Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mommy vs Mommy

Being a mom is the best job in the world. It's one where there is complete joy, love, exitement, and chaos all at once. Whether you're a brand new mom who is up right now in the middle of the night because your newborn won't go back to sleep, you are a mom of a toddler whose meltdowns today just completely wore you out, or you're a mommy-to-be reading up on mommy blogs about the wonderful things that come along with being a mama.

Being a mom is the best job. But it's one of the jobs where you will get criticized for everything you do. Every decision you make. Every photograph you take. Every social media post. Every text message. Every phone call. It's something that mama's say they try not to do. It's something that you shake your head at and say "I wouldn't never". 

But you know what? It happens.

Posting a pic of yourself eating a donut while you're seven-months pregnant? You bet there's a follower on your Instagram account that is shaking their head saying "I would never eat that if I was pregnant. That's a bad idea".

Discussing with a fellow mommy friend that you're giving up on breastfeeding because it's too hard? They may say they understand and that it's okay. But inside, they are thinking "Breast is best. She's giving up too soon. She doesn't want to work through it".

Asking your fellow mommy friend which milestones their baby has met? And then when you realize your baby has hit more milestones, you throw yourself and your baby up on a pedestal, thinking to yourself that you're so much better.  

Planning your baby's first birthday party? Don't even get me started on this one. Mama's just take this one to the extreme with trying to out-do each other. Their party has to be bigger, better, have more guests, more presents, more style. 

Why though?
Why are we constantly in a mommy vs mommy match with each other? 

You can shake your head now and say "I don't ever do that", but be honest. You know at some point, you have judged another mama for some decision that they made that you don't necessarily agree with. 

For what reason though?

I admit. I'm guilty of it for sure. It was never intentionally done. It was never done out of malice. It's just part of human nature to compare ourselves and our children to each other.

Social media has made "mommy shaming" so much easier. All it takes is one screen shot sent from a friends Instagram account to another friend on Facebook messenger, gossiping about something that another mother has done. I've seen it countless times. Sitting behind a laptop, tablet, and cellphone makes us think that we are invisible. But anything you've posted on social media is out there for everyone in the world to read. For everyone in the world to judge.

But why are we judging each other? 

Think back to when you were little. Do you really think your mom and your best friends mom ever sat there trying to out-do each other? Trying to plan the bigger, better party? Buying the best stroller? Buying the most expensive swing? Saying how much better it is to make their own baby food rather than store bought?

I doubt it.

That's because we are up to our elbows in this mommy vs mommy war and it has to stop.

There's no reason to judge another mom based on her decision to stop breastfeeding.

There's no reason to point out a mother's mistake if they post a picture of their child having a temper tantrum.

There's no reason to have this competition between each other over every little thing that your baby (or children) does. 

As a mother, we have the toughest job in the world. We surely don't need for there to be this competition between each other as we are raising our children. Sure, we can say it was "never our intent" to say something cruel. To post something inappropriate. To judge another mommy. But it happens. It happens to ALL of us. We've all been on both ends of this.

So join me in making a #mommitment to stop this mommy vs mommy war.

Rather than knock each other down by making judgments, let's raise each other up. Let's praise each other for being awesome moms. Let's share stories about how our baby was really fussy. Let's not pretend that we have a perfect baby who never cries, is never fussy, and is the best baby ever. Let's share stories of how our baby wouldn't nap or had an explosive mess in their diapee. 

But let's also share stories of how awesome it is when our baby has slept through the night. Or when they took more than a 20 minute nap. Or even when they've taken their first step. 

Let's share our mommy stories without the fear of being judged. Without being shamed. Without worry that they've done something wrong if they've had a bad day as a mommy.

Let's work together to raise a generation of children who won't find it necessary to judge each other. Who won't criticize their friend's every move. Who won't lash out on social media. Who won't compare themselves to each other.

Everyone is different. 

