March 13, 2017

Baby Shower Registry Faves!

It’s going to be a really busy but really fun week here at Chez Gummerman—it’s my shower weekend!! I have a bunch of special friends that I’m so excited to see coming to celebrate our little one at Elsie’s house as well as a full house of rotating guests over the course of the next week. I’ve been working on my registry for literally months now (I can’t “just pick” anything, I have to research every choice so it takes forever!!) so I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite items on the list!

1. I’ve actually been able to find a good deal of organic or wooden non-toxic baby toys so that’s been a big plus. I figure this little guy would be good to pack in the diaper bag or keep Bebe busy in the carseat for a bit…
2. My registry has maaaybe 50% books on it—there’s so many that I loved growing up, I just put every one I could think of on the list! Lots of Madeline books since she was one of my faves (maybe the start of loving all things French?) and I can’t remember what happens at the end of this one, so I’ll be excited to read it too.
3. This 100% cotton bunny blanket seems perfect for tummy time and I see other moms lay their babes on this size blanket at the “baby-friendly” barre classes I’ve been going to—so cute!
4. Got lots of recommendations for these Undercover Mama nursing tanks when I asked you all for advice on Instagram so I’m gonna trust the experts and see if they become one of my faves too!
5. Since I’m planning on being a breastfeeding/working mom, I got an electric pump to use most of the time (the Medela Freestyle was recommended by my midwives) but I’ve heard a hand pump is really, well, handy too. Our breastfeeding class teacher swears by this one…
6. Most of my registry is made up of basic onesies, but I did add a few sweet summer outfits for Bebe. It’s actually a bit hard to find cute summer outfits for under 3 months, so I’m hoping this one will fit her while it’s still warm out. That pom-pom trim is the best!
7. This highchair is probably the registry item that I’m most excited about. I mean, look at it, it’s beautiful!! I would probably have that in my house if I didn’t have a baby around and it matches our dining room chairs almost exactly so that’s a big plus too. It is more expensive than most other ones I’ve seen, but it’s something I’m going to have to look at for a looong time so it’s worth it! My mom said she had a rather impractical antique high-chair for us just because it matched her dining room set—it didn’t even have a tray on it, they had to push us up to the table so we wouldn’t fall out!
8. This diaper pail came highly recommended by a friend of mine with a new baby. I love how sleek it looks and you can use it with a cloth diaper bag too once we switch over to cloth diapers a few months in.
9. I love these wipes because they are 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract! I may try making my own wipes eventually to see if I like that process, but I may just stick with these if we love them.
10. Are you surprised I have cat related clothes on the registry?? Didn’t think so. Can’t wait to see this one on her and it’s organic as well.
11. This brand has some adorable bath toys that are made from natural rubber and are free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates—YAY!! I also got their sweet turtle too.
12. There are a lot of ugly baby items out there, but the sleek design of this bouncer is something that I can totally see around our house. I’m really trying to pick out things as much as I can that blend in with our decor (like the highchair) the same way I do with all the cat necessities around the house.
13. This portable highchair was also recommended to me by a new mama. I had actually already pinned it to my baby board so I was happy to see that someone I knew liked it. It’s a great option to take to restaurants or other people’s houses and I’ve seen people using them when we eat out here in Nashville.
14. These diapers were the top recommendation for a more natural/eco friendly option by one of the Mommy blogs I’ve been reading (Mama Natural) and they have great reviews online as well. Like I said above, I’m wanting to try cloth diapering eventually, but using disposables for a bit will make our giant life change a bit simpler for the first few months.
15. I just love little newborn hats!! I love babies with lots of hair but Todd and I didn’t have much so she may be a hat baby for a while.
16. Mama wears muscle tanks in the summer almost every day so I thought Bebe should have some too! I don’t think I have one in that shade of pink yet though—lucky girl!

Chances are you are either making your own registry (or will be in the future) or have a baby shower to attend soon so I hope you found something that you love too! I’ve been working really hard on what feels like juggling a million things at once lately, so I’m looking forward to kicking back and hanging out with friends and family for a few days to just breathe again for a bit. Can’t wait!!

March 7, 2017

My Maternity Shoot in Palm Springs!

Remember when we went to Palm Springs for our Babymoon in January (see our trip here and here)? Well, since I knew we were going to such a photogenic spot I wanted to try and get in a mini desert maternity photo shoot while we were there so I brought along a pretty dress for it juuuuust in case. Our friend Ryan is a profesh photographer and took some photos for us at magic hour one night near the mountains and I really love how they turned out…
Such a pretty location, right?! If you ever go to Palm Springs this is just behind the “Welcome to Palm Springs” sign when you first get to town and there’s even a parking lot nearby so it’s super accessible to get to for photos. Also, I know you’ll ask but I tried and I can’t find the link to that nude lace dress! It’s from Forever 21 so if you can find the link and it’s still available, let me know so I can share. Can’t wait to print a few of these out and display them around the house, thanks Ryan!

