Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mama Time- Finding a New Normal

Mama Time button

Now that Lion Cub has been here for three weeks, I am working on finding a new normal for our family. Three weeks of disorganization has been enough for me- now I need to regain some order- for my sanity! After all, who can find any real Mama Time in the midst of total chaos?

My plan is multifaceted, but first includes slowly working back into my FlyLady routines and cleaning schedule- that way things don't pile up. Along with the routines I need to shape back up my Control Journal and begin scheduling a month of meals at a time again, to get us back on track with our budget and our diet (plus I find that knowing what I am going to prepare each day and having the ingredients is half the battle!).

Other things that I want to get in line are:
  • My wake-up and to-bed times
  • Planning and executing Tot-School
  • My Bible Study
  • My Garden (it may be beyond saving at this point but I at least want to try!)

For Mama Time this week I want to hear how you organize your life (cleaning, meals, routines, etc...). Do you use a particular program or something you made up yourself? What do you need to work on and what is really working for you? What worked best after you added a new babe to your family?

Once you have posted (and included the Mama Time button), just head back here and plug your direct post link into the Mr. Linky! I look forward to learning from you all on this one!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sleepy Wrap Winner!

Congrats to the winner of the Sleepy Wrap:

Little Moments

I am sure your litte guy will look adorable wrapped close to you Lauren! I commented on your most recent blog post- e-mail me as soon as you can!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where I Babywear!- Everywhere!

This week I am finally introducing my final new meme:

Where I Babywear Button

(and yes, just now as I am posting this I realized that the button says this is a cloth diapering meme- obviously, that is wrong! I will fix it just as soon as I have the time!)

Much like I Was Here... Breastfeeding, Where I Babywear will give everyone a chance to post and share their favorite things about babywearing along with pictures of where you have been wearing your baby as of late!

So, for this week I am posting a pic from Father's Day. As I mentioned in my Sleepy Wrap review earlier this week, wearing Lion Cub during our Father's Day dinner was the only way I was going to be able to eat at the same time as the rest of the family! Sure, he may have had a few crumbs in his hair when it was all said and done, but that was definitely worth it! This past week you would also find me wearing my babe (in our beloved new Sleepy Wrap) while making dinner, blogging and watching TV- sometimes it is the only thing that will call him down (we are both still suffering from colds and keeping him upright is very helpful in keeping his nosie clear!)!

So, where have you been babywearing this week? Write your post, include the Where I Babywear button and come back here to post your direct post link in the Mr. Linky! Can't wait to see!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mama Time- My bloggy outlet!

Mama Time button

This week for mama time I just couldn't help but talk about one of my favorite outlets of all- BLOGGING (even if it does involve talking about my boys most of the time!)! I love blogging for so many reasons, and here are a few:
  • It gives me a voice! Sometimes I feel like my intelligence and personality get lost in the shuffle of this house full of men (two of which are 3 or under!)! But when I blog I can make things as girly as I like and hear feedback from other mamas, which is invaluable to me! Blogging helps me find "me" in a time when I am otherwise mostly focusing on others.
  • It makes me a better mom. I know this can seem debatable, as blogging can take some time away from my family, but I really believe that it makes me a better mom on a few levels- I feel better after I have spent even just a little time focusing on something I enjoy, and I learn so much about myself and how I can be better, plus everything I learn from all my bloggy mama friends!
  • I don't have to feel guilty for not scrapbooking! I used to scrapbook, but after R-Man arrived I quickly realized that pulling out all my supplies to put together a page or two simply took too much time and effort in our little life! Through blogging I am able to chronicle our lives much more quickly and in greater (and definitely more up-to-date) detail. I plan to turn my posts into scrapbooks (The Cutest Blog on the Block will soon be offering such a service) which makes me feel like I am leaving my children a legacy and something to look back on from their childhood.
So, this week for Mama Time, I want to hear:
What drives you to blog and do you think it makes a difference in the kind of mom you are?

Once you have posted about this on your own blog (and included the Mama Time Meme button in your post) head back on over here and leave the direct link to your post in the Mr. Linky! I can't wait to hear your answers! For more info about the Mama Time Meme you can check out this post! Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chic Cheeks- My favorite cover!

CC button

This week for Chic Cheeks I want to hear:
What is your favorite diaper cover and why?

My favorite cover has hands down been the Perfection Pants longies that I knit for Lion Cub! They are almost all he wears! I not only love how adorable he looks in them but how easy and soft they are. Some of our PUL aplix covers tend to roll down so that the edge of the aplix rubs his belly, but we never have that problem with our wool! Now if I could just get around to making a few more pairs we would really be set! I also really like the Curly Purly cover I knit for him and will probably be making another one of those first since they are quick to knit up!

So now I want to hear from you! Write your post then come back here and it to the Mr. Linky! Be sure to put the Chic Cheeks button on your post as well!

For full details about participating in the Chic Cheeks Meme you can go here!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Winners Announced!!!

