Sunday, June 30, 2013

If you give a kid a sticker....

I'm OBSESSED with these stickers from my childhood. I found a stack of them at a thrift store and for like $3, they were MINE ALL MINE!

Aias seems to have taken a liking to them as well... and since there are tons and tons, I'm more than happy to share!










 
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Friday, June 28, 2013

The Baby Stuff We Want Next Time

Since my last entry was about basic baby stuff that we did or didn't use, I thought I'd write about the stuff we are definitely getting for next time.

I talked about a Baby Registry in my last post but the funny thing is, this time around I won't actually be making one.  Two reasons for this:

1.  We have the vast majority of stuff we need
2.  The stuff we want this time around is sort of specific and expensive, so we will just buy it ourselves

I feel like now that I've already done round #1 of parenting, I'm entering into this from a more informed and experienced perspective; this time around, I know what I want.  I didn't have a clue before.

Here are the items we want this time around, and most importantly, why we are getting them. P.S. I'm going to use my Amazon Affiliate links, in case my SEO works magic ;)

1. Diono Radian RXT Storm Convertible Car Seat (Storm)

Aias's current car seat is the same, except for the company used to be called "Sunshine Kids."  We love this car seat because your kid can basically rear face in it forever.  It's also really narrow so you can actually fit three of them in the backseat of a typical car.  This car seat is also rated from newborn.  We're slightly skeptical of how a newborn will fit in it, but we are going to give it a go.  So far our previous Radian has been a great investment.  It's also VERY easy to use, and comfortable.  Aias loves it. He's 3.5 and still rear facing!

2. Stokke Tripp Trapp Classic High Chair

Our apartment is small and for a long time we had a Fisher Price high chair.  It was a great high chair for sure; comfortable, very easy to clean, etc.  Over time, I grew very resentful of how hideous and plastic it was and how much space it took up.  And that's just our superficial reason for wanting a Stokke Tripp Trapp, which obviously looks way better than a plastic high chair. Since Aias has been having some sensory issues with regard to eating, I recently took a workshop through the Centre for Ability here in BC, and the Occupational Therapists strongly suggest kids use a high chair similar to the Tripp Trapp for several reasons. First, there is a place for the children to put their feet flat.  This is very important for their focus while they are eating' dangling legs distract.  Second, The seat is half-sized, so it pushes them right up to the table or tray where they are eating.  Third, it is adjustable for size and age.


If the Tripp Trapp is out of your budget, there are others similar to it.  They effectively serve the same function. 

3.100-Percent Cotton Muslin Swaddles


I never understood why people liked these things so much until I started watching a little boy whose mom showed me how to drape them over a stroller in order to help him fall asleep.  They are amazing!

- They are huge
- They mold to whatever shape they are laying on
- They allow for air to pass through
- They don't blow away

Whenever she forgot the muslin blanket and I had to find another blanket to put on top of the stroller while he napped, no other blanket worked nearly as much.

These are everywhere now, and the prices vary from $10-$20 per blanket depending on where you shop, but here's a pro-tip if you are on a budget.  Go to a fabric store and purchase "cotton gauze."  If you try to purchase muslin fabric, it won't feel like this and won't be the same thing.  If you purchase cotton gauze you can make your own inexpensive but just as awesome muslin blankets.  All you need to do is cut the fabric to the size you want, and hem the edges.  Voila!

4.  Spring Bean Clamps from Mommy Toolbox


I think you can probably get something similar to this at a hardware store, but I think these ones are adorable and they are only $4.  These are how you are going to get that muslin blanket to stay clipped to your stroller when your kid is older and trying to yoink it off. In fact, you can use these for tons of other things, including for building.  I love these so much.

5.  Kokopax City Carrier

We have a bunch of baby carriers including the Ergo, the Beco Butterfly II, a Kozy Carrier, a Moby Wrap, and a few slings.  Aias loathed them all.  What did he like? His MEC Kid Carrier hiking pack :P.  I'm sure baby wearing enthusiasts would just die over this information.  I have to admit when I first saw this I thought it went against all my safe and ergonomic babywearing beliefs, but I think it would have been perfect for a quick trip with Aias.  I know several crunchy parents with these and I think I'm going to give it a go with #2, not as a primary carrier, but as an easy and quick one.

