Thursday, August 17, 2017

Homemade Baby Food & Introducing Solids

Since birth Georgia has been exclusively breast fed, she hadn't had anything but breast milk up until a couple weeks ago when I thought it might be time to start introducing some actual food into her life.  I knew that I was going to skip rice cereal and move right into purees and eventually baby-led weaning (BLW) so that's exactly what we did!  I know there are some different opinions out there about when to start introducing solids, but I felt like since we were almost to the 6 month mark it was a good time to start.

I reached out on Insta stories to see what my followers had the most success with, what they started with, and how they did it, homemade or store bought.  I knew I wanted to try homemade at first, especially since she is still getting the majority of her meals from breast milk.  After lots and lots of responses and suggestions I decided to start with peas. 

I bought Target Market Pantry frozen peas for .97, you steam them directly in the bag so I did that, pureed them in my food processor and added about 3oz of breast milk to get them the consistency I wanted.  Without some liquid, they would've been a little too thick & pasty.  3oz seemed to be perfect and we let her try them.  She was pretty uncertain at first but has really taken to them, opening her mouth now for us and even helping with the spoon!  It's the cutest thing, also very messy.  One thing I can say is do not go out and buy an expensive baby food system, you can use a simple and cheap food processor  and it does the exact same thing and is much cheaper!

We also did sweet potatoes and butternut squash, both of which have been a hit.  I bought 1 medium sweet potato, poked holes in it, set it on a baking sheet and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350°.  You can also steam or boil potatoes but baking them holds the most nutrients.  With both the peas and the sweet potatoes I used the "Milkies" milk tray to freeze the purees.  I did it with this tray because I know each stick is equal to 1oz which equals out to 2tbsp. of food which is what is recommended for them per day in these early days.  So far everything has went well and we are kind of just experimenting to see what works.  I added a few ounces of breast milk to the sweet potatoes as well to make it the consistency that I desired.

For the squash, I bought the smallest one I could find because I wasn't sure how much it would make and if she'd like it.  I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and then placed cut side down in a glass microwave safe dish with about a quarter inch of water in it, I cooked it for about 6 minutes (or until the skin is soft) then scooped out the insides and also froze it in the Milkies tray.  I got about 8oz of food from the small squash and it didn't end up needing any breast milk added, I just added a little bit of the water I had cooked it in to get it a bit thinner.  

Another important food that we incorporated is beef broth.  I found this article from Mama Natural all about the importance of introducing beef product, broth & pureed red meat, in the early days so that is also something we are doing.  My mom had tons of soup bones from our side of beef we bought this spring so she went ahead and made it following Mama Natural's recipe, but she only boiled it for 8 hours instead of 24 – 8 was plenty.  She did soak the meat in water with vinegar which is said to bring out the nutrients.  She then froze it in an icecube tray which measures out to about 1oz servings.  Right now we give her 1oz of this a day in a TomeeTipee sippy cup with a nipple on it.  She's really loving the broth.  We also cooked & pureed some ground beef and froze it but haven't introduced that to her yet.

So far making baby food at home has been relatively quick and easy.  It's been fun to watch her and I can't wait to continue introducing foods to her.  I'd really like to use BLW technique soon, I know purees are really not necessary if going the full BLW route, but I just felt like puree was where I was comfortable starting.  There are a few things that baby needs to be doing before you can start BLW and we just now reaching those milestones!  Stay tuned for more about the next part of introducing solids!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tips for Retuning to Work

So I've been back at work full time since May 1st.  I always knew that I would return to work and never really got to consider staying home.  Although a part of me would love to, I am meant to be working and after just building a house two years ago, it takes both of our income to pay our bills and live a comfortable lifestyle.  I enjoy my job and if I were to take off a few years to stay home with my kids, this job wouldn't be waiting for me when I was ready to return to work so it really made the choice to come back easy. 

My maternity leave lasted a mere 9 weeks, one reason I'm actually thankful that I ended up with a C-section is it did get me an extra 2 weeks off, but still not nearly enough time at home with my new baby.  I was lucky though that Georgia was going into familiar and very capable hands.  She spends 3 days a week with my mom & step dad who are both retired and she spends 2 days at in-home daycare with a friend of mine.  I like the balance of the two because it gets her some one-on-one attention with grandma and grandpa, but it also gets her socialized and used to older kids, and less attention which she will need when she starts school. 

