Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Month 4 Moms: Redux!

Hello again friends! I loved M4M so much, It's become a Blog-O-Hollic installation. *cheers & applause* Joining us today is Rachael McAdams, a SAHM of twins slash writer (not to be confused with the Notebook-toting, Gosling-smooching actress of the same name). Today, she talks about the big baby guessing game! 

Baby Gender: To Find out or not?

It is one of the biggest debates today when a couple is expecting – do you find out the gender of the baby or not? There are arguments on both sides of the debate that make sense.

Many couples want to find out the gender of their baby so they can plan everything; gender-specific clothing, agree on a name and have the nursery ready for their baby.

Many more today, however, are opting to not find out the gender of their baby, despite today’s advanced technology. There are a wide variety of reasons as to why more and more couples are opting for the delivery room surprise. Here are five reasons why it is a good idea to wait.
  1. As advanced as technology is today, it isn’t foolproof. It is not unusual for a technician to share the gender of a baby and wind up to be incorrect. Many times a technician or a doctor will say they are “90 percent certain” because there is always a chance they will be wrong. 
  2. Not knowing brings out everyone’s inner-fortune teller. We have all heard the different tell-tale signs – if you carry like a basketball, it is a boy; if you carry “all around” it is a girl; carrying high vs. carrying low. There are also plenty of fun games like the wedding band on the string, the analysis of cravings; the list goes on and on. This can be lots of fun at the baby shower! If you keep everyone guessing, your loved ones can even have a “guess the baby” themed baby shower! Let everyone know right from the beginning the theme of the shower by mentioning it in the shower invitations. Tiny Prints has great baby shower invitations to help set the mood. Research some of the different ways to guess a baby’s gender and use them at the shower. Fun shower ideas can be seen on SnugAsABugBaby.com’s blog.
  3. Not knowing avoids the gender stereotyping that often happens when family and friends start making purchases. This will keep you from getting 40 frilly pink dresses that will wind up only taking up space in the closet or dresser. Many couples often say by the time their baby arrives when they knew the gender of the baby; they had seen enough blue or pink for a lifetime! 
  4. Staying on the theme of “gift giving” for the new parents and baby, when family and friends do not know the gender of the baby, they will focus on gifts that are the most useful and important items that will be needed by the family. When family and friends know the gender of the baby, they may receive more, while adorable, unnecessary gifts that are not on the baby gift registry. A great place to set up a baby registry is Fawn & Forest. 
  5. Finally, there are few true surprises in life today. Not knowing the gender of a baby before birth is one of those few blessings you will experience in this life. So just enjoy one of life’s true mysteries!

Here's a little info on today's guest blogger: Rachael is new to the SAHM community, but she has been a writer for years. She enjoys writing about various subjects, but especially enjoys providing advice to new moms. Rachael is also an avid runner, and enjoys photography and cooking when she's not chasing around her twins. If you'd like to follow Rachael, you can find her on twitter @livealittleNYC 

Thanks so much Rachael for joining! If any of you lovely lovely B-O-H readers would like to contribute to next month's M4M:Redux post, shoot me a message or email! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting my rear in gear. Finally.

Six months ago today, I was sitting in a hospital bed with a particularly sore bottom and a lot of squish where baby used to reside. Fast forward to today and there's still a lot of squish where baby used to reside.

As for that other symptom, well, we won't discuss my bottom on the blog. Even though I already did. And it's all better. This is awkward now....so...um, onward & forward.

To say that I hate my current body is a mostly true statement. Sure, I have moments where I lovingly remember that this body grew and nourished my treasured boy for many months. But to be perfectly honest, those moments are fleeting. Furthermore, the older Isaac gets, the less I think on my body in a kind way and the more I just feel hideous. I struggle to fit into all of my clothes. I analyze each bulge and dimple in the mirror and grow increasingly displeased. My body just isn't the same anymore and I don't know if it'll ever really be back again. Surprisingly, the numbers on the scale look a lot closer to my pre pregnancy weight than my clothes or reflection would tell. It's an enigma, but it holds to the truth that numbers aren't everything.

