Monday, July 20, 2015

This healthy mama trying to fight the not so fun heartburn

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and healthy mama® , but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #gethealthymama” 

People keep asking me how this pregnancy is going—how this pregnancy is going in comparison to the other two. How I'm surviving the changes and the physical difficulties that go along with pregnancy all while already taking care of two little ones and every other thing that goes along with being a wife, working nights at the hospital, and taking care of the home in between. To me, I feel like I'm just doing what everyone else is doing—surviving. To me, I forget at times that I am even pregnant. But I am, and very much so at this point. 

It's true what they say—being pregnant a third time makes you almost oblivious to the entire process. You're so busy running around and doing every day things, that you seldom stop and slow down. That is, until the symptoms start knocking on your door. From the nausea during the first trimester along with the food aversions, to the current symptoms of joint pains and heartburn, this third pregnancy has definitely not been all rainbows and butterflies.

Oh heartburn, what I would do to never see you again.

The interesting thing about my heartburn is that I had it pretty bad with my first—a girl. During my second pregnancy I never got it once—a boy. And here we are with my second girl and the heartburn is really kicking me in the behind this time around. With my first two, they both had a full head of hair, and I imagine it will be the same with this one.  So it is true what they say after all.

The heartburn seems to be most prominent after I eat chocolate {which is a lot}, but there is no way that I'm going to be giving that up anytime soon, so in the meantime I needed to find some sort of relief. I like to stay healthy and do things the natural way, so medications prescribed by physicians is usually not the route I take. I was in need of a more natural solution to my symptoms, but was not sure where to begin.

That is where healthy mama® comes into the picture. A brand that is new to me, and one that I wish had been available to me with my other two. One that has all your symptoms covered—from nausea to heartburn and constipation relief, prenatal vitamins, and caffeine-free protein shakes with Boost it up. They really had every pregnant mama in mind when they formulated these products, and I literally skipped down the aisle when I saw they had a product for heartburn.

And if you thought it doesn't get any better, let me just tell you the best part about healthy mama® new products that are creating a new spot in Target for prenatal/postnatal care :they are organic, non-gmo, and free of any dyes, parabens, and artificial flavors and sweeteners.  Products united under one brand.

And just like that, my name was written all over it.

No more heartburn for me, and all the chocolate that I can eat. That is an equation that equals one very happy mama as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Levana Ovia 2 Camera Baby Monitor Review: The answer to better sleep.

 This is an honest review of the Levana Ovia 2 Camera Baby Monitor written by myself with all opinions stated that of my own. 

When our first born came into this world, I felt the most incredible happiness and deep satisfaction of being a mother. I never understood what it meant to love someone so hard it hurt until the moment I held my daughter in my arms and began to watch as she developed and grew. Her first smile, her milestone achievements, her giggles, and cuddles, and eventually kisses and big fat hugs-- it was like falling in love over and over and over again. The thing about it though, it wasn't just love that I acquired on the day that I became a mother, but also worry. And nothing worried me more in this world than something happening to her.

I worried about her catching a terrible illness. I worried about her being hurt and me not realizing it. I worried about her being hungry and me not understanding that specific cry. I worried about SIDS and waking up to my baby being gone. I worried about her happiness, her health, and her safety. I think, as first time parents, the term worry and everything it encompasses seems to come with the title. It pretty much goes like this: here is your baby, and here is a bag of things to worry about, now figure it out.

Are there ways to get rid of the worry completely? No I'll always be one to worry about something. But there certainly are ways to ease it a little and give you a sigh of relief. One of those ways is through the video monitor that I never knew I wanted or even needed until we first owned one. Which by the way wasn't until baby two came into our lives, and now again with the anticipation of number three.

You see, nap time and bed time was probably one of the biggest triggers for my stress when it comes to my babies. I read too many stories of SIDS, broken limbs {from getting stuck}, climbing out of crib, and so much more. So running up the stairs and checking on them constantly was always just out of habit with my first, and something that was merely eliminated with my second. Eliminated because of something magical known as the video monitor.

Needless to say, I think it should be at the top of a baby registry. Not just for moms that worry, but for all moms.
Our giraffe keeps the Levan Close

I was given the opportunity to test out the Levana Ovia 2 Camera Video Baby Monitor, and I am excited to share with you all how amazing this product really is. From the ease, to the picture, to the design, it really was constructed with every kind of mother and worry in mind.

