A Modern Day Fairy Tale: April 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Super Why Live Experience

This weekend, our family was given the opportunity to attend the Super Why Live You've Got the Power tour locally. If you haven't heard of this show, here's a little introduction:

Super WHY Live will stop in 27 cities across the U.S. in April and May, taking kids and parents on a live reading adventure traveling inside a book to find the answer to the question, "Who has the Greatest Super Power in the World?" The show is uplifting, entertaining, and educational. It features kids' favorite literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig with "Alphabet Power," Wonder Red with "Word Power," Princess Presto with "Spelling Power," Super Why with the "Power to Read," and their puppy pal Woofster. 

My little man loves Super Why, so we were excited to have the chance to see the show. It was exactly as we expected: fun, energetic, interactive and the perfect little show for preschoolers (our son, almost 6 actually seemed to be one of the oldest in the audience at our particular show!). All the kiddos in the audience seemed to be absolutely loving it...yes, it was a bit cheesy for us adults, but isn't that to be expected with a kids show? As long as the kids enjoy it, that's all that matters. And as I said, for most it was a hit.

Little Man Before the Show

Unfortunately for our son, that wasn't the case. I will preface this by saying our experience dos NOT reflect on the entertainment or quality of the show...I honestly thought what we saw of it was really cute and fun. Having a child with Autism and sensory issues, we knew going in that it might present some issues...still, he was excited to go so we gave it a try anyway. We arrived early to let him warm up to everything...we've had experience with theaters, etc where it took him a LONG time before he would even go in, so we were prepared for that. Much to my surprise, when he saw the Super Why Live logo, he couldn't wait to go in and for the show to start! There was a bit of a delay at our location, so he started to get a bit antsy waiting, but still very excited for the show...until it started! He did better than he had with previous theater/show experiences where he freaked out, crying, etc...but he was still very apprehensive. He held onto my hand for dear life and sat very somberly, watching the show but clearly a bit scared/overwhelmed. Still, he did okay for the first half...once they let out for a break however, it was over for him...he started crying and insisted we go home and that he was done. The whole experience was just too much for him to handle.

Mommy and Shaun waiting on the show to begin

So, like I said, we didn't see the WHOLE show (though I'm pretty sure I know the outcome anyhow), and our experience was not necessarily a positive one, but should not discourage anyone who might be considering taking their little ones from making the trip...as I said, EVERY other kid in the audience was having a BLAST! If your little one loves Super Why, and doesn't have sensory issues, it would definitely be a fun experience for them! If you do have child with sensory issues like our son, go at your own risk!

To see if the Super Why Live Tour is coming to your area, and to purchase tickets...click here!

Disclosure: Our family received complimentary tickets to this event in exchange for this post. All experiences and opinions are 100% our own. Your personal experiences may vary.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Quick Update {23 Weeks}

23 Weeks

Well, if I wasn't feeling super pregnant before, I certainly am now...baby girl seems to be growing very quickly these days...like overnight! This is making for a very uncomfortable mommy...particularly while driving!! Aside from that, there really hasn't been much change from last week's update (possibly because my 22 week post was posted a bit late anyway!)

I do think I have a nursery theme figured out...I'm 90% sure, but that other 10% is still not ready to commit to it just yet so I won't say which one I'm leaning towards just yet!

We have our hospital tour on Wednesday! Perhaps a bit early, but I like to be prepared and that will give us plenty of time to come up with a plan for Shaun for the big day!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

InstaLately {4/25}

No better way to start off an instalately post than with some Shaun cuteness, right?
Here is my sweet boy picking some flowers for mommy after school last week...what a sweetheart!!

Shaun says, "Look, I'm a Thomas kid!"
Yes, yes he is!!

How cute is this little bow!? I found it for a few dollars at Forever 21 a few weeks ago and HAD to buy it! Love, love, love!!

A look from mommy's point of view- 22.5 weeks!!
Can you see how she tends to stay more to the left side?

My silly, silly boy...acting just like his Daddy! He was wearing his boots, motorcycle helmet and even wearing a shirt of Daddy's favorite band!! He told us he was going to take the motorcycle to Wal-Mart to buy some toys...I'm going to have trouble on my hands with this one!!

A little comparison shot- 22 weeks with Shaun, 21.5 weeks with Finley.
Funny, I really have been feeling like I was much larger this time around (at least I know I was showing much sooner), but looking at the pictures, it seems at that point anyway, I'm actually a bit smaller...and carrying much higher too, so perhaps that's the difference!!

Over the weekend we went to visit my family. While there I straightened my niece's hair and took her on a little modeling shoot...so much fun! With Shaun, taking pictures is a fight...he has no interest, but with Miss Braelynn, she had me going all over the place snapping pictures of her! She's definitely a little ham, and I loved it!! (And in case you were wondering- yes, there is a crack in my camera screen, mysteriously, and it makes me sad...but it still works, so that's all that matters!)