6.  A Vancouver Diaper Service

With Aias, we used a Vancouver Diaper Service called Diapers Naturally for 6 months, and then we moved into an apartment with our own in-suite laundry and we used our own diapers.   I am in love with my diaper stash (which I still have), but I was not in love with things like scraping poop off and dealing with stripping diapers (we have soft water in Vancouver and I didn't realize this, and I really did a number on my diapers at first).  This time around we don't have in-suite laundry so we both agreed we'd sell the stash off and just use another Vancouver Diaper Service for a year, at which point we will re-evaluate sticking to it or using compostable diapers.

Diaper services are amazing because they clean the diapers using industrial methods, and you just toss them in a bucket and don't have to worry about cleaning them.  So freaking easy.  

Some diaper services in Vancouver include:

- Diapers Naturally
- Happy Baby Cheeks
- Happy Nappy
- Saucy Bottoms

Keep your eyes on the lookout for some Diaper Service review posts here on the blog after the baby is born;  we're going to try to review them all and see which one comes up as the best.

7.  Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Bummis Super Brites

 
With most diaper services, you need your own covers.  We have plenty, but this print above (Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in Rocket Print) is the only gender-neutral print we don't have yet, so even though Morgan says we have enough, I'm going to buy it ;)  If we have a girl well... I'm gonna be buying a few more other prints too!

These were our favourite covers because they seriously never leak. They also last forever and don't wear easily, even with repeated use.

We're all entitled to our one indulgent and basically useless baby item, right :P Here's mine.  I want a lambskin rug for my naked baby to lounge on.  I could probably be convinced this is as bad as animal cruelty or wearing a fur coat with a little work, but heck,  I'll even take one that's faux.  Maybe even one from a local farmer/artisan.  I just think they look really soft and comfy.  I had pictures of myself on one as a baby and I keep seeing friends posting similar pictures, and I love them.

 
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

All the Baby Things: The Ones I Used, The Ones I Didn't

Today I'm 13w1d pregnant with #2.  It feels different and weird this time around, I think because I already have a kid.  So a few weeks ago I decided to go to Babies "R" Us to look around at baby things and get myself in more of an "OMG I'm having a baby!" type of mood.

Since I had some time on my hands, I decided I would start a baby registry just for fun.  An employee set my registry up, and gave me a scanning gun.  Then she told me that if I registered for 50 items I'd get a gift pack full of free stuff. Woo hoo, I thought! I love free stuff.  Surely finding 50 items I wanted wouldn't be a problem?

Oh. My. Goodness.  I walked up and down every aisle, looked at every shelf, and I found a total of 2 items I wanted:

- New valves and membranes for my breast pump
- Hydrogel pads for nursing (so sore the first few weeks)

Seriously.

I wanted my free stuff, so I clicked a ton of random items, and then came home and deleted them :P 

Anyhow, I was surprised how much of the stuff I already had, but I was mostly surprised by how much of the stuff I had but it was completely unnecessary. 

I was chatting about this with some first-time-mom friends and they asked me to explain what I mean, so... here is an obnoxiously thorough breakdown of what I mean. 

I'll show you what I mean, using the Babies "R" Us "Must-Haves Registry Checklist"



Section One: Baby Nursery

Everyone loves setting up a nursery for their baby; it's sort of like a rite of passage I think.  We set one up for Aias before he was born.   This new baby won't have one, because s/he will be sharing a room with their brother.  And to be honest, if they are anything like Aias, they will probably be sleeping with me until forever anyway. 

Crib & Mattress- We bought a really nice crib and mattress set.  Once Aias was  born, it became abundantaly clear he would never use it. Actually, that's not true.  We used it as a changing table for a few months, then we side-carred it to our bed.

Dressers- We did buy a dresser, and we did and do use it.  It also has a change table on top.

Change Table- See dressers.

Glider with Ottoman- We didn't get one. I sort of wanted one, but people kept telling me they got them and didn't use them.

Bedding- We got a cheap set from IKEA.  Honestly... you don't need bedding.  Babies aren't supposed to sleep with bedding until they are a year old, and they never need crib bumpers.  Expensive bedding sets are really just for show.

Room D├ęcor Items- We made some and got some as gifts, but we didn't go crazy.

Diaper Pail- We got one through our diaper service. 

Crib Mobile-  We had one, he ignored it.

Monitors- We bought an Angelcare Monitor, it's still in a box in his closet.

Sleep Positioners- These aren't even safe.
   
2 Waterproof Pads- Not a bad idea.

2-3 Crib Sheets- If you use a crib, yes.

