Saturday, September 29, 2012

Song Share is moved to Saturday this week because I had too many posts to get in :)

I LOVE this song, This Isn't Everything You Are, by Snow Patrol mainly because of the lyrics.  I think that it is so easy for us to take a bad situation and turn it into a bad life.  But, in all reality, when bad things happen to us, we would be better served by trying to breathe and hold onto those around us who offer support.  Just because something bad happens, that doesn't make your life that way as well.

And in one little moment
It all implodes
This isn't everything you are
Breathe deeply in the silence
No sudden moves
This isn't everything you are
Just take the hand that's offered
And hold on tight
This isn't everything you are









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Friday, September 28, 2012

26 Week Bumpdate!

(Check back in this weekend for the song share link-up, and then next week starts the Mommy Makeover Challenge on Monday!)


We made it to 26 weeks!!!  I am really excited to say that there are less than 100 days left in this pregnancy; we are in the double digits, and as I'm writing this, I will hit the third trimester in less than 5 days.  

I was completely hoping to come here for my next update and write all about how wonderful and amazing it was to finally be released from Maternal Fetal Medicine's care... sadly, that is not the case.

We went in for our 26 week ultrasound check up at 26 weeks and 3 days, as a last check in on the placenta and the problems they'd seen at our 18 week ultrasound.  The placenta and uterine wall looked great.  Baby girl's head size and shape, as well as abdomen/stomach size and shape were completely normal at this point.  Baby girl's weight was at 1 lb 15 ounces, so almost hitting 2 lbs, again right within normal limits.  While everything else looked completely normal, the MFM doctor came in after the tech and told us that at the 18 week ultrasound, baby's arm and leg bone length was in the 40th and 50th percentile, but now they were in the 8th and 10th percentile.  She mentioned that while those measurements can be completely normal, because each baby does not develop like a textbook curve says they should, it could also be a sign of dysplasia, and that they'd like us to return for another ultrasound in 4-6 weeks to reassess at that point.

The doctor didn't seem to be worried- she said that she was sorry to even have to tell us that information, after everything else we've been through in the pregnancy thus far, because this is such a little thing- but that she'd want to see us back again for one more check.

Have I mentioned yet that I really, really hate ultrasounds at this point?  

In about 5-6 weeks, I'll do another bumpdate (probably around 32 weeks pregnant) with an update from that ultrasound and also check back in on the rest of the pregnancy information.  Now, onto the fun stuff.

When they did the ultrasound this week, they mentioned that baby girl was lying breech at this point, which I could have told them without the fancy equipment.  She has been, for most of the time since I've been able to feel her, feet and bum down, legs kicking into my bladder and right hip area.  At the ultrasound, she was in the exact same position, with her face looking out to my right side.  This is definitely a completely different feeling from little man, who was head down for the entire pregnancy.  When he kicked, it was into my ribs and could literally knock the breath away from me for a few seconds.  It is a totally different feeling when they kick into your bladder and you feel like you're going to lose control down there for a few seconds, lol!  

I feel about as big as I did last time around at this point, but really feel as if it has come on all of a sudden.  There are still some days where I can wear a blousey top and people give me a little side eye but don't comment on my bump.  But the days in which I wear something tighter or fitted I have been receiving a lot of comments.  At one of my jobs the other day, I was asked (while wearing a more fitted shirt) if I thought I was going to make it until December.  (I will be posting sometime soon-ish on all the lovely comments I've heard so far this and last pregnancy- make sure you tune in for that post, it's going to be fun times had by all as we celebrate the lack of pragmatic skills in our general society.)

I haven't really been getting specific food cravings lately, but I feel hungry all.the.time.  There are days at work where I can barely make it until 10 and I'm looking for a snack (after eating at 6a).  And as hungry as I am, my goodness am I twice as thirsty.  There have been days in which I've drunk over 100 ounces of water like it was nothing, and still been thirsty.  I've been keeping one of two 32 ounce jugs of water around constantly, whether at home or at work.  

Thankfully, the issues with my blood pressure have seemed to resolve and my blood pressure is back in the normal range.  I believe at my last doctor's appointment (not at the MFM appt, thankfully they don't take my blood pressure- I'm sure it'd be really high before the ultrasounds) my blood pressure was somewhere around 115/70.  

My body seems to be handling the pregnancy well, although there are certainly times where I've needed to stop and rest, even though I always push too hard to get things done.  I've also had to don my compression stockings for my 10 hour shifts at work or else my legs and ankles are huge and aching by the end of the day.  I think I can justify it now to myself though, as our temperatures here have been dropping, and it is almost October.  ;)

One last and major update I'd like to share is that we have officially secured our doula again for this baby's birth, and DH & I could not be more excited.  Since she became a midwife in between little man and this babe (she was in training while she was our doula for little man), we weren't sure if she'd be able to join us.  We found out just this week that she will be joining us for baby girl's birth and it really puts a sense of calm in my heart knowing that I will have the same support team of DH and our doula present during this birth, just as I did last birth.

To all my pregnant mama friends, how are you ladies feeling?


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Door Jammer Review/Giveaway!

I am ridiculously excited about this giveaway today mamas!

