5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a New Child

Many prospective parents know welcoming a child into their home will bring change, but they don’t realize their lives are going to do a total 180. It’s an amazingly wonderful change, but when you’re in the middle of it all the change can feel overwhelming. You have to start preparing yourself mentally, emotionally and physically before your family expands.

No matter how you expand your family, whether it be through natural birth, adoption, fostering or surrogacy, preparing your home ahead of time helps you ease into your new role as a parent. It’s so important organizations like SurrogateAlternatives.com provide their surrogate parents with guidance leading up to the delivery.

After having eight kids, we’ve learned a thing or two about getting our home ready for a new family member. Here are five pieces of advice I’d give any new parent.

Prioritize Based on Age
How you prepare depends on the age of the child. If you are having a baby there’s no need to baby-proof the house just yet since they won’t be crawling or walking for 9-12 months. However, if you’re adopting a two-year-old you’ll need to secure everything from top to bottom. Before fostering a tween or teen you’ll want to make sure they have some sort of private area they can make their own.

Divide and Conquer Your To-Do List
Now that you’ve prioritized the to-dos and come up with a list of chores that need to get done ASAP, it’s time to assign them. Taking a divide and conquer approach will help you get more done in less time. It also ensures no one will get burned out and exhausted.

Sit down with your significant other, and older kids if you have them, and go over the task list. Each person should pick chores they don’t mind doing. If there’s something no one wants to do you’ll need to find a fair way decide, like flipping a coin.

Organize Your Family
We have mastered the art of organizing a family. With a family as large as ours, you have to have tight organization or chaos will ensue. But even if it’s your first child, adding another person to the mix means there’s someone else to account for each and every day. There will be new responsibilities, commitments, appointments, etc.

How you stay organized will be unique to your family members and situation. However, the one essential is good communication. As long as you communicate frequently and clearly everyone will be on the same page and less stressed. Come up with a communication plan that highlights the various ways you’ll communicate information. For example:

  • ·  Designate cell phones as the primary contact method for emergencies.
  • ·  Put a daily calendar on the fridge with color-coded days that dictate which family member has something going on.
  • ·  Have a family touch-base once a week to keep everybody updated.

It’s also important to take time to communicate with each other leisurely. Family dinners are a great opportunity for everyone to talk with one another and simply discuss how their day was or what their plans are in the coming days.

Make Enough Space
Even a newborn needs space in your home – actually they need a lot of space. Newborns need to have a crib, a changing station or dresser with a changing table on top, hamper and toy chest among other things. You’ll need to really assess how much room will be needed to accommodate the new family member. It might mean rearranging a few of the rooms or converting a living space into a bedroom.

Let’s be honest – a family can always use a little extra space. That’s why you have to be really strategic with space when the family grows larger.

Stock Up on Supplies
The best time to stock up on supplies is before you have a child in tow (or another child). If you have the financial means and storage space buy everything you can in bulk. You’ll save money in most instances and avoid wasting more time than necessary shopping. Those precious hours can be used for sleep instead.

If you’re having a child you’ll want to overstock every essential baby supply. New parents of a newborn are some of the most fatigued people on the planet. Do what you can to avoid having to shop in the first few weeks.

#Spon: Partnering with @ParasolCo to Bring You the Best Diapers Around!

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of Parasol Diapers in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

best baby diapers

It’s true. As a mom of 8, I have lots of experience with diapers. I’ve tried them all. Honestly! Every single one of them. I’ve even tried cloth diapers. I know what works best for super sensitive bottoms, and I know what works best for crazy super-soakers. What I wanted was a diaper that would make me happy no matter what! I’m now down to just one baby in diapers. (Crazy, right? And no chance of any more in diapers, either, which is even crazier!) After all this time, I’ve been looking for that one diaper that I could fall in love with and use all the time. I wanted it to be safe and gentle on Sawyer’s sensitive skin, but I wanted it to hold up on the nights when he had a lot to drink during the day and needs some extra protection to get him through the night. And, truth be told, I wanted them to be cute.

It’s not so much to ask, is it? We spend most of our time outdoors during the Spring and Summer, and Sawyer prefers to be naked. If I’m going to have my baby running all over creation in his diaper, is it too much to ask that they be cute? I think not.

Earlier this month, I was introduced to Parasol Co. They wanted me to test out their new diapers on Sawyer and tell them what I thought.

cute baby diapers

Oh my goodness. Diapers that are gentle, strong, AND cute?! Who could say no?! So, they sent me a box of diapers and asked if I would mind doing a comparison with my current diaper and wipes brand(s).

Here’s the result of my comparison immediately after I received my package from Parasol Co.:

Immediately, I fell in love with these diapers. I started using them right away, and I never switched back. The same is true for the wipes. They are so soft, and feel more like a washcloth than a wipe. They work well on even the yuckiest messes, and my kids all love them!

Before I switched to Parasol Co. diapers, I had been faithful to one brand, but I had also recently grabbed a pack of “slip on”diapers because they were on sale one day. BIG MISTAKE. Those diapers caused a horrible allergic rash on Sawyers back, and even after I switched back to my regular diapers, I couldn’t get the rash to go away. TWO DAYS after using nothing but Parasol Co. diapers and wipes, there was a huge difference in his rash, and now it’s completely gone. I won’t claim that the Parasol Co. diapers healed him, but they sure did help, and I am eternally grateful! It shows me that their products are exactly what they claim they are: made with safe materials and eco-conscious practices. These are diapers you can trust. They are Hypoallergenic, Chlorine-free, Fragrance-free, Lotion-free, and Latex-free. See? Safe.

Maybe you’re worried about a monthly subscription service. Maybe you think it’s too expensive. Let me assure you, as one who has purchased diapers endlessly for the past 13 years straight, these diapers are not too expensive, and could even help you save money in the long run!

Think about it. For $85/month, you get an entire month’s worth of diapers and wipes. For one month, you don’t have to worry about a thing because everything is sent to you. (You decide if you want it sent every 3, 4, or 5 weeks.)

Now, think about how much you are currently spending on diapers and wipes. If I buy a pack of diapers every week at $10 – 12, that’s approximately $45-50/month. Plus wipes. (And wipes are not cheap, especially if you want wipes that work well!) So, we’re up to about $75-80/month between diapers and wipes. Hmmm… Now, factor in the gas it took you to get to the store, the energy you consumed taking your little one (or little ones, in my case!) into the store, and all the unnecessary things you bought at the store just because you had to stop for a diaper run.

