A Modern Day Fairy Tale: July 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

If I Could Turn Back Time {52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose}

I'm certain I'm not alone when I admit there have been moments I think to myself, "If only I could step back in time just a bit and rethink that decision..." Oftentimes its those silly mistakes like a bad purchase, or perhaps eating a meal that made you feel sick afterwards...you know, nothing major. Still, after my son was diagnosed with Autism, I often found myself thinking back and wondering how we hadn't seen the sign before...and wondering where we would be if we HAD realized sooner what was going on with our little man and gotten him much needed therapy sooner.

When Shaun was just a little over a year old, I had to make a very tough decision to give my little man the MMR vaccine- the vaccine most commonly associated with Autism. Having had a brother who was likely on the spectrum (he passed before he could be diagnosed), Autism was always a worry of mine, so that particular vaccine was especially worrisome for these already always worried mama!! I debated long and hard and spoke with my son's pediatrician endlessly, and came to the opinion (which I still believe now) that if anything, the vaccine could potentially trigger something in a child that was already there...but not actually CAUSE the Autism. This doctor reassured me that a child as social as my son would NEVER be diagnosed with Autism. So we got him the vaccine and everything was absolutely fine- no regression at all at that point in time.

I've told this story before, and I'm telling it again now not to place blame for my son's Autism on that vaccine- I absolutely know for him it was NOT the cause, I only share this to explain my mindset, having being told by a trusted doctor that my child would NEVER be diagnosed. The reality is even at that point, he had a few red flags that we never even realized. A few months later, he did regress...we placed the blame on all the transitions in his life- Daddy coming home from a deployment, moving cross country, etc... I had done enough reading to know that this was to be expected even in typically developing children and held onto those words from our doctor, assuming he would catch up soon enough. At two years old, he still had not, and the diagnosis process began. Two months after his second birthday, we received the diagnosis: Autism. He started therapy almost immediately, and the progress was astounding.

Two years old is still quite early when it comes to getting a diagnosis, and we were extremely lucky in that, but it took time to stop that feeling of, "if only we'd figured this out sooner, how much farther would he be?". I will admit that even now those feelings sometimes creep in and I do at times wish we could go back...still, I now know that everything worked out the way it did and in the timing it did for a reason. We've been blessed with some amazing therapists and an awesome team that made a huge difference in my son's life, and had he gotten that diagnosis sooner, who knows who we would have ended up with? We may have never ended up meeting all these wonderful people who have come into our life because of Shaun's Autism.

So, if I could turn back time and do it all again...would I? Honestly, I don't think so... because despite the rough patches, there have been many wonderful moments along this journey as well. So, rather it be about my son's diagnosis, or another moment in time that I find myself wishing for a do over, I always try to remember that this was all part of God's plan, and even though those moments might have been bad, they happened for a reason.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Style Meets Function With Pink Lining Diaper Bags {A Preparing for Baby Review}

*Product received for this review.

When it comes to most baby items, I try not to be too picky...honestly, if it does the job its intended for, I tend to be happy with it. Still, there are a few exceptions where I like to be a bit pickier, and at the top of that list is the diaper bag!! If I'm going to be carrying around this bag for the next year or so, I want to it be something I love. Like many moms, I don't always want to carry multiple bags, so the diaper bag often replaces a purse...so why should it not be just as stylish and fun as well? Enter Pink Lining with their adorable, high quality diaper bags that are just perfect for the mom on the go! For this review, Pink Lining generously sent me their Mama et Bebe Messenger in Apple Tree!

