Sunday, December 18, 2016

No, We Aren't Doing the Elf on the Shelf!

Christmastime is fun for everyone. It's always so cheerful and Christmas music paired with some hot chocolate or coffee is something I always look forward to. But with Christmas, comes all the Elf on the Shelf posts and pictures. I see funny memes of moms setting their alarms to remind them to move the elf so they don't forget. I thought about starting up the Elf on the Shelf back when I only had one kiddo. Then again this year when I saw it at the book store. But then I remembered that I don't have time for that nonsense. I mean, I'm sure a lot of other moms who actually do the whole elf thing don't either, but I really don't want to add another thing to my list.
Here's the thing, I may seem like I have it all together and that I'm on top of everything and always on my A game, but that's simply not true. I just don't always share the crappy parts about how the week is going. So let me be honest here for a bit. We just got back from a weekend away in Bloomington and I still have not gotten the dishes done from Friday before we left. Because I seriously cannot pack for our entire family while getting my entire to do list finished. I tried staying up one night to get things done while my kiddos were sleeping and it went really well. I got a ton of crap accomplished in the short hour or so I stayed up after them. The down side is that they still woke up at their normal time while I really wanted to sleep in a bit later. So, maybe getting up earlier than them would work better.
Anyway. I tend to always have a ton of things I'm working on all at once. I try not to overextend myself, but some days I just don't care if I've gotten the dishes done or the laundry folded. There are tons of time where I forget about the laundry sitting in the washer and go to bed without transferring it over to the dryer. So how am I going to remember to move a dang elf, create something "bad" for him to do then get to bed. It's just not going to happen. I mean, our Christmas countdown has at least 4 days that need marked off still because we're just too busy and too forgetful sometimes.
I'm not saying the elf isn't a cool idea, because it totally is. I do enjoy seeing pictures of people getting creative and crafty. I'm just saying that maybe I'm too lazy to do the elf thing. Maybe I'm just not a cool enough mom. Or maybe I just really don't care. Because we do the whole Santa thing and that is hard enough. I have to make sure I don't slip up because there have been times I almost did. I'm pretty sure last year I said something along the lines of "We're seeing the same Santa we did last year." Oops. I mean, of course we are. Luckily I don't think they were listening. Hopefully no other kids were listening either. If so, sorry other parents! I also try to make sure no one else ruins the whole Santa thing for my kids. One day last week we were at Chick-Fil-A and some kid in the play area was trying to tell my five year old that Santa wasn't real. I almost yelled at that kid. I mean, don't be a jerk and ruin it for everyone else, okay?
So, do you have an elf? If so, what is your favorite prank your elf has pulled. If you don't have an elf, do you do any other fun Christmas activities?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dear First Time Mom: You Don't Need All That Crap.

I'm going to start off by saying that I support a mom's decision to put whatever she feels like on her baby registry. There are some things other parents use that I don't think I would use for my babies. And I'm sure there are things I used that other parents didn't see a need for. This is based on what I felt my needs were for baby one and two. Things we asked for that we didn't need and things we didn't bother buying for our second go around.

Looking back before we had babies, we always lived a pretty minimalist lifestyle. We didn't like clutter. We didn't even have a table in our first apartment together, so that space was completely empty except for my husband's computer. (Which only took up a small amount of space.) When we moved into our second apartment, we kind of kept to the minimalist lifestyle and had a pretty bare bones place. It's when I got pregnant with our first son when I started noticing all the things that started invading our apartment. As first time parents, we thought we needed all the things for our precious snowflake. I laugh at the first time mom me. She was pretty funny. I remember making my registry and putting all sorts of cute little things on it. There were things that we bought ourselves that we ended up taking back because we didn't really need it. Our baby monitor that we thought we really needed, we hardly used because we lived in a single floor apartment.

We ended up having a ton of large items in our tiny apartment that we weren't even really using that much. As soon as my oldest started to roll over, we stopped using the changing table and it became a catch all for all the junk. Coats, diaper bag, mail... whatever we brought into the house that day would end up going on the changing table. We hardly used the highchair either. By the time he was big enough for it and old enough to eat food, he wanted to sit with us and eat from our plate. So the highchair was pretty much a useless waste of space. When it came to the swing, we didn't have any big fancy contraption. We had a small swing that sat on the floor that really could even fit in the bathroom if I needed it to. The one large item that we really got a lot of use out of with our first son was the jumperoo. My kid loved this thing so much. We assumed our second would love it too, but he hated it and cried every single time we put him in it. So we sold it shortly after.

Even our crib was a catch all at first. My oldest slept in his bassinet for the first few months. He loved it! After that, he slept in his crib for a while until I ended up bringing him to bed with us while my husband was away. From that moment on, we just decided to bed share.  So the crib went unused for the longest time. Until we decided to side cart it with our bed. That's how we've been using it for the past several years. We attempted using the bassinet with our second son as well, but he hated it, of course. I just ended up bringing him to bed with us from the beginning. Because it's really hard to get any kind of sleep when your baby refuses to sleep in the bassinet, even though it was right beside our bed within arms reach. I think in that case, an arms reach co-sleeper would have been a perfect compromise. I think if we have another baby, that will be on the list of things we get.

As far as the registry goes, only ask for things you really, really need. Because people like to stray from the registry often. Give them enough options without overwhelming them. I saw it a lot working at The Green Nursery. People would come in, take a look at the registry and say, "I know she asked for this and that, but I think I'll grab this and go get something fun that she didn't ask for." So I know from experience, that you'll end up getting a lot of things you didn't even really want. So keep it simple and ask for the necessities.

We didn't have a baby shower for my second son. Mostly because we had everything we needed. We had an abundance of clothing and blankets. Because everyone and their mother will give you outfits and blankets. For some reason, those are the number one baby items. I also suggest that if you plan on babywearing, skip the infant car seat. I know it can be really convenient, but babies really outgrow them quickly. At least I know my boys did. If we have another, we're skipping the infant seat, going straight for a convertible seat and doing a ton of babywearing. Because let me tell you, lugging that heavy car seat around isn't really worth the convenience.