See? You’re already saving money, and you’re getting super cute diapers that are SAFE and work well! (The only issue I have had with the diapers was one night when Sawyer slept for 14 hours straight and woke up soaked. But, the fact that he slept 14 hours was a fine trade off for one morning of washing the sheets. Totally worth it!)

Want me to give you an even better incentive to try Parasol Co.? If you head to the Parasol Co. website, and use the code Blessed16 when you order your first box, you’ll receive $20 off that box! This is it, folks! It’s what you’ve been waiting for! We all love a discount, and this is a great way to try out these amazing diapers for a fraction of the cost.

parasol discount code blessed16

Now, tell me those aren’t the cutest diapers you’ve ever seen?! They have 3 great patterns to choose from, so pick your favorite, and order now!

I love everything about the Parasol Company, and I am so excited to partner with them. I can’t wait to see what other products they come up with. I know it will be great, and I hope I get to share more with you again soon!

Take a chance and try Parasol Co. diapers on your little one today! If you do, please be sure to let me know.

#Ad: #Momoji by @Luvs for the Times When Parenting Needs More than Just Words & a Giveaway!

sampleDisclaimer: This review and giveaway was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management and Luvs. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

momoji keyboard

Do you ever have those days when you need more than just mere words to express just how your day is going?

Boy, do I ever.

Take a look at last night’s conversation with my Hubby:

momoji

What a day. I don’t know what it is about December, but the kids all seem to act out. Maybe it’s the shorter days. Or the thought of Christmas presents and a break from school. I don’t know. But about 6pm every night, I’m ready to put all 8 of them to bed, just so I can breathe for a few minutes!

The Luvs Momoji Keyboard is perfect for parents. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words – especially in those parenting moments when you simply have no words. (Like all the time?!) It’s a fun way to express yourself in your favorite way: emojis!

I will admit, I am a huge user of emojis. Sometimes, I use them a little too much. So, when I downloaded the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, I had a little too much fun with it.

momoji

Now, I tend to talk… a lot. So, I switch back and forth from the momojis to the letter keyboard, and that takes a little bit of work. But, it’s totally worth it to get my point across! And I probably drive my husband crazy with all my texts, but he just ignores me and goes about his day. We understand each other. 😉

The other great feature of the Momoji Keyboard is the “Promoji” feature. Luvs is the first brand every to share coupons, deals, and special offers with their customers in a fun new way. Now we busy moms can hunt for diaper deals while we’re out and about. It’s fantastic! I always seem to forget my coupons at home. Doesn’t matter any more, because now I can pull out my phone and see if there are any new deals or promotions for Luvs diapers right in the store!

Want to know the best part? It’s available for Apple AND Android! (As an Android user, this impresses me most! Most companies release the “iPhone” version first, and the Android users have to wait forever for their version – if it ever even comes to fruition. Thanks for thinking of ALL moms, Luvs!)

Hurry and download the Keyboard here:

Once you’ve downloaded and activated the Keyboard, be sure to check out the #Momoji Twitter party with @iConnectIm on December 15, 2015 at 9pm EST. There will be prizes and fun galore!
carly and luvs
To celebrate the launch of the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, and fantastic new Luvs with NightLock, I get to giveaway a fantastic prize to one lucky winner! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win a $100 American Express Gift Card and one package of Luvs diapers (size 1-6, you pick!). Contest Ends December 21st at 11:59pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Sponsored #BBWBabyBash: The Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Graco. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

graco_souschef

As a mom of 8, I’ve gone through many highchairs through the years. Most of them have been Graco highchairs, simply because I know what I like, I know what works, and I trust Graco when it comes to products I use for my kids.

That being said, I already had a bit of a bias toward loving this highchair when Graco asked me to review it for them. Because it was Graco, I knew I would love it. I just had no idea how much!

Let me introduce you to the Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System. This is THE highchair I wish I had had with all of my kids. The one that I would have held on to for 18 years – or until it finally fell apart. This is my favorite highchair I have ever used.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s a high chair! How can be that great?

Let me tell you about this highchair.

First, the highchair can be used from newborn all the way up to “big kids.” Your baby can be in the kitchen with you from day one. (Or two – or whenever – depending on when you get home from the hospital and/or feel like actually being in the kitchen again!)

There are 5 different modes of use for the highchair:

  1. The Elevated Newborn Seat – perfect for wheeling baby into the kitchen in a safe place that’s high enough for you to reach him/her while you’re cooking.
  2. Removable Rocking Chair – THIS IS AWESOME. It’s my favorite feature of the highchair, and it’s the reason I wish I had had this highchair from day one with Sawyer. (Heck, with all my kids!) You simply remove the chair from the stand (without baby in it, for safety reasons, of course!), and put it in any room of the house. This would have made life SO much easier with all my babies. Honestly, this is the BEST feature of the highchair and it’s what makes the entire highchair worth every penny!
  3. Infant Reclining Highchair – perfect for those first feedings and beyond. Allows you to easily reach and interact with baby while they get those first feedings of cereal.
  4. Highchair mode – This is how our highchair stays most of the time. We don’t have enough seating at our table, so this allows me to put Sawyer in his highchair and feed him. The tray and insert are fantastic. The tray can easily be removed with just one hand, and the insert is dishwasher safe, so it allows for super easy clean up. (Even after the first birthday cake fiasco!)
  5. Toddler Booster seat – Another fantastic feature of the highchair! The toddler booster seat attaches right to your kitchen table chair. No extra pieces required, no difficult maneuvers to go through, just buckle it on! We use this all the time at church dinners and when we go to MawMaw and PapPaw’s house for dinner. That way, we still have somewhere to put Sawyer for dinner, but we don’t have to load the entire highchair into the van. The booster seat holds up to 60 pounds, so I have a feeling we’ll be using this for quite some time!

The highchair is so easy to use, and the initial assembly is quite easy as well. I was able to put the entire seat together in about 15 minutes.

graco_souschef2

The entire seat is also easy to wash – which was GREAT after the picture above was taken! Even with the awful mess Sawyer made, I was able to have everything cleaned up in just minutes, and threw most of it in the washing machine for even easier clean up.

If you are about to have a baby, have recently had a baby, or have a toddler at home and you are in the market for a new highchair, let me recommend the Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System. You will not be disappointed! This is one highchair they won’t grow out of too quickly, and you’ll be using it for years. We love our Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System, and we know you will too! You can find the Sous Chef Seating System on the Graco Website or at Babies R Us.

