Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Quick pregnancy update!

As a few of you saw on the facebook page earlier, we had our anatomy scan today!

(Yes, we know what the baby is now, and yes, I will be telling you all VERY soon... after we do something a little special for our family!)

I went into the scan today really nervous.  Not only because I'm always nervous now during ultrasounds, but also because of today's specific set up.  Both DH and little man came with to the ultrasound today, and the weather was supposed to be bad later in the day.  It actually did rain on the way home.  That was significantly reminiscent of the ultrasound in which I was told I was going to miscarry.  Thankfully, everything went really well.  We were given ALL good news today.

The most important thing is that the mass/hemorrhage/whatever it was is COMPLETELY gone!!!!!  While we were looking at the ultrasound, I was scanning it trying to find where I thought it was last time, but in the six weeks since I've had my last ultrasound, the baby has grown a lot, and it was hard to tell.  I asked the tech about it, and she was having trouble seeing anything as well.  She did her part of the scan and then the specialist came to the room.

I was able to confirm with the maternal fetal medicine specialist that the mass is completely gone.  She couldn't even find it!  This is such great news.  All the worrying, all the fear about what this unknown mass was going to do throughout the pregnancy is gone.  The possibility of having an ultrasound every few weeks or even every week until the end of the pregnancy is gone as well, thankfully.  

This could not be better news.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Bloggers! Here's a great giveaway for you!

Some of you may have noticed a recent addition to my sponsor spots on the right hand of my page, to add GreatProofreading.com!  I've been really excited and lucky to work with Kendall from GreatProofreading.com for the past month or so.  Kendall provides many services to bloggers, as well as resume writing and editing of materials such as term papers or dissertations.  I myself have been looking a little more spiffy and polished around here as Kendall has been checking over my posts before I hit the publish button.  It is a great service, especially since sometimes I can barely click save before little man wakes up from a nap or I hear a puppy whimpering to go out.

In celebration of The Naptown Organizer Facebook page hitting 100 likes (happy dance, happy dance!), Kendall and I are teaming up for a sweepstakes directed at my fellow bloggers, with the chance of winning the editing of 15 posts during the month of August!  Check out what Kendall has to say below!

GreatProofreading.com is a sole proprietorship run out of the home of a work-at-home mom and military spouse. Kendall Hoover has more than five years of proofreading experience and two years of full time employment-related experience (including resume and cover letter development), as well as Bachelor and Master degrees in Speech and Hearing Science. She is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and the National Career Development Association and is currently completing Google's Advertising Professionals Certification program.
GreatProofreading.com provides academic and web editing as well as resume and cover letter writing services, but Kendall specializes in blog proofreading and keyword research for blog search engine optimization. Kendall takes the time to get to know the mission and focus of your blog and provides suggestions for content, style, flow, clarity, word choice, and idiomatic expression. Monthly blog proofreading packages are available in packages from $45 to $200 and more information can be found at www.GreatProofreading.com. The prize for this sweepstakes is the Writer’s Package which is valued at $100 and includes editing of 15 long (approximately 500 words) posts during the month of August.

GreatProofreading.com invites all Naptown Organizer readers to take advantage of Jayne’s affiliate relationship with us, and we encourage you to check out GreatProofreading.com’s facebook page for specials and blog writing tips: www.facebook.com/greatproofreading .

Keep writing!

There are two mandatory entries below, which you need to complete to unlock additional entries!  Let me know if you have any trouble by emailing me at thenaptownorganizer at gmail dot com!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jamberry Nails Winner!

And the winner of the free set of Jamberry nails is:
Meagan Lund!
I will email you within 24 hours and send you Liz's information, so that you may contact her and get your free set of nails in your color choice sent out to you!  
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Have you entered for a free set of Jamberry nails yet?

Happy Friday!

Just a little reminder, the Jamberry Nails Giveaway is still running through Friday night!  Make sure you head on over to this post to go enter before midnight tonight!  My favorite part of this giveaway?  Liz is going to let you pick whichever nail design you'd like to try out for free at home!  If you win, you're going to have to come back here and tell me what you think or share a picture or two!  :)

Also, since we started the giveaway, Liz has made her own facebook page and I added an extra option to like her page for additional entries.  If you haven't liked her page yet, be sure to do so and get a few extra entries!  

I will announce the winner on Sunday of this weekend, so keep checking back to see if you've won!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

I am done with this heat. Seriously.

This heat is making me crazy.  

I don't know if it is this hot (or hotter?) where you are, but these consistent 90 degree plus temperatures are really starting to get to me.  I don't know how long it has been this hot, but it has been at least a month or so, and I'm just done with it.

