Jul 25

Goals – Friday Five

Woo Hoo!  It’s Friday!  Oh, wait…. I’m a mom.  I don’t get to celebrate Fridays anymore.  Just kidding.    

Just because I don’t enjoy the same freedom from the workforce like some others, doesn’t mean that Fridays are viewed as another day in the grind.  I get a lot of help when the weekends hit.  For one thing, my husband comes home today!!!  Yay!  So that holds excitement for me.  Also, my parents will be around all weekend to visit with us, so that makes for a little more liveliness around the household.  Rossi and I will have lots of fun doing all the same things we do during the week, just with all the family that we love and adore.  

Anywho……  Friday is here.  So aside from the wonderful events that line my calendar, it’s time for a FridayFive with the lovely ladies of the DC Trifecta.  Please go visit Mar, Courtney and Cynthia and tell them I sent ya.  

This week we are discussing Goals.  I wanted to focus on the second half of the year goals, since I have some incredible events coming up and I need to get my priorities in order.  My husband even mentioned yesterday that I should put together a list, so here we go…  

Friday_Five_Goals

 

1. Construct a Budget

With our closing date and my due date right around the corner, we are about to embark on a brand new season of financial responsibilities.   These times are known for being extremely difficult on bank accounts.  The addition of another child + a new house = lots of $$$$$$   Bottom line is that we have to control our spending.  Making smart financial decisions is what it’s all about, and in order to provide for our growing family, we have to set aside money every month. So this means we need to draft a strict budget and stick to it!  

2.  Pick a Name for the Baby

Okay, this isn’t a huge “second-half-of-the-year” goal, especially since baby #2 is due in less than 8 weeks, but it’s a big priority.   Starting tomorrow, I’m really going to dedicate some time each day to searching baby boy names and finalizing our decision.  I have my favorites, but I’m still not 100% in love with any one of them.  This is going to be tough.  

3.  Go Out On More Dates

In addition to the strain babies put on the finances, they also have the potential to take away from romantic relationships between the parents.  With my firstborn, I made her the priority and everything else, including myself, took second string.  With this child, I want to find a good balance.  Making time for my husband will be a priority every week, even if it’s just cooking together at the house or ordering takeout and a movie.  Part of the reason we decided to move to the other side of town is so that we could be closer to our family and friends.  I’d like to be able to utilize some of them to open up a window for regular “date nights” a few times a month.   That being said, I’m not expecting that immediately after the LO is born, but sometime shortly after would be nice.

4.  Form a Running Group

In the part of town where we are moving, there aren’t any established running groups, none that I’ve been able to find anyway.  It’s a newly developed area, so I could be wrong.  Every time I’ve driven by the house, I’ve seen runners in the area, but never in a group.  

I know a handful of other runners in the area, so my plan is to connect with them, make a name for ourselves, establish a regular schedule, promote it, and eventually I might look into taking the RRCA certification.  

I’m really looking forward to getting back into my regular running routine post baby, but I’m not trying to jump right into something immediately.  My first race post-baby is scheduled for December, so I’ll have a little time – 2 months – to get back into the swing of things, as long as my doctor clears me within a normal time frame.  Finding or creating a running group will keep me focused and driven on my goals for the upcoming year.  

 

5.  Potty Training & Toddler Bed Transition

Oh, the joys of transitioning toddlers.  

Over the past couple days we have attempted to let Rosalyn go without a diaper during the day.  She’s done very well, with the exception of two small accidents, and I’m really pleased with her progress, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do with her on the potty forefront.    We have to start limiting her fluids closer to naps and bed time in order to completely transition her all the way to big girl panties.  

