A Modern Day Fairy Tale: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bouncing Back After Baby with Belli {A Review}

**Product received for review.

A big concern for many new moms after baby has arrived is getting their body back into shape. It was certainly a concern of mine. With my son, I was lucky enough to bounce back very quickly, but I knew this time around could be a lot different. Afterall, I was 19 years old then (just over two weeks away from 20)...not 25 (4 days shy of 26)...I knew that could make a huge difference, and I was worried! So I was thrilled when Belli sent me their Body Bounce Back Kit to try out after Miss Finley arrived!

For those unfamiliar with Belli, here is a little bit of information about this wonderful company:

Belli provides soothing, balanced skincare products that pamper and protect. Our collections - Belli Pregnancy, Belli Motherhood, and Belli Baby - consider the specific skincare needs of each stage, with thoughtful attention to providing peace of mind.  

Belli is Picky for a Purpose™ to give you peace of mind.The ingredients in Belli skincare formulations are based upon an extensive review of published medical studies. We do our homework when it comes to selecting skincare ingredients so women can embrace life and enhance beauty. Every Belli product is allergy tested, and free of artificial dyes, phthalates and paraben preservatives. Belli incorporates the best ingredients from science and nature with the benefits of aromatherapy and massage therapy for holistic care.

The Body Bounce Back Kit features products to address the two biggest concerns of most new moms: the body firming serum for slackened skin and stretchmark minimizing cream for stretchmarks. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm more than a little skeptical about these types of products. Could they truly make any difference whatsoever? But I figured any little thing to try to help would be worth a shot, right? I figured if nothing else, at least it would be good for my skin, without worrying about it being harmful to Finley since both products are breastfeeding safe! In fact, all Belli Mother products are LactMed screened to avoid any ingredients that may be harmful during breastfeeding!!

After Finley arrived, I was very lucky in that my stomach once again shrank down very quickly...but it certainly didn't feel as firm as pre-pregnancy! I started using the body firming serum a few days after we came home. The serum went on smoothly, no stickiness or oily feeling...it felt great on my skin! Overall, I loved the feeling of it! But did it work? I believe it did for me. Now obviously, I can't say for sure that it was the lotion, but I know that I certainly bounced back quicker this time around than I did with my son- with my age and this being a second pregnancy, that was completely unexpected for me, so I can only assume it was the aid of the serum that made the difference. It's not a cure all obviously, I still need to do some sit ups after the doctor approves, but it certainly seems to have helped things along for me!

I was also extremely lucky to not have gotten any stretchmarks on my stomach during pregnancy, so I cannot speak for the effectiveness of the stretchmark cream in reducing their appearance. I will however say that I loved the smell of this cream more than other stretchmark treatments I'd smelled in the past, and again found that it went on easily and smoothly.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the bounce back kit. If you're looking for something to aid in getting your prepregnancy body back (or improving upon your post baby body), I would certainly suggest considering giving Belli a try. Or if you're looking for safe skincare products for pregnancy and breastfeeding, check out all the other products they have to offer...and don't forget baby too!!

You can see everything that Belli  has to offer and connect at the links below:

Shop Their Website
Like on Facebook
Follow on Twitter

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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Insta September

Time just seems to be flying by lately...I cannot believe September is almost over...or that it's been nearly a month since my last Instagram photo post! Needless to say, there are a TON of photos to share...but I won't share every single one...just some of my favorites!! Here is a look back on our September via Instagram:

Finley's favorite place to be- on Mommy! (And also why Mommy doesn't get a whole lot done during the day...but really, can you blame me!?

The best thing about having a daughter is getting to dress her up in pretty clothes and big bows!

Miss Finley and I, 4 weeks after birth!

I absolutely adore this photo...in fact, it may be my favorite Shaun/Finley photo so far!! This was taken on September 19th and big brother Shaun was super excited that Angry Birds Star Wars 2 had finally been released. Naturally, he had to share his excitement with everyone- even his baby sister!

Truly adorable.

My older sister got married this month!! We made the trip home for the wedding, and I have to say how absolutely proud I am of my little guy. See, Shaun has a fear or churches and weddings...typically, he freaks out! We came prepared with his noise blocking ear muffs (like what you use on the shooting range) and one of my best friends came along just in case he needed to leave...but with the help of those and her 3DS-volume all the way down of course- he was able to sit through the whole thing with no problems!! This may not seem like much to some, but I'm sure if there are any other Autism parents reading, you can understand my joy. It's a huge victory in our household!!