And so the battle begins.

I think I've given myself a little too much leeway in thinking that breastfeeding covers all dietary sins. Uh, newsflash coming here... nursing doesn't always make the baby weight "melt" off. For me in my corner of the world, it hasn't done much of anything except turn Mr. Isaac into a little chunk (which I am endlessly proud of).  I was surprised to find out that I am hungry 94% of the time now that I'm making gallons of breast milk. I don't really know what I was expecting, but I truly feel like now I'm "eating for two." Plus, if I don't eat when I'm hungry, I start to feel like absolute death. So, I eat. Often. I am determined to continue nursing my little guy, so the food-shoveling continues. To further add insult to injury, instead of keeping a ready stock of healthy snacks and cooking nutritious meals, I grabbed whatever was closest, fastest, and edible. While there has been a lot of self-disclosure so far, I would be red-faced and ashamed to admit some of my eating choices.

There's a lot of damage to undo.

Oh, and do you remember that thing I used to blog about a lot? Yeah, I haven't done a lot of running lately. And by a lot, I mean none. I have a college ruled sheet of paper's worth of excuses, but in the end, I just need to get back to the pavement. I even have new running shoes, so what gives? Time breeds time and before I blinked, it'd been months since my last good run. Instead of carving out time to exercise, I carved out time for a shower. Or a blog. I'd love to run another half marathon in the future, but for today, I'd feel pretty accomplished to complete a two mile run without dying or hurling.

But today is as good a day as any to start moving in a different non-junk food, non-couch potato direction. Operation: Skinny Bottom is on like Donkey Kong. For starters, it's time to increase water and exercise, decrease soda and lazies. I'll post O:SB updates to my Facebook (so go "like" it if you haven't already), both for accountability and to chronicle my *fingers crossed* achievements.

It's time for a change.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

6 Months!

Too Fast!! Too Fast!!! 

Isaac, you're ALREADY 6 months! That's half a year old (just incase you weren't already aware). I feel like I'm a broken record each time I post an update, because it's always so hard to believe you're yet another month older. You're growing up lightening fast. What a wonderfully exciting, fun, exhausting, joy-filled, patience-testing, amazing 6 months its been.

Look how much you've changed!!!!

You have packed a ton into this month. It boggles my mind how much you've changed just in the last 30 days. You are such a joy. We are seeing tons of smiles and hearing lots of giggles. Each day you get happier, and your "off" days are few and far between. Even today, getting 3 shots was a breeze. You're laid-back and easy to please, but also incredibly curious. You love to "dance." I am so very thankful for your sweet disposition.

You still love bath time, but are quickly outgrowing your little tub. I guess here soon, we'll have to move you out of the baby tub altogether. You're so funny, because you want to get as far into the water as you can, so you'll slide and scoot and maneuver your way around until you're in just the right spot. Usually the water is up to your ears and your legs are poking out the other side. It is a sight! You havent gotten into bath toys yet. In fact, your little rowboat ducky makes a spinny noise that startles you and makes you cry. We'll try that again when you get a little older-- and have a little more room to play! Even though bath toys aren't in rotation yet, you have lots of favorite regular toys (Winding elephant, crocodile, Marty, Sophie, and your bugs!).

You've conquered some big stuff and made new milestones this month. It's certainly kept us on our toes! You've learned how to sit up unsupported this month. You've pretty much mastered this now, except for the occasional face plant. You took your first "sick" trip to the doctor this month when you got pink eye. You had a little cold at the same time and I felt so bad for you because you appeared to be miserable. But despite your outward appearance, you were a little trooper and smiled through everything. Somehow, our tooth count went from zero last month to TWO this month! In the bathtub photo above (taken earlier this month), there are no teeth and no evidence of teeth! Then one random day, you popped out tooth #1. Jordan and I were both totally shocked. Tooth #2 popped through about 10 days later. They were probably the reason behind an "off" day here and there, but you handled them like a champion and thankfully, they never interrupted your night sleeps. Once those teeth popped through, I thought it might be time to get started eating solids, so you've had a few tastes of rice cereal. I'm super excited to try out some veggies and fruits over the next few weeks.

