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LIFE, LOVE AND A SPLASH OF SOME GLAMOUR

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Essentials with Man Crates

I was contacted by the people at Man-Crates to create my own personal holiday survival kit.  Man-craes are a pretty cool gift idea. The crates arrive with their own crow bar. Isn't that fun? With the holidays just around the corner I'm already stressing out about what to give the guys in my life; husband, father and brother.  If the guys in your life are as hard to buy for as the guys in mine you should really take a look at all the things Man-Crates have to offer. I know my guys in my life would love this one. 

I was asked to include a few essential holiday items to cure the holiday stressors and explain why. 

Holiday





Wine- Well, why not! Wine puts me at ease no matter what the stressor is. 

Scotch Tape (endless supply)- I am forever losing my scotch tape when wrapping presents!

Christmas Classics- Holiday movies always put me at ease. No matter the stress I'm feeling holiday movies make me happy. I just love White Christmas, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Frosty, and any other one I can get my hands on. 

Checklists- If I don't write it down it is like it never ever happened. There are so many things going on during the holiday season I feel like I'm forgetting them already. Keeping track of the events as well as all the gifts I need to purchase can be tough so I make sure I always use a checklist. 

My iPhone- I love taking pictures especially during the holiday season and since it's Jack's 1st Christmas I want to chronicle every precious moment. My iPhone will be charging!!! 

Amazon and Target Gift Cards- Of course some added cash would be nice as would an endless supply of gift cards!
I would love to use these to complete my holiday shopping.

Most importantly and above all the this listed here what I really would want for the holidays is more time! I want more time to do all the fun activities, more time to enjoy while shopping for the perfect gift, more time to watch my son enjoy all of his first Christmas. 

So what are your cures for the stress of the holidays?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

14 Things to do AFTER Baby Arrives

baby



I've recently noticed that my most visited blog post is 20 Things To Do Before Baby Arrives. It also happens to be one of my most popular pins on Pinterest. I thought it may be helpful to continue that post by sharing the things I have found most helpful after Jack was born. I've said it many times before that coming home with your first baby is pretty terrifying. You bring home your most precious possession and most times a new mom isn't feeling 100%. I tried my best to remember and keep track of everythingI thought I would need to do. I had tons of help from my mommy friends and had some really great nurses to assist as well. No matter how many things I had in order there were still several things that came as a surprise to us!

Contact Your Job- Jack was born a week early and I went into labor on a Saturday night. I was planning to work until the last second SO my boss was one o the first people to be informed after family, of course. My husband also informed his boss immediately so she would have an easier time finding coverage.

Chronicle you babies birth story-Obviously, I blog so I have a great venue to share my birth story. When on maternity leave I started a pregnancy journal through Shutterfly.

Make an appointment with you pediatrician- I had chosen a pediatrician in advance so I had them on speed dial and made an appointment for the day after we were released. I made an afternoon appointment which was best because it was really, REALLY hard getting ready and out of the house. Since you shouldn't drive for 1-2 weeks make sure you have some one to take you.

Send out birth announcements- As I mentioned in things to do before baby arrives it may be a good idea to bookmark some of your favorites on your favorite websites. It's also good to store those coupon codes too.

Send Thank You Cards- I never realized how many people like buying gifts for the new baby. Even neighbors who have never spoken to us stopped by with some baby gifts. I also mentioned stocking up on thank you cards before baby comes. Maybe even created some return address labels too.

Take newborn pictures and photos- LOTS of Them!!! It's easy to snap pictures with your Iphone on your new bundle but it wasn't always easy to pull out our big camera and take good photos! Also, I noticed a few weeks into Jack's life that I barely had any photos of Jack and I. I had so many with him and everyone else, even the dog and barely had any of just the 2 of us.

Write Down Questions- I had a lot of questions. Some would come to me at 4am when I was feeding Jack so I really tried to have a pen and pad with me at all times just in case. I know so many people who wrote down when they fed the baby/changed the baby/pumped so the notebook came in handy.

Contact Your Insurance Company or HR Department- Brian contacted our insurance company during our stay at the hospital to include Jack in our plan. I informed my human resources department shortly after I got pregnant to discuss the company's policy on time off (I did not have any paid maternity leave) I saved up all of my sick/personal and vacation time for several years in order to get full pay during my maternity leave. I was also lucky to have 40 hours of vacation time left over when I returned to work after 3 months off. Once Jack was born my boss was kind enough to call our HR representative. They were very sweet and contacted me a few times during my time off checking on me. I also contacted them during my leave to mention Jack's cystic fibrosis diagnosis and the idea that I may not be able to return to a 40 hour work week due to his appointments. I was lucky that they worked with me and granted me a 32 hour work week upon my return.