From the first moment I saw a Pink Lining diaper bag online, I was absolutely in love! It's not hard to see why, they are absolutely adorable!! The problem I have found with many diaper bags is that they are entirely too baby-ish. This makes sense I suppose, but honestly, I want something a little more MY style...after all, I'm the one carrying it, not baby, right? Pink Lining diaper bags are the perfect combination of cute and stylish. Such fun prints and styles...I adore the look of these bags! The quality is also absolutely wonderful. It is made of a cotton canvas, but is laminated with EVA coating...which will be great for all the spills and messes that will inevitably occur!! And of course, I adore the signature interior bright pink lining!
But of course, looking nice is only part of what makes a great diaper bag...it also has to be functional. The Mama et Bebe Messenger has plenty of pockets to store everything baby needs! There are two insulated pockets for bottles/snacks, two diaper pockets, pen holder, key fob, and small zip pocket... as well as an adorable changing pad and matching wet bag. There are also two exterior pockets. Typically with my son, my diaper bag consisted of a blanket or two, a few outfit changes, diapers/wipes, nursing cover, carrier of some type (usually a wrap) and a little toy...and of course mommy's wallet and cell phone, etc. I tested out the Pink Lining bag to see how well it would hold everything, and found it had plenty of room for everything we needed. Since we are using cloth diapers which tend to be bulkier, I was concerned about finding a bag that would hold our diapers and allow extra room for everything else...I was able to pack 3 diapers, about what we would need for a typical short outing and had absolutely no troubles! We also found with my son we rarely used the changing pad (instead using a receiving blanket), so if we did need more room for longer outings, we could easily remove the changing pad!

Overall, I absolutely love my Pink Lining Mama et Bebe! It's adorable, functional and just the absolute perfect diaper bag to match my style and needs! If you are looking for a great diaper bag, I highly recommend Pink Lining...and if the Mama et Bebe isn't quite your style, there are many more adorable looks available as well. I also personally love the Yummy Mummy bag myself! 

You can check out all the wonderful diaper bags that Pink Lining has to offer at the links below:

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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

36 Weeks!

How far along?
 36 Weeks- just one more week until full term! We are READY!!

Baby's size: Honeydew (4.2-5.8 pounds)

Maternity clothes: Just a few non-maternity left.

Best moment this week: Listening to my sweet boy talk to his baby sister...I cannot wait to see how he interacts with her once she actually arrives!!
Miss anything?  Being comfortable. And productive!

Movement: Yes, still quite often, though the movements have definitely changed. And has at times become even painful...she seems to be running out of room!

Food cravings: Ice.

Food aversions: Just drinks.

Gender: GIRL

Labor signs: Still having contractions, and becoming more frequent and regular, but still nothing to be too concerned about at this point. I definitely feel as though she has dropped- no more heartburn for one thing! My next appointment (and ultrasound) is on Tuesday so we will see then if there has been any more progress!

Sleep: What's that!?

Symptoms: Back pain. Contractions. Swelling. General exhaustion. Forgetfulness....you name it! So thankful to be nearing the end!

Belly button in or out? Flat/Out...depending on the day and baby's position!

Looking forward to?  Our ultrasound on Tuesday. Meeting our baby girl. Seeing Shaun's reaction to meeting his baby sister for the first time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Decisions, Decisions! {Preparing Big Brother}

In a previous post on Preparing Big Brother, I mentioned that one of the steps that we are taking to try and avoid (or at the very least lessen) new sibling jealousy is keeping Shaun involved in all things baby! My goal in doing so is to let Shaun know that it is not just Mommy and Daddy having a baby, but he is getting a new baby too, and he gets to help make decisions about baby sister just as we do! Of course, he's only 5 (almost 6) so we are not talking huge life changing decisions, but there are still a lot of ways he can contribute to the baby decision making...

  • Shopping: This is a very simple way to let him have his input!! It could be something as simple as letting him pick out an outfit for baby sister. Or something bigger like testing out strollers in the store and asking which he liked best. Because babies require so many new things, my hope is that this also helps minimize the jealousy of 'baby gets all these new things, what does big brother get?'. So far, this seems to be quite effective... he absolutely loves shopping for baby sister and telling Mommy all about the things she will want and need.
  • The Nursery: As some of you may remember, I had a very difficult time narrowing down a theme for the nursery...we had a color scheme and bedding already picked, but I was torn between cupcakes and princesses. I asked via Instagram, Facebook and even here on the blog for opinions and found the responses to be split down the middle as well. I loved the idea of cupcakes because it is a nickname of mine, and also less commonly done. With the color scheme we'd already started, it also would have been much easier to tie it all together. On the other hand, I adore princesses (particularly Cinderella) and there was a lot of sentimental meaning behind this theme and the way my husband and I met...I really had no idea which way to go. So finally, I decided- why not ask Shaun? To him the choice was easy- Finley is a girl, and girls like princesses. That was that, no more room for debate! And so, we went with it! He also chose the wall decal for her wall (and made an excellent choice I might add) and has been a big help there. He also insisted she needed more pink... and though I initially worried about how we would tie everything together, I have to admit, I love how things have turned out so far and am so happy that we decided to go with his opinion... he was right, girls like princesses and it is the perfect theme for our baby girl! (Reveal coming soon!)
  • Naming Baby: We chose the name Finley really early on...before we were even pregnant as a matter of fact! That part seemed to come really easy...middle names however were another story. We could not agree on anything. On our girl list, I was leaning towards Finley Kae...my middle name is Kaye, as is my mom's and Matt's moms (various spellings), so I thought it was very fitting that we would pass that onto her as well. Matt did not agree...he thought there were too many in the family and wanted something different, so we had a list of a few other names we liked, but really couldn't decide on one above the others. So again, we brought in Shaun. And once again, without debate he immediately settled on Finley Grace and left no room for debate! (As with many children with Autism, when his mind is made up- it's set in stone!) I will admit, I was still a little disappointed at first and tried to sway him towards my top choice...but now I cannot imagine having considered anything else...Grace truly is the perfect middle name and another great choice from my little man! And I love that we can now tell our daughter as she grows that her big brother played a big part in her name- how sweet is that?

