Lifestyle Archive

Becoming A Family Of Four


Jeans || Top || Hat (similar here) || Boots || Sunglasses || Addison’s Shirt (similar here) || Addison’s Bow 

 Happy Monday everyone!  I know everyone says they love this time of year because of the weather, or pumpkin spice everything, or because they are just ready for a change of pace and a new routine, and while all of those things are pretty awesome, ever since having kids this time of year has been particularly fun because of all the activities we can do together as a family.  One of my favorites is pumpkin picking and a few weeks ago we headed out to the East End of Long Island to the cutest pumpkin patch called Hank’s Pumpkintown.  We got there around 4pm on a Friday evening and had the place almost all to ourselves, which with a toddler that likes space to run, was pretty awesome. Addison had free reign of all the fun jungle gyms and her pick of any pumpkin she wanted. Since becoming a family of four we have made it a point to do activities that might be more fun for her than her baby sister, because lets face, it babies take up a lot of mom and dad’s time and attention so we want her to know that we have time for special activities that are just for her.

While I wouldn’t trade my little family of four for the world, it definitely has been a big adjustment over here, and honestly, anyone that says adding a new kiddo to the family was a breeze is probably full of it.  Addison has been doing really well, but she definitely has her moments, and those moments tend to come just when I am sitting down to feed Ellie, or put Ellie down for a nap, or really when I am doing anything where my focus is just on baby Ellie.  I get it, for over two years she was the center of our world, and she still is, but now she has to share the spotlight with someone else.  Her favorite phrases are “put Ellie in the swing” or “don’t feed baby Ellie mommy,” and I know it’s just because she wants me to sit and play with her, but each time she says those things it breaks my heart a little.

In the first few weeks we had Ellie home I thought I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t be a mom to two because my focus was constantly being divided, and I didn’t think I could give each of my girls the attention they deserved.  I kept thinking that I would never get the quiet moments with Eleanor that I had with Addison, or that I would never again be able to sit and snuggle with Addison by myself without having to cut it short to feed her sister or change a poop explosion.  And, for the first few weeks that was definitely true, but over time a new “normal” started to develop.  I am able to sneak in an uninterrupted breastfeeding and snuggle session or two in the afternoon while Addison is taking a nap and I have made it a point to keep Eleanor home with our babysitter or drop Eleanor at my moms’ so I can Addison out of the house by herself, just her and I, at least once or twice a week.  We go to a kids gym class with friends, or take a solo trip to the park, or if the weather is bad we snuggle on the couch and read a few books without her baby sister around.

There are also things that Addison does as a big sister that seem so natural.  She has become a master of putting baby Ellie’s “fire” back in her mouth (what she calls the pacifier), and cannot go to bed a night or wake up in the morning without giving her sister a kiss and hug.  I also love that now that Ellie is recognizing our faces and the sound of our voice she literally lights up and smiles when her sister enters the room.  At just three months old it’s like she knows exactly who she is and their bond is so strong already. To all the moms out there who are worried about how they are going to handle going from one kid to two kids or even more, let me first say, “you got this!”, and then let me tell  you it just kind of happens.  I don’t know how to explain it, and for me it wasn’t a walk in the park and I still have a lot to learn, but one day you just wake up and it just all makes sense, and you know you can handle it. Eleanor will be three months tomorrow and I know I have said it before but it’s hard to remember what it was like as a family of three because life is definitely better as a family of four.

xo Ali

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Fall Mornings


Fleece Sweater c/o Dudley Stephens || Jeans || Bag || Sneakers || Sunglasses ||Stroller

Happy October everyone! It finally feels like fall around here and that has me doing a little happy dance.  It was so gorgeous this weekend that we spent as much time as we could outside, going to the park,  putting new flowers around the house for fall (give me all the mums please!), and taking a few family walks around the neighborhood.  All in all I couldn’t have asked for a better, more relaxing way to spend the weekend.

And, because it is the first Monday of the month it means another addition of #MommyMonday and today we are talking about Dudley Stephens.  If you haven’t heard of them before you need to hop on over to their website.  This fleece that I am wearing is pretty much the perfect turtleneck for the changing weather.  The cut is just right and the quality is amazing.  When the package arrived at my house my mom happened to be over and I didn’t have the box open 30 seconds before she was trying it on.  Needless to say, I think I need to get her one of her own now!