There are so many things we'll do differently if we have another baby. Tell me what are some things you asked for that you didn't really need or use. Are there things you didn't ask for that people just felt they had to get you because it was just too cute? I'd love to hear the things that really helped out during those first few months that were a lifesaver.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lunette Cup: Review+Giveaway!

Let's talk about our periods for a moment, ladies. I jumped in with no issues using reusable products for my children. But there was always something holding me back from trying to turn my period from red to green. After my first son, I went from being a tampon user to just using pads. Tampons were no longer comfortable for me and I assumed the cup wouldn't work out as well either. However, after hearing so many talk about how much they've really loved the switch, I figured I should give it a shot. I reached out to Lunette to bring you all a review and giveaway for a Lunette cup!
They sent me a free product for review. All opinions are my own and I am in no way compensated (beyond the free product) for this review!

Let's start out with what exactly is a menstrual cup. The Lunette cup is a user-friendly, safe, reusable, and eco-logical alternative to pads and tampons. Not only is the Lunette better for the environment, but it saves you from having to dish out money for tampons and pads that you just toss in the trash. It's pretty basic. You just fold, insert like a tampon (adjust when necessary) and you're good to go! You won't ever have to worry about running out of your menstrual products again. You can keep the Lunette in it's little pouch and keep it in your purse when you're close to having your cycle. It doesn't take up much room and you don't have to worry about that annoying crinkling sound of the paper that pads and tampons come wrapped in.
The Lunette Menstrual cup is made of medical-grade silicone (in Finland). It's odorless, safe and does not contain rubber latex. Not only is it affordable and eco-logical, but it is good for you, your purse and the planet! And with the proper care, your Lunette will be with you for years. It's a great sanitary and healthy alternative to disposable tampons and pads. It's also very easy to use, practical and comfortable. It should be emptied about two to four times a day and can easily be used overnight!

Here's what you need to know before beginning to use your Lunette cup! First, always wash your hands when handling your cup. You'll be putting the cup in your vagina, so hygiene is pretty important when handling your Lunette. Then you need to check that the air holes at the top of your cup are open. Once you've done that, you'll want to clean your Lunette by washing it with water and a mild soap. Then comes the fun part you guys. Grab a large pot of water and by my personal suggestion, a wire whisk and follow these directions. Start boiling your water then add your Lunette cup and boil the cup for 20 minutes! Here's where the whisk comes into play. You don't want your cup touching the bottom or sides of the pot because you'll end up burning it. The whisk will keep your cup from touching the pot! After that, you're ready to begin using your cup.

Inserting the cup is fairly simple. After washing your hands, get comfy. You can insert your cup while standing, sitting or squatting and spreading your legs will help with a successful and comfortable insertion. So make sure you're relaxed. Fold the cup in on itself to make it flat. Then fold it in half so that it makes a "C" shape. This technique may take a little time to master, so don't feel discouraged if you don't immediately get the hang of it. Keep the cup rolled up and guide it rim-first into your vagina. Now to make sure you're cup has fully opened, you'll want to slide a clean finger up next to the cup and feel all the way around it. Your Lunette should be emptied about 2-4 times a day but can be used at night for up to 12 hours. The measuring lines on the cup help you monitor your flow and learn your rhythm.

When it's time to remove and empty your cup, be sure to wash your hands and relax your muscles. You need to break the seal which can be done by squeezing the bottom ridged portion of the cup until you feel the suction release. Grasp the bottom of the cup tightly with your forefinger and thumb and rock it back and forth. Gently ease your cup out. You want to be sure you're not pulling it out by holding the stem alone. Then you just empty your cup into the toilet, rinse and repeat. 

As far as cleaning and sanitizing goes, you'll want to clean your cup before and after every cycle. Along with cleaning it after emptying it. To avoid odor and discoloration, rinse first in cold water then wash with hot water and soap. Be sure you're using very mild soap with no perfume or oils. You can also get the Lunette FeelBetter Liquid Wash, designed specifically for your silicone cup! If you're worried that this sounds intimidating, don't! Your Lunette will come with a little instructional paper that you can keep handy while you're getting used to using your cup.
I've been using my cup for a few cycles now and while it has definitely seemed like a learning curve for me, I'm glad that we have this option. To be able to switch to a reusable menstrual product after using disposable products for so long has been such a welcomed change! 

Now for the fun part! Lunette has graciously offered to give one of my readers one Lunette cup in their choice of size and color! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below. Be sure to head over to my Facebook page and give it a like so I can continue to bring you fun giveaways! (Giveaway is open worldwide!) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kentucky to Bloomington: Visiting Our Favorite People!

This past weekend, we headed back up to Bloomington to visit our friends and family. While it was just a short weekend trip, we had such a blast and had so much to do. It's not too long of a trip, maybe 3 hours at most and my four year old was already asking by Louisville how much longer we had to go. Luckily I had snacks and fun things for the boys to do to keep their mind off the trip. My two year old fell asleep after a little while and slept until we got into Bloomington. My four year old refused to sleep, scared he would miss something exciting. Immediately after we got into town, I sent my parents a message letting them know we had made it safely, but also to let them know we were taking the kiddos to lunch first. Our family's favorite meal is Green Curry. But not just any Green Curry, it has to be from My Thai Cafe in Bloomington. 
We've tried at least 4-5 other places and nothing compares to MTC. Seriously... nothing! We did find one in Louisville that wasn't too bad, but still not as amazing as we're used to. Bloomington just seriously has some pretty amazing food. As soon as we drove in to Bloomington we asked my four year old if he was excited to be back. He gave us an unenthusiastic "yeah" but when we pulled up to MTC and asked if he was excited for Green Curry, he gave us an extremely enthusiastic yes! I think he even started to sing a little bit about his favorite dish.

We made it through lunch without any major meltdowns. I didn't really expect any because I knew they had been looking forward to this lunch for months now. We finished up and packed up the leftovers then headed straight to our favorite local donut store, Cresent Donuts. Now usually donuts are just donuts, but if you get them from Cresent, they're a circle chocolatey piece of donut heaven. I'm not even kidding. They're so good, we brought back tons of extras at the end of our trip! Afterwards, we headed to see some of our favorite faces at The Green Nursery! I miss my fellow TGN mamas and I'm so glad I got to see them. I literally jumped for joy at seeing their faces. While my kids terrorized the store and ate their donuts, causing them to do more terrorizing- I got to chat with my dearest friends.
Afterwards we headed over to see my father-in-law then my father. The boys got to talk their ears off and I know their grandfathers and their uncle enjoyed seeing them. My brother even had the cutest little stuffed animals from Disney to give them. I may or may not be jealous of their cute stuffed animals. After hanging with them for a while we ran a couple errands, grabbed some more food then headed to our friends house where we were staying for the night. There was a house full of kiddos there! Usually I worry about how my kids will behave. Sometimes, they just don't get along with other kids. That night, they were amazing. All the kids were really good. Nobody cried, nobody got hurt. It was a win in my book. I even got to snuggle the sweetest little baby and my husband rocked him to sleep. The mother of said baby was so happy to get a little break too. So that was really nice. I really wanted to offer to put him in my wrap so he could get a nice long sleep, but I didn't want to impose.

We woke up the next morning, Sunday, a bit early so we could get some grub at Moe's. It doesn't sound too exciting, but we don't have one near us. But also, I love tacos. So good! Then we headed to the mall to hang out with my mom. The boys were so excited to see her. They even got these cool ball things her husband won out of the machine for them. So nice! After spending time with my mom, we headed to Jumpin Joey's so the boys could have some fun before we hit the road later that evening. I'm glad we got a chance to squeeze that in because the boys really love it there. 
From there we headed to one of our favorite parks in Bloomington to meet up with another friend. She brought her sweet little baby boy and I got to snuggle him a bit too. I mean seriously guys, all these baby snuggles this past weekend did nothing good for my baby fever and I've thrown out way more hints to my husband than necessary! We stayed at the park for a nice long while for the boys to get all their energy out. I enjoyed hanging with my friend and her baby too. I miss working with her on Wednesday at TGN.
Once we finished up at our favorite park, we still has some time to kill before we hit the road. We headed over to where Craig's friend works to pick up a small table they had for the boys. Then we headed over to the boys' Godmother's work so we could hang out there for a bit so she could see them before we left town. They also got to see their cousin and play with her for a while, so that was pretty nice for them. Before heading out of town I had to run by Walmart because I'm in search of this dang rainbow poop emoji pillow for my two year old. I knew I should have purchased it when I saw it here a couple weeks ago. Now I'm going to be searching for it until Christmas. Here's hoping I can actually find it. We hit up Barns and Noble and found my two year old some flash cards to work on his alphabet, stopped by to get some Taco Bell and hit the road.
We planned it so that the boys would end up sleeping the entire drive back home and it mostly worked until we hit some traffic and my two year old woke up. So, since we were in some sit still traffic, I climbed into the back to nurse him back to sleep. They slept all the way until home and I even managed to get them changed into their pajamas without them waking up too much. We had such a great visit back to Bloomington but boy were we glad to be home in our bed stretched out and comfortable. Of course the next day or so both kiddos started showing signs of being sick. Now here we are, a week later and all four of us managed to catch some gross cold. Now that I'm finally getting laundry and everything else caught up, it's time to get a fun review and giveaway up for you all! So make sure you check back in soon!

Friday, September 9, 2016

National Teddy Bear Day!

Did you know today is National Teddy Bear Day? I didn't know until yesterday, actually. So here's the deal- today only you can buy a bear from Build-A-Bear for only $5! This is a pretty great deal considering they're normally $12. They even have two additional bears- Lil’ Vanilla Bean Cub and Lil’ Hazelnut Cub. To make it even better for every $5 bear purchased today for National Teddy Bear Day, BAB will donate a bear to charity. This deal is only in stores though, so hopefully you (or someone you know) has a Build-A-Bear close to you! Unfortunately for us, the closest one is at least an hour away. So we will not be participating in the awesome deal today. However, I hope some of you can!  For more information or to find a store near you,  head over here 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Super Fun, Easy Craft!

Occasionally I search Pinterest for crafts to do with the kiddos. Usually they all end up needing way too many supplies and look like more trouble than they're worth. While scrolling through Facebook one day I saw a cool little craft where you take a box and turn it into a little car. Toss on a movie for your kiddos and give them a snack and it's like they're at a drive in! When we lived in Indiana, we went to the drive in several times as a family. It was our favorite summer activity to do with the kiddos. (Although, now with our minivan, it would be even more amazing.) Since we currently have a million boxes in our storage closet after moving, I figured this would be a pretty simple, fun craft for the boys. We also have a really ridiculous stash of construction paper, so we didn't need to buy any supplies for this craft. Even if you don't have construction paper, you can really use just about anything and color/paint it.
I started off letting the boys paint their boxes while I cut out circles for the headlights, wheels and taillights. We used extra paper plates left over from a birthday party for the steering wheels. Once they finished painting, I set the boxes outside so the paint could dry in the sun. This only took about 5-10 minutes at most. Once we brought them in, we finished putting all the extra stuff on. We glued on the wheels which I cut from black construction paper. We glued on the steering wheels which were just paper plates small enough to make the perfect steering wheel. Next we glued on the taillights, which I used plastic cups that were also leftovers from one of their birthday parties. We used yellow construction paper cut out in smaller circles for the headlights. 
 Once we were done putting all those things on, I thought about what else a car would have that would be fun for the kiddos. Then I remembered my four year old made a license plate to put on our van. So I decided they needed one for each of their cars. But I wasn't sure what to write on them. I thought about just letting them make their own, but I'm pretty sure my two year old was over decorating the car at that point. Then I thought about using their gamer names. They play a game called ROBLOX and they each came up with a name. My four year old is ChunkyMunky1 and my two year old is FrostytheSnowKid1. They fit each of them perfectly. So I wrote them out on the license plates and glued those on last. 
Finally, I grabbed a blanket to toss in and gave them some snack. Then we picked a cartoon on Netflix and they sat in their cars like they were in a real drive in.
Even after they were done with their cartoon, they played with those boxes for days and days. They pretended they were ice cream trucks, trains and other things. They would take them to the parking garage and go shopping. They really loved this craft and I was so excited we could make a fun time out of it while using up some old supplies we had on hand.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Car Seat Safety: My Forward Facing 2.5 Year Old