Although returning to work was very hard, it got better over time to leave her each day.  There are definitely some things that can make it a little easier when it comes time to leave your babe.

--If at all possible, (which I understand, unfortunately it is not for everyone) have your sitter bring baby to work on your lunch break.  Or if you can, go see your baby on your lunch!  My mom brings Georgia to me 3x a week so I can nurse her on lunch & it definitely helps to break up my day.  When I was little I remember my mom would come to my grandmas every day for her 1 hour lunch so she could eat & see us.  Now as a mother myself I understand how precious that 30-60 minutes is.

--Have lots of pictures to look at!  I have a picture of Georgia for my desktop background, & one of the best things I got was a digital frame that I have right by my desk, I brought it my first day back, one so I could stare at her all day, and two because I knew people would want to see pictures of her.  Now they can watch a little slide show of her. 

--Use FaceTime when you can.  If you get set breaks, take a minute to FaceTime or Skype with your sitter and your baby.  We haven't had to use this yet, but I would imagine one day we will.

--Ask for updates.  I don't get too many pictures from my parents, but I do get at least one photo and update from daycare on the days she is there.  Just seeing a quick snap of her really brightens my day.

--Check the daycare website or Facebook page.  I know some daycares actually keep an updated website &/or Facebook, some even have an app, where you can check on your kiddo and see what they've been up to.  Even if you can't see a photo, seeing how many naps they've taken, or even how many dirty diapers they've had will give you a little reassurance that they're doing ok!

--If you feel the need, take a vacation day and spend time with your kids.  The time I am off, I spend with her, I bring her everywhere with me for the most part. Sometimes I'll take a Friday off or a half day so that I can maybe run an errand or two while she's at daycare and then see her for a couple extra hours that day.  I don't have much else I would be using my vacation for & I can't think of a better reason to take a day off then to spend it with my girl!

I know everyone's work situation is different and none of these things may be possible for some working parents, but just remember, your work day will come to an end and you WILL get to see your baby at the end of your day.  Being away from my baby during the day makes the time that I do have with her on the evenings and weekends even more valuable and coming home to her smiling little face after knowing I've been gone all day working to provide for her is the most rewarding thing I could ask for. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Matilda Jane & a Giveaway

If you guys haven't figured it out by now, I love baby girl clothes.  Georgia has a pretty extensive wardrobe that continues to grow all the time.  I've already got her clothes for vacation bought since we are going in January to Punta Cana and the summer sales are on right now, my mom and I did some major damage at Target, Old Navy, and Bergners the last couple weekends getting her outfits for the warmer weather we will get to enjoy for a week this winter.  

But aside from the big box stores, there are lots and lots of boutiques and smaller clothing shops with some of the most amazing baby clothes and recently I was introduced to Matilda Jane clothing and found some of the cutest baby, kids, and women's clothing I have ever seen.  All of the pieces are very whimsical and remind me of an outfit I might picture a character wearing in a story book, seriously so cute.  Their collections are actually called Make Believe, Once Upon a Time, and The Adventure Begins which I think perfectly describe the style of these adorable clothes.

On top of clothing they also have things like lunchboxes, aprons & towels, water bottles, and more, but I was most interested in the clothing line.  I went with the Ventriloquist Top because it looked like a perfect fall transitional piece and with it already being August, that made the most sense for my wardrobe.  When I got this I fell in LOVE with the fabric, it is stretchy and soft, and long enough to wear with leggings and wedges or with some denim and flats both work appropriate.  

For Georgia I decided to pick a summer outfit for her since she is growing like a weed & we are getting pretty low on summer clothes that fit her.  We got the Plein Air Romper which is so cute and colorful.  Again, whimsical is the word that comes to mind when describing their clothes.  And not only is everything super cute, their shipping is SO FAST.  Seriously ordered this on a Tuesday and had it by Wednesday.  