Sorry it took me a few days, but here are the winners for last week's giveaways!

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes:


KT Naturals:

Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone for participating! Keep coming back for more giveaways all summer long!!

Sleepy Wrap Review and Giveaway!

Summer of Baby Love Button

I am very excited this week to be reviewing and offering a giveaway for Sleepy Wrap! If you haven't heard of these awesome baby carriers then I am thrilled to be the one to introduce you to them!

Basically, a Sleepy Wrap is a long strip of stretch-cotton fabric that you "wrap" around your body in a particular configuration that allows you to carry your baby or toddler in a variety of ways. The way the carrier ties on is highly ergonomic and is very supportive to back muscles that tend to become tired quickly with other carriers. The wrap comes in a large range of colors for every style and personality, and they have recently even started offering organic Sleepy Wraps! Possibly best of all, Sleepy Wrap is versatile enough to be one-size fits all! That means that my husband and I can not only use the same carrier but we can do so without having to adjust anything- just tie it on and go! Oh, and did I mention that they are also incredibly affordable?! Sound to good to be true? Just keep reading and I will tell you why I am so impressed!

Now, I must admit, when I first heard about wrap carriers I thought they were a bit intimidating- after all, they are a very long piece of fabric! Since trying a Sleepy Wrap for myself, however, I have completely fallen in love! The instructions for the tying method on the Sleepy Wrap site are so easy to follow, and once you have tried it a couple of times it just becomes second nature! Plus, because the Sleepy Wrap is stretchy you don't have to worry about trying to guesstimate how much room you need to leave for baby- you simply tie it on snuggly and slip baby right in!

I started using the Sleepy Wrap with Lion Cub when he was just one-day-old (so that I could get a little blogging time in!) and he snuggled right into it and... drum roll please... fell asleep!! Since then we turn to our wrap whenever I need to be able to use both my hands or just need to calm him down. It was especially useful yesterday at our Father's Day dinner- I never would have been able to eat with the family if I hadn't been able to slip my sick and fussy Lion Cub into our Sleepy Wrap! What a life (and sanity) saver!

One of the factors that is especially important to me in a carrier is how much strain (or lack there of) it puts on your back. I have scoliosis (as some of you may know from my pregnancy posts) and my back tends to become tired and achy very quickly with other carriers. This has been a total non-issue with the Sleepy Wrap however! I am so happy to report that I have been able to wear this carrier for hours and hardly notice Lion Cub's weight at all (and he is already gaining quickly)! Plus, I think that the breathable cotton fabric will make our Sleepy Wrap the ideal summer carrier! I really couldn't be more pleased!

Another thing I really appreciate about Sleepy Wrap is all the research they have put into babywearing as a company. They aren't just throwing a product out there to turn a profit- they have put time and effort into finding out what is the best way for parents to carry and nurture their little ones. Just check out this intriguing article on their site- it is eye-opening! They also have a very comprehensive list of the benefits of babywearing to both parent and child, along with a page completely devoted to showing the comparisons between different style carriers.

So, are you just dying to get your hands on one now? Well, head on over and snag one from their site! Want a chance to win one for free?! All you have to do is visit their site then come back here and tell me what color Sleepy Wrap you like best!

Additional entries will be granted for all of the following (leave a separate comment for each):
  • Being a follower (right sidebar)
  • Being a subscriber via e-mail (left sidebar)
  • Having the Summer of Baby Love button on your blog (also in left sidebar)
  • Blogging about the giveaway (leave the link to your direct post)
  • Following on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway (leave your screen name and the time you tweeted)
  • Participating in any meme this week (leave the direct link to your meme post)
The giveaway will end Friday, June 26, 2009 @ 9:00 PST. Winner will be posted and notified this coming weekend. For full details and rules about the Sumer of Baby Love Blog Party, please visit this post

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Please Pray

I am sorry there wasn't a new giveaway posted this week for the Summer of Baby Love Blog Party. As it turns out, I came down with a terrible cold a few days ago and now it would seem that Lion Cub has come down with it as well. So far, he just has a stuffed up nose, but that alone makes it difficult for him to nurse and nights have been very rough. We are praying very hard that it will not develop into anything more serious and that he will recover quickly (and that I will as well- recovering from birth alone is hard enough without this on top of it). If you all could keep us in your prayers as well we would deeply appreciate it!

The giveaways will be back next week with a giveaway and review of Sleepy Wraps- I know you will all love them! I will also be introducing my final new meme about babywearing. I also want to apologize for all of the comments I have not been able to follow back yet- I have just been focusing on trying to get better and take care of my family. I will be back full-time as soon as I can!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Was Here... Breastfeeding!- For the First Time!

I Was Here Breastfeeding button

I thought it only appropriate to kick off the first real week of I Was Here... Breastfeeding with our first ever breastfeeding photos with our Lion Cub!

