Friday, April 24, 2015

#starrbabycinco 37.5 week update!

I've been less than stellar at posting #starrbabycinco pregnancy updates thus far and with less (hopefully!) than 2 weeks to go, I figured it was time to post one more/last update. Let's get started, shall we?!?

Due Date: Still May 12. It pains me to write that, as the date still seems so far away. However, it's still not likely that we'll get there. My OB will offer me an elective induction (which I plan on taking!) at 39 weeks, as long as my cervix is "favorable."

Weeks: 37 weeks 3 days

Doctor Report: As of Wednesday, I was 3cm dilated and baby was head-down! I realize the dilation really doesn't mean much, but it's a glimmer of hope for me and I'm holding on to every little bit I can. :)

Gender: GIRL. At least that's what we're counting on.

Name: Still none. And it's a sensitive subject. I *think* we have a couple of contenders, but definitely no forerunner. I'm praying that we'll "just know" when we see her sweet little face.

Total Weight Gain: No idea. I step on the scale backwards at the doctor's office these days. And really? At this point, it doesn't matter much. Moving on.

Maternity Clothes: I *wish* my maternity clothes still fit. My wardrobe is down to a couple basic, ill fitting pieces, but I refuse to buy anything else. So, flashes of bare belly it is. I apologize to anyone that might catch a glimpse.

Sleep: Horrible. Between contractions, a sore back, and bathroom runs, I'm not getting much. I spend the first couple hours every night in my bed, then make the switch to the chair in our room for the remainder of the night.

Food: I'm happy to report that my heartburn has subsided a bit (due to baby droppage??) and food is a bit more enjoyable again. I'm only able to eat small amounts at a time without feeling nauseous. Oh, and I've been craving WALNUTS (yes, WALNUTS!) in a BIG way.

Pregnancy Symptoms: You name it, I have it. At the top of the list? Back pain, contractions, swollen feet/hands, and exhaustion!

Movement: She's an active little girl and this is probably the main (only?) thing I will miss about being pregnant. I just love the kicks, hiccups, and rolls...even as they get a bit painful.

What I'm Looking Forward To: SEEING HER FACE! Seriously! I've been dreaming about what she will look/feel/smell like and can.not.wait. The other thing I'm excited for? The big kids to meet and love on her. The anticipation is killing all of us!

There you have it -- perhaps my LAST pregnancy update!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Finally...Fireplace "Built-Ins"!

One of the things that has been on our "House Wishlist" FOREVER is "built-ins" for around the fireplace. You know, the fancy kind that look all "built-in" and professional? Yeah. THAT was our vision and for years we were content with our large wall unit/entertainment center that we scored for uber cheap back in the day, while living at our old house.

Well, finally this past February we decided it was time to take the "built-in" plunge and, after asking around a bit, we decided to get bids from a couple different contractors. First we called T & E Construction and they stopped over within just days to talk us through the process and to give us a free quote. We liked everything Eric from T & E had to say, but like any responsible homeowners, we figured we should bring in at least one more contractor for a bid. After a little back and forth emailing with an independent contractor, he finally stopped over to have a look. While he was a SUPER nice guy, we could tell from the get-go that he wasn't very confident about being able to make the built-ins look completely...well, BUILT-IN, without a LOT of work. Aaannndddd, painting of the built-ins was not included in his services. We waited for just over a week to get his quote before going with our gut and calling T & E Construction in for the job!

Eric & his crew were booked out just a couple of weeks, but it didn't take long for the process to be set in motion! T & E's custom cabinetry guys were out taking measurements almost immediately. Next, the electricians were quick to come get things set-up for our TV to be mounted above the fireplace (something we've been wanting to do for a loooongg time!). Then, on a Thursday a crew showed up with the custom made pieces and work was underway! We lived in family room disarray for just over a week before the entire project was complete -- painting and all! And, let me tell you -- we could not be more THRILLED with how they turned out!

I realize it sounds like a little thing, but the built-ins have changed the way we use the room. With a family our size, there was always some type of "seating competition" going on for couch room *directly* in front of the television. Well, I'm happy to report that there is no longer a "best seat in the house!" They're all great and the room is truly the heart of our home. Plus, it's probably no surprise, but having lots of shelves for me to style is an absolute dream!

So, you want to see?

First, let's take a look at the BEFORE situation:

Again, not bad, but we were ready for something different/more practical.

Aaannnndddd, the AFTER:

It's light & bright. And practical. And just what we wanted!

