Kristin Cavallari is aware that some fans may still think of her as the California girl from reality TV, but she has clearly moved on. "People don't know the real me," says Cavallari, 28, who was portrayed as Lauren Conrad's rival on Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and The Hills. Cavallari left the West Coast years ago and designs shoes for Chinese Laundry and jewelry for Emerald Duv while raising a family with her husband, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. "The hard times I went through are what led me to my life now," she says. "I was a mess as a teen! I was kind of wild and really unhappy." She shares details in her upcoming book, Balancing in Heels. By the time it debuts this spring, she'll have her hands full with a newborn, a daughter to join sons Camden, 3, and Jaxon, 18 months. Here's what else she has planned for 2016.
Cavallari realizes what she's getting into the third time around. "Having an infant is stressful, and I know I won't get a lot of sleep initially, but it will be worth it," she says. "Jay and I want our kids to be close in age, so they can have a tight bond. And we'll get the diaper phase out of the way!"
"Just an hour ago, you would have thought I had cut off one of Camden's legs. He threw the biggest fit because I gave him chicken instead of turkey. He started crying, which made Jaxon cry. It would be easy to get frustrated and start yelling, but I find that what a kid really needs is a hug. I'll say, 'Buddy, what's going on?' That's more effective than me scolding him or throwing him in a time-out."
Appreciating Each Kid
"Every child is completely different. My two boys are opposites. Camden was such an easy baby. Jaxon is more of our rebel wild child, but he's also a mama's boy. Our little girl will have her own personality. I know I can't change who they are. It's important to let kids be themselves and to let them make mistakes. Self-discovery goes a long way."
Adding a Daughter
Cavallari and her husband initially thought No. 3 was going to be another boy, based on their own reading of a 3-D ultrasound. A blood test, however, set them straight: It's a girl! "She's going to steal Jay's heart, which will in turn melt mine!" she says. "I'm excited for the boys to grow up with a sister. I think it will help them to better understand and respect women."
Picking Out Girl Stuff
"Stuart Weitzman makes the cutest baby-girl shoes! I am excited to make some girly purchases. But we've been lucky and have been able to use the same Restoration Hardware crib for all three kids."
Rocking the Bump
"Dresses are easy to throw on. One of my favorites is an Isabella Oliver cotton dress that has a tie just above thebelly, so it gives me a bit of a shape. If I wear a more form-fitting dress, I might add a blazer or vest. My biggest save is on jewelry. I wear fake diamond earrings! No one knows the difference, and if I lose one, I'm not going to be upset."
"I'm not ashamed to say that Jay and I consistently go to therapy, because it's been extremely beneficial for our relationship. For example, when you're fighting you should never place blame on your partner by saying, 'you do this' or 'you do that.' You should say how those actions make you feel. It goes a long way."
The Cavallari/Cutler crew has lived in Chicago for four years, but when Jay retires from football, Cavallari wants to move the fam to Nashville, which is where they got married. "Jay went to school there, and I fell in love with it the first time I went," she says. "It's beautiful, and the people are genuinely nice."
If You Ask Her...
PARENTING IS EASIER WHEN YOU'RE PREPARED
"Have a snack ready before your child gets hungry, and a sippy cup filled before he's thirsty. It keeps crying to a minimum and makes the day so much less stressful."
KEEP BABYHOOD IN PERSPECTIVE
"Orly Shany, my cohost from The Fabulist, said that when she was trying to get her son to sleep, she'd picture him as a 40-year-old man, which instantly made her appreciate the moment she was living in."
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
"You should accept advice. It's helpful to listen to other moms' experiences just for peace of mind. But ultimately no one knows what your baby needs better than you."