Ask For Help- I have a problem of asking for help. I hate asking and admitting I need help or can't do it all. When you have a baby all of that nonsense needs to get thrown out the window. ASK FOR HELP or you will regret it.

Be a Gracious Host- (sort of) After baby arrives you have tons of visitors. I loved having people visit but I know so many people who do not. To be honest I would get sad when people left. I think I was so nervous the first few weeks that anyone who knew what to do with babies comforted me. I've learned people were not there to eat or be entertained. They just wanted to see and hold our new baby.   The best visitors were the ones who brought coffee, food or just let me rest when they were over. Even my best friend and her husband came over with salads, desserts and while I ate they took down our Christmas decorations. She even braided my hair after she watched Jack so I could shower. She really is the best

Relax/Hydrate/Nap- It is so easy to say but harder to do. I did realize the more I relaxed and kept myself hydrated the more milk I was able to pump and I felt like a better mom.

Be Prepared For The Unexpected- With a new baby all the things you think could happen may actually happen; poop, puke, plus all the smiles and love. There are times where the unexpected happen too. I wasn't prepared for a jaundice baby but Jack was pretty yellow so we spent the first 4 days after release from the hospital going back and forth to the hospital for blood work. It was exhausting driving to and resting was very difficult. Also, when Jack was 2 weeks old he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. It's been a long road for us as a family. Especially since we had received prenatal blood work that did not pick up on my husband's genetic mutation. Nothing will every prepare you for news like that but it's good to be prepared for changes.

Involve Your Husband and New Daddy- I am the type of person who wants to do it all and control it all. I think it has something to do with my job and needing to be in charge of everything! It's one of the things I hate most about myself. That all flew out the window once Jack was born. I made a point of letting Brian do everything around the home from cleaning to cooking  (although I prepared several weeks worth of meals.) I also made it a point of having Brian give baths, change diapers and help with the over nights especially when he was home from work the first week. It helps with their bonding but also because your body just ran a few marathons between delivery and loss of hormones. You need rest.

Send Your Nurses Something Nice- Like I mentioned before I had some great nurses so I wanted to sure I showed them I appreciated all they did for me, Brian and Jack.

I hope this helps a bit upon arrival home with your bundle of joy. It is such an amazing time. Savor every second because before you know it that little newborn will be close to turning a year old.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh Hey Friday!

I super excited it's Friday. I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend with Brian and Jack. We have no plans and those are my favorite kind of weekends! With the holidays coming up I'm sure we won't have a lot of relaxed family time so I'm looking forward to it. It's supposed to be super cold, thanks Polar Vortex, so I'm thinking lots of pjs, playtime and snuggles!!!

[one]

Some one went to visit Santa this week. I have to say this Santa was the real deal. I think he was the real one. I'm serious. He was a class act. Even Jack, who is super cranky and mega cling on reached for him and sat on his lap for a while. Santa did not rush us. He let Jack touch his face, glasses and gloves. Jack was so happy. We couldn't pick which picture was better because they were all so great. We had to buy the disk. It was such a great moment. Makes me grateful to have Jack in my life.



[two]

Is it crazy I have been super hormonal the past week? I have such fond memories of last year being super prego and I do miss it lately. Don't get me wrong. Nothing is as good as holding my baby in my arms but I do miss the feeling of tummy kicks, never being alone and getting up at 4am to watch Hallmark Christmas movies! I've already been hinting

[three]

I took a bunch of days off last week and we all, even my workaholic husband, got to spend time together. We had play dates, breakfast at the diner, shopping at the mall, walks and time at the park. It was heartbreaking to go back to work on Tuesday but I got through it. I swear I live for the days I get to spend with my son. I can't wait for today to be over so or family weekend can begin.


[four]

Dunkin Sugar Cookie Coffee- YES MAAM!
This stuff is pretty delicious and I'm a faithful peppermint mocha girl this time of year.

[five]
I could use a lot of positive thoughts. We have a potential "thing" that would be wonderful for our little family. I can't express what exactly it is but I do know if it were to happen we would be so happy! So think happy thoughts!!! Lots and lots of happy thoughts!




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Let the Fa-La-La-La-La begin...Well Maybe Not Yet

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I have always been a strict Christmas begins after Thanksgiving person. I've been feeling really different this year. Maybe it's Jack and the excitement of our son's 1st Christmas I want to extend it as long as possible. Maybe it's all the Hallmark movies constantly playing, Starbucks Peppermint Mocha or the Polar Vortex we are expecting later this week. Whatever it is I kinda like it. Don't get me wrong, we will still celebrate our hearts out on Thanksgiving.  We have lots of staff to be thankful for this year!
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I've started Christmas shopping and wrapping. I've made a Christmas wreath and my Netflix maybe filled with some cheesy holiday movies.   We even took Jack to visit Santa this week. I will continue my tradition of putting our tree and decorations up the day after Thanksgiving.