Learn more about the Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System by visiting the Graco website. You can also find Graco on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

#Sponsored #BBWBabyBash: Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ #Review

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Graco. Opinions expressed are 100% of my own.

graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™

With kids in sports, church activities, and all the things this crazy family has going on in a given week, this has quickly become one of my favorite products EVER. Honestly. I don’t know how we survived this long without the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™!

There are so many reasons why I love this Pack ‘n Play. Let me list just a few:

  1. The Setup was SUPER easy! I literally pulled it out of the box, took it out of the awesome carrying case it comes with, and set it up. It went from box to complete in less than 2 minutes. (I LOVE that!!)
    graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  2. The canopy provides the perfect amount of shade, but I can still see inside the Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ perfectly. Sawyer can see me, I can see him, but he’s protected from the harsh elements of the sun, wind, and/or sprinkling rain.
    graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  3. The “doggy door” – as my kids call it – as the absolute BEST feature. We can leave it unzipped, and Sawyer can crawl in and out as he pleases. He loves having the freedom to be in the comfort of the Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ or in my lap. Whoever decided this should be a feature on the Playard is brilliant. It’s fantastic!
    graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  4. Sawyer loves it. If your baby loves something, you know it has to be good, right? Kids can be so funny, but when they find something they love, they let you know. Sawyer absolutely loves the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™, and I love that he loves it!
    Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  5. It’s just as fabulous indoors as it is outdoors! When we’re not using the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ on the go, it’s set up in the middle of my living room. It’s so great on carpeted floors. Sawyer still crawls in and out, goes where he wants to go, and drags his toys into the playard. It’s easy enough to collapse and put away that we do it all the time.

While this is truly the best product ever, there are a few things I want you to be aware of:

  • Do NOT use the playard on hard floors or cement. There is absolutely NO padding on the bottom of the playard at all. None. Stick to grass and plush carpeting for baby’s sake. There have been times when we’ve only had hard, dry ground available, and it worried me to death the entire time Sawyer was in there.
  • I wish there were spikes so I could pin it into the grass when we’re out and about. Not having to worry about the playard blowing off while he’s not in it would be a wonderful thing.

If you are the type who is always on the go, loves to be outdoors, and needs a safe place to put your infant or toddler, I highly recommend the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™. If you need a playpen set up in the middle of your living room (carpeted!), the Playard Sport is a fantastic option. Sawyer just took his first steps inside his playard the other day, and I didn’t have to worry about him hitting his head on anything.

I’m in love with the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™, and I’m confident you will love it too!

Announcing the #BBWBabyBash

baby bash

It’s hard to believe that our baby, Sawyer, is now over a year old! Absolute craziness, right?

In order to celebrate his birthday, I’ve lined up several sponsors to help showcase some really great “MUST HAVE” baby items. If you are pregnant, just had a baby, or have an infant or toddler, you will want to be sure to check back at all of these items.

The easiest way to find the items will be to search the hashtag #BBWBabyBash.

We’ll get started with our first feature today, so stay tuned!!

The Top Tips for a Parent-Surrogate Relationship

As can be imagined, most people do not ever imagine themselves having to establish a parent-surrogate relationship. The parent-surrogate relationship is not one that most people would ever think about, unless they find themselves in the middle of one. A parent-surrogate relationship is not something that is taught about at home or at school, and until recently has been rarely covered by the media, pop culture, or even in movies. The parent-surrogate relationship is unique and different to any other relationship, and is something that the vast majority of people are unaware of how to prepare for. If you have found yourself in a situation where you need to establish a parent-surrogate relationship, read on to hear our top tips.

Go To the Transfer
The transfer will be the ultimate bonding moment between parents and the surrogate. You will want to be involved in the pregnancy from the beginning, so every attempt to attend the transfer should definitely be made.

Be Involved
Your surrogate will want you to stay involved, so it’s important to ensure that you stay in contact with her. Remember that she is doing this in order to change your life, so it’s important that you let her know that she’s appreciated and valued.

Prioritize
It’s a good idea to set aside a specific time each week to meet with your surrogate, either in person, over the telephone or over Skype or FaceTime. A regularly designated time will work best, and choose a time that is convenient for everyone. Make sure that this takes a position of priority in your schedule.

Take an Interest
In order to form a good relationship with your surrogate, it’s important to take an interest in her life aside from the pregnancy. Asking about her family and hobbies will show her that you’re interested in her as a person.

Don’t Micro-Manage
Remember that your surrogate has been pregnant before and has undergone a rigorous screening process in order to become a surrogate. For this reason, it’s important not to sweat the small stuff – your surrogate won’t want to have to give a full account of everything she’s eaten every day! Unless you think you have valid reason to be worried, let her get on with her pregnancy.

Be Aware of Legalities
Although most surrogate situations don’t result in legal complications, it’s important that both you and your surrogate are aware of surrogate law and enlist the help of a legal service such as Ideal Legal Group in order to protect all of you.

Attend Appointments
You should make an effort to attend the big appointments with your surrogate, such as ultrasound appointments. If your surrogate allows, you may also wish to be present at the birth. Be aware that your surrogate has carried and will give birth to this baby, and even though it is biologically yours she will still feel a sense of love and connection to it.

Are you a parent who is using a surrogate mother? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

Quick Yet Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Baby Showers

Surround baby with Scripture

Baby showers are some of the happiest, most remembered and most treasured occasions. The excitement never gets old whether it’s your first time going or it’s your nth time attending one.

The hard part is finding a gift that’s truly unique for the new parents, while surprising them with the thought that comes with the present. Here are some baby shower gifts that new parents will absolutely appreciate. Pick one that suits your style.

A boppy nursing pillow. If you’ve been a parent once, you know the struggle of feeding a baby with a bottle for the first time, thus this pillow. A boppy nursing pillow lifts baby to a more comfortable breastfeeding or bottle feeding position. New parents will enjoy the ease of nursing their new baby/ies with this awesome pillow.

New baby flowers. No baby shower is complete without a bouquet or two of precious, fresh, and fragrant new baby flowers. Look down the years and see photographs of the new baby with the beautiful flowers in the background.

Monthly baby stickers. Allow the parents to easily capture and treasure their baby’s first 12 months with these nifty stickers. Simply peel the sticker and place on baby’s clothes and snap away. A must have for parents who loves their baby more and more as months pass by.

Baby blankets. What’s better that a regular blanket? A specialized ones! Why a swaddling blanket, you say? It suits newborns by creating the comfortable, familiar snugness of the womb and helps prevent baby from getting startled awake. With this, new parents will be able to sleep a bit more.

