Monday, July 9, 2012

New Years Resolution -- Update w/ Weight Loss Pictures!

Remember way back in January when I posted my New Years resolutions?  I thought I'd give a quick update.

For those that don't remember here they are:

1. Now that I'm not pregnant, I don't want to look pregnant.  I have two goal levels for this.  One is my pre-Quinton weight and the other is my pre-Xavier weight.  Because I'm nursing, dieting will be harder than normal.  I won't go on a super-low calorie diet.  I just hope to make healthier choices. With 2 big weddings this year (my brother's in August and my hubby's sister's in April) I really want to look my best.  I have joined a gym that has child care, making it waaay easier to find time for working out. Ultimately though, my boys deserve a healthy mom that has *some* energy.

2. I will pencil in time for myself. See above with the gym that has child care. :) I also have a couple of magazine subscriptions that I hope to enjoy...alone.

3. I will be a more adventurous cook.  Currently, I have less than 7 meals I make on a consistent basis. They aren't good either.  This year I want to try 52 new recipes. That isn't too hard, right?  It especially won't be hard now that Pinterest is around!

4. I will to go to church more.  We are awful about making it to church. My goal is to make it 2-3 times a month.  I always feel so much better about life when we make it!

5. I will use my blog for some personal posts too.  That is the reason I started this thing. I wanted to keep a log of our lives as parents. As much as I love giveaways, I hope to post personal stories, achievements, etc. 2-3 times a month (not including Wordless Wednesday!).



So how am I doing?  I will say I'm hitting a 50%. 


Resolution #1: I have lost 40 pounds this since January 1st! Yes, FORTY.  I'm pretty freaking proud of that accomplishment.  I hit my pre-Xavier weight on July 1st and I am still hoping to take a couple more pounds off.  I will go into more detail about how I did it, but the main idea is I have cut out processed foods.  No more boxes, cans, and frozen dinners. I'm eating fresh, real food  and cutting way back on sugar.  I do NOT count a single calorie and I DO eat whole fat foods. I try to only eat when I am physically hungry, not bored, sad, or whatever.  (I will probably count some calories once I'm done breastfeeding, but for now, if I'm hungry, I eat.) I also go to the gym 3 times a week. If you are interested in trying this, a lovely place to start is the 100 Days of Real Food blog.  There are TONS of inexpensive meal ideas and I use her recipes several times a week!




Before:


New Year's Eve with my boys, my Dad (Hite) and my Granddad (Fred)

After:

June 30th with my babies

4th of July Parade with Xavier

Resolution #2: I've had more me time at the gym; however, that is really about as far as it goes. I would love to add some more time for sewing or reading Martha Stewart Living.

Resolution #3: Because I'm not using boxed meals I have had to find some new meal inspiration.  While I haven't been keeping track 100%, I would say that I'm close to the 50 new recipes.  I have a few boards on Pinterest if you are interested in following.  {Healthy Crockpot Dinners} {Healthier Eats & Treats}  The best news is, my hubby compliments me almost daily on the new meals we have -- so the family is enjoying it as well!

Resolution #4:  I have failed miserably at getting to church more.  We have been a handful of times this year and that includes going the last two weeks...I am working on that.

Resolution #5: I've also (obviously) failed miserably at posting on my blog more.  We do have a few things going on here with the family that I plan on updating everybody soon.

All-in-all it has been a great year so far!  Hopefully my next update will include success in all of my goals!

How have you been doing this year?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

SwaddleDesigns introduces Angry Birds! {Review & Giveaway}



For those of you that haven't heard, SwaddleDesigns has introduced a new Angry Birds collection to their line!

From SwaddleDesigns:


Angry Birds have found happiness with SwaddleDesigns baby products! We are honored that Rovio chose SwaddleDesigns to manufacture Angry Birds Baby items based on our high quality products.

Angry Birds by Rovio is a phenomenally popular game.  Angry Birds is the fastest growing brand in the world with over 600 million downloads.  Boys, girls, men, women, grandmas and grandpas – all love playing Angry Birds.  The game is entertaining to people of all ages, genders and geographies.

SwaddleDesigns was founded by Lynette Damir, RN, Designer and Mom in 2002, and SwaddleDesigns was the first company to introduce the large square swaddling blanket to the US and many countries around the world.  SwaddleDesigns is known for their premium quality fabric, fabulous colors and prints, decorative edge, and the innovative 123 Swaddle® instructional label that helps new parents master the art of swaddling. SwaddleDesigns blankets come in a variety of weights and are perfect for many uses such as a privacy throw for breastfeeding moms, a tummy time play mat, a cover over the stroller as well as swaddling. 

