Do not fear the panel

A note to the fellow preg ladies out there:


waiting until you’re 8 months pregnant to buy maternity jeans isn’t the best idea ever.

Embrace the panel!


Going on a little babymoon, however, was one of the best ideas we’ve had in a long time. It really gave us a chance to enjoy each other’s company and have a leisurely vacay before the little one arrives. The whole time we were there, we would talk about how much fun it’s going to be to take her with us, though. I can’t wait for family vacays and roadtrips!

So the babymoon gave me so extra time to hang out with my love, extra downtime, and before the trip, I was wondering how I would hold up. It was a LOT of walking (hours each day), and I surprised myself that I was able to go with the flow and there were only a couple of times that I needed to rest (I found a comfy rock at the San Diego Zoo) or got swollen elephant ankles (on the drive up there, even though we stopped to stretch often and I drank a lot of water). Another thing I was wondering about was how to camouflage my attire to that of a normal person. With the help of actual maternity clothes (instead of my beloved lululemon), I was able to wear the same types of things I’d usually wear out and about, with extra room for the belly 😉

I have to give a major shout out to H&M maternity and the Gap. Both have fantastic maternity selections and the prices are really reasonable. [The Tucson Gap stores don’t have maternity, so I hit up the one in San Diego, and only one of our H&Ms has maternity, so it’s a good idea to call beforehand]

At H&M, the night before we left, I picked up a couple of tees, a maxi dress

and two sweater dresses



for $93 (!)

and at the Gap, I got the two above pairs of maternity jeans and burgundy top for $200 <—what I’d usually pay for one pair of jeans

I fought maternity jeans for so long because my normal jeans still fit me with the Bellyband (until a week ago), and I was having a hard time thinking I’d spend a ton of money on something I wouldn’t be able to wear for very long. Gap and H&M totally proved me wrong, and I have to say that maternity jeans are the comfiest things ever, even with the weird panel- the panel feels soooooooo nice. They even make me feel like a normal person again, instead of an awkward fashion nightmare 😉 Clothes that fit make all the difference in the world.

While we were walking around the mall, there was no mistaking the fact that Christmas is almost here, especially since decorations have been up since Halloween. On the ride back, we got to talking about Santa Claus and what we would tell our little girl. We feel like it’s dishonest (I was so mad when I found out the real story), but we don’t want her to miss out on the magical feel of waiting for Santa to arrive (or the fantastic bribing potential: “Be good, or Santa is going to bring you a lump of coal,” haha). With the many winter holidays that are celebrated, I know this isn’t applicable to everyone, but what do you think about the Santa Claus thing? When did you find out the real story, or did you just know all along?

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  1. Erika on November 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    As a parent of a 7 and 8 year old I am dreading the day they no longer believe. One of the best parts is listening to them try and explain how Santa and the elves make all of the toys and all of their ideas about the North Pole. We never used Santa as a bribe to be good though. I expect my children to be well behaved no matter what not to get something in return. But the kids’ excitement is contagious even for adults. Every Christmas Eve, my mother and I get little gifts (under $5) for everyone who comes over for dinner that night. We wrap them and put them in a big Santa bag and one of the adults puts the bag at the front door, rings the bell and runs away. The kids love that Santa pays them a special visit early and the adults get a kick out of the silly and/or practical gifts…like tupperware for the aunt who always takes leftovers! 🙂

  2. tanya on November 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    We told our kids it’s Jeuus Birthday and that santa brings a gift to celebrate, they weren’t mad when they found out there was No santa …they knew the real reason for the season the most important part anyways:)

  3. Bethany @Bethany's Befuddled Brain on November 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I think I believed in Santa till I was like maybe 9 or 10. However, around the age of 7 I knew it was my parents, but I liked going along with it for the reason of baking cookies and leaving them out. I knew it was my parents though when my dad’s C for Christ looked just like the C in Clause…I was pretty good at forging his signature by that age so I definitely knew, but kept it to myself.

  4. Sarah on November 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I’ll never forget the day my dad told me that Santa was the spirit of Christmas but not an actual being (still existing anyway). Everything made since then, and I still got to feel good about it. I can still say that I believe in Santa, because I’m all about the spirit of Christmas and I can’t wait to pass that onto my children someday.