The biggest thing that it affects is what little man and I do.  Lately, we've been playing inside much more, and have done significantly less outside.  We did do finger painting outside a few days ago, but even then- I was ready to come back in within a few minutes.  Most mama friends have recommended to me to get out early, before the heat gets too bad, but that typically doesn't work with our schedule.  Little man sleeps in late, very late, some days, and then his schedule is to nurse, eat breakfast, play for about 30 minutes to an hour, and then he is ready for his morning nap.  By the time we're cleaned up from breakfast, dishes put away, baby teeth brushed, and fully dressed, almost half of that time is gone.  That doesn't leave a lot of time to do much of anything outside, much less get to the park or even take a walk before he is showing signs that he has hit his limit and is ready to sleep again.  His main time of being awake tends to be between 3-7p, but that really only leaves us between 3-6p before we need to get him going with dinner and bath.  And, between 3-6p, it is hot.

I've also noticed that the temperature changes have been bothering me a little bit.  When I spend any length of time outside in this heat, I've been getting even more swollen, which was one of my least favorite parts of little man's pregnancy.  My ankles have been swelling up pretty decently, and I've noticed that my rings actually feel uncomfortable at some points when I'm outside.  I definitely don't want to have to take off my rings this early in pregnancy, and it is WAY too hot to put on compression stockings (how hot would I look with those on and a pair of shorts!  Lol) at this point.  I've spared you the horror of taking a picture of my huge ankles.  You're welcome.  :)  So, for my sake, I've been trying to avoid going outside as well.  

Here's a little bit of what we've been doing inside at home to pass the time:
(Don't mind my creepy McCreeper faces, he thought I was funny!)  :)

I'm just about ready for fall.  :)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Boy or Girl?

(Have you entered the Jamberry Nails giveaway yet?  Find it here!)

We find out the sex of the new baby in about a week, and I'll announce here on the weekend following for my Monday Bumpdate link-up, but until then, I've been thinking a lot about the sex of this new babe.

Prior to having little man, I always thought I wanted a girl.  I'd never had any brothers or even close boy relatives who lived nearby and were involved in my day-to-day life.  So boys- to me- were mainly a big pile of confusing.  I was nervous when we found out that we were having a boy that I wouldn't know what to do, I wouldn't know how to care for a boy like I would a girl.  However, that ended very quickly, as DH was over the moon excited about our first being a boy and I came around soon as well.  

Since having little man, I know that in these early stages, you don't treat boys and girls any differently.  Or, well, at least I don't.  No matter what little man's wants or needs are, I am there for him.  We play, giggle, and snuggle together.  I think that I am more of a 'quiet play' sort of parent anyway.  Little man and I read books, play games, occasionally dance and sing, and do lots of seated tasks.  DH really is the 'fun play' kind of parent.  He loves the rough and tumble, tickles, chasing each other sort of play.  I think DH will be that way no matter if we have a girl or a boy next- just as I'll play the same.  It is just who we are.  It is just how little man plays with us.  

But now, I'm feeling the opposite of what I have felt before, because I'm feeling a little nervous about having a girl.  

Before we go any further- here's my disclaimer.  I know to some- it is a big taboo to say you do or don't want one sex or the other.  That isn't what I'm saying here.  I want whatever baby we're given, and after all we've been through in this pregnancy, what I want is a healthy, happy child.  But I've spoken with a LOT of parents and parents to be, and of those who are being candid, there are very few who don't admit that at one point or another, they felt an inkling of more comfort with having one sex or the other.  I'm just putting my feelings out in the open.

I've always said since having little man that I'd love to have 3 or 4 boys in a row, and then have a girl at the end, so I'd only have one girl and less drama later on.  But, honestly, if I had to guess right now, I'd say that I'm leaning more toward feeling this baby is a girl.  And yes, it does scare me a little bit.  I know I'm female, but all the care down there and wiping the correct way and all that does seem a bit overwhelming after having a baby that I can barely get wiped before he's up and running off.  Not to mention that- while some boys are very sensitive in nature, from everything I've heard from other parents of teens, girls are um- a handful, to deal with later down the line.  Because, I mean, really, after having just two girls, I'm sure there are some days my parents did (and still do possibly?) wish they had a boy who didn't get so worked up over things.

But then I think about frilly dresses, shopping, make-up, doing her hair, and think it might not be so bad.

My dad always told me, when I was pregnant last time with little man, that I was lucky- because I wouldn't have to endure the pain of stepping on Barbie high heels left in the middle of the floor on accident.  But I'll tell you, I stepped on a plastic army soldier the other day, and Dad, I'm pretty sure it was just as painful.  Either way, they have their similarities!  

At the end of the day, as I said before, I will be completely satisfied with whomever the baby I'm growing will be.  I will adjust to what they need, just like I've adjusted to give little man exactly what he needs. But holy goodness- the anticipation is high and I can't wait to find out!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

I found the most amazing hair tutorial!

I have stick straight hair.  You guys have seen my pictures, you're aware of that.  On a lot of days, that is a great thing, because it doesn't really do anything- just lays flat.  I don't have to mess with it very much.  