The Angry Birds collection at SwaddleDesigns includes clothing, blankets and even plush toys!  

We have used (and loved!) SwaddleDesigns Marquisette blankets in the past.  They were the perfect solution for our August baby, Quinton.  They are very light and breathable, and still allow users to swaddle their child in the summer months without worry of overheating.

They also have the Ultimate Swaddling blanket that we love!  The Ultimate Receiving Blanket is a lightweight premium cotton flannel blanket – for moderate to cooler environmental temperatures.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Extended Breast Feeding for the Win?

Don't let the title of the post fool you, I'm all for extended breast feeding.  I think that as long as both mom and child are comfortable then go for it!  Xavier breastfed until he was 14 or 16 months (I honestly can't remember) and that was only because I was several months pregnant and my milk dried up.  I'm just referring to the current cover page of Time Magazine.  Have you seen it?

Photo from www.time.com

This is a photo of a momma and her 3-year-old son.  As you can imagine it is sparking some controversy.  Just for giggles (or because I wanted to elevate my blood pressure by reading people's ignorance?) I looked through some of the comments that were posted on Facebook about this. Beware, I didn't edit out language or stupidity.


Yes, breastfeeding IS natural.  Boobs make milk on purpose!  Babies can eat and digest food as early as 4 months, but no doctor would ever tell you to stop breastfeeding (or giving formula) that early because they were eating 'solids'.




How can you know that there "comes a time when you have to ween [sic] them off" if you've never breastfed yourself?




Probably because she is feeding him and making sure his needs met.




Did you know that if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, breast milk is the ONLY  one you could survive on without major nutrient deficiencies? Meaning nobody is too old, right? Also, I receive weird looks for feeding my 8-month old in public, I'm pretty sure he doesn't look like he's 3, or whatever age you deem 'young enough' to nurse.




A)Many people don't pump because they can't or don't want to.  Period. 
B) Breast feeding is NOT a sexual act for Dad to be jealous of.
C) My youngest got his first tooth at 4 months old.  He is 8 months old and has 8 teeth (with two more coming)! He's nursing as I type this one-handed. And to each his own as long as you don't know about it??




Amen! 




Almost...except that it is a mother feeding her child and it is not an image of 2 adults engaged in  random sexual act. 




Yes, I would never want my children to see a photo of a child's needs being met.  Oh the HORROR.



Agreed. There is a time and place.  It just happens to be when and where the baby is hungry.  Believe it or not, they don't always wait until you are at home, curtains drawn, lights dimmed with aromatherapy candles lit so you can be sure nobody witnesses them getting nutrition.


 


All in all, I'm disappointed. Do I like the photo?  No. It isn't how I would have portrayed extended breastfeeding, which is why there is a question mark in my title, but it is what it is.  {FYI: I also don't like that this insinuates that you aren't "mom enough" if you choose a different route.} I just hate how breastfeeding, in general, is viewed by our society.  I hate how judgmental people are about others' parenting choices. Aren't we all (with a few exceptions) just doing what we think is best for our children? Why all the hate?

Despite the way we are viewed in public and the hate in general, Quinton is still a happily breastfed little boy ... and will be until we make a mutual decision to wean.  Whatever you decide to do, bottle vs. breast, carrier vs. stroller, cloth vs. disposable, don't make your decision based on what society says is right.  Do what is right for you and your baby...because isn't that all that matters in the end...a healthy and happy baby, momma, daddy and family?

Rant over.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Pink & Blue Bridal Shower

This weekend my aunt-in-law (is that a thing?) and I planned a bridal shower for my hubby's sister.  Her colors are pink and blue and we decided to go with a dessert shower with a spring theme.  Good thing too; it was in the 70's here in central Indiana!

Pinterest is a beautiful thing.  Most of our ideas came from things we pinned!

Here is the dessert table.  Cake, cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries. YUM.  My husband's aunt is an excellent cook/baker and everything was delightful!



The cake was strawberry with a blue butter cream icing so it was pink when you cut unto it!


Another delicious treat was the champagne cupcakes!  Our venue didn't allow for alcohol, so we decided on the next best thing!  The recipe can be found here.

 To stick with the spring theme we went with homemade pinwheels for the table decor.