2-3 Blankets- Yeah babies need some of these. You'll get a ton as gifts.


Night Light- We didn't use or have one. Your baby isn't scared of the dark.  If you need one to get in and navigate the room, go for it.

Lamp- Babies don't really need special lamps.

Section Two- Baby Layette

They list tons of items under this section, and I can't really disagree with any of them.  Basic things like sleepers, socks, onesies... yeah, babies wear these things.  if you are having your first child and you are planning on having more, get some good quality and gender neutral ones.  They don't fit these items long and they stay pretty clean, so you can put them away for your future kids.  I was shocked at how many of these items Aias grew to fast to wear and how many I have put aside. 

The only items we didn't use AT ALL were bibs.  He wasn't a drooler, so we have tons of unused bibs laying around.

Section Three- Baby Home

Bassinet- We had one for like a week and gave it away. He didn't use it.

Safety Devices- If you are having a huge baby shower with tons of people coming, sure, register for these. But if you are buying all your own stuff, don't worry about these things yet.  You won't need to worry about the baby getting into any danger for at least 4-5 months, probably more like 10+ months.

Playards- Aias refused to use his, but we also got it when he was probably 6 months old. We've been using it ever since as a place for the child-care kids to nap, since it's sleep rated.  I'm eager to use the infant attachments when #2 is born. 

High Chair- Another thing to register for if you think you'll get one as a gift, but don't feel pressured to spend your money on one before your kid is born. This is another item you won't use for half a year.  If you live in an apartment or small  home, you'll start to resent the space it takes up before you even get a chance to use it.

Safety Gates- Another thing to register for if you think you'll get one as a gift, but don't feel pressured to spend your money on one before your kid is born. This is another item you won't use for half a year.

Section Four- Baby Travel

Car Seats & Accessories- If you drive a car, you'll need a car seat. As for accessories, you don't need any.  Most accessories are unnecessary and also unsafe. 

Strollers & Accessories- Even if you don't think you want one, get one.  Maybe you will carry the baby always, and maybe that will work out.  We wanted to do that, but it turned out we were given a baby that didn't want to be carried in a carrier (only in arms) and would ONLY nap in a stroller. Go figure.

Baby Carriers- I bought lots of carriers, because I loved them!  Aias tolerated the Moby Wrap for a while, and then later on he would tolerate the Beco Butterfly II.  He hated the Ergo.  Once he was three he finally started liking the Mei tai carrier!

Diaper Bags
- I cheaped out on this with Aias, and I got the most basic utilitarian diaper bag, a plain black Columbia bag.  This time, I'm going to get something cute.  You carry that thing everywhere, for a LOOOONG time. 

Section Five- Breast Feeding

Remember that if you are planning on nursing your baby, you probably will only NEED yourself. 

Breast Pump-  We bought one because I was paranoid. I used it, it was fine.  I pumped a lot of milk, it ended up going bad in the freezer because Aias wouldn't take a bottle. If you are planning on pumping for while you are at work or something, get a GOOD breast pump.  Preferably a hospital grade. I had a Medela Swing and it was fine, but I didn't ever express much.

Breast Milk Storage Bags- If you are pumping, get these.

6-8 Bottles- Seems like a lot, but decide how often you want to be cleaning them.

Nursing Wrap/Cover-
Never had one, never used one.

Nursing Pads
- I had to wear breast pads every day for 2 years. I got four pairs of re-usable ones.  They were bamboo, soft, and awesome.  The disposable ones seemed like a waste, but worse, they were crunchy and uncomfortable.

Support Pillow- I loooooved my support pillow. For the first month I used My Brest Friend.  After that, I used a simple Jolly Jumper peanut pillow.  It's also the same pillow I used between my knees when I was pregnant.  We still have the pillow and I'm going to use it again. It was a shower gift, one I didn't even ask for, but it was probably one of my most loved and most used gifts.

Section Six- Bath

3-4 Hooded Towels- We used these. Aias really loved them as he got older. 

8-10 Washcloths- I never really understood why we "needed" special baby ones.  We could have used regular ones.

Soap & Shampoo- Maybe this is gross, but we seriously never used soap on Aias until he was like 3.  Water gets everything off, and we were paranoid about the chemicals.  Babies smell nice and don't need lotion or soap.

Infant Bathtub-  We had three and used none. We have a sink in our house soo... :)

Section Seven- Infant Care

Thermometer- You should get one of these, and get a good one.  I suggest the ear one that takes like 2 seconds, otherwise your baby will get ragey and you'll question the validity of the temperature you get.

