Panorama and Things You Did Not Know About Prenatal Testing

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUMP UPDATES, FOR MOMS, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, Pregnancy Q of the week


I would like to officially announce that I have been selected to be one of the Panorama Moms this year. What that means is that I will be learning and writing about prenatal, genetic carrier, preimplantation and other types of pregnancy related testing available by Natera. It’s an interesting learning experience and I hope that it will also help some of my readers make testing decisions that are safer and more accurate than the traditional testing.

When you are having a baby there is so much on your mind.  You are always thinking about the health and safety of your baby first in almost every daily task that you take on.  Then the doctors present prenatal testing to you as an option. Maybe you had higher than normal numbers, maybe your age is considered “advanced maternal age”. Whatever the case is there is a huge amount of stress and anxiety associated with the safety of your baby.   There is so much to know about prenatal testing and it’s important to be well informed before you go in for testing, so in this point I am going to try to lay out some of the information available to me.

New Prenatal Screening by Natera

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, PREGNANCY

 This survey was sponsored by the new Panorama™ NIPT, created by Natera, that enables women in the first trimester of pregnancy to be screened for more than a dozen leading genetic diseases as early as 9 weeks gestation. Additionally, the test has an optional gender screening that is >99% accurate.  Because the test is performed with a routine blood draw, it does not come with a risk of miscarriage that more invasive tests (like amniocentesis) carry.

Hey, guys, this is another sponsored post. Things have been insane with the holidays, so my regular programming is on hold :)

Perfect Exercise Routine for Busy Moms

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Fun as a Toddler Mom, GET FIT, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, PREGNANCY, TODDLER



Can I start this post with UGH?

I really didn’t think I’d be here at this point, but whatever.

Let me start from the beginning. Or actually let me start with this phrase:

I was in better shape right after birth than I am now ( at the time of writing).

Bam! That blows! It took 3 years (pregnancy and 2 toddler years) to UNDO all the work I had done prior to pregnancy.

People often ask me how I stayed so fit and “skinny” after birth. Before, I could have told them something worthwhile. Now I just chuckle. I looked good after birth because I was REALLY fit going INTO pregnancy.

What went wrong?

Want to be a part of Daily Mom?

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Daily, EVERYTHING ELSE, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PREGNANCY, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


As I mentioned earlier on Facebook, we are ready to expand at Daily Mom, which means adding new team members and contributors.

If you read Daily Mom and would like to be a part of it, read on.
If you’ve never heard of it, visit the website and then read on.

Don’t mistake the goofy photos in this post for lack of seriousness. We are fun bunch, but we also take what we do seriously. Photos for this post are from a Daily Mom editors meet in 2013. I never got to post about it so at least sharing some of the photos in this post seemed semi-appropriate :) We value our team and how big Daily Mom has gotten, but we would not have been half the team we are without the humor and the craziness and all the fun we have together online and in real life. Also these are just a few of our team members, as well as some honorary ex-team members. Current staff is slightly different from the pictures below.

PostPartum Skin Care

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, Friday Finds, Fun as a Toddler Mom, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


A year after having a baby and I think I am finally in a good place when it comes to my personal care routine. {I am always searching for better products, though, so I will keep updating you if I find something superior}

I still don’t have time to do certain things regularly, especially now with my new website, Daily Mom.

I don’t get to shave legs unless I am going out somewhere semi-important.

I forget to moisturize my body more often than I care to admit, and that is one of the biggest things I need to work on.

I wash my hair only if I know that I will be leaving the house. Or when it’s really dirty.

I put my make up on at the same time or when I want to look more put together at home.

I like to prioritize and personal care falls somewhere in the middle on the priorities list. However, one thing I have done over the last year is assemble a good “team” of personal products that I use, love and swear by. They help me be a little bit more of a woman that I want to be without having to put too much effort into it. I’ve been mentally writing this post for 6 months and each month I would add something else to it.