I'm excited to give away a $50 credit to Matilda Jane to one lucky winner!  Enter via the Raffelcopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 07, 2017

All Things Baby - Product Roundup

As you guys know there are literally MILLIONS of baby products out there.  As a first time mom I knew I had to have it ALL, mostly because I had waited so long to have a baby and I really wanted to bask in everything that came along with finally being pregnant, including buying every item I had ever found that I loved, whether necessary or unnecessary.  Over the last 5 months I weeded through all of the stuff and found some favorite products and brands that I feel to be tried and true or have helped us survive life with a new baby.  These are products that worked for us, they may not work for you, you may not agree with using them due to safety hazards or CDC guidelines or what have you, so please, if leave your judgments at the door & hopefully you can find something that will help YOU.

Diapers & Wipes
I really didn't have a preference before Georgia arrived.  I got several brands at my shower for the diaper raffle and I kind of feel like, if people are gifting you diapers, you can't be picky, they're pooping and peeing in them, just use them. 

Pampers—they seem to be the most comfortable, they have the moisture stripe so you can tell if there is pee in the diaper, & they hold up well to blowouts. 

Honest Co—what I love about them is they can hold A LOT and their patterns are to die for.  What I don't love about them is the price and that they're a little stiff.  I bought a subscription when they were offering 50% off so I got 6 packages of diapers & wipes (which I hate btw.) and cancelled the subscription later. 

Target Up&Up—probably the most affordable & definitely can hold about as well as pampers. 

As far as wipes go, as I stated above, I am not a fan of Honest Co, they're just too damn hard to get out of the package, they stick together and when you're cleaning up a soupy poopy diaper, the last thing you want to do is fight with the wipes.  My favorite brand by far is the Amazon Elements which are similar to water wipes but at a fraction of the cost.  They're safe for cleaning your babies face, hands feet, and bottom of course, they're free of fragrance, dyes, parabens, and alcohol, they're flexible, and they come in flip top packages.  I have a subscriptions for these with Prime they are $11.64 for a pack of 6.  I cannot say enough good about these wipes.

Sleeping Gear
Our girl is a pretty great sleeper, but the first few days home were tough, we spent $250 on the Halo Bassinest which she hated so she slept on me in bed and I got very little sleep because I was so fearful of rolling over on her and suffocating her, not the type of thoughts I wanted to have my first few days home (PSA here – Post Partum Anxiety is a real thing!) so we got a Dockatot and are eternally grateful that we did.  All I'm going to say is, just get one.  Spend the $165, you cannot put a price on a good night of sleep.  If you have more specific questions about them feel free to contact me.

The HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper - Premiere Series Bassinet is what she sleeps in now, I love this bassinet, it swivels 360°, it's side lowers so it's easy to get her in and out (would be ideal after a csection), it has a light, sounds, it vibrates, the base goes up and down and it is seriously extremely durable and heavy so we don't have to worry about it falling over.  We transitioned her into this around 8 weeks with the dockatot inside of it (this is not recommended by the manufacturer of either of these products) and then at 12 weeks took the DAT out and she's been sleeping in just the Halo ever since.  Now that she is just about rolling over, our next move is into the pack n play.  We prefer her in our room still, especially since she still wakes to eat about once a night, it's just easier on me.

Love to Dream swaddles were also one of our go-to items and every now and then she still uses this if she's thrashing around too much and waking herself, I'll stick her back in this.  It lets her hands be up by her face which is what she prefers.  These come in cute colors, they're thin, and they're nice and stretchy.  We loved these. 

Play Gear
The Fisher Price Sit Me Up floor seat has been one of our favorites, and although it doesn't have much to play with, it has helped her with her head control, it gives me peace of mind that I can step away for a second because she is contained.  Plus she just looks so darn cute in it.

Our Skip Hop Activity Gym is still one of my favorite items we got.  Georgia is finally starting to interact with it a lot more now that she is more aware of how her hands work.  Plus it's one of the cutest styles of activity gyms I've seen out there.