So far breastfeeding is going fairly well. There has definitely been that initial nipple soreness- ya know that catch breath thing when the baby first latches on?! It is getting much better though. Judah also has a tendency to kind of slurp my nipple in instead of opening his mouth wide to latch which has caused a little bit of rawness on the end of my nipple, but between applying Lansinoh lanolin cream and giving my nipples time to air-dry after feedings things are much improved.

My milk came in just two days postpartum and, oh boy, the girls are HUGE! My husband was like "Holy Cow! They are bigger than Judah's head!" I am finally starting to get past some initial engorgement I experienced with my abundant supply and things are becoming much more comfortable!

It is amazing how different breastfeeding Judah is than breastfeeding Roman! Roman was a high-maintenance babe but he was also always an excellent nurser. He had a terrific latch from day one and would normally eat very frequently for short periods of time, around the clock. Judah is taking a little more time to learn the whole process and get his latch down, but when he does nurse he stays at the breast for quite a while (with a few burpings in the mix) and then goes a longer stretch before getting hungry again. I have to admit- getting 2-3 solid hours of sleep at a time has been very nice this time around! All in all, it is such a special relationship to have shared with both of my boys!

So, this week for you to get involved in I Was Here... Breastfeeding, I would love to hear about your initial breastfeeding experiences with your little ones! If you have more than one kiddo, how have they been different? How is breastfeeding different or than same as you expected? And of course, we would love to see pics! If you aren't newly breastfeeding then you can just post pics of where you have been nursing your little one as of late!

Once you have written your post come enter your direct link into the Mr. Linky below and visit some of the other mama's blogs to hear their experiences as well! Make sure to include the I Was Here... Breastfeeding button (HTML in left sidebar) somewhere in your post so other mamas can get involved too! For all the details about the I Was Here... Breastfeeding Meme please visit here.

Until next week- Happy Nursing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chic Cheeks- The First Dipe!!

CC button

Well, we finally got to use our first dipe on our darling little boy and here it is:

And here is the same style diaper but a different pattern:

These diapers were both Nanipoos newborn fitteds and we LOVE them!! They contain everything so well and are the perfect fit on our little man!! I couldn't be more happy with how these diapers have performed and highly recommend them to anyone buying newborn dipes (plus, the price is unbeatable!)! To top it all off, the patterns are adorable and they are just soooooo soft! My favorite diapers we have used so far, by a long shot!

Since so many people seem to be leery about CDing a brand new babe, I wanted to give a few simple tips for cloth diapering a newborn:
  1. Make sure you have enough dipes- this cuts down on laundry and makes CDing a newborn much more manageable, even for a new mama (and daddy).
  2. Post washing instructions next to the washing machine so that daddy and other people who come to help can easily wash the dipes for you!
  3. Spray or wipe a little olive oil on babe's bum at each diaper change to make the next meconium clean-up much easier.
  4. If you are worried about meconium sticking to or staining the dipe, use a flushable liner such as these from Kelly's Closet, or simply make your own reusable liners by cutting up strips of microfleece.

So, now it's our turn! I have a couple of questions for you to answer in your own Chic Cheeks posts this week:
1. Which diaper did you or do you plan to use as the first one for your new babe, and why?
2. What are your tips for cloth diapering a newborn?

Don't forget to post the Chic Cheeks Button on your post (HTML in left sidebar)and be sure to come back here and leave the direct link to your post in the Mr. Linky! You can go here for all the Chic Cheeks Meme details if you are new. Can't wait to here what you all have to share!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Finally Introducing...

"Lion Cub"
June 9, 2009 11:04 am
7.6 lbs, 20.5" long
After 42+ weeks (15 days late) our little boy has finally arrived!

Last Tuesday morning around 4:45 am R-man came and hopped into bed with us. As I peered at the clock and saw that it was almost 5:00 am I thought that for sure I was going to have to endure yet another day of being pregnant! I had one contraction around 6:15 that I was able to pretty much ignore and fell back asleep. However, at 6:45 another one came that was fairly intense. I got up and went to the bathroom then went back to bed, figuring it was nothing.

Oh boy, was I wrong!! Just eight minutes later another one came... then another eight minutes... and another eight minutes. I semi-woke up Jer, letting him know that something was going on, and I headed upstairs to make my protein shake. After a few more contractions I knew my body wasn't messing around and I called my mom to tell her that I thought today would be the lucky day! A few more contractions after that and I thought that it would be a good idea for Jer to get up and start getting things ready- after all, the plastic sheet and dingy (clean, but old!) top sheet needed to be put on the bed and the birth tub needed to be filled with a little more air, among other things... if this indeed was labor.

We decided I should try to take a bath to see if the contractions would slow, but after one contraction sitting in the tub I knew that the bath was pointless (and sitting down was excruciating), so I passed on filling up the bath the rest of the way and opted for a shower. By this time I knew this was the real thing... my husband however (I am sure remembering the numerous times I had experienced intense prelabor this pregnancy) decided to ask me the question, "Do you really think this is going to last?" To which I believe me response (as I was squatting and moaning on the floor of the shower) was, "Shut up!" He got the hint and insisted I leave the shower so there would be enough water to fill the birth tub pretty much right away!