In fact, in the last week, I’ve had a chance to try out some organic and natural hair products that I am quite impressed with that you can read about on Daily Mom in the coming months. I am thinking about going on a mission of finding more obscure products and brands you don’t see in retail stores and trying them out. If only I could find time…

In the meantime,

Baby’s First Year: Expectations vs. Reality

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience


We’ve all been there.

Daydreaming about what life with a baby would be like, without truly knowing what to expect. Thinking we “know” how things will turn out, but in the back of our minds knowing that it will be different. Now that Lexi is 1 YEAR OLD, i can look back at the year of babyhood and see things for what they were.

I don’t think Andrew and I were off base when imagining what life with a baby would be like. I think it’s that we couldn’t FEEL that difference until said baby came along.

All the negative “just you waits” from bitter moms were met with an eye roll. All the good-hearted ones were a drop in a bucket of the attempt to imagine our life with the baby.

I don’t think you can know what it is going to be like. No matter how hard you try. I think you can picture it, but you cannot FEEL it. So here’s what WE thought life with a baby would be like. And here is how we were wrong (or right).

Keep in mind that our experience will most likely NOT be yours. Your baby might sleep 16 hours a day and be the newborn you read in all the books about, nurse like a champ from day 1, fall asleep in your sling or contently stare at the mobile while you go around your business. That was not our experience. Nor was it the experience of millions of other parents. Because every baby is UNIQUE!



I had hoped that Hypnobabies would help me get through labor but I was prepared for it to go whatever way it would, since I had read/heard how unpredictable it is.


The shape of you. The shape of me.

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, GET FIT, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, PREGNANCY


The title of this post might give you an idea of how much Dr. Seuss I read on daily basis.

Ok, so I’ve been asked to write about this multiple times and I have looked forward to writing about this, as well. Kind of. Sort of. The only but is that I don’t really have much to say on the topic of postpartum body and getting in shape. I have done absolutely NOTHING. :( So I’ll write a bit about what changes my body went through from pre-pregnancy to now and what I am planning on doing about it.

There are a few “quirks” about my body that need to be known to understand where I am at after giving birth.
Number 1: My strong spot is my abs. It’s virtually impossible for me to gain fat in my tummy. And when I gain weight, my belly is the LAST thing to grow (after boobies) and even then it still has some definition to it.
Number 2: My weak spot is my legs. That is the first place where I gain weight and it shows immediately. So the rest of my body will be fine, but my legs and face will show whether I am heavy or thin.
Number 3:

Blooper Reel {from Gender Reveal}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, My Pregnancy, VIDEO

If you watched and enjoyed our Gender Reveal from exactly a year ago, you might just as well have fun watching this.

I almost dropped this project for lack of time, but when I was cleaning out my video folders, I just couldn’t bring myself to delete the blooper shots, so I made a GAG REEL out of them.

It’s a good reminder of how much fun we had shooting the Gender Reveal video.

And it so happens that I made it in time for the  anniversary of finding out the sex of our baby!

Nursery Final Reveal

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Nursery, PRODUCTS

Welcome to Alexis’ Nursery Final Reveal

To view the progress, follow the links below:

Nursery Part I
Nursery Part II- bits and pieces

All the items in the room and where you can find them will be listed at the bottom of the post.

Overall, I am happy with how it turned out. The room we had for her is the smallest in the house and I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to decorate it the way I wanted. I am not great with styling or design, I am not crafty and we didn’t have a huge budget. But I feel that we were able to do exactly what I had envisioned with minor concessions. There will be some changes to the room in the future and it’s not 100% complete, but it is as complete as it will be until Alexis starts sleeping in it ( which she currently isn’t and probably won’t be for a long time). I am planning on adding pom-poms in the ceiling corner and a bookshelf, but this is as final as it’s going to get for a while.

So let’s start:

The chair is the only thing that doesn’t completely match, but in order to get a white chair I would have had to either sacrifice my comfort or price. So this was a good middle of the road rocker/recliner that is insanely comfortable. The rug is temporary, as well. I haven’t been able to find a rug that fit the room perfectly, so this cheap Target rug will do for now until I find something more appropriate.