We've been quite lucky that the choices he has made have been good ones! And of course, the bigger choices WERE from a narrowed down list, but still it makes him feel important. Mommy also loves hearing his opinions...and the reasons behind them when he will share. Often his explanations are so simple and sweet- again, like Finley is a girl and this is what girls like. He is looking out for his baby sister already, and I cannot wait to see how he interacts with her once she arrives! I know that there will still be an adjustment period, as is only natural when welcoming a new sibling to ANY family, Autism or not...but I am confident that he will make a fantastic big brother!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Baby Loving Giveaway Hop Sign Ups OPEN!

Who doesn't love a good giveaway hop? I know I do...and this baby themed hop is coming at the perfect time for the arrival of our baby girl! I cannot wait to see what these other bloggers have in store! If you're a blogger and would like to participate, check out the info below:

Summer Baby Loving Blog Hop Giveaway

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Insta Overload

This is how the end of my week last week went- my computer (which I'd only had just a couple months) died on me. What a sad day!! Thankfully, it was under warranty and HP customer service was wonderful- it came back to me in perfect working order today...there was some sort of issue with the power supply! But anyway, it's better now, and now its time to play catch up!!

Perhaps this post should be titled, 'Cuteness Overload' because it is going to be filled with Shaun cuteness...like these adorable self portraits I found on my phone (just 4 of MANY). How can you not just fall in love with that face!?

We recently discovered a Lego store in one of our local malls...and our Lego loving boy thinks its absolutely the coolest place in the world! He would go back daily if we'd let him! So fun!

This mommy recently decided that she needed to learn to make her own bows for baby Finley's hair. I still need some practice, but I found they were actually a lot easier than I'd thought they could be...and that they made great bow ties for big brother too! Matching hair bows and bow ties for big brother and baby sister!? I think so...stay tuned for the how to instructions on how to make these adorable (no sew) bows for yourself!

How would you like to be dropped off at work by Darth Vader?
This is how Shaun insisted on taking Daddy to work earlier this week...I'm pretty sure that made him the coolest guy in the office that day! (Though he would argue that's every day!)

Last week, Matt's dad and step-mom came for a bit of a surprise visit! We had a nice dinner, and they took us shopping for a baby gift- our wonderful new Sit N Stand stroller. This was one of my big wishlist items- Shaun has no sense of danger and has a tendency to walk out into traffic, run off in crowds, etc... when it's just him, I've found holding his hand works well, but I knew once baby came, it would be a little harder, so I love having this option of a stroller that he can ride on too! Needless to say, he's loving it as well!!

Seriously, could he be any cuter!?

Shaun says, "Look, it's Finley feet!"

Shaun has a fascination/obsession with VHS tapes...unfortunately, we don't have a VCR...but his Mimi (my mom) does! So when he finds one he likes at a yard sale, he'll insist we buy them so he can watch them there! Mommy forgets about them every time, but as soon as we let him know where we're going, he has one ready to go!! Silly kid!

My sisters and I at our family reunion last weekend! Such a blast...it had been 13 years since our last reunion and it was great to see everyone again...though we certainly remembered things being much bigger at the lake where it was held!!