Photos by Ryan Strong (and a few by Todd Gummerman)

March 1, 2017

Date Night At The Grand Ole Opry!

If you’ve been following along on the blog or Instagram the last few months, you guys know that lately life has felt busy. I mean, I’ve had a full calendar before, but it’s a whole new speed working and preparing for our May baby. We’ve started doing our birth classes recently, and while they are really interesting and I love being in a place where I can ask lots of questions, it’s quite a full Saturday when you’re learning all about babies from 9am-4pm a few weeks in a row. I definitely needed a nice chill Saturday night after the first week so when the Grand Ole Opry asked if I wanted to partner with them and offered to host a date night for us to see a show, I quickly picked out the next Saturday night show knowing it would be a welcome relief from all the baby-learnin’ in the following class.

Can you believe that we’ve been in Nashville for 2 years this summer and still hadn’t been to the Grand Ole Opry? There are definitely some things that you feel like you just need to do to be an official Nashvillian because they are such Nashville staples (like going to Loveless Cafe or visiting Broadway on a weekend night) and going to the Grand Ole Opry is pretty high on that list as well. I also wanted to see the show that Saturday because one of the guest performers was CeCe Winans, and if you’ve never really heard or seen her sing before, well, she’s pretty amazing so I was really looking forward to that.
In true pregnant-lady fashion I also scoped out the concession stand offerings before we left for the show and was disappointed to see my go-to pregnancy craving was missing from the list—soft pretzels and nacho cheese! I love venue hot dogs too so I thought I would just settle for that, but once we arrived, lo and behold, they DID also sell my coveted pretzel and the day was saved!! Todd is the king of food stealers, but he knows better than to eat my pretzel. GET CHER OWN! This one is for Mama…The Opry show is divided into several sections that have different hosts and performers for each section so it’s kind of like several mini shows within one big show which is fun. The night we went had acts that varied from pop, to pop/country, to cowboy/country, to bluegrass, to gospel…a pretty wide range! I grew up listening to a lot of bluegrass since it’s one of my Dad’s favorite genres and we would even go to bluegrass festivals and whatnot so that sound has always had a kind of comforting vibe for me. And those harmonies are cra-zy.
Let me tell you, CeCe did not disappoint—she was amazing! I guess it was her first time performing there (you have to be officially invited to be a performer) and she was the only one of the night to get a full standing ovation from the crowd. Girl can sing.After the show we got to go backstage and get a tour and history of the dressing rooms (of which there are many!) that all have different themes they go off of. It was fun to see that in our relatively large group we were the only people that lived in the state and some people had come from Canada just to come to the show. It’s pretty famous, y’all!

I also had no idea that the show started in 1925 over 90 years ago. That’s a crazy long run for one show! In case you are ever visiting in town, they have live shows at least every Friday and Saturday, year round, and each show is streamed live at 650 AM WSM, via, on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and also via the free Opry App too so you can still listen in even if you aren’t Tennessee-bound anytime soon.

This dressing room had a lot of bedazzle sooo I think I’d take this one if it were up to me. Also, do you see that rhinestone fringe on the red chair? Amazing!Speaking of fringe, I wore a suede dress with fringe on the front and back to the show to fit the Opry theme (although this fringe dress or jacket would have been a good choice too). I know some people haaaate fringe, but I’m not one of them!
At the end of the tour they let you stand on the famous circle of wood taken from the Ryman theater (where the show used to take place) and where all the big performers stood back in the day. It was really cute to see how excited everyone was to take their turn and get their picture taken and you could tell it was something they had really been looking forward to for a while.

I was so glad that we finally got a chance to cross the Opry off our Nashville bucket list and see how fun the show can be. I’ll definitely suggest that my parents head over and catch a show next time they are in town to hear the great bluegrass acts and maaaaaybe, just maybe, I can convince them to pick me up a soft pretzel on the way out…thanks for the night out Opry!

February 17, 2017

Make Your Own Organic Maternity Pillow!

So, if you’ve ever been pregnant (or currently are) then you are already aware of the extreme need for a pregnancy body pillow. Maybe that sounds a tad overdramatic, but I didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about until I got my own and just having a long pillow to drape your body over and put between your knees can really help with trying to get that pregnancy sleep while you still can.

