cheap anyway.) Plus, the design is clean and modern which makes it feel a bit less like our house is getting taken over by the Chicco elves.

5. ANTICA FARMACISTA BABY DIFFUSER | I love gifts that can be used up. It takes away the risk of it floating around the house for years... and this one is perfect. This diffuser set is a reasonably priced to welcome a new baby. Especially, when there is a risk that their home may be overcome by the smell of diapers from multiple kids. We got one and I've just put it out... it smells really lovely. 

6. STOCK | Maybe one of the more random gifts to ever make a gift guide, but my parents bought me Disney stock when I was little for Christmas. At the time, I just thought I owned part of Disneyworld (which I guess was kind of true?), but over 25 years- those few shares have split, grown and been reinvested. Today, I love it! What a fun gift for a kid... that their parents will love, too.

7. BLA BLA DOLLS | Since I wasn't buying much for this baby, I did feel the need to buy one or two items that were "his" amidst the swell of hand-me-down everythings he would be inheriting. I love the Blabla Dolls, so I bought him Theo the cat and a quilt from Ivie Made.

8. BISCUITEERS ROYAL BABY TIN | Again, an edible gift is a great gift. No space-taking risk, and while I didn't actually give birth to the Royal Baby, it is really fun to celebrate having a child born so close to the Princess. For a Londoner, this is such a cute gift to receive. (Plus, you can have their biscuits personalized for the recipient!)

 


 

What's one of the best baby gifts you have been given or gave to someone? Share your secrets with us! I love out-of-the-box ideas. 

 



 

*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

 

Posted on June 10, 2015 and filed under babies, pregnancy, shopping.

We Had A Baby. Its A Boy.

 

Because who doesn't like starting the week off with the happy news of a baby- complete with a birth story and pictures? 


 

Friday morning (May 29th), I was scheduled for a c-section at UCLH. We were supposed to be there at 7:30 am to get the day started, but around 4am- my contractions kicked off. By the time we arrived to the hospital, I was having them three minutes apart. Even though I was 39 weeks, it definitely cleared up any question of if this baby was coming early... regardless of the caesarean, he was up for being born on the 29th.

There were six patients scheduled for c-sections that day, but when you go into labor- you get the cut the line and go first. (Kind of made those hours of labor worth it.) The doctors came by and talked with me, we were told to change clothes and be ready to go in about ten minutes. 

Before we knew it, we were in the "theatre" meeting the team that would deliver our son. (Don't those moments feel so weird? Everything feels so normal and calm, but you know everything is about to change.)

My epidural cranked on and in the midst of chatting with the anesthesialogist- I realized the surgery had already started. About ten minutes later, they asked if we wanted to watch the baby come out. Umm... sure? Gross? I don't know. But they lowered the curtain and all we saw was his body appear and them turn him around so we could look at him. 

And there he was- a real baby coming out of my stomach. You always "know" there is a baby in you.. but, since you can't actually see them, the whole thing seems so abstract. It may sound silly, but to see such a REAL baby being held before our eyes was amazing. It was like we had been given an upgrade from the hand-drawn version on all the pregnancy apps that I had come to envision as our child.

After having the world's worst/saddest c-section experience, I can tell you: that day was an entirely different experience. It was calm, it was happy, we had classical music playing and chatted with everyone about really pleasant things. In fact, I have to say- it even changed my perspective on having a baby being the most terrifying moment possible to something that could be really fun. After it was all said and done, we kept saying to each other how great things had been. I think that as we sat in the recovery room with that little baby sitting beside us, we felt our bodies finally unravel from 9 months of stress and anxiety.

With that said, it is still NOT my favorite experience to have my body opened up and feel hands moving around my insides. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it... but, luckily- the process ended up with something pretty awesome. 

We have a son. A sweet, chubby little boy who looks just like his sisters did and feels like he was made just to fit in with the rest of us. (Which he was!) 

 

HARRISON HUNTER KNIGHT | MAY 29, 2015. 7lbs 10 oz. +  21 in.


We spent the next 24 hours in at UCLH.... experiencing a different side to post-delivery than we had known before. My parents brought Viola up to meet her brother, which is an experience that, as a parent, makes your heart burst into a million rainbows, sprinkles and other cheesy things upon witnessing.

Beyond that, Tyler and I basically sat around, eating toast and drinking tea while staring at this sweet new baby. The next afternoon, they had me take a shower as proof that I was independent enough to go home, wrote up my meds, and sent us packing. (If you're a second-time mom here and everything is "normal,", they let you leave after one night and send a midwife to check on you at home the following day.)

 

Now we are home. It feels great- though lets be honest, a bit crazy with surgery recovery, a toddler and a new baby. But hey- life is good and we are so thankful.

Thanks for your sweet support during the past few months. Your kindness has made this process much softer than it would have been on our own. We can't wait to share the days ahead with you, too.

Welcome, sweet Harrison!

 



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

 

Posted on June 1, 2015 and filed under babies, babies kennedy, kids.

Sale Away

ONE  |  TWO  |  THREE  |  FOUR  |  FIVE  |  SIX  |  SEVEN

 


Tyler just hopped on the train to go to Edinburgh for the day to welcome my summer group to Scotland and get them set up for the day... since, you know, I'm not exactly in travel condition. (Which is a bummer, because these summer trips up to Scotland are some of my favorites ever!)

Typically, these short haul trips are an easy thing to do... but when you're a ticking time bomb- it's a bit nerve-wracking. I've promised not have a baby in the next 16 hours, so I'm doing my best to keep my word by laying low today.