Every mom is different. Every baby is different. No two babies or two mama's can be compared.

Let's make this #mommitment to come together. To be compassionate. To be supportive. 

I urge you to head on over to for more information on this movement to stop this mommy shaming by being committed to being a supportive mama.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chicken Delicious

I love crock-pot recipes. To me, it's complete comfort food - which is good any day of the year! I use my crock-pot all the time for making chili and soups. But I really love cooking chicken in a crock-pot because it's one way I know the chicken will be thoroughly cooked and it doesn't require much effort (except if you have to chop vegetables).
On Saturday, while I was up to my elbows in homemade baby puree, I told my husband I was planning on making Chicken Delicious for dinner. Talk about an excited husband! :) We both love this recipe because it's so simple and it's healthy. It's a recipe that my mom put in the recipe book she made for me before I moved down to Florida back in 2007. I think she got it from a coworker. Either way, it's too delicious not to share! :) I guess that's why it's called Chicken Delicious!
Unfortunately, by the time I realized that I was going to do a recipe post about it, my husband and I had already devoured our plates, so it went unphotographed. Next time I'll make it, I'll be sure to post on my IG account.  
Chicken Delicious
(Makes 2 servings)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can - Cream of Mushroom soup*
1 can - Cream of Celery soup*
poultry seasoning
black pepper
*I buy the lower-sodium, "heart-healthy" version. I hate canned soup, but it's okay for this recipe!
1. Spray crock-pot with cooking spray to make clean up easy peasy.
2. Place both chicken breasts in bottom of crock-pot.
3. In a separate bowl, add both cans of soup, stirring to combine.
4. Sprinkle chicken with poultry seasoning and black pepper.
5. Pour soup over chicken breasts, making sure that you cover them completely.
6. Sprinkle more black pepper on top.
7. Put lid on and turn on high for 5 hours (or low for 6-7 hours).
Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, a baked potato, or whatever you'd like, along with your favorite vegetable! 
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eight Month Update

Somehow, our little munchkin is 8 months old. It seriously feels like yesterday that I was laying in bed at night falling asleep to her having a dance party in my belly. It's amazing that I'm a mom. Indescribable. The best thing ever. Pure perfection in my life. Being a mom is so hard, but every drop of hard work is worth it. Every second of holding her brings such joy to my life. It fills my heart. My cup runneth over. 
Head on over to my tab, Elizabeth Christine to read her 8 month update as well as to catch up on the other months if you're a new follower!

Here's some of the pictures from her 8 month photoshoot. Total cuteness. Total cuteness who would not sit still, or even sit for that matter. She wanted to stand for the whole thing so we just rolled with it! 

She's not quite done with her helmet yet, so we always make sure to take photographs with and without her helmet. She'll never remember the experience, but we want to make sure we're able to show her some day how adorable she looked! :)
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend Recap

Boy-oh-boy do these weekends seem to just fly by! It's like in the blink of an eye two days passed by. It was a great weekend of just the three of us - which is just the way I like for it to be! 

I made some baby food this weekend to stock up our freezer. Butternut squash, bananas, and pears! I actually made green beans too but after I got done pureeing, they looked strange and when I looked closer, I realize that I had done a poor job rinsing the soap out of the blender, so I had to toss 'em! Whoops! I didn't have a chance to make another batch of those, so we'll just go without green beans for this week! I'll add them to the list for next weekend!

Other than that, we cleaned and did laundry. Yawn. Chores. But we did them! 

Oh, and I cooked dinner on Saturday and Sunday! Both meals went unphotographed because by the time it was ready, I was starving! But look for the chicken recipe this week. It's a quick and easy crock-pot one that is absolutely perfect for the busy work week.

And guess what!?!? Elizabeth is eight months old tomorrow. 

How. In. The. World!?!?!