Wee-absorbing sponges. Ever have those things that you don’t think you need until you do? This is one of them. This unforgettable baby shower gift is the ultimate diapering accessories for baby boys. It is used during diaper changes to prevent sprinkling – yeah, happens all the time! Then new parents will be grateful you saved them from a surprise wee wee.

Molded bibs. Feeding a new baby for the first time for new parents is HARD. Well, not with this baby. A molded bib has a spill pocket that catches fluids or solid food, even if the child moves around a lot – and they move A LOT. A perfect baby companion for when parents are still “missing” the baby’s mouth.

Sophie Teeter.  One look at Amazon’s review section about this product and you’ll know why it’s a new parent’s favourite. Because of its shape, this teeter gives discoveries and activities to awaken baby’s senses. More parts to chew and play with, less time crying. What parent doesn’t want that?

Soothing sound and light. Help baby (and parents) go to sleep. Starry night lights, for instance radiate a tranquil light to help babies drift back to sleep. Sleep machines, on the other hand gives off a calming sound that will help babies relax and sleep better.

There you have it, eight baby shower gifts to choose from. Enjoy the baby shower!

What Sets a Maternity Photographer Apart?

A professional maternity photographer is a truly skilled artist who is able to create a lasting image of a pregnant woman, allowing the beauty to shine through. Pregnancy is a truly unique and incredibly special time, and this means it is perfect for portraits to be created as well. However, before you book yourself in, there are a few things you need to think about.

maternity photographs

How to Find a Good Maternity Photographer

While some women want to have their picture taken as soon as they are pregnant, the best time to actually do this is when you are around seven and a half month pregnant. The exception is if you want to create a timeline, showing how your baby has grown over the months.

Next, you need to actually find your maternity photographer. Most will offer free consultations, and you should use this if you can. This is an opportunity for you to find out whether you will be comfortable with the photographer, what their plans are to photograph you, what their prices are, their methods of working and more. It is also an opportunity to look through their portfolio.

36weeks

There are a few questions in particular that you may want to ask. These include:

  • Do the photographs have to be taken in a studio, or can they come to your home?
  • Do you need any props?
  • What sort of clothes should you wear?
  • How much of your skin will show?
  • Can other family members of pets be included in the photographs?
  • Will you be in a private facility?
  • Will you be given proofs of the photographs, or a CD with the proofs?
  • Are the photographs copyrighted or can you reprint them?
  • Will anyone else see the photographs?
  • Can you include any special effects?

Once you have spoken to a few photographers, you should choose the one that you seem to have gelled with the most. This must related to personality, but also to the end project goals and your budget unfortunately. Make sure you have a good rapport with your photographer, as this will translate into a stunning image.

How to Take Maternity Photographs

The shape of the body of a pregnant woman can be captured in various ways. A lot of women prefer to wear as few clothes as possible, as it accentuates their shape. Thanks to studio lighting, however, the focus can be on your full profile, your belly or any other part of your body. You must discuss what you want to achieve with your photographer.

A maternity picture is a beautiful work of art. Too many women feel they look awful when they are at the height of their pregnancy, but they don’t. They radiate beauty and show what nature is all about. That is something to be celebrated. Finding a good maternity photographer will help you to achieve this, and will allow you to have a permanent momentum of one of the most special times in your life.

#Sponsored: Using Window Treatments to Perfect Your Newborn’s Room Temperature

We don’t need to reiterate the enormity of being a parent. As soon as you leave the hospital you’re handed reams of advice, telling you what you can and can’t do and at times, it becomes overwhelming. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this – it’s always going to remain the case.

One issue which nurses and governmental guidance notes place a considerable amount of emphasis on is controlling the temperature of the room that your baby sleeps in. Over the years there has been a lot of attention placed on SIDS and one of the primary causes behind these tragedies is overheating.
baby sleeping
The problem is that it can become almost impossible to regulate your room temperature to the exact levels that are recommended. At the time of writing (and we coin this phrase, as these are figures that seem to change all the time), the suggested temperature for a baby is 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, this is quite an exact figure and most parents are fretting just whether or not they have achieved such a temperature every time nap-time occurs for their newborn. Have you put too many layers on? Too few? What TOG rating should the sleeping bag be? Unfortunately, we (and everyone else for that matter), cannot answer these questions in a general advice article.

What we can do is make temperature control a lot easier for you. If your baby happens to have been born in the summer, it can become an absolute nightmare determining whether or not the room is too hot or cold due to the heat from the sun. This is where your window treatment can be a savior.

Blackout shades are arguably the only option for new parents; this is the product that is almost guaranteed to give everyone in the house more sleep. These blinds have developed substantially over the years and now some are insulated, it’s now possible to prevent the sun’s powerful rays from entering your little one’s room and overheating it. We should also add that during the winter it becomes much easier to keep the heat in your little one’s room, which again makes the whole temperature control issue much easier to contend with.
baby's nursery
It means that you are finally provided with a stable playing field. The weather isn’t going to dramatically influence how hot your child’s nursery gets in the summer and it becomes much easier to regulate the temperature in the room.

Admittedly, the above paragraph might not seem like too much of an aid to a prospective parent. However, once you start balancing the one thousand and one other issues you have to remember, the fact that you don’t have to worry as much about the temperature in your baby’s room will be an absolute godsend. Additionally, even though the difference is probably going to be fairly minimal, the insulated shade options do provide some energy savings. As such, it’s something that we’d thoroughly recommend if you are in the midst of preparing for your new arrival.
sponsored

#MC #Sponsored: Raising #RSVAwareness and Offering #PreemieProtection as the Cold Weather Moves In

sponsored
Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

rsv awareness

As many of you know, we recently added a new member to our family. Because we have a newborn in the house, along with 7 other children, I am doing everything in my power to help keep the germs – and RSV – at bay.

Have you heard of RSV? I’m not surprised if you haven’t. In fact, as many as one third of all moms have never even heard of it!

I had my first experience with RSV when I was working in a daycare center. One of our babies in the Infant Room contracted RSV and ended up being hospitalized for several weeks because of it. I remember talking to the mom after her son returned to daycare. She had been so scared the entire time, and she felt so guilty. I made a promise to myself right then that I was going to learn all I could about RSV and how to prevent it from happening to any of my future children.

When Parker was born, there were many complications. The doctor forced me to wait until 37 weeks so he wouldn’t be considered a preemie, he was born very small and with several health concerns, much like a preemie. The doctor was very concerned that he might contract RSV, so we weren’t allowed to leave the house for the first 30 days of his life. That was tough, but combined with my own research and knowledge of RSV prevention, he made it through his first winter safely.

