Family of Four

Warning: This is long. It is for my momma records since I treat this blog like a journal. If you're over all the baby stuff, (and I wouldn't blame you one single bit), I'd suggest maybe skipping over this one : ) 


Did y'all wonder if I'd fallen off the face of the earth? ; ) Hope all of you are enjoying this holiday week with your friends and family!


I had a baby girl on December 10th.

And, we are all slightly obsessed with her.

I know I'm biased. I know I am. But...but.

I think she's kind of perfect. (Aren't all babies?) She's so snuggly and warm and sweet-smelling. And I want to keep her this size forever and always.

Anywhoodle, I thought I'd pop in and give you all a little update on all the goings-on since Ainsley's birthday.

Her birthday...

People asked if we knew that December 10th we'd be having her. The answer? Nope! We had a bag packed just in case, and my parents came up earlier in the week because I just knew that week would be the week. (My body was o.v.e.r. being pregnant.)  However, we had no guarantee that Wednesday would be the day. So, it was a fun surprise for us, too!

That morning, I had my regular twice-weekly appointment, as well as my non-stress test. Ainsley hadn't been moving as much the night before -- something I immediately reported to my O.B.'s nurse when she was getting my vitals. After the non-stress test, which showed heavy contractions, Dr. D came in and checked me. If you've never been "checked", you truly haven't ever experienced fun ; )

After the 30 seconds of hell that is being "checked", he announced I had progressed significantly and he said Ainsley would likely have arrived within the next 48 hours anyway. Since this was a repeat C-section and I was considered a high-risk pregnancy, we decided to get her out that night at 5:00 p.m. So, Dr. D called Labor & Delivery and told them to admit us. And up to Floor 5 we went...

Birth story coming soon!


Ainsley is teeny tiny. At 5 lbs. 13 oz. and only 18 inches long, our little gal is quite the peanut! Funny thing is, even for a petite little thing, she lost the least amount of her birth weight out of all the babies in the nursery that week, only dropping two ounces upon discharge. Girlfriend loves to eat and I'm happy to report that she's thriving. Due to her eating so well, we only spent two nights in the hospital and were discharged! (That's a really short stay for a C-section.)

We have been seriously lucky to get two very laid back babes. Her disposition reminds me a lot of Caroline as a newborn. She cries when she's hungry or wet, (or just wants some cuddles), but honestly, she's pretty content most of the time.

She looks a whole lot like her big sister, too. Her eyes are the same shade of blue as Caroline's, but her skin is very olive-toned, much like her daddy's Italian side of the family. (Caroline definitely inherited my Scot-Irish skin tone and freckles.)

As of now, we are exclusively breastfeeding. I haven't pumped yet, as I really wanted her to get in the habit of latching and feeding easily. Maybe it's because this isn't our first go-round with BFing, but it has been SO much easier this time. I look forward to those quiet, still moments during the night feedings most of all. It's such a cool bonding experience that I loved being able to experience with Caroline and I'm glad that it's working out so far with Ainsley, too.

Big Sister

Caroline is curious about her little sister and definitely likes to watch us feed and bathe her. When people point to Ainsley and say, "Caroline, who is this?",  she'll reply, "Mah' bay-beeeee!" And then I melt because I'm sappy like that. #hormonesforlife

Because of the very small age difference, we haven't had to deal with any jealousy issues - probably the biggest perk I've heard of having them so close together.

I won't lie. The first two nights at home were ROUGH. Caroline woke every hour hollering, which then woke Ainsley, too. We just thought it was because of all the excitement, however, we discovered a couple days later that Caroline had an ear infection, which is why she was so restless. She's still getting over that, but thankfully, she's on the mend and everyone is sleeping better now.

It breaks my heart to not be able to pick her up because of my incision. She'll hang her little arms around my legs and cry, which kills me. Thankfully, I should be cleared today or tomorrow to be able to lift and carry her again.


A very special thing happens when you have kids with someone you love. Despite the fact that you spend 23 of the 24 hours every day covered in the various bodily fluids of a tiny person, annnnd you may not have showered in a sweet forever, you fall even more in love with each other.