So, a HUGE shout-out to T & E Construction on a job well-done! Eric and crew, the Starrs give you 5 Star(r)s!

The good news for us/you is that T & E does it ALL! In fact, they'll be our first call when we're ready to finish our basement, build a new deck, and maybe even build our *future* dream home!

You can find out more about T & E Construction by visiting their website:

Or on FB (the social media strategist in me LOVES how Heather handles their social profiles!!) at:


Friday, April 10, 2015

Photos to Treasure

Waaaayyy back in January (February??) when I was 26 or so weeks pregnant, my most favorite photographers/friends/bosses convinced me that they NEEDED to do a pretty snow shoot and that #starrbabycinco and I were the ideal subjects. Very tricky, huh? Of course, I obliged and, as funny as it felt to have the camera on ONLY me (I'm used to having cute kids as the focus/distraction!), I am so grateful for these images of me and my sweet little girl. They are pictures that I will treasure forever.


Thursday, April 09, 2015

#StarrBabyCinco 35 Week Update!

How the heck I got to be 35+ weeks pregnant and haven't updated in over a month, I'll never know. Despite that, I can honestly say that this pregnancy certainly has NOT flown by. I've felt each and every moment of it and some weeks I wonder if time is passing at all. I'm in a weird place of not wanting to wish time away and being soooooooo ready for this sweet girl...and to not be pregnant anymore. If you think that sounds strange coming from me, the previous pregnancy lover, you're right. Not sure if it's the *ahem* advanced age of this pregnancy, having 4 other kids to chase after, or the fact that I've been nauseous pretty much every day for the past 9 months, but this time around has been TOUGH! Regardless, things around here are a buzz and we've been getting ready, both mentally and physically, for our little #starrbabycinco!

Please excuse the streaky mirror!

Last month Addi's softball team SHOCKED us with a shower, disguised as a team dinner. Those sneaky little softballers (& their parents!) were soooooo generous and between them and our family, I am now feeling 99% ready with all the stuff.  Time to update the "list," right?

Here we go...


  • A BABY NAME!! Unfortunately, this is the only thing we can't purchase...the search continues. Update: Still no name. :( We're working on it and still accepting submissions.
  • Single Jogging Stroller

  • Carseat
  • Pacifiers
  • Baby Bathtub 

  • Nursing Supplies (nursing pads, cream)
  • Nursing bras/camis 
  • Gifts for big brother/sisters  -- Update: Still working on this one, but not at all worried about it.
  • Diapers - Hawkwa (aka Grandma Terri) has us covered and we are soooo thankful!
  • Wipes
  • Feminine Products
  • Bottles/milk storage -- I have some Medela bottles/storage containers left over for pumping, but I just need to take an inventory, then organize/clean them all. Come to think of it, I'm sure we have plenty, but might have to search Camden's closet for all her "doll supplies." Update: I found a few, but they were GROSS and got tossed in the trash! I'm sure I'll get some at the hospital and am just planning on making a Target run for whatever I need after that.
  • Going Home Outfit Kaiah and I picked out theeeee cutest little layette for baby sister.
  • Sibling Shirts Update: These have been ordered from Landy Lou and Evie Too and are soooooo perfect! I can't wait to show them off.
  • Blankets 


  • Crib Bedding -- My sweet friend Molly volunteered to MAKE us a quilt and I, of course, said yes! She and I went on a fabric run and I am feeling just oh-so blessed/grateful for Molly's generosity!
  • Ju Ju Be Diaper Bag Update: My parents are the BEST and this beauty is just waiting for me to show off.

  • Ergo -- 

  • Fisher Price Rock 'N Play Again, Papa and Jojo came through in the clutch.
  • New Boppy Cover Update: I've decided to just use the blue one we already have. I've washed it and also decided that I really don't use it long enough to justify spending $$ on a new one.

To Do:

  • Client Editorial Calendars, etc. -- I've been working ahead and am feeling pretty good about what I have left to do for each of my clients. Besides, they're all SUPER amazing to work!
  • Carpets Cleaned -- We got a NASTY case of the stomach flu here over spring break and the week after, when the carpet cleaners were scheduled to come. I cancelled and am now waiting until our built-ins (see below) are completely finished.
  • Freezer Meals Made -- I still haven't made any freezer meals, BUT I do have an ongoing list of easy go-to meals, so I'm really not too worried about this one.
  • Fireplace Built-Ins Finished -- These are thiiiiiis close to being DONE! YAY! T and E Construction is doing an awesome job and I can't wait to show them off to you very soon!
  • Buy end-of-the-year teacher gifts -- this is something that always sneaks up on me and stresses me out anyway, so with a newborn? It just might not get done. We don't do anything big or over-the-top, but I do like our kiddos' teachers to know how much we've appreciated them throughout the year.
  • Wash/organize all clothes (figure out where to put them all!!) -- Update: I'm close on this one too. 
  • Make sure pump is working/clean 
  • Pack Bags -- Update: My bag is somewhat packed and I have a list of things to add to it. Baby's bag is packed, too!
  • Clear Camera -- I did this once, but am probably ready for another round of camera clearing!
  • Big Sam's Club Run -- This is on the agenda as soon as we get a free evening!