As soon as I got out of the shower I called our midwife (Dana- who lives an hour and a half north of us) and told her she might want to think about coming down- "No hurry," I told her- after all, my first labor had been 21 hours (granted- he was posterior), but I didn't think the baby was going to come flying out or anything! She told me that she would go feed her animals and then be on her way into town, just in case.

By this time R-man was up and needed to have some breakfast, so I went up stairs and poured him a bowl of cereal between very intense contractions, put on PBS morning cartoons and called both my doulas (Jen and Sharon) and my good friend (Christa) who was coming to help with R-man- they all said they would come as soon as they could. In the mean time Jer finished getting things ready while I kind of had to go it alone for a while.

In between contractions right after Jen arrived (10:00ish)

Pretty soon labor was much too intense for me to handle by myself, but luckily that was about the time that Jer was finished with everything as well, so he could hold me and rub my back as we "danced" through contractions. This was also about the time (10:00ish) that Jen and Christa showed up- so, at least I knew that R-man was taken care of and I also had the support of a woman. Jen was invaluable in helping me keep my tones low as I was moaning, and also keep my face and arms relaxed. At this point I was moving around a lot, trying to find the most comforatble possition to labor in, and hands and knees seemed to be best. Jen suggested I lean over our birth ball to take the pressure off my arms and it helped so much!

During one of these contractions I felt like I needed to stand up and as I did I could feel the baby's head decend into the birth canal (but didn't recognize that that was what was happening at the time) and proceeded to have the longest contraction EVER! Seriously- it had to be 3-4 minutes of an unrelenting contraction! I then went back onto hands and knees and was experiencing so much pressure during contraction I just couldn't believe it! I had never experienced this feeling with R-man because he had been posterior and didn't decend the same way at all!

I asked Jen if she would go and make me some peanut butter toast as I was beginning to feel shaky and thought I could use a boost. As soon as she headed up stairs I stood back up and started having a contractions that I didn't think I could handle! I told Jer that I just couldn't do it any more- it was too intense and there was so stinkin' much pressure! He told me that I could do it and that I was almost done (which made me angry because I thought I was nowhere near delivery and that he was just being cruel to tease me like that!). I got into the tub before the next contraction (which I should have done a LOT earlier because it so completely altered the intensity of the contractions!) and with the next contraction I involuntarily started pushing (and screeming) and felt the gush of my water breaking.

I guess a few minutes before this happened my midwife had arrived and was upstairs talking with Jen while she was making my toast. She asked Jen if she thought she had enough time to come down and say hello before she went out to get her birth kit. Jen said she thought that would be fine but as they were on their way down the stairs they heard my scream/grunt/push and realized that things were happening faster than any of us had anticipated (well, okay- maybe I was the only one who didn't expect to have quite this fast of a labor- all the women had thought it would probably be quick, just maybe not this quick!)! Dana ran out to her car to get her things and Jen ran downstairs to help me.

The pressure and feeling of my pelvic floor and perineum expanding were so intense and so different from what I had experienced with R-man (my perineum had been numb as he decended because I was given an episiotomy) that I didn't think I could handle it. It seemed the only way I could cope with the feeling was with a lot of screeming! Dana, however, helped me focus and told me to direct that energy downward, which really helped me get a grip and make some progress. They helped me move over to the seat at one end of the tub and I pushed with my body's natural urge during each of the contractions that followed. At last Sharon showed up as well (she had had a babysitter disaster and had to drive way out of town to have her kids looked after- bummer!) and brought her calming presence into the room!

They all encouraged me to reach down and feel the baby's head so that I could control how I was pushing and avoid tearing as much as possible. Jer helped to hold me up and I reached down and felt a head full of hair emerging! It was so amazing- I could feel him moving all around before the next contraction, rotating for his shoulders to come out! With the next contraction he was born (at 11:04- just over 4 hours of labor!)! He floated out into the water and Jer scooped him up and brought him to my chest! I looked right away to see what he was- a boy! A beautiful baby boy -even though my pregnancy had been so different, he was, indeed, a boy!!

Jer scooping Lion Cub out of the water

Right after Lion Cub was born

Jer held us both up and I stuttered in amazement that my labor was over so quickly and that I had actually done it! R-man and Christa ran into the room and R-man was saying "My baby brother or sister is here! Mama needs to nurse him!" (he still gets confused sometimes that we can just call the baby his "brother" and not "brother or sister" anymore!) R-man also wanted to get in the tub pretty badly, but we told him I would be getting out very soon!

R-man- upset that he could't get in the tub!