I also love the heart-strings that we used as a photo backdrop while the bride-to-be was opening gifts!



Because we did a dessert shower, we decided on a dessert related favor.  I made cookies in a jar and little pot holders to go with each one.  It was a lot of work, but so worth it!


 There you have it!  Our Pinterest-planned bridal shower!

Best wishes to Lindsay & William!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shower Gift Ideas for Crunchy-Minded Moms (& Dads!)

Ok, so I am an avid Pinterest addict.  Recently, a pin about shower gift ideas that parents really need has been flooding my friends' boards.  So I wandered over to the linked blog to see what they were recommending. I was curious if there was something I wouldn't have thought of myself, or maybe a cute idea for presenting a shower gift.

Keep in mind that everybody has their own taste and I am sure that her friend was super thrilled about the thoughtful gift she received.  I did enjoy that the gift came in a reusable bucket. Score!  BUT I have to say I was disappointed when the first gift was Pampers and the second was Target brand wipes. Of course, not everybody uses cloth though, so I mostly ignored it.  The gift that really got me was clothing.  That would really be the last thing on my list to have people buy my new baby. We are always gracious that anybody wants to spoil my children, but even the first time around I had received so many clothes I didn't know what to do with them all.  (And we didn't even find out boy or girl until Xavier was born!)  And I have helped a couple of bedrest ridden friends take back some of the clothes that they got at showers because they didn't have the things they actually needed.

This got me thinking that people may wonder what to get crunchy parents.  For those that don't know, crunchy refers to granola ... and granola refers to those that try to live a more natural lifestyle whether that is being eco-friendly, following the attachment style of parenting, using only non-toxic items or a combination of the three!

My first suggestion would be to CHECK HER REGISTRY! For the most part the parents know what they need!  Have several friends that are buying for the same momma? Maybe try to go in together to get her one of the more expensive items that one person alone probably can't afford.

Anyway, I thought I could put together my list of favorite items to give (or receive!) for a new baby.   Feel free to use this list to give to your family and friends when they are shopping for your baby OR use it as a guide if you are shopping for a crunchy momma!


Up to $15:

Nosefrida The Snot Sucker: This handy little device is (in my opinion) the MOST effective way to relieve your child's stuffy/runny nose.  After trying it out, I immediately threw away all of our bulb suckers.

Board Books:  Babies love to look at (and chew) on the pages of books.  Some of our favorites and ones I don't mind reading over and over and over again are: Hippos Go Berserk!, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dr. Seuss's ABC, Goodnight Moon

Wooden Rattles & Clutching Toys: Our favorite brand is Haba.  They are German have so many unique and NON-toxic toys for the bittiest baby!  These also make great teethers when the babe is a little older.   Haba Croo-ak, Haba Kringelring, Haba Pipapo Rattle

Something else that would be greatly appreciated is bringing your friend a home cooked meal after the baby is born! Maybe you could even stick around and hold the baby long enough for her to eat it while it's warm!

$15-30:

Sophie the Giraffe:  This is one of the most sought after toys in the crunchy world.  Wonderful for little hands to grasp and teething mouths to chew! She is non-toxic and a favorite at our house!

If the parents plan to cloth diaper, a wonderful gift is a diaper with a set of wipes!

aden + anais swaddle blankets: These are the softest swaddle blankets. Ever. They also have so many functions.  The new momma will be sure to use them daily!

Rockin' Green Detergent: Cloth diapering or not, Rockin' Green is a wonderful choice for your washing your baby's clothes!

Washes, Lotions & Ointments: If you are shopping for a family that is seeking to keep toxins out of their home, make sure to pick up something that is appropriate for them! Our favorites include: Dr. Bronner's and Earth Mama Angel Baby

For the nursing momma:  Milkies Milk Saver This handy guy might be one of those items that a new parent sees as a splurge.  What she doesn't know is just how much milk it will help her save!  I so wish I would have had it with my first baby.

Organic Lovies and/or Stuffed toys:  These are sweet for babes to cuddle and will eventually make great teethers too!  We love our MIYIM Hippo!  Wouldn't it be cute to purchase the Hippo and then the Hippos Go Berserk book mentioned above as a gift set?

If Momma plans on breastfeeding, a nice gift could include some of her essentials: Nipple Butter, Nursing Pads, and Milk Storage Bags

$30-60:

Again, for nursing mommas: My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow.  This is what I used in the NICU after my c-section.  It really relieved the pressure from my incision and was a life saver!