A few more shots from the reunion...little man enjoying a cookie and with his cousin on the dock!

Thrift store find of the month? A brand new box of 3 xsmall Charlie Banana cloth diapers for just $3.99!! I was beyond ecstatic at this find!! Cannot wait to use these on our baby girl!!

Shaun likes to sleep in our bed...if he doesn't start the night there, he usually finds his way in during the middle of the night...but over the weekend, he actually slept in HIS bed all night long. The problem? Mommy and Daddy also fell asleep in his bed too! Oops...baby steps!!

Shaun's 6th Birthday is quickly approaching- August 4th to be exact! And this lucky little guy got one of his birthday presents a few weeks early- a brand new Angry Birds bike AND helmet!! Daddy wanted to make sure he had some time to ride it before school starts next week...and because baby will actually be full term the day before his birthday- we wanted to be sure that should she come right at 37 weeks, he already had at least one of his gifts beforehand!! He doesn't care the reasoning behind the early gift of course, but he's loving his new bike and proudly announces, "look, I'm an Angry Bird!"

After getting all the gifts from the shower home, I then had the fun job of getting everything all organized!! It took some time, but everything has found its place in the closet/nursery (aside from baby gear that will eventually find its way throughout the house, but for now is being stored in the closet)...I was also able to completely finish decorating as well- aside from some curtains that my wonderful sister in law is making for us- full nursery reveal once those arrive!!

Needless to say, it's been a very busy few weeks around here- and will only get busier as we prepare for back to school, Shaun's birthday and party and of course all the last minute preparations and planning for our baby girl's arrival!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If I could be anything in the world... {52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose}

Who would I be? Would I be an accomplished writer? Rich and famous? An amazing photographer? Would I travel the world? The choices are absolutely endless! But as I sit and think about this week's theme for 52 Weeks of Blogging With a Purpose, I realize that truly the thing that makes me the absolute happiest in the world is being a mom!

I have been incredibly blessed with an amazing son. He's brilliant, funny, charming...and just the absolute best kid that I could have asked for! This boy is my absolute life, and I absolutely love being able to spend time with him. I know the same will be true when our little girl arrives. I'm not saying I still wouldn't love to do some of these things- write, take photos, etc... BUT at the moment I'm perfectly happy just where I am. They say enjoy your kids while they are young because it goes too fast...when you're first expecting, you really don't believe it, but it's the absolute truth! It seems like every time I blink, my little guy is growing and learning something new, and I don't want to miss a minute of it!! So, if I could be absolutely anything in this world...I'd choose to be the best mom possible to my son and our baby girl!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Preparing for Baby With Motherlove {A Review}

*Product was received for this review.*

When it comes to preparing for the birth of baby, most of us would probably prefer to think about meeting our sweet baby...and not the pain and discomfort that birth brings, which is perhaps why not many seem to talk about it! But let's be honest, giving birth is rough on our bodies!! Aside from the typical discomforts of birth (swelling, sore muscles, etc), many women also experience tearing or hemorrhoids...not fun!! So anything to aid in the healing process is a must have, right? When it comes to post baby healing, Motherlove has you covered with their Sitz Bath, which they were kind enough to send me to try out for myself.

Motherlove Sitz Bath is an all natural bath soak that soothes sore perineal muscles, reduces swelling, slows bleeding, and helps ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids. The soak uses all certified organic ingredients and has a zero rating on EWG's skin deep database...this means there are ZERO toxins in the soak, making it perfectly safe for moms! 

Obviously, my little one is not yet here, so I have not yet used the Sitz Bath myself, but I can tell you it smells great...aside from it's healing properties, I know this will be a very relaxing bath as well. As you can see, this is no typical bath salt type soak, but really looks more like an herbal tea type mixture. Rather than scooping directly into the bath, you have to steep the herbs in hot water and strain before placing in the bath, so there is definitely some work involved. For me personally, I will have my husband home, as well as (I believe) my mother in law, to help out during those first several days, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem. For those that won't have as much help, or even if you're just not a bath person, Motherlove also offers a Sitz Bath Spray that offers the same great healing properties but in a much more convenient spray. 

With a six year old who needs his mommy, and a newborn to care for, I know that I am going to want to do anything possible to aid in the healing and get back to normal as soon as possible. I have heard only great things about this wonderful product, and I look forward to using it myself!

