• Four Perfect Baby Shower Dresses!

    My baby shower is coming up! I will be in New York in two weeks (my last flight before baby!) to celebrate with all of my favorite people. I cannot wait. After I return home I think that time is going to fly. I keep telling myself that I have so much time, but occasionally baby moves a certain way or I get stuck trying to get out of bed and I think “wow, this is happening!”. I just can’t wait to meet you.

    I don’t know if baby is a boy or a girl so I decided on yellow for the shower! Also, do any other pregnant ladies feel like Pooh Bear is incredibly relatable during pregnancy?

    Anyway, here are the dresses! Let me know which one is your favorite.

    Ruffle It Up Midi

    Feeling Bonita Midi

    Carino Set

  • Bump Watch

    ”Wow, you are so big!” one of the boys shouted, pointing a chubby finger at me from across the room.

    I entered work on Monday dressed in a tighter shirt than usual. Honestly, I struggle to stretch most of my clothes over my tummy these days. The kids at work were so excited to see how much baby and I have grown. They ran over to me to put their hands on my stomach. “Hey, he’s kicking me!” they giggled. They pressed their ears to the stretched fabric. “I can hear her,” one of them says. One of the kids has a new baby brother at home. She loves to talk about him and how he’s growing. “Mommy and I are going to visit you in the hospital,” she tells me before racing back to the playground, trying to be the first one to the top of the slide.

    They can’t really hear baby, right?


    One of the boys puts his Godzilla toy into his shirt when he sees me. “Like you, Ms. Kristen,” he says with a toothy grin. Another tries to lift my shirt to find the mysterious baby that everyone is talking about. He’s a bit sneaky and loves to hide from me on the playground. The first time he appeared from behind a slide and lifted my shirt, I was shocked. “What are you doing!?” I almost yelled. “Looking for baby,” he told me. Since then, he has been giving me a look that says, “I believe you, but I don’t get it. Where is the baby?”

    I was surprised to learn that when I asked the kids, “Should I name the baby after you?” they were less than excited. “Hey, that’s my name!” they all shout. Silly me.

    The kids cannot wait to meet baby, and neither can I. They ask me questions that I have no answer to.

    ”When is baby coming?”

    ”What does baby look like?”

    ”Can I bring baby dinosaurs at the hospital?”

    Sometimes, I really wish I knew, and other times I’m blissfully ignorant. It often feels like none of my business. Baby will come when baby is ready. I’m doing what I need to be out here, and baby is doing their job in there. “He’s growing and sleeping,” that’s what I tell the kids baby is doing when they ask what’s taking so long.

    Baby is growing and sleeping inside, and mommy is doing quite a bit of growing and sleeping of her own out here.

  • Surprise Mom, Happy Birthday!

    Flying has not been my favorite since becoming pregnant. I normally enjoy the excitement of the airport but, with baby sitting in my ribs, I prefer to stay home. Last weekend, I made an exception to fly to NY for my mom’s surprise birthday party. My dad had been planning for months, and I just couldn’t miss being there. He even created a fake flyer for my mom about a nearby St. Patrick’s day party to lure her to the venue.

    I landed in New York at 10 am, where my dad and sister were waiting to pick me up. I haven’t seen my family since January, when I was hardly showing. My tummy is much bigger now.

    After filling up on good Long Island bagels, the three of us ran around getting ready for the big surprise party. I made a pretty great photo board to go over the dessert table.

    On my recent flights, I’ve been keeping busy with my knitting. I love to read the Little Cotton Rabbit blog. She writes about crafting, autism, and spending time outdoors, three things that I think about often. I have been excited to knit one of her stuffed animals. I let Michael pick the pattern, and I should have known he wouldn’t pick the same animal I would.

    Anyway, here is my almost finished mole!

    My weekend home was great, and my mom was so happy at her party. I was so happy to see everyone, and they were so happy to see me! Everyone was also very excited to put in their vote if baby is a boy or a girl.

    Here is my belly right now. What do you think? Boy or girl?

  • Is This What Preparing For A Baby Looks Like?

    Last month, Michael joked that pregnancy had not made me as crazy as he had expected. I told this to a friend. “Just wait,” they said. “It will come.”