I delivered the placenta after 13 minutes. Jer then cut the cord and took off his shirt so he could hold Lion Cub skin to skin while I moved to the bed. All the women helped me out of the tub and onto the bed where I was shaking like crazy- partially from shock and cold, and partially from not having had a chance to eat my peanut butter toast yet! I finally was able to eat it and get a little recharged before I took Lion Cub back and nursed him for the first time. It was so wonderful and sweet to have our whole familiy there in our bed, treasuring these first minutes together!

Lion Cub checked out absolutely perfectly, weighing in at 7.6 lbs- just 4 more ounces than his big brother, but 2 1/2" longer! He had long nails (which quickly got cut!) and a cute little hairy back and ears (definitely comes from our family with all that hair!)! He is a very content baby (so different from R-man) and really only cries during a bath or diaper change! By six days old he is mimicking faces we make (try it with your newborn- it is the coolest thing!) and even laughing in his sleep! He is the perfect little addition to our family and we couldn't be more thrilled!

I came out of the birth in pretty good shape, all things considered! I had thought that I would probably tear badly since I had had an episiotomy previously, however I ended up only getting two small tears that are much more bearable to deal with than a surgical cut! My tail bone is still pretty sore but the back pain and rib problems I was having during pregnancy are almost gone completely! It is nice to finally feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel for my body to feel normal again!

Our overall transition is going better than I thought it would as well. R-man really loves his new little brother and is even very supportive of me nursing him (something I had been worried about)! For the most part he has been very patient and understanding, and I think he would be even more so if he hadn't come down with a cold two days ago (poor guy!). I am sure it is hard for him to not have quite as much one-on-one attention from mama while he is sick! Jer has been such a huge help to me in this first week- he is a great husband and daddy and I am so glad that he was here for the birth (he definitely wouldn't have made it if he had still been working out of town!).

Our whole experience has been so completely opposite of my first birth. Our family was able to feel so nurtured and cared for by those we know and love during the process and we never want to do it any other way! It was also so crazy to have everything go so quickly! In the end, Jen was there for just over and hour, Dana for about 15 minutes, and Sharon for about 5! I never DREAMED everything would go so fast! The ease and normalness that all of my birth attendants brought to the birth was so wonderful and their complete trust in what my body was capable of was invaluable to my success! I really can't ever thank them enough!

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement over the last few weeks. It has been a difficult (and painful) wait but at last we have our prize!

Mama Time- Looking forward to...

Mama Time button

Well, I don't know about you, but there were definitely a few things that I was really looking forward to about not being pregnant anymore, so that is what today's meme is all about!

What were you most looking forward to doing postpartum that you couldn't do while pregnant, and did it live up to your expectations?

Personally, there were four things in particular that I was looking forward to:
1. Sleeping on my stomach (I remember longing for this towards the end of Roman's pregnancy too!).
2. Reclining on my back for anything (like watching TV or reading).
3. Wrapping up my stomach so that everything felt tight and put back together again (I will be talking about this much more in the coming weeks- it is a great way to promote healing after birth and encourage the uterus to shrink back to size).
4. Eating caesar salad (which I did a little this pregnancy- but hey, I was in Hawaii and it looked like the best caesar salad on the planet!).

And yes, each one of them have been as satisfying and wonderful as I had wanted them to be! Awww... to appreciate the little things in life! Pregnancy really can give you perspective!

Want to share your postpartum delights? Write your post and add the direct link in the Mr. Linky below! Also be sure to add the Mama Time button (HTML in left sidebar) to your post! For more details about the Mama Time Meme you can go here! Thanks for participating- can't wait to hear what you were looking forward to!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Extension on giveaways!

Since, yes, I did have my baby this week (details to come!) and was not able to give the Summer of Baby Love as much publicity and attention as I had intended, I have decided to extend the giveaways for both:

until next Friday, June 19, 2009!

So spread the word and keep entering! Remember that each meme you enter gives you an extra entry, so join in on the fun!

KT Naturals Review & Giveaway!

I don't know about all of you, but I LOVE make-up! I just adore it and I always have! Not that I want to look like a hoochie mama or anything, but I do love giving myself a fresh face before I go out for the day and maybe making my eyes pop a bit! However, a few years go when I was switching out all of our toxic body-care products it cruelly came to my attention that most of the make-up I was adorning my face with everyday really didn't meet up with my new safe skin-care standards.

So, I went on a mission to find a line that was not only pure and natural but affordable and KT Naturals was what I found! Since that time (over 2 years ago) I have been a devoted consumer of KT Naturals products- especially the foundation! For an unbelievably affordable price I get enough high-quality mineral foundation (just minerals- no fillers!) to last me nearly 6 months! Best of all, the colors are so well made! I have found in the past that most mineral foundations I have tried tend to lean towards the yellow-side of things, but not KT Naturals! They literally have a shade and tone for every skin color!