Rice cereal tastes alright, but ... you like to eat piggies too!

At your appointment today, you weighed 19lbs 10oz (83rd percentile) and were 27.5 inches long (84th percentile). You wear size 3 diapers and are growing out of your clothes faster than we can get them on your body. You're mostly wearing 6-12 months or 9 month size outfits, but even they are getting a little snug around the edges. Your hair is finally starting to get thicker and darker. Your eyes are still dark navy blue, which I'm hoping is the color they'll always be. I know I'm pretty biased, but I am certain you're the cutest little boy ever.

Oh little bud, I love you so incredibly much. Your excited smiles melt my heart every morning. Watching you learn and grow each and every day is simply amazing. You are such a treasure -- my absolute greatest gift. I am blessed.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What I've learned: sick meals edition

So, someone around you is ill. Maybe they just had surgery. Or chemo. Or a baby. Or [insert meal-worthy malady here]. It seems like second nature to want to provide a meal to that person. It's the thing you do. Or, at least, it's the thing I do. I LOVE cooking for other people. My heart is filled with someone's tummy is filled.

And then one day, I was the recipient of said meals. I'd gotten meals from my sunday school class on one other occasion for a brief amount of time and that was a huge help, BUT, when Isaac came along, we were inundated with meals. It was amazing. We had so much food, we had to freeze several of the meals and sadly, we even ended up throwing away some of the leftovers because we just couldn't eat it all fast enough.

Which brings me back to the beginning: someone around you is ill and you want to bless them with a home cooked meal.  Here are a few things I've learned about bringing sick meals (from being a recipient!):

     1. Get Organized. Chances are good you aren't the only person who's thinking about this sick meal thing. Get with others and come up with a schedule. There are tons of websites that help you invite more people and keep track of who's bringing on what day, i.e:
Not only should you have a schedule lined up, but organize all the other details ahead of time too. One meal every other day is usually plenty. Fix enough for the entire family. Definitely Definitely Definitely figure out food allergies and aversions, because while you may have a killer spaghetti recipe, what you don't know is that your intended recipient is a vegetarian. Whoops. Also, be courteous and call before coming. Figure out all these little details ahead of time, because the LAST thing you want to do is inconvenience the sickie you intend to bless.

     2. Don't expect to visit. This is true in all cases: sickness, surgery, chemo, baby... you can't come with the expectation that you'll get a visit in exchange for a meal. Bringing meals to friends-in-need is a selfless gift which helps to lift the burden of cooking off of tired shoulders. Recovery is a strange animal and it has no bearing on time or convenience. Keep in mind that your intended recipient might be dealing with pretty intense post-surgical pain, or oppressive post-baby exhaustion. While their heart might yearn for a long chat over coffee, their body simply won't allow it. (Which is why you're bringing a meal in the first place, right?) Sure, there's a chance you'll be invited to stick around and see battle scars or kiss on a newborn baby, but still remember you're not there to be entertained, so don't overstay your welcome. Oh, and if it feels awkward to read this, just think how awkward your friend will feel having to ask you to leave. Be understanding. Be courteous.