Maybe it's that whole, "We're in this together" mentality.

Stephen is a caretaker by nature, so he's been working double-time to make sure I'm comfortable for feeding sessions, that our pantry and fridge are stocked, that laundry is done....the guy has even made us home-cooked meals most nights.

He is also completely smitten with his daughters. (Duh.)

Something about seeing a grown man pull up a chair for a tea party or tell your newborn daughter that she's "the prettiest thing ever" that makes you weak in the knees. Men turn to mush around their little girls. This is fact. And I love it.


I feel pretty good, actually! This C-section recovery has been much easier than the first, probably because my body knew what to expect this time. The day after the CS was horrendous -- hello, second day pain!! -- but after that, things started getting better. I tried to force myself to walk a lot in the hospital, which I credit for getting rid of the bulk of the soreness so quickly.

I only had to take the pain meds for the first five or six days after the surgery and now I'm just taking ibuprofen when needed for soreness.

I did have quite a bit (read: a shiz ton) of swelling in my feet and ankles...and thighs...and hips...and abdomen...following the surgery. It was super sexy and I've never felt more attractive. (Ever heard of pitting edema? A barrel of fun; that's what that is.) Seriously, Lebron James and I could've shared shoes.

It was super sexy and I've never felt more attractive.

(Fluid retention is the new black.)

This is really common after C-sections because of all the fluid they pump into you prior to being operated on. I'm now happy to report that I have noticeable ankles and knees again, though my tummy is still pretty swollen.

And I'm still totally, unapologetically wearing maternity jeans.

Life with two

Having two only 14 months apart is not for the faint of heart. Or those with low energy levels. I don't feel like I had much of a recovery period after the hospital. I just had to jump back into life and honestly, that was okay with me.

Is it tiring? Hell yes.

Do I love it anyway? You bet I do.

We are slowly getting our stride and I'm starting to feel like we're not treading water anymore. The first week was a blur, but this past week has been much smoother. My mom has driven up each week to be here on the days Stephen works, which has been so, so helpful. I'm definitely a little nervous about how I'll handle it once I'm here by myself, but I know that it'll all work out.

I wondered constantly how I'd love another child as much as Caroline. I can't put into words exactly how it feels, but it's like God makes even more room in your heart when you bring another child into the picture. I love them both so fiercely and wholly. They are our greatest accomplishments and the most precious gifts we have ever been given.

I don't care what else I achieve in this lifetime, so long as I do this mom thing right. Yes, Ainsley was a surprise to us, but sometimes the best things in life are those that you never saw coming.


See y'all tomorrow!


Introducing Ainsley

Our biggest (little) surprise of 2014 is also its greatest blessing.

It is with great pleasure that our family introduces our newest little addition

Ainsley Catherine Sisti

Born December 10, 2014 at 5:19 p.m.

5 lbs, 13 oz. |  18 in.

We appreciate all of your sweet emails, comments on Instagram and prayers throughout this pregnancy, as well as your continued support as we begin our journey as a family of four. We are not deserving of the gifts that God has given us, but our hearts are so thankful for our two daughters.

As you can probably imagine, free time is scarce around our house at the moment, (ha!), but I hope to return to regular blogging after the Christmas holiday. I'm going to try to post a little over the coming weekend though, while all the details of Ainsley's birth are fresh in my mind.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! See you (hopefully) back here this weekend!


Confessional Friday + 38 Week Bumpdate

Hey, friends! Welcome to Friday. Aren't we glad to see her?

So, my post today isn't a confession at all, but I did want to get this bumpdate up, just in case someone decides to grace us with her presence before next week! (And I'd be A-Okay with that at this point!)

You can leave links to your Confessional Posts per usual, of course!


Weeks: 38 as of yesterday

Gender: GIRL! Stephen doesn't stand a chance against all of this estrogen : )

Name: Ainsley Catherine

Cravings: More space in my stomach so that I can eat food again without heartburn. Amen.

And nachos.

(No amount of heartburn can keep me away from nachos.)

Most looking forward to: Being not pregnant. I'm going to level with you here: the fun of this has run its course and I'm ready to feel like my body is mine again. After two years of being "with child", I honestly cannot remember what it feels like to not be pregnant. (I don't know how Michelle Duggar does it. And I do not wish to find out.)

