Friday, August 22, 2014

Bathroom Update is Coming Stay Tuned

So the hubby and I have been planning our next DIY project and we are thinking it is going to be to tackle the bathroom.  My Bathrooms has come up with a video with some really easy summer bathroom décor tips which you can use to update your bathrooms in no time (see the funny video below). 

My life long bff, Holly, just updated her bathroom at her apartment. Check out her blog post here to see some of her suggestions. She totally inspired me to update my bathrooms as well. I would really like to start by framing the boring bathrooms mirrors in our bathrooms with a wood frame. Next up would be to paint the bathroom and add some fun prints. I really like "splish splash I was taking a bath" for my son's bathroom. Here are some photos I got off of Pinterest for inspiration. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on our progress!

Summer Bathroom Décor Tips from Zoe Blake on Vimeo.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My diaper bag essentials + The Best Diapers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

My diaper bag has become my "don't walk 10 feet without it bag"! Forget carrying a purse. I throw my wallet and cell phone in my diaper bag because it contains all the emergency essentials I need for my baby. However, if I’m not careful my diaper bag easily gets heavily overloaded with unnecessary items. I try to check it at least once a week to see what nonsense is in there that doesn't need to be. Most of the time it’s extra clothes (if I'm not careful 4-5 outfits will pile up), miscellaneous papers and blankets. It is funny how quickly it can feel up with items other than diapers. 

Then, I cut it back to the essentials and my shoulders and back thank me. I have also experienced the opposite problem when I don't have one of the diaper bag necessities. It's a nightmare. 
So, what have I decided are the diaper bag must haves?

Pacifier Pod w/ Paci. The Pacifier Pods are awesome. They clip on to the side of your diaper bag and hold your paci so it can be easily located when you need it. Even though my baby really is not a big paci fan we still make sure to keep it nearby in case of an emergency. 

Diapers + wipes. We are sure to keep the bag stocked with Parent's Choice Diapers from Walmart.  Always have more than you think you will need. I make sure I have at LEAST four on me at all times even if I plan on just running out for 15 minutes. If we plan to be gone for an extended period of time during the day I carry up to 10. 

Baby Powder + Dr. Smith's Diaper Rash Cream. I make sure to carry both of these products in travel size containers. My pediatrician's office carries the Dr. Smith travel size containers so I make sure to get one each time we pay a visit there. 

Burp rags. Babies spit up. Throw up. Drool. And leak. This is another item that you always need more of than you think. 
First Aid Kit. Because you never know when you might need it. Ours is a miniature version that is not heavy and does not take up a lot of space in the diaper bag. 
Change of clothes + Bib. Babies leak and drool and have diaper explosions and sometimes a burp rag just does not cut it.

Swaddle Blanket. Good to lay down for the baby to lay on or if the baby gets cold, also doubles as a nursing cover! 
Feeding items. Since I am breastfeeding this includes an array of items including a nursing cover, breast shield, bib, burp cloth, and other items. 

Some sort of toy. Mainly in the stage we are in this is a rattle or some sort of colorful ball to distract and play with the baby when he wants or needs it. 

Feeding items. Since I am breastfeeding this includes an array of items including a nursing cover, breast shield, bib, burp cloth, and other items. 

Changing pad. Most every diaper bag includes one but just in case make sure you have a padded something you can lay down that is easy to wipe up if it gets messy. 

Boogie Wipes + Cleaning Wipes. Boogie wipes are fantastic! They have saline in them and are perfect for keeping your baby's nose clean. I also keep cleaning wipes that can be used for a variety of uses including cleaning off the baby's paci when it is dropped on the floor.

The Parent's Choice Diapers at Walmart I mentioned above have just as great of diaper absorbency as any leading brand but are available at a GREAT value. So great they allow you to save $240 in average annual savings which will help you keep your diaper bag stocked with all the other necessary items I mentioned above. Great news! You can currently save any more on these diapers that are already a great deal by using this coupon.

OK mommies here's your chance to weigh in...What other items are a must for your diaper bag?

Thanks to #CollectiveBias for sponsoring this post! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Perfect Baby Gift & Accessory for Your Little One

I was blessed to receive the adorable crocheted hat in the photo above for my baby from Momma J's Crochet. Momma J's Crochet  is owned by Linda Johnson a sweet, fellow Georgia gal from Milledgeville, Georgia. Her etsy store is listed under lindajohnson1977 if you try to search without clicking the above link.

Momma J's Crochet sells handmade baby hats, booties, and more. I am THRILLED with the adorable UGA hat she sent me for my baby and wasted no time in getting him all dressed up in red and black to take a photo shoot. :)

Linda started crocheting baby blankets for her first grandchild when her daughter was pregnant. While looking through lots of patterns online she found patterns for baby hats. She started off by making beanies but over time started making crocheted animal hats. Her daughter was amazed at how well the hats turned out and suggested that she sell some on etsy. Upon opneing her etsy store Linda was pleased to see that so many people loved her hats. Besides making a little extra money Linda loves seeing photos of little ones wearing her hats. 