The Bright Starts Sweet Safari Bounce Around Activity Center is also one of top favorites, Georgia is really starting to love this too and is actually exploring all of the little characters.  This has a springboard bottom so she can bounce on it, and the seat turns 360° so she can spin around and reach all of the toys.

Travel Gear
This is an area where I was really torn and overwhelmed.  I really didn’t know what brands were best & I was torn between the pricier brands like Nuna to the more affordable brands like Evenflo.  What I ultimately decided on was Baby Jogger, a nice happy medium as far as price was concerned.  I ended up getting the Baby Jogger City Mini on Amazon on a day that it was on sale like 50% off, I love the stroller so much, it's SO easy to use, the only downside is the bottom basket does not fit my diaper bag, but we use the Fawn Design backpack so it's not a big deal to just wear that.

On top of that we got the Baby Jogger City go Infant Car Seat which we also love.  The best part about this car seat is you do not need the base.  I use a base in my car & my mom has one too, but this seat has what is called the TaxiSafe belt path which safely secures the seat using the seat belt.  We've used this in Joe's truck and I will tell you, it sometimes feels sturdier than it does when it's in the car seat base using the LATCH system.  If I could recommend one travel product, this would be it. 

One of our other most-used travel products is our Lillebaby Complete soft structured carrier.  Joe and I both LOVE this carrier as it is so easy to put on and has an awesome lumbar support.  The Complete is the 6-position, 360° ergonomic carrier which is good up to 45 POUNDS! Bonus, it's 30% off on Amazon right now!

Miscellaneous Stuff we Love
Rock N Play Auto Rocker was a life saver in the early days!  Georgia loved this, I could put her down in it and she'd be out like a light!  It plays music and rocks on it's own!  Bonus, it's on sale, 40% off right now!  #winning

For bibs/bibdanans, Copper Pearl is hands-down my favorite.  They're so soft and they do not soak through like some other brands.  Plus she has everything from basics like all black or all grey,  to my favorite pack, the Tropical set which includes mermaids and sea shells! 

Our favorite pacifiers have been these Tomee Tipee Orthodic Pacifiers.

Our favorite diaper rash cream is Aquaphor Baby, it was the ONLY thing that worked those first few weeks of her life when her butt was full of red sores from all the pooping she did. 

Our favorite bottles are ComoTomo, we haven't tried many others but these seem to work best for her.  We also like Twist Shake Baby, even though we do not use formula, we still love these bottles & the colors they come in are the best!

We also love the Boppy Lounger and for the price you really can't beat it.  We set ours on the couch still while she's not mobile yet and she can relax on it and she naps on it (only supervised) when we are hanging in the living room.

My favorite diaper bag is the Fawn Design book bag, I get TONS of compliments on it, its soft, the zippers are amazing, and Joe isn't afraid to carry it.  I use the Tote Savvy Mini inside to keep it organized.

Even though I did this entire post on bows, I will tell you again, Little Poppy Co is one of our favorites, their bows fit well, they're made well, and they give you some really great variety.  For $15 a month I think it's a good deal & an easy way to build your collection.  I also love Lilly Belle Market, & Raising Little Ridley's.

The Boon Silicone Feeder 

The Boon Grass Drying Rack

The Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair - bonus it's 15% off!

Nursing Gear
Although this isn't really "baby" gear so to speak, I do have a couple things I can mention.  I did an entire post here, but probably my TOP must-have are these Lilly Padz silicone nursing pads that I wear at night.  I HIGHLY recommend these, and I recommend getting the kit that comes with the wash & wipes.  I wear mine every day, I've had to replace them once, but for $20 I feel like they're a great investment & help keep me from soaking my shirt and sheets at night.  Plus, in the early days when your nips are painfully sensitive you can wear them in the shower to help ease some of the discomfort from the shower. 

Target Up&Up bags are the storage bags I like, I still get asked about these regularly and they just changed them recently, now they're more like the Lansinoh bags, a little thinner plastic, but I still like them

Plus this nursing bra and these nursing brasby Kindred Bravely are by far, the softest one I've been able to find, plus you cannot beat the price!

My favorite hands-free pumping bra is this Bravado Click & Pump that attaches not only to my Bravado bra but also to the Kindred Bravely ones I mentioned before!  20% off right now!  