And yes, in case you're wondering, I did put my little man in pink...and he rocked it!!

There is nothing I love more than cuddling with my babies!!

Showing off her pretty Lovelace Flip diaper. Now that she's starting to outgrow her newborn diapers, the Flips have become our favorite!! 

How did we get so lucky to have such a beautiful girl!?

Another from the wedding (obviously, these are in no particular order).
I absolutely love these boys...even if they aren't cooperative with the camera!

This girl has so many cute clothes...this is among my favorites!!

We were lucky enough to test out a swing thanks to Generation Mom and Kids II...and she seems to like it...sometimes anyway! She's enjoying it here, but naturally she still prefers being held by mommy or daddy over the swing!!

Yes, our sweet girl is already over a month old now!!
I cannot believe how fast time has flown by!!

If you'd like to keep up with all our insta photos, you can follow me on instagram- randikaye (link to the right).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blogging With A Newborn

The title of this post is called 'Blogging With A Newborn', but perhaps in reality should more accurately be titled 'Getting ANYTHING Done With A Newborn'. Quite honestly, since Miss Finley has made her entrance into the world I feel like I keep getting further and further behind on...well, everything!! I have baskets of laundry yet to be put away, piles of dishes that need washed, toys that need organized, e-mails that need responses, reviews that need written...the list goes on!

Before Finley came, I had a routine down that was working well for us. I'd get up in the morning at around 6 am- after my husband was gone for work and before my little man woke up. I would use this as my me time- a chance to read my e-mails, check Facebook, do some blogging, read other blogs and enter some giveaways. I usually had about an hour and a half before Shaun needed to be up to get ready for school. After I got him off, I'd do a little more computer work, then onto cleaning...it worked fairly well for me (though I'll admit the cleaning didn't always get as done as I'd like during those final several weeks of pregnancy either!).

After Finley, getting up at 6 am? Forget it...I'm lucky to get up when my alarm goes off to get Shaun up and going!! It's not that she doesn't sleep well either...she's a great sleeper, but I still find myself exhausted regardless. Our days are now filled with nursing, napping and trying to get things done when I have the chance!! Finley is a great baby, so I can't complain, but she certainly loves being held...which doesn't make things impossible, but does make them much harder! (Not to mention, I really just want to spend a lot of time enjoying her newborn days since they'll pass by so quickly!)

When I do get the chance to sit down and blog, I tend to only have enough time to get done what needs done...those posts that have a deadline such as reviews and giveaways. In the past, I was able to get these written in advance and schedule them out, and incorporate personal posts into them, making sure for the most part to not have two reviews/giveaways/sponsored posts back to back. When I made the decision to start to do more reviews and giveaways, it was very important for me to keep this primarily a personal blog and keep a good balance between personal posts and those. Right now, it looks a little lopsided. I have many personal posts I want to share- Shaun's adjustment to becoming a big brother, how school is going for him, adjusting to life as a mom of two, our journey into cloth diapering (so far)...just to name a few. So if you look at my page now and don't see a lot of personal and wonder if that's what A Modern Day Fairy Tale is becoming, please bare with me as I figure out the balance. Blogging, like many other things, with a newborn is hard, but I know someday soon I'll figure it out and get everything back on track!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finley Grace: One Month

It's hard to believe our baby girl is ONE MONTH OLD already!! It does not seem possible!!
Each month, I will share a little bit about her growth, development and just life in general during that month.

  • Finley is growing wonderfully...10 pounds, 1.5 ounces at her one month baby visit! And 22 inches long. (She was 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 inches long at birth.)
  • She is starting to outgrow a lot of her newborn clothes. A few fit still, but for the most part we're making the switch up to 0-3 months now! She is still in her newborn cloth diapers, but on the second to last setting. She's also fitting into her one size diapers as well. (Some of them anyway, a few are still too big in the legs! But her Flips are fitting nicely!)
  • Finley LOVES being held...which Mommy doesn't mind so much, though the house is really showing it! At this point, she seems to prefer our Babyhawk carrier over the wrap carrier.
  • She is getting much better at holding her head up on her own!!