While at my mom's, I also went through my hope chest and found some handmade goodies from my great grandma that I thought might be just perfect for some newborn pictures! These are just a few of the MANY that I had from her. For awhile, every time we would go to visit, she'd have something new made for us...my hope chest is probably half full of just that! I cannot complain though, I love having so many great things from her and lots to share with future generations too!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{22 Weeks}

22 Weeks- getting closer and I feel it! Every part of my body aches a little more each day and getting comfortable is harder and harder. We had our 22 week appointment today and everything is looking great! She has a good, strong heartbeat and is measuring right on schedule! Mommy was lectured not to be carrying around the big baby, but aside from that everything is going okay!

I am still half and half on maternity/regular clothes...my pre-maternity jeans have been a no go for a few weeks now and now some of my tops are getting a bit short as well. And maternity jeans are still a no go too...at least we've had some warmer days lately!!

The registry is finished and the shower date is set...and I've been told to stop shopping until then...easier said than done, but really I haven't done too much lately anyway....I get worn out much too easily to do TOO much shopping!!

Shaun is very excited about mommy's growing belly and knows that means its getting closer to time for baby to arrive...though he would still love it to be ANY day now!! He will be shocked when the day actually arrives after all this waiting!!

Lil Beautique Handmade Baby Blanket Review {Mama's Got A Brand New Babe Event} CLOSED

Welcome to the Mama's Got a Brand New Babe giveaway event, hosted by Going Green with the Grizls and Sew Fatty! This event will run from April 24th - May 8th and we will finish off with a Twitter party on May 9th from 9-10 PM EST!

Going Green with the Grizls

Each blogger located on the linky below has put together an awesome prize suitable for either a new parent or baby worth a minimum of $25. =) Be sure to enter to win of TWO fabulous grand prizes!! Each prize is worth over $ and are made up of the perfect new baby and parent gift including prizes from an amazing list of sponsors including Boba, Gen-Y, Bamboobies, Kissed By the Moon, and Bummis!

Be sure to attend the Twitter party on May 9th from 9-10 EST to participate in the live drawing for the grand prizes. There will also be special prizes specifically for the Twitter party. You must tweet at least once during the party to be eligible to win.

Hashtag: #MamasBabe
Hosts: @GreenGrizls & @SewFatty


Today for my giveaway in the Mama's Got A Brand New Babe Giveaway Event, I am excited to share with you Lil Beautique, a wonderful little Etsy shop featuring chic baby gear for your little one!! They offer blankets, burp cloths and bibs, changing mats and more in a variety of fun, cute prints! For this review, I was sent my choice of blanket from their shop! What a tough decision- there are so many adorable options (for both boys and girls) that I loved...but I decided to go with the pink chevron with white minky.

How absolutely gorgeous is this? I love chevron...and pink, so this was just perfect for our baby girl. When it comes to blankets though, while we do love the cute ones the most important thing is comfort right? Well, this passes that test as well (approved by both myself and my husband). The minky material on the backside is so ridiculously soft even I wanted to cover myself with it...and my husband actually did! (Silly husbands!) I know once baby girl gets here, she'll be nice and comfy wrapped up in this blanket and I can certainly see this becoming a favorite of ours!

The blanket measures 28 x 34 inches, making it a great size for just about anything. It's not huge to where you couldn't throw it into the diaper bag for outtings, but still plenty big enough for a variety of uses. With my son, we used blankets all the time...in the carseat/stroller, for nursing, tummy time, etc...and this blanket will be perfect for all of those. I particularly love cute blankets for tummy time. Perhaps it's just because I'm a little (ahem, a lot) picture crazy, but with my son the large majority of pictures of him were either in the boppy, or on a blanket...so I love having super cute blankets such as this one for that very reason. I'm sure it will be featured in many, many pictures to come so why not make sure it's cute? (But like I said, maybe I'm just silly that way!)

Everything from the Lil Beautique is handmade by shop owner, Anna. Not only does she have a large selection of items listed in her shop, she also accepts custom orders...so you can truly have a one of a kind blanket for your little one! She even offers embroidery for a small additional charge, making it a great gift and keepsake blanket as well. And the quality is wonderful...as I said, the fabrics are super soft, but high quality and absolutely flawless. Honestly, there isn't any con that I've found with this blanket...unless the fact that it's not adult size is considered a con!?

I've mentioned in previous reviews that I also love when items come nicely packaged. Again, I know this doesn't change the product itself anyway, but I love the extra special touch and thought that goes into it. The Lil Beautique did not disappoint, coming wrapped perfectly, ready for gift giving! I love it!