What about you, do you decorate for Christmas for Thanksgiving?


Monday, November 10, 2014

Baby Jack- 10 Months




Weight and Height- 
Last appointment he was 17.17 which is good but he's still small. He is in the 15% but healthy. He is also 26 inches long. 

Health- 
Jack is doing AMAZING. We will continue his treatments and continue to visit his specialists.   He still hasn't had a cold [knock on wood] He is doing so well. I'm shocked he didn't get the chickenpox when I had the shingles this month. So we have been very lucky. 

Sleep- 
Jack just doesn't sleep. He had rebelled against his crib and screams the minute he is put in it. We tried the pack and play again and he hates that too. He refuses to sleep anywhere but our bed. Part of me loves it and part of me is still exhausted. I don't sleep well when he is in our bed. I'm so concerned about him rolling over and getting caught up in comforters plus I usually follow all the "rules" and I know this is so frowned upon!

Crying- 
Jack has become very aware of his surroundings. He will cry when he doesn't see his mom or dad. He has some bad separation anxiety kick in and it makes me feel terrible. He holds on to me for dear life when some one goes to hold him or I have to leave for work. 






Hair- 
It's such a beautiful blonde color with some red highlights. 

Eyes- 
A gray blue!


Clothes- 
Jack is wearing 6-9 months. I have put on some 12 month pants and sweaters but they are usually way too big for him. 








Feedings- 
Jack is starting to really pack in the food. He LOVES chicken soup plus the sodium in the broth is good for him (he loses a lot of salt when he sweats so its great that we can get it back into his system.)  I add just about everything to the soup too, dark meat chicken, turkey meatballs, carrots, celery, spinach, peas, tomatoes. He still doesn't like to eat anything but smooth foods. He's also tried french toast and pancakes which he LOVES. He is also a big fan of yogurt. 


Routine- 
Most days start at 5am. We begin with this treatments and follow that up with a feeding. He stays with my mother in law and his older cousin each day. He has a built in big brother and they have a blast together. Our nights usually contain of eating together when I get home from work. We give him a bath, we play, he nurses and another treatment after he has fallen asleep.




Social 
He is so incredibly happy and friendly. He is such a flirt its crazy! He smiles at any one who pays attention to him. He's starting to wave. He loves watching older kids play. He squeals with excitement when he sees kids or dogs. He verbalizes lots of sounds. He says ma, da, and dar dar a lot. We think that is what he calls the dog. 

Milestones:
-Jack was baptized last month. 
-October was such a fun month. 
- Jack went on his first haw ride and found a little 3 year old to hold hands with.
-Jack went pumpkin picking. 
- Jack went trick or treating
- Jack has been standing on his own. 
- He takes lots of steps with his push toys and around the coffee table. 
- He can comb our stairs. 
- Gives high fives and started to wave. 




Likes-
Standing
Playing with his friend Michael
Puffs and yogurt bites
Crawling
He thinks a flushing toilet is so fun. 
He is a water boy. He loves his baths.
Jack love dogs. 
He is very flirtatious. 
He is obsessed with phones, iPads and remote controls. 
Jack loves his musical toys.
TAYLOR SWIFT! He dances to Shake it off. 
His talking Daniel Tiger stuffed animal is his favorite.
Family- He loves his grandmas and grandpas. He always smiles at mommy and laughs when daddy makes funny faces.



Dislikes- 
Laying down for diaper changes
Car rides
Being told no
Being away from his mom and dad 





Mommy- 
This mom is tired. 
I feel like I haven't slept in so long. 
More than anything I am so HAPPY. 
 just love being a mommy! 
I still have working mommy guilt but it has gotten a little better. 
It still sucks! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jack's First Halloween

Jack's 1st Halloween was such a success. We had such a great time. I'm so excited that Halloween is going to be so much more fun with our son! It seems like only last year I had dressed up my little 29 week bump as a Jack-o-lantern and this year I was trick or treating with my little boy.

The day started off when I took Jack into work with me to visit all the individuals who attend my program. He had a blast with everyone paying him lots of attention. We had our therapy dog pay a visit too so between the attention and the dog it was his best day ever. I must say Jack is my favorite James P. Sullivan of all time.




I left work early, we dressed up our little monster and went trick or treating in my parents development. Once again he loved all the attention he was getting. Mommy and daddy loved the mini Snickers bars too! 




We had such a blast and finished our night off with Halloween stories. 
After Jack went to sleep we ended our night with Hallmark Christmas movies! 
There is no other way to end a perfect spooky night, right??!?!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Oh Hey Friday

Happy Halloween everyone!

[one]
We FINALLY got to go pumpkin picking yesterday and it was awesome. I didn't think Jack would have much interest but it really was such a fun time. He had a blast and so did my mom and I. Sadly, Brian had to work but there is always next year.