It seems like yesterday I still had her in my tummy! This is *such* a fun age - she is so energetic all the time! It's like she just doesn't seem to run out of juice, even by the end of the day! Tonight she was so awake that we just put her in her crib at 7:45pm so we could eat dinner. Luckily by the time we were mid-meal, she was sleeping. But then we had to get her up to finish the nebi treatment that she fought before we put her in the crib. This doesn't wake her up, but it's just tiring. We can't wait to be done with the nebi! We thought we'd be done by now, but with her allergies, we just keep trucking along. 

I'll leave you with a picture of this adorable little munchkin, who had her very first ponytail yesterday! 

I can't even deal with
this cuteness. Can we please 
be done with the helmet
 so we can do this every day!?!?!

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weeknight Pasta

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about Quick and Easy dinners since I'm pretty much on my own half of the month. With a husband who travels for business A LOT, I need quick and easy meals that don't create a lot of dishes and can easily be reheated once JB goes to bed. 
On Friday night, my husband asked for meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. After giggling inside because I knew I wouldn't have the energy to make all of that, I decided to whip together a quick and easy pasta dish. We normally always have a backup jar of pasta sauce and a box of pasta in the pantry, so it was readily available! 
I cooked the pasta, drained it (leaving the smallest amount of water left in the pan), and then threw in a jar of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste, and a can of petite diced tomatoes (no salt-added of course). I tossed it all up. Normally I would have diced up some onions too, but JB was getting restless in her highchair watching you sing-along songs on my iPhone. You do what you gotta do when you have a little one right there with your. But in all fairness, I loved cooking with her in the kitchen! :) She was amused for a few moments and it was cute to see her watch me cook!
The pasta was ready to eat, but I kinda wanted a pasta bake, so I sprayed a 9x13 glass pan with cooking spray, poured in the saucy noodles, and then covered with a nice thick layer of mozzarella cheese. And as I'm typing this, I should have thrown in some of that pesto too from a few weeks back! Man... maybe next time! 
I tossed the pan in the oven (uncovered) at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. We took it out once JB was sound asleep and then enjoyed a tasty pasta dinner that was easy-peasy! 
 Don't mind my leg in the picture.
Clearly you can tell I wasn't eating
 at the kitchen table!
 Weeknight Pasta Bake
1 box of pasta (I used penne tonight)
1 jar of tomato sauce (didn't have any homemade left in the freezer)
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
mozzarella cheese
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Boil water, cook pasta, drain.
2. Add jar of tomato sauce, can of tomato paste, and can of diced tomatoes. Stir! 
3. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. 
4. Pour saucy noodles in pan and then cover with mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.
**Let this cool for a few minutes before you cut - it's really, really hot!**

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Working Hard: It's Taught at a Young Age