     3. Think OUTside the box. It is entirely possible to receive 8 pans of spaghetti and 8 bags of salad in a single week. Lasagna, enchiladas, and spaghetti seem to be "go-to" meals when you're delivering to a family, and sure-- they're great for freezing and tasty (well, until you're on pan #8 of spaghetti). Some of the scheduling websites will allow you to reply with your meal plan, which ideally prevents duplicate meals, but what if you're not using a website? Then it's time to think outside the box. Here are a few "nonconventional" but easy sick meal ideas:

Pork Chops. Corn & Tomato Salad. Enchilada Puffs.
Slow Cooker Sticky Drumsticks. Loaded Baked Potato. Crockpot Beef Brisket.
Chicken & Dumplings. Autumn Chopped Salad. Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu.
One of the greatest "out of the box" meals we received? Breakfast!! It's still a meal, right? I can't tell you how awesome it was to get a basket of muffins and container of fresh fruit salad, because then we didn't have to think about breakfast for days. Many sleepless nights lead to lots of frustrated and tired mornings, so what better way to ease a burden than bringing over some easy breakfast foods??

Pecan Coffee Cake. Fruit Salad. Blueberry Muffins.
Doughnut Muffins. Breakfast Casserole. Breakfast Tacos.
     4. Bring Disposables. Ok, so this is really trivial, and it's mostly for me. My house is like a black hole. Seriously. Chances are good that if you've ever loaned anything to us, it's still here somewhere. I loved getting meals in throwaway containers, because then I didn't have to worry about returning tupperware to the right family. I hate to admit that it took me weeks to return some of our dishes. I also still have most of my borrowed maternity clothes. But nothing tops the drink dispenser that I've had sitting around for over a year. I'm totally ashamed. My own issues aside, it simply makes things easier: No dishes to wash, nothing to return. Everyone wins. 

I hope these tips and tricks are helpful the next time you want to bring a meal to a family in need. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Murphy's Law

You know murphy's law, right?

The worst and most unlikely thing will happen in any given circumstance.

It's the basis for every nurse's superstitions. If you aren't fully prepared, something bad will happen. SO, always be prepared. As soon as you think everything is calm, a bus load of patients gets dropped off at the emergency room. SO, don't ever say the Q word. As soon as you think you've lucked out by choosing your own patient assignment, your choice goes all nutso on you. SO, don't ever choose your own assignment. If you only bring 1 angiocath to start an IV, you'll blow the vein. SO, always bring two. There are many other nursing superstitions, and for a laugh, you could google them.

Here lately today, Murphy's law has been hitting me at home as well.

For Instance:

Two days ago, I washed my car by hand. This might not sound like much to most of you, but I haven't washed a car with buckets of soapy water, a washcloth, and a garden hose since I was in high school. This means two things: That I've been driving around in a really dirty car, and that I've spent entirely too much money paying for car washes. The car sat happy & clean in the garage for an entire 24 hours.  I take my newly washed (with elbow grease & Dawn) car out today to run errands and wouldn't you know,
... it rains.

Last week, Jordan volunteered to go buy us some ice cream after dinner if I put up the dirty dishes (Jordan usually always cleans the kitchen. Isn't he the best?). I thought it was a totally fair trade, so I stated rinsing while he drove to the store. He came back with the greatest ice cream ever: Haagen Dazs Salted Caramel Truffle. Of course he'd also brought me what I'd asked for, which was Blue Bell, so of course it was good. BUT, it wasn't as awesomely fantastic as the ice cream he'd bought for himself. I've been longing for that ice cream ever since we polished off the pint, so I went to the store today and wouldn't you know,
... it's discontinued

I really needed to get some Dawn today. Between washing bottles and washing cars, we are running on dish soap fumes. Usually a day doesn't go by where there aren't any bottles or nipples or pump parts in the sink waiting for a washing. So, I went to the grocery store this morning for a cart full of necessities and then to Walmart this afternoon (to look for that ice cream, which is gone there also.) and wouldn't you know,
... I forgot the Dawn.

Maybe that last one isn't really Murphy's Law, but really? Two shopping trips to different stores in the same day and I still couldn't remember to get dish soap? I'm so lame AND I need to start making a shopping list. Also, the baby is cranky, the grocery store was being inventoried, making my trip unnecessarily long, and I've already had to step all over my carpet triangles.