My lovely friend Sarah over at BumbleFly ~N~ ButterBees has so graciously agreed to host a giveaway on the blog of her extremely functional but still massively cute Door Jammers!  Here is a little note about BumbleFly ~N~ ButterBees!

Hey All at The Naptown Organizer!  I'm Sarah, a stay at home mom to two crazy boys and one silly girl.  My husband and I have been married for 8 years this October!  I have my Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.  

I started my online store a few years ago when I was at home with the boys and needed a bit of me time.  My husband is amazing enough to watch the kiddos when he gets home from work so that I can have a break and craft.  Now I am a regular at one of the Farmer's Markets in Charlotte, at craft shows, and you can find me at my online Etsy site.  

Most of the items I make are due to someone coming up to me and saying, "Hey Sarah!  Can you make me this?"  To which- 99% of the time- I reply, "Sure!"  I love taking custom orders and trying out new ideas!  

As I mentioned, Sarah sent me a few of her Door Jammers and is giving away THREE Door Jammers for you guys!  Don't know what Door Jammers are?  I'll explain below.

Door Jammers are cloth rectangles with tabs added to the ends to secure to your door handles.  These small pieces of cloth are massively smart little devices that allow you to open and close your nursery door without turning the handle or having to hear the loud click of the door shutting the entire way.  As a new parent who checked on little man all.the.time at first, these would have been extremely helpful.  I can't even recall how many times I went to check in on him and accidentally woke him up by being too loud with the door.  

If you've never seen a Door Jammer, check out the two BumbleFly ~N~ ButterBees sent me here:




One of the main things I've noticed as well is that when our Door Jammers are on (the brown on little man's door, and the cream on the nursery door) that the doors don't pop out of their casings when I open them.  I've also noticed that when the air conditioning clicks on and off, the doors don't rattle at all in their casings, which even sometimes wakes me when I'm sleeping at night in our room.  (Sarah- Can I get an extra jammer for our master bedroom???)  :)

I love, love, love our Door Jammers!  I'm a huge fan of the BumbleFly ~N~ ButterBee's brand of jammers because of a few reasons other than just how awesome and useful they are.  #1- they aren't adorned with ribbons or bows, and look really clean and modern, so they fit into our home and my decor for our son.  #2- Sarah will custom make your jammers to your specifications.  I asked her for really clean, modern looking designs without showy prints, but she can tailor these to YOUR specific decor.  Have a fabric you used for your nursery curtains or bedding?  She can make something to coordinate!  

Here's the great part, Sarah from BumbleFly ~N~ ButterBees is giving away THREE free Door Jammers to three lucky readers of The Naptown Organizer!  All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below!

Good luck, and as always, email me at thenaptownorganizer at gmail dot com with any questions about using the rafflecopter to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Monday, September 24, 2012

A much needed Mommy Makeover? I challenge you, too!

I'm kind of a slob now.

Well, I mean, it's gotten worse.  

Before little man was born, I'd shower at least every day or every other day at the minimum, washing my hair probably every day, drying it, straightening it, putting on makeup, putting on real clothes.

Now?

Um, not so much.

I'm lucky most days if I drag myself out of bed and get my teeth brushed before I wake up little man.  And, really, I have no excuse.  You've seen just how much he sleeps.  All I'd have to do to be a little more put together is set my alarm for around 9 or 9:30 in the morning, which is still sleeping in extremely late!  But, I don't, really, ever.  And this is what I look like from day to day.


While not entirely tragic, if you'll notice, I'm in yoga pants and a knit top (my usual at home) with no make up on, no bra on, and a pile of hair on the top of my head.  (I'm pretty much hanging my head in shame that I've shared this with the world wide interwebz at this point...!)  

I don't ever look decent enough during the day to run an errand, go to the park, or even walk around the block for that matter.  By the time little man wakes in the morning, I get him changed (into real clothes each day, for whatever reason I put him in real clothes, but not myself), fed, cleaned up from breakfast, and a quick period of reading books and playing, he is ready for his nap again.  Then, during his nap, I typically do laundry or iron.  I often say to myself, "Okay, self.  After the ironing is done, go get dressed."  But, alas, that never happens, and he usually wakes when I'm on the last few shirts.  (Seriously.  How do they know when you're about to be done with the not-so-fun stuff?  They always do!)  And, then I go get him up, get him lunch, and I'm still schlumpy.  So, we do a lot of playing inside unless I specifically plan something for that day.

And, that's kind of sad.

So, I've made up my mind.  Just like I ran the Clean Food Challenge back in the beginning of this year, I'm going to host an entire week of a Mommy Makeover Challenge.  It will start October 1st, so you'll have a little time to prepare or take pictures and write posts in advance if that's easier for you.  I'll post a check-in every day where you can link up your blog and we can all hold hands and do this together!  :)  

Here are the rules:

1.  Get dressed.  This doesn't have to be anything fancy, just get yourself to the point where you'd be comfortable leaving the house.  If that includes make-up or doing your hair, great!  If that just means you get out of your husband or significant other's ratty old t-shirts and sweats and into your own clothes, perfect!

