Messy Moments & Life.


“This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.”

The adjustment to two children has been a chaotic one for sure. Cash was such a low maintenance child and continues to be one, while Brando on the other hand wants 100% of the attention 99.9% of the time. There are days full of overwhelm, sleepless nights, and days where I literally can’t even fathom leaving the house with both boys, but then I’ll have those precious gleaming moments that fill my heart with so much joy it makes all the turmoil so incredibly worth it.

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Some of my favorite first moments with Cash were: him getting his first tooth, crawling for the first time, and the moment he said “Mama”. The first time Cash met his baby brother, and then weeks later the first time he actually gave him a kiss melted my heart completely. It reminded me that I gave him a friend for life, and that makes the struggle so worth it. My children’s first smiles were so magical, the moment you know it’s not gas, but in fact them just being completely happy being in your arms, they should bottle the kind of happiness that brings a parent.

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The funniest first moments with both boys were our first “champagne showers” if you know what I mean. 😉 Olivia Wilde said it best when she said, “Being a mother has taught me many things, one of them being that every grown man has at one time, peed in their own face.”

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Brando has recently started rolling on his belly, which means he’s one step closer to being a crawler, and as much as I love these first moments, hitting each one means my sweet baby boy is one moment closer to not being a baby anymore. So I cherish these moments as much as I can.

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I absorb & appreciate the good days when I’m full of energy for the park, when I’m not struggling to keep up, when my husband leaves an iced coffee drink for me in the fridge for me to wake up to. What I have learned, as cliche as it sounds, is that life is just a culmination of all these little precious moments, and it’s so important to appreciate them as they happen, so that the memories of these moments don’t fade. I want to always remember that there’s this HUGE period of my children’s lives where all they really want or need is who I am, and for me to play, laugh, and love them.

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Waterwipes understands these moments, and wants to help spread the word that these moments are invaluable. Chemical free, made with 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract, they are the safest wipes on the market for your little ones. I love this video that they created to share our special moments, try not to tear up watching it, as you remember your sweet little babes first moments. I dare you.

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Skin-to-Skin

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Before kids, I have zero idea what skin-to-skin was. Honestly, I actually didn’t know what the “big deal” about skin-to-skin time was still, even after my first son Cash was born. With Brando, I’ve come to realize how important that connection is to my child and just how calming and comforting this magical bond can be. For those new to parenting, here are some tips for optimizing skin-to-skin interaction with your new baby, and a little information on why it’s such a crucial part of the parenting process.

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Why it’s important

  1. Skin-to-Skin bonding promotes independent thermoregulation in infants. Put simply, newborns have to learn how to process and regulate their body temperatures to survive outside the womb and skin-to-skin contact is one of the easiest ways to help your baby adapt to his/her new environment.
  2. Helping your baby to gain weight. This I didn’t realize until we were told Brando was at the lower end of the weight gain percentage and we needed to supplement to get him some extra calories. We keep our house super cold because James and I run hot, and Cash’s eczema flairs are avoided when he’s cool. However for Brando, he has to burn extra calories to try to keep warm, so more skin-to-skin interaction plays a huge role in helping him put on more weight.
  3. It makes breastfeeding easier. I have plans to share the struggles I’ve had on this breastfeeding journey, but just know it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows thus far. My milk supply took a huge hit after getting mastitis when Brando was 3 weeks old. After seeing a lactation consultant, she informed me that just 10 extra minutes of skin-to-skin bonding a day can boost hormone levels that regulate lactation. Helping the baby be more satisfied at the breast, and ensure that he gets the amount of milk he needs each feeding.

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Tips to optimize Skin-to-Skin interaction

  1. Keep your clothing at home minimal. Because skin-to-skin is so great at calming your baby, unless you’re going out in public, keep your baby in only a diaper at home that way each time you hold your baby they get some of that super sweet skin time! Also on a parental end, I typically wear lower cut blouses and James stays in button-downs or v-necks around the house, so it’s super easy to access our skin to calm Brando if necessary!
  2. Wear your baby. Strollers are super convenient when going out and about with two kids especially. But I’ve found that it’s actually just as easy to wear Brando while I have Cash in a stroller. When I wear Brando he gets all that skin-to-skin goodness he craves, making our time outside the house MUCH more peaceful and enjoyable.
  3. Pick up your baby as much as you can! This sounds obvious, but I know sometimes I am guilty of setting Brando in his swing with a pacifier when he is super fussy just so I can get some work done. I’ve found that while I do have things to do, Brando is much more peaceful if I pause and take just 5 more minutes to let him rest his head against my chest. Then instead of running back to the swing every 4-5 minutes to reinsert the Bink, he peacefully lays down in his swing and enjoys the ride, allowing me to ultimately get more things done that I need to do!