First World Problems are out to get me today.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

SuperHeroine (sorta)

I don't mean to brag on myself. I really don't. That's not the purpose for this post.

But for a few minutes on Monday I felt like I could do no wrong. I felt like $1,000,000. I felt like a superhero, er, well... superheroine.

To say I've been abundantly blessed with an overflowing fountain of... er, well, breast milk, would be an understatement. One of my great fears while pregnant was having an inability to nurse or problems with production and neither of those fears have come true, Praise God! For that I am so very thankful. After experiencing a pretty significant drop in production after a nasty stomach virus last month, I am acutely aware of the fear, anxiety, and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that can accompany not making enough milk to feed my boy, so my heart goes out to the many friends who have problems with production and supply

Of course, since then, my milk supply is back to "normal" (aka: copious amounts) again which means daily problems with engorgement (Which is fun if you like sleeping on bowling balls or waking up in a puddle each morning). How I've escaped plugged ducts up to this point is totally beyond me.

Far be it from me to withhold an abundance of milk from those who so desperately need it. So yesterday I walked a Sam's size bag of frozen expressed milk to Driscoll Children's Hospital and deposited it in the Milk Bank.
(there's also a branch/bank in Corpus Christi.)

Aaaaaaaaaand that always gets a few weird looks. "You're donating breast milk? Don't you think that's...er, well, gross?"


And here's why:

First, I had to go through a MAJOR screening process including a 15 minute screening interview, multi-paged health history, records from my obstetrician and pediatrician, and several vials of blood for testing. Definitely sounds like a lengthy process, but seriously, the milk bank takes care of 98% of it. So it's crazy easy on my end. Secondly, don't people donate blood & plasma all the time? What's the difference, really?

Here are a few facts about donor milk:
  • It is thoroughly processed and pasteurized to eliminate bacteria and viruses, making it completely safe for consumption. All those under-the-table websites where women pay other women for their milk IS gross. Hello Hepatitis C. 
  • Some common reasons for prescribing donor milk include: Preterm birth, Failure to thrive, Malabsorbtion syndromes, Allergies, Feeding/formula intolerance, Immunologic deficiencies, Post-operative nutrition, and Infectious diseases.
  • One in 8 babies is born preterm. Breastmilk contains vital antibodies and growth hormones not found in formula which helps these littlebitties grow and be healthy. Its not uncommon for mothers of preemies to have problems with breastfeeding, which is where donated milk steps in.
  • Breast milk can prevent NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis, a devastating disease that affects the intestinal tract of neonates) and has shown to decrease the incidence from up to 17% of infants (formula fed) to 1.5% of infants (breastmilk fed).
  • It's dispensed by prescription only. (find these & lots of other factoids/FAQ's at MilkBank.org.)
Isn't that incredible?? I am so thankful and so pumped (Ha! Punny!) to be able to give to fragile little lives. It just gives me the warm fuzzies. In the back of my mind, there's a little voice that nags me about the possibility that I'll need that milk for Isaac one day, but  I hope to donate a few more Sam's sized bags over the next few months. I wasn't even aware that we had a Milk Bank drop-off here in Corpus. I know what you're saying... "Why would you even care to know before having a baby?" Maybe I didn't care, but here's the thing, I didn't know about it until I was already back at work, complaining to our Lactation consultant about engorgement. She encouraged me to donate some of the extra milk. If it took me that long to become aware of what's out there, then there must be TONS of nursing moms who have no clue that banking is a possibility.

But now you know.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Product Review: Clarisonic Mia

Welcome back friends!

