kristen-holly » the personal blog of kristen holly

Masthead header

Today is December 17th, exactly one month from our due date of January 17. We are just as excited as last time, and a lot less nervous. There is definitely a sense of peace that comes with experience. We are eagerly awaiting meeting him and seeing his sweet little face.

maternity photography bay area mommy blogger 35 weeks nursery

I feel like he could come any day, but there is no rush. Last time, we didn’t even know we were pregnant until we were already about 2 months in, so I suppose with this one being planned, it feels that much longer. I knew I was pregnant the next morning, I swear, I just knew. 😉  So we’ve been excited about this one was coming for a very long time. The nursery is all done, we went pretty minimalist on gear (ah, that blessing of experience!), and we feel very ready. Although, we have yet to settle on a name. I think we’ll have to take our list to the hospital, and decide once we meet him.

Last time we did this, I documented nearly every week with a Q&A here on the blog. I’ve loved going back and reading all of those, and comparing them to this one. A lot has been the same, with just a few differences. Shall we do one?

How far along: 35 weeks, 4 days

Baby: He’s somewhere between 5-6 pounds, and nearly 20 inches. From here on out, he’ll be filling out with adorable baby chub. He’s had a lot of hiccups while he practices breathing, and he is VERY active. I remember Asher kicking me a lot too, but this little guy seems a little wilder. Haha, yikes!

Weight: I’m up about 32 pounds, which is slightly more than last time. My doctor says that’s normal, and for a low starting weight, I’m right on track where I should be. I feel like it’s getting to be more than my frame can handle though, and it’s hard to imagine that I still have a few pounds to go as baby plumps up! I’ve already got my waddle on, can barely tie my shoes, and almost can’t reach the kitchen sink faucet without bonking my belly on the counter. Just like last time, this belly goes straight out! I’d love to say I don’t think I look pregnant from the back, but I definitely got a little booty this time. Can’t say I’m mad about that 😉 I’ve got curves, baby!

Symptoms: I’m happy to say I’m having a very good, healthy pregnancy again. I have the same symptoms as last time, but they started much earlier. The sciatic pain started within the first month or two – my doctor said it’s due to how our muscles and ligaments relax, so whatever was causing it last time just slipped right back into place. Yay. Also, Braxton-Hicks contractions. Holy smokes. I think they started somewhere around 18 weeks this time. They go from being relatively chill, to temporarily paralyzing. Fun stuff. I’ve been firmly instructed to take it easy by my doctor after a day of wedding shooting left me contracting, cramping, and spotting. (Oops.) But all in all, I can’t really complain. I still feel like myself, and can still do almost anything I want to, for a short amount of time, followed by lots of rest. Although to be honest, she probably wouldn’t like me doing a lot of what I do, but hey… this is me we’re talking about here 😉 Sit around? No thanks.

Best moment this week: I looooooove feeling him move. Every kick, stretch, roll, and hiccup. I savored this last time, and I’m savoring it again. When he wakes up, I start talking to him, tickle his feet when they poke out my side, and rub his back. I remember Asher would push into it when I’d scratch his back too. These boys (including Jamie) love their back scratches/rubs!!

Best moment this week 2: Asher loves this little guy. He and I snuggle up in the rocking chair together, and we laugh about how we’re both getting bigger and that pretty soon we won’t fit! But we still squeeze in to watch movies, read books, or play iPad. Little one responds to Asher’s voice when he’s squished up next to me, and will start to wiggle around. Asher thinks it’s really funny that his little brother is kicking him, and he already likes to poke him to get a reaction back. Boys!

Food cravings/aversions: No cravings or aversions at the moment, I think I’m pretty even-keeled. I mostly want pasta, veggies, cheese, and fruit, and water-water-water. For awhile there, I was craving red meat like crazy, which is not like me at all, considering I cook and eat vegetarian about 6 days a week. Turns out I was low on iron, so I switched to a prenatal vitamin with more iron in it. Cravings gone. Cows, you’re safe. Whew.  🙂

Milestones: We had our last ultrasound last week, and we were very fortunate to have Jamie’s parents in town at the time. They got to see him too! Of course, at a 34 week ultrasound, everything is pretty squished in there, so it was hard to get a good picture, but we did see his face with his little wrists crossed and fists covering his mouth. Ah! In love!

