Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wait, How Many Days Are Left Until MDW?!

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Is it just me, or does the thought of bathing suit season send chills down your spine? My post-baby body doesn't rock a bikini like it used to, so my options are to stick with one pieces, or to kick my butt into high gear and get back into tip top shape. Sure, I workout a few times per week, and I try to eat a pretty well balanced diet when I can, but I like to enjoy a sweet treat too! 

Did you know that Ten Sodas just came out with a new line that has just TEN calories? That's right. You can buy 7-up TEN, Sunkist TEN, Canada Dry TEN & A&W TEN at your local Walmart. We love ginger ale in our house, so I snagged some Canada Dry TEN and we were pleasantly surprised by the full flavor goodness! Now I can whip up a fun and flavorful cocktail or 'mocktail' on the weekends and not feel guilty doing it. 

Over the weekend, we had such beautiful weather perfect for sitting out on the deck and enjoying a drink. I was in the mood for something sweet and refreshing, so I whipped up a fun little cocktail using my Canada Dry TEN. 

What a perfectly refreshing treat! It was a great compliment to a beautiful day, and I didn't feel like I was drinking all of my calories. Canada Dry TEN will definitely be my go-to for this summer. They also come in cans, so they are perfect to pack in your beach bag! Who doesn't love a cold, sweet treat while sitting on the beach all day? 

So, now that I've figured out a fun way to incorporate yummy cocktails and mocktails into my diet before bathing suit season really begins, I guess I should go hop back on the fit train. If you need me, you can probably find me doing burpees or squat jacks somewhere in my house.

Next time you're at Walmart, grab a bottle of one of the Ten Sodas flavors and take advantage of the current coupon offer! Get $0.50 off of your purchase of TWO 2 Liter bottles or TWO 4-pack cans of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN or Sunkist TEN soda. Coupon is available March 27 through April 17 while supplies last. And, don't forget to follow DPSG Ten Sodas on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with other fun deals and promotions! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Style Your Spring with Kleenex!

Finally, temps have reached the 60s, and the weather forecast for the rest of the week looks fabulous! I am officially in the mood to throw open my windows and get this house cleaned out for spring. And it goes just like this every year. Time to put away the browns and reds that decorate my home and pull out the blues, yellows, pinks and green for a fresh new look. 


Without fail, each year when it's time to spring clean, it's time for my husband's allergies to come lurking, too. And now that I'm working out outside again, the tissues abound in our house. We may both be using tissues this time of year for the same main reasons, but we have much different tastes! Did you know that you can help design your own Kleenex® products? That's right! To celebrate Kleenex’s 90th anniversary, they’re bringing you another innovative first: The Kleenex® Style Studio. It’s a fun, inspiring way to discover more of the Kleenex® Brand designs and products you love. And maybe even a few that’ll take you by surprise. Kleenex partnered with Isaac Mizrahi to create 4 designs which are intended to evoke confidence and inspiration to help you express your personal style and step out of your comfort zone when it comes to incorporating the latest trends. Exclusively on the Kleenex style finder you can watch videos featuring Isaac Mizrahi where he provides his latest style advice and shares his own experience as a design leader for more than two decades.


Now I can purchase one Kleenex® Slim Pack set that works for both of us. And, perhaps my favorite Kleenex product to date, the Kleenex On-the-Go Car Wedge! I always carry tissues in my car, but have never found just the right product that remains easily accessible, yet small enough to be out of my way when I'm running around all day, and still not get crushed or lost. Kleenex has solved that problem and now you won't find me without a car wedge pack anymore! 

So, what's your style? I'd love to hear about your favorites!

Many thanks to Kleenex for sponsoring today's story, and keeping my life stylish!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Get Your Mommy Groove Back!

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"This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Figleaves."

When I was preparing to welcome Gavin into the world, there were hundreds of little things I was trying to remember and get done. Since I knew my body would be all out of whack for at least a few weeks after delivery, and I had received advice from several of my Mama friends, I knew to equip myself with plenty of nursing bras and soft, comfortable undergarments.