 

While we’re on the subject of skin, keeping your skin and your baby’s skin clean is very important. Since everything you put onto your skin can be absorbed into your body, it’s a huge priority of mine that I don’t introduce harmful chemicals to my skin that could be passed onto the baby during our skin-to-skin time. This is why we use WaterWipes, a chemical free baby wipe composed of Irish water and grapefruit seed extract. They are so much safer than other wipes to use on your baby’s sensitive skin, and very durable for those blow outs that we are all too familiar with! WaterWipes understands the importance of skin-to-skin contact and wants to make sure that sacred time isn’t ruined with any harsh chemicals. For more information check them out on Facebook or Twitter. To watch this sweet video and share it with your loved ones who understand the importance of skin-to-skin, check it out here.

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#skin2skin,

B

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Creating an Extra-Special Movie Night

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #AngryForSavings #CollectiveBias

I’ve mentioned our family’s love of movies more than a few times on this blog. Our bedtime ritual is simple, while some families go with the 4 B’s (Bath, Bottle, Book, Bed), we take a more millennial approach BSMB (Bath, Snack, Movie, Bed). Cash and I both fall asleep every night watching a movie together, and it’s one of my favorite times. Here’s the scene: around 7:30 Cash comes to James or myself and asks for a bath, after the bath we get our lotions and jammies on, then he asks for juice and says “hungry” or “apple” letting us know he’s ready for a snack, then he grabs my hand with his sweet little fingers and pulls me into the bedroom and says “Movie Mama Movie”. This is our night, every night and watching him communicate the things he wants, knowing this is his way of also expressing he is tired is so fascinating and exciting to me.

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Since Birds are one of Cash’s favorite animals, (second only to Dinosaurs) when the new Angry Birds movie became available to rent at home, I wanted to do something to make this bedtime ritual a little extra special.He’s been such a great helper as we have been transitioning to life with a newborn so he deserves a little something extraordinary to show him how proud we are of the big brother he’s transformed into. Inspired by the amazing colors of the movie: red, green, yellow, and black I put together this special treat for him. Instead of streaming the same movie we watch over and over, wearing the same footie pajamas, and grabbing the same ol’ apple & string cheese snack I did a little something extra to celebrate what is sure to be Cash’s new favorite movie! Here’s what I did to make this a night that was more than a mundane bedtime ritual.

  1. New PJ’s. I was so inspired by the character’s colors in the movie, and Cash is just now starting to recognize and point out colors he knows. So I wore a super comfortable black cotton nighttime dress to emulate Bomb from the movie, while I got Cash some awesome red flannel PJ’s so he reflected the main character, Red.                                                                                                            Unknown-5
  2. A new snack. While most of the time we try to stick with an apple to help keep his teeth clean before bed, tonight called for something delicious, so we indulged in a popcorn mix to go along with the theme and colors of the movie. I popped sweet and savory kettle corn and mixed in mini & peanut chocolate candies in red, green, and yellow. I also added in some red licorice bites to really make this a sweet snack that went perfectly with the movie                                                                       Unknown-3
  3. A bedtime birdie. Cash has never been one to play with a lot of stuffed animals, but I did catch him napping with an elephant a few weeks ago, so of course I had to grab him a new pal to watch the movie with! A lot of the Angry Birds are available at Walmart, but I ended up getting the yellow bird “Chuck” from the movie. Cash is really in love with the color yellow lately, and recognizes it immediately on objects, so getting him the yellow bird was a great choice for our Angry Birds Color Movie Night!

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This evening was so wonderful and a great memory for Cash and I to share as something special he got to experience on his own. It was the perfect way to wind down after a long day of running around and being the busy Mom I am!

Sometimes when we’re all out and about, Cash isn’t the easiest member of the family to keep occupied. As a toddler his patience is extremely limited, and if he gets testy while we’re grocery shopping I either have to cut the trip short, or be “that mom” with the screaming child in her cart. That’s why I always prepare myself with snacks, a few small toys, and his phone when we leave the house. I like to have my phone readily available to snap pictures, answer emails/texts, and take calls if I need to, so letting him just play with my phone is not an option to be honest. We’re able to afford for Cash to have his own line because of the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan.