What I’m nervous about: Well, I’m trying not to think about it too much, but I’m more afraid of labor than I was the first time. Ignorance is bliss, right? My labor itself went well, but it was after that got really scary. (Ok, yes, I’m afraid of the actual labor too… it’s hard! It hurts! And that first trip to pee afterward? Traumatizing!) But back to what I was going to say: Short version: I’m the lucky 1% that got a wet tap with my epidural. It’s one of those fine-print risks you sign off on that you think will never happen to you. (Note: If you’re squeamish, stop reading here.) What happened: they poked that giant needle too far through my spinal column, causing me to leak spinal fluid and suffer from spinal headaches. I was ok through labor and chilling in my hospital bed, but once I got home, shit got real. I couldn’t think, speak, or see straight, and I remember slithering to the couch or floor on several occasions because I knew my head would feel better if I could just.lay.down. When I crawled to the floor at Asher’s first well-child visit, his pediatrician’s jaw dropped and she told Jamie to get me to the ER asap. There, I got a blood patch (drew 4 vials of blood from my arm and shot it back into my spine) so it would clot and stop. I laid alone in the ER flat on my back for half a day with strong painkillers while my blood clotted around the leak. Meanwhile my newborn baby was at home without me, getting fed formula, when I had planned to exclusively breastfeed. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to pump yet. I cried hysterically lying on that table. It was awful. Sooooo, yeah. I’m afraid of the epidural, and equally afraid of the pain of going through labor without it. Hello, anxiety.

What I miss / what I’m looking forward to: I miss my mobility and agility. And wine. I really miss wine, haha 😉  I’m looking forward to being able to move my body, get back into my workouts, and be able to keep up with Asher. 🙂  And of course, the most important of all, I’m looking forward to meeting this little guy, and introducing him to his family. There will be four of us in a month!!

See you soon, little one 🙂 xoxo, Mama

  • mom - Love you, wont be long now, relax. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kayla F - I’m SO excited for your new adventure as a family of 4! You are already amazing, and seeing you in this mommy light is so beautiful! I hope you spend the next few weeks relaxing and taking in just the 3 of you! Happiest of wishes to you and I can’t wait to see you…and drink some wine!ReplyCancel

Hello!!!!

My goodness, it’s been a LONG time. My last post was May 2013!! Although, you’ll see a more recent post under this one – I copied it over from my professional blog so y’all know what’s up. We’re pregnant with baby #2, even though we said we’d never! 😀  Naturally, it seemed like the right time to rev up the mommy blog again!

I’ve been enjoying reading my own blog posts here from when I was pregnant with Asher. The weekly updates have been fun to read and compare. I’ve been feeling a little guilty for not documenting like I did the first time, but a lot of it has been pretty similar. I’m excited to get chatty again! 🙂 (And give this place a design facelift, yeesh!)

I don’t know why I ever stopped, but to get you up to speed, we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after my last post, in July 2013. We rented for 6 months, and bought our little south bay California home in December 2013. We moved out here when Jamie was hired by Tesla Motors. Recently, he moved over to Apple, and it’s been an awesome decision. He is doing amazing, and I am crazy proud of him! As for me, I’ve been shooting beautiful weddings in incredible locations, and playing around with other types of photography – commercial, interiors, lifestyle, editorial magazine spreads, and more. Even got published in a book this year! It’s been fun to play and explore!

Asher is 4.5 years old, and just as cute and awesome as ever. He’s in preschool, growing in every way. He’s smart and clever, and really funny. I love his sense of humor. He’s excited to be a big brother! Probably more excited about Christmas at the moment… from his perspective, I’ve been pregnant for about 10 years!

So yeah, baby! It was practically Asher’s idea. We actually decided to go for it just over a year ago, and then chickened out. After a few more months of chatting about it here and there, Asher piped up with all the reasons he thought we needed a baby. He got on the campaign trail, and he was spot-on with his points! He was obviously successful – we were already leaning in that direction, and his campaign sealed the deal. I’m currently 34 weeks and 4 days along.

It’s a BOY! I totally thought I was pregnant with a girl. I just had a feeling. I had her name picked out, nursery decorated in my mind, and was ready to start picking out clothes… but when I browsed the girl section of Baby Gap, I suddenly wasn’t so sure, and had no clue what to do with all that pink. I wandered over to the boy section and immediately felt at ease. About a week later, we got the news: it’s a Boy!! I felt relieved. I know what to do with a boy, I’ve done it before! So I’ll be a mom of boys, and I’ll continue to be the only girl in the house!

Ok, that’s it for tonight – time to put the little one to bed, and then relax with Michael Buble’s Christmas Special on TV, Lexi snuggled up under a blanket, and these fierce baby kicks! Probably with a big bowl of ice cream too 😉 Pregnancy perks!

Thanks for being here! Love you!! Yay!!

xoxo, Kristen

*PS: I’ll try to get a bump pic up in here! Pic below: us three at Disneyland a couple weeks ago 🙂 See ya soon!

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 8.32.08 PM

 

  • mom - Love seeing you doing this again 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Andy Owen - Yay! Welcome back! Can’t wait to keep up with you Californians here. Glad Asher’s getting his wish. It’s better to share childhood memories with a sibling. 🙂 keep up the fun blogging!ReplyCancel

Jamie and I are overjoyed to announce that we are soon expecting Baby #2!

I am almost 6 months along, and have been loving pregnancy just as much as the first time. There is just nothing in the world like growing a tiny human, feeling those gentle little baby movements, and sometimes surprisingly strong kicks! We feel incredibly lucky that we get to be the parents of another awesome BOY! Yeee!

Asher, who is now 4, (ah! remember when he was just like this?!) is VERY excited to be a big brother.

“A baby BROTHER?! It’s all I ever wanted in the whole world!!” -A  (heartmelt!)

He has even taken it upon himself to name the baby:

On or around January 17 2016, we will be welcoming Little Dorsal Fin!

“…and then when he turns into a kid, we’ll call him Big Dorsal Fin.” -A

Obviously.

In addition to naming the baby, helping me paint the nursery, and telling everyone he meets that “mommy has a baby in her belly”, he’s also taken the initiative to choose a large selection of his own toys and books that baby brother can have. He loves to talk to the baby through my belly button, and he REALLY loves to blow raspberries on my belly and feel him wiggle. I don’t know how the reality of his expiring Only Child status will actually hit him when it happens, but we’re definitely enjoying his sweetness at the moment. As of now, he’s the most thoughtful and caring big brother a little one could hope for. 🙂

Now, I’m sure many of you, especially those of you who were with us when that sweet big brother was a tiny terror newborn monster, are wondering whether baby #2 was a surprise or not. Fair enough inquiry, considering we swore up and down that we were One and Done. Family of Three. Our Little Trio. Well, life happens, parents grow up with their babies, and sometimes, they even soften up. It took about a year of conversations, and a very amusing campaign by big brother to decide that we were finally ready to do this again. We haven’t forgotten how hard it was the first time, but we feel much more prepared and equipped than the first time around. I don’t know if anyone can be truly ready for these kinds of life changes, but we’re excited for this next chapter. A Family of Four!

On an (even more) personal note, I just have to talk for a minute about how magical this feels. I know people have babies and grow their families all the time, but I never thought it would happen for us. Over the past 4 years, I often would feel a little urge for another baby, but knew that we had already made our decision to have our one and only. We are/were very happy as a trio, but there was always that feeling there for me. Living far from family, and after moving even further to California, the desire to have more of us became stronger. I never said anything, but Jamie recognized it in me a long time ago. He waited until he knew he was ready as well to bring up the subject. When he DID bring it up, I melted into a puddle of tears. I don’t think I even realized how much I wanted it. I had gotten used to brushing off the feeling as hormonal, or normal doubts everyone has. At every milestone of Asher’s life so far, I had celebrated and savored it that much more, knowing we would only get to do it once. So now that we’re welcoming another family member, and get to experience all of these wondrous moments for a second time… I feel a profound sense of appreciation, gratitude, and pure bliss.  It’s nothing short of magic.

We can’t wait to meet you, sweet baby boy. You are loved, and awaited for, beyond measure.