In addition to beautiful foundations, KT Naturals also offers a wide selection of mineral eye shadows, blushes, concealers, accessories and more! Since I was already such a fan of theirfoundation, they sent me a flat top foundation brush and a flocked sponge to test out. I have been using a blush brush to apply my foundation for the last couple of years and really didn't think their would be that much of a difference between the brushes- oh boy, was I ever wrong! I have officially fallen in love with the long-handled flat top brush I was sent! It works like a dream and seems to be helping me use less make-up for more coverage!
I really can't say enough good things about KT Naturals wonderful products and service! Want to try them out for free? Well, in honor of all you mamas and the Summer of Baby Love, KT Naturals is offering a 6-piece sample kit, along with a flocked sponge, and 10% off the winner's next order! The 6-piece sample kit will give the winner a chance to pick out their choice of 4 different foundations (so they can find the absolute BEST match for their skin), a finishing powder and a blush!
To enter the giveaway all you have to do is visit KT Naturals site and leave a comment here about which product you would most want to try and why! Want extra entries? Leave an extra separate comment for any or all of the following:
  • Being a follower (right sidebar)
  • Being a subscriber via e-mail (left sidebar)
  • Having the Summer of Baby Love button on your blog (as mentioned above- also in left sidebar)
  • Blogging about the giveaway (leave the link to your direct post)
  • Following on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway (leave your screen name and the time you tweeted)
  • Participating in any meme during the week of that giveaway (leave the direct link to your meme post)
The giveaway will end Thursday, June 18, 2009 @ 9:00 PST. Winners will be posted and notified Friday, June 19. For full details and rules about the Sumer of Baby Love Blog Party, please visit this post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photo Inspired Giveaway!!

Every new mama wants to capture and remember those earliest days of their new little one's life! What better way to keep those memories than by having your photos compiled into a lovely video set to music by Heather over at Photo Inspired?!

Heather, an online friend of mine for the last couple of years, does beautiful work, as you can see here, and has generously donated a FREE video to one winner this week- a value of $35!!! Best of all, even if you don't currently have new baby photos to dote over, Heather offers a wide range of video options, from weddings, to birthdays, to business montages and more, so you are bound to find something to use her services for!

Want to enter the giveaway fun for a chance at your own video? Take a peak at the Photo Inspired site and come back here to let me know what kind of video you would love to have Heather put together for you!

Additional entries will be granted for all of the following (leave a separate comment for each):
  • Being a follower (right sidebar)
  • Being a subscriber via e-mail (left sidebar)
  • Having the Summer of Baby Love button on your blog (as mentioned above- also in left sidebar)
  • Blogging about the giveaway (leave the link to your direct post)
  • Following on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway (leave your screen name and the time you tweeted)
  • Participating in any meme during the week of this giveaway (leave the direct link to your meme post)
The giveaway will end Tuesday June 16, 2009 @ 9:00 PST. Winners will be posted and notified on Wednesday, June 17. For full details and rules about the Sumer of Baby Love Blog Party, please visit this post.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chic Cheeks- Wipe Solution

CC button

Ever since I mentioned my bottles of homemade wipe solution I have been getting lots of requests for my recipe, so I thought this week we would hit on just that!

What do you use to wipe your babe's bum?

Obviously, we use cloth wipes with a spray of wipe solution, that is honestly always changing! Wipe solution can be simply made with just a few ingredients- distilled water (keeps longer), a little bit of oil (makes things easier to wipe and adds moisture to the skin), and natural baby soap. My all-time favorite recipe (because it just smells so darn yummy!) is this:

Sweet Clean Wipe Solution:
  • 1 TBSP Apricot oil (you could also use almond, olive or grape seed)
  • 1 TBSP natural baby soap (I usually use Dr. Bronner's Baby Castile Soap or California Baby)
  • 2 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 1 drop Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1 Cup distilled water
This recipe is an adaptation from one I found in this article by Amy Nogar. She has a bazilion more in this article for every type of skin senstivity, smell preference or need, so you should really check it out!

I usually double or triple my batch so that I can fill my bottles and also have some stored in a mason jar in the fridge. My favorite bottle to use to dispense the solution is a peribottle (you know, the kind you use for yourself after birth)- it gives a nice spray to the wipe and is super easy to use and store. Also, if you like, you can put it in portable bottle warmer (the only reason many of us would ever need one of these gadgets) next to the changing table to keep the solution at a comfy temp for baby. I have also tried storing wipes that I pre-moistened in a standard wipe warmer, which works also but can sometimes turn into a bit of a hassle, since the wipes take up more space than disposable wipes so you typically have to refill it a couple of times a day.

My favorite way to travel with our wipes is to just put a little solution in a small spray bottle that I can use either on the wipes or directly on baby's bum. Some mamas I know like to use a small wetbag to take along pre-moistened wipes, but once again, for me that is too much of a hassle and I always feel like I won't have enough.