So, what is RSV?

RSV, (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), is a very common season virus that nearly all children contract before the age of 2. In healthy, full-term babies, it typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. RSV is most common from November through March, but it can vary from year-to-year. In the US, it is the leading cause of babies being hospitalized during their first year.

Every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, but babies born prematurely are twice as likely as full term infants to be hospitalized because of RSV disease and/or symptoms.

If your infant exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, please call your pediatrician right away:

  • Coughing or Wheezing that is persistent
  • Bluish tinted color found around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid or difficult breathing, or gasping for breath
  • Fever (especially if the rectal temperature is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)

RSV is a very contagious disease and can be easily spread by touching, coughing, or sneezing. The virus can live on skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV once it has been contracted, so prevention is key.

Here are some tips to help you prevent the spread of RSV disease:

  • Parents should wash their hands often and ask others to do the same. (This goes for siblings too – especially school-aged children!)
  • Keep baby’s clothes, toys, sheets, blankets, and clothes clean.
  • Avoid large crowds and other young children during RSV season.
  • Don’t ever let anyone smoke near your baby.
  • Keep baby away from people who are sick or have recently been sick.

Still want to learn more about RSV? There’s an easy way to do just that! Visit www.RSVprotection.com for lots more information. There, you’ll find out how to talk to your child’s pediatrician about their risk factors for contracting RSV, data about RSV and how it is affecting your area, and real stories about families that have experienced RSV.

I also want to make sure you are aware that this coming Monday is World Prematurity Day. It is a day set aside to raise awareness of preterm birth. According to Wikipedia, approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year. That’s about 1 in 10 of all babies born worldwide. With this special day coming up, we also want to make sure that parents of preemies – and all parents are aware of the risks of RSV and how to prevent it.

Before I close, I want you to take a look at this easy to read infographic:

rsv_infographic

If you have an experience with RSV, I would love to hear about it. Please leave your comment below.

Prayers Appreciated!

ourchildren

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading into our local hospital to be induced. Soon, our family will be complete and baby #8 will be welcomed with open arms.

If you can spare a prayer for a quick, easy delivery with no complications, I would sincerely appreciate it.

Things may be quiet for a few days around here while I adjust to becoming a mom of 8 and snuggle my sweet little newborn as much as humanly possible the first few days.

Thanks for being loyal readers of the blog. I promise to be back soon and things will be better than ever!

#Sponsored: Tips and Tricks to Make Breastfeeding Easier

sampleDisclaimer: I received a breastpump from Evenflo in order to facilitate my review and in return for sharing these tips and tricks with you. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

breast pump

As you may know, I am just a few weeks away from giving birth to baby #8. Breastfeeding is an important topic to me, and while I don’t talk about it too often, I always look forward to sharing more tips and tricks with you on the subject.

Recently, I was asked if I would share some Breastfeeding Tips, Tricks, and Myths from renowned lactation consultant and Registered Nurse Shari Criso.

I hope these will help encourage you in your breastfeeding journey. I’ve breastfed 6 of my 7 kids, and plan to breastfeed #8 for as long as I can. As always, if I can ever be of any help, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Shari Criso’s Top 3 Breastfeeding Tips

  • Tip #1: Become as knowledgeable and educated as possible about breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby. Trying to wing it after the baby comes or rely on the staff at the hospital to teach you could be a disaster and the reason why breastfeeding was not successful.
  • Tip #2: Purchase what you will need to makebreastfeeding more comfortable and easier especially in the first few weeks when you are first adjusting and it is usually the most difficult time.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to accomplish this, but assume that you WILL be successful and get what you need. You may be able to get help with breastfeeding at no cost, since your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump – and may offer to cover either a rental or a new one for you to keep.  I like the Evenflo® Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump: $99.99-$159.99
  • Tip #3:  Make sure you are surrounded with support. One of the biggest challenges and reasons for moms not having the success that they want with breastfeeding is not getting the support from the people around them.  Get your partner on board with education and information. A supportive partner is one of the biggest reasons for breastfeeding success. Find friends and other breastfeeding moms who were successful to speak to and line up a lactation consultant before you deliver so you can reach out for help as soon as you need it.

Next, Shari tackles some of the top breastfeeding myths…

Shari Criso’s Top Breastfeeding Myths:

  • Myth #1: A large percentage of our population just can’t make enough milk to fully nourish their babies.
    Fact: Our bodies were made to breastfeed and our species has survived for hundreds of thousands of years this way. It is actually UNCOMMON for a mom to carry a pregnancy, deliver a baby, and then just not be able to feed it. It does not make sense. There are some moms who may have issues with milk supply, but most of the time it is due to inaccurate advice to supplement with formula because of a “perceived” low supply issue instead of a real supply issue.
  • Myth #2: That if your mom or sister couldn’t breastfeed, that you won’t be able to breastfeed as well.
    Fact: I don’t know what happened with a woman’s mom or sister, but I do know that their mother’s mother, and her mother before that, and so on…were able to breastfeed or they would not be here. We come from a line of women that were able to produce enough and feed their babies because that was the only way. Although the ability to breastfeed can have a genetic factor, this is usually not the case. Most of the time the reason that the mom or sister was not able to breastfeed is due to reasons that were not medical issues, but rather misinformation or assumptions about their bodies ability to make enough milk.
  • Myth #3:  That you have to have the perfect diet and lifestyle to make good and enough milk.
    Fact: This is just untrue. If having the perfect diet, enough rest, not too much stress, etc. were major factors in your body’s ability to feed your baby then our species would have died off long ago. People throughout history have lived through some of the most difficult situations and still were able to feed. Although our own health does make breastfeeding easier, it is not critical in making enough or good “quality” milk.  A good diet will keep you healthy, but regardless of what you are eating your milk is rarely effected except in the most extreme cases.
  • Myth #4:  Breastfeeding will change the shape of your breasts.
    Fact: Breastfeeding itself is not the culprit.  Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding includes BMI, age, history of smoking, large pre-pregnancy breast size and number of pregnancies.

I also want to give you a few of Shari’s favorite items to help encourage breastfeeding and maybe even make it a little easier on you.

Shari Criso’s Must-Have Products to Make Breastfeeding Easier

  • Bravado Designs Ultra Comfort Nursing Camisole: $34.99
    www.babiesrus.com
    Easy to wear while pregnant or nursing your new baby. Wire-free, seam-free, and has a long silhouette.