Overall, I loved our Lil Beautique Blanket and highly recommend this adorable little shop for anyone looking for a unique, handmade gift for the expecting mommy in their life...or to the mommy who wants something fun and unique for her little one! You will not be disappointed!!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Registering for Baby #2

One of the downfalls of being a military family is being away from family during those big moments in life- like having a baby! During my pregnancy with Shaun, we lived in California- across the country from all our loved ones...in fact, this pregnancy is the first time that ANY of our family or friends have actually seen me pregnant (aside from when I was 5-6 weeks and not at all showing). By the time they saw us again, Shaun was almost 5 months old and I believe I'd already lost most of the baby weight (thank you breastfeeding!). I also didn't have any friends in California either...it was truly just me and my husband! So, one of the experiences I really missed out on was having a real baby shower experience. Our families tried to make it work as best as they could...videotaping/doing a webcam type shower, which was wonderful, but I still definitely feel as though I missed out on that experience. So even though my family is typically very traditional (not having showers for each baby), my mom and sisters decided to throw me one anyway, and for that I am very thankful!! But that also meant that I really needed to get my behind in gear and get a registry together for the invites!

It would seem registering for a second baby would be easier...we should already know what we need, right? I didn't find that to be the case though! Yes, I knew what we needed but I was having trouble picking specifics...and I'll admit some of the big items I'm not super picky about...like the swing or playpen. I added my favorites of both onto the registry anyway, but honestly if the swing plugs in and is girly, I'm happy with any and the same with the playpen...I'm not really all that picky on prints so long as it serves its purpose! Blankets, clothes, etc...if they're cute, I'm happy. Maybe I just like being surprised? I really don't know why I had such a hard time deciding!

Still, there were a few things on my must have/really want list:

First, there were our most used items from Shaun: a Boppy pillow, nursing cover, moses basket and wrap carrier...all of which we already have and didn't need to add to the registry. (I did however add a few Boppy covers and other carrier options that I love-like an Ergo.)

The Stroller: Graco Ready2Grow LX Stand & Ride Stroller. This is one I've remained pretty specific about, though any stroller of this style would be okay, as long as it has a higher weight limit. For us, this one is a matter of safety. Shaun has a tendency to run off if not holding someone's hand...even onto oncoming traffic...he as no sense of danger! It would be difficult, if not impossible to push a stroller AND hang onto his hand so a stroller like this with a sit or stand option for big kids is perfect for us if we need it! Of course, we'll baby wear most often, but still need a stroller for when we are not!!

Bathtime: Blooming Bath. First of all, how absolutely adorable are these? I've wanted one since I first saw them! For us, it's also pretty practical for the early days too (until we absolutely NEED a baby tub). We don't have a ton of storage space and this would certainly take up less room than a typical baby tub!

Diapers: We are cloth diapering and have a large variety of cloth diapers listed on the registry ..from bumgenius, charlie banana, alva baby...plus prefolds and inserts and accessories. I still have to add a few more things of this nature to the registry, but this is definitely our biggest NEED, which I think is pretty clear with the large number of options we have listed!

Receiving Blankets/Swaddling Blankets: Again, I have a large variety on our registry and will be happy with ANY (even those not listed)...I do particularly LOVE the Aden + Anais swaddling blankets though, and would love a few more of those...but we used these for EVERYTHING with Shaun...swaddling, burp cloths, playing on the floor, changing diapers, nursing covers...the list goes on...we had a big basket full for Shaun and used every single one of them...often!

There were also some items we left off the registry completely: burp cloths- like I said we used receiving blankets for that purpose with Shaun (we were also lucky that he rarely spit up, so having something just for that purpose really just wasted space- of course Finley could be different, but still I prefer to have the multi use blankets anyway). Bottles- Though I don't believe we registered for any with Shaun either, we ended up with several and Shaun never would take any so again for us it was a waste of time and space...I do plan to have one or two just in case I need to pump, but don't want to have any more than that in case she's like big brother in that way. Pacifiers- same deal, we had MANY and Shaun refused every single one. We have 2-3 I believe already which we may try if needed (after nursing is going good), and may buy more from there but again just don't want to end up with an abundance that go unused. I also want to avoid them if possible anyway because Shaun has an obsession with them now (ironically) and will want to use them as well.

I'm sure I've missed a few of the big ones, but really, most everything at this point really is more want than need anyway...baby has clothes, a place to sleep and a food source...give her some diapers and the rest is just extra, right? If you'd like to check out our full registry, you can view it here: Finley's Registry. (This website is wonderful...you can register for items from any website, all in one place...and even do like I did and have it linked to your in-store registries as well! Love it!)

What were your registry must haves/do with outs? Did you register for baby #2- was it easier or harder the second time around for you? Any must see new baby products I should look into?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Scriptures for Autism Moms {Autism Awareness Month}

Before we head home to visit family for the weekend, I wanted to share a few scriptures that I have found comfort in during our journey with Autism in hopes that those who are perhaps going through the same struggles will find some comfort in them when they need it as well. Being a mother of a child with Autism is not easy at times, but it helps knowing that I am not alone in this and that He is always with me through it all.