One day last week we went out to grab some quick dinner and run a couple errands. Baby Bear, my 2.5 year old was being extra difficult to get into his car seat. He wanted to play around in the back seat of the van instead. While my husband was picking a movie to put in for them to be entertained, we joked about him (Baby Bear) being turned around so he could watch without having to use his mirror. So I went for it. I turned his seat around and had him climb up. My husband didn't even notice until Baby Bear was buckled in. We did what we needed to do and returned home. So it was a quick trip. The next day we made a very last minute decision (actually it was my husband who decided) to go to Louisville to Toys R Us and run around the mall. I let him forward face during that trip as well. As we were leaving the mall headed to grab a bite of food before leaving to go back home, Baby Bear fell asleep. We carried him out to the car and laid him in the back for a diaper change- which he slept through, then put him in his car seat. He stayed sleeping. As we started driving, that's when I noticed just how tiny he still looked. His head fell forward and the only thing I could think of was internal decapitation. If we got into a horrible accident, I was worried about internal decapitation. I have read enough articles to know that it usually results in death. However, I did a quick google search for statistics. First off, internal decapitation describes ligamentous separation of the spinal column from the skull base. It does say that it's possible for a human to survive this injury, however only about 30% of cases DO NOT result in death. That means that for 70% of those who sustain this injury have instant death. It goes on to say that 15% who do survive to the emergency room do not survive their hospital stay.
I knew that this was a big risk, especially for children who were forward facing too soon. But it really hit home at that moment. When I saw his neck stretched, his head forward while sleeping in his car seat- forward facing. After that, I turned his seat back around so he could be rear facing again. It turns out, he actually really likes rear facing better than forward facing anyway. It's a lot more comfortable for him to be rear facing. When he sleeps, he just rests his head on the side of his seat and it doesn't fall forward like it does when he was forward facing. 

After all this, it makes me wish I could rear face my Monkey still. He was forward facing at around three years old. However, they say it's safest to rear face as close to four years old as possible. Of course, you should absolutely rear face until your kiddo outgrows the weight and height restrictions. For Monkey, he hit the weight restriction pretty quickly since he gained weight during nursing. He got all that fatty newborn milk after Baby Bear was born. However, now that he is almost five, I worry a little less. Even if only slightly. We still have him in his five point harness (Nautilus) and if we ever forget his buckles (it's happened once or twice) he will always remind us. He will remain harnessed until he can no longer use the harness.
As for Baby Bear, he's going to be rear facing forever. Forever! Okay, okay. He'll rear face until he hits the height and the weight limit for his current seat. I tend to get negative comments occasionally about Baby Bear rear facing for so long, but I just don't care much about their opinions. Even more so now though after I saw just how tiny and fragile he looked forward facing.

Do you practice "extended rear facing"? If so, do you get negative or supportive comments? What is your favorite seat for extended rear facing? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

These Are a Few of My FAVORITE Things!

When you look at those two little lines on a pregnancy test, so many things run through your mind. One of the first things I thought about was all of the cute little baby things that would start taking over our home. With our first son, I made a huge list of everything I would need to buy and the things I would ask for at our baby shower. I was so cute then. I didn't realize how many of those things were completely unnecessary and end up taking up space. So with my second, we nixed the majority of "needs" we would put on our list. Luckily, we kept pretty much everything we knew we would use the second time around. So we actually didn't need a single thing.
Fast forward to now, I have a two and an almost five year old. There are no more cute little baby things in our home since we purged from moving twice since my second son was born. Chances are when we have another baby, we won't need much of anything either. However, there are still some things we use daily that I would absolutely put on a baby registry, because we love them.

Cloth diapers:
Now, I know it's not for everyone and that's totally fine. Whatever works for you and your family, no judgement here. For us though, cloth diapers have save so much money. At this point, I'm fairly certain we've at least broken even. What that means is that I've sold enough diapers, I've recouped the money we spent on our original bundle purchase from The Green Nursery back in 2012. We have purchased more diapers since then, but that's because I'm buying as a hobby and a collector now. I know, it's totally weird, but I love cute prints on diapers. Sometimes I don't really want to show off my diaper stash, because I don't want people assuming cloth diapering isn't affordable. My stash is giant. This is not an affordable way to cloth diaper starting out. I actually recently totaled up the cost of cloth diaper as cheap as I could find. This was brand new diapers though. You can totally cloth diaper cheaper if you buy used. For some people, that's not their thing and again, that's totally fine. I ended up finding a buy one get one free sale on covers through along with some prefolds. I was able to put a pretty decent package together of diapers for around $100. This is what I estimated would be spent only in the first month on disposable diapers. Granted, I used the price of a box of newborn Pampers. You can use cheaper disposables and the size will probably change, which changes the price as well. So this is just an estimate of how much one would spend on disposables. So cloth diapers are definitely on my favorite list. They're cute, save money and are great for the environment. Our stash has grown so much in the 4 (almost 5) years we've been cloth diapering. At one point we had two kids in diapers, so that was really helpful. I also like that my diapers aren't getting too much wear and tear on them. I'll be sad when our diapering days are done, because I love my cloth diapers. However, I look forward to selling some to make some extra money and donating a lot of them to help families in need cloth diaper their babies. 

