Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Will Hold On to Hope...



Yesterday was a tough day around here. 

I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with my 5th baby (I have had 3 very healthy babies, and I also have my "heart" baby aka my step-son). Pregnancy has never been my favorite thing. I tend to be very fatigued early on, followed by horrendous heartburn later in the pregnancy. But overall, there's never been any major issues with me or the babies, thankfully. 

I had a regular check-up scheduled for Tuesday. I got a call on Monday saying it was rescheduled for Friday morning. Then on Thursday, I got a call again, saying it was going to have to be a few hours later with a different doctor. I found this a bit annoying, but oh well, right? These things happen. 

The nurse called me back and did the usual weight and blood pressure check. My blood pressure reading was very low. The nurse was quite concerned about it, which got me concerned. She did another reading and it was higher but still on the low side. Already, this appointment was turning from routine to a little scary. It's never good when the medical professionals show obvious concern, is it? 

I was taken to the room to wait for the doctor. Because it was almost lunch time, she was running behind, so I waited for quite awhile. She finally came in, apologizing for making me wait so long. Since she is not my regular doctor, she briefly went over my history, asked a few questions related to the low blood pressure, and then let me know that as long as I pay attention to my body (checking for dizziness, being careful in the shower, etc), it should be fine, and that it should start going back up towards normal from here out. I felt a good deal of relief at that point. 

She had me lie down so she could listen to the baby's heartbeat. Well, the little stinker kept moving away from her after she'd get a very brief reading. After several attempts, it was still enough for her to hear for more than a second. I listened carefully too, because hearing that galloping sound is one of my favorite parts of the pregnancy. But as I listened, I immediately knew something was wrong. The rhythm was wrong. The doctor looked concerned as well, and she said "You hear that too, don't you?" I nodded, fear mounting. She kept listening, and then her previously light-hearted attitude grew serious.

"I'm going to refer you to Maternal-Fetal Medicine to meet with one of the high-risk doctors."

With those words, my heart sank. 

In the blink of an eye, my blind assumption that this pregnancy would go just as easily as all the others was gone. I immediately started asking about the structure of the baby's heart...did it look okay on the anatomy scan from a couple weeks ago? Were there any obvious defects? How come we hadn't heard this before on previous checks? 

She did her best to assure me that the baby's heart structures all looked normal, and that many babies with arrhythmias in the womb outgrow them before birth. She also specifically asked me not to Google it! But she was adamant that I needed to see the high-risk doctors sooner than later. 

And with that, the appointment was over.

I know that the news I received yesterday is small potatoes compared to what many women are told about their babies. I know it could be much, much worse.

But the fear I felt in those few moments as I was hearing, for the first time in all my pregnancies, that there is something not right with my baby, was overwhelming.

In the hour after the appointment, my mind was running wild with thoughts about what the possible outcomes could be, what I might have done to prevent this. I kept taking deep breaths to keep myself calm as I called my husband to tell him what had happened. 

After my initial panic subsided, I was washed over with a feeling of calm. I kept thinking that God has this baby in His hands. He formed it and He knows every hair on its head. Whatever the outcome, His plan is perfect and I am resting in that. I placed my hands on my belly and prayed over the baby. And I decided to give my fear and worries to God. Is this an easy thing to do? Of course not. But I refuse to allow fear and uncertainty consume me as we wait for further information. 

The baby seemed to agree with my decision to let go of my fear, because he or she spent the rest of the afternoon kicking and rolling around in my belly. Feeling it move so much has been greatly reassuring! I am resolved to take this day by day and focus on the positive. 

So that is all I have to say for now...I will update when we know more. I would greatly appreciate it if you would keep my baby in your prayers. Thank you!

Friday, August 9, 2013

And the Winner Is...

Last week, I posted a giveaway of a super cute Bummis diaper wrap. According to Random.org, our winner is #11, Mary Fults! Congratulations! I will email you with details on how to claim your prize!