Next will be the transition into a toddler bed.  She’s thrived in her crib thus far, so we’ve kept her there as long as we could. She’s never even tried to crawl out, even though she’s 3 feet tall and could do so easily.  I’ll be completely honest.  This is one area where I have concerns.  Since we are about to make a new move, into a new house, and bring home a new baby, there will be a lot for our little toddler to adjust to at the same time.  I’m scared that this will overwhelm her and halt any progress or changes.  I hope that I’m wrong.  This is where the prayer comes into play.  There’s not much more we can do.  We just have to work at it and pray she adjusts quickly enough.  As with anything toddler or child related, consistency is key. 

 

Even though we are at the mid point in the year, I feel like I still have my plate full of goals and aspirations.  I’ve got my head up and I’m looking forward with a smile.  Life is about to get really interesting at our house.  There’s so much about to unfold before us,  I just hope we are prepared.  

 

 

What advice do you have for me regarding these goals?  

Do you have experience with toddlers and potty training or bed transitioning?  

Any tips for preparing a toddler for a new baby?  

Jul 23

Weeks or Months?

A week ago, I was at the store with my little one.  A nice older lady kept staring in my direction, so I glanced back her way and smiled politely.  She preceded to hobble over in my direction and began chatting it up with my toddler and I while we waited for my prescription to be ready from the pharmacy.  She eventually inquired about the baby in my belly and I reluctantly answered her questions with a smile.

Then she asked me the question that I always hate answering…..  “How far along are you?” 

To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure.  She caught me off guard, so I took a minute to make a quick calculation in my head and then I responded that I was  “thirty-one weeks.”  

She glared at me in a sort of confused manner, as if to say “I didn’t ask for an algebra equation.”   Then I interrupted her thoughts with a more understandable response of just “Eight Months.”

If you don’t have children, or have never been close to someone going through a pregnancy, you might never understand the calculations of weeks versus months.  

When you think about it, it should be very simple.  Nine months in a pregnancy, right?  

Yeah, that’s what they say, but not everyone thinks that way. Some say ten. Some say nine. Some, like me, say too many.

Go to any pregnancy website or message board and there will be twenty women with twenty different responses to how far along you are.

The problem lies in the fact that not every month is four weeks long. Some people, like me, don’t really care about that fact and just “round up” to the next month along once you hit twelve weeks.  
Then there are the people that always remind me that I’m not as far along as I thought.

Come on, really?  I keep thinking I’m nearing the end, but then some schmuck has to point out the fact that I’ve still got 8 weeks left to go.  Geez, thanks.  It’s bad enough I’m beginning to waddle like a duck, now I have to be reminded that I’ve still got two months, er, 8 weeks left…   Anyway you look at it, my bun is not done.  

nine_months_meme

What do you say?  

Nine months?  Ten months?  40 weeks? Too dang long? 

Jul 21

Pregnancy Update 32 Weeks

Wow!  I can’t believe I’m already at 32 weeks.  This pregnancy has been flying by.  In just a matter of weeks, I’ll have another little baby to hold and cuddle and nurture.  

The really amazing thing to me is that I’m not even worried about the fact that I don’t have a bassinet for him to sleep in yet, or the fact that I haven’t even a nursery setup to bring him home to after the birth.   We are just here, at my parents house, patiently awaiting the completion of our house.  I can’t imagine if this was my first child.  I would be a nervous wreck with my current situation.  

I was such a worry wart with my daughter.  Everything had to be perfectly laid out and prepared.  It was just in my nature to try to control everything, but not this time around.  Parenthood has definitely changed me and with this pregnancy, I’ve really let go of a lot of my fears and trepidation.  This is completely in God’s hands.  

So what is new with me?  

32weeks_bumpdate_update

Weight Gain: None since last checkup.  I’m still hanging around that 24 pound mark.  

Body Changes:  Still having some heartburn in the evenings with some mild round ligament pain.  After my run last Sunday, I started to experience a little twinge in my lower back when I bent over or reached for items.  It comes every now and then, but nothing too severe to worry about. 


Belly Button: 
Popped and not budging.