[two]
I'm so excited that the end of the week and Jack's 1st Halloween is here. I'm getting out of work early today too. I plan on taking Jack out to a few of our favorite neighbors. He is going to be the cutest John P. Sullivan, Sully, anyone has ever seen! Halloween is so much more fun with littles. I can not wait to get out of work later to spend it with my little man.

[three]
I'm I getting a little too ahead of myself here when I say I'm psyched for Hallmark Christmas movies already???? Oh well I really am. Last winter I watched them constantly when pregnancy insomnia kept me up all the time. I have a feeling I'll be watching a lot this year too considering my little Jack is the worst sleeper in all of time!

[four]
Piggy backing off of #3 I actually punched a lot of Christmas gifts already. I've got to start early of I feel like I'll never get it all done.

[five]
Did anyone get great deals on the Carter's 70% off Halloween and Thanksgiving outfits like I did? I bought Jack's Halloween costume for next year, $12, a Thanksgiving and a few Halloween shirts for next year. I can't believe my little, teeny-tiny baby will be that big.

[six]
Flashback Friday for one second. Holy cow, could I just get that body back? It was only 2009 but I want that back!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Favorite Halloween Stories

I have an addition to purchasing books for Jack. I usually find myself in the book section of Target more than the toy section.  I love reading to Jack. It's getting harder to read to him because he rarely sits still these days and would prefer to eat books rather than watch me turn the pages. I've started reading to him while he's in the bathtub. It sounds silly but as he sits in his bath seat playing away I can read him at least 4 stories.



Last fall we celebrated our Baby Shower and our guest books were Halloween story books. I've added to our little collection with some not so spooky Halloween and Fall Stories.

Five Little Pumpkins- This is the newest to our collection. It's actually Jack's Halloween gift from mommy and daddy but we gave it to him a little early.

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow- We love this one. It will grow with Jack. I met the author and illustrator at a book fair last year so it was officially Baby G's first book. The illustrations and little bit of fun geography is super cute.

Biscuit's Pet and Play Halloween- Jack loves this story. He adores touching all the different textures.

Bernstein Bears Ghost Walk and Trick or Treat- Well obviously, Bernstein Bears are just awesome!


What are your favorites so I can to our collection?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY Felt Pumpkin

Fall is a favorite of mine. I also love the idea that almost all the decorations can go up in September and last through Thanksgiving when Christmas takes over. I haven't crafted much of anything since Jack was born and this took me a lot longer than it should have. Two weekends ago the weather  was pretty rainy, I was sick and Jack took a championship nap so i was lucky enough to finally finish it.



Here's what you need:

- Styrofoam ball
- 8 sheets of orange felt (8x11 sheets)
- 1 sheet of green felt
- Straight pins
- Scissors
- Knife


-First cut off the bottom of the styrofoam ball so it sits up on it's own
-Cut 2 leaf shapes out of the green felt and pin them on.  I chose to cut different shapes, one long and the other short and wider. Attach the leaves with the pins
- Cut out orange circles. I used a 3 inch ribbon roll as a template. I could get about 6-8 from each sheet of felt.
- Fold the circles twice and pin them on the pumpkin. I started in a circular motion around there styrofoam but found I was bunching the close together. I than started a line down the ball and realized the easiest was to do it in random order until the pumpkin was completely covered.
- Fluff the felt until no pins are showing and you're happy with how it looks.

So what do you think?

What are some easy fall crafts you enjoy?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One Tree Hill Fan Girl Moment

I'm not sure if I said it here before but I truly loved One Tree Hill. I didn't watch the show when it began although so many of my friends did. It wasn't until a vacation to Wilmington, North Carolina back in 2009 that I finally got into the show. Wilmington is where the filming of OTH took place (Dawson's Creek too. Another favorite) It was when we took a movie tour of Wilmington that we found out it is it's own little Hollywood. After being there I couldn't help but start watching when we returned home. I got a little addicted thanks to Netflix.
Source

I don't follow many celebs on social media but I do follow Sophia Bush, who I adore. Over the weekend she posted a few photos of her OTH cast mates and I nearly fainted at the thought of a reunion movie/show. Yeah total fangirl moment! Apparently there was a One Tree Hill Convention in Paris over the weekend. Who knew there was such a thing???? It was actually the second convention called "From Wilmington to Paris"I can hear Gavin DeGraw in my head already. There are some rumors about a reboot. I am a little undecided on that though. The 90210 reboot was TERRIBLE. Almost all of the cast were there even crazy Nanny Carey and Skills but no Chad Michael Murray, whomp, whomp.
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Either way, I got all nostalgic over the show but also my time spent in Wilmington. Brian and I have so many happy memories there. I love the north east but if I had the choice to move Wilmington would be the place. It's a perfectly, charming port city with lots of southern charm. I could absolutely see myself there .