But I've always wanted to have some other option, because I get bored pretty easily.  When I get bored with my hair, what ends up happening is that I cut it.  Short.  And then I hate it, and spend a year or two growing it back out again, only to get bored again, cut it again, and hate it again.  It is a never ending cycle.  

I've tried several things to get some body or curl into my hair and none of it has ever lasted.  Even at my wedding, the curls/waves I had professionally done were pretty much limp by the end of the day.  But Pinterest gave me hope that I could maybe (hopefully?) find some way to make my straight hair curly, even for a little while.  

My first try was the sock bun, which was a HUGE fail.  The first time I tried it- my hair was too wet.  I woke the next morning with still damp, really droopy, slightly frizzy hair...that was straight.  Also, to actually KEEP my hair in the sock bun all night long, I had to put another sock over top of the bun.  Otherwise, my hair just slid right out of the bun.  The second time I tried it, it just looked like I had my hair in a ponytail all day with a huge kink across the back of my head, but no waves or curls, just a mess.

I also tried buying this curling iron:

The Infiniti Curling Wand by Remington.  That did not work for me AT ALL.  Not only did I keep burning my fingers on the curling iron, but I couldn't get enough hair on it.  Anytime I put more than a really small section of hair on the curling iron, it wouldn't curl half of it.  So, I had to use really small sections, which left me looking like I had a 1980's tightly rolled perm.  No thanks.

I was about to give up and give in to my straight hair for good, until I found the most amazing hair tutorial online.  The site is the Pink Pistachio blog, and for whatever reason, this is the ONLY curly hair tutorial that has worked for me.  Pink Pistachio's technique isn't extremely fast, as some other methods claim to be, but she reports she can do her hair once, and it will last for three days.  I can 100% back that claim, after having done this technique.  I decided, what the heck, I'll try it out.

Pink Pistachio lady did mention that she sometimes will do her hair at night before bed, and, while that sounded crazy, (here's my number, call me maybe?  Just kidding!) I had some time on Friday night after little man went to bed.  So, I pulled out my curling iron, which I hadn't used in YEARS.  (Actually, on the tag it says, "Mom's".... Mom, do you keep a curling iron at my house?  Or did I accidentally steal yours?  Oops.)  Anyway- the tutorial says to use mousse, which I initially tried not to do.  It didn't work and my hair didn't hold the curl/waves.  So, my crunchy self gave in and squirted some mousse out onto my counter top and away I went.  It was basically sectioning your hair into 4 parts, then taking small pieces and rolling hair around the curling iron while holding the end, away from your face.  It took me about a half hour to finish my whole head.

I then tugged on the curls to make them more wavy and promptly went to bed.

This is what I woke up to:

Day 1- After sleeping on it one night, with a little poof on top to hide my growing-out bangs.

It was still wavy!  I actually think I like how it looked day 1, but if you see the pictures below, I think it started to look better the longer amount of time it went.
Day 2- from the front, with a little braid to hide my bangs.

Day 2- from the back, after sleeping on it two days in a row!

And, since you're already here, a little bump love :)

As you can see from the picture of the back of my head, it really did stay wavy, and still looks great today in the afternoon of full day 2.  I'm interested to see what it looks like tomorrow morning, on day 3, but have pretty high hopes at this point.

I think one thing I might change is buy a little larger curling wand, at least an inch or two wide, I believe mine is smaller than an inch wide, to give me bigger waves.  Next time, as well, I will probably start a little further away from the scalp, so it lays better on top and gets more waves on the way down.  But really, three days on one style?  Perfect for a mama of young little ones.  Everyone here knows I barely wash my hair anyway (it gets wet probably once, maybe twice a week if I'm lucky sometimes)- so this fits me perfectly.  And it takes my limp, lifeless hair and makes it bouncy and fun.  

What do you guys think?  Will you try it out?

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wacky Baby Products

(Have you entered the Jamberry Nails giveaway yet?  Find it here!)

While looking up all the cool, new baby products that have come on the market since I had DS, I ran across TheBump's List of Wacky Baby Products that Actually Work, which can be found here.  While, I will say, there are quite a few items that I think are wacky and either a little ridiculous (for example: the bedazzled potty in a suitcase) or a little cruel (like the 'Happy Changer' where you strap your baby into the changing table in a baby Posey vest), there were several items I'd never heard of and thought were pretty interesting.  I'll share them here.

The first product I loved was Sensible Lines Milk Trays.

While the (rather large) picture here doesn't do it the best justice, this is pretty much like an ice cube tray, but made specifically for the freezing of breastmilk.  I like this better than regular ice cube trays for several reasons, including the logistics of trying to get an ice cube into a small necked bottle to thaw doesn't always work.  These trays freeze the breast milk into one ounce sticks that almost look like pieces of chalk.  They have a lid so you can stack and store these trays, but I could see that taking up a lot of room as well.  At this point, we're still considering our options as to how to store the new baby's milk for the year or so after they are born.  Last time around, we used breastmilk storage bags, and while that worked really well for us, I'd love to have an option where I don't constantly have to throw out plastic bags when we're done with them.