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."- John 9:1-3

This is one of my absolute favorites. So many times as parents we seem to blame ourselves. As parents to a child with Autism, we sometimes wonder if there was something we could have done different...had we not done this or that during pregnancy, had we not let him eat such and such or given those vaccines, would it have made any difference? Would my child still have had Autism? This verse, to me, is another great reminder that what's done is done, and this is all part of God's plan.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11

This goes perfectly with the last statement. Despite his Autism, I know that God has amazing plans for my son. They might not be the plans we dream of when we first become mothers, but if we let go of those plans, and trust in God, we will find that His plans are even better than our own.

"Every time I think of you...I thank God."- 1 Corinthians 1:4, The Message

We have been truly blessed in our journey with Autism to have been given an amazing support system. Teachers, therapists, fellow moms, etc...without all of these wonderful people we would not have seen the amazing progress we have seen so far in Shaun's life. We have also formed some amazing friendships and met the most wonderful people along the way. I am forever thankful for each and every one of them.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Even the best, most patient of mothers have those moments where we feel weak and defeated and feel like we just can't go on. As I said before, it's no easy job raising a child with Autism. These verses, and others like them that remind us that we're only human and it's okay to be weak. It is in those times that I turn to God to help me through those rough points, and eventually we get through them, if only we keep pushing forward.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139: 13-14
Another great reminder that all our children were created by God. He made them just as they were intended to be- absolutely amazing, Autism and all.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baby Fashion with My Little Legs {Review}

I have a confession to make: I LOVE leg warmers- adults, kids, babies...they're all ridiculously cute!! So it was no surprise to most who know me well that our sweet girl would end up with quite the collection. When it comes to baby leg warmers, there are a ton of cute options out there. Today I am very excited to share with you a wonderful company- My Little Legs!!

My Little Legs is a baby and children's accessory company best known of course for their leg warmers. But aside from those, they also offer other great, affordable accessories like hats, bows, bibs, apparel...even swaddling blankets!! For this review, My Little Legs VERY generously sent me a nice selection of leg warmers, as you can see:

Preppy Girl 4-Pack, Damask, Bubble Gum Hearts, Cotton Candy Stripes, Red with White Polka Dots, Puzzle Piece, Newborn Lavender

 My absolute favorite were the Puzzle Leg Warmers. Though these don't claim to be made for Autism Awareness, they are ideal for the cause, and I loved the idea of our baby girl having something to show support for her big brother! When they arrived, Shaun immediately (and ironically) was drawn to them and took claim of them.

Shaun wearing the Puzzle Piece Leg Warmers on his arms...absolutely perfect for Autism Awareness Month!

He did actually wear them on his legs the first night...though since he was in his underwear only, I have no pictures to share. But I will say at 5 years old, they were still a great fit! These are not just for babies! According to their website they'll fit newborn (fits to top of thigh) all the way to age 10-small adult (fits below the knee or can be used for arms). Though I cannot imagine my five year old BOY wearing them out and about, they'd still be ideal for a young girl too! My Little Legs also offers newborn size leg warmers as well, if you want something a little smaller for those brand new babies...here is a side by side for size comparison.

Regular Size/Newborn

But back to babies...I love leg warmers on babies for a couple of reasons. First of all, they're ridiculously cute!! With so many styles to choose from, there is truly a little something for everyone. From the super girly, to brighter/more fun styles...and of course lots of boy friendly options as well!! They make an adorable addition to any outfit. And if you cloth diaper, they seem to look especially cute with coordinating diapers!!! Speaking of diapers- reason number two: easier diaper changes! Babies, especially newborns, go through diapers like crazy...or at least my little man did! Some days if we were just hanging out around the house, we'd opt to just go with a little onesie or t-shirt and skip the pants so we didn't have to keep taking them on and off. This is perfectly fine for warm days, but on cold days...not ideal! Leg warmers give that same convenience, but keep babies legs warm too. And when baby gets more mobile and starts crawling, it protects their little knees a bit too! Honestly, what reason is there NOT to like leg warmers?

This mommy is very much enjoying putting together little outfits for our baby girl! How adorable are these? (And they look pretty wonderful with our Itty Bitty Boutique onesie too!)
So, what sets My Little Legs apart from other leg warmers companies? The big one for me is the price. They cost $7.50 a pair (a bit cheaper if you go with the 4-packs...and don't forget to check out the sale selection also). This is quite a bit cheaper than some other popular brands...and the broad size range on the regular size make that an even better deal. I happened to have a pair of leg warmers from another well known leg warmer company, and I have to say from what I can tell, the quality is no different. My Little Legs are the same great quality that I see in more expensive companies, but for several dollars cheaper!