Thank you to everyone who participated!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 Storks...A New Subscription Box for Pregnant Mamas! (Review of Month 5 Box)

Hey everyone! I wanted to share my thoughts on this new subscription box. The company is called 10 Storks, and they just launched last week. They are a monthly subscription service offering boxes of goodies for pregnant women. Their official launch was August 1st, but I was able to pre-order on July 31 because I "like" them on Facebook. The boxes are regularly $40, with free shipping, but I got this one for $25 shipped as part of the early bird promotion.

Before I get to the box, I wanted to note a few things I LOVE so far about this company. First, I love that they seemed to really organize themselves and take their time before they launched. They had their boots on the ground on launch day, and it showed. It seems that many new subscription box companies don't necessarily start off on such a solid foot.

Next, I am super impressed with the shipping. I don't know if they will continue to ship this way, but my box was shipped Priority Mail the day after I ordered. It was here lightning fast! And the box was clearly packed with care. So with those things being said, I feel that they are a trustworthy company thus far, despite how new to the game they are.

I almost forgot the coolest part! Because this is a box geared towards pregnancy, you can order starting with whichever month you're in. So since I'm about halfway through my pregnancy, I started with month 5. Each month's box has products that are appropriate for the stage you are in, as well as an item or two to stow away for baby. And the products are geared towards wellness. They are striving for natural, organic, wholesome products. If you finish your subscription with month 9, they send you a bonus 10th box all for the newborn for FREE! Awesome!

So now that all of that is out of the way, here is what I received in my Month 5 box. I don't know if they will all be the same for the same months, or if it will change. But this should at least give a good idea of what to expect from 10 Storks!

I love little details like the tissue paper and the ribbon around the stuff. Makes it feel special!
They included my name in the letter that describes what's in the box. They give a brief overview of what to expect with my pregnancy this month, and then a list and description of each item in the box. The items make sense for Month 5.
First look after removing the tissue from the top. It's packed full!

Here's everything.

1. Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Butter, 8 oz. This stuff smells like an orange creamsicle. It is rich and creamy, perfect for dry pregnancy skin. I love this brand, so I was really happy to see this in my box. It is all natural with no harsh chemicals or ingredients. Current Amazon price: $12.29

2. Earth Mama Angel Baby "A Little Something for Mama-to-Be" kit.

 This contains small bottles of several different products, including a body butter, stretch oil, hand-to-toe wash, a Happy Mama spray, and Morning Wellness tea. Current Drugstore price: $15.99

3. Newman's Own Organic Raisins, 6 oz pouch. I like raisins, I guess. I try to throw a handful on my oatmeal when I eat it. They included these to help speed digestion along, if you catch my drift. I tend to just buy Sunmaid all the time, so I'm curious to try these. Current Amazon price (you can buy a 12 pack, so I figured the cost for 1): $2.71

4. Orchard Valley Cashews, 2 oz pouch. Again, I like cashews. These look yummy and they don't have any artificial ingredients. You can buy a 12 pack of these on Amazon as well. Current Amazon price for one pack: $1.55

5. Pregnancy music CD. This is a 2-Disc set of music that is supposed to help you relax and connect with your baby during pregnancy. I am not the type that can lay back and relax to spa music, but I'll give it a try. Relaxation is important, right? Current Amazon price: $9.62

6. "I Love You More" book and lullaby CD. This is a cute little board book. It has nice illustrations. I haven't listened to the CD yet. I couldn't find it on Amazon, except from private sellers. Approximate retail value: $7.00

All totaled, this box had a value of $49.16. Considering I paid $25, I think that's a great deal! Even at the full price, it's value still exceeds it's cost. If you are pregnant, or want to give a nice gift to a pregnant friend or loved one, I recommend 10 Storks!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cotton Booty July 2013 Girl Box Review...and a Giveaway!