Pacifiers- We tried to get Aias to use one, and we are forever praised for having a kid that didn't use one. Whatever, we wanted him to.  Some people say not to use them because of nipple confusion. 

Cotton Balls/Swabs- I literally have no idea what people do to babies with these items.

Ointments- I don't really get what ointments you'll need, other than something for diaper rash. We had one or two that were cloth diaper compatible, and I'm pretty sure we used them once.

Diapers & Wipes
- It's true, you'll use these :) 

Nasal Aspirator-  People say these are awesome, but I could never get them to work.  People have suggested I try "Nose Frida" instead of a bulb, though.  Luckily my kid rarely had snot.

Nail Clippers- Aias hated these.  We were told we could use a glass nail file, but that didn't seem to work out either.  In the end we ended up using nail scissors.

Baby Oil or Lotion- I literally have no idea what people do to babies with these items.

Humidifiers-  I could see this being helpful if your kid gets sick.

Baby Toothbrush- We used a washcloth with Aias.  We will get a baby toothbrush for #2, if only to get them into a routine and to become familiar with toothbrushing because it was a bit of a struggle with Aias at first.

Brush & Comb
- We never used these items with Aias and he ended up with dreadlocks.  He won't let us brush his hair to this day.  I'll probably use a brush on #2 for the same reason I'll get a toothbrush.... just to get the baby adjusted so there aren't battles in the future.

Section Eight- Baby Play

Bouncers-  We didn't want one of these because we said we'd just always hold our baby.  Turns out sometimes you need to shower.  We were given one as a shower gift and we loved it.  He would tolerate it just long enough for us to shower, pee, poop, or do a quick task that couldn't be done with him in our arms or in a carrier.

Learning Toys- The world is your baby's learning toy.  Some toys are fun, though.  Try not to get out of control or you'll end up with an apartment full of these things like we did. Our new kid is basically getting nothing new as a result.

Swings- I had big hopes for our swing.  I fantasized that it would lull my child to sleep... it didn't.  It may work for you, though.

Exercisers- They don't need these and I don't think they are necessarily developmentally useful.

Jumpers- Aias loved it, but I felt weird about them.  I felt like it was going to make his spine grow strangely.  We won't get one next time.


 
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Our (Short) Journey to Baby Number Two, AND Win a TTC Pack from Fairhaven Health Worth over $124!

Just before this past Christmas, we decided it was nearly time to give Aias a little brother or sister.  He will be 4 in November, and I turned 30 in April 2013, so we figured we'd better get on it already.  We decided we'd start trying in April because we were hoping for a January-April baby (mostly because Aias is so tiny, and he's born in November, so he's not only the tiniest kid in his age group, but also one of the youngest).   So we set forward on a mission to do something we've never done before... get pregnant ON PURPOSE!

It may seem ridiculous to some people to do so much planning to have a baby, especially to people who have gotten pregnant accidentally or really easily in the past.  But the obsessive planner I am, I decided I wanted to do this in a very calculated way, to better our shots of getting pregnant ASAP.  I figured within 6 months we'd be pregnant for sure.

The first thing I started doing is charting my temperature.  I used the book  "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, MPH and the free charting software on the forum (tcoyf.com).

The second thing I did was research vitamins and supplements that would increase my odds, even a small bit, of getting pregnant ASAP.  I talked to several friends, both that had an easy time getting pregnant and those who struggled.  Fairhaven Health and early-pregnancy-tests.com kept coming up, so I decided to contact Fairhaven Health about a potential review and giveaway.  Fairhaven Health is a small local business (well, they are run out of Bellingham, WA) and being a huge fan of that area, which is just an hour or so from here, I was thrilled to try their products and support them. 

In March I received the following products in the mail:




1 FertilAid for Women (this has a complete prenatal in it!)

I had started taking the FertilAid already at the start of March because I'd been given a bottle from a friend.  When the tea arrived, I started drinking 1 cup every day, each evening.  Morgan refused to try the FertilAid for men (he said his own vitamins were good enough, oh men), but he was happy to drink the tea, which he said tasted like licorice. 

Actual time to TTC snuck up on us, but thanks to charting and to some ovulation strips from early-pregnancy-tests.com, we had a pretty good handle on what we were doing.  When that cycle began, I started taking the Evening Primrose Oil until ovulation.  We also used Soft Cups and the Pre-Seed.