My father has worked his whole life. Next week is his last week of waking up in the middle of the night to be to work before 4am. It's his last week of working 12+ hour days. It's his last week of dealing with scheduling, coverage for all the various jobs, and having very few moments for a break or lunch. He is retiring next Thursday and it's 100% well earned and deserved. 
My dad has always instilled in me the idea of working hard. Life doesn't come easy to anyone. But life is surely better when you're able to work to support your family to have a lifestyle that you enjoy. Work is even better when it's something that you love doing. 
Over the past 8 months, this is something I have really, really struggled with.  Prior to having Elizabeth, I loved going to work every morning. I never dreaded getting out of bed. I never dreaded the long days, the planning, and the stress. I never counted down the hours until it was time to leave. 
But when Elizabeth was born, my priorities shifted. My love for teaching is still there, but it's different. It's really hard to explain. I honestly struggle to get out of bed some most mornings. I still get upset saying goodbye to Elizabeth every morning. I drive to work asking myself if I'm doing the right thing by going to work. I do look at the clock A LOT while at work. I sometimes race out of work so I can get to her daycare to pick her up.
But over the past week, I've been giving the whole idea of hard work a lot of thought. 
Growing up, my dad never called into work. 
Growing up, my dad was never late for work. 
Growing up, my dad worked 40+ hours every week.
Growing up, my dad repeatedly told me to always put 100% into your work, even on your roughest days. 
Growing up, my dad reinforced the idea of being dedicated to your job, always having a smile on your face.
So if my dad spent my entire childhood and young-adult years reinforcing all of these ideas about hard work to my brother and I, why am I complaining? Why am I sulking? Why am I beating myself up for leaving my sweet, baby girl at daycare?
My dad is an amazing father. He was there for me every moment of my childhood. He took care of my brother and I. He made sure that we were all happy. He made sure his family enjoy life. He made us smile. He made us laugh. He made us a family. 
He made us into a family of hard workers. My brother and I have had jobs ever since high school. He never once paid our credit card bill. He never once paid our cell phone bill. He never once made a payment on our car. We were taught to work for what we want. We were taught to work hard and then be rewarded. Nothing comes for free.
He was able to do all of these things while working a full-time job. He was able to do all of these things without me every asking my mom "where's dad?" and "why isn't he home?".  He was able to teach me about work ethic and putting forth 100%, 100% of the time. He was able to be there for my brother's baseball and football games. He was able to be there for my dance recital and musical performances. 
My dad worked a full-time job throughout my entire childhood and I never once looked down on him for working. My dad supported our family by working and ensuring that we had the money to pay for our house, our food, my high school education, and any of the other luxuries my family and I had growing up. My dad worked hard. He worked very, very hard. 
So, as I struggle with being a working mama, I have to take a few moments sometimes to reflect and look back on my childhood. I have to take a moment to think about what wonderful parents I have for raising my brother and I who we are today: HARD WORKERS. 
He's right, life doesn't come easy. But life is a heck of a lot easier when you have a job you enjoy and one that is able to help you to provide for your family. 
So thanks daddy, for teaching me about working hard. Thank you for teaching me about going to work on those tough days.  Thank you for teaching me that being a working mama is okay and that I shouldn't be beating myself up for leaving our little Elizabeth at daycare.  Thank you for making me realize that I'm providing a comfortable lifestyle for our family. Thank you for teaching me to savor these moments on the weekend when we are a beautiful family of three. Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to have two jobs - a parent to our sweet Elizabeth and a teacher to a wonderful group of students. Thanks daddy for telling me I can absolutely handle both jobs. I know this because if you can do it, I can do it. 
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Five on Friday

Can I get a woot-woot that it's the weekend!?!?! Man, these weeks of testing are L-O-N-G! Especially when there are testing delays due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our districts control. Regardless, the weekend is finally here and I couldn't be more excited!
Now for my five on Friday for this week!
My sweet little baby girl is officially a crawler. I'm so excited petrified that she's going to crash land and smack her head on the floor. Yes, she has a helmet, but I still don't want her to bump her head. Crawling isn't necessarily the issue - it's that she's already over it and just wants to stand up and walk. She's able to completely pull herself up in multiple ways - the pack and play, the playroom, the crib, and the couch. Once she's standing up, she lets go... Zoikes! Maybe I'll take my husband up on his idea to get her elbow and knee pads for cruisin' around the house!

How in the world is she going
to be 8 months next week!?!?!

I haven't been feeling well at all this week. In the early part of the week, I was nauseous at various parts of the day (nope, not pregnant!!!) and I can't figure it out. Then yesterday I had to run out of the testing room to use the ladies' room. Sorry for the TMI, but it happens to the best of us right!?!? I thought maybe it was a stomach bug, but luckily it went away in time for me to finish up testing and then head off-campus for my reading resource meeting. Add in the sinus headache I had earlier this week and you could say I'm a hot mess!!! 

State testing is officially over today. Thank goodness!!! I feel like our students have been taking tests for weeks! Oh wait, they have! Last week and this week it was 5th grade that was taking the state assessments. Reading and math were computer-based (I know, really!?!?!) and then yesterday and today they are taking pencil-and-paper science. I'm completely understanding of assessments, I am. But our students are in testing-overload! 