Overall, I'm absolutely in love with My Little Legs and will likely be purchasing several more pairs for our little girl in the future! They're affordable  practical and most importantly, absolutely adorable!! Check out their site to buy some for yourself!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Instalately {4/17}

Have I mentioned Shaun is a Thomas fan!? Of course I have! Here he is showing off a very small portion of his extensive Thomas train collection. He's pretty proud of it!! Right now he has Trackmaster, Tomy, Wooden Railway and Takealong trains...but he's hoping to add some Bachmann trains to his collection very soon!! Mommy and Daddy have been telling him for a few years now that he must wait until he's older, but he's convinced he's old enough! I don't think he realizes they are not meant to be played with so much as he's used to!! But we've told him we'd give it some thought for his 6th Birthday in August!

What an amazing little artist my little man is!! I am super impressed with his wonderful drawing of Splatter!!

We went to our local mall over the weekend and were shocked to see a CUPCAKE TRUCK!! Seriously? Cupcakes sold from a truck? How awesome is that? I love cupcakes, so of course we had to check it out!! It was delicious!! 

We're a blanket loving family so anytime a new baby blanket comes in, the husband has to try it out...no matter how pink and girly!! I did warn him that if he covered up with that pink chevron blankie, I WOULD take his picture, and it WOULD be posted...so he covered his face! Silly husbands! Regardless, this adorable blanket got his seal of approval for Finley!

And speaking of my silly family- I asked Shaun to go to the dryer and get a pair of clean underwear...and discover him like this...naked inside my dryer!! Oh dear! At least he was freshly wiped, right!?

According to Shaun, his code name is Thomas (Mommy's is Lady, Daddy's is Diesel 10 and Finley's is Percy). I could not help but laugh when I opened his backpack to discover he'd been using it on his schoolwork too!! Oh my silly boy!!! At least everything else was right! Never a dull moment in this house!

Broke out my Pioneer Woman cookbook earlier this week for the boys. Surprisingly, there are still a few recipes left in there I hadn't tried yet...like this one! And thankfully, the boys were fans!
Please don't mind my super fancy Chinet dinnerware...I'm still dealing with contractions and back pain, so we're taking whatever steps we can to eliminate/lessen some of my workload...so paper plates have been our friends lately!! I suppose it's better than going naked to avoid more laundry, right?

And still more review/giveaway products arriving at my doorstep!! Two more left for April...then several planned for next month as well (including some non-baby related ones for those of you without a little one!!) Needless to say, I'm keeping VERY busy lately!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Inside His Mind {Autism Awareness Month}

As a mother to a child with Autism, I am sure I am not alone when I say that I would love to see into my child's mind for just one day. My little man, like most with Autism in my opinion, is incredibly brilliant. He taught himself to read at just 2.5 years old (or sooner, we only discovered it at that point, but looking back believe it started even before then). He read full sentences before he could speak them. He knows every last detail about every train on the Island of Sodor-even things that make no sense to me- like what on earth is a narrow gauge engine!? I certainly don't know, but Shaun does. He can tell you what production company makes just about any movie. He memorizes logos. He recently started teaching himself addition, and has gotten quite good at it! He knows more about iPhones and iPads than I do- he even changed the home screen on every iPod touch in his principal's office (to 20th Century Fox, of course!). He learned to work all of our electronics at around 2-3 years old. The list goes on and on and on...it is clear to see that he has an astounding mind from the bits and pieces we've been allowed to see. Unfortunately, I know there is a lot more in there that he does not have the communication skills to share with us. How incredible it must be inside his head, how amazing his memory is...I'd love just once to see it all and know how it all works for him!

I recently read this article about Temple Grandin where she discusses the three types of thinking seen in those with Autism:

  • Verbal Logic- think in word details, often love history, foreign languages, weather statistics, and stock market reports and aren't good drawers
  • Music and Math Thinkers- see in patterns, often excel at math, chess, and computer programming and are interested in music and play it by ear
  • Visual Thinkers-think in photographically specific images, often good at drawing, other arts, and building things with building toys such as LEGOs. Many children who are visual thinkers like maps, flags and photographs.
Grandin herself is a Visual Thinker, and I see many similarities between how her mind works and how it appears Shaun's does as well (though I believe he also have a knack for patterns and math, and to an extent even music as well). If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recomend that everyone watched HBO's Temple Grandin movie- it gives a lot of great insight to how some on the spectrum may view the world. Though I watched this when Shaun was only about three, I could already see Shaun in several of the scenes. One scene that stuck out to me at the time was one where she was riding in the vehicle with her aunt and laughing hysterically over a movie scene. Her aunt didn't understand what was so funny because she couldn't see it, Temple was replaying it exactly in her head. That is 100% Shaun. He remembers movie scenes and conversations down to the last word and will replay them (and even script them at times) to himself...and all it takes is just one time seeing it if he's interested. He can't yet explain this to us, but you can see it in his eyes when he's doing it. When he is doing his drawings or Lego creations, you can again see his mind at work through his eyes...I truly wish there was a better way to explain this, but you can just see him picturing the images in his head, and doing his best to recreate them exactly onto paper or Legos, clay, whatever he finds to recreate these images with that day. Truly astounding to watch. We truly believe he has a near photographic memory and the same has been suggested by his school as well.