Here's what my chart looked like that month:


 Much to my surprise... on the morning of my 30th birthday (12DPO), after just one cycle of trying and taking these supplements, I was pleasantly surprised by this:


A positive test!

I'll spare you pictures of the dozens of other sticks I peed on because:






Anyhow, we are super happy.  I'm 12 weeks today, and we've seen the baby on an ultrasound and heard the heartbeat on the doppler.  Our "guess date" is New Year's Day!



Now, how much credit can I give to these fertility supplements in helping us achieve our goal so quickly? Who knows, right? I obviously can't know what would have happened if we hadn't taken them.  All I know is, we used them, and we had success on our first try! Would I recommend them to a friend? Absolutely, 100%!  The FertilAid is a full prenatal (though you stop taking it once you get a positive pregnancy test), the tea is delicious, and I can't honestly say enough good about Evening Primrose Oil (you can actually detect a DISTINCT and OBVIOUS difference in the quality of your cervical mucus when you take it). 

I can't say enough good about Fairhaven Health as a company, either.  They are incredibly friendly, down to earth, and above all, they want to see you succeed. They are in this business because they want to see people able to have the families they dream of having.  They are a company you can feel good about doing business with.  

Want to give these products a try? Thanks to the generosity of Fairhaven Health, I'm giving away the following items to one lucky blog reader in either Canada or the US:

1 FertiliTea for Women - $14.95 value
1 ViriliTea for Men - $14.95 value
1 FertilAid for Women (this has a complete prenatal in it!) - $28.95 value
1 FertilAid for Men - $28.95 value
1 Evening Primrose Oil - $13.95 value
1 Pre-Seed - $22.99 value

Over $125.00 value with taxes and shipping!

Enter below to win, and please share this giveaway with your friends!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are You Really Getting Decaf?

Several months ago, I dropped caffeine.  There are a number of reasons but mostly they include:
- Caffeine seems to send me to the toilet very quickly
- It agitates my anxiety
- It keeps me awake at night, even if I had it before noon
- I'm pregnant. (note: drinking less than 200mg of caffeine is fine when you are pregnant. I'm just paranoid and take extra precaution sometimes).

Even though I dropped caffeine, I didn't want to drop coffee. I love the way it tastes loaded up with tons of cream. Call me crazy, but I think it's Mmmm, delicious.  And drinking decaffeinated coffee isn't insufferable around here because there are tons of swiss water processed options  and it's basically readily available both at the grocery store and at coffee shops.


One thing I've noticed is that since starting to drink decaf at coffee shops, I've been given caffeinated coffee by accident many times.  The first time it happened I didn't notice until that night when I couldn't sleep, felt anxious, and found myself frequenting the bathroom.  After that miserable day, I decided to be more careful.

Now whenever I order a coffee, I follow this protocol:

- Ask if they have decaf available
- Order decaf
- When handed the coffee, confirming it's decaf "This is decaf, right?"

The first 10 or so times I did this, they literally said "ooops!" and took the coffee back, making me a proper decaf one 3-4 times. They were always apologetic and I didn't make a big deal of it.  It just seemed like 3-4 times was way too many. Was that possible? Was I remembering wrong?

So I decided to keep tabs on how many times I ordered decaf but was almost accidentally given caffeine.  My 4 months of data is below:

Tim Hortons
Ordered Decaf:  16x
Got caffeine by mistake:  3x
18.75% of the time I was given caffeine when I asked for decaf

Starbucks
Ordered Decaf: 32x
Got caffeine by mistake 13x
40.625% of the time I was given caffeine when I asked for decaf

Blenz
Ordered Decaf: 14x 
Got caffeine  by mistake: 2x
14.28% of the time I was given caffeine when I asked for decaf

Other
Ordered Decaf: 27x
Got caffeine by mistake:  8x
29.6% of the time I was given caffeine when I asked for decaf

So in total, of 89 times that I ordered decaf in 4 months,  I was accidentally given decaf 26 times, or 29% of the time.  So pretty much 1 in 4 times, if I didn't ask, I'd have had unexpected nasty caffeine side effects later in the day. 

Please note, I only took tabs if I followed the steps above (asking if they have decaf, ordering decaf,  confirming it was decaf when the drink was handed to me).   It also only factors in the times that they were honest about it not really being caffeine, who knows how many times they screwed up but didn't want to own up to it, or weren't really certain.  That being said, I didn't have any negative side effects from any of these coffee drinking occasions. 