We recently switched to cloth diapering my youngest, Aubrey. She has had a lot of issues with very dry skin and terrible diaper rashes. I never cloth diapered any of the oldest kids because I was under the (false) impression that it was expensive and that the laundry would be too much of a pain to deal with. After committing to it full-time since mid-June, I am very pleased to say that we LOVE it! I really regret not cloth diapering the older kids now. The new baby will be a fluffy butt from the start.

It must have been serendipity, because right around the time I decided to cloth diaper Aubrey, the new subscription box service, Cotton Booty, premiered. I purchased their May box as a one time purchase, and was hooked. I subscribed in June, and overall I am very pleased with the service. Here's what we got in our July 2013 Girl Box :

I love the Cotton Booty logo

First look inside the envelope. I really wish they at least wrapped it up in tissue paper or something.

The goods...the July box has more items than the first two boxes did.
The info card...I like that they include info about the products, as well as the retail value. Saves me from having to search for the products I'm unfamiliar with. They also include a theme...this month's is "Pin the Diaper on the Baby". 
Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in Bloom, Size Medium (15-30 lbs) with Aplix closure. Retail Value: $12.95. 
Bummis Organic Cotton Prefold Diaper. I am guessing this is the "Baby" size, which is supposed to be for babies 15-40 lbs, but it doesn't give a size on the tag or the info card. I'm excited to prep and try this. We currently use GMD prefolds, and I'm trying to decide if we will stick with those for the new baby, or switch to something different. Retail Value: $4.00 
Snappi in Pink, Size 1. Snappis are awesome. They stretch to "pin" the prefold in place without any scary pins! I have a couple in the larger Size 2, and I actually need a couple Size 1's for the new baby, so this is a welcome addition to our stash, for sure. Retail Value: $3.95
Teething Bling Bangle Bracelet by Smart Mom in Pink. Meh. I'm not thrilled with this. I don't like how it looks on me. I will probably save it to just hand the new baby to chew on when it's teething, but I don't really see myself wearing it as an actual bracelet or anything. I do like that it is Phtalate, PVC, and BPA free, though. Retail Value: $12.99
Mum + Bub by Aden + Anais samples. This is a relatively new line of skincare products by the makers of those amazing muslin swaddle blankets. I received a sample of the Ultra Gentle Lotion and the Soothing Ointment. The Soothing Ointment says it can be used as diaper cream, for chapped lips, or for smalls scrapes. I will be tossing it into my purse because it sounds handy. I'm also always on the hunt for lotion that works for my sensitive skin, so I'm looking forward to trying the Ultra Gentle Lotion! 

Bottom Line (you see what I did there?): Cotton Booty is a great subscription box for anyone who is curious about cloth diapering, or who likes variety for their stash. If you are set in your ways as far as what type of cloth diaper you are willing to use, I would pass on this box. So far, the value for their boxes has always exceeded the cost. This month's box was $24.99 with free shipping, and the retail value, not including the samples, was $33.89. Not too shabby.

Interested in trying Cotton Booty? Visit their website to sign up by clicking here. You have the option of girl, boy, or neutral and it is $24.99 for a month to month subscription. If you sign up for an entire year up front, the cost per month averages only $19.95. There are also cost savings with a 3 month or 6 month subscription. Because they are a new service, they tend to sell out by the time they are almost ready to ship, so sign up early. Also, they are really great about keeping subscribers up to date via their Facebook page, so be sure to like it.

GIVEAWAY TIME!! Want to win the super cute Bummis wrap from this box? All you have to do is subscribe to my blog via a reader or via email by clicking one of the SUBSCRIBE links in the top right column of the blog. Then, leave a comment letting me know you've subscribed. A winning comment number will be chosen at random using Random.org on FRIDAY, AUGUST 9th! I will post here on the blog, as well as contact the winner via e-mail at 5PM PST that day. Good luck, and pass it on to your friends!

Thank you to everyone who subscribed and commented...Our winner was #11, Mary Fults! Congratulations!