I hope some of these tips, tricks, busted myths, and products help you. I know the thought of breastfeeding for the first time (or the 7th time!), can be stressful, but it every second of doubt or worry you might have now will be gone the moment your baby is in your arms, snuggled up to your chest.

My Review of the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump

While I can’t really review the pump yet… I have been doing my research on breast pumps, and the Evenflo pump had become the clear winner even before I received it for review. I honestly cannot wait to start using this pump. I’m praying it will help me build up a great stash in the freezer so that family and friends can help with feeding.

Since I can’t review it yet, I want to give you some of the features of this pump and why it made the top of my list:

  • 32 settings for optimal control.That is a LOT of settings! That means you’re much more likely to get the suction you need at any given time.
  • 3 assorted flange sizes for different sized moms. None of those “one size fits all” that don’t really fit all. Ensures a comfortable fit no matter what your cup size.
  • Hygienic, closed pumping system. This prevents milk from backing up into the system and tainting the milk or ruining the pump.
  • Plug in or battery powered. Makes it great for on the go or pumping at home or at work.
  • Converts to single pump use easily. For those times when you might need to pump on one side while feeding on the other, or to prevent engorgement
  • PerfectPosition designed for slouch free pumping. Great for when comfort is of the utmost importance.
  • Includes drawstring wet parts bag and access to “Simply Breastfeeding” and “Breast Pumps & Briefcases” educational programs. I haven’t found any other pump that includes such fabulous breastfeeding material to encourage breastfeeding mothers. I love it! And the bag is great for taking it on the go.

Just a few more weeks, and I’ll finally be able to put this pump to good use! I can’t wait! So many fabulous features, and I’m looking forward to putting it to the test.

What Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks have helped YOU most?

#MC #Sponsored: Check Out the #UrbiniBaby Mom Voyáge Website

sponsoredDisclaimer: I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

mom voyage website

I was recently introduced to the Mom Voyage website. Created by Urbini, Mom Voyage is a website where mom bloggers from all over the world come together and share their experiences about pregnancy, maternity leave, and so much more.

I found the site incredibly interesting, and I couldn’t stop reading! I loved reading about the Dutch Pregnancy Cravings. I couldn’t believe how similar *my* cravings are to those mentioned in the post… right down to the pickles and chocolate sauce! (Early in this pregnancy, I would scoop peanut butter from the jar with sweet pickles and drizzle them with chocolate syrup. So weird, right?? I had no idea that Dutch moms were doing almost the same thing!

I hope you’ll take some time to check out the Mom Voyage website. There really are some interesting articles on there, and I can’t wait for more to be added!

I also want to encourage you to connect with Urbini in the following ways:

Cute Gender Reveal Photo Idea

This weekend, my daughter had quite a surprise up her sleeve for me.

I had gone out to coffee with one of the girls from our youth. (Who also happens to be my niece.) After coffee, I was also treated to the new Fro-Yo place in town. While we were out, my phone rang. It was my oldest daughter who had been spending the night with her cousins.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Ashley: “Mom? I’m at the church fellowship hall helping Aunt Sabrina with VBS stuff, but I really don’t feel well. Can you come get me? I just want to go home.”

Me (panic stricken, because Ash *never* gets sick) : “I’ll come right now. Do you need anything? Ginger ale? A bucket?”

Ashley: “No, just take me home so I can lie down.”

Me: “I’m on my way.”

I sped all the way to our church. When I got there, the parking lot was empty, and Ash came out to meet me. “Mom,” she said, “Sabrina needs to ask you a question. She’s right inside.”

I told Ash I’d be right back and walked into the fellowship hall.

I about died right then and there when I heard “SURPRISE!” from quite a few of my favorite people. The entire fellowship hall was decorated in pink and blue, (with elephants everywhere!), and so many of my friends and loved ones were in attendance.

Apparently, Ashley had told everyone that she knew 20 weeks was really early in a pregnancy to have a shower, but I had been under so much stress with Gage that she wanted to do something to bring a smile to my face and help me forget about everything – even if it was just for a little while. That, and she KNEW I would never make it to the birth without knowing if the baby is a boy or a girl. 🙂 And she also knew it was driving me batty to have to drive to Atlanta with Gage so much, (where there are actual STORES!), and not be able to buy something for the baby to be.

What a sweet, sweet girl I have.

Before I get to the gender reveal part, I do want to show you a couple of my favorite pictures from the shower.

First, the adorable cake:

gender reveal cake

Isn’t that the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen?! My sweet friend Jodi did the most amazing job. And because Ashley didn’t want to reveal the gender with the cake, (because apparently *everybody* does that), the cake was chocolate – which  made it taste as amazing as it looked!

Next, we have the sign in “sheet” – a framed picture of the ultrasound photos where attendees were asked to choose Team Pink or Team Blue and sign in with the appropriate color marker. This is something I will treasure forever, and I smile every time I look at it:

Gender reveal sign in

I also need to explain this one. You see, quite some time ago, I had mentioned to Ashley that a friend of mine had said she wanted to “Surround her baby with Scripture” at the birth and afterward. I thought that was the most wonderful idea, and I said that I was going to steal the idea and do it for our baby as well. Ash beat me to it, though, and several weeks before the shower, she asked friends and family to send over their favorite verses. Then, she made these cute little cards with each of the verses and hung them on the wall at the shower. I am so excited that I already have all these verses and can start reading them out loud to Baby before he/she is even born!

Surround baby with Scripture

I am pleased to tell you the party went off without a hitch, and she revealed the gender by having me pop a black balloon…. full of BLUE glitter. 🙂 Yep, I was actually right this time! IT’S A BOY!!

Because I have so many friends and loved ones that weren’t able to attend the shower, I wanted to announce the gender on Facebook in a cute way.

Here’s what we came up with:

It's A Boy!

(See it as my profile picture on Facebook.)

I love the way it turned out, and I loved that I could get hubby involved with the reveal. 🙂

And, p.s. I am SO glad I know for sure that’s it’s a boy now and I can finally do some shopping. Yaaaay!!

**Edited to add: Shortly after announcing the gender of our baby to be, we decided to change his name. I already had issues with calling each of the kids by each others’ names. Carter and Carly were just waaaaay too close. I’d never get him and her straight. So, we changed his name to Sawyer Michael, even though people in the South don’t say “Sawyer” properly.

What cute ways have YOU revealed the gender to family and friends?

Well, That Wasn’t The Reaction I Expected!