The blinds will get cord winders soon (if you know of good ones, please share)
The crib skirt and bows were made by my sister who lives in Russia. She did an amazing job, considering she’s not a seamstress and went off of our measurements. We opted for no bumpers (even though I had a very cute one in mind) and an organic muslin crib sheet and a Naturepedic mattress.

I debated buying children’s canvas art for the room or framing my own photography. I am glad I went with frames, because that means I can switch out photos once in a while when we get bored of them.

The dresser was a old craigslist dresser that we had refinished. And yes, I am aware the handles are upside down. No, it wasn’t on purpose :). Since the dresser is old, the only crafty thing I managed to accomplish was lining the drawers with pretty purple and white fabric that I ordered online.

We have two mobiles over the crib. Wispy soft and cute one for looks and for when Alexis is a bit older to be interested in such delicate things (see how to win one), and another developmental crib mobile made out of black, white and red plastic shapes that encourage baby’s visual development. Needless to say, Alexis loves it as much as she does her black and white board.

It took nearly to my due date to find a chandelier that we both liked. I didn’t want it to look cheap with plastic crystals and anything with real crystals was either too big or over the top. This one came in black and was exactly what we needed after some spray paint action.

The butterflies offer some entertainment for Lexi while she gets her diaper change ( that is when we use that area to change her diapers). The beautiful owl and birdie mobile is courtesy of Denise from my favorite Magical Whimsy Etsy shop

The closet dividers are courtesy of Erica from Fifi’s closet on Etsy and can be made in a variety of color schemes

Nursery Details:

Paint: Zero VOC Olympic Paint in Iris Isle

Mirror: Rooms To Go Disney Princess Mirror

Lamp: Shade from Layla Grace, base from Ebay painted white.

Owl: Red Envelope

Cloth Doll: Haba Organic Doll

Flower vase: vase and flowers from Michael’s, cut and arranged by me.

Frame: a gift from ex-neighbors. They framed Alexis’ announcement which I thought was so creative.

Dresser: an old craigslist dresser and night stand refinished. (bought for $150, refinished for $500)

Drawer Liners: Made using foam board from Michael’s, cut to size. Fabric ordered online.


Butterly mobile over the changing table: Amazon

Owl & Bird Mobile: Magical Whimsy Etsy shop (WIN IT! see below)

Black and White Mobile: Manhattan Toy

Black and White Board: on Amazon from Manhattan Toy

Canvas: Easy Canvas Print


Sparkle statue: Zulily

Framed Photos: Frames from Michael’s, photos taken by me printed at Bay Photo Lab

Recliner/Rocker: Matter Brothers

Crib Skirt and Bows: handmade by my sister in Russia

Rug: Target

Shades: JCPenney (super cheap solution, but not cordless)

Shelves: (painted white)

Organic Changing Pad: Naturepedic

Organic mattress: Naturepedic

Ugly Dolls: Amazon

ABC Nightlight: Pottery Barn Kids

Closet Door Handles: Pottery Barn Kids

Closet Organisers: Fifi’s closet

Closet cubes: Martha Stewart Collection

Closet canvas totes: Martha Stewart Collection

Flag Banner: Etsy

And that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Denise from Magical Whimsy Etsy shop would like to offer my readers a chance to win $100 to her Etsy shop.
So if you have a little one on the way or just need a nursery revamp, feel free to enter.

Magical Whimsy $100 Credit

and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

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Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible). See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

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Reader Question: post baby body

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy

Hi there – I hope this isn’t a crass question… I’m a soon-to-be first time mom as well, and am curious/fearful about weight loss after. You were very open and vulnerable about weight gain leading up, and look great now; i’m wondering if you’re planning to write at all about your body post-baby?

I haven’t written anything about it because there’s nothing to say so far (and time is at a premium). I haven’t worked out and haven’t lost much until now. A measly half a pound a week or so.
I have resolved to start my work out routine on Monday along with some healthy dieting (good bye cookies with justification of “but I’m breaaaastfeeeeeding”).
I will try to keep a semi-regular feature with the progress, though obviously I can’t promise too much consistency.

To be honest I’m really excited about looking skinny again.