    And just like that, it did.

    I’m sitting out by the water on a bench. I just practiced yoga. It felt a bit like learning to walk again with my big belly in the way. It also felt very important. One of my many steps to prepare for baby. Yoga.

    Here is a real time photo of my view.

    Yesterday marks week 24 of my pregnancy. Week 24 is a big one! My book tells me that the medical world now considers my baby “viable”. That means that if baby were to be born tomorrow, they might be able to survive on their own. Isn’t that crazy?!

    I have been wrestling with these big emotions that popped up just a few days ago, and I have a theory.

    What if the reason we have such strong emotions when we are pregnant is because strong emotions bring about big changes? The idea of breaking down to break through. Things getting worse before they get better. Making an absolute mess of your bedroom before meticulously putting it all back, just the way that baby wants it—we did this last weekend.

    I have found that moving my body and doing real life things (getting off of the couch and putting my phone down) has helped manage my emotions and bring forward the happiest ones. That is baby telling me to get off of my butt.

    I cried a bit after Michael put our new stroller together. Our first baby item! His grandma sent it to us. That was baby saying “Look how lucky we are, Dad is the best!”

    Since the day my emotions ramped up and decided to stay, I have initiated more change and felt more gratitude than I have during the rest of my pregnancy combined. My screen time is down, and my time spent calling my parents is up. The changes are making me a better me, something I’m proud of. The gratitude will help me through the tough times during labor, sleepless nights, and adjusting to our new lives. I can feel it. Baby is viable, and I am ready.

    Your crazy mom cannot wait to meet you!

    With love,

    Kristen Carolan

  • Green Strawberry, Brown Thumb

    My parents bought my sister Madeline and me Topsy Turvy planters as kids. She had a tomato plant, and I had strawberries. Every time the delicate white flower petals fell off, and a small green berry appeared, I would wait in anticipation. The green berry would grow, and grow, and grow, and then I would twist, and pull, and bite the green under-ripe berry.

    I didn’t wait long enough… again. Oops. Too excited, I guess.

    Gardening has been one of my unspoken goals over the past year. Just like my bread baking, knitting, and blogging, gardening has been a part of my journey towards creating healthy routines that I can commit to. Preparing for my first baby to be here feels like a good time to practice taking care of another living thing (even if that living thing is a strawberry plant).

    Michael brought me to buy a new plant following our anatomy scan. Our balcony had been looking drab, and spring was quickly approaching.

    After an afternoon of spring cleaning and planting our garden looks great! I am feeling inspired to host a little dinner party. Despite a run-in with a scary spider, I couldn’t be happier! With baby coming, I feel so grateful for our home.

    Baby is doing amazing. The doctor even used the word “perfect”. It was so special to see baby moving around in funny positions.

    At the time of our scan, the average baby is about 8 ounces. Our baby was reading at 12 ounces. We are looking forward to a chunky baby! Michael thinks that baby is a girl but I think that baby is a boy. Look how silly baby looks folded in half with his feet over his head.

    The sweetest little toes.

    Michael has been an amazing partner throughout this pregnancy. After seeing baby and cleaning up our garden he made us the most delicious baby and mama-supporting dinner! We got black grouper from a local fish market paired with squash and salad. Yum!

    With love,

    Kristen Carolan ❤️

  • (Belly) Bumps In The Road

    The best day of my mom’s life was the Fourth of July in 2012. Every year Facebook pops up with the memory, and she shares it in the family group chat. “We sat at a little restaurant in Disney World,” she reminisces. She hadn’t made a reservation, and every other restaurant was full. Somehow, this little spot had a cancelation and they snuck us in. “We sat along the lake and watched Disney’s Fourth of July firework show.” she says “It was perfect”.

    I always found that a bit funny. What about the day that you got engaged? Or married? What about the day you had your first baby? Or baby two, three, or four? But no, my mom’s best day was the Fourth of July 2012, sitting along the lake, watching the sky explode in color.


    My best day was the day after I found out I was pregnant. I went for a run at night. The sun was setting, and Michael was at home finishing his work day. He had no idea I was pregnant. We had done it! The sunset was beautiful. It was just baby and I sitting on a bench overlooking the water. I placed my hands on my stomach and dreamed of what you would be like. A perfectly intimate moment in time. Just us. I loved you so much from day one.