I'm so very, very grateful that we've been given the gift of these two precious girls, and I have enjoyed both pregnancy journeys so much, each for their own reasons. Ainsley completes our family and I'm ready to have her on the outside!

Most nervous about: The C-section. Caroline's birth was a little bit scary with my epidural failing and all, so I'm praying that this time it takes. Because I can tell you first hand, a C-section without a complete epidural does not a fun experience make.

I've prayed about it a lot and now, I'm just giving it up to God.

Cheers to great drugs and a freaking fantastic anesthesiologist (!!)

I can't wait to: Start nursing a baby again. I was shocked out how much I enjoyed breastfeeding Caroline. It was such a cool bonding experience and I'm excited to share that with Ainsley, too.

Updates: We really and truly thought we were having her on my birthday. I joked with Stephen on Tuesday night that all I wanted for my birthday was to get this baby OUT. He kept saying, "Maybe Santa will give you a baby for your b-day!"

The next morning, after a night of contracting and contracting and contracting, I was eating my words. I was in pain and they were so much more intense than any of the contractions I had felt so far. These contractions started in my back and radiated all the way around to my tummy, then down into my thighs. They were the real-freaking-deal and they. sucked. big. time.

I had an appointment for a final ultrasound with our high-risk OB at 8:30 a.m. sharp, so I called ahead, told them how I was feeling and they met me there at 7:50 and got me right back before anyone else. (Thank you, Dr. C and staff!!)

They immediately began the ultrasound and I started contracting...hard. So intensely that our high-risk doc was convinced I was in labor and told me we should probably go home and get ready for the C-section! (Ainsley's head was so low that they couldn't get a measurement on it with the ultrasound...and trust me, I could/can feel it!) Even though they were intense, the contractions were all happening at really irregular intervals, (regularity = true labor), so we decided to go on home until my later appointment at 1:00 p.m.

I was feeling evvvvvvvery contraction, so I went home, packed a bag, put Ainsley's things in a bag and got my game face on.

(For concerned parties about Stephen and who packed his bag: our house is a literal two-minute drive from the hospital we're using, so Stephen will go back and forth when he needs things. And, should he require a bag, he is quite capable and willing to pack it himself ; ) I had SO many people ask me last year before Caroline's birth if I had "packed Stephen's bag yet" and we would both look at each other and laugh. {Y'all, I am serious. Granted, most of them were older/elderly women, but these folks honest-to-goodness wanted to know if and when I planned on packing his things for him.} He's a 30-year-old man who travels across the country for work on a weekly basis. I asked him if he felt cheated in some way if I let him pack his own bag for our hospital stay and he said, verbatim, "I haven't had a lady pack my bag since I went to camp when I was eight." So, there you have it.)

But back to my story...

I remember thinking, as we loaded our things into the car and headed to the appointment, that this could be it. The day the family of three became the family of four. And then The Little Drummer Boy came on the radio. And I thought about Christmas and Hallmark commercials. And puppies. And, of course, I started to get teary-eyed and happy and sappy. And then I was bawling, Bing Crosby blaring in the background and all.

Oh, hormones...

Anywhoodle, by the time we got to our 1:00 appointment with our regular O.B., the contractions were still happening, but the intensity had died down a lot. (This was a welcomed feeling because...OUCH.) After a while on the NST machine, a (super-duper fun) exam and a lot of discussion, we decided that we'd reconvene later this morning (as in today) at 8:00 a.m. and go from there.

So, who knows if we'll have a baby this afternoon, tonight, this weekend or next week...it'll be a surprise for all of us - Stephen and me, included!


    An InLinkz Link-up


This is 30.

This morning at 8:30 a.m. on the dot, I'll be 30! (Fun fact: Caroline was also born at exactly 8:30 a.m. We are soul mates like that.)

At 8:30 a.m. today, I'll also be in the process of getting our very last ultrasound for baby Ainsley at our high-risk O.B. (We'll have one more at our regular O.B. later this week or early next.)