Today I'm writing a little product review on the Mia. If you remember from this post last year, I was itching to get my hands on a Clarisonic super sonic face scrubbing device (aka: the Mia). I'd heard wonders about them and wanted to try them out for myself. Only problem? They're kinda pricey.
So after all that anticipation and build up and grief (over the $$), what happened when I finally got my hands on one of these so-called game face changers? I really liked it. (I should add that I used a pretty substantial gift card to buy it and was in no way compensated for this review. Clarisonic doesn't know me from Adam, y'all.)  Purchasing it without the gift card? Ehhhhhhhh, maybe/maybenot. Spending over $100 in a single setting on myself makes my face go numb, so I doubt I would've purchased it otherwise.

I got the uber basic Mia model, which has 1 speed. Push the button, scrub the face, end of story. I did this at the recommendation of my sister-in-law, who insisted there was really no need for different speed settings (available on the Mia 2 and Aria models) or charging options. I also agree that the single-speeded Mia does a perfectly good job. The package comes with the Mia, a brush head, the charger, and a little face wash sample.

I've now had mine for about 6 weeks, and here's what I think about it:

  • It obliterated the flaky skin around my nose, which no other scrubbing method could do. Totally gone. 
  • It significantly reduced the appearance of my pores. I did infact take a pre-Mia phone photo to do a side-by-side comparison and then I lost my phone. Woe is me.
  • My makeup looks noticeably smoother
  • Sans-Makeup, my skin looks noticeably more even (less red/ruddy areas)
  • My face feels WAY more dry after cleansing. Confession: I never used a moisturizer... until now.
  • Strangely enough, I haven't seen a reduction in the amount of shine/oil (even with the added dryness). But, I never had a problem with super "pore-purging" breakouts, like you see on many of the negative reviews. 
  • I've only ever used it a maximum of once per day. It's a pretty substantial scrubbing and I don't know that I'd enjoy the beating twice per day.
All in all, I am very satisfied with the Mia. I was ready to rid my face of the flakes and shrink my pores down to a non-moon crater size and the Mia definitely delivered. I'll continue to use it routinely and *fingers crossed* hopefully over time continue to see more improvement in my skin. Heck, on the nights where I combine the Clarisonic Mia and the Philips Sonicare toothbrush, I'm like the sonicbionic woman. Fighting plaque and pores one microorbit at a time!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Get in my closet!

Whew. That last post was a doozy. A leeeettle disclaimer: I do love comments! Don't let my "stop the meanness madness!"throw you off. I love a good comment, and always try to reply to you lovely folks (except you no-reply commenters. That makes life sad. Don't be a no-reply commenter.)

Now that THAT is off my chest, lets have some fun today, shall we?

Spring has sprung! But unfortunately, my closet is still at a loss. And with my lack of work, so is my bank account. Thus, an unattainable drool-fest of adorable springy dresses, tops, bottoms, shoes, bags...ah! It's just too much to handle. I mean, aren't spring clothes the best?! Fall & Winter clothes start hitting stores in July, which is both crazy and depressing. Months of muted dark colors, chunky sweaters, and closed-toe shoes... It'd make anyone yearn for pastels, florals, lace, and sandals.

Here's what I'd take home. You should all get in my closet. Now please.

Dress. Scarf. Top. Wedges
Sweater, Top, "Dress" (gimme some leggings w/that!), Necklace, Belt
Ok, so maybe I like lots of neutrals & girly, feminine details. So sue me. Also, I couldn't narrow down a purse. First World Probs Y'all.

What would you add to your closet???

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spewing Venom

Heavy hearted over here.

The interwebz can be nasty.