What have I missed?  What else do you guys want to know?  We are only a little over 5 months into this whole parenthood things so I know we still have so many products we will "need" and get to try, I will try to keep this list going for you guys as best as I can!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Friday, July 28, 2017

10 Minute Mama Make Up

In the days before a baby I used to have extra time to spend doing my hair and make up each day for work.  I have always enjoyed make up and have used it since late grade school so it's always been part of my routine.  When I was on maternity leave I rarely ever put make up on unless we were leaving the house, but once it was time to return to work I knew I needed to figure out a way to get myself showered and ready along with a baby ready for the day plus getting the animals fed, the dog outside, my cooler bag and pump, purse, and diaper bag ready and everything into the car and out the door.  Sounds like a total shit-show I know, but it is possible for me to leave the house having done all the aforementioned with a full face of make up and looking like I didn't just wipe a giant glob of spit up off of my shirt before I even left the house.  

I spend roughly 10 minutes on my make up each day and I get compliments all the time about how "fresh" I look and how good my make up looks, I attribute it to quality products and practice.

Foundation - you want something that is going to cover and hide the fact that you hardly slept as your daughter is struggling through the 4-month sleep regression.  I'm currently LOVING this Too Faced Born This Way foundation.  I like consistency, I like that it doesn't settle into fine lines, and I like that it lasts for the majority of the day.  

Powder/Bronzer/Mineral Veil - Either one of these or all 3 depending on what time of year it is and the consistency of your skin.  I like Bare Minerals Original powder foundation in light, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil (seriously smells like chocolately heaven), and Bare Minerals Mineral Veil.  Typically, in the summer I use all 3, my skin tends to be on the oilier side and I always like a few swipes of bronzer just to make me look like I've gotten some sun. 

Blush - I'm currently obsessed with Benefit's Hervana blush.  It smells like roses and it's a pretty pink shade that I love, especially in the summer. 

Mascara - Too Faced Better than Sex is my current favorite, I got it as a free sample when I ordered my foundation and so far it's pretty amazing, not sure about better than sex, but maybe just as good.

Eye Liner - Bare Minerals Last Line Long-wearing eyeliner has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  Tried and true, and lasts all day. 

Brow Pencil - I've tried lots of brow pencils and powders but this Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil has been my favorite.  It's thin so you can really get a good precise fill, just as the name suggests. 

What are some of your favorite quick and easy make up products and techniques?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Georgia June - 5 Months

I can't believe I'm typing Georgia's 5 month update!  I can't believe it was F I V E months ago that I was in the hospital in labor with her and finally delivering her because it seriously feels like it was maybe a month or two ago.  Time is flying and Georgia is growing like a weed! 

At her 4 month appointment she was about 1/2 an ounce under 14 pounds so I'm certain she is now over 14 pounds and probably 25.5-26" long. She's now in size 2 diapers &  she is already fitting into some 6 month clothes in Carters (which runs small) and in 3-6 month stuff in pretty much every other brand.  I even had her in some 9 month Carters footless pj's the other day, cue the tears because our little darling is getting SO BIG!

At what seemed like the literal SECOND she turned 4 months she hit that "sleep regression" that EVERYONE talks about.  Except for her it wasn't actually regression because she never was a bad sleeper since day 1, I mean we have never in 5 months been up "all night" with her.  She was sleeping 4-6 hour stretches since her first few days of life so this is just a sleep protest or maybe just growing pains.  She used to sleep solid and sound, then all of a sudden she was fussy and always wanting her pacifier she was thrashing her legs & turning herself almost over in her bassinet.  Finally at 20 weeks I put her back in her Dockatot in our bed, sleeping arrangements that we stopped at 8 weeks (there's the regression part) but it made it easier on me than having to constantly attend to her bassinet.  For a few nights towards the end (and definitely the worst part) of this mental leap (thank you Wonder Weeks App) she would only sleep in my arms.  Luckily she now seems to be back to her normal self and sleeping nice, long, sound stretches again. 