These numbers really surprised me for a few reasons.

1.  Holy crap, I drink a lot of coffees. I should save that money and buy myself an iPad.

2.  How alarming that it would be so common to accidentally be given caffeine when you ordered decaf!  I mean, not to get dramatic and act like caffeine is the equivalent of crack or something, but it is a substance that acts like a stimulant drug. If you ask to not have it, you'd think that request would be taken pretty seriously.

I've noticed the assembly line process they use in coffee shops seems to make a pretty big difference; at Tim Horton's they do pretty well because the decaf is in a pot next to them, and it's clearly orange.  The only times they've screwed up was when a person other than the actual cashier that took my order was the one to get the coffee.  At Starbucks, when they brew the individual drip decaf they do an ok job (but you wait 5 minutes), but when they give you an Americano or when it's really busy is when they screw up. 

I'm not convinced people should be fired over this, and they are always happy to re-do the drink properly.  Just please consider this if you order decaf; you may need to be a little more aggressive in advocating for yourself and ensuring you are actually getting what you ordered.  And if caffeine is going to kill you, you may not want to put that sort of responsibility in the hands of an overworked, underpaid barista.

And oh, P.S. Even decaf has a bit of caffeine in it, so keep that in mind if you have an allergy.


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Nit-Picky Snark on Gender Reveal Parties

I may come across as a bitch in this entry, if so, sorry about that (except for not really).

Pinterest is pretty much my favourite thing ever, and lately I've been looking up all-things-baby.  One thing I'm noticing is that some people are now having what they call "Gender Reveal Parties."  For the record, from this point forward, I can't even say "gender" in place of what should be "sex," so I'm just going to start using the proper word.  Because FYI:
"Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

"Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.
Whatever, take my Gender Studies education and stuff it, I know.  I just couldn't help myself.

Back to these parties, in case you don't already know, here's how they work:

- You get your anatomy scan and find out the sex of your unborn baby
- You plan a party where the entire purpose is to reveal the sex of your baby
- You do everything in pink and blue to build the suspense (LOL)

For example:

Will the baby be blue or will the baby be pink! OMG!

PINK OR BLUE ! PINK OR BLUE !

This one is just gorgeous, but yeah.
THEN... the number one important part... you reveal the sex of the baby. 

You do it by baking a cake with white frosting, that has either pink or blue inside.  Pink means girl, boy means blue (OBVIOUSLY YOU GUYS!).

Or by opening a box of either pink or blue balloons.

Or by taking a big poop on a table, and if the poop is pink, it's a girl, and if the poop is blue it's a girl (just kidding, that one isn't on pinterest).

Ok now don't get me wrong, I love a party myself. So if someone wants to sink a few hundred dollars and many hours making Pinterest-worthy mini-treats and favours, by all means, knock yourself out.  And if any of my friends had a gender reveal party, I would immediately correct them and say it's a sex reveal party and then proceed to show up with a huge present and a genuine smile on my face.  Your kid, your party, you do what you like, right?  I'll get excited for you in any way possible.  And I'll admit, I do get really excited when people reveal the sex of their baby because I'm often dying to know. 

But myself? I really don't feel comfortable with the idea of having a gender reveal party.  Partially because... your child cannot POSSIBLY reveal their gender from inside the womb.  I know you are thinking, "Monika, don't be a douche and dwell on semantics.  Let's just call it a sex reveal party and call it good." But my word, it feels like tons of pressure on the baby to adhere to certain gender roles, before they are even born.  Not to mention it puts a huge focus on gendering the baby as early as possible. 

Now don't get me wrong, before Aias was born, I was DYING and ACHING to know if he was a boy or a girl. I don't know why, but I was.  I wanted to know so badly.  I think it was because I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was having a child, and I wanted to know everything about this person that I could and as soon as possible.  My knowledge of his having a penis made it easier to come up with a name.  However, that is pretty much all it did. 

So why do I think these parties are so weird? I don't know.  I don't really have any information to substantiate my discomfort with them, they just make me feel weird. When I read about them, something inside me sends an alert out to my senses and makes my skin crawl. Maybe I'm just crazy, and these parties are a beautiful, cute, and interesting way to celebrate a new baby. 

What I think would be the neatest thing of all, would be if we lived in a society where kids and teenagers could decide to have an actual "Gender Reveal Party" whenever they felt ready.   And whether the inside of their cake was pink, blue, tye-dye, or glitter, everyone would join in to support and celebrate them. And as I said on my Facebook, I'm feeling pretty tempted to throw my own Gender Reveal Party with my next baby, and to cut open a green and yellow cake. 