Motherlove also has you covered throughout the rest of your pregnancy, birth, nursing and even for baby! Like the Sitz Bath, all Motherlove products are made with only the most natural ingredients. They are cruelty free, and don't use preservatives, artificial fragrances or petroleum based additives used in most body care products...If you are looking for safer, more natural products to get you through pregnancy and beyond, Motherlove is most definitely the way to go!!

You can connect with and check out all the wonderful products Motherlove has to offer at the links below.

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**I received the product mentioned above in exchange for this review. All thoughts are 100% my own. I received no other compensation.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

If I Were To Win The Lottery {52 Weeks of Blogging With a Purpose}

This weeks theme for 52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose is: If I were to win the lottery, 5 things I'd buy...

My husband always says that even if we were to ever win the lottery (which would of course first require buying a ticket!), I would probably refuse to spend it. Honestly, that's probably true...for the most part, I do believe I would continue being the thrifty, bargain shopper I am now. The large majority of the money would probably end up in savings to go towards building our future home. Still, there are a few things on my wishlist that I'd love to splurge on:

New Camera

I have a great camera already that I truly do love...but I've had it for nearly 5 years and an upgrade is most certainly on my want list. Currently, I have the Nikon D60. It was one of the best available at the time I bought it, but is definitely a bit dated...Right now, my upgrade choice would be the D7000 or D7100, but if I won the lottery, I might decide to upgrade to something even nicer! Regardless, it would be my first big purchase just for me!!

New Car
Nothing to crazy here...in fact, it doesn't even have to be brand new, but at this point in time we are a one vehicle family so I'd love to change that once and for all!!

New Furniture/Home Decor

Again, one of those things that desperately needs upgraded. When my husband and I were first married we had absolutely nothing...seriously! And very little money to spend on furnishing our home, so we went to a local furniture store and purchased one of the cheapest couch/love seat sets we could find...for the past almost 7 years they have served us well, but are definitely showing their age at this point and we are dying to replace them. We have fallen in love with the Haven Sofa from Crate & Barrel...it's nothing fancy to look at, but sit down in it one time and you'll understand why it's called haven! So comfy, and plenty big for family snuggles- a favorite past time in this house! I've also said in the past that if we were rich, I would love to have my house completely decorated in Pottery Barn...I love their decor, our bank account does not!!

New Cookware

I'd probably go with Rachael Ray...maybe Paula Deen...just something newer than what I have and that will last. I also desperately need good knives!

A trip to Disney.
What can I say...we love Disney!!

Like I said, the reality is I probably would not go too crazy at all...my husband on the other hand...well, that's an entirely different post altogether!!

How about you? What would you buy if YOU won the lottery!?
Please feel free to share in the comments!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

First Then Visual Schedule HD App {Review}

**I received product for this review.**

When it comes to raising a child with Autism, there are a lot of great tools available to help our little ones learn and adjust. Visual aids such as schedules, first/then charts and choice boards are among some of these great tools. Personally, for my son, visual schedules and first/then charts have proven to be extremely effective when dealing with transitions-something my little man, like many on the spectrum, does not handle well. The First Then Visual Schedule HD App from Good Karma Applications takes these techniques and combines them into one easy to use app!

For this review, I was given a free download of the First Then Visual Schedule HD App to try out with my son, and to share our experience with all of you. There is so much going on with this app, so to make this easier to follow, I will break it down by my personal favorite features.

Easy To Use: First of all, let me start off by saying that I am NOT iPhone/iPad/iTunes savvy...in fact, I had to ask my husband to help me download the app because I didn't have the slightest idea what I was doing. (Sad, but true!) Needless to say, for me to really use them, apps must be user friendly...and after taking some time to play around with it a bit, I was able to figure it out very quickly! A definite plus for the busy moms! 

Portability/Convenience: The trouble with many of these types of picture schedules/choice boards, etc is that they can be a little inconvenient. For changeable schedules, you have to have a large selection of pictures which can take a lot of time to collect, not to mention a lot of space. (See the picture below to see what I mean.) When you want to use it on the go, you have to collect all the pictures needed and pack them along. Most of us usually carry at least our iPhone, if not an iPad or other iDevice, with us when we're on the go anyway so there really is no need to pack anything extra. Even in the home, it's much easier than having multiple schedules in each room...just take the iPad where needed! You can also save all your commonly used schedules, and create as many as needed...no need to remove pictures and start from scratch, it's all there for you!!