Friday, February 27, 2015

To Do/Buy, Baby Edition

For the past 20 or so weeks, I've been telling myself that we really didn't need anything for little #starrbabycinco. We have a basement full of baby gear/clothes leftover from the other kids AND several generous friends have gifted us with many of the things I could recall giving/throwing away. Of course, there were a few items that just no longer worked, after sustaining the wrath of 4 Starr kids and 1 sweet niece, so I knew those would need to be replaced. But, overall, I really didn't think there was much that was needed/wanted for this little bundle. I mean, if there's one thing I've learned from mothering many littles, it's that you just don't need much.

Except you do.

The basics and necessities tend to add up quickly (& can be overlooked!) -- a realization I came to last week, as I had the opportunity to wander through Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby, sans children (yes, it was glorious). Honestly, I went into Babies R Us just wanting to take advantage of their "Trade In" program to get a new travel system, but came out with so much more (in list form, of course -- I'm not an impulsive buyer).

Duh! I had totally forgotten about things like pacifiers (I used to have a whole drawer full!), nursing supplies, receiving blankets, etc. This "oversight" on my part brought on a lot of new anxiety.

If I forgot about these things, what else am I forgetting about?!? 

Before when I was having babies, we were "in the groove." Baby care was second nature. We just knew what to do. But now? Well, now we're out of practice and my only prayers are that: 1. having a baby is like riding a bike and 2. Jesus shows up in a big way.

Deep down I just know: 1. It is. And 2. He will.

But still.

In an attempt to organize myself (& mentally prepare my handsome husband), I've started a list of Needs, Wants, and To-Dos Before Baby. My intention is just to get a few things here and there, then hopefully by the time #starrbabycinco makes her appearance in 10 or so weeks (give or take -- YIKES!), we'll be ready -- physically, mentally, and emotionally!

So, here it is: My Lists of Needs, Wants, and To-Dos that is ever-changing!


  • A BABY NAME!! Unfortunately, this is the only thing we can't purchase...the search continues.
  • Single Jogging Stroller
We ended up with this bad boy and, I gotta say, he looks pretty fancy just sitting in our living room. Dontchathink?

  • Carseat
  • Pacifiers -- we'll likely go with our tried and true Nuk Pacis, but I've always been intrigued by the WubbaNub things.
  • Baby Bathtub -- I haven't decided if this is really even on the NEED list. Or on any list at all. We got rid of our piece 'o crap bathtub after Camden was born and never replaced it for Kaiah. She got her baths in the kitchen at first, then went straight to the big tub.

  • Buuut, I when I saw this little bath support thing, I thought it might be helpful??? I don't know.

  • Nursing Supplies (nursing pads, cream)
  • Nursing bras/camis -- really wishing I would have kept mine from when I had Kaiah, but those are long gone and I'm on the hunt for the perfect bras/camis. And by "perfect," I mean: form fitting and long so they go well under clothes, but not so tight that they're uncomfortable. Too much to ask? I hope not. 
  • Gifts for big brother/sisters  -- just something little for each kiddo to give them at the hospital. I still remember when I was 9-years-old and my youngest brother was born, my parents gave me the Whitney Houston tape and I LOVED it! I'm sure the "gift" of a sibling would be enough, but I want them to feel extra loved during this time. Ya know?
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Feminine Products -- I really don't want to have to think about this, but then again, I don't want to NOT think about it and have to send the hubs out in search of what I need once home from the hospital. I think he'd appreciate that, too.
  • Bottles/milk storage -- I have some Medela bottles/storage containers left over for pumping, but I just need to take an inventory, then organize/clean them all. Come to think of it, I'm sure we have plenty, but might have to search Camden's closet for all her "doll supplies."
  • Going Home Outfit -- Now, THIS is the purchase I don't mind making at all! I do have a few requirements for the perfect going home outfit: easy, comfortable, and CUTE!
  • Sibling Shirts -- I've always done this for the kiddos in the past and have an idea for what I want this time around, but now I just need to make it happen.
  • Blankets -- Around here we tend to use baby blankets for everything -- burp cloths, spit-up rags, swaddling, etc. I've been eyeing some of these super cute Muslin blankets, and thought they might be perfect for this summer when it's hot, but baby still wants/needs to be swaddled.


  • Crib Bedding -- the baby will likely sleep in the co-sleeper in our room for several months, but we'll get the crib set up (probably in Cami's room??) so that we can start incorporating naps in there once we get in a routine. Our current girl crib bedding is now 9-years-old and, not only does it look outdated, it is faded and doesn't match the "color scheme" in Camden's room at all. I'm thinking I'll looking for a blanket/quilt that I love, then some mix & match, generic crib sheets. I've been scouring Etsy and am drawn to quilts like these:

  • Ju Ju Be Diaper Bag -- I have a pretty great coupon to use on this prettttty thing. Now, I just need to pull the trigger.

  • Ergo -- I scored an awesome deal on this used Petunia Pickle Bottom Ergo and am stoked about using it!

  • Fisher Price Rock 'N Play -- Still undecided on this one, but everyone I talk to has wonderful things to say about them...including my buddy Molly at Silly Cyclone
  • New Boppy Cover -- the one we have is icky looking...and blue.

To Do:

  • Client Editorial Calendars, etc. -- Work stuff. I don't anticipate having trouble keeping up with my work while in the hospital or those first weeks home, but I do want to have everything ready. J is pretty "in-the-know" when it comes to the workings of my business/clients, so I am confident he'll be able to handle things, if need be.
  • Carpets Cleaned
  • Freezer Meals Made
  • Fireplace Built-Ins Finished -- We're super excited to have T & E Construction get this project going for us. We've been talking about it for a while now, so it'll be fun once it's DONE! We're thinking it'll look a little something like this, with the TV mounted over the fireplace:

Woo hoo!

  • Buy end-of-the-year teacher gifts -- this is something that always sneaks up on me and stresses me out anyway, so with a newborn? It just might not get done. We don't do anything big or over-the-top, but I do like our kiddos' teachers to know how much we've appreciated them throughout the year.
  • Wash/organize all clothes (figure out where to put them all!!) -- I've started washing, but there is still LOTS of sorting to be done...not to mention, figuring out where to put everything. I don't have a problem getting creative, but it's just taking the time to brainstorm and
  • Make sure pump is working/clean 
  • Pack Bags -- I'm somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to my hospital bag, but there are several things that I know I'll need/want. I hope to make a list here soon and will probably plan on packing somewhere around 35/36 weeks.
  • Clear Camera -- Just need to make sure I have plenty of space on my DSLR & phone to play paparazzi with my littlest love. Because ya know it's going to happen. 
  • Big Sam's Club Run 
Whew! It feels good to get this list out of my head and on paper the interwebz. Clearly, we have some shopping/planning/organizing to do, but now we have a good place to start and can check things off as we go!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Starr Baby Cinco: 25 Week Pregnancy Update

How sweet is Mr. Starr?!? I'll answer -- the sweetest! Really, though, he deserves his own praise. Super Dad has been working, chauffeuring, coaching, studying, and daddy-ing NON-STOP! Sometimes, even when I'm laying on the couch "too tired" or "too sick" to help! Basically? He's the best!

Anyway, I'm long overdue for a #StarrBabyCinco update. Even though I haven't been blogging about her as much as I would like, we think/talk about her ALL.THE.TIME. We are all getting so anxious to meet this little lady!

Ok, here's the latest:

Due Date: Still May 12. Honestly, I'll be surprised to see May, but who knows? Maybe she'll {wisely} decide that it's safer in the belly than out. 

Weeks: 25 weeks 2 days.

Gender: GIRL! And, man-oh-man, are we pumped to have another little lady in this house! Even big brother is excited (especially after his initial reaction!)! 

Name: Ugh. We still have NO idea. Ideally, her name would be able to be shortened to a nickname that ends in an -i, like the other kids. It will be baseball related in one way or another -- likely in her middle name. We don't love super popular names, but don't really want anything too "out there" either. At this point, we're open to any/all suggestions! (This is me begging for help! Seriously, send us your best baby names!)

Total Weight Gain: Still not talking about it. Between this and FAILING my 1-hour glucose test, I had a really rough day last Thursday. Also? HORMONES! Oh-well. I'm over it. Still watching what I eat, exercising {almost} daily, and determined to pass the heck out of the 3-hour test. Thankfully, I have some pretty great friends/family that pass along lots of great, encouraging words. My favorite so far has been: "Screw them. You look great!" I'll take it!

Maternity Clothes: Yes, yes, yes. I'm in all maternity (or workout!) bottoms and pretty much all maternity tops, with the exception of a few t-shirts/tank tops that I've bought big. 

Sleep: Still sleeping fairly well, but the nightmares can leave me anytime now. I've reached the point in pregnancy where every roll from side to side warrants a groan and LOTS of effort.

Food: Y'all, I am HUNGRY! But then I eat, end up feeling sick for the next couple of hours, eat again, and swear that I'll NEVER do that again....until a couple hours later. 

Pregnancy "Symptoms": Heartburn, middle of the night leg cramps, round ligament pain, the occasional contraction, lower back pain, and general fatigue.

Movement: Little Cinco has been practicing her martial arts move on my insides -- and I LOVE it. The kids are now able to feel her movements on the outside (when they're able to sit still long enough!), which is a whole new level of fun.

What I Miss: A really good workout, small boobs (just being honest), sleeping through the night, and not being breathless after going up the stairs.

What I Love: The fact that I get to do this again. Like, seriously. I thought my pregnancy/baby days were over, but God likes surprises and this one has left me so grateful for the chance to do it all over. I'm slightly obsessed with 'pinning' baby girl goodies, sorting clothes, brainstorming names, etc. It's fun!

What I'm Looking Forward To: Without wishing time away, I'm just excited to meet her when she's done cooking! All of our kids look SO different that I just can't imagine how this sweet girl will come out. Dark eyes, hair, and coloring like Addi? Or blonde and blue like the others? Curly like Kaiah? A dimple like Eli? Or straight hair like Camden?!? 


Sunday, January 25, 2015


January 25th, 2015
So as my lovely wife heads to Story City this afternoon to hang-out with her Grandmother, I think it would be a good idea to jump on and update her current situation to all of her blog friends.

Missy is steadily progressing through another pregnancy in only Missy fashion.  "What exactly does that mean," you may say.  Well let me explain.
1) We will inevitably cycle through various phases of cravings. Ice Cream, Animal Crackers, Salsa's, etc...  It's always interesting to come home and look in the fridge to see what concoction was made today.
2) Missy becomes an absolute oven when pregnant.  In case you weren't aware, it's currently Winter in Iowa.  When I go to bed, it's cold.  I would like nothing more than to cuddle up with my better half under a comforter and let our backsides keep each other warm.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Missy is "SO HOT" all the time, that there are many nights that she doesn't even use the blankets on the bed.  I know what you are thinking, "Poor J."  Please, don't feel sorry for me. All I can think about is how uncomfortable she must have been with the other 4 kiddos, when she was going through the pregnancies during the Summer months.  She says it's hot all the time now, I can only imagine how bad it was when she was pregnant in August and September with the other 4 kiddos!
3) Missy is a bird.  What do I mean by that?  The NESTING has begun.  In fact it started a ways back. Baby clothes have started to be sorted, arrangements and plans are already being made for where the baby will sleep and where things will go.
4) The never ending search for the "perfect" name is also underway. I get 2-3 texts every day of additional options to add to the possible name list.  I'm going to be totally honest here, I can't even remember half the names she has sent my way. But, I put on the good face every afternoon when I come home.  She'll ask, "what did you think of the names I sent you?" I counter with the perfect, "yeah, those are good options, we'll have to consider them." Secretly acknowledging the fact that I don't remember what she sent me earlier today.
5) And likely the most important fact about Missy being pregnant, she is a PROFESSIONAL!!!!  I'm sure there are some really good pregnant women out there.  They probably never get sick, are always glowing about how enjoyable the experience is, or maybe they never complain about having to cram on some maternity jeans that they swore they would never wear again.  Missy on the other hand, is a realist. She acknowledges that her body is literally making room for another living human being, and she's cool with it.  She knows that there are days that she's just not gonna be with it, but she trudges on and keeps this mad house running.  Essentially what I'm getting at is that she's amazing.

In closing I think this is an excellent forum to reiterate that I am the luckiest guy. Having this amazing women a part of my life and raising my children is hands down the best decision I've ever made. I'm pretty lucky, and hopefully she knows just how much I value her as a friend, confidant, partner, parent, teammate, boss, and wife.

J. Starr



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