  • In her first month of life, we have made two 3+ hour trips with Miss Finley. Unfortunately, she's not a huge fan of the car seat so those trips have been a little difficult. She seems to do better when we're actually on the move, and doesn't like when we're stopped. We are hoping this changes as she gets a little older, since we make these trips fairly frequently!!
  • Finley is a great nurser! We had a few bumps in the road with some latch issues (on one side only) due to engorgement...but we've pushed through and things have improved and are back on track!!
  • No spontaneous smiles yet...we're patiently waiting.
  • She hates her bassinet...just as big brother did! She prefers her sleeper...or Mommy and Daddy! Regardless, she's a decent sleeper...much better than big brother!!
  • She doesn't scare easily- which is wonderful with a loud big brother around! And can sleep through all his craziness too! Whew!
Overall, Finley is a very content baby and already has the entire family wrapped around her little finger! She's only been here a month, and we cannot imagine life without her now!!

Posts on how big brother is adjusting and life as a mommy of two coming soon!!

(Or as soon as I can find a spare moment that is!!)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unique Baby Gifts from Pearhead (A One Last Hurrah Giveaway)

**Product received for review.

Summer is coming to a close, but we're not giving in yet – we're celebrating One Last Hurrah for Summer with this giveaway hop hosted by Viva Veltoro and So Easy Being Green!

For the next two weeks, enjoy this last hurrah of the season by hopping around to all the bloggers who have come together to offer some great prizes to give away!


For us, the summer of 2013 has been all about BABIES!! Not only did we welcome our own baby girl into the world, we had many friends and family also welcome new little ones, or announce pregnancies! What is everyone drinking lately!? If you're like us- if you're not expecting yourself, you know others who are and have lots of baby gifts to purchase...and you want it to be something fun and unique! Today, I am excited to share with you a company that offers just that- Pearhead!!

Pearhead offers unique baby gifts and keepsakes that allow you to capture all those special moments in your little one's life. Adorable picture frames and albums, personalized room decor and fun keepsakes...they have so many great gifts to choose from!! For this review, I received the Babyprints Photo Frame. When I received the first package, I was disappointed to open the box and discover the glass on the frame had been broken during shipping. I contacted the company and they sent another frame out right away. I was extremely impressed with the customer service I received and how quickly the new frame arrived! The second frame was in perfect condition- and absolutely beautiful!!

Aside from being beautiful, I loved the customization options available. The frame included a sheet of various phrases to display in the frame- such as '2013', 'My First Prints', 'My Birthday' and many more...including some phrases in other languages as well. I opted to use the 'My Little Prints' that is shown on the website, but I love that I could change it out later if I chose too...and that I don't necessarily have to use it specifically for hand and footprints either! Personally, I love the prints myself, but if you'd prefer, you could just do three photos instead. (If you have 2-3 children, this frame would be ideal for displaying yearly portraits as well, using the year phrases. Super cute!)

My favorite feature of this frame was the clean touch ink pad. When my son was a baby, I remember trying to get his prints for his baby book, and it was not easy!! It was a three person job and it still ended up looking slightly alien-ish...and created quite the mess! The clean touch ink pad made it much easier...simply put the ink pad on the paper, ink side down and press baby's foot onto the clean side...perfect print. (Unfortunately, I did not get photos of this, as I was doing this on my own, but it really was very simple...simple enough that it was a one person job.) Of course, mess or no mess, getting baby to cooperate can be a challenge, so I was happy that they included 4 cards for prints, just in case you messed up (giving you eight chances, front and back). I will say that it's definitely better if you can get them on the first shot, as the ink does get a little lighter the more you use the pad, but we tried several times to make sure we had good prints and though a bit lighter, the later ones were still perfectly usable as well. After the prints were done, we simply taped them to the matting in the frame, along with our photo and phrase of choice and it was ready to hang. Super easy, which we all know is important with a newborn!! Now, we have a super sweet keepsake that makes a perfect addition to Miss Finley's princess room!!

But this is just one of the many wonderful, unique keepsakes that the company has to offer...from pregnancy through childhood (and even pets)...Pearhead offers many fun gifts for the new mom/mom to be in your life. As part of the One Last Hurrah giveaway event, Pearhead has also sent me a super fun Belly Art Casting Kit to share with one lucky winner!!! What a fun way to commemorate your pregnancy!! (Or a super unique shower gift!)