I can totally see myself layering this with a vest as the temperatures dip a bit lower at night.  It will even be great as we head into the spring and early summer.  Along with my pullover, I am also loving this vest for the fall.

Don’t forget to head over to see how my other favorite stylish mammas have styled their Dudley Stephens pieces.

MIRIELLE, CITY PEACH

KATIE, LIFE WITH A DASH OF WHIMSEY 

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

Also, check back on our Instagram accounts tonight at 7pm EST for a fun little giveaway!

xo Ali

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Making A Statement

Earrings: c/o Brynn Hudson || Jeans Jacket || Jumpsuit (old similar here) || Shoes || Bracelets || Necklace

Happy (Mommy) Monday everyone! I don’t know about you, but these few weeks before the chaos of the holidays start to set in are my absolute favorite. It’s like the calm before the storm if you will.  I also love the weather in September and early October, it is cool enough to throw on a jacket, but still warm enough that you don’t have to bundle up.

I also love that this season we are seeing tons of statement jewelry pieces and while I have always loved large statement necklaces (with the right outfit of course),  I have always been a little leery when it comes to oversized earrings. However, lately, I have found myself eyeing tons of oversized earrings including this fun style from Brynn Hudson.  There is something about adding a statement pieces of jewelry to your outfit that  just makes you want to go out to a fancy dinner or a party with friends.  The piece can instantly elevate even the most causal t-shirt and jeans to the next level.

If you haven’t heard of Brynn Hudson before, you should definitely head over to their website to see the full collection of not only earrings, but necklaces and bracelets too.  And, as always don’t forget to head over to see how my other favorite and fashionable mamma bloggers styled their pieces.

MIRIELLE, CITY PEACH

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

 Oh, and you might notice one name is missing from the usual MommyMonday list, that’s because Katie had her beautiful baby girl a week ago.  If you want to see incredibility cute baby photos (as well as some of the most incredible DIY before and after’s) head over to her Instagram and blog!  Enjoy the week!

(Thank you to Brynn Hudson for the beautiful earrings!  All thoughts and opinions on this post are my own.)

xo Ali
Baby Eleanor’s Birth Story

(photo by Cadence Kennedy) 

Monday marked seven sweet weeks with baby Eleanor.  In some ways it seems like it went by in a flash and in other ways it seems like the days and nights have been moving at a snail’s pace.  Someone once told me during the baby and toddler stage the days are long but the years are short, and that sums it up perfectly.  I have been wanting to share Ellie’s birth story with you all for a few weeks now, but each time I sat down to write it I would, without fail, get interrupted by a toddler needing to use the potty or wanting me to read her a book, or a newborn crying to be fed or changed.  So, while both kids are down for the night (for now…) it seems like the perfect time type this all up.

Just a little background, from the first doctor’s appointment where we found out we were expecting baby number two Brian and I had it in our heads that I would be induced just like I was with Addison.  I was not allowed to go much past 39 weeks due to being a type I diabetic and so I just assumed that I would not go into labor naturally before then.  With Addison I was in the hospital a full 24 hours before she was born, and I  actively pushed for about four hours.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done.  The first time around my whole body was already exhausted even before I had to start pushing, and at some point a c-section was off the table due to her being too far down, so Addison was pulled out with the help of forceps.  The doctor on call was absolutely amazing and in the end Addison was the most perfect baby I had ever seen.

Flash forward to this pregnancy I was pretty much dreading delivery.  I was dreading a recovery that would be painful and  wouldn’t allow me to sit on anything but pillow for over a month (I had an episiotomy with Addison that was no walk in the park). I tried to stay positive and just hoped my body would have another plan and this baby would decide to arrive on her own without medical intervention.

I started weekly appointments at 30 weeks and each weekly appointment everything stayed pretty status quo.  While she was always measuring two or so weeks ahead nothing else was out of the ordinary. By the time 36 weeks rolled around I was feeling as if every time I stood up the baby was going to fall out.  I’m pretty sure everyone, including my doctor thought I was just being dramatic, but I honestly didn’t ever remember that feeling with Addison.  Things were progressing very slowly and I was even told by my doctor he would feel OK waiting until 40 weeks to discuss induction.  While I was happy for the good report I could not imagine another four weeks feeling like this.