If you look closely, you can even see my 28 week belly!
Large 4.3 inch LCD screen

I love that this screen is so much bigger than what we were used to with our previous monitor and that I can truly see my babies through the screen. No more squinting and guessing as to what they may be up to. Here, every detail is visible. The touch screen option is also a plus, and it allows me to customize my settings.

Save Photos and Video

Now this is a feature that I would have never even thought of, yet one that I surprisingly really enjoy using. Sleeping pictures of my babies are my favorite, and the funny things they do when they go to sleep are even better. So with this feature, with a touch of a button I am able to take a quick picture or even video the scene so that I can send my husband when he's at work, or to the grandparents who never get tired of images of the kids. It already comes with an SD card, so all you have to do is pop it out and transfer the data to the computer.

Two-Way Communication

My kids this is just hilarious. They always ask me to "talk to them" and I love having the option of being able to talk them down when they are trying to nap without having to actually go upstairs if I am busy doing something downstairs. This will also be very beneficial with the baby where my voice may soothe them right back to sleep. I would say that I could sing a nursery song, but my voice is not up to par for singing.

24-hr Battery Life

The battery on this monitor is great. Instead of eating away constantly while the baby is sleeping, it goes into a sleep mode until it picks up the trigger of your baby waking up and alarms  you. I like this feature because I am able to take our monitor to my parent's house and not have to drag every single cord with us.

Invisible Night Vision LEDs

It's bad enough that I am already legally blind, but the last thing I needed was a monitor that I couldn't see at night when my babies are sleeping. To really see their bodies to the extent where I can even see them breathing. It works up to 12 feet away!

Rotating View

I saved the best for last. I did not have this feature with our last video monitor, and I cannot tell you how many times I remember telling my husband how irritated I was that I was unable to scan the room when the kids were getting out of bed, and now that issue is completely eliminated. I am able to control from my screen the angle of the camera by 270 degrees horizontally and 110 degrees vertically.

There are so many other things that you are able to do with baby monitor, and I am confident in saying that it is one of a kind. One thing that I worried about was the connection interference and someone having the ability to view my children. That problem is solved with Levana with their ClearVu technology that prevents other people from accessing the video footage. It has lullabies for my baby. I can connect up to 4 cameras {which means we need one more}, and it is a colorful LED ring that changes colors to notify you of important signals when your baby is crying and your volume is turned down. For instance, it turns red when the baby is screaming/crying loudly.

I am so excited for our third baby to arrive in October, not only to meet her, but to have this monitor as another source of peace of mind.

No more worrying, no more waking up in the middle of the night frantic, no more rushing out of bed. A good night rest for all. I hope.

Car Seat Safety Tips

I was provided the Safety 1st Grow and Go car seat to review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own.

1. Rear Facing as long as possible: It is now recommended that children are rear-facing until 2 years old, if not longer. This is the optimal protection for children's heads, necks, and spines. Check your car seat to learn about weight/length restrictions for rear-facing and forward-facing.

2. Read your Car Seat Manufacturer labels/instructions carefully: Each car seat is designed differently and has unique expiration dates {normally 6 years}, as well as height/weight limits. Be sure to understand when you are able to switch your child from rear to forward facing, when you are able/when you shouldn't use the latch system and top tether, as well as when the car seat expires and a new one will be needed.

3. If in a car accident, get a new car seat: Even if it is a small accident, it is always recommended that a new car seat is purchased for the child to make sure that it will work properly if there were an accident in the future. 

4. Know the car seat history: If you are purchasing a car seat from a friend or a garage sale, it is important that you know the history of the car seat, whether it was ever in any accidents, and when the car seat expires. This also accounts for the base.

5. Install it correctly: You can buy the best in the market, you can have the safest car out there, but if the car seat is not installed correctly, then you are not guaranteeing the safest outcomes in the case of a car accident for the child/children.

  • Inch test: Make sure that the car seat does not move more than an inch from side to side
  • Latch or seat belt: Do not use both together, but pick one or the other. Both are equally safe, but should not be used together 
  • Chest clip: make sure it is at the armpit level
  • Pinch at shoulder: if you are unable to pinch any excess strap, then it is correct. 
  • Check with a certified fire station, hospital, or dealership if uncertain if it installed correct.
6. Be aware of toys or other "car seat accessories" : Normally, car seat manuals will instruct you not to use extra toys or accessories that do not come or may be purchased with the car seat. This is because toys may actually harm a child during an accident, and other accessories may actually interfere with the car seat working properly. Always check and double check products that you purchase.