Baby Carriers:
I wore my first son here and there, but it didn't seem like we wore him much. When he was first born, we had one of those cheap $20 carriers that are not comfortable at all. Looking back at the pictures, he looked so miserable in it. So after looking into babywearing a bit more, I decided to try out a Moby, because the price point wasn't too bad. Oh my gosh, I hated that thing worse than the cheap uncomfortable carrier. I tried it out because someone in my family recommended it. Do not even bother if you have chunky babies and they're not newborns. My son was so big and so heavy, we would get way too hot and it just wasn't very supportive or comfortable. After that, we decided that SSCs were definitely more our style. So our local cloth diaper shop was having a grand reopening and had some pretty awesome sales. I took my little guy with me and picked up the Galaxy Gray Ergo for 30% off. We used that thing so much. I knew I was a buckle carrier kind of girl as soon as I put the Ergo on. However, that sent me down the rabbit hole of babywearing. I ended up with a Boba and two Ergo carriers before seeing the Tula. Oh man, I saw a Tula and knew I had to have one of them. 
Shortly after my second son was born, I entered a giveaway for a Tula wrap conversion. It was an anniversary giveaway. I was so shocked and excited when I was contacted and told I was the winner. It showed up just a few short days after getting the exciting news. However, I couldn't use it right away with my newbie since I didn't have an insert. I was using a ringsling until he could start fitting in the SSCs without an infant insert because I didn't want to buy one. Especially since my boys get huge fast. Once he was able to fit in the Tula, I didn't use another carrier. It was the most comfortable carrier I had ever used. I ended up selling my Boba and both of my Ergo carriers after some time. After some time, there was a Dear Diary Tula posted on our local babywearing page and since I have no self control, I bought it. I had been saving up after selling diapers and my other carriers so I immediately scooped it up. I have a thing for purple carriers and I really loved the rainbows and unicorns. My husband wasn't fond of it because of just how girly it was. I actually just recently got him to finally use it the other day. I then decided after some time that I really wanted to try woven wraps out. Again, going down a dangerous rabbit hole because once you start... I was really surprised at how easy it was to wrap. Nothing like using the Moby! I got the Hero Ardent wrap from Dearest Diapers and really loved it. Then I found Paxbaby and oh my goodness you guys, I was in serious trouble. I saw their gorgeous Sally wrap and knew I had to have that one. (You can see a pattern here right? The self control issue. I'm seriously obsessed with my carriers you guys.) The problem was that it was out of stock and the market value for it was insane. I will never pay market value. Never.
Then they made the announcement that they were going to have another run. Luckily it was around tax time and we had the extra money for me to snag that lovely wrap. Oh man, I was definitely meant to have that wrap. It's gorgeous! So there's a problem though. (Not really a problem if you have self control though.) Paxbaby makes the very best wraps. They've been making Disney themed wraps lately and I'm totally obsessed. Part of Your World came out and I bought it. A wrap centered around Little Mermaid, you bet I had to have that bad boy. It looks lovely with my other carriers too. Now here I sit with two Tulas and three woven wraps. I have no promised my husband I will sell my Hero Ardent wrap since it doesn't get used too much anymore. But also because Paxbaby will have a Beauty and the Beast themed wrap coming out soon and since that's one of my other absolute favorite Disney movies, I'm going to end up buying that one as well. Now, if you need just one carrier for you know- babywearing for necessity, I definitely recommend trying on the different carriers out there if you can. You'll get a feel for what you like and you can go from there. My son is two now and we use our carriers pretty much daily. I've even tossed my four year old up in the Tula a few times. 

Swaddle Blankets:

When you think of swaddle blankets, you think of swaddling sweet, tiny, little newborn babies. But what do you do after your baby is done being swaddled? Pack them away for the next baby? Nope! Definitely not. I currently have an embarrassing collection of swaddle blankets in my closet. Mostly gifts of course, because people love to give babies blankets. We also have a million of those hospital swaddles, even though they're not that big and didn't work well for swaddling my giant babies. They're cute though, so we'll keep them around. My personal favorite are Aden+Anais swaddles and the new Tula blankets! (I know what you're thinking, but I swear I'm not a brand snob. Tula just makes super cute things and the mermaid blanket called out to me!) The A+A swaddles are soft and lightweight. They make perfect blankets for summer snuggles, laying out on the grass for non-walking babies, laying in hot swings, adding warmth in the car during the winter time along with covering infant seats to protect from rain and wind. Swaddles have so many great uses long after your baby has grown. We use them for both my two and four year old boys. They're both super obsessed with our new Tula blanket as well. 

I think that may be mostly because I'm pretty obsessed with it myself- I'm currently snuggled up on the couch with it right now. But also because this blanket is ridiculously soft. It's like the silky soft muslin swaddles that A+A has. But the Tula blanket is also pretty huge! I would definitely order more Tula blankets if there were more prints I really loved. I mean, there's one I really like- Winter Solstice, but I refuse to pay market value for that thing. 

So here are a few of my favorite baby items that I still use even though my boys are older. And all the things I will use for future babies, of course. What are some of your must have items that you find yourself still using even though your little ones aren't babies anymore? 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Worst Experience With Doctors I've Ever Had!