The second item on their list I loved was the Ba Baby Bottle Holder from sold on the Canoe website.

While I spent almost no time bottle feeding little man, and he actually was finished with his bottles and onto a straw cup at 10 months old, this would have been a great product for him during that transition.  Little man LOVED to hold his bottles, but for a long time couldn't get the grip down right and would just end up dropping it while DH was feeding him.  He loved having the independence of being able to do it himself, even when he really couldn't yet.  This is on my wishlist for #2.

The third item I loved: Magnificent Baby Magnetic Onesies & Sleepers (Sold at Diapers.com)

This sleeper completely settles the arguments that DH & I had over what was better- snaps or zippers?  He liked zippers because it was one quick movement and done.  I liked snaps because you could only undo half of their outfit so they stayed warm.  This thing?  Freaking genius.  It has MAGNETIC snaps.  So, basically, just pull it apart, and get it into the proximity of the right area and it goes back together after your 2,304,348,569th diaper change of the night.  No spending time fumbling in the dark with snaps or accidentally catching your little one's skin in the zipper (or making them freeze by taking their whole outfit off).  This is a huge win for night time diaper changes.

Runner up from the list?  Crawlings Baby Knee Pads.

These are adorable, and will protect little one's knees when they are first starting to crawl around the house.  I listed this as a runner up because, while not as cute (sorry, Baz!), one of my friends came up with a genius option to save money and made her own from a little bit of elastic and some reusable nursing bra pads that she was no longer using.  Much cheaper and serves the same purpose, right?

Have you guys seen any new or interesting baby products that you'd love to have for the next (or first) baby?  I'd love to hear your ideas/thoughts!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Introducing: Fishy Bob

We obviously let little man name the fish.  The first time we asked, it sounded like he said fishy.  We asked one more time, and it sounded like he said Bob.  So, here is Fishy Bob!

I was, to say the least, a little bit nervous when we brought him home.  After letting the bag he came in sit in the tank for a few minutes to let the water temperature equalize, we let him into the water.  He immediately began to side swim or sink down to the floor of the tank and sit there.

That didn't look very good to me.

However, one of our family friends who has a ton of fish, warned us to not count him out yet.  She said that initially some fish do just hunker down toward the bottom of the tank while they are trying to adjust to their new environment and deal with all the changes that are happening to them.  

We were instructed to wait to feed him until the next day, because he had already been fed at the pet store.  When that time came, DH completely schooled me in all the new knowledge the 12 year old salesgirl had imparted to him, including the fact that a fish's stomach is only roughly the size of his eyeball, and that I was putting WAY too much food into the tank.  So, I used less of a heavy hand and fed the fish.  To my surprise, he actually came up and ate!

After he ate for the first time, Bob seemed to really perk up, and now spends his days swimming around happily back and forth, around the cars in the tank, between the plants, and under the rock structure.  We continue to feed him one time per day, and from what DH says, he is going to be cycling out 25% of the water in the tank every certain number of days.  (Every 30 days?  I can't remember.  I honestly try to pay attention, but if it's something I know DH is going to do, my filter goes on and I miss most of it...Lord help me if I am ever without my husband, I'd need a tutorial on life.)

So far, despite his high maintenance entrance into our family, I have to say, he is the perfect pet.  He's quiet, doesn't need to go out to pee, and doesn't shed all over my kitchen floor!  (Sorry, Nani, you know I still love you, but all the hair.....!)  Welcome to our family, Fishy Bob!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jamberry Nails Review and Giveaway!

This week I'm really excited to introduce my newest sponsor, Liz Hoitsma, a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant.  Liz is a mama of two who is a work-at-home-mom via selling Jamberry Nails.  If you haven't yet heard of Jamberry, it is a really new, popular wave of nail shields that are applied to your fingernails to give the same look as finger nail polish, but last quite a bit longer.  I believe their finger nail shields can last 2+ weeks and on your toes lasting up to 2 months or more!  Jamberry nails are made in the U.S.A. and are vegan, which is a great influencing factor for me.  

Recently, Liz dropped off a set of shields for me to try out, in my favorite design of chevrons- swoon! :)  She's also agreed to run a giveaway for my readers this week as well.  After the review below, you'll find a rafflecopter giveaway for a FREE sheet of Jamberry Nails in your color/design choice, so that you can try them out yourself as well!  You can browse more of the design/color options at Liz's website here!