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At just $49.88 per line we get unlimited talk, text, and data which includes 10 GB of 4G LTE plus a free movie on VUDU every month. Since he is just a toddler, we chose to get him the Coolpad Catalyst phone. It’s got an awesome easy to navigate home screen that allows him to easily get to games and apps to keep him occupied. Even better, this phone only cost $59.88 so replacing it won’t cost us an arm and a leg if Cash happens to throw it hard enough to break the screen!

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Our old phone bill with a contract for just James and I was over $200 a month, now we each get our own phones for $50 less, and since Family Mobile bills you later, you can actually get the starter kit now for only $19.88 when you sign up now!

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Cash lets me shop til I drop while watching videos on kids apps or playing games on his phone! This plan helps me keep my sanity while keeping up with two babies. You can get more information by visiting the hub to find an in-store event with a Walmart Family Mobile rep, and just to give you that something extra the event will have a code that you can scan to receive a free power up for the Endless Runner Game on the Angry Birds Action! You can even scan the Angry Birds display in Walmart for an augmented reality selfie with hatchlings!

The Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan also gives us a free movie on the VUDU app each month ($7 value) making movie nights like this something we can treasure frequently on our SmartTV. What movie would you watch if you got a free one each month with VUDU? Have you seen Angry Birds yet? Let me know in the comments! <3

 

*All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/4q-u1 or your local Walmart for current pricing.

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5 Tips to ease Eczema

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

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Sensitive skin is something that runs in both my family and James’ family. James struggles with psoriasis on his elbows from time to time, while I have dealt with having to buy certain products to avoid allergic reactions to dyes and perfumes on my skin. When planning for a family, neither of us thought that those skin traits would be passed on, not like it was a strange thing, it just wasn’t something we actually thought about.

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It wasn’t long after our son Cash’s first birthday that we found ourselves and a very itchy baby in a specialists office learning as much as we could to help ease a chronic itchy rash he had developed. Eczema, as our allergist put it, is an itch that becomes a rash. The small red bumps that broke the surface of Cash’s skin were actually the reaction to him scratching. The itch is internal and often caused by environmental allergies, but can be triggered by numerous different things. For example: Cash’s eczema was brought on by an allergy he developed to our cat, but even after we got rid of the cat and moved into a home with no pet dander, his eczema is still triggered by certain things like heat and will flair up a few times a month due to these triggers.

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While each child and case is different here are some tips I’ve found that really help keep Cash’s flair-ups to a minimum. These are especially helpful to use during the hot summer months, as heat and sweat can be HUGE triggers for most with this condition.

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  1. Bathing daily in lukewarm water. Keeping his skin clean is a huge priority, and being the active toddler he is, Cash is always getting into something or another, so bathing daily is really important. However, since his eczema is triggered by heat, we have to keep those baths very chill, literally. Our allergist also recommended keeping the baths to 10 minutes or less, because sometimes sitting in water for extended periods of time can strip the moisture out of the skin
  2. Use body lotions & soaps that are free of dyes & perfumes. This is one of the most important ones. Looking at the ingredients in what you’re putting on your child’s skin is very important. Often times a brand will advertise that it is made for treatment of eczema or that it aides with sensitive skin, but it still contains harsh perfumes that can aggravate a skin condition. Always read your labels
  3. Sweat Less. Our eczema, like many others is triggered by heat, so during the summer it’s almost impossible to avoid flair-ups. As soon as my son sweats, he starts to scratch as well, so we try to avoid being in the sun during its peak hours (12-2), and stay indoors as much as we can without being hermits. This doesn’t mean don’t have fun in the sun or enjoy time at the beach, but be mindful of how many consecutive hours you’re spending outdoors, and bring portable fans as well as hand towels covered in ice water for an all day outside adventure. Keeping cool is key. Most of the time when we are outdoors during the summer it’s in a water play type setting, ensuring Cash can have a blast, while still staying cool.                                                                                                        IMG_7640
  4. Heavily Moisturize & Cover Areas. Keeping the skin soft and hydrated is a great preventative measure to take when it comes to a flair-up. With a toddler running around all the time, it can be difficult to get him lathered up and keep that lotion from rubbing off on other surfaces. We are prescribed a steroid cream that we use when his reaction has gotten really bad, which we apply 2 times a day to the affected areas. When the bumps are not as bad, we use a perfume & dye free lotion made for eczema, and cover his trigger areas with articles of clothing. Cash’s effected areas are his feet, elbows, and behind his knees, so I generously apply the lotion after bath time, then put leggings, a long-sleeved shirt, and socks on him to make sure the areas get extra moisturized each evening. We also turn down the thermostat each night to cooler than most homes to ensure that Cash doesn’t get warm while being so covered at night.
  5. Ensure your laundry detergent is all® Free Clear.  Anything that comes in contact with the skin can cause a break out which is why it’s just as important to check your laundry detergent for dyes, harsh chemicals, and perfumes as it is your lotions and soaps. We use all® free clear, the #1 sensitive skin brand.  all® free clear helps remove 99% of everyday and seasonal allergies including cat and dog dander, dust mite matter, ragweed, grass, and tree pollen, which is great for when we let Cash spend time at the homes of relatives with animals. It’s also the #1 recommended brand detergent by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for Sensitive Skin, putting my mind at ease. The best part is it’s affordability and the way it fights tough stains, brightens colors and whitens whites, making it the only detergent we need for the entire family. It’s great on my clothes, the newborn’s little onesies stained by spit-up, and getting out all the smeared food/dirt Cash gets on his clothes on a daily basis.