2. Stay in this outfit for the majority of the day.  I'd say after dinner is probably a pretty good time to grab those pj's again if you don't have anywhere to go at that point!

3.  Take a picture of yourself and what you are wearing.

4.  Write a blog post about it, telling our readers what you did differently.  Then head over here to check-in as many days as you can in the challenge week to link-up your post.  I'll be posting for seven days in a row!  

Some questions you can use as a template are as follows:

Day of the Challenge?
How long did it take you to get ready?
What did you do differently than normal?
Did you go anywhere outside of the home?
Where did you go/what did you do?
Did you feel any differently?

I need help getting the motivation to get out of my husband's basketball shorts, so get ready to link up and help me stay motivated, starting October 1st!!!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who knows how to slow down and relax every so often?

I don't.

Last pregnancy, with little man, I rested at every opportunity, put my feet up, decreased my work hours some, and just in general watched very carefully what I did.  

This time?  Not so much.  I've been adding hours at my- count them- three jobs, picking up extra projects at home, designing/implementing little man's toddler room, writing for three blogs currently, and just in general never sitting down.

It may have to do with chasing around a small but mobile toddler, but I think there is so much more to it than that.  I really have approached this pregnancy completely differently mainly due to this being our second child.  

Since I found out I was pregnant again, I'm pretty positive that I've taken TWO naps total during the daytime, and both were on the weekends when DH was home and available to be with little man.  Little man's naptimes are for productivity for me, not for napping!  The two times I've actually taken naps are when I really pushed my body too far, and I could barely function after because I was so tired.  The one time I remember, I worked all Saturday, then came home, picked up DH & little man, and we headed off to the grocery (which always takes at least 2 hours for whatever reason).  We stopped a few places on the way home from the grocery, and by that point, I was exhausted.  I really could barely help DH bring little man or the groceries into the house or put them away.  I'm pretty positive I just mumbled something and went upstairs to lay down.  

As a mom, I feel that I've transitioned very easily into putting everyone else first, and myself last, but that is to a fault sometimes.  There are times when I need to realize that yes, I am carrying another baby right now as well, and there are going to be days- I'm sure more and more as I get closer to my due date- where I just need a break and a minute to rest my body for a few minutes.  It is tough though to justify.

It seems not only to be a problem with life at home, but I also don't get out anywhere near as often as I have before.  I've made significant efforts to help DH continue to golf, spend time with friends, go to the gym, go to football games with friends (he splits a season pass, so he does get to go frequently).  Because we don't have access to family or friends in our area to watch little man (we have 1-2, but I really try to save those friends for emergencies!), that means if DH is out once or twice a week, I am home with little man doing the daytime or nighttime routines by myself, which is getting harder and harder as I get bigger and bigger.  It is really good for DH to get out as he is a super social guy who feels better when he is active and interactive in things.  But, I don't do anything like that for myself.  In the past 6 months, I can honestly say that the only thing I've done for me is go get a pedicure once.  This was mainly because DH called me after a Saturday work shift and told me not to come home until I did something for me.  

Here is a prime example of how often I get out.  I went to look for a picture of myself out relaxing with a friend.  The last one I could find was obviously time-stamped from 2005.  Back when cameras actually time-stamped pictures, lol.
(And, really, if we're talking about getting out on the town, DH & I have been on exactly two dates since little man was born almost two years ago.  One was legitimate where we went to dinner and a matinee movie.  The second we came home after about an hour because we were both tired and missed little man.)

So what is my disconnect?  I am just as important as my husband, in terms of my physical and mental well-being, but it is just really hard for me to justify to myself actually DOING things for myself.  And the relationship between my husband and myself is extremely important to me.

I need to make this a priority for myself, but...

...I guess I'm still working on it.

How have you transitioned into caring for your family and yourself at the same time?  Have you found a balance?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Song Share- Mumford & Sons

Thanks to everyone for the recent link-ups!  Don't forget that you can link up a song even if you don't have a blog, just add the link to the Youtube video into the Inlinkz below.  I am trying a new Inlinkz option below where there is an ad on the post, but because of this you can link up a picture as well as a text to your link.  We'll see how this works today, if you have any problems with it, let me know by email to thenaptownorganizer at gmail dot com!

This week's song share is courtesy of Mumford and Sons.  I really like that they are folk-sounding without being too country, but still being somewhat poppy.  If that makes any sense :)  

As I mentioned before, I'm a huge quote person, and the opening line to this song really reminds me of my relationship with DH, especially on a work day.  Here's the quote:

"And I came home
like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
which we've known
will blow away with this new sun"






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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Little man update- 19 months

Since I haven't done this in a little while, I thought it was time for a little man toddler update.  

He is ahead of the curve in some ways, behind the curve in others, and right on in some areas as well.  In everything that he does though, he is so perfectly and uniquely him, and we could not love him any more for it.  