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. (Note: To be eligible to win you MUST complete BOTH mandatory entries- following my blog, and liking the sponsor on Facebook, if only one is completed and you are chosen as the winner, unfortunately a new winner will be chosen! All entries will be verified and anyone found to be cheating will be disqualified!)

Winner will be contacted via e-mail after giveaway ends, and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. One entry per household. Odds of winning depend on valid entries received. A Modern Day Fairy Tale is not responsible for lost packages. US only. Viva Veltoro, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the One Last Hurrah for Summer participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. 

Now that you've entered my giveaway, be sure to hop around to all the others in the linky below, including the Grand Prize – you don't want to miss this one, courtesy of Brylane Home!

Click here to enter the Grand Prize.

Take A Well Deserved Break with iPlay Mommy and Me PJs (Review + Giveaway)

*Product received for review.

Take a Break-Hop_Planet Weidknecht_LeahSays Views_180x180
Welcome to the Take a Well Deserved Break Hop Event

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bring Home Baby Safely with HALO SleepSack Swaddles {Review + Giveaway}

**Product received for review.

Is there anything more precious than welcoming a new baby into your life? In celebration of the joys that come from having a new baby we are celebrating by joining the Bringing Home Baby Giveaway Hop hosted by The Frugal Greenish Mama and Life as Leels!

Each blogger participating in this giveaway hop is offering a fabulous prize for Mama or Baby valued at a minimum of $25. Be sure to hop around and enter them all, including our two Grand Prize packages valued at $274 and $557!

Two of our readers will win fabulous prize packages!


As new moms, it seems there is always something to worry about when it comes to our children's safety. From carseats to childproofing to chemicals to sleep...we want to do the absolute best for our children right from the very beginning...which is why I am very excited to share with you today a program that is designed to teach safe sleep habits from day one: the HALO Safer Way To Sleep Initiative!

HALO Innovation’s SleepSack® Swaddle has become the standard for hospital nurseries and parents alike. In fact, 1,000 hospital nurseries use the HALO SleepSack Swaddle instead of blankets through the HALO Safer Way to Sleep Initiative. That is 1.5 million births getting first-hand, in-hospital experience with the HALO SleepSack Swaddle and safe sleep practices! Leading health organizations agree that modeling proper baby care in the hospital is the single biggest influence on how parents care for their baby at home. HALO Innovations also offers free Safe Sleep Practices kits to childbirth educators to help further the cause of SIDS prevention.

For me personally, safe sleep has always been one of my biggest safety concerns as a mom. During the day, it's very easy to keep a watchful eye on baby, but come nighttime there was always that fear that something would happen while you were sleeping. To make it harder, there is so much information out there about safe sleep habits that it can be hard to determine which is most accurate. Do this, don't do this...all the information is extremely overwhelming for new moms to know what to believe! So teaching the safest sleep habits in the hospital makes perfect sense!! Unfortunately, the hospital our daughter was born at does not participate in the initiative, but we brought our own HALO Sleepsack Swaddle that the company had sent for this review and were able to use it instead of the hospital receiving blankets...and we absolutely LOVED it!

First off, it's absolutely adorable...I love the soft pink pattern and elephant design, so pretty! It was also much softer than what receiving blankets are, and don't we all want our little ones to be as comfortable as possible? But of course the most important thing to me was the safety! The Halo SleepSack Swaddle combines the features of a wearable blanket that are safest for baby sleep with the swaddling that babies love in those early days. Not only does this make them safer, but personally both of my babies had a tendency of kicking their legs out, no matter how well swaddled they were, they always managed to escape. While this wasn't a huge deal in these warmer summer months, it would be much better for winter babies!! And unlike some swaddling blankets I've seen in the past that have taken a bit of work to figure out, this was super simple to use. The sleepsack zips from the neck down, so there is no worry about baby being scratched by the zipper, and then the swaddle simply wraps around babies arms and attaches with velcro, making it super adjustable and easy! I love using our Swaddle Sleepsack Swaddle more than any other similar blankets we have, and already have another waiting in the next size up. Finley seems to love it too, and sleeps better when we use it...this is certainly on our top baby picks list!!

To learn more about the HALO Safe Sleep Initiative and all the other great products that the company has to offer, check out the links below:

Visit the Website.
Like on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter.
Follow on Pinterest.