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I also love how long lasting the detergent is! Even with a household full of laundry I typically only have to pick up one bottle a month on one of my many trips to Target!

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Keeping my children happy and healthy is my number one priority, and preventing uncomfortable itchiness for Cash is one of the ways I do so. I’m not yet sure of what skin conditions our newborn Brando may develop, but I know now ways I can prevent some of the situations we experienced with Cash with the help of all® free clear. Continue the conversation by joining the all® free clear community and connecting with parents just like you and me!

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Enjoying Little Adventures

Cybex Balios Stroller
This post was sponsored by CYBEX as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received the CYBEX Balios Stroller and Aton Q Infant Car Seat to facilitate my review.
Cybex Balios Stroller

Baby Brando is now 2 weeks old today. I would be lying if I said this that the time is flying by. James and I have been running on about 4 nonconsecutive hours of sleep a night and it’s been rough to get out and about or be motivated to get anything done. One thing I have learned in this first two weeks with two kids is that it’s really important to enjoy the small victories, and have little adventures that help the days pass in a fun way.

Aton Q Carseat by Cybex

Over the weekend, we took Cash and Brando out just to the park in our subdivision, parked ourselves in the grass, and ate lunch. Cash ran all around the playground and expelled a lot of his excess energy, which gave us all a great nap time later on in the day. While we watched Cash play, Brando laid on his blanket in the grass and posed for the most adorable pictures. I love that we were able to create such a great little daytime memory from such a long night of exhaustion. Here are some other ideas for small summertime adventures you can have with your children. They aren’t looking for grand gestures, it’s important to remember, they just want your time and attention at the end of the day, that’s enough.

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  1. Picnic in the Park. -This is what we did and it was fabulous and easy! Didn’t take long to make some sandwiches and wash some fruit and we were out the door!
  2. Family Movie Marathon.- Lately Cash has been OBSESSED with Dinosaurs, so we bought him a couple dinosaur toys, and watched all of the Jurassic Park’s! He loved reenacting the loud ROAR’s with his little toys!
  3. Ice Cream Outing. – Find a local ice cream spot and take the family out for a little treat. Whether you grab cones or sundaes, ice cream is always a winner and a fun way to get the family together.
  4. Game Night.- While this is kind of on every list always to kill time, breaking out the board games is a ton of fun, to really get everyone in the spirit of competition, grab a small toy or gift card for the victor!
  5. Pool/Beach Time.– Depending on your location, a family trip to the beach or local pool can be just what everyone needs to de-stress and unwind. It’s great to soak up the sun while cooling off in a nice pool to beat the heat!

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No matter what small adventures you may end up going on it’s certainly important to have the right gear for the kids to travel with, which is why I love my Cybex Aton Q carseat and Balios Stroller. Available at BuyBuyBaby, these two pieces have already made the transition into having two kids so much easier. I can drive easily knowing how safe Brando is in the Aton Q, and when we arrive at our destination, I look like the coolest mom ever with the sleek and sophisticated design of the Balios. I also adore that the Balios is SO versatile! When Brando wants to sleep I can easily recline his stroller to lay down almost like a bassinet, and when Cash gets tired of walking I can just as simply wear Brando, and allow Cash to sit upright and view the world wherever we are! The convertibility of this stroller is honestly one of my favorite features hands down!

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While out and about the other day I received so many compliments on the Balios as well. I love that the design of this stroller isn’t so typical. I looked through pages and pages of strollers online in an attempt to find one that matched my style and wasn’t so kitschy, and nothing even came close to comparing to the Balios! It matches my style to a T and keeps me in with the In-Crowd Moms!

Cybex Balios Stroller

What are some adventures you plan on taking with your family this summer?

 

Stroller Game Chic,

B

 

 

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6 Post C-Section Recovery Tips.

tips for c-section recovery

tips for c-section recovery

OMG you guys I had another baby! Naturally I took some time to recover and bond as a new family of four, but I’m FINALLY feeling like myself again, and certainly not taking this feeling for granted. While I knew what to mentally prepare for going into this c-section, I think that “new motherhood delirium” made me completely forget the severe amount of pain that tags along with a c-section. The surgery is only the start of a painful process, the recovery is soooo much harder.

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Brando P. Clark. Born June 6, 2016 <3

The nurses said it hurt a lot worse this time due to scar tissue from my previous c-section, and while I THOUGHT I had a high pain tolerance, my body knew exactly when it was time to take another dose of Percocet. I’m on day 10 post surgery and to be honest at day 6 I stood in my shower bawling my eyes out wondering if my body would ever feel normal/whole/good again. Over the past 10 days I’ve depended on EVERYONE in my immediate family for EVERYTHING under the sun, and could not be more grateful for their love and support. There were moments I couldn’t get off the couch to get myself a granola bar, but thankfully those moments are over!

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While the Dr. &/or Midwife you used have all the most helpful instructions on recovering from a c-section, I thought I would use this opportunity to share some of the tips I learned in comparing my first c-section to my second and some of my small tricks to alleviate the pain and speed up the recovery process.

1.Pay Attention to the Time. While I don’t want to sound like I’m a pill-popping fiend, I did find that taking my pain medication on the exact moment it was time, was really helpful in keeping me up and moving. With a c-section, the more you move the better you’ll ultimately feel and vice versa, so staying on top of pain management so that I could continue to be mobile was crucial in getting better. Don’t let that voice inside you tell you you’re weak or guilt you into not doing what it takes to make you feel as good as you possibly can after such a serious surgery. Don’t use this time as an opportunity to prove how high your pain tolerance is either, coming from experience, no one will be that impressed and you’ll just end up regretting it later.

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2. Do Your Make-Up. This is more of a personal one for me, but after a major surgery AND becoming a new mother AND spending a few days bed-ridden in a hospital, it can be so easy to feel like a total bum. For me, if I know I look a mess, it makes me feel like physically more of a mess. If I’m not wearing make-up or don’t have some real clothes on, I don’t feel like I have the ABILITY to do anything BUT sit in bed all day. So, when I had a free 10 minutes, I just quickly threw on the basics, and immediately felt more confident in myself, which also made me feel like even if I COULDN’T get up and do anything but attach the baby to my boob, at least I felt good doing it. Aside from all that, you gotsta be ready for those baby selfies anyway… 😉

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3. Shower Frequently. While they tell you to keep the area of incision dry, they also give you showering privileges in your discharge paperwork and there is absolutely nothing that makes you feel better faster. The heat of the shower relaxed all my tense back, arm, & abdominal muscles, and allowed me to really recuperate. Days 7-9 I showered about 3 times a day. Seriously, whenever the pain became too much to take, I would just hop in the shower for about 10-15 minutes and come out rejuvenated. I also made sure to extra carefully dry my incision area after the shower each time as to not risk any infection.

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4.Prep when you can. This recovery was in and out for me. There were moments I felt great followed by moments so painful I don’t know that I’ll ever want to relive them in my entire life. Knowing that’s how my body was working, I used the time I felt good to get some minor clean-ups around the house done, bake a treat for myself, prepare dinner, edit pictures, etc… Only do what you’re comfortable doing, and definitely don’t OVERDO anything, but getting a few things here and there knocked off the to-do list helped me feel productive and in higher spirits. I didn’t JUST sit on the couch and binge watch New Girl all day, I also did 2 loads of laundry from start to finish and made myself an ice cream sundae! 

tips for c-section recovery

5. Take All the Help You Have. This was probably the most difficult for me to do, after my first son was born recovery wasn’t as difficult, but now having a toddler AND a newborn after a major surgery is straight hard! My husband has been a constant source of help with everything from picking up dinner, to fixing beverages, and diaper changes, I don’t know what I would do if he weren’t so helpful! He constantly asks “do you need anything” and while I normally wouldn’t trouble him with the little stuff this time if I didn’t feel like doing something I simply asked him to do it, and he happily obliged. My mother watched Cash a few hours each day to give us some relief, and my Grandmother even came over and did my dishes for me. While I typically like to think I can do everything and anything, I’ve got some real MVP’s in my family and I’m sure you do as well, give them their time to shine and take the help you need!

c-section recovery tips

6. REST. I know I talked a lot already about getting up and moving around and how important that is in the recovery process, but getting the adequate amount of rest is also just as crucial for your body at this time. I have that annoying mom guilt voice in my head constantly telling me that I’m not doing enough, or I’m not giving it my all. A nagging in my head that says fading in & out of sleep while pumping breast milk after watching 7hrs of Law & Order SVU is somehow lazy. DON’T LISTEN TO THAT DAMN VOICE. The day we came home from the hospital, I had EVERYONE come hang out and literally only woke up every 3-4 hours for feeding. I let the family love on my sweet new babe while I gave my body what it needed. You aren’t alone if 6 days after your c-section you still need to take a 3 hour nap every 6 hours of the day, if you feel sleepy, SLEEP. If you are too physically in pain to cook dinner, order pizza. If the thought of walking to the wall to charge your phone makes you wince, let that cell phone die girl! Let your body direct you, it knows what it needs the most.

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Everyone recovers differently, every birth story is different, and every person is unique. Some of these tips may not be for you, but knowing how dreary these past few days have been I really wanted to share what helped the most for me for anyone else wondering not when but IF they will ever feel normal again. It definitely gets better. Give yourself time.

LOVE,

B

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Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay…

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You ever have those moments where you’re just like “this is my life”? Maybe that’s too vague, it’s hard to describe the feeling I mean, but if you’ve experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. I remember being in middle school, having an awkward fashion sense in high school, and picking out my classes for my first semester in college. That feels like just yesterday. Even as I waited tables during the countless semesters at community college while I was continuing my education, I remember feeling so directionless. But now, here I am, a living breathing adult, who just married the love of her life 6 months ago and shares this life with an amazing 2.5 year old kid. I’m about to become a mother again and I still can’t believe this is my life.

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Growing up, my cousin Cheyla was literally like my favorite person in the entire universe. She’s 4 months younger than I am so we were always close because we were so close in age, aside from the fact that until we were in 3rd grade, her family lived in Pensacola and we could only see each other on holidays. When they finally did move down here it was like all my dreams came true! We got to spend so much time together. We opened an in-home nail painting business, and when that failed a $3 friendship bracelet company. She was Ginger Spice while I was Posh and her sister Chesney, was Baby. We were choreographers, make-up experts, and models. She’s seen me transition into the adult I am now, and now I get to watch her become a mother as well.

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This weekend we celebrated her soon to arrive baby boy (that’s right- we are 4 months apart and our boys are due 4 weeks apart!), at a shower thrown by her creative sister & mother. It was so much fun to see her be so excited about this whole experience. I am so thrilled for her and just know she is going to make such an amazing mother. Her baby shower was thrown at what’s known in the Boone family as “the pit”. A great little outdoor pavilion that’s owned by my Aunt Faye on the Boone Nursery property. It was the perfect place to gather family, and a great place to reflect about the changes coming to both our lives very soon.

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Cheyla was glowing in her white lace top, red lips and mid-rinse denim. Since I am literally about to pop, and everyone in my family made sure to remind me of that, I wore a simple shirt dress by Roxy I found at TJ Maxx (similar) to accentuate this oversized bump. I paired the dress with strappy sandals and a fabulous white leather bracelet.

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This outfit was most importantly really comfortable, but also will make a great transition after the baby is born as the front buttons down for nursing. I’m really excited about this special time, and really excited to see Cheyla become a wonderful mother.

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Nautical Nursery,

B

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Yes I Scheduled a C-Section.

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Like most expectant mothers, when I found out I was pregnant with Cash I was exhilarated and so excited to give birth. I wasn’t afraid of the pain, I wasn’t worried about induction statistics, and I fully trusted my OB. I was looking forward to getting my epidural and pushing a gorgeous baby out of my tiny area. However, like most birth stories go, nothing went according to plan. I was induced at 41 weeks and after 24 hrs of cervadil, 24 hrs of pitocin, and 12 hours of pushing, my baby boy came to us via c-section.

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I felt awful. Why wasn’t I good enough? Couldn’t I have tried harder? Couldn’t I have been more active in facilitating labor so that I wouldn’t have had to be induced in the first place? There had to have been something I COULD have done where the end result didn’t put me on an operating table and rob me of that bloody/gooey, legit fresh-out-the-womb, skin-to-skin interaction with my child. I had failed as a mother in the very first task I was given.

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When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I knew things would be totally different. I stayed on top of my eating habits, exercised daily, and I’ve had a super healthy pregnancy thus far. Around 14 weeks gestation was when my doctor informed me that because the practice recently had a lethal uterine rupture, they no longer offered their services for VBAC. I was so disappointed. I was faced with two options: find a midwife who would work with limited OB doctor oversight to facilitate a natural delivery, or continue with my very trusted, well-known OB and schedule a c-section for this child.

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I weighed my options and I did do my research. Any facts, statistics, etc, that you want to tell me I ALREADY KNOW. Here’s the thing: I’m most comfortable sticking with my doctor. I’m most comfortable not taking the risk of uterine rupture. I know it’s extremely rare, yes. I know it’s highly unlikely, and I know that there is also a risk associated going under the knife. I know that no matter how hard I try no matter what, any decision I make about this pregnancy has the potential for an unsavory outcome, and THIS is what I feel best about.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally disappointed that I will never give birth. I’ll never push a baby through my vaginal opening, and I’ll never know what it’s like to labor and immediately have my child in my arms. That is a very disappointing fact for me and I’ve had to deal with it and process this in my own way. But I’ve made the decision that I feel is best for me and my baby, and I’m so tired of other people weighing in negatively as if I’m taking the easy road and not trying hard enough.

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Just like I wouldn’t say “OH NO! You’re doing a TUB BIRTH? Aren’t you worried about hemorrhaging” “Natural birth with a midwife? Let me just tell you how fabulous my OB & Anesthesiologist are and give you their contact info, just in case you change your mind.” I expect that when I tell people my son will be born on a specific date, they will be respectful of the decision that I made. They will respect that I am doing what’s right for me, my body, and my family. Being pregnant is a crazy emotional time, there are so many things to freak out and stress about, being judged by another mom is not going to be one of them for me this time.

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Everyone has a different birth story and no one’s birth is “more brave” or “more meaningful” than another’s because at the end of the day every Mama did just what she knew was right for her and her baby. Every Mama has sacrificed her body for a period of time, lost sleep, been miserably uncomfortable, and has been scared out of her mind that something was going to go wrong at some point. We’re all doing exactly what we’re supposed to for OUR OWN families, and I think it’s high time we start respecting our differences as opposed to forcing our opinions of what’s right on each other.

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I’m having a c-section. I’ll never give birth. And after countless hours of Google searches, baby boards, videos, and blog reading, I’m confident in my choice. I’m not only okay with it, but I’m now actually excited about getting to know the date ahead of time. I’m excited I don’t have to wait for labor. I’m excited that I’ll get to check in to the hospital and have a baby in my arms in just a couple hours, as opposed to having to send out mass updates every few hours. I refuse to feel bad any longer, be judged as if I’m taking the “easy way out”, or live with any remnants of guilt. This is my decision and I’m happy with it.

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Respect,

B

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Prepping the Car for 2 kids.

preparing the car for 2 kids

preparing the car for 2 kids

This post was sponsored by CYBEX as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received the CYBEX Balios Stroller and Aton Q Infant Car Seat to facilitate my review. #CYBEXDesign #IC #ad

Less than 3 weeks now until we meet The Second Clark! James and I could not be more excited about the arrival of this little one! It’s crazy around here trying to double-check and make sure we have everything prepared and ready for him to come home! Already having one boy, I didn’t think I would NEED that much to get started with baby number 2, but I was wrong! Cash is such an easy-going toddler we don’t have to have much to keep him happy, while he has hundreds of dollars worth of toys, he’s happy just playing with sticks in the backyard. That being said, we still have to prepare for a newborn that is going to be finicky and fussy and not accustomed to this crazy world.