I got a pedicure on Wednesday and I enjoyed every moment of the pampering. I took a picture but it's blurry and I'm far too lazy to go grab my phone and take again. I love the nail place that I go to - I've recently discovered it and it's the best one I've been to besides the place where I go in Buffalo! I'm looking forward to going this weekend to get a manicure! I needed a bright spring color, so I opted for Essie color in Raspberry. For some reason, this picture doesn't really do it any justice! It's lovely for this time of year!

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I officially have a new job for next year! I wanted to announce last week, but with transfer period not starting until this past Monday, I had to wait until the paperwork went through! I will be keeping my position as Reading Resource teacher (wooohooooo!!!!), but I will be changing schools. My new school is an ERT (Extended Reading Time) school, which means slightly longer hours and much more planning on my part, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and BIG change. Look for a post all about this new change next week on the blog! 

I hope you all have a phenomenal Friday!
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Iced Coffee: Obsessed

I have NO idea why I'm obsessed with iced coffee lately. In fact, I've pretty much been obsessed since I gave birth to our daughter Elizabeth back in August. During the nine months of my pregnancy, I couldn't stand the smell of coffee. Just the thought of drinking it make me sick to my stomach. But once JB was born, I was like give. me. the. coffee. But make it iced!

Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, I completely forgot to stop at the ATM to grab some money to give to a coworker for our Secretary Appreciation Week gift. I was already running late (I had to take JB to daycare since my husband was out of town) so it was either stop and get coffee or stop and get money. I pulled into CVS to buy a pack of gum to get some cash back (no Chase ATMs are located in my school's neighborhood) when I decided to see what sort of coffee-type beverages they had since I didn't have to time to get my usual from Dunkin' Donuts. Two birds, one stone - Winning!

I came across this Starbucks Caramel Iced Coffee and immediately grabbed it. I have had similar ones before, but I'm pretty addicted to anything caramel these days. So, so, sooooo yummy!!! It is lightly sweetened and only 110 calories (which is probably way less than my medium iced coffee-cream-two pumps of caramel swirl from Dunkin' Donuts). 

The only downfall? The glass container. I had to proctor the 5th grade Florida State Assessment, so walking around the classroom with a glass container isn't the best idea, but I made it work! 

I swear, one of the days I'm going to just buy the Keurig that makes iced beverages so I can just stop spending all my my husband's money on iced coffee!!! I'm afraid to add up the amount of money I spend on this iced deliciousness each week!

What do you drink every morning? Hot coffee? Or iced?

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is make dinner. I used to be really good with crock-pot meals and even making sure there are leftovers on the nights when I know Shaun is going to be out of town on business. Lately, I've been horrible with meal planning. 

On Sunday night, we had pizza and there are leftovers that I was planning on eating for dinner last night. But after binging on a chocolate chip muffin the size of my head for breakfast, I decided pizza probably wasn't the smartest decision. So, dinner last night?

Oh yes. Multigrain Cheerios for the win! 

But really, cereal for dinner isn't the most nutritious option out there. Honestly though, it's just so easy and it creates minimal dishes! Of course Multigrain Cheerios are one of the healthier cereals out there, it's still not all that filling. Having three bowls of cereal defeats the purpose right!?! Haha. If you're going to pig out, why not have something more filling! 

On Monday afternoon, I had the awesome idea to stop at Subway before I picked JB from from daycare. I didn't get it toasted and I asked for minimal amount of yellow mustard. When I got home, I tossed it in the fridge to keep fresh until our little snuggle bunny was sound asleep. Why has it taken me almost 8 months to get that idea? Like seriously!?!?! Once Elizabeth was sleeping, I enjoyed a healthy and filling dinner! Dinner for the win! 