When I initially received the nail shields from Liz, I was a little intimidated, I'm not going to lie.  I haven't put any kind of polish on my fingernails for months, maybe even years.  I can never keep up with it.  Especially with my jobs in health care, I wash my hands SO much that nail polish never stays fresh.  There are always chips, dings, and I have to take it off a few days later anyway.  

 Liz sent me a lovely sheet of chevron- in white and mint green.  There were also instructions included with the nails for application, although Liz did pass along this video which was really helpful with putting the nails on as well.  The process of actually applying the nails did take a bit longer than I thought, about 45 minutes for me, but I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist, so that doesn't surprise me- I will say that the process was reminiscent of the Lee press on nails my sister and I used to apply when we were like 10, sitting on my mom's bed!  :)  Basically what I did was file and buff my nails, clean them off, cut the shield to a close approximation of size, heat my nail and the shield, and then heat again while wrapping a little plastic baggy over the nail.  (See the video link for the reasoning behind the baggy- it did help!)  After that I clipped off the end of the nail, and there was really little if any filing needed.

As you'll see from my pictures below, there are a few bumps and pulls in the nails, which I'll know how to correct next time.  I've figured out that I need to pre-trim the bottom of the shields as well.  My nails tend to be much wider at the top than at the bottom, so angling the shields in at the bottom with my nail scissors would have been a great help to getting a better fit.  I was able to do this with a few at the end, but not all of my nails, hence the imperfections.  Take a peek for yourself below.

Here is a picture against my dark walls for comparison.

Also, one close up on a nail.  This was one that I slightly trimmed down around the base of my finger nail, which I think worked pretty well.

I was EXTREMELY impressed at just how quickly I could go about my business.  Pretty much immediately after I finished putting on the nails, I had to change a diaper and then wash my hands.  About 10 minutes after that, we were out of the house and on our way to pick up dinner and head over to a friend's house.  Once we got home from dinner, it was bath night for little man, and my hands were submerged in tub water and washing him up for a good period of time.  

Throughout all of that above, there were absolutely no changes in the shields.  If I would have attempted to do all of that immediately after putting a coat or two of nail polish on my fingers, there would be chips, dings, and random streaks of polish all over my and little man's clothes from carrying him around, if any would have stayed on through the diaper change and hand washing initially after application.  In my book, that is a HUGE win.  

One other thing that I absolutely loved about Jamberry is that there were no awful nail polish smells.  I've told you all before that I'm pretty obsessed with painting my toenails, and to do that, I will pick a breezy day and actually sit out on our back porch to avoid the fumes.  I was able to apply the Jamberry nails with no concerns for fumes right in my kitchen.  Being pregnant, not having to smell all those chemical fumes that typically accompany nail polish was a huge plus for me.

One other thing I love about supporting Liz and her sales of Jamberry nails is that it helps her stay at home with her children and her family.  I know that ever since having little man, it has been very important to me to work as many weekend hours as possible, so that he can be with either DH, myself, or both of us more often, and at daycare less.  While I love our day care provider, it is so important to our family to spend as much of our time together as possible.  It makes me really happy to be able to support another mama in her quest to do the same.

So, here's where the fun part comes in for you, when you can win your own set!  There are two mandatory entries into the giveaway, which you have to complete first to unlock the rest of the entries.  Send me a message at thenaptownorganizer at gmail dot com if you have any trouble entering!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

New affiliate- Comfy Joey Ring Slings

Most of you know by now that I babywear.  Little man loves it, and still wants to be close to me even now that he is a big little man toddler, even though sometimes wants to do everything himself.  I've previously talked about babywearing a little bit here, where I go into kind of a babywearing 101 for beginners.  

In that post, I'm not shy about how I.LOVE.COMFY.JOEY ring slings!  Here are a few pictures of me & little man hanging out with our sling:

At a baby shower

At the zoo
On a fall day, snuggled up together

My Comfy Joey ring sling is my absolute favorite, for a number of reasons.  I initially wanted one for quick trips, because it takes me a while to get little man either in the Ergo, or at that time, into the Moby wrap.  I needed something that was really easy to pop him in, go, and then pop him out when needed.

My 'Maui Sea Glass' colored linen ring sling has done just that.  It is SO easy and quick.  This is the perfect way to wear your baby, especially on those days when it is raining outside, snowing outside, or is just really bad weather.  I will often get little man out of his car seat directly into the sling, and then have the long piece of fabric left hanging to cover his head with when it is raining.  Then I can make a dash for the store or business I am entering.  No need to stand out in the rain unloading a stroller, snapping him into the seatbelts of the stroller, or splashing the whole thing through the puddles slowly on the way in.  I can even make it quicker by already putting the sling on before I get out of the car.  