~ Love, Mama, Daddy, Asher, and Lexi

carlson-babe4-web

I participated in US Veg Week earlier this month by going vegan for a week. It was pretty eye opening in a lot of unexpected ways, including how hard and restricting it can be. During that week, I viewed it as an opportunity to explore new foods and items that didn’t include animals or animal products. As in: no meat, no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no yogurt, no leather, etc. It was fun for the most part, and most of my friends and family were supportive, but I also learned VERY quickly how judgmental people can be.  And you get it from both sides: the meat eaters take great offense and take it as a personal attack on THIER lifestyle. And the vegans roll their eyes at a newbie and don’t hesitate for a second to point out what you’re doing wrong and that you’re not a “true” vegan. Even a good friend scoffed at me and asked if I was getting rid of all my bags and shoes then. (Honestly, I have thought about it…) Like I said, most people who I care about were cool about it, either supportive or didn’t really care. But some people got pretty ugly about it, which was hard to understand – I wasn’t pushing it on anyone else. I imagine that’s something you just get used to.

The results? No final decisions or anything, but definitely heightened awareness and an opened dialogue about where we as a family are getting our food and what our nutritional needs are. I’m a total tree-hugger, so the environmental impact is a huge aspect for me. Jamie is a meat-eater, but he is very open to vegetarian meals several nights a week. Especially since I’m rather adventurous with cooking. He can’t complain 🙂   At this point, our growing 2 year old will continue to be an omnivore as well, ensuring his nutritional needs are met. The meat they consume is now locally raised and antibiotic- and hormone-free as well. It’s an ongoing process of education, experimentation, and soul-searching.

To put a label on it, I’ve basically been a vegetarian for about 6 weeks. Omitting meat is super simple for me, and feels natural. I love fresh foods and my heart feels right knowing that there are no living beings going to slaughter for my benefit. So why not vegan? In my opinion, at this time, (bracing myself for the peta/vegan backlash), eggs and dairy are important dietary staples for me and can be produced cruelty-free. I buy all of our eggs, cheese, and produce from small local farmers. Hooray for farm market season! I buy nearly all of our groceries there, whatever is in season, and plan meals around what I find. I love the challenge to whip up something new and delicious 🙂

It’s a great experiment! I’d love to hear if you jumped on board with Vegan Week and what your experience was!

food photographer k.holly

  • Becky - Great food photos. I especially love the top 3 and the eggs at the bottom.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke Reynolds - Hi 🙂 This is great news! No backlash from me for cutting out meat…however as a vegan (and Not a supporter of peta), you should know that the egg and dairy industries are just as cruel as the meat industries. Even if you buy local and organic, the baby male chicks still go in the grinder because they are useless to the industry (unless it is a backyard operation), yet they are still being used as property. 🙁 As for dairy, the male calves are still slaughtered for veal which is heartbreaking. However, I know it is a hard transition as I was there myself and was vegetarian for 8 months before I went vegan…it is definitely a step in the right direction. I’m far from perfect…I still own leather couches from before I made the change and become more aware of things everyday. It has been An eye-opening, mind-blowing expeience for sure! Also, it is entirely safe and healthful for children to eat vegan if they are eating a wide variety of whole nutritious plant foods and not junk food (same as any diet). I can send you some links if you are interested or feel free to ask questions any time 🙂ReplyCancel

Okay, friends. Deep breath. Here goes.

I’m having trouble forming my thoughts and feelings into a full philosophy, let alone a single statement. So I’ll start by saying, this is going to be hard, and I might change my mind. And then I might change it back again. So bear with me. Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you.

I’m considering going Vegetarian, maybe even Vegan. So I thought US Veg Week would be a good time to give it a trial run.

I just can’t ignore it anymore. The cruelty, environmental impact, and overall disgustingness in the mainstream meat and dairy industry is overwhelming. I’m not going to go into a full rant here, but I invite you to investigate for yourself. (www.vegankit.com is a great place to start.)

So, how does one “go vegan”? From what I understand, to call yourself a vegan means being absolutely perfect about consuming ZERO animal products. In a world where most of our readily available diet is driven by meat and dairy, it seems impossible. The odds seem stacked against us, and honestly, I already feel like a failure. I thought I was off to a good start, but  then realized my “non-dairy” coffee creamer I poured into my coffee has a milk derivative in it.  After reading a few labels in my pantry, I discovered that even my son’s innocent looking fruit snacks have meat in them, in the form of gelatin. Do you know what gelatin is? Boiled animal skin, tendons, and bones. Yea. Gross.