I’ve been wanting to switch over to all organic or non-toxic options when it comes to where I sleep and being pregnant has made choosing what I’m breathing in all night all the more important. I really wanted an all organic pregnancy body pillow and while there are “organic body pillows” for sale out there, I realized that as I read the product description carefully almost all of them are actually regular poly-fil type filling with only an organic cover. Not good enough Bro. I did find one that was organic inside and out, but it was expensive and just a long straight pillow, not the C-shaped kind I was looking for. I was really trying to avoid an extra project at the moment so I caved in and just bought a regular pillow thinking, “How bad could it be for a few months?” As soon as I pulled the pillow out of it’s plastic bag, the chemical smell was overpowering to say the least. I had to let it air out for a while before even trying it out, and while it was comfy, I couldn’t get over the fact that I was breathing in all that gross smell all night long. Blech.

SOOOO, I decided that if I really wanted my C-shaped all-organic natural pillow, well, I was just going to have to make it myself. Here’s what I did in case you want to make one too!Since I already had the pillow and pillow cover from the chemical smelling pillow, I used it as a partial template before I took it back to the store (at least it would do me some good!). Before tracing it, I laid on it for a bit to decide which parts I wished were longer/shorter/fatter/smaller so I could adjust the actual shape and make the pillow that I really wanted. If you don’t already have a pillow that you’re replacing to trace, you can get a pattern here or here or search the net for one that’s more your style (preggo pillows come in different shapes and configurations).I bought an organic cotton sheet set to use as the fabric for the pillow cover and just flattened out the fitted sheet to use as one side with the flat sheet as the other (just pin them on top of each other so you only have to cut your shape once). A full size bed set was large enough to make the pillow but if you want to also make a washable cover to put on top of the cover that holds the filling, buy a king set so you have enough material. I pinned my cover together around the edges after cutting my shape out and I was ready to start sewing!To make it easier to stuff the giant pillow, I first installed two zippers into my pillow (one at the top and one at the bottom). I figured if I ever wanted to just adjust the stuffing amount at the top it would be a giant pain to only have a zipper on the bottom and vice versa, so that’s why I did two.Once the zippers were in, I finished sewing all the way around the pillow with a 1/2″ seam allowance to match what the zipper areas were, and then use my serger machine to serge the edges for extra durability. Make sure to unzip one of your zippers a bit so you can still get into the pillow once you close it up! It’s really hard to unzip a zipper from the wrong side. If you don’t have a serger, just do two rows of straight stitching around the pillow about 1/8″ apart if you want to give the seams some extra strength. Once the sewing was done, I turned the pillow right side out and pressed the seams flat with an iron. Now my pillow was ready to stuff!
Since choosing the stuffing was a big reason I wanted to make my own, I chose raw organic cotton fiber as the filling. The raw filling does have some hull pieces in it which I was concerned may be a bit pokey, but most are too small to feel and if there ever was a bigger piece, I just picked it out as I stuffed the pillow. The next stage up in filling is cotton batting (it doesn’t have any pieces or hulls in it), but it started to get more expensive, and I hoped it probably wasn’t worth it and I think I made the right decision. I had no idea how much I would need to fill the body pillow, so I ordered 12 pounds and figured I could use any leftovers for future pillows as needed. I would say it probably took about 8 pounds to stuff the pillow to where it is now, but I don’t like a super full shape, so you may want more if you do.

The cotton also tends to settle a bit as it gets fluffed up when you put it in and then tamped down again as you sleep on it a few nights, so don’t worry if it flattens out a bit at first. I’ve added more to the pillow twice, but since I have a top and bottom zipper, it’s really easy to do and I can just add more to one spot as needed. So glad I did the two zippers!As you can see, I look pretty comfy-cozy in this guy! No gross smells either. In fact, the cotton had kind of a nice natural outdoorsy smell that was kind of pleasant the first couple of weeks, so that was an added bonus. Cotton stuffing is a bit more dense feeling than if you are used to sleeping on a down pillow, so that may take some getting used to if you really need a super soft pillow. I’ve read that using wool is the closest you’ll get to a really soft pillow, but it can also have a, uh, “sheepy” smell to it, so that’s something that might put you off…

If you wanted to make a second cover that can be taken off to be washed (which I think I’ll do soon), use your original template and make a second cover that’s just a tiny bit bigger than your first cover, but make it an envelope-style pillow at the fattest end of your pillow rather than using zippers to make it easier to make and take on and off.

I love having the C-shaped pillow since I turn back and forth between my left and right side all night (although I try to stay on my left most of the night since I know that’s better) and most nights I turn to the opposite side only to find that Todd is using it as his body pillow and I have to kick him off of it—HA! Anyways, if you’ve been struggling to find an all organic (inside and out) body pillow for pregnancy (or want to pin this for future use!), I hope this DIY can help you too! Now go get some sleep!