As far as the wipes themselves go, I have a few favorites on my list, but the best wipes I have used so far I bought from Small Wonders Wipes on Hyenacart. This mama makes her wipes out of a variety of soft and absorbent fabrics that work like a dream and are cute to boot! Plus, you really can't beat her prices- only $1 a wipe! With R-Man I mostly used baby washclothes (and still do for poos and messes), but I find that they are a little rough and nowhere near as nice as our actual wipes!

So, now it's your turn! Share with us all what you use to clean up your babe's diaper messes and be sure to stop by everyone else's posts to find out their great ideas too! Just place the Chic Cheeks Meme Button (HTML in left sidebar) on your post and then come back here and leave the direct link to your post in the Mr. Linky below! For more details about the meme you can check here!

Happy Wiping!

Monday, June 8, 2009

42 Weeks... I NEVER dreamed!

Well, here I am, 42 weeks and still pregnant!! I NEVER thought that I would be starting the Summer of Baby Love Blog Party still unable to test any of the products! This is absolute craziness! My midwife assures me that all is normal and baby is fine, I just have to wait... and wait... and wait!

I have to admit, at this point it all feels a little unreal, like I am never going to be holding a baby in my arms... like it is always just going to be the three of us. My midwife says that if that is the case I should start writing my National Enquirer article and plan my nationwide tour about being pregnant forever! She says she is sure that if I call and discuss how much they would pay for such an article I am bound to go into labor right away! Haha! It sounds more tempting all the time!

I dearly wish I had something more to share with you all- like pictures of my new babe- but for now all I can say is I'm still here and I'm still pregnant! Pray and hope for me! And have fun with the party the party this week- it is starting today regardless!!!

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes- Review & Giveaway!

My first giveaway this week is not really something that has anything to do with babies or postpartum, BUT it is something that new mamas can enjoy while nursing or taking a much needed herbal healing bath after birth (yes mamas- I am saying give the baby to dad and get some time for healing!)! It's Robin Jones Gunn's newest book in the Sisterchicks Series, Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes!

This latest addition to Robin's wonderful series about women who take much needed vacations with their best friends (their Sisterchicks!) is full of whimsy, inspiration and healing, as so many of Robin's books are! Summer, a middle-aged woman, receives some possibly life-altering news and decides to up and fly to Holland to visit Noelle, the pen-pal she has been writing to since grade school but has ever met face to face. The two experience the wonders and history of Holland through the eyes of a tourist and a longtime resident, making for a unique trip to say the least!

There were so many things in this book that captivated me and touched my heart! Robin has a way of describing artwork in such a way that you feel as though you are standing right there with the women as they roam museum halls. The visit Summer and Noelle make to the Ten Boom residence was also touching and highly interesting to me as I have always been very interested in and felt a close connection with Holocaust history.

One of my favorite quotes in the book came when Summer was talking about a particular scripture she wanted to remember, she said,
"There is a difference for me between memorizing something and really holding onto it in my heart."
This especially touched me in light of my recent attempts to memorize the beginning of the book of James- I want it to radiate through my soul and being, not just be words I can utter on command.

All in all, I really loved this book and it was the perfect kind of reading to relax to! So, would you like a copy of Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes to savor for yourself? If your answer is, "Why yes I certainly would!" then hop on over to Random House and pick a copy for yourself today!

Want a chance to win one for free? All you have to do is visit Sisterchicks.com and then come back here and tell me which other Sisterchicks books you have read or you would like to read and why!

Additional entries will be granted for all of the following (leave a separate comment for each):
  • Being a follower (right sidebar)
  • Being a subscriber via e-mail (left sidebar)
  • Having the Summer of Baby Love button on your blog (as mentioned above- also in left sidebar)
  • Blogging about the giveaway (leave the link to your direct post)
  • Following on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway (leave your screen name and the time you tweeted)
  • Participating in any meme during the week of this giveaway (leave the direct link to your meme post)
  • Visiting robin's new and improved website and telling me what your favorite feature is: robingunn.com
The giveaway will end Friday June 12, 2009 @ 9:00 PST. Winners will be posted and notified this weekend. For full details and rules about the Sumer of Baby Love Blog Party, please visit this post.

The Summer of Baby Love has Officially Begun!

After a long wait it is here at last! To kick things off this week I will be hosting not 1 but 3 giveaways, along with starting the I Was Here... Breastfeeding Meme and continuing with the Chic Cheeks and Mama Time Memes! There has never been a better time to get involved at Mama Kenz Studio! I want all of you mamas to give your input, share your insights, fellowship in your motherhood, and of course WIN STUFF!

For full details about the Summer of Baby Love Blog Party please click on the banner at the top of this post! I hope to see you all back here throughout this week and the weeks to come and I truly hope that we will all get to know each other better and learn from one another as we visit each other's blogs through the memes!

Happy summer and have fun partying!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer of Baby Love Blog Party starts Monday June 8!!!

After many months of planning and making mention of the upcoming festivities, The Summer of Baby Love Blog Party finally begins this coming Monday, June 8, 2009!!! All next week Mama Kenz Studio will be featuring just-for-fun giveaways on things that pamper mamas or just bring them enjoyment!