Workouts:  5 x’s prenatal yoga with yogaglo.com, running (with lots of walking breaks), swimming and weight training 


Symptoms: 
I’ve finally hit the point where it’s difficult finding a comfortable position to sit/stand.    Most of the time, I try to lay on my side, if I can.  If I’m out and about, I’ll lounge back and attempt to give my torso plenty of room for baby boy.  

Movements: 
 He is one active little dude.  He has actually hurt me quite a bit in the past week.  There’s been a few elbows nudged into my hips and rib cage lately.  Also, I’ve noticed that he is particularly active when I’m in the pool, which I think he likes.  

Food Aversions: 
None

Cravings: 
 Nothing new.  Trying to avoid all the goodies and salty snacks from my mother’s pantry.  

Sleep: 
 I’m really blessed in this department.  I’m sleeping very well and through the night.  I will wake up occasionally with the need to pee, but overall, I’m really feeling quite rested.  The afternoon naps are helping as well.  

Stretch Marks:  None that I’ve noticed.


Mood:  Excited!!  

What I’m Loving:  We just had our maternity photo shoot on the beach here on the island.  I got a sneak peek of a few shots during the session and I’m absolutely thrilled to see more proofs.  

Here’s a quick snapshot off the view from the back o the camera.  FFaves_maternitypics

Looking Ahead:  I have another check up at the doctor’s this week and this weekend my girlfriends are throwing me a baby “sprinkle.”  If you’re curious what a baby sprinkle is, it’s typically a lesser version of the baby shower.  Our version is going to consist of a small group of my girlfriends gathering together for lunch and conversation.  No games, no elaborate gifts (essentially because we don’t need them the second time around), and no cake, just a simple gathering to celebrate baby D.  

 

What about baby?

Bumpdate_babyUpdate

 

Have you ever been to a baby sprinkle?  How do you think it compare to a baby shower?

Jul 18

Friday Favorites – 7/18/14

Why is it that these summer days seem to go by so quickly? I cannot believe that it is already Friday and that the month of July is zooming by.  I guess it’s not such a bad thing when you’re pregnant and anticipating the arrival of your little baby boy.  So to kick off this warm summer weekend, I’ve linked up with my DC gals Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for another Friday Five.  This week I have brought together a fun list of some of my favorite things.  Hope you enjoy!  

Friday_Favorites

 

1.  Suja Cold Pressed Juices & Smoothies

I used to juice all the time before I packed up my juicer into storage and moved in with my parents.  I really missed having the option to amp up my nutrients in a quick and satisfying drink, so I started experimenting with a few bottled juices from my local health food stores.  Typically, bottled juices contain way too much sugar and preservatives, but Suja came in for the win on this one.  Definitely grab a bottle and try one out if you like these sort of concoctions.  

FFaves_Suja

2.  Maternity Pictures

This past Monday, I had my maternity photo session on the beach.  The whole family had such a great time rolling around in the sun and sand.  I even got in the surf at the end for a few really awesome solo shots.  My amazing photographer, Kristin, kept me so excited and energized throughout the shoot.  She really made me feel like a preggo goddess.  I cannot wait until she sends me the proofs.   This is just a sneak peak from the preview screen on the back of the camera, so it’s not the usual photo quality, but I had to share.  There was a storm coming in so we were rushing towards the end trying to finish up the session, but we captured some really amazing lighting from the beautiful sunset.  I can’t wait to share more of them.  

FFaves_maternitypics

3. Lounging in the pool

Who doesn’t love floating around in the water?  There’s definitely worse things to spend your time doing.  

Since I finally kicked my cold and started feeling back to normal, I had some pool time to make up for with my daughter.  I spent almost two weeks on the couch while I was sick, so the vitamin D felt great after the time off.  We have such a great time bonding together over her swim lessons.  My daughter is getting braver and more confident in the pool with every day.  My tan isn’t too shabby now either.