I am truly grateful that there are individuals like Temple Grandin who have the ability to share a little piece of their world with us, so that mothers like myself can get a bit of a better understanding of what it *might* be like for our children as well. One day, I hope that Shaun will have that ability as well and we might fully get to understand how great his knowledge truly is...in the meantime, I will continue to be amazed by those glimpses he allows us to see, and do all that I can to help him share his mind with us in whatever way he can!! The minds of those with Autism, like my son, are truly amazing...if only we can look past the diagnosis and realize that. Their minds may process things differently than yours or mine, but that doesn't mean their brains are lacking. Temple Grandin said it best: Different, NOT less.

And the winners are...

Time to announce some winners! I am beyond thrilled with the outcome of these giveaways, and I welcome all of you who have found my little blog through them...I hope you'll all stick around!! Now let's get to these winners!!

The winner of the Stella & Dot Bracelet is:


She has been e-mailed and claimed her prize! Congrats again, I hope you enjoy your lovely bracelet and supporting such a wonderful cause!

And if you all haven't already, be sure to check out the new Stella & Dot summer collection! I am just absolutely in love with the new bags! And you still have until the end of the month to purchase from the Autism Awareness collection to benefit the HollyRod Foundation!!


And the winner of the Mod Mum Hospital Delivery Gown is:

Becca E.

Becca has also been notified and claimed her prize! Becca's baby girl is due in just ONE week, and my wonderful sponsor Lisa from Mod Mum was so wonderful in getting her a gown out ASAP...the giveaway ended this morning and it's already on it's way now! Congrats again, Becca...I hope it gets there before your little one does! And thanks again to Lisa for working so hard to make that happen!! Truly such an unbelievable company!!

And if you didn't win but still want one of these gorgeous gowns for your big day (or to gift), you can use the promocode MODERN at checkout through May for 15% off your total order! Awesome!!

And if you didn't win these giveaways, don't worry! There is still time left to enter the Pirose Motherhood Nursing Cover and/or the Itty Bitty Boutique giveaways!! And still two yet to come this month (baby blankets or legwarmers, anyone?)

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Itty Bitty Boutique Review & Giveaway {Gearing Up for Baby} CLOSED

Welcome to the Gearing Up for Baby Giveaway Hop! This event is hosted by Mommy's Favorite Things and Mama's Baby Cupcakes

This hop is focused on items you'd want/need for a child ages 0-12 months. After visiting my giveaway, make sure you use the linky below to take a look at the other 30+ blogs and see what they have to offer for you and your little one! Each blog has a minimum prize package of $25 per winner. 

Also be sure to check out the Grand Prize featured on Mama's Baby Cupcakes blog. The grand prize is sponsored by Halo, Tiny Love, and The Pecking Order for a total value of just over $200 in prizes. 

For my giveaway, I am excited to share with you a wonderful Etsy shop- The Itty Bitty Boutique! If you're a Parenting Magazine reader, you might already have seen her Albert Einstein Tee on the cover!! It's absolutely adorable...just like everything else in the shop! The Itty Bitty Boutique offers fun onesies and toddler tees- from funny to sweet to vintage inspired...there is a little bit of something for everyone! I personally loved the retro options like Saved By The Bell, Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn! And if you're more of a current music fan- Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber! So many baby onesies just seem to be variations of the same, so I love all the unique choices they have to offer!

For this review, I was sent the Pop Art High Heels Onesie and the I Found My Prince His Name is Daddy Onesie. How absolutely adorable are they?

This Pop Art Heels Onesie caught my eye right off the bat! As much as I do truly love the soft pinks and purples that are so common for baby girls, I'm also a mommy who loves bright colors!! This onesie is just perfect for our little girl...super stylish and fun! This is a great example of the unique designs The Itty Bitty Boutique has to offer!

And on the sweet side, I couldn't resist this adorable I Found My Prince Onesie. I'm a big princess fan (obviously), so I knew this was ideal for our little princess...and of course happens to be Daddy's favorite too! And while keeping with the more classic baby colors, I like that they're still a bit brighter too!!

Both onesies were absolute perfection! In the past I have seen these type of onesies at craft fairs and vendor events where the quality has been less than great. From cheap onesies to transfers that looked like they wouldn't last more than a wash or two, I've seen it all, so I was really looking forward to seeing how these would look in person. I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised! The quality is awesome. The onesies themselves, as you may notice in the photos, were both Carters brand. Personally I have found that these seem to hold up really well through washes, baby messes, etc. The transfers were flawless as well. The images are transferred onto the onesies using a professional heating press...these aren't just DIY iron on images! They do warn that the images may crack over time, or if stretched...as is to be expected with this type of transfer, but I imagine it lasting a good bit anyway, and I greatly appreciate this warning before purchasing!