 
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Win a UConceive Couple's Conception Kit!

A few months ago in anticipation of our upcoming TTC(Trying-To-Conceive) adventure, we started checking out different products on the market that could potentially "up" our chances.  We haven't given this one a try yet, but we did receive one in the mail!  UConceive sent us one to check out, and we have one to give away to a lucky reader!

Read about UConceive below, and then try your luck at winning a kit for yourself!



Uconceive, a First-of-Its-Kind Conception Kit Designed to Address Both Male and Female Fertility Issues, Awarded U.S. Patent for Safe, Effective Conception Support.

The old adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is the mantra of couples who are trying to conceive as well as the health care providers counselling them.

Chances are that if you’re a woman under 35, and have no known medical issues, your doctor will tell you to try for a year before seeking fertility assistance. If you’re over 35, try for 6 months before seeking further help.

While the female is getting poked, prodded, and tested, the male is often overlooked in the conception process. The main reason? Men don’t normally seek help from a urologist unless there’s a problem, while women often have a stronger, lasting relationship with their gynecologist.




But, the male is just as vulnerable to conception issues as females. Research has found that male factor issues are found in over 40% of couples trying to conceive (TTC). Luckily, male issues are often less expensive to treat, as well as being considerably less invasive.

In the end, 20% of all couples who have tried to conceive for over a year will fail, and many begin to feel the stress of “trying” after only 3 or 4 unsuccessful months.

Frustrated, many couples have turned to the Internet for advice on how to get pregnant. Overwhelmed with information, they may have tried any number of remedies, techniques, or expensive alternatives and found little success.

All that misinformation and “snake oil” is what drove Dr. Scott M. Sweazy, a board-certified Urologist and Fertility Specialist, to create Uconceive – the safe, effective and patented conception kit based on scientific research.


Dr. Sweazy, along with his wife Jill, have created a fully integrated kit – meaning that all stages of conception are addressed in both the female and the male – that will help you get pregnant faster, safely, and without invasive treatments.

Uconceive integrates techniques for predicting ovulation, confirming ovulation, fertility-enhancing nutraceuticals for both the male and female partners, and also a method for confirming a successful conception. In addition, Uconceive is the only product of its kind that specifically addresses the two phases of the female’s ovulation cycle separately.

In fact, Uconceive is so special and uniquely different from all other products on the market that it has been awarded a United States patent.

Whether you’re trying to conceive, wanting to time your pregnancy, or having difficulty conceiving – Uconceive can help. Older couples with a “ticking” biological clock will also benefit.

Make Uconceive your first option for conception. Uconceive – making families, one baby at a time.

Interested in trying it out? Enter to win a one month kit ($129 value) below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

OraMD Review and Giveaway: An Alternative to Regular Toothpaste

I've always been leery about the ingredients and chemicals lurking in conventional, everyday toothpaste. When Trusted Health Products contacted me to give me an to review their toothpaste alternative, OraMD, I jumped at the opportunity.

OraMD is an all-natural liquid toothpaste/mouthwash/breath freshener. OraMD is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and fluoride-free and comprised of 100% pure botanical oils of almond, spearmint and peppermint. It's basically a bottle of oils prepared for you and ready for you to drop onto your toothbrush.

Features and Benefits :

 OraMD is a 100% pure liquid toothpaste, mouthwash and breath freshener
 Contains only all-natural 100% pure ingredients - oils of peppermint, spearmint and almond
 Combining the 1) bacteria fighting properties of OraMD’s ingredients, 2) the OraMD 4 Step Oral Hygiene Program, and 3) the information in Dr. Tom McGuire’s book, Healthy Teeth Healthy Body, gives you the best possible combination to fight problem-causing bacteria.
 Ingredients help create and maintain a clean and healthy environment in your mouth (gum conditions have been linked to numerous other conditions)
 Has interdental access, so it gets in between your teeth and those hard-to-clean areas
 Leaves a fresh and clean feeling unlike anything you’ve ever experienced
 Ingredients polish teeth and make them feel as smooth as glass
 Safe and effective for everyone ages 3 and up
 May taste a little stout the first 3-7 uses
 Safe for braces, veneers, bonds, crowns, fillings and dentures
 Also available in Extra Strength, a more advanced formula 

I was sent a bottle or OraMD and used it for exactly a month.  At first it was very strange, because you get used to the idea of brushing your teeth with something gooey that foams.  OraMD is not gooey nor does it foam; it basically just massages your teeth with the oils.  The taste is also incredibly strong when you first start using it, it's almost shocking how strong the oils are.  The experience of using it for the first time was strangely similar to how I remember it feeling to use adult tooth paste for the first time when I was a kid; at first it seems "hot" and a little strange, but after a week or so you just adjust.