Now, let's get real for a moment. The undergarments that I purchased for my recovery and 'survival mode' time were not the most flattering, and were definitely not what I was used to wearing when I had time to spend thinking about these things. But, they got the job done, and after I got the 'all clear' from my doctor, I went about my business as usual. 

It wasn't until Gavin was about four months old that I started to feel a little frumpy, and wanted to 'get my sexy back' a little. I'm sure my husband was happy about my revelation. It didn't all happen at once, but it was a slow and steady emergence back to my former normal.

And what woman doesn't want to feel more herself with a side of sexy every once in a while? Especially after you have a baby, your body feels (and looks) different, and your personal hygiene and upkeep take a bit of a backseat to your new little bundle of joy. So once I hit my stride, it was time to spice up my garment drawer a little. 

When I was introduced to Figleaves, it gave me a fun and new way to add pretty and sexy pieces into my garment collection. After all, I am a SAHM who works out a few mornings per week, and runs a small business, so the pieces that I purchase need to be versatile, comfortable and able to fit into my (mostly) casual wardrobe. 

I was pleased with the choices that Figleaves offers; you can't go wrong with a matching set! I am a huge online shopper, and it’s easy to shop online with Figleaves. You can sort by color, style, size, and more, plus there’s an online fitting room and bra size calculator to make it easy to figure out your size from the comfort of your own home! They carry bra sizes A-K and truly have something for every shape and body. Figleaves offers more than 200 brands, including something for every style and budget.  

So, don't be afraid to add a little spice to your garment drawer. It will make you feel a little sexier on the days when you really need it, and I think every Mom should be proud to rock her amazing body! 

And, between now and May 1, 2014, use the code LOVE10 for 10% off of any full priced items on Figleaves.com plus free shipping! 

"This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Figleaves."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A New Mother's Prayer

Hey .... remember me? Maybe?

I wish I had some fabulous story about why I have been totally MIA lately. Truth is, I have just been living. Sure, we went on vacation for two weeks (more to come on that another day), and we've been working out at Stroller Strides and running errands with the best of 'em, but mostly our days have been filled with bottles, nap times, cooking meals, washing laundry and meeting work deadlines. You know, the usual.

I think I just needed the break. Mostly for myself. So I can be a better Mom and spend time playing with Gavin on the floor for an hour and not have that pit of guilt in my stomach that there are 5,674 things I should be doing instead. I didn't put limits or time frames on this 'break,' I just let myself do it. 

I've been missing it. I've been thinking of writing topics and making sure to sit down and save the ideas in Blogger before they're gone. But, I'm still working on making the most of my down time each day. Some days it's just not possible to sit down and write, and that's OK. I need to allow myself to leave things unfinished and be satisfied. But, this is our space, and I want to share about our life and how much Gavin is growing and changing. We are so proud. Our home is filled with squeals of laughter and lots of kisses. I just love it.

Motherhood has done an absolute number on me. It has caused me to be much more introspective than ever before. It has shown me both the best and worst parts of myself. And mostly, it has humbled me. My needs are not as important as I once thought they were. I have so. much. respect. for all the Mom's. What a challenging, thankless, worrisome, rewarding, fulfilling, joyful and IMPORTANT job we have been given! Molding little people's minds and lives, and carefully making each decision for them long before they can choose for themselves. 

And I realized, "wow, this love I have for Gavin, is the same love my parent have for me, and is just a drop in the bucket of love that God has for each member of my family." Just mind blowing.

I'm not perfect. Every day there are things I wish I had done differently, or opportunities I miss. And I have fallen victim to the guilt game more times than I can count. So much that I've decided that what I want he most is to be the best version of myself that I can be. To pray every day that I can strive towards that goal each morning when I start the day. 

I pray for ...
More patience (in so many ways).
The right words to share my love with each member of my family.
The motivation to prepare a hot, home cooked meal for my family at least a few nights per week.
The wisdom to make the right choices for my son.
The mindset to start each day with my priorities in the right order.
The calmness of heart to leave the kitchen dirty and the laundry undone if it means I get to play with Gavin or snuggle on the couch with my hubby and a good glass of wine.