But do I only wear this for quick trips?  Nope.  I wear it all the time.  To the grocery, to the park, to the zoo, pretty much anywhere we can go as a family or just little man and I, the sling comes with us.  And actually, now that I am pregnant, it is what I wear little man in 99% of the time right now, because it is the only babywearing device I have that is still comfortable yet so, so easy.  My wrap takes forever to put on, although I do love the rucksack carry, but in a quick pinch, it takes just too much time.  The Ergo, which I so wanted to wear throughout pregnancy, hits me at the wrong spot and the waist band rides up around my not-terribly-huge-yet belly and lands in a place that is uncomfortable.

This is one piece of baby merchandise that I will not only be a cheerleader for, but I will tell you that it is 100% worth what we spent on it, in terms of how much we've used it.  And, if you decide this is something you'd like to purchase, as a new Comfy Joey Affiliate, I am now eligible to earn 15% of each sale that is made- from someone clicking my sidebar link or clicking the picture links here when you purchase a sling- in merchandise credit.  So, help a mama out who really wants a water sling! :)

Here are some pictures of slings from Comfy Joey, if you click the pictures, it will take you to the site through my affiliate ID to check out their awesome slings!  Happy shopping!

Comfy Joey Ring Slings

Comfy Joey Ring Slings

Comfy Joey Ring Slings

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Pulling the 'baby card'

So, I'm a mom. 

Right?  You all know that.  Or, well, you should, if you know me at all.  

And part of what makes me who I am as a parent, is the part about putting my child's needs first, always.  Pretty much anyone who willingly signs on to be a parent agrees to the fact that to be a good parent, your needs come second now.  I didn't think this was a novel concept.

"You seriously need to stop pulling the baby card."

And, that's when I went through the roof.  

This is not a post being mean to people who don't have babies/children.  I don't put you down for going out to eat, going to the movies, going to a bar, etc. whenever you want.  Heck, you want to spend every single weekend you have sitting on the couch all day long watching tv with a bowl of ice cream in your lap, it's not my business to tell you whether you should or shouldn't do that.  

I just ask for the same respect.  When I do, or do not, do something because of my child, his schedule, his temperament, or even my overall ability to make myself/my child presentable and decent after spending the morning having food thrown at me, chasing a toddler through the house trying to get a diaper on his bum before he pees on my furniture, and just being pregnant and overall wanting to curl up on my own couch and snuggle my child and read a book calmly instead of trekking all over town, you don't get the right to verbalize your disdain of my actions to me.  Well, if you still want to be a part of my life, that is.  And even if I decide to take my child out to do something, by ourselves, or with other mommy friends and their children, you don't get to be offended that I don't invite you to go every time.  Maybe I just want to be out by myself where the only people who can judge my child only eating cheese are strangers who don't know me.  Maybe I want to go out with another mother who gets it when we make it halfway through a meal and then have to leave because of a blowout diaper or toddler tantrum.  If you are important enough to me, I WILL make time for you otherwise, and chances are I already have.  But even if we don't get to spend as much time together as we did before, or as you want to now, that still doesn't give you the right to tell me to stop 'pulling the baby card.'

Because while my lifestyle is no better than yours, it is very different- and, unlike you, I can empathize with where you are right now.  You, however, have not a clue what it's like to be a parent.  (Babysitting or spending time with your friend's children doesn't count either, it is completely different when they are your own.)  And I can say that, because before I was one, I had no clue either, and probably made some dumb comments like these.  Hopefully, the recipients didn't keep me around too long, because there is no need for that.  

When you only have a few hours a day to yourself, most of which are spent cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, showering, etc., those few spare minutes you get to talk to a friend or a family member are precious.  And if you're going to spend your time being hateful about me taking care of my child the way I see fit, you're not going to last very long in my life.  Because, not once, not ever, will I agree with you and say, 

"Oh, yeah, you're right.  That was extremely rude of me to make sure my child's needs were taken care of first, before your needs.  Next time I'll make sure what you want is my first priority."

For whatever reason, this phrase/statement just really makes me crazy.  (Can you tell?)  Has anyone ever said anything to you about your parenting that has just sent you through the roof?  I need to commiserate.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Charting your female business- No, really. You should!

Okay, ladies and gents!  Mainly the ladies will want to stick around for this post, because it's all about charting your lady symptoms.  We used charting to get pregnant with both little man and baby number two, and I've asked my friend Nicole to head on over here today and do a basic tutorial on what charting is.  I find this to be an extremely important topic, and one that I hold close to heart.  After trying unsuccessfully at first to get pregnant with little man, I read the book "Taking Charge of your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, which details charting and discusses the female reproductive system, and it pretty much changed my world.  I'd been walking around with these lady parts for YEARS not having a clue how or why they worked the way they did.  Like the fact that most women do NOT ovulate on cycle day 14... who knew?  Anyway, if you're new to charting, check out Nicole's information below and definitely take a look at the book I mentioned above!  Thanks, Nicole!

Hi guys, I'm Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report! If you haven't read The Kavanaugh Report, I blog about  parenting, family life, and tot school with one wild little boy, Henry. I hope you come check us out.