Where I've Been...

Hey everyone! I am back after a long, long break from posting. I am happy to announce that we are expecting our FIFTH baby this winter. That being said, the first trimester really kicked my booty this time. I was struggling to survive wicked migraines and function at a bare minimum. Being that my priorities are my family and home, the blog unfortunately sat on the back burner until I was feeling better. But I'm back and I have lots of fun posts planned. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You Mad Hungry? Let This Book Satisfy ANY Craving!


Title: Mad Hungry Cravings
Author: Lucinda Scala Quinn
Available for purchase at Amazon and other booksellers


Lucinda Scala Quinn is a genius. I have followed her on satellite radio and in Martha Stewart's various publications for years. Her cooking advice is always practical and spot on, the food always looks to die for beautiful, and her recipes are always reliable. Needless to say, I was more than happy to accept a preview of her new cookbook, Mad Hungry Cravings.

The layout is fresh and inviting. I was immediately drawn to her writing style as well as the photography. In the first several pages, she lays out her food philosophy and the purpose of the book. She has a few maxims on "how and why to cook the food you crave at home", which include the desire to do it, the knowledge that it's so much healthier to cook for yourself, the importance of having a food shopping routine,building your skills so you can tackle more complicated recipes with confidence, thinking through your plan/strategy before you start, getting family and friends involved, remembering the pleasure of eating with others, exploring other culture's food traditions, and most importantly HAVING FUN!

She then moves on to a chapter that teaches you how to stock a pantry that makes you want to cook. Her belief is that if you are well-stocked, you will be more likely to cook a meal for yourself than to reach for the takeout menus. How simple, but how true! She then proceeds to lay out the staples to have on hand for American, Asian, Mediterranean, and Latin cuisines. She describes each ingredient briefly, which is very helpful if you are unfamiliar with a certain cuisine.

Once the foundations are laid, chapters on breakfast, snacks, "anytime"...which covers soups, sandwiches, salads, and snacks, dinner, sides, drinks, and desserts. There are a multitude of recipes that I can't wait to make. Everything from banh mi to tamales to spagetti and meatballs. The recipes are written clearly, and she provides so much extra information about ingredients, methods, and the history of various dishes. This is a solid, well-crafted cookbook and I highly recommend it!

*I received a digital preview copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. You should know that I have already ordered my own hard copy of this cookbook because I love it so much :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book Review: Pati's Mexican Table by Pati Jinich




Title: Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Cooking
Author: Pati Jinich
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
List Price: $30.00 (cheaper on Amazon!)
Release Date: 3/5/2013

I was previously unfamiliar with Pati Jinich, host of a popular PBS program, but when I saw her book available for preview, I was intrigued by the tagline "the secrets of real Mexican home cooking". Having grown up in Southern California, I love Mexican food, but as anyone who has looked for a good Mexican cookbook knows, it is difficult to find a great instruction manual for cooking delicious, authentic Mexican food yourself!

I own, and quite enjoy, Rick Bayless' classic "Authentic Mexican", but I am so happy to have found "Pati's Mexican Table", because I think I like it even more than Rick's book! The pictures are drool-worthy, the text is so much fun to read, and the recipes are amazing. You really feel like you are sitting in your best friend's kitchen and she is teaching you to cook the food she loves.

Pati really makes Mexican cookery easy and accessible. I have made just a couple of the recipes so far (one of the salsas, and the basic salad dressing), but I have a long list of recipes on my "must cook" list. I can't wait to get in my kitchen and spend some time cooking up some delicious food with Pati's book.

Bottom line, if you want gorgeous pictures, delicious Mexican recipes, in a fun to read and easy to follow style, get this book! You won't be disappointed.

I received a complimentary advance copy of this book, with no obligation to review it, but I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't wait to share my opinion! In fact, I enjoyed the preview copy so much, that I ordered my own copy for my personal use.