I could go on and on, but I think that's a good place to start.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Not So Glamorous Parts of Becoming A Mom.

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Cottonelle but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CtnlCareRoutine  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

When I was pregnant with Gavin, I felt like a pretty special person most days. After all, it was my first pregnancy and I had the undivided attention of my husband, and even though I didn't realize it at the time, I had all the time in the world to shop, run errands, clean my house, take care of the laundry and take care of MYSELF.

Once you become a Mom, you willingly put the needs of a tiny little human before your own. This loving act can manifest itself in your life in many ways. Some of these ways can take the form of skipping meals, falling behind in the news and pop culture, and yes, your own personal hygeine even takes a toll. I will be totally honest. Since giving birth just six months ago, there has been more than one week where I am lucky to squeeze in two showers (yes, I said week). As I sit here and type out that fact, I am a little embarrassed, but finding the time to take care of yourself the way you used to is all just a part of the learning curve for first time Moms. Well, in my world it is.

A short 48 hours after giving birth, we were sent home with a beautiful and healthy little bundle of joy. We arrived home and quickly welcomed a house full of family and visitors. That first week was a total blur. In fact, I really only remember doing two things: nursing around the clock and making lots of extra trips to the bathroom to clean up my stitches. Luckily, I had received advice from other Mom's, and knew to stock my bathroom with some toiletry items that would help me speed up the healing process.

If I can give a bit of advice to all of the pregnant Momma's out there, it would be to head to WalMart before your due date and invest in a few things for your postpartum care: soft, quilted toilet paper, lots of pads in all different sizes, your weight in witch hazel pads and a few packs of disposable cleansing cloths. 

I started my own Cottonelle Clean Care Routine shortly after we arrived home from the hospital. Although I may not have had the same amount of personal care time that I was used to, I did make sure and take time enough to freshen up each time I was in the bathroom, especially while my stitches were still fresh. And ever since then, I make sure to keep my stash of Cottonelle fully stocked, because even though my stitches are long gone, the amount of time that I have for personal care on most days is still not enough.

The Cottonelle Moist Flushable Cleansing Cloths smell fresh, are easy to use, and come in a sleek container that fits right on top of my toilet so they're always accessible.

Another tip? Keep a pack of these flushable wipes on every floor of your house. That way, when you're little one has a blowout diaper and you run out of wipes right at the wrong moment (and trust me, it will happen), you can always grab your Cottonelle wipes to finish the job!

And, during the month of February, when you purchase both Cottonelle Clean Care toilet paper and moist cleansing cloths, you can receive a $5 Vudu credit offer to put towards Vudu's wide selection of HD movies. Simply snap a picture of your WalMart receipt and email or text it to clean@drvsusa.com. You will receive a text/email back with your code! Want to know more about the movie options from Vudu? Check it out here

Not everything about becoming a Mom is glamorous, and there will be days where you can barely remember what a long, hot shower feels like. But trust me, this too is a season, and investing in these products will make a world of difference in how you feel as you go about the rest of you day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our Morning Routine. And A Few New Mom Tricks.

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Jimmy Dean, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BreakfastDelight  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.”

Now that Gavin is six months old, we have established a pretty solid daily routine. Or, maybe it's more like, we start and end our days pretty much the same way every day, and what happens in the middle goes one of a few ways.

Our day typically starts around 6:15AM when B's alarm goes off and wakes us and the dog. If Gavin starts stirring this early, I will sometimes run into his room and pop his paci back in his mouth in hopes that him and I can sleep for another hour. By 7:45 on most days, Gavin is wide awake and chatting up a storm down the hall in his crib, and it's time for me to head down and scoop him up. If I'm really on the ball on this particular day, I have brushed my teeth and gotten dressed before I get him, but most days, I just snooze until he's ready.