7. Don't forget the child: Sadly, roughly 30 children die every year due to heatstroke after being left in the car. Many tips have been provided to parents to help prevent this sort of tragic event which include: leaving your purse in the back or a shoe or phone, having a system in place with the sitter or daycare to call you if child doesn't arrive within 10-15 minutes, having a mirror in the back, and setting reminders on your phone.

Now that you have some of the important car seat safety tips, it's time to buy a car seat.

With so many out there that differ in design, versatility, and functionality, it's important that you choose the right car seat for your family, your lifestyle, and your car. We have owned a few car seats of our own and I've done extensive researching on car seats, so I can tell you that for a parent, there are definitely many great options out there for all types of needs and price ranges.

Thankfully, there is one out there that meets every check mark in regards to car seats and safety. The Safety 1st Go and Grow 3-in-1 car seat gives you all the options you would need to protect your child from birth to growth {from 5-100 pounds}. It has the functionality of both rear-facing and forward-facing, with rear-facing up to 40 pounds, and forward facing harness up to 65 pounds. The belt-positioning booster is then offered for children from 40-100 pounds. And then before you know it, your child will be ready for drivers-ed!

Some of the other great features that it offers as found on the Safety 1st website:
  • Side-impact protection
  • Harness holders: no more fishing around behind the child trying to find them!
  • 3 position recline
  • 2 cup holders
  • Less space in the backseat
  • QuickFit Harness
  • Exceeds Federal Safety Standards 
  • And many more!
And to top off all the great features and safety standards, the price is right. 

Watch this video to learn more about the Safety 1st Grow and Go!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

27.5 weeks and an update on Pregnancy third time around.

27.5 weeks. Where has the time gone? Can I just say that I never thought I would be one of those people who wouldn't document the third pregnancy the way I did with the first, or even the second. I swore that I would make time, that I would do the same for all my children, and yet here we are 27 weeks in and I'm just now getting around to writing an official update. Now, by official, I mean one that counts. Instagram doesn't count right? Although, I do plan on converting everything on instagram into a little book so I can pretend like I was a good mom. And to be honest, I don't have a "pregnancy" book for either of the first two, but I do have all my posts printed in a blog book. Which is more important? I don't think either, but I can already hear the arguments as the kids get older.

So here we are, 27 weeks in and I'm saying this again... where did the time go.

I feel like it was just yesterday that I had announced I was pregnant, and yet at the same time, I already forget what it was like not to be pregnant. What it was like to drink. What it was to sleep completely on my belly. What it felt like to not having someone moving inside you at all hours of the day. Actually, to pee normal.

Yet, for the first time out of all 3 of my pregnancies, I'm really not counting down, dreading it, or wishing this time away. I'm at a happy place. Do I love being pregnant? No. But is it something now that I'm sort of used to {if that makes any sense}, sure. I wonder how long this feeling will last or if this is just 2nd trimester thinking. Usually by week 34, I'm itching for the time to go by fast and I can't wait for the baby to come. And by week 37-38, I'm basically begging for the baby to come. Something tells me that I would be just fine if the baby waited until week 40. But not a day later. You hear that P. NOT-A-DAY-LATER.

The best part is that P's due date puts me at 3 months off right around the holidays. That means I will have Halloween, E's birthday, my nephew's birthday, Thanksgiving, husband's birthday, and Christmas and Graham's birthday all off. I probably will have New Years off as well, but you know I won't be partying it up anyway.

So let us do a real update.

I'm measuring right on track. The baby is looking great, and my numbers look good as well according to the doctor. My weight is approximately 13 pounds up, and I am more than pleased with that number. I passed my glucose test last week, and the nurse just called me and lectured me about my hemoglobin levels {which she called me about with my initial labs as well and recommended taking an extra iron pill}. I kind of brushed it off and told her "okay I'll take one." In other words, when I get around to going to the store and I remember, then I will. My hemoglobin was 10.5 which is not surprising out of pregnancy, but I will be a better patient and at least try to take it soon. I promise. But first, I need to actually take the step and buy it when I'm out at the store.

I have a ultrasound scheduled for my next appointment to check and make sure that my placenta moved up. It wasn't a previa, but it was very close, so they just want to a closer look since we are nearing the end of pregnancy. I'm also excited about the thought of seeing little princess on the screen again.