FFaves_pooltime

4.  Dave Matthews Band

Wednesday night, my hubby and I attended the Dave Matthews concert together.  Since I’m quite pregnant, we actually splurged on front row seats this year instead of sitting on the lawn like usual.  It was a pretty spectacular show and I’m so glad we went.  I must say, it felt a little awkward to be the pregnant lady in the front row rocking out at a concert, but it was such a great experience.  If you are a Dave Matthews fan or have ever been to one of his concerts, you know what kind of show they are. His concerts are more than just a few sets of songs, they are legendary jam sessions.   He played two sets, one acoustic and one electric, with one encore.  I’ve been to over twenty of his shows (I’ve lost count), and this one was one of the best.  My belly was bumping through most of the electric set.  Baby Duke definitely likes the music.  

FF_DMB

 

5. Inspirational Commercials

 

What’s on your list of favorites right now?

Jul 11

Fitness Snapshots – #FridayFive

Hallelujah and hello Friday!!!   I shared some amazing news yesterday on the blog regarding my pregnancy and the baby.  If you missed it, you should at least click over and watch the video of my ultrasound.   I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks and I’m so happy that I’ve made it to another weekend.  I couldn’t be happier for this weekend too, not because I have any special plans, just because I’m finally starting to feel healthy again and I think I’ve finally kicked this stupid cold to the curb.  I’ve been sick for TWO WEEKS!!!  So I think I deserve a break.  Not to mention, I really want to get back to my fitness routine.  I have been missing the endorphins and the sweat sessions, which is kind of ironic because this week’s #FridayFive is focused around Fitness Snapshots.  Since I haven’t been feeling too spectacular lately, I’ve been slacking big time on the fitness, not to mention the snapshots pertaining to fitness.  However, I was able to get a few workouts in over the past few weeks when I was feeling a little better.  So those pictures will have to suffice for this post.  If you follow me on instagram, you might recognize some of these pictures.   Don’t forget to link up with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for the Friday Five Linkup.  Make sure to tell them I sent ya.  =)     FF_Fitness_Snapshots_Collage   Since the weather has been on the hot & humid side, and since I’ve been a little pregnant these days, I’ve been doing a lot more yoga and less running.  In fact, I’m only running once a week, if that.  Yesterday was the first day that I actually got out of the house in over two weeks and I did a little run/walk with my daughter in the stroller.  I ended up pretty darn sunburned out of the deal too!  But I will admit that I enjoyed getting back out there after so many days off.   Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to snap a selfie, but I did take this wonderful shot of the beach path where we came to play afterwards.  I used the Nike Plus Running app on my cell phone to track my mileage and customize the photo.   Fitness_snapshot_NikePlus

Here’s a few pics from my prenatal practice.  

Fitness_snapshots_dancerpose

This is my attempt at Dancer Pose in my parent’s living room during Rosalyn’s nap time.  I have a yogaglo.com membership and I stream all my yoga classes from their website right to my laptop or iPad.  They even have an app so you can download and queue up particular classes.  I highly recommend using their 15-day trial to see if you’d like them as much as I do.  

I love this pose because it helps me develop my concentration and balance.  It tones and stretches the leg and hip muscles and specifically stretches the hip flexors. 

fitness_snapshots_yoga

Poolside yoga is always fun and relaxing.  

This pose is called Sukhasana or Easy or Pleasant Pose and is used during mediation and rest periods.  It opens the hips and lengthens the spine.  

This particular morning, I managed to sneak in a quick meditation and sunrise yoga session before my toddler woke up and the heat settled in to the pool deck pavers.  

Fitness_Snapshots_warriorII

This is one of my all time favorite poses.  I especially love it right now because I can embrace the belly as I stretch out my hips and open up my chest and shoulders.  Pregnancy has a tendency to make women slouch and hunch their shoulders.  This pose helps me shake some of that out.  

fitness_snapshots_running

This is from one of the last days that I actually felt good enough to run.  It was taken the week after we sold our house and moved to the beach.  I will admit that I felt absolutely unstoppable that day.  I had 3-4 different people yelling encouraging things to me as I ran past them.  I love to hear the “Go Mama, Go!”  and  “Looking Good Mama” comments when I’m out there.  