Another One is On the Way!
Early in January, hubby and I found out that another blessing is on the way. We had been trying for several months, so it wasn’t that big of a shock. However, my husband is the type of guy that prefers we don’t tell anyone about the baby until I’ve been to the doctor and we know things are all right. While I am terrible at keeping secrets, I’ve kept this secret enough over the years that it doesn’t bother me to wait to share our news with the world.

We found out we were pregnant on a Monday. That Saturday, I was at our church with my 9 year old son, Jace, setting up for a baby shower. My preacher walked in and said, “I heard the good news!” Not having a clue what he was talking about, (because, again, we had told NO ONE the news), I asked, “What good news?” He responded, “That you’re having another baby.” At this point, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. And so did Jace. We hadn’t even told the kids! Jace turns to me and asks, “Are you really, Mama?!” Oh my gosh. I wanted to die. I smiled and told Jace, “Yes, honey.” Then, I quickly turned to Preacher and asked him who had told him. He wouldn’t tell  me. All he would say was that several people had told him over the past few weeks. Few weeks? We just found out 5 days before!

Terrified that word would spread like wildfire, I called Gene in a panic. I told him he needed to sit the other kids down and tell them, and then he needed to call his parents before someone else said something to them. So much for a surprise. I had had big plans of doing a cute pregnancy announcement, but that went right out the window. I was heartbroken and frankly, I was angry. That was OUR news to tell in OUR time. It wasn’t anyone else’s business.

Once word started to spread through the church, our friends, and our family, we got the usual responses, although this time they had a twist. “Eight is enough, right?” “You always wanted 8, so you can stop now, right?” “Another one? Are you crazy?” “Better you than me!” And so on. It hurts so badly when your own family and those you count as your dearest friends can’t just smile and celebrate your joyous news with you.

So, for that very reason, I held off saying anything on Facebook. I just didn’t want to deal with more snarky comments or “Don’t you know what causes that” comments. (Well, that, and hubby still hadn’t been able to get a hold of his dad. We didn’t want to post anything online until we had told him personally.)

I had an ultrasound yesterday, and after seeing that sweet little heartbeat fluttering away, I couldn’t contain my excitement – or keep my secret – any longer. I called Gene and made sure he was all right with my sharing the news on Facebook. After all, he’d have to read the snarky comments too.

I posted a picture from the ultrasound on my personal Facebook page and said, “September is always our busiest month with our anniversary and Jace and Lucy’s birthdays. But this September, things will get even busier. This little peanut is due to arrive sometime around September 16th. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted 8 children. God has seen fit to bless me thus far, and we couldn’t be more excited. God is good!”

I prayed as I clicked the “Post” button, “Please, Lord, give me the strength to handle the comments with grace and dignity.”

I expected the worst. What I got sent me into shock. Instead of snarky, unkind, or just plain rude comments, I received nothing but love, support, and lots and lots of congratulations. I couldn’t believe it. When Gene got home from work last night, we talked about the reaction the post had gotten, and I cried… only they were tears of relief, not tears of hurt this time.

When it felt like everyone else had nothing kind to say, my Facebook friends – a mesh of the most amazing people I’ve known both offline and online for years – made me smile and made me feel loved. It feels great!

I know lots of moms of many that put off telling people they are pregnant again, simply because they’re afraid of the reaction. There is something wrong with that! What is our society coming to when we can celebrate the birth of baby #1 or #2, but let’s not even talk about #5 or #6? Every baby deserves to be loved and celebrated, whether they are an only child or come from a family of 14.

The Bible is very clear on how God sees children:

Psalm 127: 3 -5 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 139: 13-14 “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Mark 10:14 – “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Moms (and Dads!) of many, it’s time for us to do as Psalm 127:5 says and not be ashamed. God has blessed us, abundantly, and every new life that is born into HIS army should be celebrated. And if you are not a mom or dad of many, but encounter one in your daily business, please be kind. They don’t need to hear your thoughts or opinions, unless they are kind. Keep the rude comments to yourself. It’ll just be better for everyone.

And with that being said, I can’t wait for September to get here. 🙂

How to Keep Post-Pregnancy Skin Stretchmark-Free #Sponsored #GuestPost

Sponsored Post

Disclaimer: This post is a sponsored post, and I have been compensated for my time in publishing this post.

Pregnancy: a time to bask in a supernaturally healthy glow; a time for impossibly glossy hair; a time to experience the profound natural gorgeousness that only pure joy can give you. More realistically, all that bubbling joy and rosy-cheeked wholesomeness is Mother Nature’s way of trying to make up for all effort you’re making and your  sleepless nights. Pregnancy also comes with an increased need to care for your body and mind and you’ll have  to know where to look for to find the right responses.

Striae gravidarum, the medical name for stretch marks, belies the simplicity of the science behind them. Simply put, they are epidermal scars that result from tissue tears. When skin is not elastic enough to tolerate weight gain, your skin will let you know by forming silvery lines. Several ways to remove them have been discussed, but the best solution remains prevention.

Preventative care is a fun way to cram your bathroom shelf with enticing luxuries, and you needn’t break the bank while you do it. Some of the most effective ways to help the skin to reinvent its youthful texture date all the way back to the disco era—Mums to be in the bell bottom epoch simply swathed themselves in bare-bones oils and emulsifiers. In comparison, today’s solutions are positively futuristic, with ingredients such as dimethylaminoethano and pantothenic Acid leaving women feeling as baffled as they do intimidated. When shopping for effective and safe mum to be beauty gifts, however, your list needn’t be packed full of words you can’t pronounce.

As we said, oil based products have revealed to be pretty effective in preventing stretch marks and they should contain ingredients you would normally also use in your healthy skin daily routine such as sweet almond or coconut oil. They should tempt you with a nice, light fragrance but also be reliable.

It’s always worth researching on ingredients that may harm skin or that are not suggested during pregnancy times such as parabens or dioxane and make sure to follow a simple but effective beauty routine. This should also involve some light exercise to keep the whole body stretchy and healthy.

In few simple steps and with some extra care, pregnancy will leave just nice memories on your mind!

Will it be Carter or Carly? (Take a Poll!)

With everything going on with Gage, I really haven’t posted much about the pregnancy. Honestly, I haven’t had much to update. This has been a wonderful pregnancy so far. No morning sickness. No pain. No issues. I’m tired, and I want to eat all the time, but eating and sleeping are my two favorite things, so I’m not complaining. 🙂 I’m certain that God is giving me an easy pregnancy because He knew I was going to need it… there’s just been so many other issues and problems that I couldn’t take a difficult pregnancy on top of it.