 Last Wednesday (the 6th) I woke up feeling extremely ill. I tried to shake it off and just get through the day. I made it maybe two hours before I had to have my husband leave work to come help me out. As soon as he got home, he got the boys ready to leave and we went straight to the urgent care here in KY. Now normally, I have no reservations about going to urgent care. Back in Bloomington, they were always super quick and super nice. I once went in for mastitis and the doctor was really nice and said, "You sound like you know what you're talking about. I'd tell you all about the natural remedies to do while taking the antibiotic, but I'm sure you already know." (Had I not, I would have told him I didn't. But I had been through mastitis enough to know what needed to be done.) I honestly expected the same kind of care at the urgent care here, but that was no where near the experience I had. I'm actually still quite angry after all that. So here's the rundown. I woke up with a fever, pain in my lower, left back, dizziness, heart racing and nauseousness. I figured it was probably some kind of kidney infection and I knew I needed antibiotics. I had hoped we could wait until my husband was off work, but it wasn't possible. So he drove me and the boys so I could get checked out. They did all the normal stuff, the nurse saw me and got my vitals and all that jazz. Then the doctor walked in and all hell broke loose. She talked to me about my symptoms and told me what she had planned on doing. Then she started to examine me. She commented on the two small bruises I had on my legs. "Oh my gosh, what happened to your legs?!" To which I replied with a little laugh, "I have two boys, they play a little rough sometimes." (Mostly, they kick me in the middle of the night because we bedshare. Tiny humans take up a lot of space in bed.) But also, I bruise kind of easily. Not easily enough to be concerned, but easily. Anyway, I shrugged it off because I didn't think anything of it. Then, oh my gosh, then she started feeling my stomach to figure out where I was and wasn't in pain. She said, and I cannot make this up you guys. "Do you even eat? You're very thin!" Honestly, I was too sick to pick up on her subtle hints, but once I was out of there, I was so angry. So, so angry. There I was, sick enough that I couldn't move much, exhausted because I just wanted to sleep and this woman had the nerve to hint that I'm being abused and not fed. Many of my friends can back me up on this when I say, I eat a LOT.  I've been nursing four years now and two of those were tandem nursing years. I'm already pretty tiny as it is. All the females in my family are small. I don't even know that my younger sister has hit 100 pounds yet. It's just the way our family is. When I was pregnant each time (even more so the second pregnancy) I didn't really gain weight. I was just all belly.
So that was pretty much the worst experience I've had with a doctor. She then decided that she couldn't help me and wanted to send me to the ER. She asked if I wanted to ride in the ambulance or if I had a ride, so I called my husband (he had taken the boys to Chick-fil-A since they hadn't eaten yet) and told him to come back so we could go to the ER. This made the doctor even more irritated for whatever reason. She was pretty much the worst to deal with. On the way to the hospital I was pretty freaked out. The doctor at the urgent care had said my EKG came back abnormal and she didn't know why my heart rate and blood pressure was elevated. We also had both boys (2 and 4) with us who were growing antsy and impatient as time went on. I ended up texting my mom to let her know and when she found out we were headed to the hospital, she immediately started making plans to drive down to be with us and help out with the boys. We got to the hospital and the first thing I was offered was a wheel chair, which was great since I didn't have the strength to stand. I got checked in and vitals taken then headed to the waiting room. We were there for a while then got called up to have my blood drawn then back to the waiting room. Finally, we were called up so they could take further information, then again, sent back to the waiting room. We waited there for hours and hours. The boys were so bored and wanted to run around and be, well, kids. As we waited, my strength continued to decrease and all I could do was close my eyes and hope that I would sleep through the awful pain and sickness. The boys were being such a handful and my husband handled it like a champ! My poor little dude was so tired though, which made him so cranky and he cried a lot. I mustered up enough strength to scoop him up on my lap and nurse him. We both fell asleep then. It was probably the best I'd felt all day. Something about nursing your upset kiddo makes things a little better. It wasn't long after he and I fell asleep that they were calling us back to our room. I tried transferring my little dude to the bed with me for more rest, but he saw a new room with new opportunity to play and explore. (Or as I like to call it, another chance to be grumpy because he skipped his nap.) We waited in that room forever! Oh my gosh, so much waiting. I don't know if they were irregularly busy, or if they're just always this slow, but it was awful. I will say though, that the staff all were really nice. The nurse offered my kiddos and husband drinks and even brought them popsicles, which really made their night better. After a while, my mom showed up. I was so happy to have her there. It was amazing having help for Craig to take care of the boys and myself. After she got there, they did another EKG to make sure nothing was wrong. They told me that if no one comes in to discuss it, it's a good sign. But if everyone comes in, it's a bad sign. The doctor came in to tell me that it was basically just a really horrible kidney infection. He said had I been pregnant, they would have immediately admitted me to the hospital. (They even did a pregnancy test even though I kept telling them I was not pregnant and was currently on my period. Ugh.)
Then came the good part. He wanted to start an IV with liquids, a strong antibiotic and a small dose of morphine for the pain. Whoa, morphine? I've never had morphine before. The nurse who was hooking up the IV said I would start to feel that immediately. Whew! No more pain. I was looking forward to that. She was totally right. As soon as that stuff was in there, I was feeling much better. Making jokes and laughing. That is until a bunch of people swarmed the room. I almost threw up. Was there something wrong with my EKG? No, it was just the changeover and the nurses were discussing my chart. "She'll be leaving tonight once her IV is done." Oh thank goodness. My husband did say that the doctor chased him down the hall to let him know the EKG came back normal. After about an hour waiting for the IV to be finished, we were finally cleared to go home. Shortly after getting home, we all went to bed. We were pretty frustrated that the urgent care didn't just treat the kidney infection and we had to go through this whole ordeal just to get some antibiotics. But now I know which place to avoid in the future. I was lucky to have my mom stay with us up until Saturday. It was so helpful and fun for the boys. Monkey showed her all of his toys and games and told her he wanted to take her to Baskin Robbins. My Baby Bear even got up in the mornings and let me sleep in, not nursing until nap time. Which was amazing!
It was such a crazy awful experience. But I almost feel like the 10 days with no coffee thing was pure torture. I mean, getting up at 8 am with the kiddos, feeling totally fine but not allowed to have coffee. Ugh. That was a round ten days for me. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

We Did An Adult Thing!

This entire move has been full of tons of "adulting". Packing up our boys and all our crap to move to another state. We don't know anyone here, we don't know the awesome local places to hang out and shop and we don't even know which dentist or pediatrician comes highly recommended. These are the things I'm currently stressing over. We loved our boys' doctor back home. He was great and always took his time answering our questions no matter how silly they seemed. 