Unlimited Pictures: Again another problem with traditional visual schedules is finding all the pictures needed...and then printing, laminating, etc...it can be a lot of work!! The First/Then App has several preloaded images for common tasks (food, clothing, school, etc), and on top of those you can also download more, search Google or even take your own! You can also add choice boards, or attach videos to your schedule as well. (We did not use the video feature yet ourselves, but this can be an extremely useful tool when modeling appropriate behavior!!)

Customization: Perhaps the single best feature of this app is that is is completely customize-able! I've already mentioned the picture options, videos and choice boards. Aside from that there are also 5 different viewing options. You can view one image at a time, two images in a first/then format, a checklist, drag and drop columns or drag and drop in an envelope. Personally, we prefer the first/then or checklist options as those tend to work best for Shaun, but because each child is different, I love that there are many options available so you can choose which works best for your little one! If necessary, you can also add timers to your schedules- either for the whole schedule or individual steps. With all these wonderful features, you can truly customize a one of a kind schedule that is perfect for your child and their needs.

Price: At just $9.99, the First Then Visual Schedule HD is extremely affordable...especially when you consider all that it does!! It's certainly cheaper than multiple apps for each separate function. It's also much more cost effective than printing, laminating and creating visual schedules that way! Over time, ink and paper prices will add up greatly! And if it makes life easier for your child and your family, it's worth every penny!

Overall, I absolutely love this app! It has been extremely useful for my son (and know it will be even more useful once we make the transition back into the school year!). If you have a child with Autism who could benefit from first/then or visual schedules of any kind, this is a great app to look into. But, the First Then Visual Schedule HD is NOT just for individuals on the spectrum. According to their website, the app can also be benefical for:
*Typically developing children  *Those learning English as a second language *People with developmental disabilities like Autism and Down Syndrome *Individuals with learning disabilities like dyslexia *People affected by anxiety or attention deficits *Anyone with language, hearing or auditory processing deficits *Individuals affected by aphasia after a stroke...and many more...

If you think your child might benefit from this wonderful app, you can learn more and download it in iTunes here. If you know of anyone who could use this app, please spread the word to them as well...I would love for this post to reach as many who could benefit as possible, it's that great an app!!

You can check out everything Good Karma Apps has to offer at the links below:
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**Disclosure: I received a free download of the app mentioned above in exchange for this review. All thoughts are 100% my own. Your experiences may vary.

Monday, July 15, 2013

34 Weeks!!!

How far along?
 34 Weeks

Baby's size: Butternut Squash (4.2-5.8 pounds)

Maternity clothes: Pretty much maternity at this point...just a few non maternity that have managed to stay in my outfit rotation!!

Best moment this week: Celebrating at my baby shower yesterday!! When I was pregnant with Shaun, we lived in California where I knew absolutely no one, so I never had the real baby shower experience- in fact my family and friends never actually saw me obviously pregnant, so I loved being able to share this experience with them this time around! Baby Finley also got some adorable gifts- lots of  great clothes and blankies!!

Matt and I with our moms at the Baby Shower!!

In non baby related moments, we also had my family reunion this weekend...it had been about 13 years since we last had one, and it was great seeing all the family!! Shaun enjoyed the beach too...and Mommy even braved wearing a bikini at 34 Weeks!!

Miss anything?  Being comfortable.

Movement: Yes, though it seems its becoming- not less, but just not as constant...she seems to be taking more breaks...but she also seems to be running out of room! Ha!

Food cravings: Ice.

Food aversions: Just drinks.

Gender: GIRL

Labor signs: Still having contractions, still having back pain...but nothing new or different. 

Sleep: Not going so well...I miss it!

Symptoms: Back pain. Contractions. Swelling. Heartburn. Anemia. General exhaustion. Forgetfulness. You know, pretty much all those great things that can be expected in the third trimester!!

Belly button in or out? Definitely out-ish at this point.

Looking forward to?  Scheduling another ultrasound (soon I hope). Getting the final preparations taken care of. Meeting our baby girl soon.