After using OraMD, and only OraMD, for a month, I feel like my teeth are at least as clean, if not cleaner, than when I was using conventional toothpaste. 

The manufacturer is willing to offer three of my readers one FREE bottle each. You can enter below to win.

They said they would love to have our readers try out OraMD and agreed to send one bottle FREE if our readers would pay a minimal shipping and handling charge (it works out to $5.67). They also agreed to include 2 eye-opening reports called 1) “The 6 Hidden Dangers In Toothpaste” and 2) “Why The FDA Requires A Warning Label On Your Toothpaste.” That’s a total value of over $40.00. You can enter to win the contest below, or you can just Click here to get your FREE bottle and FREE reports now.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It's Camp Day at Tim Horton's!

Happy Camp Day!

A few days ago I mentioned that Lovable Labels is working with the Tim Horton Children's Foundation to send some kids to camp. Today, Wednesday June 5th 201, is Camp Day!

On Camp Day, Tim Hortons restaurant owners donate all proceeds from coffee sales to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation (THCF), helping send kids on an unforgettable, fun-filled camping adventure to help inspire them for a better future.

Last year alone, thanks to Tim Hortons guests and through the efforts of more than 3,700 Tim Hortons restaurants, a record $11 million was raised in Canada and the United States.


More than 15,000 kids were able to experience the life-changing impact of a Tim Horton Children’s camp.

Lovable Labels is also doing their part to send kids to camp.  This year 20% of sales purchases made through http://www.thcf.lovablelabels.ca will help support the Tim Horton Children's Foundation in anticipation of their annual camp day, Wednesday June 5th, 1013.

Lovable Labels will also be donating Ultimate Camp Packs to local campers!

Here's your chance to win your own Ultimate Camp Pack... you can do so by entering below and working to spread the word about Camp Day and the partnership between the Tim Horton Children's Foundation and Lovable Labels!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lovable Labels and the Tim Horton Children's Foundation Working Together to Send Kids to Camp!

Lovable Labels is my favourite Canadian small business, but you've probably guessed that by now.

This year Lovable Labels is partnering with the Tim Horton Children's Foundation to help send kids to camp.  The Tim Horton Children's Foundation is dedicated to fostering within our children the quest for a brighter future. They are committed to providing an enriched and memorable camp experience for children and youth living in economically disadvantaged homes.



Across Canada and the United States, one in six children live in economically disadvantaged homes. For these children, opportunities and surroundings that promote growth into healthy individuals are often limited. A Foundation camp experience provides programs that develop lifelong skills in children. When they return home from camp, they take with them a more positive attitude about their future and the confidence to achieve the goals they learned to set for themselves at camp.



Foundation camp experiences are designed to help young people become responsible, caring and motivated individuals. Our campers return home more likely to:

• make positive decisions and take responsibility for their actions
• show respect for themselves, others and the environment
• contribute to their families, schools and communities
• build healthy relationships and demonstrate empathy
• try new things, take on challenges and bounce back from adversity
• be confident in their ability to shape their own futures



This year 20% of sales purchases made through http://www.thcf.lovablelabels.ca
will help support the Tim Horton Children's Foundation in anticipation of their annual camp day, Wednesday June 5th, 1013.

Lovable Labels will also be donating Ultimate Camp Packs to local campers!

Ultimate Camp Packs are one of my favourite packages from Lovable Labels.  They contain over 150 dishwasher and microwave safe, waterproof, etc labels per pack:

15 Sticker Labels
40 Slimline Labels
12 Shoe Labels
72 Press n' Stick Clothing DOTS™
2 Mini-Metal Tag (two 4” silver ball chain incld)
12 Square Labels

And there are 8 new designs this year!

Head over to http://www.thcf.lovablelabels.ca  So you can help the Tim Horton Children's Foundation send some kids to camp this year.  Keep your eyes peeled, because in a few days I'll be doing a giveaway so you can win your own Ultimate Camp Pack!

 
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