At just over 38 weeks I woke up on a Sunday morning a decided to start timing my contractions for what felt like the hundredth time.  They were erratic, some 5 minutes apart, some 20.  We had a pretty packed Sunday which included an early birthday celebration for my dad so we went on our day as usual.  It wasn’t until I was at my parents and we were in the middle of my dad’s birthday dinner that the pain picked up.  I tried to play it cool with my family but they convinced me I should call the OB’s service line and see what they say.  By the time my  OB called back I had crawled into bed and turned on Netflix ready to wait it out for the night and head into my doctor’s appointment the following afternoon.   However, she said that I should take a ride into labor and delivery because of all the pressure I was feeling.  She told me that if I was any more dilated than I was last Monday (a little more than 3cm) they would keep me, and if not, I could go home and follow-up at my regular weekly appointment.  The pain had lessened  bit but I was still feeling a ton of contractions.  So, we got dressed and I called my mother in law to have her come sit with Addison, but I was pretty positive that I would home in an hour or two.

After arriving at the hospital and getting settled into a triage room I was actually feeling a little silly that I was there.  When the on call resident walked in gave me an exam I was in complete shock that she said I was 5cm along and that our baby girl was on her way!  The rush of emotion at 11:30 at night was pretty crazy.  I was in such shock that it was actually happening and that I was not being induced.  Finally after 9 months of waiting to meet our baby girl it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that she would be here soon.

The rest of the evening and birth was pretty uneventful.  I didn’t have the fastest labor int he world but it only took about five hours from the time they broke my water until she arrived.  I did get an epidural (any mammas who go without pain meds are my heroes!), and I started pushing at around 6am and Eleanor arrived at 6:36am.  What I was not expecting was a 10lbs 4oz baby!  Prior to being admitted my mom and I talked about how big we thought she would be.  Since I was about 10 days early I was guessing high 7’s low 8’s, so boy were we off.  When they took Eleanor over to the scale to get weighed I remember my OB laughing and coming back to the table asking “how big was your first daughter again?”  The next thing I knew I saw the anesthesiologist walk into the room and heard him loudly say, “wow that’s a 10lber!”  Then I heard Brian chuckle and say, “wow, 10lbs 4oz…man.”  I really couldn’t believe it.  I know 10lb babies are born all the time, but I was just convinced she was going to be smaller.  (Also, if any of you are wondering it likely had very little to do with my diabetes.  My A1C, which is a three-month average off your blood glucose levels, was 5.6 which is about  what it would be if you were not a diabetic at all.  So Eleanor was just a big girl and really long).

I was also thrilled because while I knew Eleanor would be taken directly to the NICU for observation purposes, the NICU pediatrician  allowed her to stay with me for a full hour.  With Addison I only had about 10 minutes.  The rest of the hospital stay is kind of blur and while all of the labor and delivery staff as well as the staff on the recovery floor was absolutely amazing it is very hard to be comfortable while in the hospital.   I was really just looking forward to getting home and starting life as a family of four.

While I won’t go into full detail about my recovery process I have to say it was a million times easier the second time around.  Maybe it was because I knew what to expect but it also probably had to do with the length of my labor.  If anyone has particular questions about this feel free to email me or shoot me a Facebook or Instagram message.  I am more than happy to answer anything you want to know.  I really wish I was more prepared for the recovery process the first time around but you live you learn, right?

Just like Brian and I went from having one beautiful daughter to having two beautiful daughters.  As a first time mom it was exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time because I had no idea what to expect.  With every new phase you learn something new about yourself as a parent and about your child as a little human.  The second time around it is just as exciting and nerve wracking, but not because you feel unprepared, but because you wonder if you can parent two at the same time, or love two the same amount.   I’m sure along the way I will learn how to navigate all these emotions, and as far as loving them, your heart seems to grow a million times larger once you bring another child into the world.  Even with all of these what ifs I’m so thankful that I get to figure it all out while watching two of the most beautiful, funny and inspiring baby girls grow up.

xo Ali

Our Maternity + Family Photos

(photos by Cadence Kennedy)

My Dress 

Happy Friday everyone! This week went by so fast but I am happy that the weekend has arrived and we are getting ready to spend the last bit of summer with our family at our beach house on the east end of Long Island.  The weather already has the crispness in the air, but we are going to enjoy the last few days of sun, sand and the pool while we can.  Anyway, I thought it was about time I shared some of my most favorite photos with you, our maternity photos.  When I look at the photos now it’s hard to believe that the baby that was curled up cooking inside my belly has been in our lives for over six weeks now. I also feel incredibly justified in the fact that my belly was the size of an overinflated beach ball, because Eleanor was over 10bs!

When we took these photos I was still wondering how my labor would go, how it would be t bring another sweet girl into our family and how our life would have to adjust and change as we started on our journey as a family of four.  Now that much of that is behind us (although we are still adjusting and learning everyday), I think to myself that all that anxiety and worry was for nothing because now that Eleanor is home it seems like she has been here all along.

The day we were scheduled to take the photos I had been feeling contractions on and off all day and I was hoping I could make it through an hour long photo session on my feet.  As we were getting ready to leave the house to meet the photographer I was feeling so swollen and unattractive that I wasn’t too optimistic about how these would turn out and I was also hoping that Addison would be on her best behavior, which with a toddler is always hit or miss.   Despite a few tantrums on Addison’s end, and the fact that it was like 100 degrees out, the end result were these beautiful photos.  Our photographer Cadence knew just how to capture these special moments for us and I wish I could share the whole gallery with you because it was so hard to pick only a few favorites.

I am so glad that we have this moment in time documented to look back on.  When the girls are too old to want to be held, or too old for me to be calling them my “babies”, I can look back on these photos and remember how this was such an exciting time in our lives and remember how we felt as we watched our family grow.

I didn’t want to end this post without acknowledging the devastating events that have happened in Texas over the past week.  Hurricane Harvey has taken so much from so many and I wanted to leave you with a link to a list of resources where you can help with the recovery efforts.  If you watched my insta stories earlier this week you know the Texas Diaper Bank is accepting donations.  They also have a wish list on Amazon where you can send diapers and other items directly.  You can find a bunch of other places to donate here.  Sending prayers to all the families effected by Harvey as we head into the weekend.

xo Ali

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Newborn Necessities

 

 1. || 2. || 3. || 4. || 5. || 6. || 7. || 8. || 9. || 10.

It’s hard to believe we celebrated one month with our sweet Eleanor last week.  At times it’s hard to remember life without her as if she has been part of the family forever, but at times I look at her and I cannot believe we have another perfect baby girl.

We are definitely still settling into a “routine” as much as we can.  It has only been two years since Addison was born but I feel like every time I go online or talk to another new mom I find a new product that will make life “so much easier” with a newborn.  Sometimes it’s hard to not get sucked into the idea that one product will change the way your baby sleeps or will help save time when it comes to giving a bath or changing a diaper. With so many amazing products out there, I thought I would round up my top 10 baby products that have made this first month a bit easier.

If I had to pick one item that I would recommend over and over again for any new mom it has to be this baby bouncer.  My sister in law recommended it to us when Addison was born, and at first it was hard to swallow the over $100 price tag for something that that have many bells and whistles, but honestly it is worth every penny and more!  It folds flat for storage and travel and is lightweight to carry around the house.  Lately it has been camping out in our upstairs bathroom as we are potty training Addison and I can easily set Eleanor down and lightly bounce her with my foot as we wait for her older sister to finish on the potty.

If you watch my Insta-Stories or follow me on Instagram you may knew we are trying to get Eleanor to take a bottle (she has been breastfed since day one).  I assumed the bottles we used for Addison would just work for Eleanor too.  Well, that wasn’t he case.  After some research I found these Baby Brezza bottles that look very similar to a breast.  Eleanor as been taking to these nicely.  Another nice feature is that the bottle comes in two pieces and if you have used baby bottles before you know there can sometimes be four, five or more pieces the have to be washed and put back together.

Some other items that you maybe wouldn’t consider “essentials” are items like these oh so soft baby swaddles, or this knotted dress that I received as a gift and have since ordered two more.  If you have any questions about any of the items I have featured above feel free to shoot me an email or comment below.  I plan on doing a similar post later this week on Mom Must Haves when it comes to a newborn so if there is anything specific you want me to touch upon let me know as well.

xo Ali

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The Perfect Pants for A Post Baby Body

Pants: c/o VFish || Tank Top || Wedges || Sunglasses

Eleanor is exactly three weeks old today so I thought it was about time I get back (or trying to get back ) to a somewhat regular posting schedule, but in all honesty we are still trying to figure out this whole two kids thing so I’m going to do the best I can.   So stay tuned for some new content in the next few weeks, including our maternity photos, a review of some new mom must haves, a post on things that have helped make the past few weeks easier with an infant and toddler and of course some new fashion posts.

Anyway, I thought I would celebrate my return to the blog with my favorite moms in a new installment of our #MommyMonday series and this time we have teamed up with VFish to style some of our favorite pieces from their online boutique.

Since I am only three weeks post partum it’s pretty safe to say my body is not “back to normal”, whatever that means, but I am definitely embracing all this post baby body has to offer.  Lately I like items that are less body hugging and more light and flowy.  These printed pants are every new moms dream, with an elastic waist that sits a little higher up on your hips, they were the perfect choice.  While the weather has been a bit dreary here the past few weeks, next time I am by the pool I can totally see myself wearing this with my favorite one piece swim suit for a day chasing the kids around and then transitioning them to dinner with family or friends.  If you haven’t checked out the Fish site you definitely should, they have a ton of items in a bunch of different patterns that are perfect for the end of summer into the fall.

Don’t forget to head over to check out how my other favorite mom bloggers styled their Fish pieces.  you can check out all of their posts here:

MIRIELLE, CITY PEACH

KATIE, LIFE WITH A DASH OF WHIMSEY 

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

And, since we love all our readers so much the five of us have teamed up with VFish to give one lucky reader a chance win a dress of their choice from the VFish site.  All you have to do is click the link below and enter via Rafflecopter and we will pick a winner on Friday, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xo Ali

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Blush, Blue + A Pregnancy Update

Maxi Dress (non maternity!) || Hat || Sandals || Jean Jacket (old, similar here)

Here on Long Island the weather has abruptly made the change from somewhat warm to hot, humid and sticky… ugh.  While I am so ready for summer I was not prepared for the toll the warm weather would take on my body while pregnant.  I feel like no matter how much water I drink I am swollen and sweating all the time and all I want to do is sit on the couch in the air conditioning.  But, with some work to finish up before baby girl arrives, and toddler that only sits for about five minutes at a time, we are trying everything we can to stay active and cool at the same time. I really don’t remember feeling this sluggish when I was pregnant with Addison.  I also don’t remember being this big, though I am sure I was! The hardest part of this point in my pregnancy is trying to explain to a toddler that I can’t pick her up.  Instead, we are doing a lot of extra hugs, kisses and hand holding, but I know sometimes she just wants to be in mommy’s arms.

 If I were allowed to go to my 40 week due date I’d have just under six weeks lift, but since I have to be induced I most likely have anywhere from three to five weeks left, and something tells me it’s going to be on the shorter end of that timeline.  I am also saying a little prayer each day that this baby comes on her own so I don’t have to go through the induction process again, but in the end whatever I have to do I will.   When I went in for my last weekly appointment baby C was measuring in the 87th percentile and is already over 6lbs!  While it’s pretty cool to get to track her progress week by week I always get a bit of anxiety when I go in to the doctor’s office.  With Addison, I was sent back and forth to the hospital more than a few times for extra monitoring so I never know if that is going to be the case this time around.  I have  also reached  full on nesting mode and have sterilized all the baby bottles and pump parts, picked up a few new tiny outfits for baby girl and done a bunch baby laundry, as well as packed our hospital bags.

Finally, I am trying to  finish up a few projects around the house including our outdoor deck (I can’t wait to share it!), the nursery, and our master bedroom.  I am really hoping I have these things done before baby arrives so I can enjoy our new life as a family of four without distractions.

Oh, and as for this dress I am wearing it is a non maternity style and around $60.  It’s lined and a great option whether you are pregnant or not.  I am not usually a pink person but I just love the color and paired with a jean jacket it made the perfect outfit for dinner out with the family last week.  If you have any questions about sizing feel free to ask!

xo Ali

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Baby Prep With The Cybex Cloud Q Car Seat


Cybex Cloud Q Car Seat: c/o CYBEX || Jeans: Asos Maternity || Top: Free People || Diaper Bag:Fawn Design || Swaddles: Little Unicorn

Crib: Serena & Lily || Rug: Joss & Main || Rocker: Wayfair

I cannot believe it is June already and in a few short weeks our little baby girl will actually be here!  With a few very busy weeks ahead of us,and jam packed weekends, I feel like her due date is going to sneak up on me before I know it.  And, after my most recent appointment with my OBGYN it looks like my end of July baby will most likely be a beginning of July baby…crazy!  Anyway, lately I have been going through all of Addison’s old baby things and making a list of things we still have left to do before our little girl’s arrival.  So far on my list I have: sterilize bottles, order some new parts for my pump, wash the remaining baby clothes and blankets, pack our hospital bags (I’ll have a whole post on what I’m packing coming soon!), add the final touches on her nursery, and of course install the car seat in our car.  I’m sure there are a ton of things I am forgetting, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

Until I had Addison I just assumed a car seat was a car seat right?  Well, boy was I wrong!  There are so many choices, and you really have to think about ease of use and how it will work for your lifestyle when choosing the right option.  I was so excited to be asked to try out the new CYBEX Cloud Q car seat after reading about the many unique features the car seat had to offer.  The sleek design and extended canopy are probably two of my favorite things about the seat.  I know it’s kind of silly, but I definitely don’t think you have to sacrifice style by any means when it comes to baby gear.  Just like how I dress or how I decorate our home, I like things with cleaner lines, and this car seat is not bulky by any means.  Another thing that I love is that the leg base that comes with the car seat makes it easy to snap in and out of the car and also significantly reduces the risk of a head or neck injury if you were in an accident.  I know whether you are a new mom, or a fifth time around mom, the last thing you want to be worrying about is if your baby is safe in your own car, and this feature definitely helps put my mind at ease.

One of the most unique things about this car seat is that is is the only seat on the market that will actually recline for you when baby is out of the car.  So, if you put it in your travel system you can recline baby to make them more comfortable while you are out and about.  While I’m sure this time around getting two kids out of the house will be harder I am not one to stay put, so any feature that makes it more convenient us to be out with family and friends is a major plus for me.  While it also comes in a variety of fun colors, I opted for black sea option and love it!

If you have any other questions about the seat, feel free to email me or leave a comment below!  Happy Wednesday!

(**Thank you CYBEX for the beautiful seat and sponsoring this post.  All opinions are my own**) 

xo Ali

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Wednesday Wish List: Post Pregnancy Additions

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

With the holiday weekend coming up it’s hard to believe summer is fast approaching.  For our little family that also means only a few more weeks until our newest addition arrives and our worlds are changed for the better.  Officially, I have just over two months left, but since I am already being induced early, and baby girl is measuring between two and three weeks ahead, it’s looking like I have somewhere between six and seven weeks left to go, but if this baby girl is anything like her sister she will probably take her sweet ol’ time no matter what my doctor and I decide.

 As far as I’m concerned I have hit the stage in my pregnancy where the bump is just getting out of control and some days I feel like I just want to wear an oversized shirt and my husbands sweatpants and call it a day.  So, while finding outfits for right now is not so fun, looking for some new summer additions to my wardrobe for post baby has been one of my go to ways to pass the time (my life is so exciting…i know).  From what I remember with Addison, post pregnancy I just wanted to be in all the lose fitting,  outfits I could find.  So dresses like this have been high on my wish list.  I have also had my eye on this striped number and a few days ago I preordered it and can’t wait to try it on post baby.   Since my family also spends a lot of time at our beach house in the summer not wearing a bathing suit is probably not an option, so a cute colorful one piece is a must.  What items are on your summer wish list?  Leave your recommendations below I can’t wait to check them out!

xo Ali

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