Jayne's asked me to come share a little bit about charting your basal body temperature (BBT) with you.

Charting your BBT is a great way to get a clearer picture of what is going on with your body's fertility. Jayne and I both chart to have more control over our family planning decisions. 

So, first things first, your BBT is your body's resting temperature after 2 or more hours of sleep. Your BBT is taken with a special thermometer right upon waking. It is best to take your BBT before getting out of bed, walking around, drinking, or even talking. It is literally the very first thing I do every single day.

 An ovulatory cycle. You can clearly see the higher temperatures after ovulation. Then, the steep drop off on the first day of the period. 

Charting is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Each day, you record your BBT and other fertility signs, including your cervical mucus and cervical position, to look for a very specific pattern. Charting is made even easier by a variety of online resources. My {and Jayne's} favorite is Fertility Friend. Fertility Friend provides everything you need to record and interpret your BBT chart. If you are seriously considering charting your BBT, I highly recommend using Fertility Friend. 

So, what exactly are you looking for when charting? The short answer is you are looking to pinpoint your fertile window (FW) and ovulation. Your FW is the time when your body is most likely to ovulate. If you can recognize your FW then you can either avoid sex, or have sex, depending on whether or not you are trying to conceive.

Your FW is generally right around day 14 of your cycle {the first day of your period is day 1} but can be earlier or later depending on the woman and the cycle. One important indication is your cervical mucus. The more it resembles egg whites, the more likely you are fertile. This is why its important to chart the changes. 

Some women also use ovulation prediction tests to measure hormone levels. A positive on one of these tests, means that your body is gearing up to ovulate, but does not confirm ovulation {only a shift in BBT can do that}.

A pregnancy cycle. Again, you see the high temps after ovulation, but they never drop off. There is a dip, which is called an "implantation dip" but the temps rebound quickly and stay high until pregnancy is confirmed. 

By studying your charts, and your fertility signs, you can know the exact day you ovulated. Before ovulation, your body will have much lower BBT temperatures. They can be erratic, or stay near the same temperature, but they will be lower than your post-ovulation temps.

Once your body has ovulated, your BBT will have a noticeable upwards shift. This is because after ovulation, the hormone progesterone increases making your body as ready for pregnancy as possible. Increased progesterone levels mean higher temperatures. Therefore, if you pinpoint the day of the shift, you will know when you ovulated.

Your temperature will increase, or stay high, for the remainder of your cycle. After 10-14 days, your temperatures will either stay high and result in a pregnancy, or will drop off and result in your period.

An anovulatory cycle.  This is a cycle without an ovulation.  You can see that there is no sustained temperature shift.

There are many other nuances that take time to learn. If you are interested, fertility friend has some great tutorials.

Well, that is the short {kind of} version to charting. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them in the comments.

Thank you, Jayne for letting me guest write! And, thank you for reading, I hope you will check out The Kavanaugh Report as well! 

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Monday, July 9, 2012

We are expecting another new family member

We now have a fish.  

Well, kind of.  

We've been throwing around the idea of getting a fish for little man for quite some time.  One of his favorite words to say is fish.  He loves to watch the fish swim at the aquarium.  He loves to watch the fish in the tank at our daycare provider's home.  We have to stop at the animal section every time we're in the grocery store so he can watch the fish for a few minutes.  It is definitely something he enjoys, and DH & I thought it would be fun to have a fish at home. 

So the other day, we went over to our local pet store to "look" at fish.  Now, I'm not typically a "looking" kind of shopper.  If we're not actually going to buy something on the trip, I usually see it as pretty pointless and don't want to go, as I figure we can do research online and it is just a waste of gas and time.  (I'm not a huge shopper apparently- I'm just a buyer.  But, in this instance, I know nothing about fish and thought this might be kind of informative for me.)  I went into it thinking, okay, small tank, even smaller fish, something that could fit into little man's bigger little man rowboat room once we finish it, on the top of a dresser or something like that.  

Um, that isn't exactly what happened.  

I knew it was going to be a rough trip from the start, as DH walks straight over to the tanks that are built on their own furniture pieces, and starts asking me what color of wood is going to go into little man's room.  What?  No.  

I redirect him over to the fish, and little man oohs and ahs and points for a little while, but then all of a sudden DH is gone again and is nowhere near any of the fish tanks.  When I find him, he is looking at the table top fish tanks.  I see one in a 3 gallon size that I think would be great for little man's bedroom.  DH then starts asking me a ton of questions about tank plants, water conditioner, and a whole host of other items of which I have never heard.  

Thankfully, or so I thought, a salesgirl comes over to help us out.  (Insert flashing red warning lights here!)  I tell her we want to get a small fish for our son to keep in his bedroom, and ask if basically all we need is the tank and the fish, thinking she's going to get where I'm leading the question and answer appropriately.  