Then, every week for the rest of the summer Mama Kenz Studio will be featuring product reviews and giveaways for the best natural and attachment parenting products on the market! You mamas are going to love what I have lined up and I am so excited to share our experiences (and giveaways!) with you all!! You can check out all the details and specifics about the party right here!

Don't forget that along with all the product fun, next week will also kick off the rest of the memes that Mama Kenz Studio will be hosting (check the left sidebar), so keep you eyes open for those too!

There are so many ways to get involved on my blog this summer and I really hope to meet and get to know all of you mamas better over the coming months! It is going to be a blast so don't be shy!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chic Cheeks- How do you store your dipes?

CC button

This week I thought we could discuss how everyone stores their diapers. Everyone seems to do it a bit differently & I think I am always gaining tips from other mamas in this area!

We have decided to split our diapers between two separate changing tables- one upstairs and one downstairs in our bedroom. This is our table upstairs:

We have everything split into baskets based on what it is: Fitteds & Prefolds, AIOs & Pockets, and Covers & Doublers. All of the wipe stuff & accessories are in the basket on top of the table for easy access during changes. This is my basket for Fitteds & Prefolds:

Downstairs I have a smaller selection of diapers in the top drawer of our dresser (I figure we will mostly be using these dipes at night right now and the rest of our time will pretty much be spent upstairs):

I also have a basket for the wipes, wipe solution and accessories for on top of the dresser:

This basket has wipes, Snappis, olive oil (for baby's bum- to help meconium be more easily cleaned off), wipe solution (in the peri bottle), baby oil (for massage), & diaper liners (also for the meconium days).

So, what does your diaper storage system/changing area look like? I am very curious!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mama tricks

Alright, I know that I said I wasn't going to post much this week, but yesterday I found a blog that I love and a meme that I love even more- All That is Good and the Friend Makin' Monday Meme! The meme is all about getting to know our blogging friends better and supporting and encouraging one another! I love it! I have already been so encouraged by the participating blogs I have visited and all the wonderful things these mamas have to share!

This week's task is to share as few or as many everyday, little tips that you use to make your life easier. You know- all those special tricks you might have to cook, clean, raise kids, work in the yard, and on and on!

So here are my little tricks:
  • I have lists for everything (and trust me- with this pregnant brain they are well needed!)! My new love this year has been my weekly listing notepad that I bought for a dollar from Michael's craft store (I have also seen them at JoAnn Fabrics)! It has a place to list things for every day of the week and I find that it allows me to break things down into more sizeable postions to chunck off during the week instead of just making one big master list.
  • I try to plan out an entire month of meals at one time. I simply print out a blank calendar and then go through our month with a general plan. This way I am able to look at the activities we have coming up for the month so I can best plan what nights it would be best to have something easy to prepare or which days would be best to make something big enough so that we will have leftovers the next night. The amount of time it takes me to creat this plan each month has sazed me so much time in the long run (along with money) and my husband loves it because we can normally get through a whole months without repeating one meal! Need ideas? Check out My Kitchen Cafe for tons of great ideas!
  • I fold my laundry straight out of the dryer. This way it can't get wrinkled and it can't get too piled up in a big ball in a basket or on the couch (piled up in stacks on my deep freeze in the laundry room, maybe, but at least it's folded!).
  • I keep labeled bins in our pantry (small pantry, might I add) for just about everything! There are bins for snacks, canned goods, fruit & nuts, pasta & rice, and so on. This makes getting to things much easier and keeps everything relatively organized and easy to find.
Hmmm... yup, I think that about does it for my "clever" mom tricks as of now- at least, I can't think of any others at the moment!! I'm always learning though, and this meme has been a great way to learn a ton from other mamas! You all should really go check out some of the awesome ideas people had to share this week!

Monday, June 1, 2009

41 weeks! Ugh!

Alright, I never dreamed this was going to be a June baby! At this rate it feels like it will be July before this kid is out! I am so beyond ready to be done with this pregnancy! I feel like a horrible doula- a very bad example- but I am miserable and really don't want to be pregnant any more! I am having terrible pain from the muscle on my lower right ribs that is badly pulled, plus the pain from my back due to scoliosis. In addition, the baby is totally out of room in there and seems to only have mind to directly kick my pulled rib muscle!!! I had two nights of intense pre-labor last week that (obviously) ended up fizzling out, and today my husband left town for three days to work on a job! It feels like everything is working against me having this baby!

I wish I had something more positive and inspiring to share with you all, but this is the honest truth. I am praying a lot and trying to surrender the situation to the Lord, but it is incredibly difficult to get past the pain! So, I am sorry if my posts are short and sporatic this week- I am just not up for much of anything right now! However, the Chic Cheeks Meme will be up on Wednesday, so you can be watching for that!

Thanks for everyone's support and prayers!