There’s just something about pregnant women running that inspires people, and I want to keep doing that as long as I can.  

I did want to point out that I like to use a couple specific photo apps for editing and posting my fitness snapshots.  

I really like Instagram, FitSnap, Nike Plus Running, and I use Rhonna Designs to make ‘em look pretty.  

That’s about all the snapshots I have for now.  Follow me on Instagram for more pictures and fitness inspiration.  

Do you take fitness “selfies”?   If not, what style of fitness snapshots do you take?  

Are there any specific photo apps that you like to use for your fitness snapshots?

Jul 10

Head Down!!

I didn’t want to wait until next week to give an update on baby Duke.  We got some really amazing news at my 30 week ultrasound appointment yesterday, so I had to share.  

Drum Roll Please…….

Our little man is perfectly positioned with his head down.  

You can’t even imagine how absolutely thrilled I was, almost to the point of tears, when the ultrasound technician confirmed his orientation.  By all the movements I’ve been experiencing, I thought for sure that he was curled up in the transverse position near the top of my uterus, but I was so relieved to hear that I was wrong.  

If you’re wondering why I’m so thrilled with his head down pose, it has a little something to do with my attempt at a VBAC.  Essentially, this is all I needed to get the green light from my practitioner to have this baby the good ol’ fashion way.  

I can’t be certain that my efforts to turn him were successful, or if he just positioned himself in that way automatically.   I’ll definitely have a future post drafted soon to share what I did to encourage him to do so.   In the meantime, please enjoy this little snippet of the video from our ultrasound.  The best part is when I’m told that the baby is head down.  

 

Hope you enjoy!  

(the video is actually from my cell phone, which isn’t very clear, but the commentary is what is entertaining.  My ultrasound tech, Lynnette, is fabulous, and as soon as she put the doppler on my belly my little baby kicked her.  lol   The images that are displayed aren’t very clear, but what you’re looking at is his profile in the beginning.  He has almost an identical profile of his big sister, who is sitting next to me with my mom’s assistance.)

Jul 08

Race Hoarders

Yesterday, I was scrolling through my news feed and happened to see this post from Amy at Mom’s Magical Miles.  Essentially, she posted about how she witnessed several individuals “hoarding” the post race “free’ snacks and refreshments at a race she ran this weekend, which, in turn, resulted in a lack of for the back-of-the-packers. (make sure to read her entire post, then come back here)

I was absolutely appalled by what she exposed from the finish line and beyond, she even posted pictures of some of the culprits.  Ordinarily, I am nothing but proud to be associated with the fabulous people in the running community, but after seeing her post, I am ashamed and downright outraged at this display of selfish behavior and lack of racing etiquette.  

I have only once witnessed this personally at a racing event.  During my first trimester, I ran the Best Damn Race Half Marathon.  I’m an ambassador for this race and even though I was pregnant and miserable, I wanted to complete this course and earn my medal, even if it meant walking part of the course.  Because I was so exhausted, from being in the tortuous beginning stages of pregnancy where fatigue and nausea consumed every minute of my waking life, I ended up finishing the half marathon closer to 2:30, instead of my usual 2:05 – 2:10.  Being that this was a event with three different race distances, the half marathoners that finished after the 2 hour mark were some of the very last finishers in this series.  That meant that all the 5k, 10k and sub 2:00 half participants had already made their way through the finisher tents with all the post race refreshments.    Upon crossing the finish line, I was famished and desperately needed fuel for my empty tank.  The only items available for me and the remaining racers were cans of Coca-Cola and small bags of crackers.  

Fortunately, the race was a local venue where I was very familiar with my surroundings and I knew that I was close to several eateries, so I ventured to a local pizzeria for a couple slices immediately following my finish.  Another fortunate thing was that the race director immediately ordered more food for his race participants upon his learning that food was no longer available at the finisher tent.  He’s a pretty awesome race director and just one of the many reasons why you should run his races.  ****Use my code HALEYD to save $5 off registration at checkout.  (shameless plug)

For days later, myself and many of the other race ambassadors, along with random people from the Facebook page discussed why enough food wasn’t supplied for all the racers.  What was discovered through several exchanges from earlier participants was that finishers AND their spouses, friends, family members, etc…..  were partaking in the refreshments.  

Immediately, I felt angry and upset, even a little betrayed.  How could runners think that it was okay for their family and friends to take food from the other race participants?  Didn’t they understand that food was reserved for race participants only and that by them “sharing” with their family and friends that meant that later racers wouldn’t have any food items left for them?  

I didn’t let it bother me too much at the time, because it seemed like an isolated instance.    Why was I going to rant and rave about something that was atypical of the running community?  Well, it’s obviously not as rare as I had hoped it was.  

This kind of behavior is wrong on so many levels.  Not only is it selfish, but it’s shameful.  

First of all, many people might assume that food is plentiful and after a certain number of runners have cycled through food tents that the remaining items should be up for grabs for volunteers or whomever.  This is not the case.  Until the last runner has passed through that finish line, food and beverages should be reserved for paid participants only.  

Race_hoarder

For those of us with family and friends that spectate or meet up with us at the finish line,  please make sure to prepare them that they will need to bring necessary food and hydration with them for the duration of the time spent at the event.  I know I was guilty of passing an unwanted banana or slice of pizza to my hubby after my own pass through the food lines in past races.  But you’d better believe that we’ve since learned that this is unacceptable and wrong.    He understands now more than ever before, especially since I’ve experienced it as a back-of-the-packer now.  

Be courteous and only take one of each offered food items.  You can always wait around for a second helping if it’s available after everyone else has finished.  To see the amount of bagels, granola bars, peaches and etc. piled into the bags as these individuals departed the event just makes me angry and ashamed for them.  That is just plain selfish and greedy.  If you’re seriously hungry enough to eat it all, try to prepare better by packing a light snack for yourself.  

The sport of racing is only becoming more and more popular, which means that races will eventually become larger and more crowded.  If we are to remain respectable to our fellow runners and event participants, we must remember not to be a race hoarder.  Race directors and sponsors have the pertinent numbers and information to make appropriate estimations with regard to food, t-shirts, medals and even hydration.  If spectators and other non-paying participants are dipping into the resources, we cannot possibly keep this from happening again in the future.  

Let’s do our part to ensure that the race experience is just as memorable for the last person crossing the finish line, as it is for the first.    

 

Have you ever experienced a shortage of post race refreshments like this?  

Jul 07

Pregnancy Update – 30 Weeks

Hello Braxton Hicks Contractions. Twice in the past two weeks I’ve woke up in the middle of the night – to pee – and I’ve felt these mild, menstrual-like cramps. My Dr. just asked me at my last appointment if I’d felt any contractions yet. To be completely honest, I wasn’t too sure that I had. Being that I was a previous cesarean and didn’t go through the traditional labor pains, I don’t have anything to compare them with. Plenty of literature and online forums talk about contractions being different for every women, and even varying between pregnancies. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t really know if what I experienced was an actual contraction, but by every definition and description that I’ve heard, it was.

Let’s see what else is new for this week.