I also have to mention the adorable little bag the onesies were packaged in. I know you shouldn't judge a company by how they package things, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates the added effort! They were also shipped out super quick, which is always a plus!

Overall, I was extremely happy with The Itty Bitty Boutique, and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a unique baby shower gift...or for the mom who wants her kids to be super stylish too!!

You can find The Itty Bitty Boutique at the links below!


Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Maternity Fashion with Everly Grey {Review}

When it comes to maternity fashion, comfort is key! Between backaches, feet pain, nausea, etc...the last thing you want is to be forced into uncomfortable clothes right? At the same time, we want to show off our growing bumps and remain as fashionable in pregnancy as we are otherwise! Throughout this pregnancy, I intend to share with you some wonderful maternity clothing companies I've found that will allow you to do just that- and today, I'm very excited to start off with a wonderful company called Everly Grey!

To be honest, I'd never heard of Everly Grey until recently. I discovered it while searching the web for some stylish maternity options, and absolutely fell in love! So many great styles to choose from, and they all look like styles that I'd want to wear ALL the time- not just while pregnant. For this review, Everly Grey generously sent me three different pieces to try out!

Bethany Shirt in Turquoise Plaid

This top is one of the new spring items, and I have to tell you, I absolutely love it! Turquoise is one of my favorite colors to wear, so it was a great fit for me. The shirt was comfortable and fit well (I received an XS in all items), I first wore it at 18 weeks, with just a small bump as you can see above, but I've since found myself wearing it just about once a week and there is still PLENTY of room to grow. When the photo above was taken it was still fairly cold, so I wore it with the sleeves down, but does have roll up button tab sleeves so it will last me through these warmer spring days as well. I have found this to be the perfect top for me during this pregnancy for that reason...with this unpredictable weather, either way I'm covered! The material is a gauzy material that will be plenty lightweight for spring and probably into summer as well. It's definitely been the most worn piece in my maternity wardrobe so far!

Abbey Maxi in Portofino Green

The Bethany Shirt may be my most worn...but the Abbey Maxi is by far my favorite piece in my maternity wardrobe! First of all, how stunning is this color? Gorgeous! (It also comes in black, which I'm certain would be gorgeous as well, but personally, I'm a girl who loves color in her closet!) And the lace detail on the shoulders? Absolute perfection. This was the dress that made me absolutely fall in love with the company! The material is incredibly soft as well, and oh so comfortable...I think I could wear this one every day. I'd originally thought I'd pair this with a belt, but found that it really worked great without anything!
I actually wore this dress out last weekend shopping and was shocked at all the feedback! I received more compliments on this dress than I have any other item in my wardrobe. With all the discomfort that comes with pregnancy, sometimes we don't feel like we look cute...we feel tired, swollen and just downright blah at times...or maybe that's just me...so that was a real confident booster and I definitely think every woman, pregnant or otherwise, needs to have at least that one item in her wardrobe that is going to make her feel super confident and pretty...and for me, this is it! I look forward to wearing it throughout the remainder of this pregnancy and after baby comes as well. (Though it won't be as ideal for nursing as other options-like the next dress- I believe there is enough stretch to it that it would still be doable anyway!). The only downfall of this dress- with the super light material (which makes it great for summer), every line shows...seamless underwear or some type of smoothing undergarment are definitely going to be a must with this one.

Sofia Ultimate Maxi Dress

To be honest, I almost overlooked this one on the website. Not because it wasn't super cute, but because it was pictured in black. Still beautiful, of course, but like I said, I'm a girl who loves color! I'm very glad that I decided to click anyway and discover it was also available in this deep coral...another of my favorite colors to wear!! This is again that same super soft, thin material which is great for summer but bad for panty lines...but still, not a deal breaker, just be advised and invest in seamless undergarments! And like the other, it's also insanely comfortable...I could sleep in this thing. I love the braided belt and strap details as well...so pretty and gives it a little extra something. (But if you'd prefer it without the belt, it does come off.) The only downfall for me on this one is that it does show off a bit more cleavage then I'm personally comfortable with- not a lot by most people standards, but for me at least. I just paired it with a bandeau top anyway for a little extra coverage for my comfort. A coordinating cardigan would be great for added modesty as well (unfortunately, none of mine went!). This is a dress that is going to be great for beyond pregnancy as well. The top slides over easily making nursing super easy! I could see this being an ideal going home outfit for mommy as well!

