What stage of babyhood are you most looking forward to experiencing again with Ace?
He's starting to go through it right now: When babies get to be about 4 to 6 months old and can engage with you, it's awesome to see their personalities come to life. Every milestone so far with Max has been so fun (okay, except teething!), so I'm really looking forward to doing it all again with Ace.
What's the most fun part about having a second child?
Just the way I was with Maxwell, I'm excited to see Ace grow into his own person and watch his personality develop more each day. We see different parts of our family in each of them. I'm lucky to have found the best man [fiancee Eric Johnson] to start my family with. We are so blessed.
Has it been an adjustment for Maxwell, sharing the spotlight?
No, she loves being a big sister. I come from a really close-knit family and we're always together. Maxwell gets to spend a lot of time with all of us and her older cousin, Bronx. She loves being around him and Ace and sharing the attention. She's stepping into her own as a toddler, and it's exciting to see her take on the role of big sister; she loves imitating Mom and Dad.
Before Ace was born, how did you prepare her for the idea of having a sibling?
From the time we knew we were expecting again, she was "the big sister." We talked to the baby together as a way for her to get to know Ace before his arrival. She loved to rub and kiss my belly and now she loves to hold and kiss Ace.
What the best and worst about having kids less than a year and a half apart?
I felt like I was in eternal new-mom mode! Because I had just had Max, so much was familiar to me and that really helped me through my second pregnancy. Eric and I are calm and supportive. We take parenthood one day at a time, but sometimes we have to reassure each other and say "we've got this." I can't lie, I'm happy to be done with pregnancy right now!
What differences have you seen so far between having a boy and girl?
Right now, the biggest difference is how hungry Ace is all of the time! He and I have a special bond, and Maxwell is definitely a daddy's girl. Eric is a hands-on dad and while I was pregnant, he did a lot of the heavy lifting so he has a very special relationship with Maxwell. She just adores him!
What do you wish you knew when you first became a mom that you know now?
"It's so hard to hear your baby cry. Getting in a routine from the start helped us out a lot. You don't have to wonder what the crying is for, because you know it's time to eat, change, or sleep."
What are the best weight-loss tips you can give new moms?
Plan ahead. When you're running around after two, or even just one, it's too easy to just grab whatever snack you have in the house. But if you have a meal or a healthy snack planned, you won't necessarily go for the chips or the macaroni and cheese you made for your child for lunch!
Is losing the baby weight harder or easier the second time around?
Easier, because I made smarter choices with my second pregnancy, but it's still work. I try to avoid the pressure to look a certain way and just focus on being healthy and there for my family. I don't deprive myself. Weight Watchers lets me have leeway to eat normally and still stay on track.
Have you had to streamline your beauty routine since having two kids?
I've always been low-key when it comes to my everyday routine. I throw on moisturizer and lip gloss, and I am good to go.
What's your favorite thing about your new collection with Destination Maternity?
There are so many reasons to shy away from getting dressed up while pregnant, so I like to make it easy. I'm very happy with the comfortable dresses from my Destination Maternity holiday collection. They're clingy in all the right places with adorable fit and flare.
What do you do when you want to have "me" time?
Our home has a recording studio, so I have a little oasis to retreat to for work. I also sneak away to the gym to get my workouts in.
It's December--Christmas must mean that much more to you now that you have kids.
For us, the holidays are about family and togetherness. We travel to Boston to be with Eric's family, we make the trip to Texas to see my grandparents, and we always try to get away with our closest family and friends around New Year's. Our traditions follow us wherever we go. Family vacations have always been something I look forward to and I know my kids will love them as much as we do.
Fast Beauty Secret
To hide tired eyes, "I always have two or three pairs of sunglasses in my bag!"
Her Little Time-Saver
"We have multiple changing stations at home so we don't have to go up and down the stairs ten (or more!) times a day. They're stocked with fresh clothes, swaddles, and burp cloths to save some running-around time."
Go-To Mom Meal
"Grilled chicken with fresh veggies and a salad. I didn't follow Weight Watchers during my pregnancy with Ace, but lessons I learned from it helped me make smarter decisions. It's been easier to shed the weight."
In Her Diaper Bag
"Along with diapers, wipes, and bottles, I always have a supply of burp cloths, blinged-out pacis (even though Eric doesn't love them), and Earth's Best and Plum Organics snacks."
$35 for Three Burp Cloths; BabyJar.com
$37 for Football Pacifier, BabyBlingThingsBoutique.com
"We take a lot of family walks. When Ace is older, we'll use the BOB for hikes."
$470 for BOB Sport Utility Duallie; Rei.com
"I love the pair of Stella McCartney sweatpants a friend gave us at Ace's shower, and I love the brand Peek. And Zara makes great play clothes that are super cute!"
Elephant tee, $28; PeekKids.com
Pipkin jeans, $70; StellaMcCartney.com
Reversible hoodie set, $33; Zara.com
- Maintain your personal style to feel like yourself.
- Identify favorite pieces or a color you love.
- Keep returning to them on days you just can't be bothered. Be comfortable. I love clingy, long-sleeved dresses, so they're in my Destination Maternity collection.
Originally published in the December 2013 issue of Parents and American Baby magazine.