Her fingers, and everything else she gets in her hands, go into her mouth all the time & she is a drooling machine which makes me think a tooth might break soon but so far nothing really feels like it's coming yet.  She's been at this for a good month though now.  She is a party animal and has some serious FOMO if anything is going on around her.  Seriously she has to be awake and watching and participating in it ALL.  She will fight you tooth and nail if you want her down for a nap during a party or other social event.  She's my little smiley social butterfly.

She isn't quite rolling over yet but she is so close.  She can roll from tummy to back but not vice versa.  She does love tummy time and she loves to stand.  Her legs are so strong & her head control is perfect.  She's pretty much a side sleeper and gets herself wedged so close to the sides of her bassinet it scares me.  Luckily it's mesh and she can breath just fine.  She is also getting really close to being able to sit up soon, she can sit for less than a second on her own but you can tell she is really working at it.  Not sure how she has the strength to hold up that big head (head circumference is in the 92nd %tile!) but I think having to hold that noggin up all the time has made her neck insanely strong.

Watching Georgia grow and thrive has been so amazing.  Every day she makes us laugh with her talking and smiling, and lets be honest, her farting too which she thinks is hilarious.  We have been so blessed with such a well-tempered baby and we are enjoying every second of her, even those tough nights when she's up a lot, it's all I ever wanted for so long so as long as coffee is still in existence, then I am happy to be up with her.  Happy 5 months to our perfect little peach!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Eggs - The Closing Chapter

I know not all of you follow me on Instagram where I posted our final decision about our embryos a few weeks ago.  If you remember we were in a bit of a dilemma about what we were going to do going forward with our left over embryos that consisted of my eggs & Joe's sperm.  The cost to store them was rising, the cost to move them was expensive, and we weren't ready to try for baby number 2 just yet.

So if you saw my Instastory then you heard that we did decide to try to donate the 2 remaining frozen embryos to research rather than transferring them.  My clinic gave me 5 research labs that periodically accept frozen embryos donated for research so I checked online and unfortunately, none of those places were taking donations at the time.  I was bummed because the thought of discarding them is really kind of hard.  Even though the odds were stacked highly against them and I was 100% fine with not transferring them, it is still sad when you think that these potential lives are just being thrown away. 

So at this time the papers have been notarized and sent in for our 2 remaining embryos to be discarded.  I will never go through another egg retrieval (on myself or a donor for that matter), I will never have embryos created in a lab again, the only chance of ever having a biological child of my own is if by some miracle I get pregnant naturally & I am OK with all of this.  Sometimes life puts tough choices in front of us, having infertility has certainly proved that to us time and time again, but it could be worse and we are definitely thankful for where this journey has landed us in the end and that is as parents to our beautiful baby. 

Although we are on what many refer to as "the other side", our lives and our choices continue to be affected by infertility.  I will never forget the roller coaster of emotions that come along with this disease—the heartbreak, the tears, the disappointment, and the unknown, probably the scariest emotion of all.  We still have to consider the fact that I'll be losing infertility treatment coverage next year, we still have to think about when we will start telling our babies about their roots and how they come from a donor, we still have to come up with money for meds, for a cycle, for travel, & chances are we may never be able to conceive a baby on our own and that still stings. 

But, what I've come to realize throughout this entire process over the span of 5 years is that biology doesn't matter to me.  I've learned many other valuable things about optimism, and perseverance too, but undoubtedly, the most significant realization I've had rom this experience so far is that DNA is irrelevant.  At one time it absolutely meant everything to me, I just couldn't bring myself to even consider a child via egg donor that was not "mine", but now I'm older and clearly much wiser and I realize that my child is mine.  We are playing the cards that we are dealt and although it took us a lot of time and effort, to us we came out as winners.  Georgia is our full house, she is our trophy, and she is the symbol of our hard work and determination to win against infertility. 