30_Weeks_bumpdate

Weight Gain: 
 Up another pound from my last check in.  
Body Changes: 
  I realize just how vulnerable my immune system is right now.  I don’t usually get sick easily, but I’ve been sick twice in the past month (since moving).  It’s not fun.   Also, I’ve had two separate instances where I’ve had a total brain fart and couldn’t remember something so simple.  I was talking about my knee problems and I couldn’t remember what the IT Band was called.  ha!  =)
Belly Button: 
 Popped out!  My daughter has begun to play with it whenever she’s sitting in my lap.  It’s kind of cute, in a twisted way.  
Workouts: 
 Since I’ve been sick over the past week, I didn’t complete any workouts.  I’ve felt pretty crappy and needed to rest, so I’ve sat my grumpy behind on the couch and I’ve done absolutely nothing.  I’m feeling a lot better today, so hopefully I’ll resume my usual prenatal yoga, and weight training regimen this afternoon.  
Symptoms: 
Mild Braxton Hicks contractions with some random leg cramps.  I’m losing the battle against my bladder these days too, especially while I’ve been sick coughing.  Let’s just say third trimester of pregnancy + excessive coughing = lots of accidents.  
Movements: 
 He’s a kicker.  Still seeing and feeling lots of movement from our little guy.  
Food Aversions: 
 None
Cravings: 
 I’ve had the sore throat for over a week, so cold things have appealed to me lately: Smoothies, Icees and frozen things.
Sleep: 
 Still sleeping pretty well. I’m even napping a couple days over the week.
Stretch Marks: 
 Nope
Mood: Happy but loosing my mojo with the energy, especially since I’ve been under the weather.

 

What’s happening with the baby?

30Weeks_Squash

Looking ahead:  My next appointment is this Wednesday and we have our 30 week ultrasound scheduled for that appointment.  We will get to see more pictures of the baby and we’ll also determine his position,  fingers crossed that he is not breech.  

What types of trick or home remedies do you use to strengthen your immune system?   

Jul 04

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July!!!   It’s Friday, so I’m linking up with the DC trio for the Friday Five.  Join Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney as we talk about the Fourth.  

Years ago, when I worked off International Drive in Orlando, we used to get a lot of European tourists in the restaurant on this date.  They seemed to be one of the only types of tourists that roamed through Orlando like normal tourists on the holidays.  One of my favorite things to do was to wish all the Brits (British) a Happy Independence Day. lol  It was my own special way of keeping the day interesting.  Then I’d serve them their Shandy (beer with lemonade) and smile as they verbally tipped me and returned to their theme parks and outlet shopping. 

Since this is such a fond memory, I thought I’d try to recall some other special July 4th celebrations from my past.

For the past decade, or so, I’ve been spending the fourth of July here on Anna Maria Island with my family. My parents moved down here in 2001, and ever since then, this seemed like the perfect place to celebrate the holiday. In addition to the island’s annual Independence Day Parade, the firework displays are abundant – there’s three separate firework displays visible along the beach shore for the fourth, as well as one on the third- and the beach is filled with plenty of tourists and residents lighting up the night sky with their own rockets and shooting sparklers.  

happy 4th july 2014 'merica

When I was much younger, we used to go camping a lot over the fourth of July.  My parents had a recreational vehicle and we would drive down to the Keys or take the camper up to the Panhandle.  We spent the majority of our time fishing, swimming, and hanging around campfires.   When I was a kid, like most of the country, we did the usual BBQ’s and poolside cookouts to commemorate the occasion.   

Unfortunately, I came down with a cold of some sorts, so I’m not sure exactly how much I’ll be participating in this year’s festivities.  I’ve been coughing and hacking like an asthmatic smoker.  My mom was sick last week, and my daughter and  I came down with it Monday, so I haven’t been doing much over the past few days.  Honestly, the little things that I have done this week have taken a lot out of me.  All I really want to do is lounge on the couch and drink smoothies all day.    

Here’s to hoping your Independence Day is filled with lots of patriotic fun and celebrations.  

Happy 4th of July everyone. Please be safe igniting those fireworks and do NOT drink and drive. God Bless America.  

What do you have planned for your Fourth of July ?