But the most adulting has been large purchases. First, we needed a washer and dryer because we've never actually owned our own set before now. That was extremely exciting in a weird kind of, "Oh my gosh I'm such a grown up now." kind of way. I mean, who really gets excited about a washer and dryer. Then we needed a table as well since we gave the one back to my mom that we had at our old place. Which is a good thing too because we didn't have room in our moving truck to take it with us. 

Back in about March of this year, our second vehicle was totaled because a tire came flying off a truck and screwed our car up. Thankfully no one in either car was hurt at all, but man did it suck to go from two cars to one car. Especially because I can't drive stick shift. That was tricky for a while, trying to plan everything around having one car that only my husband could drive. Now, just four months later, we're in a position to get a second vehicle! We had already been on a few lots checking out minivans and SUVs. The first lot was a bust. We found one SUV we liked, but that thing was huge! We found a few at the second lot, but they were not in our price range and just not spacious enough for us. The third lot was one of those lots that you can get a cheap used car, but it's not certified preowned. So you get what you get and you're screwed if it breaks down. Except we found a van that I really liked. It was a Dodge Caravan with third row seating and some pretty neat features. I was sold, this was our van and I wanted to buy it right then. However, we didn't quite have the money to pull the trigger and my husband wanted to check out another lot just down the road. 

Turns out, it was a good idea that we didn't settle on that Dodge. (Not knocking Dodge, they make great vehicles. I've always wanted a Durango, but I need more space.) We met with a younger guy who said his wife was expecting a baby. He showed us two vans, both Chrysler Town and Country vans. One had more miles and more features and one would cost us a little less money. The great thing, they both were pretty much exactly the same as the Dodge Caravan. That third row seating with Stow N Go seats it pretty epic you guys! I would have never guessed that third row seating in a minivan would make me this excited. We looked them both over and grabbed the stats on each of them then headed to grab some food because our kids were pretty much over the day at that point. After a few days, we decided that we liked those two choices and we would go chat with the guy about which one we wanted. So we went back this past Saturday to see what kind of price we could haggle. My husband came back outside and told me they sold the gold one we looked at and the white one was being rented out to the city. How frustrating. I mean, I get it. You can't just hope that a week later the car you want will still be there. 

We decided to go back to that first lot because the lady there called to let us know they had a Town and Country van that they just got on the lot. So we went to check it out. The first thing I noticed was the nice silver color then we opened it up and I was even more excited. Black interior. Genius! Now when my kids spill crap in the car, it'll be easy to clean it up and hide the stains. There are also tons of great features on this one as well. We were there for so long checking this van out. We took the car seats out of my husband's car and put them in the van to test drive it. 

We fell in love with this van! It was such a smooth ride and so much space in the back! We left to get lunch and came back to look at it some more and discuss the price and cost per month. Finally, around 4 pm, we made it official. We drove our van off the lot! This wasn't even our plan for the day. The plan was to go to Louisville to Chuck E Cheese's, the cloth diaper shop there and the mall. Instead, we bought a minivan! We drove home to get the boys' car seats in the van then headed to Louisville. We didn't get a chance to check out the cloth diaper shop, but we did manage to visit Chuck E Cheese's and the mall. So we had a lot going on that day!

Friday, July 1, 2016

One Week Down!

Today marked the official first week of our new "normal". Over and done already. That seemed like a pretty fast week. My husband in his new job, me as a full time stay at home mom. One week in the books and we all survived. I'm proud of my husband. He worked so hard to get to this point and I know he's going to be awesome at this! Today when my husband got home, he asked how our first week was. I think he phrased it something along the lines of, "How was your first week as a stay at home mom?" And I was confused at first. What an odd thing to ask. I've been staying at home with the boys since I quit my job less than two weeks after going back to work after my first son was born. Then I really thought about it. Our situation has always been rather unique and I haven't quite been a full time stay at home mom, by myself anyway. My husband did most of his schooling at home, online so he was almost always home with us. Then, I got a job at our (then) local cloth diapering/natural parenting store, The Green Nursery. Even though it was a very part time job (two days a week and roughly 10 hours a week) I still technically was not a stay at home mom. So I thought about it more and we really actually didn't do so bad. I planned fun things for the boys the first few days so we could keep busy. By the end of the week though, I was moody, my kids were moody and we were just ready for the weekend. Even now, I have to keep them from destroying each other. My four year old won't stop touching my two year old and that makes him want to bite his older brother. You know, just the normal chaos of having kids. I'm honestly not even sure how anyone has any energy left.
So we've decided that tomorrow (Saturday) we'll be treating ourselves (mostly the boys) to a day in Louisville and going to Chuck E' Cheese's! We've become morning people now, so we'll be up and at it at a decent time. Seriously though, we used to go to bed after 1 am and get up around noon. What life was that? Ever since we've been here it's been 8 am wake up every single morning. Except the morning my little and I got up at 7:45, which really screwed up the entire day for him. He was such a moody little dude. Anyway, so we live a little less than an hour South of Louisville which is pretty fun! My plan is to hit up the cloth diaper store there- The Diaper Fairy Cottage and maybe even the mall that has the Disney Store in it, because oh my word, that store is amazing! I'm not really sure what else is on the list for tomorrow, but we'll probably do a bit of exploring. Anyone have any suggestions? Because I know we'll be going to Louisville frequently. All I know is this time, I will not forget the Tula. I should keep repeating myself so I actually don't forget. Last time we went, I forgot it and the boys kept fighting over who got to use the umbrella stroller. Ugh!

As for the 4th, we'll probably be spending it on Fort Knox celebrating with all the fun stuff they have planned. Then staying later into the night to watch the firework show. My little will be sporting his new bumGenius Mary Pickersgill Flip diaper, because it's obviously the most perfect diaper to wear. I'll also be setting out all our red, blue and any white diapers for that day. I can't help but get our diapers to match the holidays. He's also going to be wearing a super cute outfit my brother got for his birthday. The shorts are blue with stars and the shirt is red with white stripes and it says USA. Adorable!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th! 