  5. Candice @ Sailing on Paper on November 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Your hair looks gorgeous curled like that! And honestly, H&M is the best store, ever. So affordable and you can always find something cute. I’m not pregnant (and I’m not planning to be for a long while) but I’m glad to hear they carry great maternity wear! 🙂

  6. Katie @ Plates and Paste on November 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I found out pretty early on. I remember a friend telling me in school that Santa wasn’t real. I did the whole “nuh-uh” thing, but then realized that “From Santa” looked like my dad’s handwriting. I remember stating this fact to my parents and they nervously denied it haha. I didn’t really care though…there were still presents! 🙂

  7. Ali on November 17, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    My mom still does Santa with me, and I don’t ever remember feeling like I was lied to or anything…it’s such a magical belief, one that I feel every child should have!!

  8. Courtney on November 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I had a Philosophy professor in college who told his daughters from the beginning that there was no such thing as Santa. My class was outraged lol

    I found out about Santa when I was in 4th grade by my teacher! My mom was so mad because I still believed. I think as kids grow up they start to have their suspicions and the parents can guide them to the real answer when the parent sees that the child is ready. I don’t regret for a minute that I believed in Santa for all of those years and I love watching my little cousins get so excited on Christmas Eve. I think your little girl will forgive you when she grows up if you let her believe 🙂

  9. KP on November 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I think every kid should have a chance to believe in Santa. I never felt betrayed or lied to when I found out. I found out early on… my parents weren’t the best parents and they used to stay out way late on Christmas eve and were too hung over to play Santa. I didn’t want my sisters to know yet, so I started setting up for Santa when I was 6. I wish I would have gotten to believe longer too, but at least my sisters got to experience the magic until around 10. Also, my aunt felt like lying was going against being a Christian, so she never told her kids about Santa Claus. Now that we are all older, they always say they wish she’d “lied” and let them believe in the magic for a while. They always felt out of place and left out around Christmas because Santa didn’t visit them, just their mom.

    • Erika on November 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      KP, you sound like a wonderful, wonderful sister and person. I wish more people were like you 🙂

    • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      you are amazing <3

  10. Mary on November 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Gina,
    You look so lovely in your new clothes…I’m even more glad to hear you are much more comfortable!
    I have a question that is totally off subject…
    I am a long-time sufferer of migraine headaches, and I read recently that gluten can cause headaches. I stay away from additives like food coloring, msg, and preservatives, which helped some, but I am surprised to hear about the gluten.
    Why did you go GF? Did you notice any health benefits when you did this? Do you have any advice for someone just starting out on GF diet? I think if I just reduce my intake, it may help a lot.

    • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      i’m not sure but that might be a good question to ask your doc
      i went gf when my doc tested me and i was borderline intolerant. he said to stay away from it for the most part, and i’ve seen a lot of benefits from going GF

      • Mary on November 17, 2011 at 10:24 pm


      • Amand Caine on November 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

        There is a test for intolerance? Which test is that? I know there is a test for Celiac, which is an allergy, which is far different than an intolerance. Even then, the celiac test is not 100% reliable. The best way to determine an intolerance or an allergy is with an elimination diet paired with keeping a food diary.

        I am really interested to know what test your doctor gave you. This information could help so many people.

        • Fitnessista on November 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

          this is the test i took:

          i had a feeling i was sensitive to gluten, far before i took the test, as i’ve always kept a food journal and noticed it was causing a lot of bloating and discomfort. taking the test, and my positive result was just a good verification of what i thought was going on

          • Amand Caine on November 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

            That is so helpful, thank you so much for the link!

  11. Emily on November 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Gina! You are so adorable! I’m so glad you were able to go on a BabyMoon with the pilot before your new little gift arrives:)

  12. Tiffany on November 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Shoot, I still believe 😀 In my family, the running joke is “if you don’t believe, you don’t receive!” and it’s fun. All of the adults still act like they believe in Santa. I think the idea of Santa is more than just a jolly old man in a sleigh. Santa is the embodiment of the spirit of giving and joy this time of year. I’ll be a “believer” until I’m old and hope my kids will be too.