February 13, 2017

Month By Month: The Second Trimester!

It sounds totally CRAZY to admit to myself, but I am officially in my third trimester! I know eventually you get to a point where it feels like you’ve been pregnant forever, and while I certainly have been ramping up my aches and pains, it still feels like time is flying by. This past trimester has been SO different than the first one so it’s been interesting to see what each new month brought my way…      Dress/ H&M (similar here), Boots/Aldo, Jacket/Forever 21 (similar here), Sunnies/Forever 21

Month Four: This was the month that my first trimester severe nausea finally got kicked to the curb. After trying all the natural remedies I could find for weeks on end (to no avail), I started taking an anti-nausea medicine (Diclegis) in my third month and it was the only thing that actually made a difference for me. I didn’t feel 100% on it, but I could function enough to get through the day which had been such a struggle for the months before that. I continued taking it into my fourth month and by about 14 weeks I started feeling the best I had in a long time. Not wanting to take the medicine longer than I had to, I started to taper off the dosage a few weeks later as I was more sure the decreased nausea wasn’t just a fluke. Since the Diclegis is essentially vitamin B6 mixed with an anti-histamine, I added some B6 into my suppliment routine as I weaned off the medicine to ease the transition and it really helped a lot. I still had a return to some pukier weeks as I stepped down the Diclegis, but I noticed that if I ever forgot to take the B6 that day it was WAY worse so it seemed to make a big difference overall.                         Dress/H&M (similar here), Boots/BCBG (similar here), Hat/Forever 21

Month Five: This month had some fun moments! I was wondering when I would start to feel some kicks so I kept looking for those “flutters” you are supposed to feel before the kicks start. The butterfly feelings never came. Instead, one night around 18 weeks I was lying in bed (still dealing with 2 hours of insomnia before falling asleep most nights at that point) and I detected what felt like little “heartbeats” really low in my pelvis area. It was kind of like when you can feel the throb of your heartbeat somewhere else in your body (like when you cut your finger) and since it wasn’t fluttery at all, I wasn’t really sure what it was. Once it continued happening three nights in a row, I was much more convinced that was the real thing and I was shocked when Todd could already feel it from the outside on the third night. I guess I thought most moms can feel the small movements for weeks before anyone else can, so I couldn’t believe Todd could feel them too!

This was also the month that we had our anatomy ultrasound and found out on Christmas with my family that Bebe Gummerman is a GIRL! Well, they are 90% sure anyways. I feel like I should reserve a small part of my brain for them to be wrong on that—it happens! By the end of this month I was definitely starting to get some energy back and feel the most “normal” that I have since the pregnancy began. Some days looking down and seeing the belly would even surprise me since I felt good most of the time. I did start having some of the round ligament pain that comes with your uterus stretching so much, and while it was pretty uncomfortable when it first started, it tapered off rather quickly to small random moments rather than hours at a time.                   Dress/Zara, Boots/Public Desire (similar here), Sunnies/Local Boutique Store

Month Six: Since I was feeling so much better and getting into the later stages of pregnancy, I started going to a prenatal yoga studio that I LOVE here in town. I’m really wanting to keep that up during the last trimester as well, and it’s become one of my favorite things that I do for myself. We also took our Babymoon to Palm Springs this month and it was so good to sit in the sun and hang out with friends. I know it was relaxing because my annoying eye twitch that I’ve had for the last 2 months went away while I was there and didn’t return for a few weeks after the trip as well. It’s definitely back now, so maybe I need another vacation? I do still keep up the B6 to keep the nausea at bay, and while the trouble falling asleep at night is so much better, my sleep during the night gets more and more restless with being hot, uncomfortable, having to pee, etc. I know that will probably only get worse and a lot of people think it prepares you for the baby, but I’m definitely treasuring those daytime naps when I can fit one in! Also, the low back pain just kicked in the last 2 weeks so I’ve been trying chiropractor, yoga, back braces, heating pads, foam rollers, birth balls…just about everything I can think of. Some days it’s not so bad but I’ve also had some moments of literally limping around the house because the pain is so sharp—OUCH! Baby has also started moving a lot more and I swear she’s doing tae bo in there some days. Oh, and baby hiccups now too!? How cute!

Side note, apparently I started growing sideburns of long peach fuzz on the sides of my face?? Had to get a lady face shaver for that. But my leg hair has almost stopped growing and has become really fine so I think it all transferred from there. GOOD GRIEF!

Anyways, like most pregnancies (I assume) there haven been lots of sweet moments mixed in with weird/painful things as well. I’ve been starting on some nursery projects so that’s been exciting and I’ll share my vision for that room soon! Onto the third trimester my friends!!