The more and more time we have to spend with him, the more time I realize just how much of a dream baby he is.  DH and I have argued over discussed the nature versus nurture topic several times, and we're still not sure just how we got to this point, but he is such an amazing sleeper still!  Most nights, he goes down to bed anywhere between 7-9p, depending on what we're doing that day.  He will sleep through the night until we typically have to wake him in the morning.  I will say though, because I'm pregnant and have been a little tired lately as well, I've been letting the guy sleep so mama can sleep in.  :)  A typical morning wake time for both of us tends to be between 9-10a, although there was one day recently in which DH let him sleep until noon.  Noon!  Seriously!  He averages at least 13 hours per night, most nights being more like 14-15 hours of sleep.

And, yes, he still naps.

Most days, for us, he is down to one nap per day, but that is mainly because he wakes so late.  At daycare and on days like today where we had to get up a little earlier for an appointment, he does get two naps.  Sometimes, he will still take them both, and sleep for good chunks of time (2+ hours each at times), and sometimes he won't want the first or second nap, but we always try to offer, because he really lets us know when he is tired.

On the speech front, he is just blowing up with words, getting new words for things every week.  The last time I posted back in the beginning of the summer, these were his words: mama, dada, doggie, hi, bye, up, bubble, open, cookie, cracker, baby, nigh-nigh, octopus, duck, fish, vroom/zoom, yea, uh-oh, and boom.  Now he has added a bunch more words to that list, like: phone, good, stop, that, see, bird, car, grape, apple, banana, cup, fork, spoon, snack, choo-choo, girl, go, close, rock, no, slide, swing, water, down, eye, belly, ear, nose, button, foot, sock, toe, and many more.  He has even started pairing two words together recently, such as saying "Stop doggie!" (our pups like to whine sometimes!), "Good Girl", and "Vroom Car!"  I know there are more to add to that list, and in less than 2-3 months, he has started to pick up a TON of words.  As a speech therapist, it really melts my heart, because I can see him learning.  There are lots of times when I can tell he really wants to learn a word, and is intent on watching my lips when I make the sound/word he wants to say. He has been trying so hard to get the full word of "open", but mainly just gets the first sound or two as his meaningful unit or 'word' for open.  There are times where he will simply make the mouthshape of the O in open and he knows that I will understand what he means.  It is really sweet to watch him develop.

Motorically, right now, he just LOVES to run.  He is still figuring out his balance (as am I at times!) and has his share of tumbles, but he is starting to get it.  We also recently bought a $4 stool at Ikea and now one of his favorite things to do is use the stool to crawl up on the armchairs in our living room.  About a week after we bought the stool, he learned how to climb up on our kitchen chairs.  He now pushes the kitchen chairs to where he wants and then climbs up on them to reach things, so that's fun.  :)  He has mastered climbing up and down our very tall set of stairs up to the second floor, with a watchful eye and hand following him to be safe.  I am really happy for this milestone, as I was worried how I would manage carrying two young babes up and down the stairs by myself during the day.  Now I'll be able to carry new babe while standing in front of little man as he climbs down the stairs in the morning.  

In terms of eating and food, we are still at a similar place as the last time I posted.  He will eat just about ANY fruit, yogurt, cheese, cracker, cookie, or bread product (the huge favorites now are pancakes and waffles), but doesn't like to eat much else.  He still won't eat most types of protein/meat/beans, vegetables, pastas, soups, casseroles, etc.  Although, I will say, the other day he randomly had his first happy meal (or, really, fast food meal) ever, and to my surprise, he ate the ENTIRE thing (4 chicken nuggets, fries, and some fruit I added to the meal).  We are going to try making some healthier chicken nuggets options from frozen or scratch to see if he'll take ones that we make.

If we're talking about personality again, he is such a hoot.  He is such a happy, content little boy 90% of the time, and when he isn't happy (like when he is waiting for me to finish making him a pancake in the morning!) he tells us loud and clear.  But, really, most of the time, he just goes with the flow.  There are times when he is tired at the store where- instead of melting down- he will just put his thumb in his mouth and rest his sweet head on my shoulder, waiting for us to be finished.  He is also content to sit and play quietly by himself if there is something I need to get done.  He is SUCH a good helper.  He really has a strong drive to help me in everything I do.  In addition to running the Swiffer or vacuum (which he is getting really good at!), he loves to help me carry laundry from the dryer to the spot where I fold it, help me transfer the laundry, run the dishwasher, put away his toys, and clean up around the house.  If he sees something on the floor that he doesn't feel belongs there, he promptly brings it to me and watches for where I put it away.  He has learned how to take pieces of trash and independently put them in the trash can.  (I've only had to go back into the trash for a non-trash item maybe once, and now he brings things to me to check first!)  And then the new facial expressions!  Little man recently discovered that his eyebrows raise and has been giving us the cutest expressions.  






Currently, he also has a love for any and every pair of glasses he sees.  Sunglasses, reading glasses, glasses for general vision, you name it.  He wants to play with them.  Thankfully, we still have that pair from Target lying around that he puts on when he wants to get a good giggle!

All he needs now is his pocket protector :)
While I always look forward to what new and cool thing he'll do next, I really just LOVE this stage.  He is so sweet and helpful, but still cuddly and little.  He is independent enough that he can do some things on his own, but really continues to rely on myself and DH for the majority of things he does.  He can tell us what he needs in most cases by his words, cries, pointing, or movement, and it is so wonderful to finally know what he is thinking.  If babies stayed this way forever, I'd have a million!!!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Summer Resolution Update!

Back in April, I mentioned that I had some "Summer Resolutions" here.  Well, summer has now turned into fall around us, and I'm ready to update on how I did!

Here were my resolutions, and my progress made:

1.  Find a safe and eco-friendly alternative to bug spray.

This one was a bit tough for us, mainly because it was so hot this summer that we didn't spend too much time outside, and when we did, there weren't many bothersome mosquitoes buzzing around.  However, I did find a bug spray this summer that I will be comfortable using this fall.

We have been using the bug repellent spray from California Baby, which is made of citronella, lemongrass, and other essential oils.  I like that this has no harsh chemicals in it, although it does say to use only as directed by a physician for children under 6 months of age.  Because this is a scent based product, it does say to apply frequently and generously, and make sure you do a gentle mist over baby's head/hair to protect them from head to toe.  I will definitely be using this when we're outside in the cooler fall days!

2. Shut off the lights more often.

I have become a master at this one.  Both DH and I are really guilty of leaving the lights on all day long, walking away from a room with lights and a fan on.  Since my post in April, I've been turning everything off as soon as I leave a room.  There is one exception, though, our laundry room/kitchen area.  I leave 1-2 lights on there when our dogs are in that area during the day or at night, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to see their food.  We need to install motion sensor lights in our laundry room :)

3.  Get a few plants to keep inside.

I'll admit, I started really, REALLY small on this one.  For mother's day, our DCP and DS made a little potted flowering plant for me, and I figured that was a great place to start.  I made myself the bargain that if I could keep that alive all summer, then I could purchase a few larger plants come the end of the year when it is cooler and the house doesn't get as much fresh air.  Well, it lived!  I think this is the first plant I haven't killed within a month of having it!  So, soon, I will be off to pick up a few more plants for around the house.

My still-living Mother's Day present :)

4. Open the windows more often.  

This one was an easy fix for me, but not so much for DH.  It was also difficult to pursue this resolution this summer, because it was just so darn hot outside that opening the windows was out of the question most days.  But, as it has gotten cooler, I've been opening our windows a ton, and actually, so has DH.  Even yesterday, he opened up a bunch of the windows without my prompting!  I'll take that as a win, for certain!

Did you make any resolutions for yourself this summer?  Did you follow through with them?

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baby Connect Application Winners!

Thank you guys for all participating in my latest giveaway!

The winners of the Baby Connect Applications are as follows:


iPhone or Android apps:
Melissa French & Candy Fontz


iPad apps:
Kira Hamilton & Marisa Brockett


I will be emailing you within the next 24 hours with further information!  Congratulations winners!!!

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Friday, September 14, 2012

So, I've officially switched song share days to Friday!  It's time to link up!

This week's song link up comes courtesy of the band Walk the Moon.  I'd never heard anything from them until recently, but I caught this song on a radio station in our area and I was just a bit smitten.  The video is just as fun as the song, and from what I've read, they actually did the large scene in the middle of the song (including the dance break) in one take.  Pretty awesome, especially if you include the piano guitar solo ;)

Link up your song shares below!








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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Halloween costume consignment store tips and tricks!

(Have you entered the Baby Connect iPhone, iPad, and Android app giveaway yet?  If not, find it here!)
Last Halloween, we were lucky enough to be given an adorable hand-me-down lion costume from a cousin of mine, which little man wore happily for most of the day.

(There were also little footies, but those didn't stay on quite as long!)

This year, we needed to actually purchase a costume for little man.  While he is so little, I have a few requirements for Halloween costumes.  I want the costume to have as few pieces as possible.  The less he can take off himself, the better off we are!  I'd love the costume to be soft and comfortable.  Some costumes with plastic pieces and crunchy fabrics are great for older children who understand the whole dressing up bit, but for littler ones, I personally prefer them to look cute but be comfortable at the same time.  (Thankfully, hats are never a problem for us as little man really likes wearing his hats.)  I also want it to be something that is easily washable, in case of random spills or poopsplosions.  Mostly, I want it to be cheap.  I don't mind spending just a bit more when they are older, and can use their Halloween costumes for dress up throughout the year, but at this age, he's not going to be pulling out old costumes and playing dress up.  By the time he does, these costumes won't fit any more.  So, the less expensive, the better, since he will only be wearing it one time.

Now enter in my favorite thing ever- Consignment stores :)

Our local consignment stores have begun to run sales on Halloween costumes for the past week or two.  I checked around at a few stores, and found one that had a GREAT selection of baby, toddler, and children's costumes.  And I was able to find this costume below, from Carter's, for only $4.



For whatever reason, I couldn't find the actual same costume on Carter's website (I think it has been discontinued?), but the costume I bought does not have feet, so little man can wear his shoes and walk around just fine.  It also has a cute little monkey tail in the back.  Retail price of this costume new?  Around $35-40.  So, I got this costume at up to a 90% discount.   

So, since some of you may be out scouting for tips on consignment Halloween costume finds, here are a few helpful tips I've heard along the way:

- Check all zippers, snaps and buttons.  My amazing cousin recently gave me this tip, and it has saved me a few times since from purchasing clothing/costumes that don't close properly.

- Watch out for stains.  On cheap clothing for a dollar or two, I'm more apt to chance it and guess that I can get a stain out.  For Halloween costumes, I tend to stay away from anything with a stain, for a few reasons.  The first is that if there is a stain on it in the resale shop, chances are they haven't washed it or even tried to get the stain out, which means whatever stained the clothing has been sitting on it since it was worn the last Halloween.  And that kind of grosses me out.  Also, because I'm cheap, if I'm spending more than a dollar or two, I want it to look great!

- Only purchase costumes that you can wash.  I always check the tags and labels to make sure it has washing instructions, and it doesn't look like a costume that will fall apart if I try to wash it.  This seems like a common-sense tip, but we buy costumes for our children from regular stores all the time that can't be washed well, and I'd prefer to get out any chemicals from the manufacturing and shipping processes prior to my child wearing that item.

- Make sure all the pieces are there.  Again, this seems like a common sense recommendation, but there were a few costumes I looked at that were very cute, and had a bag full of hats/tails/footies, etc. where everything looked great, except they were missing one key piece, like one of the two footies.  Not necessarily really noticeable unless you are really scouring through the bag.

Hope these tips help!  

What are you planning on dressing your children up as for Halloween?

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Preview of Little Man's Toddler Room + The Seaside Company Review!

Based on my blog and Facebook page pictures, you guys know I've been working on little man's toddler room recently.  Our plan is to (hopefully) get him moved into his toddler room with toddler bed prior to the new baby coming in December.  

Since DH and I met on the rowing team in college, we thought it'd be fun to make little man's toddler room into a nautical/rowing/boating themed room.  Here are a few pictures of our progress below:

Room decor and colors
The beginning of an AWESOME quilt my aunt is making for little man
And my favorite part, the fish
As you can see from above, little man LOVES the wooden fish I purchased to add little accents around the room.  I'm not exactly sure of the placement of these just yet, but I'm trying to incorporate them into the curtain tie-backs and around the room as decor.  The company I used to purchase these items was The Seaside Company on Etsy.com.  They have TONS of cute nautical-themed decor items that are so sweet and carefully handmade.  I purchased the "Lilly's fish- you pick three colors"  to customize my order in the exact colors we wanted, and asked them to give them more of a worn look.  You can order these fish in a wide variety of colors to suit your needs as well!

The Seaside Company also offers adorable mobiles, wreaths, and other decor items in their Etsy shop.  During the fall, they begin to shift their items to address holiday needs, such as ornaments and holiday decor.  The Seaside Company has recently added nautical cake toppers for those little boater's birthday parties.  :)  The lovely owners of the shop, who are really easy to work with- and FAST in their production and shipping- were kind enough to offer a 20% off discount to my readers.  For two weeks after this post publishes, feel free to head on over to their shop and place an order for 20% off using the code EXCLUSIVE20 when you check out!  

Happy Shopping!

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(I was not compensated for this post, the opinions presented are all my own!)
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

All of a sudden, I'm 24 weeks pregnant

24 weeks pregnant, or V-day as some people call it.

V standing for viability.  At 24 weeks pregnant, the baby becomes at least 50% likely to survive if delivered at that time, with the odds increasing in baby's favor as more time passes.

24 weeks... meaning... in less than one month- more like 3 weeks- I will be in my third trimester with baby girl.

Where did the time go?!?

I know with little man's pregnancy, I analyzed every single little thing that happened.  Dh & I read books, we followed time lines, I looked at an iPhone pregnancy progress application probably 1-2 times per week.  We really enjoyed the seemingly slow progression of 9 months of pregnancy.

This time is completely different.  I think this is because of a combination of how much of a whirlwind the first trimester was- as we weren't even sure there would be a baby for portions of that time- as well as the fact that we have a toddler at home has made this process seem much, MUCH quicker.

At this point in little man's pregnancy, we were putting together furniture, setting up our nursery, enjoying baby showers with loving friends and family, and just beginning to feel outside kicks to where Dh could understand what I had been feeling on the inside.  I remember- I was also scared.  At this point in my pregnancy with little man, I remember thinking about just how little clue I had about what life held for us with a baby.  I mean, I understood the basics of having a child, but the unknowns were very confusing and scary for me.  Just how much would our lives change?  Would I love this baby like he deserved?  Would I be a good enough parent?  Would we ever sleep again?  

25 weeks pregnant with little man
Even if you're used to being around children, it is really, really difficult to understand the depth of the changes that are about to happen in your lives.  

This pregnancy is different, however.  I could not be more excited.  

Now I know what having a child does to change your life.  Regardless of all the ways it isn't as great (lack of sleep, less time to yourself, less money to yourself, etc.), it changes your life so incredibly much for the better.  Looking back now, it is hard to even imagine life without little man- and I really don't even want to have to ever think about that.  He has given us so much joy, love, and happiness, that I can only be so thankful for the coming of our second child.

In saying that, I really want this baby to stay in her happy little home in my belly as long as she needs, as long as it takes to grow and become healthy and ready for this big world. 
 
But, man, I am just so excited to meet her.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday Song Share Link Up 9/6/12

I know, I know.  I missed last week's link up.  I'm sorry!

I'm trying to fiddle around with my days a little bit, and I'm wondering if Friday might be a better day to post the song share link up each week.  What do you guys think?  Let me know in the comments below.

Onto this week's song share.... you had to know this one was coming!

My absolute favorite band has been the same for over 15 years, since my parents took me to see them play at FarmAid when I was maybe 13 years old.  Yep, it's still the Dave Matthews Band, and I still love them just as much as I did 15 years ago.  They are coming out with a new album that releases and is available September 11th, so I thought I'd share a little love with their first single from the new album Away From the World.  The song is titled "Mercy" and I am liking it.  I'm a big song quote person, and one of my favorite quotes from the song is "Love is not a whisper or a weakness, no, love is strong."  

Enjoy!

(Also, FYI, you can always just post a link to your favorite song/video on YouTube into the InLinkz link up below- you don't have to have your own blog to participate!!!)









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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baby Connect Application Review/Giveaway!

If you haven't noticed a fun, new spot that appeared recently in my sidebar, I have an awesome new sponsor:

Baby Connect

Baby Connect is a daily baby tracker that you can use from your Android, iPhone, iPad, or computer.  We used baby connect for almost the first full year with little man, to track information such as feeding, diapering, sleeping, activities (firsts), doctor's appointments, medicines, etc.  You can even add pictures!  

I am SO excited to share this application with you guys, because it is something that is really easy to use and so helpful as a new parent.  After our one-week paper tracker given to us from the hospital ran out of space, I was still trying to track everything on paper.  As a new mom, I really wanted to see everything in front of me, and our paper system just wasn't working.  I would always leave the paper downstairs, and then be making extra trips to figure out when he ate last or how long he had been sleeping.  It was an inconvenience, and as a new parent, you have to streamline your processes as much as you can.

I'm an iPhone type of girl - because of DH's nudging - so I always have my phone with me, and needed an application that could be accessed and used quickly from my phone.  Baby Connect is just that.  Here are some screen shots of the application: 


This is what the main screen looks like above.  You can click when you are feeding the baby either a bottle or breastfeeding while timing how long it takes them to finish a bottle (you can specify the amount of ounces) or the breast (you can time each side).  You can log in every time they have a wet or dirty diaper (as well as put in specifics here if you are watching for coloring - like in the beginning when you are watching the color of their stools as they finish passing meconium).  You can long in from when they start to sleep until they finish sleeping with just a quick press of a button, as well as many other factors.  My favorite part about this application is that the little panel on the bottom of the screen tells you when they last nursed, how many times they'd nursed that day, how many diapers they'd had that day, how long they'd been sleeping/how long they'd been awake, etc.  It was such a quick and easy reference to what your child has been doing, and immensely helped me clarify questions/concerns at some of our pediatrician appointments.


The above picture is just another view of how you can visualize their activities.


This picture is an Android screen-shot of how the timing page for nursing looks.

One of my most favorite things about this application is, that if you log in on the same account, multiple people/devices can input data.  When I went back to work the first few times, DH would be with little man on the weekends while I picked up extra shifts.  He was able to pop things into this app that little man was doing, and it would immediately show up as a notification (that I'd allowed) on my phone.  It was so reassuring to see that, yes, while I was away, little man did eat, sleep, and interact like he did while I was at home.  We also were lucky enough to have a friend nanny our son for the first few months of my returning to work during the week, and she was able to make a few quick clicks and I would immediately know what they were doing.  She really liked the application as well, because (in her words) it allowed her to spend less time writing about what they were doing and actually just be more present with him.  Our nanny even used the application after she had her son as well!  :)

As I mentioned, Baby Connect is available through the web (for free), through your iPhone (for $4.99), through your iPad (for $4.99) and through Android (for $4.99).  This includes unlimited number of caregivers logging information, unlimited number of events per day, and unlimited number of children allowed on the app.  We will definitely be using this for baby #2 in December!  We found it to be so useful, we did purchase apps for both DH's phone, my phone, and the iPad (for our nanny to use while we were gone).  

Definitely go ahead and try it out at the Baby Connect website for free and see if you like it, but as a perk to my readers, Baby Connect is giving away two iPhone apps and two iPad apps for free to you!  That is a total of FOUR winners for this awesome product giveaway!  Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Breastfeeding Part 4: Toddlers

(If you've missed my previous breastfeeding posts, spanning from birth up until today's discussion of toddlerhood, check back on the last few days of posts to catch up!)

So, nursing a toddler, yeah?  

If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be nursing my now almost 19 month old while pregnant with my second baby, I would have just about fallen on the floor of shock.  To say that I did not intend or plan on being in this position would be a very true statement.  However, here we are.

As I mentioned in the last post, after about month 6-7 of breastfeeding, it became really easy to nurse my son.  He was happy, I was happy, things were going really well.  Once we got to that point, I set a goal to breastfeed until he was a year old, because that sounded like the next good goal number.  I always thought to myself that when he reached one year we'd probably stop.