Between 7:45-8:45AM I nurse him, change him and get his dressed for the day. Once I am dressed, we head downstairs for morning playtime. I often spend some of this time sipping coffee, making breakfast and/or packing the diaper bag for what our day has in store for us. Two or three mornings per week, we go to a workout class called Stroller Strides. Basically, I bring Gavin to the class with me in his stroller and he and all the other kids hang out while all of the Mommy's work out. When the workout is through, we have social/play time for the kids. It is a great way to spend a part of our mornings and we have grown really fond of the socialization and new friends we have made already!

So, let's say this particular day is a Wednesday. We would need to be out the door and headed to class by 9:45. Gavin gets his morning cereal around 9:15 or so, and in the small window between when he finishes and when we need to leave, I usually try and squeeze in breakfast for myself. I look for simple, easy to prepare options that are nutritious and pack a protein punch that will keep me sustained through the first few hours of my day. 

During one of my recent trips to WalMart, I found Jimmy Dean Breakfast Delight sandwiches. Honeywheat flatbread with egg white and spinach sounded right up my alley, so I grabbed a box. Each box contains four sandwiches, so I knew one box could last me through a week of busy days.  Each sandwich is a great source of protein, and a low calorie option coming in at just 160 calories! In fact, Jimmy Dean makes several Breakfast Delight varieties and they are all under 300 calories!

On the first morning I tried my Breakfast Delights, I was pleased to find that I could simply pop it into the microwave for a little over a minute and it was ready to go! Talk about a Mommy time saver! Now, I can make myself breakfast while I'm feeding Gavin and still have time to eat it and be out the door on time!

The Honeywheat Flatbread that I chose was simple and flavorful, and gave me enough protein and calories to get through my morning workout. That's a win in my book! But, Jimmy Dean has lots more to offer for quick and easy breakfast options. Simple and nutritious options perfect for busy Mom's who are constantly on-the-go. And let's face it, if you're a Mom, you pretty much always have your hands full and very little time to prepare a meal for yourself! Be sure to check Jimmy Dean out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well!

Do yourself a favor and try one of the many varieties of Breakfast Delight sandwiches next time you're at WalMart. Your schedule and tummy will thank me!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Gavin Thomas :: 4-6 Months

So, we've been on a somewhat lengthy hiatus. To be honest with all of you, during the holidays, taking the time to write here had become a source of stress and guilt for me, so I decided to take some time off. To just enjoy Gavin's first Christmas, and let some of my normal responsibilities sit on the back burner. I am so happy that I made this choice, and gave myself and unscheduled 'break.' But, I have missed being able to come here and share and interact with so many of you. I draw so much support and strength from the women and Mom's who read this blog, so I thought it was time to come back and catch up!

First off, as of last Friday, Gavin is SIX MONTHS OLD. In what world is this even possible? So much has happened since his last update. Right before his 4-month checkup, we started having some supply and demand issues with breastfeeding. That fact, coupled with a hiccup with weight gain, led us to the place we are now. We began supplementing Gavin right around the New Year. We also started rice cereal, and he has taken to both like a champ. I have lots more to share about our breastfeeding journey, but I will save that for another day.

What else has Gavin been up to lately? I'm so glad you asked! Haha.

The transition between four and six months has been an absolute joy for me. Once we hit the four month mark, I started to feel more confident in my role as Gavin's Mom, and he has been growing and changing so much that I feel like there is something new to celebrate almost every day.

He is turning into a sweet, and sometimes stubborn, little guy who is sweet on his Mommy and absolutely adores his Daddy. Seriously, his face lights up every day when B gets home from work. Talk about a daily heart explosion! Gavin has become much more talkative and active and we have so much fun watching him learn new things all the time.

Weight/Height: When I took him for his 4-month checkup on December 10th, he was 13lbs12oz and in the 12th percentile for weight. Cue the new Mommy freak out! We went back a week later for a weight check and he was an even 14 pounds on December 17th. Since then, we got a home scale and we weigh him from time to time. The new combination of breastmilk, supplementation formula and rice cereal is definitely agreeing with him. We believe he is up at about 17 pounds now! We get a weight check this week on Wednesday, so we will know for sure.