Crunchy moms & dads might prefer to wear their baby over putting him in a stroller.  I personally prefer a wrap for newborns and infants and a soft carrier for my toddler.  At our house we use Baby K'Tan, but I've heard Moby is nice too!

Over $60:

I'm only putting a couple of gifts here because most parents will have a few must haves on their registry, but I thought these were worth mentioning!

One that I don't have but would ADORE is an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper. I think I will require we buy one of these before the next child.  It is designed to give your child his own sleeping space (and ultimately more room for you in your bed!), but also allows him to be close enough to easily breastfeed through the night.

The breast pump of all breast pumps! The Medela Pump in Style is a wonderful option for mommas who want to breastfeed and will be pumping at work.


Need some cute basket ideas, but don't want to use a basket?

How about purchasing some soaps, lotions, towels, washcloths and non-toxic bath toys and giving them in a baby tub?

One of my favorites is packaging a diaper, wipes and Rockin' Green (with a scoop) in a bin that can later be used to store diapers and accessories.

Or you could always purchase a variety of books and toys and give them in a nice bucket.  That is how we store Quinton's toys currently.  Depending on how big it is, this could also make for a cute photo prop in the early days!

What are your favorite items to give or receive? I may have to add them to the list!

Also, I should note that with a little research I am sure you can find local stores that carry one or more of these items!  Here in Central Indiana some of my favorites are: Toasty Baby in Indianapolis, 4 Kids Books and Toys in Zionsville and The Green Nursery in Bloomington.  Other non-local but family owned favorites are Country Drawers, Sandbox Lane and Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique!

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I was not paid by any company to make this post.  Links above may be referral links.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Winners!!

I am overdue on some of our lucky winners!




The winner of the MacDaddy Package from FoundIt! is: 

Ashlee MacLeod Davis



The lovely winner of a MoDia Diaper is:

Regan Shea



And lastly, the winner of a Lotus Bumz Diaper is:

Amy Barry Schmelzer




Congrats, ladies!  I have sent emails to all of you.  Please be sure to claim your prize within 48 hours!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lotus Bums Cloth Diapers Review & Giveaway


Lotus Bumz is a cloth diaper company that was started by Lorain, a WAHM. From their Facebook page: Lorain started Lotus Bumz when she realized that there is a great need for an affordable cloth diaper.  After deciding to go with cloth diapers with her newborn and seeing the physical benefits it had on his skin as well as knowing that using cloth is so much better for the environment than disposables diapers, she decided more parents need to know about and be able to afford this great way of diapering.  


I had the pleasure of testing out the Lotus Bumz diaper.  Lorain was so sweet and sent a diaper for each of the boys!

Lotus Bumz are pocket diapers and include a large 3-layer microfiber insert.  The outer layer is a waterproof PUL and there is a microfleece lining that sits against your baby's tush.  The first thing that I noticed when we received the diapers is how soft the PUL is.  It almost has a satin feel and shimmer to it.  Very nice!

The diaper is one size and has both a snapable rise and waist band.  Each diaper tab features 3 snaps -- including 1 hip snap so that there is no drooping.  Also, they have the ability to cross over for a nice fit for the wee little ones.  We prefer snaps at our house because Xavier is so good at taking his applix diapers off.  In fact, recently he has learned how to unsnap diapers even.  However, we have noticed that the Lotus Bumz snaps are a little tighter fit than most other diapers.  While this means they take an extra second to push together, it also means that toddlers can't remove their diaper!  As excited as I am for Xavier to have a new fine motor skill, it sometimes means that I find him streaking down the hallway at an inopportune time.  Lotus Bumz takes care of that!

Lotus Bumz insideAnother part of the diaper that I want to mention is the pocket.  This pocket is great because it has an extra piece of fleece on the back of the pocket to hold the insert in.  I love that because I feel so badly for the boys when I see that the insert has creeped out of the pocket and is right against their skin. Ick. I hate the feel of it on my hands for even a couple minutes, I can't imagine how uncomfortable that is over a couple of hours.  The extra piece tucks into the pocket on top of the insert and prevents the diaper from 'un-stuffing' itself.  I know some other brands have this feature, but Lotus Bumz seems to have a more generous cut to help keep the insert in place.

One of the best things about these diapers is the price!  Normally, the diapers run around $15 or $16 each. (Which is a great price for a one-size pocket diaper!)  I have noticed though that there are  always great sales going on.  For example, right now there is a bundle that includes 3 diapers with inserts and a wet bag all for $49!  That is unheard of for a quality diaper!