Her hats are also very popular with photographers who purchase the hats for their newborn sessions. She is constantly trying new designs from suggestions she receives. Her daughter recently gave birth to her second child and Linda crocheted the cutest lion set for him complete with a tail on the diaper cover! Here are some photos of some other products Linda sells that I love:

Linda never imagined that being a Grandma would open up a whole new world as far as creative design. She told me it has given her a whole new happiness as she gets so excited every time she receives a new order. 

Be sure to check out Linda's etsy store, lindajohnson1977, and order a gift for your favorite little one. 

GREAT NEWS: If you purchase a hat or newborn set by October 1st and mention my blog to Linda in a convo you will be eligible to win a free hat of your choice! Linda also does additional giveaways every few months so be sure to like her store on etsy and send her a message to let her know that I sent you. 
Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for a honest review based on personal experience with this product. No monetary compensation was received or will be received between MFJ and the associated company with this product. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Love/Hate Relationship with Strollers

“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.”
Strollers. I have a love/hate relationship with them. They are GREAT in my ways. The not so great thing about them is how bulky many of them are and space they demand in a car. Urbini has launched as a new brand with it’s first three products in the US debuting at Walmart stores earlier last year. Among them is The Omni 3-in-One Travel System, which offers a variety of strolling options as your baby grows from nesting in an infant car seat to riding in a built in bassinet to finally riding forward or parent facing in the convertible stroller seat. This 3-in-1 Travel System allows you to take your baby from infant to toddler years with one stroller. In it’s popularity at Walmart stores and online, the Omni 3-in-One Travel System sold out in just one month when first released and is now back in stock for moms to enjoy this versatile product! Urbini also sells the Hummingbird which is the world's lightest full-featured stroller with a one handed closing capability! Urbini's other product, the Touri, includes a stroller and Petal Infant Car Seat which creates the ultimate on-the-go travel system. 
With my new little one I learned quickly that a lightweight stroller was going to be necessary when heading out for every day errands. I had received a very nice jogging stroller as a shower gift and I originally thought that would be all I need. However, one trip to the store with that stroller and I learned the jogging stroller was going to need to be just that...a jogging stroller...perfect for hikes, jogging, walks around the neighborhood, etc. but not the best stroller for errands. It simply took up too much space in my  trunk and was way to heavy to tote in and out of the car. A lightweight stroller such as the Hummingbird would be the perfect solution to this problem. 

Check out Urbini on social media below:
·         Urbini Facebook page
·         Urbini Twitter page
·         Urbini Instagram account
·         Urbini Pinterest page

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Announcing the Arrival of Our Little Guy + Birth Story

So if you follow me on Instagram this is old news but for those who don't I am SO HAPPY to FINALLY announce our little guy, "E" arrived last Wednesday, 6/25. He was 7 lbs. 4 oz. 20.5 inches long with a full head of hair! He is perfect in every way! I am SO incredibly thankful to God that He blessed us with this little guy- it was quite the delivery but "E" was totally, completely worth it! 

Now for the birth story and some more pictures...

Tuesday, 6/24, I simply didn't feel good...plain and simple...I went to work and when the hubby and I got home from work we went to our church small group. The entire small group I just didn't feel myself (no contractions just felt icky). Thankfully, when we got home I took the following picture because I felt HUGE. I told my husband that I was not sure how much longer I could take pregnancy and we went to bed (ok he went to bed while I laid in misery). Uniquely enough this is also the evening I wrote this post about how miserable I was and asking for prayers for the baby to arrive soon

At 2:30 AM the start to my dreams came true. My water broke. Ya'll this was no small amount of water. I thought that it wouldn't be a lot from what I had read but it was a lot (by the way did you know once your water breaks it continues to leak until baby is born? I didn't but it does). I screamed a yell of joy and woke the husband up who asked me if I was sure it had broken until he looked down....he jumped out of bed faster than if he had seen a snake! HAHA! I called my doctor who, much to my surprise, told me I needed to come in immediately. I was surprised as I had always heard that you wanted to labor at home as long as possible before coming in but she explained to me that once your water broke they had 18 hours to get the baby out before things get really risky. So we loaded up and headed in...I was in no fact on the way to the hospital we sang to Izzy and I texted my family and close friends. We arrived at the hospital at 3:28 AM. 

We had to enter through the emergency room and people let me tell you something. ER folks FREAK OUT when they hear a 40 week preggers lady with a broken sac enter. They do not want to deliver any babies. They INSISTED I get in a wheel chair and it was all I could do to beg them to wait 2 mins for my mom to run in before they wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery. 