And as part of this Bringing Home Baby event, HALO is offering one lucky reader a HALO Sleepsack Swaddle of their own, in their choice of size and gender!! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. 
All entries will be verified and anyone found to be cheating will be disqualified!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted via e-mail after giveaway ends, and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. One entry per household. Odds of winning depend on valid entries received. A Modern Day Fairy Tale is not responsible for prize delivery. US & CAN only. 
Disclosure: The Frugal Greenish Mama, Life as Leels and the Bringing Home Baby participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.
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.

BHB Grand Prize Baby

The first grand prize giveaway package focuses on all things baby! Who knew something so small could need so much?

This amazing package includes an Ingenuity Washable Playard with Dream Center in Sahara Burst, Boba 3G Carrier, Tiny Love Gymini Bouncer, Svan Child Totseat, Moraki Cloth Diaper, Rockin Green Laundry Soap , a pair of adorable Pediped Originals shoes, Lillie by Bebe au Lait Hooded Towel, 2 Red Hens Rooster Diaper Bag, Dolphin Organics Travel Set, MAM pacifiers and teether and a Halo Sleepsack Swaddle.


The second grand prize package focuses all on Mama! It is valued at $274 and includes a set of nursing clips from Glamourmom, a $35 Lamaze Intimates gift certificate, $25 Pink Blush Maternity Gift Certificate, a Loving Moments Nursing bra, Milk Makers & Bumpboosters cookies, Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover, Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Package and a way for Mama to have a few moments free with an Automatic Bouncer from Ingenuity!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Taggies Snuggle Me Sleeper {A Review}

**Product received for this review.

Sleep, eat, diaper change...sleep, eat...sleep some more. Needless to say, if there is one thing babies do a LOT of, it's sleep!! And for me personally, I always wanted my babies near me when they were sleeping thoughout the day...the crib was just not an option, I wanted something downstairs and portable. For my son we had a moses basket that served its purpose wonderfully, but with baby number two, it did not seem like our best option...in the months before baby sister's arrival, big brother seemed to think it was used to carry baby around! Yikes! We knew we needed another great portable sleep option! So when I received the Taggies Snuggle Me Sleeper for review for review, I was thrilled!

The first thing that I noticed when I opened the box was the softness...I wanted to lay in it myself!! The plush fabrics are ridiculously soft, and just perfect for baby's sensitive skin. And the style was very cute too! While I would perhaps have preferred something a little more girly (we love the pink here!), the subtle leaf design is perfect for both girls and boys. I also love that its cute, without being overly baby-ish. The taggies still make it fun and visually appealing for baby, as does the fun attached giraffe toy, but it's not over the top- something I personally appreciate in baby items like this. It was also super easy to put together...10 minutes or less and it was done. Much easier than some other baby gear I've put together in the past. I also thought it was a great height. It sits lower to the ground than a bassinet, but higher than some other similar products I've seen. It's the perfect height to sit next to the couch or chair and be able to see and reach baby perfectly. It does sit a bit lower than our bed personally, but not so much so that it's uncomfortable to reach in and pick her up while in bed, if using to replace a bassinet. Already, Mommy was a fan, we just had to wait for baby to arrive to test it out firsthand.

When Finley made her arrival, we quickly learned that she is VERY particular about where she wanted to sleep. Even in the hospital, she refused to sleep in the bassinet, and preferred laying on mommy or daddy's chest. Once we arrived home, we found the same to be true with her bassinet here...she was NOT a fan!! Again, she wanted to be held while sleeping...which just isn't always an option! So we decided it was a great time to give the Taggies Snuggle Me Sleeper a try, and were pleasantly surprised to discover she loved it! Aside from with mommy or daddy, it is the only place our little princess will sleep.

For babies that need a little extra comfort, the sleeper offers a soft vibration feature as well. We've personally used it both with vibration and without, and truthfully didn't seem to notice that it made a difference to our baby girl one way or another, but of course there are probably some babies who do prefer it to be on. It also features a cute little peek-a-boo blanket that folds into the harness. We found it too be a bit too large for a newborn, but I can certainly see that being a fun addition for a slightly older baby!