Besides Subway (which isn't all that great for you either because of the sodium in the deli meat), there are quick dinner options that I just don't ever seem to think of at the moment when I'm standing in front of the refrigerator, completely clueless on what to make for dinner. 

Grilled cheese and tomato soup?
An omelet and a few slices of whole wheat toast? 
Baked chicken and a sweet potato?
A salad with chopped boiled egg for protein and lots of veggies? 

All good options. All quick and easy. All with minimal dishes and clean up. 

So maybe with some meal planning and following through with that meal plan not being lazy, I need to remember some of these options for those nights when it's the mama show! 

What are your favorite quick and easy dinner dishes? Share some ideas!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Defining Moments in Life

Defining moments occur when we least expect them. They often come unannounced, as a surprise, or even as a blessing. We don't anticipate them happening, but when they do, we often take a moment to reflect on our life. We wonder how life was before that moment and how life is going to be after that moment. We wonder what we did to get to that defining moment and that no one can ever take that moment away from us. We wonder if we will have more of those moments in life where we just have to stop, count our blessings, and remember that God is truly in charge.
Defining moments, to me, are those moments that make me stop and think about life. Moments that not everyone is able to have. Moments that are earned. Moments that are a gift. Moments that no one can ever take away from us. Defining moments sometimes change us as a person. They can shape us to become someone different, someone better.
As I rocked a very fussy and teething baby to sleep Sunday evening, I stood in her nursery. It was dark in the room. Her white noise machine was playing rain music. The air purifier was gently humming. And my sweet baby girl was looking up at me with the most beautiful and perfect eyes. This is a moment that I don't ever want to forget. I could tell she was tired. I could tell her gums were really bothering her. But I was exhausted and becoming increasingly more frustrated that she wouldn't just go to sleep. But I just rocked her. I held her tight in my arms. I whispered "I love you" into her little ear. I told her that everything was going to be okay.
So what makes this a defining moment? Well for one, it was one of those moments where I stopped myself from calling my husband into the nursery to take Elizabeth. It was a moment where I realized that I got this. I'm a mom. It's my job. And so, I continuously rocked my sweet baby girl until she calmed down. Until she stopped putting her fingers in her mouth in pain. Until she just rested her head on my shoulder, as if she was giving me all the love in the world. And in that moment, I realized that I'm a good mom
I'm not a perfect mom. I make mistakes. I get frustrated. I put JB in her crib sometimes and walk away to take a deep breath. 
But I'm a good mom
It's these moments as a mom that make me realize I'm doing a pretty good job raising our little snuggle bunny. Being a mommy has been the hardest thing I've ever done. It's exhausting. It's crazy. It's unpredictable.

But I'm a good mom

My mommy instinct has led me to important decisions in the almost 8 months that Elizabeth has been with us. Decisions that no one else can make for me. Decisions that are made out of pure love and admiration for our beautiful little baby girl. 

Am I free from making mistakes though? Absolutely not. There are things that I reflect on as I lay in bed each night and I tell myself how to better handle the situation the next day.

But I'm a good mom. And a simple defining moment, rocking my sweet baby to sleep, assured me of this.
 There's nothing sweeter than holding
 a beautiful baby!

What's one of your defining moments?
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Monday, April 20, 2015

You Are Not Alone: Who You're Fighting With

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As I mentioned on my Sunday morning post, this is National Infertility Awareness Week. This is the week where women around the world should be sharing their stories of infertility and the quest to become a family. This is the week when women need to realize that they are not alone.

Remember, 1 in 8 couples have difficulty naturally conceiving a baby. That number seems to be increasing, at least with people in my life. It seems like I'm always hearing the emotional stories of friends, college and high school classmates, or friends of friends who are enduring this emotional battle. 

You are not alone.

Ever wonder and think how lucky celebrities are? They lead a royal life and then BAM!, they announce that they are expecting a baby. Well, to be honest - sometimes it doesn't happen that way - even for celebrities. Even those with millions of dollars sometimes have a battle with conceiving. 