Okay, more questions. Where do you draw a line? I really love butter, yogurt, and eggs. Meat, I already know I can 100% do without. I’ve never been a big meat eater. But dairy and eggs? That’s going to take some work. So here are my thoughts, starting with eggs. What makes consuming eggs cruel is the condition of the egg-laying hens and the immediate mass killing of male chicks. But what if the eggs come from truly happy hens that run around freely on a local farm? For me personally, I think that’s ok. Dairy is a harder distinction… you’re not actually killing a cow for milk, but it’s not natural or necessary for humans to drink cows’ breastmilk either. It’s for their babies! Not to mention dairy cows’ mistreatment, pain, infections, and hormone injections. I’ve never really thought about what I was supporting when spreading butter on toast or scraping the bottom of that yogurt cup. Do I really need it? And am I ok with where it came from? What if it comes from a small local farm that treats their animals well?

You know what else Vegans don’t do? Leather. Like my new Michael Kors tote and my favorite white Marc Jacobs bag. My collection of soft and comfy leather boots and shoes that don’t give me blisters. The leather interior of my car. THE COUCH I’M SITTING ON. (Ack!!)

See? Already failing. Miserably. I clearly can’t call myself a vegan. But that’s no reason to throw in the towel altogether. Every small change is going to make a difference. Did you know that if everyone in the U.S. omitted meat & cheese just one day a week, it would be the environmental equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road over the course of a year? That can really add up.

I think the key is going to be in forgoing perfection and taking baby steps. I’m going to do the best I can, making choices that are logical and feel right to me. Am I shopping for high sodium, chemically enhanced processed foods that taste like meat? Heck no. Gross. I want real, natural food. That feels right. I’ve already been more experimental with cooking and trying things we wouldn’t have tried otherwise. I’ve even gotten enthusiastic thumbs-ups from my carnivorous husband on a few recipes 🙂 It’s also going to be a philosophical journey. Debating with myself about what is and what is not acceptable. Deciding what to (and what not to) feed my son. On top of that, I’m afraid of having to explain this to friends and family, afraid of what they’ll think or say. At this very minute, I’m afraid to hit “publish” this blog post. Yet I’m excited at the possibility of inspiring a change in someone else too. Just one more step toward being environmentally and socially conscious and making this world a better place. (While I’m on that subject: reuse and recycle, and stop using bottled water!)

I obviously have lots of questions since I’m just starting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Will you be making any changes for US Veg Week? Are you vegan or vegetarian? Die-hard meat eater? Let’s discuss!

  • Kristen Kuyoc - meat eater - I’m glad to see you stand up for something you believe in. I am an animal lover, so it’s hard for me to see or hear about the mistreatment of animals. However, I am a meat eater. And I go through 2-3 gallons of milk every week! Yes, I would consider buying my products from a responsible party though. That would at least make me feel better.ReplyCancel

  • Beth - Sending people to a pro-vegan website is not doing anyone any favors. Obviously, the site will try to sway you in a particular direction. It would be better to do your research using neutral sources that present the facts and allow consumers to decide for themselves.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - Thanks for the note, Beth! Excellent point – if you have a website you like would like to share, please add it here! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • kelly sweet - WOW, good for you for posting this. You have said all the things that I feel… and more.
    You are SO awesome for trying to go the vegan route. I would love to hear more posts about how it’s going. I have been a vegetarian for 16 years, but have never been able to go completely vegan, although I have somewhat tried a couple times. it has been on my mind a lot lately and I’m getting closer to giving it another try. Cheese and butter (and of course shoes, bags, etc.) are what make it so difficult. This week I have been doing no cheese and have found some really good recipes. 🙂 I’ve never been much of an egg person, but if I do have them, I like to get them from a friend/family member who has free range chickens. Harvest health is also a good place if you don’t have friends with chickens.
    FYI, for your coffee and cooking, try almond milk. It doesn’t taste like almonds and it’s thick enough to go in your coffee (unlike rice and soy milk). It saved me when I wanted to stop putting cow’s milk in my coffee.
    Yay, yay, yay for this post! I wish more people could see how awful the meat and dairy industry is.
    Email me and I will give you some good vegetarian recipes. 🙂 Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • going veggie | update » kristen-holly - […] participated in US Veg Week earlier this month by going vegan for a week. It was pretty eye opening in a lot of unexpected ways, including how hard and restricting it can […]ReplyCancel