There's just something about that thin veil of separation known as a computer screen that makes people feel like they're invisible -- and that can say whatever they want. Sadly, people can be mean. Really mean. Not having to look your victim in the eye while ravaging their heart makes the attacking so much easier. But whatever happened to being polite? Does anyone remember the golden rule: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? I mean, really, the world has enough of its own difficulties without feeling like we're all in a war of words with each other. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, but you don't have to spew your venom from a platform of choice. Don't get me wrong- this is more than "constructive criticism" and no amount of "thick skin" can guard your heart from these ugly jabs. Just this last week, I have observed:

  • A fellow blogger lamenting over the massive influx of mean-spirited comments received on her blog. 
  • A sweet friend who gave up blogging altogether after being bullied relentlessly.
  • A popular Christian blogger using her influence in the blogosphere as a platform to destroy a pastor's ministry.
  • In the middle of what could be the most devastating days to face as a parent, people are making disgusting comments toward a well-known pastor whose son recently committed suicide.
  • Of course, the never-ending barrage of negative comments on Facebook on topics ranging from gay marriage to politics to motherhood even.

I just won't ever understand why people feel it's absolutely necessary to spread ugliness and hatred. Do we really all feel SO wronged that we must drag everyone involved down with us? Perhaps it sickens me more to see such discouraging and damaging words coming from both non-Christians AND Christians. I assure you, narrow-minded, hateful comments "in the name of Christ" simply look narrow-minded and hateful to those who do not know Christ. Have we all so quickly forgotten that murderous Saul felt completely justified in his persecution of the early Christian church? That being the case, what separates us from pre-conversion Saul when we bring our own hammer of religious indignation down on those around us?

Is it really all that surprising to hear story after story of children being bullied... when we as adults spend our days spreading ugly gossip and condemning our peers?

But we each have three choices to make each day:

  1. Continue spreading hatred.
  2. Choose in wisdom to be silent.
  3. Be a voice of love.

I hope to always be an encouragement to those around me. Will you join me?

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." -Ephesians 4:29

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Back-stepping about a week

It was a real doozy of a week and I'm glad things have started to settle down (for a moment at least) and I can get some new thoughts out there in the blog-o-sphere. Just to give a glimpse into the last week around our house, my little guy caught a cold, AND got pink eye, and THEN decided to cut his first tooth. Poor kid.

While this is long overdue, considering Easter was now a week ago, we had a great Resurrection Sunday this year. Easter is always very busy, and of course adding Isaac into the crazy mix didnt make it any less busy. Despite this, we had a wonderful morning at church and I cooked an Easter-worthy roast, carrots, and potatoes. Just like I dropped the ball at Christmas and didnt get Isaac a stocking, I also didnt get Isaac an Easter basket. The mom guilt isnt going to get me on this one though, because I just dont think it's all that big of a deal. Or maybe I would be better to say that baskets and stockings arent the thing I wish to make into a big deal. Even though we were basket-less, Isaac still got a new book and a Veggie Tales movie from Jordan & I in celebration of our risen Lord & Savior. It was a great day.

We loaded up the three of us and our "big" camera and drove to a lovely little field (ok, in the spirit of full disclosure, it was the grassy knoll behind the church, which is like 1/3 of a mile from our house.) to take a few family photos in our Easter best. I'd done what I thought was a great thing and put the camera battery in its charger before church... or so I thought. Four photos into our DIY photo session, the camera battery died. The two above are half of our "family portrait session."

The dress I got for Easter is actually from eShakti. I'd heard of/browsed through their site a few times in the past and was totally intrigued by their custom clothing claims, the cute styles, and the great prices. Surprisingly, I was contacted by them just before Easter wanting to send me some merchandise in exchange for some blog love... and already knowing about the company & having checked them out previously... I couldn't say no! I fell in love with a ton of their pieces (and currently have my eye on this aqua lace dress), but this cute pink striped dress really called to me. I gave them my measurements and voila! A custom dress! Their custom sizes are super easy and truly allow you to get a great fit. I mean, for the first time EVER, the "girls" fit into a dress without: A. needing a dress 2 sizes bigger and B. worrying about the cups spilling over. It is awesome. They have tops and bottoms in addition to dresses and literally every garment they offer is customizable. Change the sleeve length. Change the neckline. Pockets? No Pockets? (my dress has pockets! 10 points to eShakti!) Personally, I think this would be perrrrrrrrfect for a bridal party. Pick out one of the dozens & dozens of dresses, customize it to fit your wedding style, have your maids send in measurements and BAM! Bridal party done. Plus, on top of all of this, their prices are unbeatable! I would pay the same amount at a place like Gap or Loft, but these dresses are made to fit my post-baby, nursing-momma body. It's kind of genius. So next time you're in the market for some new clothes, check out eShakti (they also have a facebook page) and see the great pieces they have to offer. In fact, the first time you register on their site, they give you $25. Twenty-five dollars! Just for signing up! Two thumbs up to you, eShakti!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Highs (HGTV) & Lows (work)