  13. Beckie Sommerville on November 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Aren’t maternity clothes wonderful?? I remember slipping into my first pair of maternity jeans and feeling so much better. It feels great to look good and be comfortable at the same time.
    We have never led our kids ages 10(twins), 8 and 6 to believe that there was a Santa Claus, We have just focused on the true meaning of Christmas and how awesome it is to give and receive. They are still very excited for Christmas and it holds its own magic without Santa. We have let them know to be careful around other children and we have taught them about St. Nicholas and what a great man he was.

  14. Maria on November 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    My parents never really told me Santa Clause wasn’t real, I think it was just one of those things that I learned on my own and I had a younger sister so I always had to pretend even when I knew the truth. I don’t recall and definite time someone told me he wasn’t real. We always got one or two “Santa” gifts (these were usually the big ticket items) But I definitely think you should do the Santa Clause thing, you don’t want your child to be the one in school who tells everyone santa’s not real! haha! Oh and we always left cookies & milk out for him 🙂 That was the funnest part of it all (for me at least!)

  15. Dee on November 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    My parents never did “santa claus” so I never went through “finding out”. I don’t plan to do Santa Claus either, but I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. My kids will get presents and know they’re from us, and when they start to ask questions about Santa after hearing from classmates, I’ll say something to the effect of, respecting others’ beliefs. I want to DISCOURAGE them from doing what my brother did: run around kindergarten urgently explaining to all the other kids that there was no such thing as Santa and giving detailed explanations about the myth. This infuriated all the parents and my mom felt like Enemy #1. She never expected my brother to do that; I’m older, and I never revealed the truth to other kids. So beware of this if you choose to be honest with your kids!

  16. Deva @ Deva by Definition on November 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I was raised Jewish, so I was the kid whose parents got the phone calls when I would say that I didn’t believe in Santa. It was very strange to know. I remember thinking “how can they not know it’s their parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents??”

  17. Jess@atasteofconfidence on November 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    You look so cute, and I love your hair!

    • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      thank you, jess!

  18. Kate Bernhard on November 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I don’t really remember if I believed in santa or not, I’m the youngest of 5, so I’m sure my brothers ruined it for me. But, I distinctly remember finding presents from “santa” in my parent’s closet a week before Christmas… and I was all like, hey, these presents are from you, not santa! lol, but I was totally like, eh whatevs haha.

    you’re looking good! I love the maternity skinny jeans. totally fab 🙂

    • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

      thanks, girl!

  19. Rebecca on November 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Please don’t deprive your little girl of the joys of Santa! It’s so special to believe in something like with all of your heart. Yes, it’s disappointing to find out Santa doesn’t exist..but it’s so worth it for the magic of anticipating the holidays :).

  20. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on November 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    The clothes are adorable on you…major score!! And yes, even though it’s only for a few months, when you need them, you need them. You may get some use out of them after the delivery for a bit, too, b/c that elastic is just so stretchy and comfy 🙂

    And yes, taking a babymoon and just being able to leisurely enjoy things, be with each other, focus on each other…such a gift and it will become even MORE of a gift when you look back at it when she’s about 3-6 mos old and you can’t imagine doing anything but nursing or changing diapers…you will be glad you had the time away.

  21. Ida on November 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    The new clothes look great on you! And if you have more kids they’ll be used again, so I dont think it’s a splurge. Plus it saves your normal clothes from stretching.
    I think I believed in santa until I was 12 or so! I don’t think there is any harm in it, and putting the cookies out for him was so fun.

  22. Caroline on November 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I’m pro-Santa. It’s a fun little tradition, and it makes the holidays more exciting. My parents used to write us letters from Santa that we would read before opening presents. My sisters and I actually still get presents that say “From Santa”, which is sort of code for “this is your biggest, nicest present”.

  23. Amanda Lee on November 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Seriously. How cute are you!? Those jeans do not look maternity at all! And the third picture I literally had to adjust my monitor because I couldn’t find the bump from the front view. There is it! 🙂

    I found out from my 3 older brothers that Santa wasn’t real. I was disappointed but I would still do it for my kids (someday!) My father in law has dressed like Santa for the kids in our family. How cute. I couldn’t miss an opportunity to bring a smile (and big old laugh) to both of them!

    • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

      aww thanks girl!