I think perhaps my absolute favorite feature of the sleeper is its portability. We make fairly frequent trips to visit family 3.5 hours away and we need somewhere for baby to sleep and rest while we're away. With an already full trunk, a playpen or other similar products would not fit in our car. The sleeper folds up easily and compactly making it just perfect for travel...not to mention storage when not in use, though personally we haven't gone long enough without using it to need to put it away! Baby gear can very quickly take over your house, so this is definitely a huge plus in my book!!

Overall, we absolutely love the Taggies Snuggle Me Sleeper. To be entirely honest, before Finley came along, I probably would have just considered this a nice extra, and not necessarily a must have...but now that we have it, I could not imagine NOT having one! It has truly been a blessing, and definitely makes our list of Top 10 essentials this time around. If you have a baby who doesn't like sleeping in a typical bassinet and/or you intend to travel a lot and want a portable sleep option, I highly suggest giving this sleeper a try. Or even if, like me, you prefer to have your sleeping baby near you while cooking, showering, etc and want something that can be moved throughout the house easily.

Want to purchase your own Taggies Baby Sleeper? You can purchase at Babies R Us for just $59.99!!

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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcoming Finley Grace {Birth Story}

It's hard to believe it's been nearly three weeks (Monday) since our sweet Finley Grace made her arrival into this world...I suppose it's about time I finally sat down and wrote out her birth story now, before I forget the details!!

Those that had been following my weekly pregnancy updates probably remember that for many weeks leading up to her birth I had been experiencing increasing and consistent contractions...honestly, at one point I wasn't sure we'd make it to 37 weeks- let alone 39!! Still, when I went to the doctor on August 13th for my 38 week OB appointment, our girl seemed fairly content to stay put for a bit longer. Progress had been made (I was at 3 centimeters), and my contractions were growing more intense and frequent so when my doctor offered to schedule an induction for the next week if I'd like I turned down the offer. I truly believed that she would be making her appearance all on her own very soon, and did not want to be induced at all. I knew that typically speaking being induced made labor much harder. With my son, I had a long difficult labor WITHOUT being induced, and I could not imagine making things more difficult on myself. So I headed home knowing that it was an option, but believing it would be unnecessary. 

The next night, I started having more intense contractions along with horrible back pain...so off to the hospital we went. There had been no progress since my appointment the day before, but I was definitely having very frequent contractions. They had me walk around the maternity ward for a bit to try to get things moving forward, but still, absolutely no progress. You can imagine the frustration...having had painful contractions for days, lack of sleep, etc...the hospital decided to keep me overnight for a much needed 'therapeutic rest' with some medication to help me sleep. The next morning I was checked again and still no progress, so I headed home- exhausted and in pain. It seemed like our girl was never going to come out. So after much thought, debate and prayer I made the very difficult decision to go ahead with the induction. As much as I'd wanted to avoid it, I also knew that my body could not take much more of the constant contractions and pain. So it was scheduled for the next Monday morning, August 19th at 5 am. 

Once we arrived at the hospital, things got off to a rough start. They absolutely could not get an IV started. After calling in four different nurses, they finally got it in after the sixth or seventh try, about two hours later! By that time, both hands were bruised and sore from the attempts, I felt sick (I don't handle needles well) and just ready to get things going. They started me on a very low dose of pitocin, which they very gradually increased over the next few hours. My contractions became more regular-every 3 minutes or so, but still, no more dilation. And like her big brother, Miss Finley was not handling the contractions so well, and I was put on oxygen. After a few hours, they decided to stop the pitocin. At this point, I was convinced that I was in for another LONG labor and wondered if she would even make her appearance that day.

Sometime around noon-one or so, my doctor came in and decided to break my water to get things going. Up until that point, I had put off getting an epidural until absolutely necessary. I knew I didn't have the pain tolerance to avoid it completely, but I didn't want to get it before I needed it so I could move around until then. At that point, I decided to go ahead and get things started. I knew it would take a little time, and wanted to be prepared...a great decision, as it took no time at all for the contractions to become even more intense. After the epidural, I tried to rest up as much as possible, still thinking we were in for a long long night. A few hours later, just after my mother in law had left to go get the little man off the bus, I started feeling the contractions more again. I was checked and discovered I was at 10 centimeters! It was time to push!! About half an hour or so and six pushes later, our baby girl was born at 4:35 pm! She was immediately placed on my chest for skin to skin, and was able to nurse right away.

