Thursday, February 27, 2014

Citrus Lane Box!

When I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a link with a code to try Citrus Lane for one month for free. I've been dying to get a Citrus Lane box, but wasn't really sure if I wanted to jump in and spend the money for a surprise box. I hate being disappointed, so this is why I didn't want to spend money on a surprise! What Citrus Lane does is send you a box each month with products specifically for your child's age and gender. So when you create a subscription, you enter in your little one's age and female or male. The best part is, you can pick your subscription. You can either go month to month with the option of cancelling after just one month or you can pick a 3 or 6-month subscription. Each plan will automatically renew, so if you don't want to continue your subscription, make sure you cancel! The prices are as follows: $29 for a monthly subscription (free shipping), $24 a month for a 3-month subscription (free shipping), $21 per month for a 6-month subscription or you can join the annual subscription plan and get each box for only $19 a month! They do have a great deal when you sign up under someone's referral link, you get your first box for 50% off! That's a pretty awesome deal if you're a little hesitant on whether or not this is for you.

So if you're wondering if it's worth spending the money each month on, I'm going to break down what came in my February box. Let me start by saying I love how they used tissue paper to make it seem like a nice little present. My little guy loved opening it to see what was inside. It was like Christmas to him! This was after I opened it to take pictures and put it all back together of course. He was sleeping though, so he didn't know. Shh, don't tell him.

First up is the Green Toys Stock Pot and Utensils. My son absolutely loves kitchen stuff, so this was a great product for him to get. While we already have a few things for his kitchen set we have, these were a great addition and he really enjoys playing with them. The lid is a bit hard for him (and even me) to get off, but it's a great product. I absolutely love Green Toys! They're made with 100% recycled milk jugs, which is probably the coolest thing ever! We have a bath toy from Green Toys that he loves as well. I couldn't find the exact retail value of this. I found a set with an extra piece for $16.99.

 The next item up is actually for moms which is really cool! This is Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream. I love that they added a product in for moms. This cream has organic apple juice, organic white grape juice, organic lemon juice, organic aloe leaf juice, organic jojoba oil, organic shea butter, algae extract, green tea leaf extract and organic linseed seed oil. So basically this is a great organic hand cream! This retails for $12.

Next up is the Oogaa Silicone Divided Plate.
 This is such a cute little plate! It's great to keep all your toddlers food separated, which can be important since toddlers can be extremely picky. I know my little guy doesn't really like his food mixing because if he doesn't like the taste of something,
he doesn't want that on his other food. The plate is BPA free, has no harsh chemicals and is easy to clean. Like really easy. It's also dishwasher, microwave, freezer and oven safe. That's pretty impressive. I love that it's silicone because if he decides to throw or slam his plate, it's not going to break. This actually goes with his airplane spoon I won in a previous giveaway, so that's pretty awesome. (I just need to get him the train spoons, because I know he'll love those!) This plate retails for $10.99.

Last but not least is Starlight Sailor from Barefoot Books! This might actually be my favorite item in the box. The illustrations are beautiful in this book. C seems to be really interested every time I read it and loves pointing out what he sees. Especially the dog! These books are extremely well made. It's such a nice thick cardboard book, which is definitely a plus for us. My little guy is notorious for ripping pages in his books, so this book is going to be able to stand up to his destructive side. Starlight Sailor retails for $14.99.

I'm really impressed with this being my first box. The products were all great and really fit for what my toddler is interested in currently. The value of all the items in the box is roughly $50 which is a great deal for only spending $29 a month. (I got mine free with a promotion they were running.) Although, like I said in the beginning, your first box is 50% off when you sign up and you can always cancel after a month if you'd like. If you're interested in signing up, use my referral code here and get your first box half off. If you're interested in seeing what some of the previous months have been to see what kinds of products you might get, Jenny over at Cloth Diaper Revival writes up a great post each month with what she gets. I always enjoy reading her posts and they really made me want to try Citrus Lane!

Again, use my referral code so you can try out one month for 50% off! That's such a great deal for a box that is worth about $50 or more each month! 

*This post has a referral link! By using my referral code I get a $20 credit to citrus lane. If you use my link I want to thank you in advance. Big hugs!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

30 Weeks Pregnant!

This week (on Monday, actually) I'm now 30 weeks into pregnancy number two. I think most women feel like pregnancy drags on and on, but I feel like it's speeding right by. Except for the first trimester, that's was awful! It was the most miserable I've been in my entire life. 
Even with my first pregnancy, the first trimester was not that horrible. Not only was I completely exhausted all the time (and couldn't exactly rest when I wanted like I did with the first pregnancy since I have a toddler to chase around) I couldn't eat anything. So I was just miserable and couldn't wait until the second trimester. Other than that, I've been enjoying pregnancy so much (Besides a few things like aching hips, but that comes with the territory.) and feel like it's going to be over before I know it.