Overall, I absolutely loved each and every Everly Grey item I received and have already been recommending them to my friends. Price wise they're perhaps a bit higher than some...but also a lot cheaper than a lot as well...and the quality is definitely better than a lot of the cheaper options. (And check out their clearance section- everything $9.99!!! Awesome!) I will add to be mindful when washing as well- everything I received CAN be machine washed on gentle but the tags do mention that dry cleaning is recommended...personally, I'm washing mine on the gentle/hand wash cycle! These pieces are comfortable, stylish and fun...absolutely everything that maternity wear SHOULD be!! I am officially in LOVE!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I received no monetary compensation for this post.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

21 Weeks

21 Weeks!!

This week I can't help but ask the question- how can a baby so tiny (8 ounces at our ultrasound a few weels back) feel SO heavy! Seriously! I think she must be growing too...I went from getting full super quickly, to feeling hungry all the time! Aside from that- again no real changes from last week-still growing increasingly uncomfortable with each passing day... I will say my belly button is starting to look just a little funny too!

Baby is moving like crazy, and even enough now that we can watch her move! I don't remember actually being able to SEE the movement until much later on with Shaun...but then that was six years ago, and my memory truly isn't that great! As uncomfortable and even painful- as pregnancy can be, this is definite one of those things that makes it worthwhile! Shaun still isn't patient enough to sit and wait and watch for her to kick, but she has kicked him a few times when he's laid on my tummy...she likes her space it seems!! I'm not sure if he's actually paid enough attention to feel it, or if he truly understands at this point.

We're slowly getting things done and ready for her arrival...not as quickly as this mommy would prefer, but I've been told to stop shopping so that people have things left to buy as gifts for the shower! Ooops! (I promise...there is still a LOT we need yet!)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reno Rose Pirose Motherhood Review

Today, I am excited to share with you an awesome company- Reno Rose and their wonderful Pirose Motherhood nursing scarf! If you're a mom, you know that with babies come stuff...a LOT of stuff!! When you have a baby, even heading out for a day at the mall or the zoo can seem like you're packing for a weekend! I always tried to keep our diaper bag contents to a minimum- diapers, wipes, change of clothes, wrap and nursing cover...but even that could add up quickly! On top of all that we need to bring, we also still want to look stylish, right? 

Plenty of coverage for nursing!!

This gorgeous scarf is the perfect solution! I'm a very modest person, so while I have no issues with nursing in public, it wasn't for me, so I always had a nursing cover readily available. Unfortunately, the one I had with my son was just not that cute...it was boring, black and blah. And being black and having a child who would often sweat a lot while nursing/sleeping anyway, it was not ideal for trips to the zoo or the park when it was hot out. It served it's purpose, but I would have loved to have the Pirose Motherhood with him! First of all, did I mention it's gorgeous? I was sent the Taeja print to review, and I just love the colors in this pattern. The other options are just as gorgeous as well! At first glance, it appears to be sheer, but the pattern is designed to camouflage the nursing baby, while still allowing him/her to see mommy's face. As I said, I'm VERY modest, and will have no worries about being exposed when our baby girl arrives! This sheer, lightweight material also means that it's much more breathable for mom and baby! If you've ever nursed a little one under a blanket on a warm summer day, you know how great this is! And it also means it will take up less room in the diaper bag, if you choose to carry it in there (and comes with a carrying case too). I also love that it's shawl style design means there is coverage all around. I have several nursing covers aside from this one, and all of those simply cover the front, with a tie around the neck. This is fine when you're sitting, but not ideal if you're out walking around with baby in a wrap or sling. The Pirose offers more side coverage and would make this mommy much more comfortable!! The size options also allow you to pick your coverage based on your comfort level as well...if you're just looking for minimal cover, the small/medium is perfect. For me personally, I went with the large/xlarge.

The lovely little bag it comes in...great to throw into the diaper bag!

But what really makes this nursing cover so unique? It's multifunctional! When not being used for nursing, it can be worn as a scarf, shawl, hair accessory or even a stroller or carseat cover! You can even tie it onto your diaper bag for a fun little accessory...still readily available but not taking up valuable room inside the diaper bag! This also means that it can be used AFTER your nursing days are over...making it a great gift for a mommy who wants to try to breastfeed, but perhaps is on the fence! (I know personally, if I know a mom plans to try to nurse, I love getting breastfeeding friendly gifts to support that decision- but they've often gone unused if mom changes her mind or it doesn't work out- this is the perfect solution!!)

Worn as a scarf...super cute!

Overall, I'm extremely happy with my Pirose Motherhood! It will definitely be my go to cover for nursing on the go with baby #2...I'm excited to use it. And in the meantime, I'm loving it as a scarf too!! If you're looking for a nursing cover that's cute, multifunctional and stylish- I highly recommend them! (And if you're reading this and love the style, but aren't a mommy or aren't nursing- Reno Rose offers Pirose Fashion options as well!!)

Worn as a shawl...just another one of the many styling options!

Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.