At 8:30 a.m. during said ultrasound, because a woman's mind never stops running, I'll also be going through a list in my head of things I need to accomplish today. I'll be mentally jotting down a to-do list that will need to take place before our second doctor's appointment at 1:00 this afternoon.

Mop the kitchen.

Pick up Dreft and orange juice.

Vacuum the guest rooms.

Check on the status of the wall monogram for the nursery. 

Not exciting things, by any stretch, but things that need doing. And I'll do them happily because I've waited so long to be in a place in life to do them.


I'm not sure what I thought 30 would look like, but I like my life so much more than I ever did when I was a scared, naive 21 year old, (though that 21 year old thought she was big and bad and brave...little did she know...)

As I woke up this morning on the couch -- yup, it's that stage of late-pregnancy where sleep-sitting on the couch is more comfortable than trying to roll out of bed every 20 minutes to pee...

Where was I? Oh, yes.

As I woke up this morning, I heard my husband making coffee. I heard Caroline singing in her crib. I heard Ari, our German Shepherd, "greeting" his dog neighbors through the fence. I heard the low hum of our dishwasher, scrubbing away the sauce from last night's spaghetti dinner.

The spaghetti dinner where Stephen and I laughed so hard at Caroline that we had tears in our eyes. Because it's a hilarious thing to watch a toddler eat spaghetti.

I heard the dings of text messages coming through from my family and friends - the people that sweeten my life so much.

I hear the sounds that fill my every day and make me realize that the best days are being lived right. now.


This year's birthday celebration certainly won't be the wildest or most extravagant. It won't consist of drinking champagne or wearing a sexy little dress. (Though I fully intend to do both those things after this kiddo gets here because FUN.)

But it will consist of sharing some kisses with my husband. It will consist of putting up the last of the Christmas ornaments with Caroline taking them off the tree no sooner than they're hung. It will consist of getting to see the last 4D ultrasound images of our sweet second daughter's face before I meet her in the flesh. It'll consist of me thanking God for all the birthdays leading up to this one - all the experiences and not-so-easy years that make me appreciate this stage of life so much more.

Today's birthday will be the best yet.

If this is 30, give me more.


Dressing a Maternity Body (feat. Riffraff)

Remember years ago when pregnant women were forced to spend the duration of their pregnancies wearing glorified potato sack dresses and horrendous maternity stirrup pants?

I was only nine when I remember my mom having to sport those oh-so-flattering clothes when she was pregnant with my brother. And even then, despite it being the early 90s, I remember thinking, "There has GOT to be someone out there who can make better clothes for pregnant ladies."

Thankfully, designers finally got their heads on straight and heard the cries of mamas everywhere. And do you know what? They found it to be an incredibly lucrative market (!!) (Well, gee golly! Who would've thought that women wanted to wear attractive clothing while they were pregnant?)

Vest c/o Riffraff (mine is out of stock, but similar here) // Charleston Glitz necklace c/o Riffraff // top is old from Loft (non-maternity), very similar here and here //  Fade to Blue Secret Fit Belly Skinny Leg Maternity Jean in dark wash (only $39.99!) // Toms Desert Wedge Bootie in Cheetah
Today, it's easier than ever...EVER...to look chic, put together and on-trend during those precious months of carrying a bambina. You just have to know what to wear, what to avoid and which brands/boutiques to shop.

You'll be delighted to know that you won't have to wear even one mumu.

Tips for dressing a maternity body:

1. You don't have to go up five sizes just because you're sporting a bump. I got a question from a darling pregnant girl on instagram the other night asking if she had to go up a size, just because she was pregnant. My personal philosophy? Nope. Here's the deal: most styles of tops today are very accomodating to a baby bump, (i.e. oversize sweaters, tunics, peplum tops, etc.)

I don't know if the fashion world is designing clothing like this on purpose, but it works. I honestly probably bought two or three maternity tops total that I've worn with both my babies.

Instead, look for styles like longer tunics and bottom-covering sweaters (you'll need the extra length) in your usual size or one size up (if your, um, assets have grown.) DO NOT run out and buy a bunch of clothing that's five sizes bigger than your usual; in ten months, you'll have that baby and be left with a bunch of clothes that don't fit and don't look good.