The pregnancy seems to be sllllooooooowwwwwllllly dragging on. Today I am finally 17 weeks. Almost half way there! My next doctor’s appointment is scheduled for this Thursday, September 6th. They do an ultrasound at each visit, and the doctor said we’d check to see the gender at our next appointment. So, I’m putting up a fun poll to see how many of my readers can guess the gender.

Hubby and I have already picked out a name for a boy and one for a girl. If it’s a boy, his name will be Carter Timothy. Gene has wanted a Carter since we were pregnant with our first son. I figure he’s waited long enough and I should give in. 🙂 Timothy is after a very dear friend of ours. If it’s a girl, her name will be Carly Grace. No rhyme or reason, we just really love the name. This is, however, the FIRST time that we have picked a name so early on in the pregnancy. Typically, we argue and argue for months, and push it until weeks before the baby is even due. Not this time. And since we came up with 2 great names that go well together, I’m still hoping there’s a “hidden” twin and I get to use both names. 🙂

Before we get to the poll, let’s go over some baby gender prediction methods and see what they say….

  • Hairline method – Predicts a BOY. (This method failed for me last time.)
  • Chinese Gender Chart – Predicts a GIRL. (This method is sometimes right, sometimes wrong for me.)
  • Old Wives Tale – Predicts a GIRL.
  • Baby’s Heart Rate – Predicts a GIRL.
  • Family Pattern – Here are my kids so far: GIRL, BOY, BOY, GIRL, BOY, BOY, ???
  • Dreams – I dream ALL.THE.TIME that I’m having a girl. (Actually, I dream that we have 8 kids, and the last 2 are girls.)

Now, before I get my hopes up for another little girl, when I was pregnant with Gage, every sign pointed to us having another little girl. I went into our 16 week ultrasound certain that we were having a girl. I just knew he was going to show us a girl on the screen. Then, there it was: the “package.” Definitely not a girl. As sad as I was that Gage wasn’t a girl, I wouldn’t trade him in for 10 girls. He is my sunshine, and I am so thankful God gave me exactly what I needed. After all that, though, I am 100% convinced that this baby will be another boy. Hubby and I tend to make more of those, and “they” say that if you have more of one gender, you are more likely to continue having that same gender. So, I hold no truth to any of the methods listed above, especially since so many of them point to us having a girl.

But, it’s still fun to guess… and I know so many of my readers have their own opinions. I thought it would be fun to hear what you all think!

So tell me….. will it be a BOY or a GIRL? And will we get to use the name Carter or Carly? Vote now!

So Much for “The Big Day!”

I spent all day yesterday preparing for my induction. Packed all the bags, made arrangements for the kids, took care of absolutely everything. We went to Revival last night, and it was amazing. I have to admit, I was a little bummed, (for selfish reasons, of course), that they decided to extend the revival 2 more days. That meant I was going to miss Thursday night at least, because of the induction. Hubby and I decided that if they let me go home on Friday, and I was feeling well, we would all go back to the revival together Friday night.

We dropped the kids at my MIL’s house after the revival, kissed them all, and told them that the next time they saw Mommy, she’d have a baby in her arms and not in her belly. Everyone was so excited.

Hubby and I got home, and started to get ready for bed. To avoid TMI being posted and losing a million readers, I noticed a pretty gross discharge and hubby talked me into calling labor and delivery and just asking them if it was normal, and if we needed to come in early. I called over to the hospital, and a labor and delivery nurse answered the phone. I told her that I was on the schedule for an induction the following morning at 5am. She looked at the schedule and informed me that I was *not* on the schedule for Thursday, but that I had been moved to Friday.

I was NOT happy. I had not been notified of any change in the schedule. I’d already made arrangements for my kids. Gene had already taken off work. I know it’s just one day, but that one day can throw everything for a loop. I talked to the nurse for awhile about what was going on, and she called my doctor to let him know that I had not been informed of the change in the schedule. (By the way, it was not my doctor’s fault. It was a staffing issue at the hospital. I still love my doctor, I’m just hoping the nurses at the hospital are a little more on the ball when I actually have this baby.)

After I got off the phone with her, I double (and triple) checked my voicemail and checked the caller id on our land line. No phone calls, no messages from anyone informing me of the change.

I must say that I’m quite glad I didn’t get up at 3:00 this morning and show up there at 5am today. I probably would have lost my testimony all over that hospital. Thank goodness hubby made me call labor and delivery and we at least found out we’d be able to sleep in this morning. Actually, it’s kind of nice to have hubby home to myself all day.

Another thing that I can’t get off my mind is our revival. Tonight, the youth choir will be singing. When they sang on Tuesday night, the Holy Spirit took over the room in a way that I have never seen before. There was singing, shouting, men marching the aisles, and so many tears of repentance. I was blown away. All I can think is that maybe God allowed all of this to happen so that I could be at the Revival one more night. Maybe He plans to do something with one of my kids. Maybe He plans to do something big with me. Either way, I will be there tonight – baby in belly – and ready to hear what God has to say to me.

Then, tomorrow morning, I’ll get up bright and early and head in to the hospital and have a baby.

So, stay tuned. Looks like it’s going to be one more day before I have any news to announce.

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

I am so excited, I can hardly stand it…. BUT, I still have so much to do to get ready for Gage’s appearance! I have searched through our boxes, and I cannot find any 0-3 month clothes. No sleepers, no gowns, no outfits – nothing. The joy of moving 2 weeks before the baby is born, I guess. So, I’ve got to head out and get at least a couple of outfits for this baby to wear so that he doesn’t have to go naked the first 3 months of his life. 🙂 I need to pack the hospital bag. (No, I still haven’t done that.) I need to fold and put away all the baby blankets, bibs, and burp cloths that I washed. I need to sterilize pacifiers and bottles.

But most of all, I need to relax. And that seems to be what I’m struggling with most. I don’t know if it’s nerves about labor and delivery, since my last experience was so bad, or if it’s the fact that tomorrow, I will be a mom of SIX. Either way, I am a bundle of nerves.

I have to be at the hospital at 5am tomorrow. I doubt that I’ll get any sleep tonight at all, yet my husband will lie in bed next to me, snoring soundly. (How is it HE can relax right now?)

Hubby set up all the baby stuff yesterday – the swing, the cradle, the pack ‘n play, the car seat. Our house looks ready for a baby, so at least we have that much.

I will update you all just as soon as I can!

Enjoy the rest of your week. And stay tuned for lots (and LOTS!) of pictures!