Look how trim those diapers are on BOTH boys!



I find myself grabbing this diaper a lot and it does a great job!  These are a great option for those that are trying cloth for the first time (or anybody that wants to expand their stash) and not spend a bundle.


Lotus Bumz

You can purchase Lotus Bumz on their website.  Also, be sure to enter to win a Lotus Bumz diaper below!  One lucky winner will be selected by random.  All entries must be submitted via the Rafflecopter widget below the break. Good luck!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quinton's First Solid Food Experience

Quinton is quickly approaching the 6-month mark.  In fact, we are only a week away.  We decided on Saturday to let him experience his first solid food.  Avocado.  With Xavier I made all of his food, pureed it, froze it, etc. etc.  This time around, we are going to try baby led weaning for a couple of reasons.  1) Making baby food is a lot of work and takes a lot of space in the freezer.  Because we are in an apartment now, we don't really have a lot of extra room.  Not to mention, I don't have a ton of extra time, either! 2)  It just makes sense to us.  If it doesn't work out we will figure out another option, but for now, baby led weaning it is!

Anywho, here are a few pictures to mark the occasion.






I was really amazed that he was able get the food to his mouth and also his chewing motions.  However, all in all, he wasn't a fan tonight. We'll try again in a day or two.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Ever

As many of you know, I breastfeed.  I breastfed Xavier until he was 16 months old and my milk supply died because of my pregnancy.  Quinton is still going strong at almost 6 months old now!  In all of that time I have taken many pictures and never posted them.  Why? I don't know really.  I guess there are a couple of reasons.  I just never got around to it or didn't want people to think I'm some sort of nudist.  (Aren't we all a little bit nudist deep down?  Unless you are a never nude, of course.) And really, I didn't want to deal with the emails of those offended by a beautiful, natural phenomenon.


So here is my first posted breastfeeding photo. I was able to capture this picture and couldn't help but share. I just love this little face!  I also love that I was able to show a glimpse of my view to my husband.  This is Quinton's sweet "Mom, I'm ready for the other boob" look.

Do you take pictures of your babes breastfeeding?  Do you post them or keep them in a private file for your family?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Modia Modern Cloth Diapers Review & Giveaway






Modia Diapers was started by two moms that cloth diapered their own little girls.  In fact, Modia comes from a combination of their ladies: Moriah & Lydia!

I was sent one of the cutest diapers ever!  (Look at that diaper and tell me it isn't cute!)  Modia creates both pocket diapers and fitted diapers.  Today I'm going to focus on the pockets.

Their diapers are one size and fit both Xavier & Quinton very well.  I've had the diaper for awhile now and can say that even when Quinton was around 12 pounds it was plenty small for him!  Xavier is currently 25-30 and we still have one of the rise snaps down, so he has plenty of room to grow still!

The diapers feature a PUL outer, suede clothe inner and snap closure.  One of my favorite features of the diaper is the snaps.  They are multi-colored and match the diaper's pattern, so it looks super cute.  Also, they are color coded.  Both the tabs and the rise snaps are different colors so you know exactly where to snap.  Instead of counting snaps from the middle of the diaper you just make sure that you fasten it on the right color.  Pretty cool! Each of their pocket diapers comes with 2 inserts: one is hemp fleece and the doubler is made of bamboo.  The hemp liner is one long strip so that you can fold it however you need to.  Of course, with boys, we put most of the absorbency towards the front.

Something else that I love about this diaper is that there is belly elastic to help with boy (and tummy sleeper) leaks.  The elastic is the perfect tension so that it doesn't leave red marks but it does sit securely against the skin.  I also love how big the pocket is.  It is so easy to stuff the inserts in this diaper -- even if you have Dad hands!

Modia diapers have a very trim fit and look wonderful on both of our boys.  It fits so well under jeans; however, because it is so cute I can't bring myself to cover it up most of the time!

If you take a look at their site, you will see that Modia diapers are very fashionable.  It is obvious that the owners care about each and every design that they dream up.  Each diaper is so unique and is sure to be one of the cutest in your stash!

We really love this diaper and recommend that you try them out.  If you are looking to add some more to your stash, you can't go wrong if you choose Modia!

You can purchase your own Modia diaper by visiting their website.  Or you can try your luck because Modia is giving one lucky reader a diaper for free!

 
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