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One of the most important aspects of preparing for the baby is getting the car ready. Instead of toting around a 2.5 year old, we’ll now have two kids up in the backseat, both with extremely different needs because of their ages. Thanks to this nesting energy, I was able to get the car prepared pretty quickly one afternoon and wanted to share some tips we’re using.

toys for kids in car

1.Have separate areas.  Maybe an obvious one, but I can’t risk that Cash will try to share his car snacks with baby brother, so make sure your babes have a seat in between them, to avoid any unnecessary conflict. I made their areas unique to their needs as well. In Cash’s area we have some cool toys, snacks, juice boxes, sunglasses, and reachable cup-holder. On the 2nd Clark’s side I have a great shatter-proof mirror, sunshade, and some musical&plush toys hanging from his CYBEX Aton Q car seat. While Cybex is known for their focus on safety and innovation, the details in the design of the Aton Q put it in a class all its own.

cybex aton q carseat at buy buy baby

cybex aton q at buy buy baby

Cybex Aton Q + Base 2

2.Pack the Car. I always say it’s much better to be overdressed than under-dressed, and when it comes to babies, it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepped for certain. Aside from Cash’s snack & toy box I also have the car packed with a small first aid kit, a pack of wipes, 3 diapers (in each of the kid’s sizes), and an extra outfit (complete with socks & shoes) for each of the boys. You never know when someone is going to dump their apple juice all over themselves, or when the hubs forgot to restock the diaper bag, so it’s always best to have these things on hand when you go out!

packing car for 2 kids

pack the car for 2 kids

3.Keep it Fresh. While it’s not a HUGE problem or priority, keeping the car clean & orderly is important to me. When you’re getting ready to have two kids in diapers in the car at the same time, nothing scares me more than the potential of double the smelly trouble. I keep a car refreshing spray, vent clips, and a refresher hanging on the rearview mirror at all times to ensure maximum smell-goodness in the car all day!

4. Be ready to go. While some people can easily navigate a double stroller around, I am not one of those moms. Most of the time Cash wants to walk around and is a great listener when we are in the store or out and about. It’s important to me that the stroller we selected was comfortable for both a newborn AND a toddler, that way when Cash is tired, he can rest while I baby wear the new baby and when Cash is ready to walk, the new baby can comfortably nap. I found the most versatility with the CYBEX Balios Stroller. This stroller is fantastic, as it converts from laying flat to upright forward or rear facing! It holds up to 55 lbs, making it the only stroller we’ll need with a growing family!

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Aside from being great functionally, the design of the Balios compliments my fashion forward lifestyle. I LOVE being a trendy mom, and find it very important to maintain my sense of self in this parenthood journey. It can be easy to get swept up in the magical chaos that a new baby brings to our lives, so finding  baby products that not only meet my safety standards as a mother, but also compliments my personal style is just one of the ways that Cybex has brought a new excitement to this special time. Both the Aton Q and the sleek and stylish Balios are available at Buy Buy Baby now!

cybex balios at buy buy baby

I’m over the moon excited for baby number two, and now that the car is ready to go, only a few more details to knock out before he’s here!

What was the hardest part in preparing for your child? Is the transition from 1 to 2 extremely difficult? Leave a comment with any tips you may have for me!

11 days and counting!

B

 

 

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Stripes, Denim & Celebration.

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black and white stripes

Since this family of 3 will soon be a family of 4, we’re trying to make the most of our weekends together and create memorable moments for Cash. This past Sunday we went out for a bit to Celebration, better known as “Disney’s Town”, to grab some treats and walk around. James and I are planning to buy a house out there in about 18 months, so we love walking around the actual neighborhood parts, and wondering which street will be the one we live on.

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Celebration is a gorgeous town, and I love how pedestrian friendly and safe it feels. I love the idea of being able to walk my children to school, and feeling safe enough to let them ride their bikes downtown after school to get ice cream if they want to. This is our happy place and I can’t wait to be a resident!

straw fedora outfit

For this weekend’s attire, since I keep grown’- I chose a great black and white striped cotton dress, paired with my denim jacket, a wide-brim fedora, and fringe sandals. This outfit was super comfortable and I still looked chic as I waddled down the streets! haha

straw fedora outfit

I wanted to get some pics of Cash too so I put him in a cute plaid button down and suspender shorts.

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We had such a wonderful time and stayed comfortable the whole day!

baby boy style

baby boy style

Do you have a favorite city to visit & dream your life around?

 

When you Wish Upon A Star,

B

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