Celebrate Big Brother (or Sister) with Baby Fables!

When it comes to preparing for baby, baby of course receives a TON of gifts. This is only natural of course, but can make the older siblings feel left out...one of our plans to keep the new sibling jealousy to a minimum is to create a super special big brother gift to give my little man at the hospital when baby sister arrives. Matching t-shirts, candy, stickers...perhaps a new train? We want something super special to let our little guy know that it is HIS big day too...and of course, we need something cute to put it all in. The wonderful Etsy shop, Baby Fables, has the perfect solution with their Big Brother/Big Sister Kits!! They were kind enough to send me the Big Brother Express Kit to review.

If you've followed my blog long, you know that my little man is train obsessed, so this design was absolutely perfect for him! How absolutely adorable is this? I love the fun, bright colors...just perfect for the new big brother. My son also loves anything with his name on it, so it being personalized is a definite bonus for him. Each kit contains a tote bag and a matching iron on so you can also create a custom t-shirt (or pillowcase, or whatever else you choose). The tote is the absolute perfect size for a fantastic big brother gift bag...plenty of room for books, small toys, and whatever else we come up with to fill it! Afterwards, it will be ideal for carrying library books, his iPad...or more likely, trains!! He usually uses one of mommy's girly bags, so I know he will absolutely LOVE having something that is all his! The quality is great- very durable to last my son for a long while. We have not yet used the iron on (as I am hiding everything from Shaun until the big day), but I'm certain the t-shirt will come out just as wonderful as the tote!!

The trouble I have found in our search for big brother gifts has been cost...personalized goodies can get quite expensive! But, the Big Brother/Big Sister kits are a great deal at just $15!! Most of the big sibling tees I've found have cost much more than that, just for the tee! Though the actual tee is not included with the kit, you can find a plain white tee for extremely cheap, making this a very cost effective option...and on top of the shirt, you're getting a matching bag too! If you're looking for an inexpensive personalized gift for big sibling, Baby Fables is definitely the way to go!!

Aside from these wonderful sibling kits, Baby Fables also offers a large variety of baby and kids items. Monthly onesie stickers, bump stickers, personalized iron ons, closet dividers, labels...the list goes on and on. I particularly love all the iron on options...from birthdays, to siblings, to back to school...there is a little something for all occasions...and just $5 each!! And did I mention how ridiculously cute all the designs are!? There truly is a little something for everyone!!

You can connect with Baby Fables using the links below:

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

Friday, July 12, 2013

Autism & Baby #2

"Do your worry your second child will have Autism?"

This is a question we have heard often since making the decision to have a second child. To put it simply, yes, I do. Having one child already diagnosed with Autism (plus additional family history with my brother), we know that are chances of a second child being on the spectrum is greater. It was one of the many factors that we considered strongly before making that decision. Would we be able to handle having more than one child on the spectrum? Would we be able to give both children the attention needed? Financially, could we handle having multiple special needs children? These were just a few of the questions that we had to ask ourselves...but in the end, we opted not to let the fear of what could happen make the decision for us.

The fact is when you make the decision to have a child, there are absolutely no guarantees. We cannot dictate their hair color, eye color, their personality...or their imperfections. It is all a game of chance. To be entirely honest, when I became pregnant with my son I actually confided in a few friends that I worried he would have Autism (again knowing the family history)...but had we chosen not to have a child because of that fear, I would not have the amazing, brilliant son that I have. That boy is my absolute world, and I could not imagine my life without him. Yes, he has Autism...but he is still absolutely 100% perfect and I would not trade him-just as he is- for anything in this world.

So, do I still worry? Absolutely, I think as a mother that is only natural. But I have no doubts that whatever happens, she will be just as God intended her to be, just as her big brother is. We will love her unconditionally, and do whatever we can to give her the best life possible- just as we would otherwise. Already having one child on the spectrum, we also know what to look out for- the early red flags that we overlooked with Shaun, as well as how to handle the diagnosis, the services needed, etc. The greatest thing for any child on the spectrum is early intervention, and having the knowledge ahead of time can only improve her chances of success, should she carry the same diagnosis.

Ultimately the only thing we can do is pray about it, and trust in God to help us through whatever happens. For now, I try not to dwell on that fear and know that whatever happens, we can and will handle it...one day at a time.