2. Invest in GOOD maternity pants/jeans. Cheap maternity pants are just...bad. They don't hold up and trust me, when that third trimester rolls around, you're going to want good britches. I'm not saying you have to invest oodles of money into pregnancy pants, but this is the area where you'll definitely WANT to buy maternity. Tops and dresses? Meh. Maternity pants= very necessary.

Also, here's a bit of friendly advice from a gal who has done it before: you'll be wearing those maternity pants home from the hospital and probably for a few weeks after the birth of your babe. Things don't just snap back immediately the day you check out of Labor & Delivery, especially if you've had a C-section and are retaining 20 extra pounds of fluid, (but they do snap back - promise!) You'll appreciate the extra fabric and tummy panel while things heal and return to their somewhat previous shape.

I really like these brands of maternity jeans:

All-time favorite: Fade to Blue Secret Fit Belly Skinny Leg Maternity Jean in dark wash (only $39.99!)
7 for All Mankind Secret Fit Belly Straight Leg Maternity Jean
Mavi Secret Fit Belly 5 Pocket Maternity Jean

3. Buy a BeBand. These have been my best friend during both pregnancies, especially during the second trimester. Essentially, it's a piece of tube top-looking, elasticized fabric that pulls up over your (unbuttoned) pants to allow you to still wear your favorite bottoms while you're pregnant. The Target brand BeBand is great for that transition time between non-maternity pants and the full blown "I'm about to pop" mama pants. It will also help save you money if you're on a limited budget or just don't want to invest in pricier maternity clothes.

I also really like Target's maternity tanks. Buy one in every color!

4. Do not throw in the towel. Trust me, at one million weeks pregnant myself right now, I-FRIGGIN-GET-IT. And yes, there are many days where I don't leave these maternity leggings and sweatshirts, which I may be wearing right at this very moment. But please don't give up for the next ten months. It's so easy, especially at the end, to just say "screw it" and throw on your fiftieth pair of jogging pants, but you'll feel soooooo much better about yourself if you get dressed. Even if it's just jeans and a cute top, I implore you to dress for yourself. It'll make those days when you feel like a manatee a whole lot more bearable. You are worth it. You are worth it.

You are worth it.


Gold, Pearls and Pink

Nothing makes me swoon more than a gorgeous piece of statement jewelry, especially if it falls into the vintage category. So, you can imagine my reaction when I saw this late 1970s Sarah Coventry lariat tassel necklace from Southern Vintage, a Northwest Arkansas jewelry and accessory boutique.

Be still my bauble-loving heart. 

Sarah Coventry tassel lariat necklace c/o Southern Vintage // felt floppy hat in brown, (also love this one and this one)  // Fuzzy Knit Pocket Sweater  // Fade to Blue 5 Pocket Skinny maternity skinny jeans // Vince Camuto 'Kain' heels // Prada Saffiano Tote in Caramel, very similar here and here // pearl ring (also love this one and this one) // bangle set 

The chain...the pearl accents...it's downright dreamy, I tell you.

You can stop in Southern Vintage every Saturday at 123 S Main St. in Bentonville from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. or by private appointment! You can also keep up with them on their Instagram account (username is southernvintagebentonville) and Facebook page, too. 

Right now, Karey is offering complimentary gift wrapping with every purchase, so it's a great way to knock everything out in one stop. You can also pop in and make your own holiday wish list so that you can be sure you get what YOU want this Christmas ; )


Cyber Monday - The Rundown

Riffraff - 50% off site-wide (Use code BLONDE for an additional 10% your order!)
Savoir-Faire - 50% off site-wide
Maude - 30% off with code MONDAY30 (Plus, free shipping for orders over $75!)
Forever 21- 20% off when you spend $60, 30% off when you spend $100
Loft - 50% off everything with code MONDAY
Ann Taylor - 50% off everything with code CYBER50
Nordstrom - Up to 40% off on women's shoes, handbags and clothing
Old Navy - 40% off everything with code CYBER
Gap - 40% off everything use code CYBER
Banana Republic - 40% off everything with code CYBER