Despite the rough start, it turned out to be a pretty wonderful labor experience...especially compared to Shaun's! Much quicker and easier, but also just a better hospital experience too. After his birth, Shaun was immediately whisked away to be cleaned, given eye ointment, weighed, etc...I wasn't able to hold or nurse him for nearly an hour later. With Finley, there was no rush. They wiped her clean as she was on my chest. We opted against vaccinations at the hospital, so there was no need to do those. She was measured and weighed later that evening. We were just given the chance to hold and enjoy our sweet girl without feeling rushed to take care of everything else. Completely different experience, and one I am very grateful for. It started out rough, but in the end it worked out wonderfully and we have a beautiful, healthy baby girl to show for it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrate Halloween with Angry Birds Star Wars! {A Costume Discounters Review}

**Product received for review.

It's hard to believe that summer is drawing to an end already...but the kids are back in school, Fall is approaching quickly and it's time to start thinking about Halloween! Of course, one of the greatest things about Halloween is finding the perfect costume...there are so many choices!! But when you're on a budget, costume shopping can get quite price-y! Most kids want a different costume each year, so it's hard to spend money on a costume that may be used just one time! Today, I'm excited to introduce you to a website that makes Halloween shopping more affordable: Costume Discounters!

Costume Discounters generously sent my little man the costume of his choice to review! With so many options available, the possibilities were endless but he was able to find the perfect one: Darth Vader Pig from Angry Birds Star Wars! (His favorite character from his favorite Angry Birds game!) He was beyond thrilled when his costume arrived quickly...we all know kids don't like to wait, and I'll be honest- neither does Mommy so the fast shipping was definitely a huge plus in my book. The costume was absolutely perfect- great quality, great price and just perfect for my little man. The only downfall was that it's a little bit big on my little man, BUT this is not the fault of Costume Discounters- this happens to be the smallest size available anywhere...not a huge deal to my son, as you can see! He adores his costume, and cannot wait until Halloween to wear it!

Of course, this is a costume that can be found at many costume stores, both in your area and online...so what makes Costume Discounters the better place to shop for costumes? First up, the variety...so many options available at varying price ranges to fit your budget. Looking at Star Wars costumes alone, you can see simple options for those on the tightest of budgets, or premium costumes for those that want to get a little fancier. And there are plenty of options besides Star Wars as well!! And of course, as the name suggests the prices are very affordable. Not only did I find them to be cheaper than other options I'd checked into, IF you do find the costume you want in stock cheaper at another online retailer, they will match the price!! How great is that!? This is especially useful if you have multiple costumes to purchase...rather than shopping around to get the best deals and paying more in shipping costs, you can get them all in one 'stop'. (The guarantee however is limited to 2 pieces.) You are guaranteed to get the best deal around!!

I think though my favorite feature that Costume Discounters has to offer is their exchange policy. Let's face it, shopping online can be tough...sizes from costume to costume can vary greatly and what we think will work may not. I personally dislike shopping for clothing online for this reason, but with Costume Discounters, that is not a problem. If you order the wrong size, they will exchange it, and pay the shipping both ways!! And we all know that kids can be a little indecisive when it comes to costume choices. What they decide on one week may completely change by the time it arrives...if you purchase a costume only to decide it wasn't the right choice, you can take advantage of their Free Costume Exchange Program. They make it easy to get you just what you need, quickly!!

With all these wonderful features available, I will certainly be using Costume Discounters for our future costume needs. You can read more about all these great features and see what Costume Discounters has to offer at the links below:

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Being A Mom Looks Like... {52 Weeks}

Being a mom looks like:
  • Dark circles under the eyes from lack of sleep in those early days (and sometimes beyond!)
  • Being covered in messes- from breast milk to pee, to snot and muddy hand prints. Mommies make the best napkins after all.

Being a mom looks like:
  • Unbrushed hair and a desperate need for a shower.
  • PJs or yoga pants, all day long.
  • Choosing comfort (and ability to chase a little one) over fashion if needed...though no one says you can't have both!!
  • Chipped fingernails and overgrown roots.

Being a mom looks like:
  • A proud smile when your little one learns or accomplishes something new.
  • Snuggling up to a sleeping child.
  • Acting silly with your little one...and not caring what anyone thinks.

But most importantly, being a mom looks like:
  • Pure happiness!!!