So who am I referring to?

Well, if you're all caught up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians (don't judge. I love that show. It's my way to relax!), you know Kim Kardashian is desperately seeking a second baby with Kayne. 

Sarah Jessica Parker is another. She and her husband Matthew Broderick ended up using a surrogate to carry her twins.

Giuliana Rancic has been very open with her struggle. Not only did she suffer a miscarriage, but she also is a cancer survivor. She and husband Bill Rancic have used a surrogate for their first son, but in a second attempt of IVF, her surrogate miscarried.

And then there is Celine Dion, Brooke Shields, and Mariah Carey.

So to those of you out there who are struggling with infertility. Remember, you are not alone
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Carefree: Fresh and Fierce

I love getting products to sample in the mail. It's like the postman leaves me little presents in my mailbox. This past week, I was super excited when I opened up my mailbox and found my first VoxBox from Carefree. As part of the Influenster social network site, I take surveys all the time so I can be matched with products to try out. I received an e-mail a few weeks ago informing me that my first VoxBox was on its way! 

As part of their #freshisfierce campaign, Carefree has a product in their feminine product line called their Acti-Fresh To Go pantiliners. As a woman, we all know why we would need a pantiliner. I pretty much lived by them while I was pregnant with my daughter Elizabeth. It saved me many times from embarrassing moments. Now that my monthly cycle is back and has regulated, I will definitely be using these pantiliners on my lighter days. 

Besides how light they are, I love that they are so compact and little. They fit right into any size bag - whether it's my handbag, small wristlet, or a diaper bag! When it comes down to feminine hygiene products, I'm all about being discreet!
Finding a good pantiliner is a challenge for us women - the brand I was using while pregnant with my daughter didn't seem to stay in place and it wasn't nearly as compact. While they are slightly thicker, they don't seem to be uncomfortable while wearing and definitely get the job done! 
Can I just give a shout out to Carefree because in this particular sample, there were 20 pantliners! To me that's more than just a sample! I love free products, especially when they are awesome and something I will use in the future!

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. post signature

Sunday, April 19, 2015

You Are Not Alone

April 19-25th marks National Infertility Awareness Week.  During our challenges conceiving our daughter, Elizabeth, I often feared the worst. I feared that I wasn't able to do the one thing that every woman should be able to do: carry a baby. It tore at my heart to take pregnancy test after pregnancy test, only to discover that they were negative. Luckily, we were one of the fortunate couples that was finally able to conceive successfully and without any fertility treatments.  I say that we were lucky, but we really left it up to God and when God thought the moment was right, that little pregnancy test showed a positive line. Fortunately, we were never classified as having infertility complications.
So why am I blogging about this?
So many women are struggling with this issue. It's gut-wrenching hearing the stories of other couples, desperately seeking to become pregnant, only to find out that they are not able to conceive for one reason or another. It's so upsetting to hear the stories of couples who have finally become pregnant after months (or years) of trying, only to find out that the mother was miscarrying or had to deliver a stillbirth baby. It's horrible knowing how many couples are determined to try for a baby, spend tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments, only to find that it didn't work. 
There are so many things going through a woman's mind when she's trying to conceive.
Am I ovulating?
Did we time everything right?
Do I have a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet?
Will I get my period?
What if my period is late, but I don't have a positive pregnancy test?
But one of the questions that I constantly asked myself during our struggle with conceiving was "what am I doing wrong?".
It took my husband WEEKS to convince me that this wasn't my fault. How did he know? Well, I was healthy. I exercised. I was given a clean bill of health by my gynecologist. I was taking prenatal vitamins. I was tracking my basal body temperature. I was using all sorts of fertility apps on my phone to track my symptoms - headaches, body temperature, even the consistency of my cervical mucus. He just kept telling me to have Faith in God and leave it up to him. For us, that worked. But for so many other couples, even having that Faith in God doesn't always give them the answer to their prayers. 
Infertility is not your fault.