As for height, he was 25 inches tall at his check on 12/10, but he has definitely grown, so I am excited to see what they show us on Wednesday. 
Hair & Eyes: Little dude now has a healthy head of hair! I swear he wakes up almost every morning with more hair. Most of his hair is light brown, but in certain light, he almost looks like he's tuning blonde! 
  His eyes are almost the exact same color as mine, a hazel/green combination that is pretty and different! I know I am biased, but I think his little eyes are to die for!
Diapers: We have been in Pampers Swaddlers 3's for a while now, but I think we have almost reached our limit. We are going to try Huggies Little Movers next, and will transition into a size 4 very soon.
Clothes: I felt like we were in 3-6 month clothing for quite a while. Since there was a slight dip is his weight gain, maybe we were, but now that we are into February, most of his 3-6 month stuff is too short or too tight. I have had so much fun pulling out his new 6, 9 and 12 month clothing! He is wearing 6-12 month Baby Gap and Old Navy, 9 and 12 month Carter's and 6-9/9-12 month Children's Place sleepers.
Eating: Gavin's feeding schedule has changed a lot in the last 5-6 weeks. I noticed that I was starting to have some supply/demand issues in December. We kept up with our 5xs a day feeding (EBF) until Christmas, and then I decided to start supplementing a bit. We also added rice cereal to his routine.
We are now into a schedule of 6 feedings per day. I nurse him in the morning after he wakes up and then give him cereal between 9-9:30AM. I have been pumping for each of his other bottle feedings throughout the day, so I typically pump at 12PM, 3PM and 7PM and then again at 10PM to use the next day. He gets a bottle between 12-1PM of between 6-8 ounces, which typically contains 1/3 to 1/2 breastmilk. Then another bottle between 3:30-4:30 PM of around 7 ounces. We have been giving him solids at dinner time. He takes between 1-2 Tbsp of rice or oatmeal cereal between 6-6:30 PM and then gets his final bottle (always 8-9 ounces) between 7-7:30 PM before bedtime. Between the solids and the bottles/nursing, I have figured out that he is getting between 28-32 ounces per day, about half of which are breastmilk. We have become much more comfortable with our new routine, even though the decision to start supplementing was much tougher on me than I planned (again, more on that another day).
Sleeping: We start his bedtime routine with his 7:15ish bottle. Once he has finished the bottle, we just let him relax and hang out with us for about a half an hour. At 8PM, it's time for a fresh diaper, pacifier and sleep sack and up to bed. Gavin goes to bed between 8-8:30PM every night (for the most part), and sleeps until 7-8AM the next day. He is sleeping through the night pretty well, but does still wake me up from time to time with whimpering or crying for his pacifier. We are working through the middle of the night crying spells, but it is going pretty well, and they are becoming fewer and further between almost every week. 

He is now into a pretty consistent daytime nap schedule as well (finally!). He goes down for his morning nap between 10-10:30 AM and sleeps for between 1-2 hours. His afternoon nap typically happens round 2PM and lasts between 1-2 hours again. Some days he wants to sleep a ton, and others, I am lucky if he sleeps a full hour. But, all part of the baby game I suppose!
Milestones: We still have no teeth to report! He is definitely working on it though. His hands are constantly in his mouth and the drooling has picked up, so I am just waiting for the big day. 

He is very active, alert and playful during his awake hours. He still hates tummy time, but he's getting better at it. He finally starting rolling from back to belly right before he turned six months! And he LOVES his jumper! Between jumping, tummy time and rolling, his days have become pretty full of activity, and I think it is helping to regulate his daytime sleeping. 

We are also booked to take Gavin on his first plane ride and Florida vacation at the end of the month! We will be headed to my parents place in Palm Beach for almost 2 weeks, and even though the amount of planning and packing that this trip will require is crazy, we are so excited, and cannot wait to enjoy the warm Florida sunshine!

And, because this post would not be complete without a few pictures, here are a few shots of our little G-Man over the last two months!