Things Are Changing!

There have been many things in our life that have changed recently. My husband got a job in another state, so we moved from our home in Bloomington, Indiana to Kentucky! While the distance isn't that great, it's still a huge change for us and our two boys. With that, I left my job at The Green Nursery and am (again) a full time stay at home mom. Which is really what I love doing, so that's not a huge deal. I still write reviews over on as well. I'll stay over there as long as Maria keeps me. However, my plan is to get my blog up and running and write on here full time as well. With that, I've decided I need to change my blogs name. Which I don't think is any kind of big deal, since I'm only starting to build a following. I've decided I don't want to focus on only cloth diapers and I want my name to reflect that. There's so much about parenting that I'd like to write about, that I want people to read. I don't want to alienate any readers because they think my blog isn't for them since they may not cloth diaper. There will be something for everyone to relate with and laugh along with. So join me on my journey of blogging and hopefully I can bring some great reviews and possibly some more giveaways. I'll be blogging a lot about our adventure in our new home along with making new mommy friends and friends for our boys. I'm sure you will see tons of cute pictures of my kiddos, because well, they're adorable. 
For now, just keep checking back and be sure to follow along on my Facebook page and my Twitter to see what's new. Just keep in mind that with all the new changes, my blog may look a little plain until I get things exactly how I want them to look. I'll also be working on changing over my Instagram account to reflect my blog as well. There will be plenty of awesome content coming your way. So I hope you stick around through all the changes and bring your friends! 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Day My 4 Year Old Weaned!

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. But life happened. So here it is, better late than never. 

Last year I wrote about waiting to see if my son would potty train or wean first. Three months after that blog post, my then 3 year old potty trained. Score! A year went by and by his 4th birthday he was still nursing. At this point not only had I been nursing for four years, I had also been tandem nursing for a solid year and a half. So at that point, I was definitely feeling "done" and started considering weaning my 1.5 year old as well. Nursing aversion was kicking in full force and was affecting my nursing relationship with my little guy. At that point, I knew I needed to wean my four year old. To be completely honest, I hadn't considered weaning him sooner since everyone kept telling me I "needed to get him off the boob".
 It's kind of like, tell me I can't and I'll prove you wrong scenario. I can't stand when people tell me what I should/shouldn't be doing with my kids. So I kept nursing because I wasn't about to wean with that kind of attitude from people in my life! But at a certain point, I stopped talking and listening to people about nursing. We obviously had different views on what an "acceptable" age to be nursing was.

 I started looking for weaning help from breastfeeding groups on Facebook. I needed to wean for my sanity and because nursing was putting a strain on my relationship with my four year old. I figured a group of breastfeeding moms would be the perfect place to go because they, of all people, wouldn't be the kind of people to judge my decision to nurse this long. My son was waking more throughout the night to nurse than his younger brother and I was not getting enough sleep! The breastfeeding group I asked questions in was no help at all. In fact, I got such a crappy response from someone thinking one thing works for all children. So I got angry and left the group and ended up in tears. The only answer I my husband and I came up with was to wean both boys. 

Because nothing else was working. My younger son was able to nurse throughout the night and my four year old just didn't get why he couldn't nurse as well. Attempting to wean him was proving to be more painful and exhausting than nursing and I was getting even less sleep. One morning, really early, he kept asking to nurse. When I said no, he started screaming and crying. I was tired. I was done. I was mad because he woke his brother up. So my husband took him 
downstairs to chat with him. Whatever he said really worked. (He may have said something along the lines of "big boys don't nurse"). It was not without punishment, however. He told me- "You're breaking my heart. I just so want to nurse!" And oh my gosh did that just hurt me to hear. It made me cry. I didn't want this to be the way we ended our nursing relationship. I offered to snuggle him instead and that seemed to work. This is not how I envisioned weaning him. I think about it constantly and get depressed. I wanted so badly for it to be an easy transition with little tears from either of us. That didn't happen. It was completely opposite.

Looking back, our nursing relationship was not the easiest. He was my first baby. While I knew even before he was born that I wanted to nurse and I would do everything to make sure he only ever had breast milk. I just had no idea what to expect. I didn't know many mothers who were or did nurse. I was pretty much the only one at the time nursing my baby. The first experience with nursing I had come in contact with was when my niece was born. Her mother nursed her. But she was done long before my son was born. Nursing was much harder than I expected. My gosh was it so hard for us. I ended up with an over supply, got really bruised, had mastitis and clogged ducts constantly. Oversupply was such a challenge for us. All of it was really. But oversupply was so hard because my poor tiny baby was struggling to nurse. I remember one night my husband (in the middle of the night while I was crying) googled ways to help my son nurse while dealing with oversupply. He was such a good support system for me.

At one point, I really just wanted to quit because I was so bruised and in paint. I thought it was normal. It wasn't. Don't ever think that nursing is "supposed" to hurt. That's what I thought. It's what I had been told. We found out that my son had a severe tongue tie. By age two, we had it fixed and nursing was so much better. Right after he had it corrected, I nursed him and knew instantly there was a huge difference. However, it still wasn't perfect because nursing while pregnant is uncomfortable. So after my second was born, I was finally able to enjoy nursing. The way it was meant to be. I was so happy and bonding really well with my boys. Together. I had more than enough milk to nurse both of my boys. So much so, that I gave them each their own "side" to nurse on. We kept up with that until the end. Even now, my two year old only nurses on one side. 

I'm proud that I was able to give him four years of nursing. And 1.5 of those being tandem nursing! It's amazing to think about. I'm happy to have some beautiful nursing photos taken as well. I recommend finding a good photographer to professionally capture those amazing moments. 

Breastfeeding selfies are great too, but there's just something so special about having some gorgeous professional photos done. I look back at those photos that we had taken in July (of 2015) and they make me smile. You can just see all the love and happiness that we shared during our nursing relationship. They will always be that special reminder of how much I loved and enjoyed nursing my boys.