My belly is huge and I find myself wondering how it could get any bigger. Then I remember back to when I was pregnant with C and my belly was ginormous! 
 Eventually I'll be so big it's going to take me an extra 30 minutes to do anything. I feel the baby move around so much and love watching my belly move just as much as I love feeling it. C is really loving the idea of a baby also. He will say love you to my belly and kiss it! Now he seems to be obsessed with babies. So I know he's going to make a great big brother. 

We still do not know the gender as of right now. It's pretty exciting. Although, we found out we'll have the option of finding out the gender on Thursday if we'd like. This is extremely tempting for us! On the one hand, we've made it 30 weeks now and only have 10 more to go. I feel like we could absolutely hold out and wait the last 10 weeks until he/she is born. On the other hand it would be so nice to know! We could start buying gender specific baby clothing, my friend could throw us a gender specific baby shower (before he/she is born) and we could just be prepared for the arrival in general. My suggestion if we don't find out is to just buy a few gender neutral outfits and wait to have a "Welcome To The World Baby" party. I also have a really cute idea planned for how to announce when the baby is born, what gender he/she is. My husband said we could still do all of that and still find out for ourselves, just not tell anyone else until after the baby is born. It's a really tough choice because I have really been aching to know. At the same time, I love the idea of having the ultimate surprise after labor. I really think it could be an extra boost of motivation for the natural birth I have planned. 

We're also planning on moving before the baby gets here, which will be such a huge task and I'm kind of dreading it. Though, we're really looking forward to getting out of our current place. It's going to be interesting moving while pregnant and with a toddler. I see it as the best possible way to nest. I can make sure everything is how I want it before I go into labor so there's nothing to change at the last minute. It's really all about seeing the bright side to things.

So I'm curious, did you find out the gender? Or did you wait until birth? What was the experience like if you decided to wait? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pregnancy and Nursing!

Late in 2010 my husband and I talked about and decided that we wanted to have a baby. We first met and started dating in 2007, were engaged in 2008 and married in 2009. I never really had a specific timeline set up like some do. They want to be engaged for a certain amount of time, then married, then have a baby. It just happened to work out this way for us. A friend of mine told me that the first year of marriage was the most important and that the rush to have kids wasn't a good idea. I pretty much agreed with that. (It's really whatever works best for you and yours though. This is just how things worked out for us.) So by 2010, we were pretty much as ready as we'd ever be to start expanding our family. We already had a dog and that's good enough practice, right? Ha! I decided that I wanted to wait until after my 21st birthday though. I wasn't big into partying, but I wanted to have that one night to go out before having 9 months of absolutely no alcohol. Two months later, I took a test and woke my husband up to let him know that we were I was pregnant.
Being that this was our first child, there was so much to learn and research. Luckily breastfeeding was not one of those topics I needed to do any research on. I already knew I was going to breastfeed. I never actually made the conscious decision to do so, I just knew that's what I had, what I wanted to do. I didn't need someone to tell me all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, though I didn't know there were so many. I had no idea there were so many benefits for the nursing mother. I just knew that between a can of formula from the store and fresh milk from my breast, which would be better. It's almost like going to the Farmers' Market for fresh fruits and veggies vs getting a can of fruit. You can tell one tastes much better than the other. I guess you could also say it was because I'm cheap. Have you seen the price of formula?! That stuff is crazy expensive and breastfeeding is absolutely free!
While I knew I would breastfeed, I had no idea just how long I would go. That's when I started looking a bit into breastfeeding. I saw things about baby led weaning and how the benefits of breastfeeding never stop at a certain age. I decided then that I would let my son wean himself. So every time I made it to a breastfeeding goal I had set for myself, I felt more and more accomplished. One year was a big one because there were quite a few times I just wanted to quit. My nipples were sore and one was bruised. They would crack and bleed and every time I nursed, I would curl my toes and hope that this time, there would be no pain. I thought it was supposed to hurt. I thought I just had to get used to nursing. Two years later we found out our son had a tongue tie, which would explain a lot of the pain I was in while nursing. He still was amazing at it though. Even at two years old, boobs are his favorite food source. 
It took a while before we discussed when we wanted to add another baby to our family. A one year old is still very much a baby and at one, C was still using nursing as his food source 100% of the time. We didn't force foods on him, that would defeat the purpose of BLW. Instead we just offered what we ate and if he ate it, great! If he didn't, that was fine too. We knew he'd catch on eventually. Or maybe we just really hoped he would but thought he may just want to nurse until he was in college. 
In August when we found out I was pregnant with out second baby, C was eating solids here and there, but still nursing quite often. My biggest concern was that my milk was going to dry up due to the hormones of being pregnant and that C would just starve himself because he's stubborn and only wanted to nurse. Slowly my milk was drying up and slowly he was eating more foods. I found myself concerned less about what he was going to eat. Then I started worrying that he was going to wean already and wondered if he would be mad because my body pretty much forced him to wean. It was difficult at first. The main times he wanted to nurse was when he laid down for a nap and at night. He still like nursing throughout the night. He would wake up screaming because nothing was coming out and he was frustrated. There was nothing I could do except hold back my own tears. I didn't want him to wean yet. He was still very much my baby. The rough patch for him seemed to end rather quickly once he was used to nothing coming out. 
For me, it was just beginning. It hurt to nurse him because my nipples were sore and sensitive from being pregnant and trying to nurse. Then when I started showing and only have a couple sleeping positions that were comfortable, night nursing seemed impossible. I just had to find a comfortable position for me and have C arrange himself around me. Then the biggest issue was sleep. For whatever reason, it was hard for me to sleep during nursing. It didn't help that he liked to "twiddle" the other side he wasn't using to nurse on. While this didn't bother me before I got pregnant because it helped him fall asleep. Suddenly it was nails on a chalkboard for me. So at night I try to only offer him one side and one side only. When he's first trying to fall asleep, it's not a big deal. However, when he's nursing throughout the night, he gets that one side and doesn't get to sneak his hand in the other side of my tank top.

Besides the few issues we had in the beginning and being uncomfortable during night nursing, we've been doing really well with nursing through pregnancy. I'm quite curious to see how he's going to react once my milk comes back in. Because once it does, there is going to be more than enough of it to nurse both of them. Of course the newborn will be the priority, but I'm not worried. I always said when I was nursing C that I could feed at least another, maybe two more babies. Before I quit working to stay home with him, I pumped at worked twice a day. One day I pumped 10 ounces from each side in the morning! Then, I pumped about 5-7 ounces from each side that afternoon. So I'm not worried in the slightest about milk supply. I'm actually pretty grateful that C still wants to nurse because I won't have half of the freezer taken up by milk I've pumped. Had I known I was going to quit my job to be a SAHM, I would have donated much more than I did. If I have "extra" milk this time, I will definitely donate it!
The biggest issue I'm having while nursing while pregnant and planning on tandem nursing are the comments I'm getting from people. It's at the point where I just don't mention nursing C anymore. I'm always told he needs to be weaned before baby gets here because he doesn't need to be nursing anymore. I'm not sure when it became okay for someone to tell you what to do with your own body. If it's not effecting or harming you, why do you care? As long as my children are healthy, happy and taken care of, please let me do my thing. If anyone asks, I say, "Yes, C is still nursing. Yes, I plan on nursing the two of them together." I honestly have no idea at what point I will peacefully coax C off the breast. I'm hoping he does it all on his own so I don't have to. With having to adjust to a baby sibling in the house, I have no issues letting him nurse as he wants. Maybe being a big brother, he'll want to wean soon. Maybe not. I'm in no rush and it doesn't seem like he is either.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Keeping Ants Away With Essential Oils!

Ever since we moved into our apartment after returning from living in Georgia for two years we've always had an issue with bugs. It doesn't matter how sparkling clean we keep the place, we always have issues. The apartment usually send their pest control guy to spray, but it never seems to do the trick. We're convinced he's not really here to spray for bugs, but to check up on other things. Usually our issues are with Roly Poly bugs (or whatever you call the things), flying ants (Gross, I know!), spiders (which is the very worst bug EVER) and occasionally ants. The ants usually stick to our toy/computer room by the window, so while it's inconvenient, it's not super annoying. The other morning however, I woke up to a bazillion ants in my kitchen! Alright, so it wasn't like they were taking over, but there were a bunch of them. Of course I had to deal with my cranky toddler and feed him a banana because he refused to feed himself, so I had my husband get up to help. We don't really keep anything in our place to fight off or kill bugs, because that's our landlords problem, not ours. So he grabbed the 409 to clean the counters and kill the ants. That stuff smells awful, by the way! That worked at getting rid of the existing ants, but they were coming from somewhere trying to find whatever crumbs they could. About an hour later, we went out to run a few errands and grab some lunch. When we got home, there were more ants on the counter. Ugh, so obnoxious to deal with ants! After laying down to nap with our son, I decided to check out some natural ways to get rid of ants because I was just about to go out and buy whatever poison I could to get rid of them. I noticed a lot of people saying what would kill off and keep spiders away, but nothing much on ants. The two essential oils that kept popping up (or at least out of the ones I have) were peppermint and eucalyptus. I figured, eh, why not try them for ants since they work for spiders.
So I made up a little concoction of about 20-25 drops of water with about 15 drops of peppermint and 5 of eucalyptus. I don't mind the smell of eucalyptus, but I figured it'd be better if the main smell was peppermint since it was going to be in the kitchen. I took my concoction and sprayed the counter top where the ants like to hang out, around the sink and the area where we think they were probably coming from. This worked for maybe 4-5 hours. Which didn't surprise me because the blog I read said she had to reapply the peppermint a couple times after it dried. So I mixed up some more, but doubled the "recipe" this time so I could have extra. I sprayed the same spots as I did before but also sprayed the baseboards under the cabinets, around the dishwasher and the fridge. After that is when I called it a night and got ready for bed. When I woke up this morning there were a handful of ants in their usual place. This time I decided to use up the rest of the spray then take straight peppermint oil and put roughly 5-7 drops in a trail along where we think they're probably coming from. I think I did that around noon this afternoon, or maybe 11 am (whatever time we got up) and have not seen an ant since then. I'm going to go ahead and say it's safe to assume that ants hate peppermint essential oil. I know after putting a bunch of it in the kitchen, our place has been smelling like it all day long. Which is another reason to have more of a peppermint smell than eucalyptus. Heck, I might even start making it into some kind of air freshener because it really made the place smell yummy. 
Now of course I'll still be looking out for ants for the next few days, but I think it's pretty much cleared them out. I'm really glad I didn't have to go get some poison to kill them because the kitchen really isn't the place for that. There are so many different kids of essential oils out there that you can purchase. While I really love buying local as often as possible, the local store we have called Sahara Mart was just too pricey when I bought my essential oils. Especially because I had no idea which ones to start with and what I would use them for. I ended up finding a good deal on a 6 pack of them online so I could try them out and figure out what exactly I would be able to use them for. So far I'd say that my money was well spent, but I still haven't used them on much more than putting in the bath tub, colds and other things along those lines. So I'm still happy I didn't spend a large amount of money on them. I really love my essential oils and plan to get some more and actually have my eye on some of the same brand that I already have. 
Do you use essential oils? If so, what kinds of things do you use them for? I'm always interested to hear what others use them for so I can expand my use of them!

No disclaimer needed since I'm not trying to sell you on a specific brand. However, you should totally get some kind of oils, because they're amazing and I love them. ;)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Meeting With My Doulas!

Today I met with my two doulas for our first prenatal appointment! They happen to be friends of mine, so I'm really excited to have them as my doulas because I trust them both very much. I met Jessica at The Big Latch On when I went in 2012. I met Tara at a Baby Fair, she was handing out information on leaving you baby intact. I think they're a perfect match for what I want for this birth and they affirmed that after today's meeting. We talked about my expectations for this birth along with a birthing plan. We talked about the roles of every individual who will be in the room during labor. I'm really excited for this birth and the opportunity to have my doulas present because I know it'll help make this birth experience much different than my previous one. I don't necessarily regret my decisions from my last birth experience, but I wish I could have done a few things differently. I know already that the presence of a doula or doulas is one of the best choices I could have made.
If you're local to me and you're you're thinking about a doula, I would absolutely recommend you consider hiring one (or both) of them for your birth. They are Holistic Doula Collective on Facebook and they're absolutely amazing. (Tara is actually expecting her 3rd baby in June, so she personally won't be taking on anymore clients during her pregnancy.) They put some great packets together including a Local Resource List which has several great resources from a great OBGYN (the best in our area) to places like The Green Nursery (a natural baby store that carries cloth diapers) and Heiny Helpers which is a great resource for families who cannot afford to buy cloth diapers. Heiny Helpers will lend you a full set of diapers until your child potty trains, then you return them. They also recommended two great books for me to start off with. They have a wonderful library to borrow books from. They also made a packet for the Father to know exactly what to expect and his role and how he and the doula will work together to make the birth the best experience possible.
 After today's meeting with them I felt much more prepared for a natural birth. I wasn't nervous anymore and I didn't have any kind of fears or doubts. They really listen to everything you tell them and while I'm sure I just went on and on about certain things, they did well with taking it all in and taking notes. They know exactly what to expect from the different people I want in the room. This is going to be such a wonderful new experience and I look forward to having a much different birth than I did previously. On that note, I will be 28 weeks on Monday! I can't believe how close it is already. No, we still have not found out the gender of the baby and at this point, I don't think we will. It's going to be the ultimate surprise and I look forward to seeing if my hunch is correct. I know I'll be much better prepared for this birth than I was with C's birth and I'm so excited for that. I do wish the pregnancy would slow down though, because I'm really enjoying being pregnant. On that note, I'm pretty exhausted and my toddler is still awake.