    We had our first doctor’s appointment at 11 weeks. I wore a short blue dress and a thin white gold necklace. Michael drove us to the office, and we held hands on the way up the elevator. The bell rang, and the doors opened on the ninth floor—we stepped out. I felt quite nervous the night before, and I had butterflies in my stomach getting ready that morning. But as I stepped into the office, I felt only excitement.

    We were ushered into an office where I sat at the end of a big chair. Michael giggled at the diagrams of the female anatomy and read the pamphlets on cord donations and the hospital where I would be giving birth. Fifteen minutes later the doctor came in. He quickly briefed me on the plan for the day. “Five vials of blood,” he mentioned.

    We argued. I didn’t want to get the blood test that would tell me if my baby was at high risk for having a chromosomal condition. The doctor disagreed and told me I didn’t have a choice. I was frustrated. Why not? This is about me, my husband, and my baby, I thought. Unrelenting, he left the room, and we waited for the nurse. She was coming to take the five vials.

    I fainted during the first vial, or at least that’s what Michael told me on the way out of the office. I started to shake, and my face went pale. My eyes rolled back, and I fell onto his chest. I woke up in a sweat.

    ”Once she is fully awake, we will take the next four,” the nurse said to my husband. “Once she is awake, we are going home,” he told her. “You can’t, the blood test is mandatory” she replied. All the while, I sat there, sweating, scared, and slowly waking up.

    I have never been an anxious person, but pregnancy has changed me a bit.

    “How am I going to advocate for myself?”

    “What do they mean I have no choice?”

    “What am I doing?”


    Earlier that morning, we had our first ultrasound. I lay on the chair, Michael’s hand in mine, as she applied the gel to my seemingly normal-looking stomach. The gel wasn’t as cold as I expected. As she pressed the wand to my stomach, an image appeared on the screen. Slowly, it came into focus, and there was our baby.

    ”Look at baby’s nose” I kept saying. Michael laughed. What a feeling it is to see your perfect baby for the first time. Proof of your beautiful little life, growing within me.

    When we got in the car I sent the ultrasound photos to everyone. “Look at that beautiful nose,” my grandpa said, “it’s definitely a girl”.

    “They look just like me,” joked my dad.

    “Baby looks just like Michael,” our friend wrote back—my least favorite of the comments. Baby is going to look just like me.

    Seeing our baby and hearing their heartbeat was magical. Michael could hardly keep his hands off my belly the rest of the day. Once home, we spoke only about your sweet little nose, your fast heartbeat, and your tiny T-Rex arms moving around the screen. We hung Christmas lights, decorated our new tree, and cooked a delicious dinner as we dreamed out loud about you.


    “You won’t be showing by Christmas,” she said.

    “I hope I am,” I replied. I dreamed of my little bump in a Christmas sweater.

    “You shouldn’t be showing by 15 weeks,” she said, and we moved on.

    But at 14 weeks my pants were tight, and at the end of the day, my stomach felt large as I lay in bed. And so I began to worry. Am I not working out enough? Am I eating too much? “You’re not supposed to eat for two,” they tell me.

    Ugh.

    Feelings of insecurity that I thought would surely vanish with pregnancy, amplified by the hands of family, friends, and strangers who have reached out to touch my belly—something I honestly thought would not bother me at all. But, when people see you in the morning and comment on how you aren’t even showing yet, and then others see you at night and touch the bump below your sweater and exclaim, “You’re showing!” it is hard not to feel guilty about the last Christmas cookie that you ate.

    I feel silly admitting this. I am carrying a baby, creating a life. But here we are.


    You are so loved already. Those hands reaching for my belly are from people who cannot wait for your arrival. They want to feel close to you. They aren’t as lucky as me. I spend all day with reminders of your little pretense, but family and friends who love you so much just want to say hi and feel your magic.

    I am not the only one who dreams of what you will be like. If they say it takes a village, you will have a whole country.

    We are so loved.