So I close the book now, officially, on my eggs.  Once they're gone they're gone and I am ok with that.  I can say with unwavering certainty that I would not change the outcome of our journey for anything.  Georgia is such a special little lady and she already, at just a few months old has an amazing tale to tell about how she was brought into this world.  I'm not sure there is a child on this Earth that is as loved and wanted as she is, although I'm pretty biased when I say that.  I know that we made the right decision with our last 2 embryos and I'm happy to be able to get some closure with them.  Now we can focus on our little peach and continue our plan to grow our family.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lark Adventurewear

As you may know there are tons of amazing baby clothing lines out there today.  Everything from big-name brands to smaller independently owned shops who are carving out their niche in the world of baby fashion.  Recently I received a piece from Lark Adventurewear and I cannot begin to tell you how amazing this little romper is.

First off, the fabric is eco-friendly and contains no chemicals or synthetic fabrics which is an instant win for us.  It's also unbelievably soft and my favorite and most functional detail about this romper is the kimono opening which makes putting this outfit on a serious piece of cake.  It also buttons at the bottom with 4 buttons so diaper changes are quick and easy!  I wish there was a way for you guys to be able to feel how soft and stretchy this material actually is! 

We put Georgia in this in the evening so she could play in it for a bit and also sleep in it.  The fabric is moisture-wicking so it kept her cool and dry, something that we definitely like to have right now since she is beginning to drool quite a bit.  She actually had a pretty bad drool rash on her neck, chin, and chest which we were able to heal with some hydrocortisone.  I was happy to be able to put an outfit on her that I knew wouldn't irritate it more since she was starting to itch at it, I knew it was bothering her.  This outfit was perfect to help with her rash. 

I'm seriously obsessed with this romper and cannot wait to get my hands on the colorblock footie in vintage floral, such a cute print!

You can get free shipping on any purchase using code SHIPPING at checkout!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Our Favorite Bows

One of the questions I seem to get asked most about Georgia's outfits are where I get her bows.  We are total bow addicts and she wears one every day.  I'm taking advantage of it now while she's young and doesn't notice them yet.  Although we have a ton of different brands and styles, all that we love, we do have some favorites that have proved to be good quality, the best colors, the best fit, or ones we just seem to use the most.

From top left to bottom right:

Best Bow Subscription - Little Poppy Co - we love these bows!  They fit amazing and the quality of the bow is seriously on point.  They lay nice and flat and always come in festive and fun colors & different styles.  This is our only bow subscription that we have at this time.  It's $11.99 a month plus shipping so we pay $15.49 a month for 3 bows that come in the mail.  I love the convenience of a bow subscription because you know you're getting 3 new bows.  The down side is you don't get to choose your bows, however, I've been happy with every single month so far.

Best "good cause" Bow shop - Raising Little Ridley's - these bows are near and dear to my heart because they are made to support a great cause - funding IVF for the owner of the shop!  Tina does an amazing job with her bows and one of my all time favorites in Georgia's collection is the bomb pop bow.  I'm also a little biased towards this shop because we just happen to share the same last name!

Most Used Bows - Lilly Belle Market - we get tons of compliments on these fun bows, the set we bought in particular is called the Mermaid Tail Bow Set which is currently sold out, however this shop is LOADED with bows, seriously so many choices!  I happened to buy these when I ran across them on a sale and was so happy with the quality of the bow.  We get a ton of use out of these.  I'd say these are probably our most worn bows next to the Little Poppy Co bows.  The bands are a little different, they come on a white elastic band rather than a nylon band.

Best Head Wrap Bow - Baby Bling Bows - I absolutely adore these bows.  They're so versatile size wise because they fit baby all the way up to adult.  They're so stretch and they come in the best colors!  I am totally obsessed with the royal blue one and the cactus print one that Georgia hasn't had a chance to wear yet.  Right now the only downside with these bows is the ALWAYS end up over her eyes, we then just refer to them as sleep masks rather than bows.  So when she does wear these I try to make it for shorter periods of time.