Yeah, no.

She then goes into this long winded explanation that even though fish are small now, they get much bigger, and that your average goldfish can actually turn out to be huge.  And by huge, I mean she held out her hands wide enough that I'm pretty sure it was a longer length than little man was when he was born, or the size that fishermen come home and say, "I caught a fish today that was this big!!!"  She also goes on to say that buying a fish isn't just plopping them in a bowl and having a little happy swimmy creature.

All the while, I'm thinking in the back of my head, when I was a kid, we used to win fish (goldfish, to be precise) at the school's yearly fair, by throwing a ping pong ball into a cup.  We took those fish home, put them into the small but respectable 2-3 gallon tank my parents bought for us, and they lived happily ever after.  Heck, I even know a girl who took one of those fair fish home and it lived for 3 years!  I'm pretty sure  those fish did just fine.  

As I start paying attention again, I realize that she and DH are talking about a 10 gallon tank.  Wait, what?  For one fish?  Yep, 12 year old salesgirl confirms, one small fish needs at least 10 gallons, otherwise it isn't humane, because, you know, they need to have new stuff to look at, right?  Seriously.  

After vehemently disagreeing with her & DH and then also saying that we need to leave and reconsider this another day, I see that look in DH's eye that I know means no good for me and my cause.  At that point, I realize resistance is futile, and I give up and take little man back to walk around so he can point at all the fish and say, "iss!  iss!  iss!" every few seconds in glee.  

DH goes ahead and loads up our cart with a 10 gallon tank, rock (not of the color I chose, he of course picked that out too), and assorted plants/rock/decorations (which he did let me have a little say in).  Then we get to the point where I ask DH about what fish we're going to bring home.  He then informs me that the salesgirl told him that we have to take the tank home, set it up, treat the water, and let the filter run for 4 days before we can come back and actually get a fish.  

But, not to worry, the girl said we can bring a water sample back in from home and they will test it for us, just to make sure our water is safe and fitting for our new fish.  So, if they deem it unfit, then we can go home, again without a fish, and re-treat the water all over again.  Great.

You all know we have dogs, right?  I'm pretty darn sure that, at this point, we're going to be doing more for this fish than we did to bring home our dogs.  No, I'm 100% sure of that.  I also realize as we're heading over to the checkout that this is going to be almost just as expensive as when we adopted our dogs from the humane society.

And we still don't have a fish. 

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

We bought a camera!!!!

And it is awesome, so, so much better than our previous camera!  

We ended up getting the Canon T3 Rebel EOS DSLR camera, with thanks to my parents for sending me some cash as an early birthday present (thank you mom & dad!!!) and to my work for letting me pick up a whole bunch of Sunday hours for the next month or so!  I honestly thought it was going to take us a LOT longer to get to that point, but when I actually sat down and looked at our finances, it wasn't as far out of reach as I thought it would be.  I don't know that I've ever spent this much money on something that was mainly for me to use, so to be very honest, the whole thing made me a little skittish, but I know that this is something important to have for our children, and I was really trying to justify it as such.

The main reason for this camera purchase, as explained further here, is basically that I could not get a smiling, happy picture of little man.  He would always turn and I would catch the blurry, ghost-looking, side of his turning face.  Even if I changed the shutter speed on my point and shoot, the picture had terrible quality.  So, I gave up and only took cell phone pictures, which my friends and family tease me for quite a bit :)  Here's a picture of the new camera below:

We decided to test out the camera today while we were at the zoo, and here are a few of the results:

Little man, rather skeptical at first at the sight of the new camera... I'm sure he was thinking, "What is this thing that is always in my face now???"

Aaaaand just because you get a new, fancy camera doesn't mean you can convince your baby to look at it :)

We stayed mainly in the aquarium section, because it was so hot outside, which was great because it is little man's favorite section anyway.  He alternated between saying fish and octopus the entire day- although there were no octopuses... octopi?  to be seen, other than the plush one we bought him at the gift shop, but he was excited to see one nonetheless.

Pointing at the manatees.

Watching the penguins.

And, for some quick animal love, here is the oddest penguin who stood facing the rock the entire time we were watching.  Stage fright, maybe???

We still have quite a way to go in figuring out how to actually use the camera at this point, but slowly and surely we are learning the basics and hopefully will get better in time.  We have already figured out some of the buttons, read the manual, and are realizing some very basic stuff, for instance, if you actually look out of the viewfinder/eyepiece instead of the digital screen on the back, it takes pictures faster.  (Much to my dismay, as that means there are constant DH nose prints on the screen...)  We also just found a very cheap UV filter online as it was recommended to me by several people (thanks, Dad!) to keep the lens protected from random kid-tastrophies.  :)

If anyone knows of a good, free, online tutorial for camera use, or has seen any recent/relevant pins on pinterest about this, please link them in the comments below!

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