When my son turned one year old, however, it was a different story.  I kept looking at him while he was nursing.   As the days approached closer and closer to his birthday I kept thinking - he is no different than the day before.  I am no different than the day before.  Our relationship is no different than the day before.

I don't know why, but I maybe had expected some huge lightning bolt moment where we would both just realize we were all of a sudden done with breastfeeding, and then we would be done.  And, for whatever reason, because I'd never known anyone who'd breastfed longer than a year (or, really, anyone who had even made it to a year among my friends), I thought that moment would happen when he turned one.

It's kind of silly to me now, but when he turned one, and the next few days after, I just kind of waited, waited for him to stop asking to nurse, waited for myself to want to start the weaning process.  Neither happened.  And then it became a month, and two months, and longer.  Nothing had changed.  He was still my child, he still needed me, I still needed him.  

I think the main thing that kept me going at it was the comfort and ease of nursing.  He now only nurses twice per day, once when he wakes and once before he goes to bed.  But, for any of you who have or have had a toddler, it is SO calm when I am nursing my son.  He isn't up and around and moving, he just lays in my arms and cuddles.  Now, as soon as we're done, that's a different story, it's like 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds.  But for those few minutes of quiet cuddling, it is so worth it for us.

Because we only nurse morning and night, the problem of nursing in front of other people is almost never an issue, unless someone is staying at our house.  Although, typically, most of our guests are close family who know and understand.  So, it is a private thing.  Well, as private as it can be when shared through the internet with hundreds of my reader friends :)

Except that when people know you're still breastfeeding a toddler, a lot of times you hear odd, rude comments, or get random side-eyes from people.  I've heard my share of friends and family questioning why we are still nursing, assuming we've stopped (because he is over a year old AND because I'm pregnant), and asking when we are going to stop.  I continue to be honest about where we are because I'm not ashamed.  Here are a few reasons why:

Nutritionally, breastmilk is still providing for your child.  It makes me worry a whole lot less about his picky toddler diet when I know the following (taken from my favorite Kellymom.com):

 In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements
– Dewey 2001
I don't mess with or worry about vitamins or supplements. I don't obsess over him not eating as many vegetables as I would like, all mainly because I know he is still getting a large amount of the vitamins and nutrients he needs from my milk. In addition to all of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals breastmilk provides, it also shifts to have a higher fat content when your toddler is between the ages of one and two, which is really important because a higher (good) fat ratio is important in their growing diet to meet their needs.

While breastfeeding a toddler, you also continue to reap the benefits of decreased risk of illness and shorter illnesses when they do get sick. Breastmilk continues to provide immunity and protection after the age of one.  And while we're talking about better health, continuing to breastfeed your child is good for YOU as well! Mothers who breastfed (in some cases, the longer you nursed, the less of a risk you enjoy) have been found to have decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes (if you did not have gestational diabetes). So, not only are you helping your child to be healthy, you are helping yourself to be healthier at the same time!

Additionally, there are some studies that suggest cognitive skills, mental skills, and social skills are positively influenced by breastfeeding, in some cases the longer your child nursed, the more benefit they obtained and the higher they scored on certain assessments. With everything I do for my child already, I consider it to be just one more thing I personally do to aid in his health and development.

As for the breastfeeding pitfall of being judged for what you are still doing, I'd encourage you with this.  You've made it this far to provide for your child and give to your child in this way because it meant something to you, your family, and your child.  Why let someone else's opinion matter now?  

There are, um, several fun things about nursing a toddler.  While nursing for us, on the whole, is a very quiet, calm event, for some mother and baby dyads, it is not.  Several of my mommy friends now have shown me pictures of their little ones crawling all over the place while still trying to nurse.  I personally, a time or two, have had fingers up my nose or in my eyes while my son nurses.  He also has a thing about letting me know when he is done very quickly, by sliding off my lap while still attached at times.  Ouch!

My son also thinks it's like a one-stop snack shop at times.  He will grab a pillow and stand at the chair we nurse in, waiting for me to come and sit down.  When I sit down, he'll run over, grab his no-spill snack cup and climb up.  Now that he can say the word phone- he will often request a 'movie' while he nurses.  (He likes to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse sometimes, which I find to be on the not-as-annoying side of baby entertainment!)  While some parents would be mortified, I think it's kind of sweet that he still finds that comfort in our relationship.


As I mentioned before, one of the more common questions I hear from family and friends is when will we stop nursing?  At this point, I'm really not sure.  I never intended to nurse this long, but here we are, so I can't estimate when we'll finish nursing.  I'm not opposed to tandem nursing (or continuing to nurse my son and my daughter at the same time after she is born), but that is only if my son is still interested and it works for our family.  If I've learned one thing about being a parent, it's that you need to be open, because you never know when you'll be eating your words about something you said you'd 'never' do.  :)

If you've been reading through all the past week's posts about breastfeeding from birth to toddlerhood, thank you for having an open mind and following along with my journey.  It has been an important part of our lives, and a way that we show love.  It is something I feel strongly about, however, I also feel strongly about each family making personal choices that work the best for their specific situations.  Thank you for listening to our breastfeeding stories.

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