Most Sentimental Bow - The Itsy Bitsy Bow Co - honestly this peach colored bow is the only bow I own from this shop but it is one of my favorites!  I love the peachy/orange sherbert color and I love the wide style of this bow.  Georgia has been rocking this bow since she was just a few weeks old and luckily it still fits her, despite her head size putting her in the 92nd percentile it still fits her well & it still looks adorable on her.  This is one of the first bows I bought for her just a few weeks before she was born and I had to have it because of the color.  I believe I bought the very last one she had in the shop too.  This is just one special bow.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sibling Cycle Dilemma

I can't believe I'm typing the word "sibling", but it is definitely something that has been on our minds and hearts lately.  We know that we want Georgia to having a sibling close in age and we know we definitely want at least one more child, if not two more.  Although we've been discussing this quite a bit lately, we also want to relish in fact that we finally do have a baby after 5 years of infertility and we do want to enjoy her as much as possible since she is such a blessing, however, we are in a little bit of a predicament and I'm feeling very torn and unsure about what to do next.

A little background first—at this time I currently have infertility coverage through the private insurance that my work offers which is administered by Anthem BCBS.  I have amazing deductibles and coverage and have been so lucky that all of my infertility treatment has been covered over the last 3-4 years.  I am also a union employee & insurance is a negotiated item that is part of our contract.  To make a long story short & without going into too much detail, if our next contract passes, I will be losing the infertility coverage portion of my existing insurance and will be moved to a different plan still administered through Anthem, I'm about 99.9% sure this WILL happen as of January 1st, 2018.

In addition to that, I still have 2 embryos frozen that are made up of my own eggs.  I know most people would probably wonder why I didn’t transfer those first before moving forward with donor eggs.  Here is why…I was tired, so unbelievably tired, of the failures.  I felt like we were just doing the same thing over and over again (6 times to be exact) and expecting different results and it was never happening.  So we kept those frozen and tried something truly different and it worked. 

Here is where the dilemma part comes in—storage for our 2 OE embryos is $500 x quarter, realistically I could do a transfer in November which would still be covered by insurance but the storage alone would cost $1000 for the next 2 quarters.  The storage for our DE embryos is only $435 x year & these embryos are clearly the better choice of the 2 batches that we have left (we have 5 frozen in GA).  The other part of the dilemma is that I have to be 100% done nursing before I can start a cycle which is not something I want to do by November, I want to nurse Georgia for a year which puts us into 2018 and the loss of the infertility treatment coverage insurance. 

I know this all sounds kind of confusing and maybe a little bit like a pity party on my end since most people don’t even have a lick of coverage to begin with, so I apologize if it comes off that way, that is not my intention.  I am just so torn on what to do.  Do we try another cycle this year so that we can get one more in that is covered but sacrifice the breastfeeding goal I was hoping for?  Do we discard the OE embryos have left and save ourselves $500-$1500 over the next several months since the odds are NOT in their favor?  What about trying naturally again?  Our bodies can go through some amazing changes from pregnancy and we were hoping to maybe give natural conception another (short) shot. 

This is where infertility continues to suck even when you get on the other side of it.  Is this the worst situation in the world to be in?  Heck no!  It's just really putting me in a place where I am kind of lost.  If we weren't losing the insurance here is what the sibling cycle would look like to me: Nurse Georgia until February 2018, try naturally for 3-6 months, if no luck (which I am NOT holding my breath for anyway) then plan a transfer for August 2018 when Georgia would be 1.5 years old. 

So from all of this here is what I know

-my 2 OE embryos that are left are inevitably going to be the worst of the 7 that we had originally. 

-if we do decide to do a transfer this fall it would be of an OE embryo

-I will only transfer 1 embryo at a time so if we chose to cycle this fall and it failed we would still have one OE embryo left to continue paying the $500 x quarter storage fee on

-any transfer after Jan 1st, 2018 will be 100% out of pocket

-DE embryos work (this is a biggie)

-I have no emotional attachment to my 2 OE embryos, after having Georgia I have learned that I don't care if I ever have a "biological" child of my own.

I thought typing this out might make it easier to figure out what to do, however it actually might just be more confusing now.  There are A LOT of factors to take into consideration and we need to make a decision by Friday on the 2 OE embryos that we have left here in Illinois.  I hate that we have to make this decision and it does kind of make me feel bad that we are considering discarding 2 potential babies, but I think that is something that many of us are faced with when it comes to left over embryos.  This also is just a reminder of how infertility continues to have an effect on our family building plans and that it seems to be something that will continue to have an impact on us for the next few years.
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