Jul 03

California Baby Product Review

When my daughter was born, the pediatrician alerted us that she suffered from baby eczema.  We were instructed to apply baby lotion daily and to use products that were of the utmost sensitive to her delicate skin condition.  We adhered to her instructions, and within a few short months her skin had completely cleared up.  We thought we had triumphed through this phase of “baby eczema” but as it turns out, the eczema returned shortly after we celebrated her second birthday.  Following a visit to the pediatrician with, what we thought was, a severe rash, we learned that our precious daughter would most likely struggle with eczema and skin sensitivity for the rest of her life.  This is when I began my quest for the best, most gentle, eczema baby/toddler skincare line.  And that’s how I discovered California Baby.  

California_Baby_Logo

 

California Baby products are locally made within the US from natural and organic ingredients. Best of all, they actually do what they are designed to do! Unlike other brands of baby products that use dyes, numbing agents, toxins and sulfates, California Baby products avoid those entirely. 

Within a matter of days after starting with the California Baby Eczema Creme, the harsh, red, irritated bumps and scales on my daughter’s skin disappeared and her itching dissolved.   We were more than thrilled with the products.  Even though the products are priced a little on the steep side, I am a firm believer in quality over quantity, especially when it comes to skin care.  It’s a small price to pay to keep my baby’s skin from flaring up and causing her discomfort.  

 

 Every night, even though the flare up has subsided, we apply the Eczema Cream immediately following her bath.  During her bath, we have replaced her previous brand with the Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash.  We even purchased the Bubble Bath to removed any suspicion of doubt.  Whenever we are going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, we now use the broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen.  Above all, this product lineup has remedied our eczema issues and I couldn’t be more pleased.   

 

 

As a whole, California Baby claims that their products:

Contain organic and sustainably grown ingredients
Non-toxic
Non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores)
Non-staining
PABA, BPA, PVC, and phthalate free
Plant based ingredients
Non-irritating, non-chemical formula
Hypoallergenic

 

 

 

 

CA_Baby_EczemaCream

Eczema Cream

From the moment I pumped out the lotion, I loved this cream.  It’s thick enough that one pump spreads over most of my toddler’s body, and it does so without making a greasy mess.  I even pump out a small amount into her tiny hands and let her apply on to her own arms.  It’s scented just slightly and leaves the skin feeling moisturized and clean.  It soothes cracked skin and doesn’t block pores.  Most importantly, it relieves eczema flare ups.  

CA_Baby_Shampoo_BodyWash

Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash

 

Even though this body wash does not lather up as quickly as some other baby soaps I’ve tried, it suds up enough that one squirt from the pump can fill a small loofah or wash cloth plenty for a small child’s needs.  Most nights, I will pump out a dime size and lather in my hands over her head to wash her hair.  Once I massage in into her hair and scalp, I am left with enough lather to completely work over her entire body using my hands.  It gently cleans her hair, face and body without irritating her skin.  It’s also gentle enough that it does not cause tears if dripped into her eyes.  It is slightly scented with aromatherapy quality essential oils, but doesn’t contain synthetic fragrances.  It’s concentrated, so a little bit goes a long way.  Unlike other big brands, it is free of sodium sulfate, DEA and numbing agents.  

CA_baby_sunscreen

Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen

This broad spectrum sunscreen is thick and highly concentrated.  Believe me when I say that a little will go a loooonnng way.  I tend to stick with the dot method of applying sunscreen, and I highly recommend it with this particular formula.  It’s water resistant up to 80 minutes, natural, vegan, and tear free.  It also contains no gluten, soy, oat or dairy.   Most importantly, it doesn’t cause breakouts or irritate the skin.  

As you can tell, I am very fond of the products that I’ve sampled.  I’m even looking into acquiring more products from their line.  Stay tuned and I’ll tell you all about how I like them.  I have a feeling they won’t disappoint.  

Do you have a perfect skincare product that you feel supremely satisfied about?

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