1 in 8. 

That's the statistic on couples who are struggling to conceive.  So to all of you women out there who are trying to conceive a baby so you can grow your family - you are not alone. 

Find support. This support can be a friend who has gone through the same thing. This support can be through medical professionals (therapists and/or medical doctors). This support can be through networking on social media to read about the stories that other women are willing to share about their journey through infertility on their quest to conceiving. There are even websites that are dedicated to supporting women who are struggling with this heart-wrenching issue.

The National Infertility Association created a website called Resolve to help support women who are struggling with infertility. This community of support provides a plethora of information to women out there - whether it's support groups, connections for social media networking, opportunities for women to volunteer and give back to this community of women, as well as information regarding the issue of infertility and how to build a family. 
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You can also call 866.NOT.ALONE for more information and support.

Remember, if you are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. Talk to someone. Ask questions. Don't give up. And remember: this is not your fault

Please join in this week and spread the word about infertility awareness. Social media is the biggest way to get the word out there about all the couples who are struggling with this. 

Prayers and good thoughts for couples around the world who are struggling with infertility. Have Faith in God. Pray. Remember that good things will happen.

Remember... you are not alone
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In an effort to get the word out there, I will be sharing infertility facts all week long. Please join me in doing the same so that we can show our support for those couples who are fighting the odds that are stacked against their quest to build a family naturally.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Plans When You're A Mama

I love the weekend. But not for the reason that most young adults do. Not for the going out to the bar on a Friday night. Not for a Saturday evening date night. But rather, a weekend to be with our little snuggle bunny.

Setting expectations and plans for the weekend when you're parents, at least in my eyes, isn't important. Yep, we're perfectly content being home. Maybe things would be completely different if we were able to stay home with Elizabeth during the week. But after working all week, and only seeing JB for a couple hours each evening, my husband and I are just so happy to STAY HOME on the weekends and spoil our baby girl with all the love and attention in the world.

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So what do we do at home? 
Watch TV? Spend the day on our computers?

Not exactly! 

This morning once we got done with Saturday morning snuggles (a staple in our house on the weekends), dada fed Elizabeth some apple yo baby yogurt while I got started on making some homemade baby food. Baby food making = so much fun!!!

First up this morning is peaches! I bought a bag of the Simply Balanced Organic Peaches from Target yesterday because they were on sale. I steamed them and then pureed in the blender. Honestly, I wasn't impressed with how much it made. I got enough for 7.5 ounces and the bag was on sale for I think $3.22. Next time I do peaches, I'll buy from the produce department, but I'll probably wait until "peach season" this summer since they will be way cheaper then. 

Later this morning, after I get back from the gym (yes, this mama is forcing herself to go to the gym. I have a 20+ mile bike ride this summer and I have to get into better shape to build my stamina), I plan on making some peas as well as butternut squash and pears.
Other than making baby food, I don't have much on my agenda for today. We have a contractor coming out to look at our bathroom to get an estimate for the new tiles, vanity, and sink, and I might go to Home Depot to look at paint colors. My husband doesn't know this, but I'd like to paint the bathroom ASAP, like the second the tiling in the bathroom is done.

So, for the rest of the day, this mama is baby food making, working out at the gym, and spending time playing with our little peanut!

Maybe when Elizabeth is a little bit older, we'll enjoy having a busy social schedule on the weekends. I'm sure in the future, we'll have Saturday morning play-dates, birthday parties to attend, and neighborhood parks to visit. And maybe things would even be different if we could take JB outside to a park on a Sunday afternoon (hot Florida weather + helmet = a bad and possibly dangerous idea to be outside). So, for the moment, we are perfectly content with staying home and spending the weekend together making memories in our home. Our home is our happy place, so we take advantage of the time we have together, especially with my husband's crazy work schedule. 

Have a happy Saturday everyone! 
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