And by "laying low," we can all obviously assume I'll be shopping online looking at clothes that I can wear this summer once this human-growing turtle shell is gone from my body. (Or mostly gone, because... you know.) The good news is: most of them are on-sale. Like, reallllly on sale with Nordstroms half-yearly happening, JCrew having additional 30% off their sale and GAP/Old Navy having 30% off your purchase, too.

Just doing my part to be a good wife and all. ;)




 

*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

Posted on May 26, 2015 and filed under shopping.

Oh, The Places You'll Go... In Utero

 

I'm officially at that stage of hoping the baby could arrive at any moment... and being totally in denial of what is about to happen while going about normal life as if all is things are totally normal.

It's a weird place to be in, but I'm sure if you've had a baby- you know exactly what I mean.

And if you haven't had a baby... well, go take an hour long bath, go shopping for an entire afternoon at your leisure and eat pizza on the couch while binging on Law & Order SVU.... just because you can and that is awesome.

I'm 38 weeks now and we have days (!!!) left to meet our son. Most people say pregnancy flies by, but I can't really agree. We found out we were expecting him so long ago- it seems like this little baby has been a part of our story for such a while now.

Since I can't imagine that I'll be able to post a baby-free photo after his arrival, and since I can only look back on my other pregnancy as such a significant and special time... I wanted to do a little look back on all the moments and places he has been already. I guess to put all the fun moments of pregnancy in one place.

While it may seem a bit silly (I know!), I value the time I've carried him really deeply. With all that happened last time, I can't help but cherish these days of pregnancy in a special way. Perhaps I see them as more important as they are, but to me- life is life. We're so happy to have shared this special time with him during pregnancy... and can't wait to enjoy the rest of life with him after delivery, too.

 


ICELAND | Where it all began. How do you say "souvenir baby" in Icelandic?


FINDING OUT | Tyler & I headed out to breakfast while Viola was at nursery. It was a sunny fall day and we were on Cloud Nine with the idea that we were going to get another child. 


 

DENIAL | Soon after we found out, we kind of shoved the whole thing out of our minds. As crazy as that sounds, it was easier to forget about being pregnant than think about it. during the chaos of juggling grad school, work and life. Plus, we wanted to tell our families three months later at Christmas- so we did our best to just put it out of our minds. for the time being.

 


UK & IRELAND | Just on the brink of the second trimester, we toured the Lake District, York, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Belfast, The Giants Causeway and Ireland. It was exhausting and awesome.


PROVENCE | In December, we headed down to Southern France and spent several days just being together after a hectic fall of work/school/life. It was such a quiet and great time being just the three of us... well, I guess four. 


ITS A BOY | In the midst of London at Christmas, we booked an appointment for the day I turned 17 weeks. I "knew" it was a boy. Tyler "knew" it was a girl. We went to Selfridges to commemorate the day by buying him a little train ornament.

Despite being so adamant that I knew it was a boy, it actually took weeks (months?) to process that we were having a boy. I have asked to have it double checked in every scan since, too.


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS | We went back to the US and told our families the big news. "We're pregnant... and its a boy!" We each had two sisters pregnant within 12 weeks of our baby's due date. Four of the five are boys- so it was fun to let everyone in on the secret and join the baby party.


PARIS, FRANCE | We headed to Paris to celebrate Viola's 2nd birthday. Hopefully (and most likely!), it was the first of many Parisian trips for this young guy.


SCHOOL DAYS | In a stroke of sheer awkwardness, I didn't tell anyone in my course I was pregnant. For some reason, it just felt like a weird thing to drop in amongst normal school chatter. With coming/going just for classes, I obviously wasn't the center of the social scene. Still, the look of shock/terror on my friends faces around 30 weeks when I couldn't hide it any longer was pretty hilarious. Apparently, being tall and shrouded in winter layers allows you to look "normal" for a long time. (Or probably just chubby, if I'm honest.)


PARIS, FRANCE... AGAIN | Amber & I went to Paris for the day as a little last hoorah before my travel days ended. We spent the sunny day wandering around Paris, eating the best food and just enjoying the relaxing day. It will probably live in my memory as one of those golden, untouchable days when everything was perfect.


BABYMOON | Ok, we didn't venture far- but Tyler & I spent two days in Hertfordshire feeling utterly relaxed at Laura Ashley's The Manor. We ate, walked and slept for 48 hours. It was a good (and, if I'm honest, much needed) time for us to spend together to reconnect, talk and just get on the same track before a new baby arrived. 


THE WAITING GAME | The last few weeks, we've just stayed close to home taking the days slowly together. Walks around the neighborhood, sunny dinners in pubs and lots of afternoon cuddled up together for naps. It's been a sweet time. I know I won't be able to imagine life without this baby once he arrives... but just so it goes on the record: this has been a good run. 


 

The unexpected family of three that we ended up with has become so precious to me, but I have a feeling that once this baby arrives and we grow to four... it'll fill up a place in my heart that I often forget is open. We've been so happy being Viola's parents... and now that joy gets to grow and expand with the arrival of her brother. Bring it on.

 

How do you look back on your pregnancies? Do they feel like they flew by or the time ticked on for ages? 

 


 

 

FOLLOW ASPIRING KENNEDY ON BLOGLOVIN

 

 



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*photos at Opera Garnier by Stacy Reeves

*photos around London by Sara Kerens



Posted on May 25, 2015 and filed under babies kennedy, babies, kids, pregnancy.