She's a move. Big time mover. She moves all throughout the day and has some intense gymnastics going on in my belly. The kids love to kiss her multiple times, and that often makes her perk up even more. I'm waiting for a good opportunity where she kicks their little hands. I know that would just make them so excited.

Overall, I am feeling well but definitely feeling big. Getting off the couch or out of bed feels like a lot of work, and I just don't recall feeling this big this early on. I wear all maxi dresses pretty much throughout the summer, and although surprisingly my bottoms of non-maternity clothes still fit, I just don't like anything clinching my waist. 

We have a name! We haven't shared it on any social media {for any particular reason except that we don't have a confirmed middle name}. Once we agree on something in the middle, then I guess we will share, but at this point I might as well just wait until the baby is born. Of course our families, coworkers and friends all know at this point.

We are going to have 3! The thought is crazy, yet not at the same time. I always envisioned having 3-4 kids, and we are almost there. Will we have a 4th? Everyone tells us no, but only God knows, and I trust that Andrew and I will be at peace with however big our family is. Our kids are our greatest blessings in life, and each one are just so special to us.

So here is to P, to having only 12 weeks left, and to a safe rest of the pregnancy and delivery!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lesson #57 of Motherhood: Take time for YOU.

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and EDWARDS®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #EdwardsPies

The day that I became a mom, my entire life changed.

I think that most mothers out there would agree with me and say that exact same statement.

You think about what your life was like prior to children. You try to recall the days of college living, sleeping in until noon on the weekends, driving aimlessly around, and doing things out of what you want instead of what another person needs. Your days looked much different than they do today---days of lying around the house and watching Law & Order SUV marathons. Days of going to the spa, getting your hair done, and actually having nails that are manicured. Days dedicated to you and what pleases you.

You take the time, you take care of yourself, and you most definitely put yourself first.

So when does that change when you become a mother? I guess the better question is why does that change when we become moms.

I always wondered about that--- when I read about how moms didn’t even have time to shower or brush their teeth, or how they haven’t shopped for new clothes for themselves in years, or that they had to give up something they loved because they no longer had the time for it. The common theme that I noticed was that time was always brought up. It wasn’t because the desire was no longer there {although, that seemed to be the case in some situations}, but rather that they couldn’t quite figure out how to do it all without sacrificing their role as a mother. When it came down to it, the kids always came first.

I understand that. I do. That was my thought process with my first as well. I remember not wanting to miss a single moment with the kids. I remember feeling guilty if I slept more than two hours on the weekend after working a night shift. I remember being so exhausted, needing the time to myself, and yet I would still sacrifice my health {physical and mental}. I remember that I wouldn’t allow myself to have even 30 minutes of TV time to myself because that would take away from the kids. Or that my rule was to never blog or to have the computer or phone out because gosh darn it I should be on the floor with the kids at all times. Me? Me was second, third, or last, but it certainly wasn’t at the top of the priority list.

As time went by, that slowly began to change. Perhaps, I should say, as we expanded our family, or entire viewpoint of parenting began to change. The foundation was still there, but we realized we had unrealistic expectations for ourselves and we were not being completely true to who we were. We love to lounge. We love to let the kids run free without being there every second of every day. And we love to also take care of ourselves. Yes, our children and their needs will always be important, and yes, they will always trump our wants, but when the time is there and when it is appropriate, we make sure to take that time to ourselves.

One of the things that I find myself indulging in is just the “quiet time.” Sometimes that means something as simple as sitting on the front porch while Andrew gives the kids a bath and reading a book, eating a slice of EDWARDS® Key Lime Pie, kicking my feet up on the chair, and watching the world go by me. These are all things that I normally don’t get to do when the kids are around. Enjoy the quiet----there’s always noise coming from someone. Enjoy a nice dessert----there’s always someone trying to grab a bite, or two, or three. Enjoy a book--- there’s always someone that needs my eyes on them when we are outside.

Just knowing that I’m not responsible for anything in that moment but my happiness.

I think it is so important for mothers and fathers out there to indulge in themselves. Indulge in a good book. Indulge in a TV marathon. Indulge in an Edward’s Pie. And indulge in anything else that makes them feel good. We deserve it. We have the most important responsibility out there, and we deserve a little pat on the back here and there.

That, and a slice of heaven. Which is offered in the frozen section of Wal-Mart.

Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) EDWARDS® Whole Pie by taking advantage of the Walmart EDWARDS Ibotta digital rebate (while supplies last).

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