  24. Laury @ thefitnessdish on November 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I loved believing in Santa! Those are some of the best memories of my life that “magical” feeling of waking up Christmas morning and seeing all of those presents! Waiting for him Xmas eve, putting out cookies and milk and hearing bells outside and my parents saying they saw Santa’s sleigh. I love that time of year! We took Ella already to get her pic taken at the mall to beat all the crowds. It was so adorable!!!!

    you look so gorgeous in that shot!

    Oh and i bough maternity jeans when I was like 5 months pregnant and they were falling off of me haa. I grew into them though and they are good to have now and post baby too!

  25. GGR on November 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I still believe in Santa!

    But I don’t know when I realized that my parents and family also give me gifts as well as Santa, though. I’m not traumatized by it at all! There is only one ‘lie’ my parents told me that I’m annoyed about – we have a summer cottage with a forrest with steep cliffs in it that they didn’t want me to wander about in alone when I was a kid. So they told me there were trolls living in it. I didn’t remember this story until I asked my mum why in the world I had a panic attack from the FEAR when I attempted to go on a walk in there when I was around 16 and was worried sick everytime someone else went there to pick mushrooms or berries. Thanks ma!

  26. Madeline@foodfitnessandfamily on November 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I loved believing in Santa and don’t remember finding out. I think I let my mom think I still believed until I was like 12 because I didn’t want to ruin it for her. Like many other people I started recognizing her handwriting. Lol. Once I transitioned to the ‘other’ side I started playing Santa for my nephews and neice which is just as magical. This year I get to start with my own baby. Can’t wait. But I’ll be typing my gift tags Fo sho hah

  27. Maria on November 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I can never remember believing santa was real, and I thought it was ridiculous that my parents would lie to me. I also found the whole idea of santa watching and monitoring my behavior scary, and was confused as to why my parents would think that was okay. My childhood best friend was a big santa believer and was crushed when her parents told her he wasn’t real, It was very sad.

  28. Emily C. on November 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    We definitely do the whole Santa thing and love it! I dread the day when my oldest starts asking questions. I’ve heard both being mad when they find out or being so awed that their parents did all of that for them. I don’t hold a grudge against my parents. 🙂 I still remember that feeling of coming down the stairs and can’t imagine not doing it for my kids.

  29. Katherine on November 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I am 26, married and long out of the house and my mom still asks what I want from Santa. My husband gets Santa gifts, my brothers and their wives still do too. My husband and I do each other’s stockings “from Santa”. I think seeing a child’s face light up when they see that Santa came is worth it.

    Also, I totally believed in Santa WAY too long but to be fair I “SAW” him one Christmas putting our presents out. My dad is an AF pilot and when we were little a single guy from the squadren went around to all the guy’s houses who had little kids and pretended to be Santa. My parents woke us up and we crept down the hall to spy on Santa and then hurried to bed before he saw us. It was awesome. I used to argue in elementary school that he was real based on this experience 🙂

  30. tori on November 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I think I was one of a few people who still believed as we got older in my circle of friends. I just could never justify how my parents would be able to get us ALL of our awesome presents. They always had separate piles of unwrapped presents for my brothers and me waiting for us and everything “from them” was wrapped under the tree. I think finding out just made me that much more grateful towards my parents because they worked so hard and definitely spoiled us. I remember feeling incredibly blessed and super surprised that they made that much effort and got us so many great presents. 🙂

  31. Daniella on November 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    We celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday, but I held onto the idea of Santa for a REALLY long time. My family likes to think of it as the “magic of Christmas” and I loved that.

  32. Theresa on November 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Hi! I’m a medical student, and I found this video clip today that visualizes fetal growth from conception thru delivery. I found it fascinating, and I thought you might like it since you are currently experiencing it…Hope you enjoy!

    P.S. I realized santa wasn’t real when all it occurred to me that all his presents were addressed to me in my mom’s handwriting! I was probably about 5 years old. But I wasn’t crushed or traumatized…actually wished she had kept it a better secret longer so I could still live in ignorant bliss as a child haha!

  33. Jess on November 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    When I found out my mom had a discussion with me about how even if there isn’t a physical person you can still believe in the spirit of Santa <3

    • Jess on November 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      Also, she used a different handwriting for presents from Santa and STILL does this every year. Love the magical feeling of Christmas!

      • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm

        mine does too! i love it 🙂

  34. Jill on November 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t feel like Santa is dishonest, it’s fun. That’s part of the magic of Christmas when you’re young! I feel like it’s depriving your child of something if you don’t even try to pretend.

    • Fitnessista on November 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      that’s a good point 🙂

  35. Lindsey on November 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    If you are from a religious background that celebrates Christmas, if you make Christmas about that, who cares if Santa is a fantasical gift-giver during the season?! That really is the magical part of Christmas to a kid, and if she can tell her little friends that it’s Jesus’ birthday, then I think you’ve done a good job!

  36. Emily on November 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hi! JUST found out I was pregnant earlier this week 🙂 Any advice on books to read??

  37. Laura J. on November 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I refused to wear maternity jeans with my first pregnancy and with my second I caved and got a pair and I couldn’t believe how amazing they were! haha they really are ridiculously comfy.

    My hubby and I’s main concern was the same as you and the pilot’s as well– we didn’t want our kids to feel like we had told them this huge lie or ruin a Christmas for them when they found out. But we also wanted our 5 and 2 year old to know that the main reason we celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. That has always our main focus. They know about Santa from Christmas movies and their little friends and we take them to see Santa at the mall and sit on his lap, leave cookies out for him on Christmas eve and we always sign one of their presents from Santa. We’ve just kinda let them discover Santa on their own. 🙂

  38. Madelynn on November 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I think this lady did a great job at explaining Santa to her daughter in a letter when her she started to get suspicious…

  39. Dominique on November 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I realized Santa wasn’t real when the milk I put out for him on Christmas Eve was in the fridge the next morning. I can’t recall exactly how old I was (maybe 7 or 8) but I wasn’t totally shocked. I never even mentioned it to my parents. Nowadays though, my parents still put Santa on the “from” part of a Christmas tag and I like it.

    Oh and as usual, you look amazing! If I have kids one day, I hope to look half as good as you do.

  40. Emily on November 18, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Well look at you all glowy and gorgeous 🙂 Your hair looks fab in the first picture too!

    As for the Santa thing, my parents did it with me and I loved writing letters to Santa as a little girl. It made Christmas so much more magical. Also I was quite talkative and having me believe allowed my parents to avoid the risk of me saying something loudly in the mall near the line to go see Santa, or at school for that matter, about how he doesn’t really exist. I feel like the kids who didn’t get the Santa thing missed out.

  41. Johanna on November 18, 2011 at 7:03 am

    There wasn’t a ‘one moment’ of discovery for me. My mum was smart – she always told us that “Santa is real is land of make believe”. The realization of the meaning of it came on me slowly but I didn’t have one big AHA moment that sent me into tears. I used the same thing on my son and watched him gradually figure it out too. I think he was about 8 when he looked me in the eye and said “mum, there isn’t a real Santa Clause, is there?” but there was no drama.

  42. Caroline Walberg on November 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    You just look TOO TOO gorgeous! So glad you loved your baby moon-they are such a great idea. I loved ours too!

    • Fitnessista on November 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

      thank you, caroline!

  43. Danielle on November 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    So I just found the letter one mom wrote her daughter on the truth about Santa and I had to share it with you! This is totally how I’m telling my future kids someday.

    • Fitnessista on November 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      love that so much!

  44. Corrina on November 23, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I didn’t grow up with the Santa Claus tradition, so I didn’t really want to do it with my kids either…which I haven’t. There is great magic in waking up to gifts on Christmas morning, whether you think Santa put them there or you know that your parents did! What’s funny is that my oldest daughter, almost 8, has decided she believes in Santa–even though we’ve not taught her that, and even told her he’s a story etc. But she wants the magic, so she’s making it her own. I think it’s pretty funny!

  45. Lauren on November 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I like the comment earlier about ‘Santa is the meaning of Christmas’. It’s part of the magic of the holidays. I want my son to experience the magic and always believe in the magic of the holidays. That’s always been my favorite part. No one ever told me or my cousins about Santa and his elf ‘Smidgeon'(family tradition). 🙂 We still have our same traditions and celebrations and still play along with the Santa/Smidgeon belief. Our family has the motto, ‘you don’t believe, you don’t receive’ as well. 🙂

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