Is Joseph going to have a little brother, or a little sister? It’s official — it’s a…

There's a little baby in there! [15 weeks] This little bean can now suck it's thumb! [15 weeks] Ruby had to get in on the action. Of course. [15 weeks] It's a point of pride for me that I'm not wearing any maternity clothes! [15 weeks] Joseph couldn't decide if he wanted to play in the dirt or join Mommy. [15 weeks] He makes me smile about a billion times a day. He's going to be a great big brother! [15 weeks] This guy. I'm so blessed to be his mom. [15 weeks]

Today marks 15 weeks in my growing of a human! To celebrate, I convinced my [slightly embarrassed] husband to stand in front of the church for a mini photoshoot to snap pics of my little bump. [I have no shame. I know this.]

Here’s what What to Expect says:

Curious why your body is finally looking like it’s pregnant? That’s because your baby is growing bigger each week — he or she is as long as four and a half inches right now. Need a better visual (and a snack)?  Hold a large navel orange in your hand — that’s how big your little darlin’ is at 15 weeks pregnant.

5 non-maternity things that have made me feel pretty while pregnant.

Amid migraine headaches + trips to the porcelain goddess, it’s easy dwell on pregnancy woes. I’m now 14 weeks along cookin’ this baby, and my clothes are starting to get a little tighter in the tummy. I know that’s supposed to happen (I’m talking to you, baby who’s the size of an orange!), but still, growing has been a not-so-fun adjustment. It’s hard to feel attractive when you have to inhale deeply and get into a funky yoga position just to button your jeans.

Last week, I was just feeling icky. Like, tired and grumpy but at the same time I was itching to get out and about. But in a small town, there aren’t a ton of places to go to get your extrovert-fix. I kept pulling a Little Mermaid and singing to Jonny, “I want to go, where the people are…I want to see, want to see them daaannnccciing!" (You know you connect with your inner-Ariel, too. No judging here.)

My pining paid off + we went to a nearby city to partake in some much-missed shopping. It just felt, how do I say it? AWESOME to get out and be around all sorts of different types of people. I love our new (very charming!) town, but I also love cities and noises and diversity, and of course, shopping. Speaking of shopping…

I’m sharing my 5 favorite (non-pregnancy!) things that have made me feel pretty while making that transition from first trimester to second trimester!

  • Belly Bands. Thankfully, I discovered those belly bands I’ve always heard my friends gushing over. I opted for a tan one from Target, and it has been allowing me to wear all of my favorite (skinny!) jeans without buttoning them, and it also smooths out my little bump so it looks more like a baby bump and less like a burrito I had for lunch. I know, this one is a little bit pregnancy-related, but it allows me to avoid those awkward preggo pants, so I’m considering it a win. (And I know..that model in the pic looks weird. I don’t stand there wearing a one-piece bodysuit with my mouth gaping when I’m wearing the band.)
  • Skinny Belts. I stumbled across searched for some how-to-dress-your-bump blog posts (via Pinterest, of course) and one of my fave tips was to utilize the skinny belt. I stocked up (3 for $10!) and have been loving the look so far. The key is to wear the belt under your chest and over your stomach to cutely frame your bump. It’s nice to feel like I don’t have to wear big shirts + for the most part I can still wear all of my non-maternity shirts, even the tight ones! (Thanks, belly band, for smoothing things out!)
  • Slouchy Boots. Fall is my fave season, and boots are my fave type of shoe. I recently had to retire my tan boots I got 2 years ago from Old Navy for $25 (they were so awesome but also very cheaply made and I often got my foot stuck in them and Jonny had to pull them off…awkward). Anyway, they literally were falling apart, so it was time for some new ones! I decided to up the ante a bit and get some for a little (but not much) more money to hopefully up the quality. I finally settled on the Olsenboye Cale Slouch Boots. I love the camel color + I even got a belt to match. They look great with skinny jeans, leggings, and tights — perfect for fall layering!
  • A good DIY mani. Thanks in part to my prenatal vitamins, my nails have been growing faster than I can keep up with them! And they’re strong, too! I don’t wear my nails that long, but I do enjoy painting them. After experimenting with many drugstore brands, I’ve found that it’s better to buy a more expensive brand, and just buy less of it. My recent Target trip left me with Essie’s Sand Tropez. I love the tan/grey color and it stayed on for almost a week with no chips (and that’s with washing my hands 24/7 and chasing after a toddler!) There’s no way I can afford to have my nails professionally done, but a nail file + 20 minutes of me time leads to pretty decent nails + a happier mommy, which is happier for everyone. :)
  • Pretty jewelry. I’ve been eying the Chubby Bird Fossil necklace for a while, and on a whim, I found it clearanced for $11! Yay! I love the delicate chain, and as the blog title shows, I love what birds can symbolize. On days when I’m feeling frazzled, a pretty necklace dresses up my sleepy eyes and oatmeal-stained shirts.

So, there you go, ladies. Five girly things that have lifted my spirits lately.

Pregnant or not, do you you have some go-to garb for when you’re feelin’ low? I’d love to know!

what to reject when you're expecting.

To be clear, we are not expecting.

But someday we might be. And learning about it is super interesting and important. Jonny + I took a class in college about reproduction and the politics of motherhood, and it was seriously enlightening.

This article from Consumer Reports is worth reading. I think it does a great job of presenting facts and interviews in an unbiased fashion.

Parents can get super passionate on the choices that they make, and I’m not judging anyone. But I think the one of the best things you can do as a parent is to become educated and informed about how to keep your children healthy and loved, and if your children enter your family biologically, part of that is doin’ a little research about how your little ones enter the world.

Here’s an excerpt to get you started:

Despite a health-care system that outspends those in the rest of the world, infants and mothers fare worse in the U.S. than in many other industrialized nations. The infant mortality rate in Canada is 25 percent lower than it is in the U.S.; the Japanese rate, more than 60 percent lower. According to the World Health Organization, America ranks behind 41 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth.

With technological advances in medicine, you would expect those numbers to steadily improve. But the rate of maternal deaths has risen over the last decade, and the number of premature and low-birth-weight babies is higher now than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

Why are we doing so badly? Partly because mothers tend to be less healthy than in the past, “which contributes to a higher-risk pregnancy,” says Diane Ashton, M.D., deputy medical director of the March of Dimes.

But another key reason appears to be a health-care system that has developed into a highly profitable labor-and-delivery machine, operating according to its own timetable rather than the less predictable schedule of mothers and babies.