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Maternity Fashion: It Doesn’t Have To Be An Oxymoron

You’re pregnant and your growing belly, butt and boobs let you know it won’t be long before you’re bursting at the seams. It’s time for some serious maternity shopping, but what do you buy?

The obstacles are many. Your shape is changing every week getting curvier, bigger. It’s hard to anticipate what your size and shape will be down the pregnancy road. Also, since growing a baby is a nine and a half month venture, that’s two, possibly three seasons of clothing that you’ll need. And you don’t want to break the bank for clothes that you don’t plan to wear much after the baby is born. (Warning: In the weeks, sometimes months after baby, you could still be wearing your maternity clothes.)

Some girls are lucky enough to have a batch of friends or family who just pass a collection of maternity clothes among themselves so they only need to get a few items to personalize their wardrobe. The rest of us have to hit the shops.

First off, handle the basics. You’ll need staples. Cute jeans, black pants, khakis and if you wear them: a versatile skirt and dress. I found it helpful to buy classic styles and colors of shirts so that they could be swapped out with pants as well as not look out-of-date for a pregnancy down the road.

I do like my fashion though and some of the really fun maternity fashions can be pricey, so I admittedly would buy a handful of trendy pieces to mix it up. I’ve found most of my cute affordable stuff online. There’s scads of great boutiques and they have sizing charts that can help you get the right fit. Google your heart out.

There’s also these wonderful things called maternity pant extenders that helps you stay in your pre-preggo pants for quite some time. I have the BellaBand in three colors.

Don’t buy all of your maternity clothes in the beginning. I know it can be exciting to build a new wardrobe, but don’t get carried away. I mean seriously, who knows how large you’re going to get or what your needs will be.

Broaden your personal style. (No pun intended.) For this pregnancy, I was glad leggings were back in. I didn’t wear them much before I was pregnant and in my first trimester, I scoffed at the maternity jeggins thinking, what pregnant woman would want to pour herself into those? Fast forward to the end of my second trimester and that preggo pop was me. I caved and got my own pair of jeggins, size large from Kohl’s.

And paired with my chocolate leather knee-high boots, I must say: they’re pretty boss.

Simply because you’re sporting a new, shapely body doesn’t mean you have to forsake your fashion sense or your finances. Just be creative and have fun with it.

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Learning About Death One Moment At A Time

On Nov. 9, 2010 an amazing woman died. Her name was Danyale Ellis and she was my friend. Last weekend was her funeral and I wondered, do I bring Logan or is that inappropriate?

Hubby was out of town and I really wanted to attend Danyale’s funeral. She was only 38 years old and one of those people that the rest of us strive to be. She was successful, but not in a nauseating way, because she was humble. What I liked best is that she was very understanding. She understood my hectic life and never made me feel bad for not doing something, she simply cherished what I could. That’s rare.

We were both in the same sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and before you judge, it’s not the kind of sorority where cheerleading pixies prance around in an oversized white house. It’s a predominantly black sorority dedicated to public service. (Though admittedly there’s former cheerleaders in our midst too…) Danyale and I met in the alumnae chapter.

It was important to me that I pay my respects, but I was failing at finding a sitter for Logan. Would it be weird to bring my boisterous boy to a funeral? What if he had a colossal meltdown in the middle of a tear-jerking eulogy? Saturday morning I decided I would regret not trying to attend the funeral more than regret an ill-timed tantrum.

On the way to the services, I started to lay out my expectations of Logan, telling him we were going to a funeral and he was to be quiet, if he wanted to talk to me it was to be in a whisper. He asked me what’s a funeral. I paused, I had been so obsessed with figuring out the logistics of getting to the funeral I didn’t even think about how it would mean talking about death with my 3 year old.

We’ve talked a little bit about how things die, but I suppose I figured the bigger talks would come after a goldfish died and we had a ceremony to flush it down the toilet like the Huxtables. So in the car, we talked about people dying, what it meant and how it can make us sad because we will miss the people who died, but that they’re OK. The main thing he wanted to know afterward was “why?”

Such a small word, such a big question. I didn’t delve into a circle-of-life diatribe a la Lion King, I simply said: “I don’t know, God decides that.” Thankfully that seemed to answer the question good enough.

We went to the funeral and he was spectacular, quietly played with his miniature cars in the pew and whispering so low I could barely hear him. The service was moving and whenever I felt the tears well up, I’d give Logan a squeeze and draw some strength from him. I was glad he was with me.

When talking to Hubby on the phone that night, Logan excitedly grabbed the phone and said: “Daddy! Guess what? Somebody DIED today!

“What?!?” Hubby asked.

“We went to Danyale’s funeral.” I said into the phone and heard his sigh of relief.

It looks like I’ll get my Huxtable moment after all.

Staying Connected With Your Loved One? There’s an App For That

Email. Facebook. Twitter. Text message. Voicemail. These are all the ways Hubby and I stay connected. (Outside of talking to each other that is.) It often feels like with our schedules we’re ships passing in the night, but with a little help, we try to make it work.

I was thinking about our relationship earlier this week and was amazed at how much we use technology to communicate whereas years ago couples would *gasp!* speak with each other. We text every morning: “Have a good day!” Or “Good luck with <insert important event/task here>” or “Don’t forget the dry cleaning!”

There’s emails throughout the day, usually focused on scheduling. Someone has to work late, someone has impromptu drinks with an executive, updates on dates and times of doctor appointments, vacations, out-of-town guests, work functions, etc.

When I get off work, I always call him and inevitably get his voicemail, so I give him the update on my day and my plan for the evening. It’s gotten to the point that when he answers, it throws me for a loop. That’s an observation worth revisiting, it catches me off-guard to actually catch my husband on the phone. That can’t be normal, or can it?

We then text each other for the rest of the evening about when he’ll be home, what’s for dinner, how Logan’s doing. Also if one parent is enjoying fun time with Logan and the other one’s away, we text or post pictures on Facebook so the other person can be “there.”

I wonder how do parents make it work when one spouse travels a lot for work? I suppose Skype then comes to the rescue.

Technology can be a funny thing. Did you know there’s even an app for resolving a problem with your spouse? It’s called “Fix A Fight,” and it apparently walks you and your loved one through an eight-step process where you pass the smartphone between each other, answering questions and listening to narration from a marital therapist.

What’s next? Virtual sex? Oh wait, that already exists. But I do wonder what other technologies are yet-to-be developed that families will use to stay connected.

I’m glad we have the technology to help mend the gaps, I personally just wish we didn’t have as many gaps. But as long as the emails, texts, Tweets and apps are enhancing communication and not supplanting it, I think it’s OK.

We do have to remember to aggressively steal away time not only for the big talks, but the chit-chat too because staying connected is what it’s all about.