I'm kinda glad super glad that whole Month 4 Moms thing is finished, completed, on the books, all done, over and out. It was a time-sucker! High five to you pro-bloggers who churn out 30ish blogs per month and maintain some semblance of engaging material. I don't think I've ever had 19 separate posts in one month, although about half of which were guest blogs, so I can't take credit for all that post-age. Regardless, it was a major time commitment to organize everything, correspond with my lovely lovely guest bloggers, make those graphic thingies and then put it all together in a neat -but more importantly, coherent- package. A few months ago when these ideas first started kicking around in my head, I didn't take into consideration the energy that would be required -- considerably more than tossing some words on a page during nap time. It wasn't all bad though! In fact, it wasn't really "bad" at all, despite the ranting nature of this entire paragraph.  I made a few new friends and I learned some new things.  It was real. It was fun. It was real fun. But I'm spent.

My fear is that I am now lumped into the "mom blog" category, which I both dread and accept. Conundrum? Yes. I am a mom... and I blog,... thus "mom blog." But if I would describe my blog, I wouldn't outright say it's all-mom-all-the-time. Weird thing is, I don't really know what category I'd lump myself into, so does that mean I'm a "lifestyle" blog? Maybe to prove my non-momblog stance, I'll refrain from talking about Isaac for the remainder of this post, which is easier said than done! Also, have I ever mentioned that I HATE tooting my own horn? The blog has its own Facebook page now and I cringe every time I update my status with a link & a comment. Oh, you stinky pride.

Aside from the M4M, March at the M house was high on HGTV and low on work. Spring is never a very busy time in labor & delivery, which doesn't go over well for those of us PRN employees. I worked a grand total of 3 shifts the entire month of March- yes, you read that right, three. Two of those three shifts were last week alone. It was like going on another short maternity leave, which like the previous leave I took, was also unpaid. Ouch. Stumbling aimlessly through the day is an understatement when you've been off for 3 weeks, but I made it. Incidentally (comically?), I'm on-call again today.  So, on these many days off, I mostly watched HGTV. In true Novogratz-style, I reorganized my bookcases by color. I'd say "I should be more productive than that and work on things like baby proofing the house" but I said I wouldn't talk about Isaac, so I won't. Ha!

I'd like to give a little shout-out (Pause: Do people even say that anymore? Shout out? I feel like it's so 1999.... like when people actually listened to the radio and called in their Shout Outs. Raise your hand if you did that. Howabout Props? What's the terminology/lingo these days? I'm so lame. End Pause.) to Emily over at Sweet Bella Roo's for the great blog re-design. I got an itch to redo things around here a few weeks ago and have a bit of an obsessive personality, so I tenaciously latched onto the design remix idea. Enter Emily, who both put up with my ridiculous know-nothing questions about blog design and web site coding (great customer service!), AND cut me a little deal on some extras that I added to the original design AND had the new design up & running within like 24 hours of requesting her services. That's Mr. Flash-kinda speedy! Anyway, she is an awesome person to work with and I would recommend her in a heartbeat. She's also a Texas gal, which automatically scores her a few cool points.

Well that was about as random, stream-of-consciousness as it gets. I've got a few non-baby related product reviews in the works (take that mommyblog), so hang in there. Organized & coherent thoughts ahead!

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