STEP UP 2016 INSPIRATION AWARDS with a few contractions thrown in!

This morning was a bit stressful trying to get my act together and get to an event on time being so pregnant and not sleeping well, but Step Up is worth it. I've been working with them for so many years, I wanted to attend their biggest event of the year, as long as I wasn't in labor.  It's fun to see the young ladies all grown up now that I knew in the mentoring program when they were teens in high school years ago. And, it's a great excuse to get our girl squad together- and see other ladies I haven't seen in a while.  Maybe it's just because I am pregnant, but it seemed like a good amount of women were styling their baby bumps today.  And also maybe because I'm pregnant, it was an emotional day. But, I don't think so- the stories of these inspiring young women would be touching to anyone. There are several chapters of Step Up around the country. If you've been looking for an excellent way to give back, look no further. You'll meet intelligent, fabulous women in their mentoring program and be rewarded from the interactions with the Step Up girls. 

i stayed comfortable in   this tank dress   that i absolutely love (comes in many colors)- Pictured at step up women's inspiration awards with fellow pregnant ladies Lacey Chabert and Lisa Ling (due in two weeks!). I love Lisa's flowy white NON-maternity dress      from another awesome supporter and sponsor of this year's event,    MICHAEL STARS  -  take a look at some of their newer pieces. Great for maternity and non-maternity. 

i stayed comfortable in this tank dress that i absolutely love (comes in many colors)- Pictured at step up women's inspiration awards with fellow pregnant ladies Lacey Chabert and Lisa Ling (due in two weeks!). I love Lisa's flowy white NON-maternity dress  from another awesome supporter and sponsor of this year's event, MICHAEL STARS -take a look at some of their newer pieces. Great for maternity and non-maternity. 

Amy Davidson, me, Beverley mitchell, and Ali Fedotowsky at the awards show,

Amy Davidson, me, Beverley mitchell, and Ali Fedotowsky at the awards show,

 

So, now, I'm on my way home from the STEP UP Inspiration Awards timing my contractions in the car.  Amy Davidson and Ali Fedotowsky (driving) start noticing my wincing.  

"It's been fourteen minutes since your last one, Ash," Amy says calmly, but pointedly. I must totally be in denial.  He can't come TODAY. RIGHT??  There's still too much to do! I don't think he's coming right now. I'm just over 39 weeks. How is it ALREADY TIME to TIME contractions?

I haven't packed my hospital bag.  And we don't have a name set. And I still want to finish the nursery! And make sure the laundry is done. But, I also know no one is ever completely prepared. So, ready or not, he's coming soon! Of course, "soon" could be days away....

UPDATE: I went into full blown labor 3 days later!

 

 

 

AND BABY MAKES...Four?!!

I've briefly talked about having an insta-family (and them having me!) on the blog here. It's everything I have prayed about for a long time: finding the right person for life and starting a family.  And it's happening!! One prayer right after the other is being answered.  I wouldn't have it any other way, but I must remind myself when there are kinks in the road... they were bound to happen.  

For all intents and purposes, Joel and I are newlyweds. Most couples relish this time to ease into life together as one unit. Most couples take that first year or two of marriage to find out their spouses secret quirks...  Most couples- well, I guess we're just not most couples. We're going through this phase on top of also being parents to Huck and this little baby that will arrive very soon. We take as much time for our relationship as we possibly can, but, as we all know, time is limited.  Joel is wonderful. One thing I need to remember? All this change isn't just happening to me.  It's a huge transition for the male counterpart. I try to see things from his perspective (when I remember to do so!), and not just from my 8 and a half months pregnant perspective.  And, not to be outdone, this is a transition for Huck.  

Huck keeps asking when the baby will get here. Last night, he approached me and touched my belly.  

     "Can you take him out of your tummy tomorrow? I want him to come see me play soccer this weekend," he requested.                         

    "No, sweetheart, he probably won't come tomorrow. But, he'll be here soon." 

    “Do you know there will be three penises in this house?” he said matter-of-factly, almost as a warning, then continued, “and only one vagina.” 

    “Thank you for that information, Huckie.”

    “You will be the only vagina,” he clarified.

So, we're all processing this transition. 

Picture from our baby shower. Read more on PEOPLE.COM  and HERE on blog.

I can only imagine how bringing a child into the world is a lot for any marriage, not to mention a new one.  So, I'm trying to prepare for this newborn as best I can now in hopes of dodging some chaos once he arrives. 

One thing I am trying to do beforehand to help the household run smoothly is get organized.  I guess this is nothing new. Nesting is the age old concept.  It comes instinctively at this stage of pregnancy, I would assume.  I've never had a stronger urge to declutter and get organized.  There is a good amount of baby gear coming in right now. What are your tips for preparation? And any sage advise for this transition? Luckily, I have a whole girl squad going through this stage of life, too, but love hearing a wide range of opinions.

and PS- We are compiling a list of funny tidbits during pregnancy: things I never knew. We have quite a few already, but if you have something to add, your comment could be featured in a post (with a picture, if you choose!). Email on the contact page or leave a comment below! If you wish not to be included, that's fine! Leave a comment anyway and let us know not to feature. xx website team

THE BIG BABY BOOM

If I ever worried starting a family later in life would be lonely, last weekend took those thoughts away completely. On Saturday, my sweet girlfriends, Kaley Cuoco and Marisa Coughlan, hosted a safari- themed high tea baby shower for me. (It was a wonderland- read post HERE) I'll be writing and posting about not only what an emotionally charged and memorable day it was, but also how this past weekend transformed my perspective on this stage in pregnancy. 

Then, on Sunday, we celebrated Ali Fedotowsky's little BabyManno.  

 

There is truly a baby boom going on around me.  On top of Amy Davidson just welcoming little Lennox Sawyer Lockwood to the world, Marisa is pregnant and due the same day that I am! It seems like Haylie Duff just had Ryan (although she's almost a year old!). My girlfriend Kara Holden's son just recently turned one. And longtime friends Bill Horn and Scout Masterson (aka "The Guncles") still have a kiddo in diapers. My former castmate, Adrienne Frantz, welcomed Amelie just four months ago... Kaley's longtime bestie, Katie Diaz, has three little ones, the youngest under one. I'm telling you- there's something in the water.  And this is just the LA tribe. I've got cousins having babies, friends from high school who still have kids in diapers.... 

Yesterday, Kaley texted Lacey and me a pictures of the three of us saying "flanked by preggers."  Lacey jokingly responded,, "watch out- it's contagious."  Kaley and Bri- what incredible troopers you have both been to be surrounded by so much baby talk! Thank you for your patience with us!!

ps- I'll be posting about the tricks I've figured out with #maternitystyle, but one of them is ruching... this dress I'm wearing has it in the front and subtly in the back. Helps me feel much more comfortable.