    The other night Michael’s mom pulled out his baby book. Sometimes I hope that you are like your father so that I can meet little him. Will you hide snacks behind the living room couch so that your imaginary elephant friend has something to eat? Will you stand up on the kitchen table and dance when you are angry to get our attention?

    My cousin Brendan called me at midnight on the New Year. He had stepped out of the crowded bar. “I wanted to call all the people I love the most to say Happy New Year,” he told me. “This is going to be your year,” he said. “I can’t wait to meet that baby. I am so excited for you.”


    The other day, in a fit of frustration, I told my mom “I haven’t felt like I am glowing one day of this pregnancy.” My pants don’t fit, but I don’t have a cute little bump yet, and my skin is breaking out like crazy. My face feels round, and I am out of breath every time I try to pick up the pace.

    And then the next day I read my morning pregnancy page, and it told me that baby can hear us now, and it was all magic again. You can hear us now. Michael and I lay in bed each morning and talk to you. We say good morning and tell you how much we love you, and usually, Michael tickles me a bit. I can’t help but laugh and the smile persists when he tells me how beautiful I am.

    Surely, I am glowing.

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  • I’m Pregnant! and no one knows

    Greetings from the aisle seat of a Delta flight. I am on my way to New York. We. We are on our way to New York.

    When I say “we” I am referring to myself, my husband, and the little baby growing inside my belly right now.

    Aside from Michael and my diary, you are the first to hear the exciting news. I’m pregnant! (That’s not entirely true. I will wait to post this. But, I am writing it today, November 2nd, 2023. I am six weeks pregnant.)

    We are on a plane flying to New York for the weekend. We are visiting home because it is Michael’s grandma’s 80th birthday. We are also visiting because if I do not share the good news soon, I will explode!

    We will land at JFK Airport in New York at 10:10 pm. 43 minutes away.

    My mom is picking us up from the airport. I get my inability to keep a secret from her. I learned I was pregnant on October 16th—over two weeks ago. I surprised Michael with the news on October 21st.

    Longest 5 days of my life.

    The original plan was to rig a game of Scrabble, a family favorite. I would make sure to go first and put down the word “baby”. Michael would follow up by using the “a” in “baby” to write “pregnant” (hopefully at this point they would get it).

    But tonight will be too late for Scrabble and I don’t know if I’ll make it another 24 hours. Plus, my sister Erin is at her dorm tonight so she’d miss the announcement. I could always do something special for just her in the morning.

    Okay, scratch that! I just checked Erin’s location and her phone says she is at my parent’s house! I should do it tonight.

    I am so nervous and excited. I have a cute Grandma mug for my mom. Maybe I will make her tea tonight and see who notices.

    Wow, this is a crazy moment. I have to talk to Michael about our plan. His movie is almost over.

    27 minutes until we land.

    Wish me luck!

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  • Expecting

    Good morning. It is December 28th—9:02 am. My parents are at the grocery store, the dog is tearing up her Christmas present at my feet, Michael is taking the ingredients out of the fridge for breakfast, and my siblings are fast asleep upstairs.

    I am sitting on an armchair, tablet in my hands, writing to you, wearing my kitty-cat pajamas that Grandma and Grandpa got me for Christmas. Baby is in my belly, listening to my voice as I occasionally call to Michael across the kitchen to remind him that I love him.

    We are in week 15 of pregnancy, baby and I. The first week that baby can hear my voice. My book tells me my baby is four inches tall from crown to rump, my new favorite unit of measurement.

    I took my first positive pregnancy test on our 6 month wedding anniversary. The “pregnant” line was just barely showing. Michael still teases me that there was no line at all. But I knew. I knew you were in there.

    By Monday, the next day, there was no refuting my positive test. I was ecstatic. I waited 5 more days to tell Daddy.

    It was just us for the first week. I went for a run one evening and watched the sunset. I felt giddy thinking about my big secret. Normally, I am a very bad secret keeper. Michael has figured out his birthday and Christmas gifts prematurely almost every year since 2015. But this felt so different. You felt so different.

    I think I will always remember that week. I took a pregnancy test every morning, and I thought about you, growing in my belly, all day long.

    I am pregnant. I could not be happier. Baby will be here in my arms in June. Michael and I cannot wait to meet you. We love you.

    Love,

    Mommy

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