Once we arrived in labor and delivery they took me to triage and did a few checks to determine that yes, in fact my water had broken. Bad news is I was only 1 cm dilated (had been this way for two weeks) and still no contractions. An hour later the contractions started and they decided to take me to a room.  We checked in and like clock work about 4:15 the contractions stopped. They decided to start me on pitocin. The doctor kept coming and doing checks and they starting slowly but surely upping the dosage of pitocin they were giving me. My doctor went off call and another doctor in the practice came on. When he checked me he told me I was going to have a very small baby he guessed 6 lbs. and that delivery should be relatively easy. He said I can guarantee you that you will not need a c-section which everyone knew was my #1 wish. Never make a guarantee. At 7 AM I was offered the epidural and around 9 AM I accepted. Ok, I am going to make a risky statement here and say you are nuts if you don't get an epidural. I don't know why everyone makes them in to such a big deal. Really getting the actual epidural is not bad....the worst part for me was by this time the contractions were coming in BIG time and you have to sit totally still for about 20 minutes while they do it and sitting completely still bent spine over the side of the bed while contractions are hitting you is no joke. Try AWFUL. It took 20 minutes for the epidural to do its thing even though it is supposed to take 5. I was happy again and able to text friends. Until about an hour later when it COMPLETELY and totally wore off.
Long story short turns out that I have a VERY VERY high drug tolerance and my epidural was not taking. I ended up having 8 throughout the course of labor and was still in LOTS and LOTS of pain...much more than I should have been according to everyone. The doctor told my hubby that I had enough drugs in my system to kill a racehorse yet I could still feel everything EXTREMELY WELL! 

At 10 AM the doctor came back to check me again and found out I was dilated to a 6. He also told me that he had bad news and had been very wrong previously and that I had very small hip bones and that a vaginal birth was going to be nearly impossible. He told me there was above a 90% chance that I was going to end up with a c-section. I cried. Then I wanted to punch him for promising me earlier I wasn't going to have too...he also told me he was now able to see I had a bigger baby than he thought I had and it wasn't going to be a very easy delivery after all. 

That's when I texted every single pray warrior I know and asked them to pray and pray hard. Pray for a vaginal delivery. The pitocin dosage kept getting upped. They kept giving me a more and more meds. I was in serious pain and scared out of my mind. 

As things progressed it got scarier and scarier. My blood pressure was out of control. It was 193 over something at one point. The doctors and nurses were worried. My hubby and mom were REAL worried. I could see it all over their face. Doctor told me I would be holding my baby by 3 PM then that changed to 5 PM then that changed....then it changed again. At 2 PM the doctor tried to convince me to go ahead with the c-section. You can either wait until 8 PM and push for three hours and then still end up having to go back for a c-section or we can go ahead and take you now and you can be holding your baby in a couple hours he told me. He said it would be a miracle at this point if I were able to deliver vaginally. I opted to wait it out. I prayed and asked everyone to pray harder. More high blood pressure. Medicine to try to get my blood pressure down. More epidurals. More drugs. Lots of contractions.

At 6:15 he checked me and told me I was dilated to a 8 and that it would still be a few hours so he was going home to get dinner. At that point the anesthesiologist came back and told me that since the epidural was not working he needed to redo the port. He explained to me that in the case I needed to have an emergency c-section which was likely my current epidural would not suffice since it didn't take. I was in such pain and just didn't feel I could sit still for 20 mins through contractions so I begged him to come back in 30 mins. At that point the doctor came back in and checked and said we need to push now.

That's when the hardest most exhausting thing I have ever done kicked in. I pushed for three hours. With my hubby on my left side giving me oxygen between contractions and my mom on my right side feeding me ice chips because I was totally parched. I couldn't talk. I simply started at the bed they would put my baby in and focused on praying in my mind, breathing, and one thing and one thing one...get this baby out vaginally. The entire time the doctor kept telling me it really was not working. I was regressing. 

FINALLY after about 2 hours and 50 mins (I was exhausted and simply could not push any longer) he asked me if I was ok with the risk of trying the vacuum (while pushing I never got a break I was pushing for the length of contractions and he was stretching me with all kinds of tools in between). I could not talk but nodded. He put it on I pushed and he said we had finally reached the turning point and he said it might just work. My husband, mom, and I all bawled. Minutes later my little perfect guy was laying on my chest as they cut the cord. He did not cry. At the time I was in too much pain to notice. In rushed in a huge array of people (the respiratory team). Thankfully they got him breathing and when I heard him cry my entire life changed. It was magical! I was crying. My wonderful husband was stroking me, also crying, telling me I was his hero. My mom took off to follow the baby. The emotions that filled me I have never felt. His time of birth 9:02 PM. 

However, it was not over. I tore in three places. Two level three tears and one that he called a complex tear that is beyond a rating up in my fat layer. The next two hours I under went surgery to fix things. It was really rough. Thankfully I got to hold my little guy through part of it but it was bad. There were people, things flying. FINALLY about 11:15 it was over. The doctor told me what I had just undergone was probably worse than I c-section but I was sown up and fixed up and my wonderful baby was here! I was happy! 

It was the most pain I had ever endured but it was so totally worth it!

I believe with all my heart that God answered the prayers of all those praying for me to have a vaginal birth. I am overwhelmed once again in my life by the power of prayer and the power of my God. He allowed this magical moment to happen.

It's hard to believe my little man will be a week old tomorrow. We are in absolute total love and still praising God each and every minute for the biggest gift He has ever blessed us with! If this little dude isn't a testament to faith and power of prayer I don't know what is...

Here are some more photos of the little guy: