Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bump Update: 33 Weeks & Baby Names

It is funny to me how many people take it super personal that we are keeping Sprout's name a secret.  My family hasn't even given us that hard of a time.  But there are some people who just think it is ridiculous.  And then there are those people who I kind of know who think they should get to know because they don't talk to the same people we do and it wouldn't hurt anything.  lol.

We decided to keep her name a secret for a couple of reasons.  First, because we did want everyone to have some sort of surprise since we already know she's a girl.  Surprises are fun!  And second, I've heard too many horror stories of close friends and family as well as complete strangers being not-so-nice about the permanent name you have already decided on.  Just because the baby isn't here yet does not mean you are going to change the name just because so-and-so doesn't like it or thinks it is ugly.  I don't handle those situations well so best if I never have to deal with it, right?  ;)

But I am absolutely in love with her name and its meaning.  I told Hubby it will be tough to come up with something so awesome for our other potential children.  haha.  But seriously, I think her name holds such a powerful and unique significance and I cannot wait to share that all with you!  But you have to wait until she decides to make her grand entrance!  

I know I'm still pretty small...but I'm still amazed at just how huge I have gotten.  lol.

I don't think I need to worry about whether or not she is growing.  lol.

This week, baby is the size of a: Pineapple - weight wise anyways...just glad she isn't quite that pokey.  ;)

Next appointment: A week from today!  And with my favorite doc to boot!  ;)

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  I don't look at the scale between appointments anymore.  Don't need the worry.  ;)

Exercise: Getting into more of a routine.  But if I don't have my usual schedule I don't usually do much.  I am such a schedule person, it is ridiculous.  However, Hubby has really stepped up his game and started "coaching" me before bed as I practice labor and pushing positions and then do some exercises that I need help with.  It's a little strange - but I treasure those moments.  It's such a unique time in our lives.  :)

Maternity Clothes: When it is super hot out I am running out of things to wear.  Living in skirts and dresses these days.  ;)

Sleep: Actually a little better since last week.  But I have my days...

Food Cravings/Aversions: Who wants to take a guess??

Movement: Hangin out in my rib cage - rolling around, kicking.  Loving it!  Even when she does catch me off guard and I let out an "ouch!"   

What I Miss: I'm going to be more specific.  I miss ahi tuna and salmon rolls currently.  And, yes folks, we are talking sushi.  ;)

What I'm Loving: Getting things organized.  I'm definitely nesting right now.  But it's fun!        
What I'm Looking Forward To: Getting the rest of the things we need for Baby Girl this weekend.  Girls day!  

Best Moment This Week: Between my nesting and wanting to get my hospital bag packed, Hubby was a little concerned.  "You don't think she's coming yet do you?  Can she live at this point?"  I told him that she could but that it would still be really risky.  He then proceeded to talk to her as he leaned into my belly - "You better stay in there little one.  Your Daddy wants you to be safe."  Talk about melting my heart.  And he will SO kill me for putting this all on here.  But it's worth it.  ;)

Milestones: She is developing her immune system currently and gaining about a half pound a week.

Goals:  Organize the nursery.    Mostly done!  Just a few little things to get organized but we need to get a couple of shelves.  And then there's the matter of all the stuff I'll be bringing home this weekend.  ;)  But besides that, I really need to get on the ball and get our bag packed for the hospital because you just never know!  Only 7 more potential weeks!!

The Word: Storms of this Life

Have you ever been overwhelmed with terror or trouble to the point that you just wanted to fly away?  To go somewhere far away?  To find a refuge?  Has your heart ever hurt that much?

I think most of us can relate to that in one way or another.  After all, life is tough.  David, a man after God's own heart, knew that from personal experience:

Psalm 55:4-8
My heart is in anguish within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
And [a]horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and [b]be at rest.
“Behold, I would wander far away,
I would lodge in the wilderness. [c]Selah.
“I would hasten to my place of refuge
From the stormy wind and tempest.”

The first thing we can see from this is that troubles will come and our faith will waver.  David is the very same man who killed a giant with just a slingshot and a stone and SO much more.  Yet, we see his heart here and it is without a doubt that troubles have come up against him for "no man ever describe a wounded heart like David" (Clarke).  And it is quite clear his faith is wavering, if only minutely.  You see, "Sometimes David's faith made him, in a manner, fearless...But at other times his fears prevail...for the best of men are not always alike strong in faith" (Henry).  None of us, not the best of us, are immune from troubles or wavering faith.  

When those troubles come, David gives a great example of where we should first turn.  This Psalm begins with a plea to God: "Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.  Give heed to me and answer me..." (Psalm 55:1-2a).  Even though he feels alone and without refuge, it is good that David knew where to make his plea - " is well when a troubled heart can raise itself above the sea of troubles to stretch a hand towards God" (Expositor's).  Though his faith my waver, he is still centered on the firm foundation of God.

But why do we face these storms to begin with?  Why do troubles have to come?  I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer for that question.  And it is one I still struggle with from time to time.  But storms in this life remind us that this world is not our home.  We are a part of something bigger and, oh, so very much better!  When our hearts are hurting as David's did here - we often long for an escape from this world, for a refuge like none other.  And we have that because we have Christ.  It makes sense that "peace and quietness in silence and solitude are what the wisest and best of men have most earnestly coveted...Gracious souls wish to retire from the hurry and bustle of this world, that they may sweetly enjoy God and themselves...This makes death desirable to a child of God, that it is a final escape from all the storms and tempests of this world to perfect and everlasting rest" (Henry).  

I don't think God wants us to be comfortable here, which is why He may allow us to go through such storms, to ache with a longing for escape.  We cannot expect perfection of our lives or of our circumstances until the day He returns.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't be happy - we should!  We have been given much!   We just need to remember where our heart and souls belong - where our refuge actually is - in Christ.  And one day we will be with Him eternally - no more storms or diseases or family troubles or financial burdens or [whatever you want to insert here].  

Hold onto that truth today.  No matter what you are facing, no matter how badly your heart is hurting, God IS your refuge!  He may not save you from all of the storms of this life, but He will never make you face them alone.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WAHM Review (+Giveaway): Blissfully Bouge *CLOSED*

I would like to introduce you to Ashley, the owner of Blissfully Bouge, and her family!
Ashley and her husband, Don, have been together for 10 years!  And, in this day and age, that is definitely something to celebrate!  They have 3 children - Layla (5), Lincoln (4), and Amelia (7 months).  

Sidenote - Lincoln and Amelia were both names high on our list when we found out we were expecting!  How fun!

Anyways...back to Ashley.  2 years ago, after building quite the career in the banking industry, she decided she wanted to be home with her kids instead.  After all, she wanted to be the one to watch them grow and reach milestones!  She notes that the change was a real adventure, "Being a work from home mom is super challenging but it is most rewarding!"

She started her Etsy shop in 2010 but really didn't put any effort into it.  But then, in 2013, after her sister had her first Baby Girl, Ashley started making her tutus.  And eventually started listing them on Etsy.  And, as she states, "This has allowed me to help pay bills, take care of my family and, most of all, stay home with my kids!"

I love Ashley's story!  And I also love the tutu she sent me!

Ooooo....I have SO many ideas for this!
5 Stars

And we mustn't forget about the adorable packaging:

And so very matchy!  ;)

Picking a color was SO difficult!  She has some fantastic options.  In fact I already have next year's Halloween costume in mind:

Can anyone see an adorable Captain America outfit here??  I mean seriously...  Or maybe I'm just a nerd...

She does custom work as well - so if you can dream up a possibility here - she can probably do it!  Love that!

Though they aren't currently listed on her Etsy shop, Ashley also sent me a matching bow as a thank you for the review.  And it is adorable!

Super cute right?

And just so you can see what it looks like with the tutu....perfect match!
Though I have a million ideas, I think these with a yellow onsie are going to make a fabulous outfit for when the Steelers make it to the Super Bowl.  ;)

Anyways, since we're kind of on the subject, Ashley's customer service rocked!  She was quick to jump on board with the review series and super excited about it!  She has been super helpful with answering any questions I had.  And, bonus points, she included a note with her package - which you all know how much I love!  It just adds such a sweet personal touch:

Coincidentally, these are the same Thank You notes I have...hmmmm....  :)
5 Stars, but definitely another WAHM I could give more stars to if I could...

Ashley really makes quality items as well.  I know this tutu will last for the time it fits our little one and I'm positive if we have another girl some day that I could use it again!  You can always tell when someone puts their heart into something.  And it doesn't hurt at all that this is a handmade product made in the USA!  :)
5 Stars

Overall, I highly, highly recommend Blissfully Bouge.  Ashley was SO much fun to work with and her tuttu's are not only adorable, but made with care and quality!  You should definitely pop over to the shop and check it out!

5 Stars

There are also these adorable little stools, in case you are interested:

Cute right?

Head on over to the Blissfully Bouge Etsy shop and check out all the adorable tutu's.  And don't forget she does custom work!  ;)   PLUS, if you follow her Etsy shop or her Instagram and send her a message mentioning the blog - she will send you a coupon code!

One reader will win their very own tutu!  Enter using the Giveaway Tool below.

Monday, August 25, 2014

WAHM Review (+Giveaway): Mod Mum *CLOSED*

When Mod Mum agreed to do a review & giveaway, I was beyond excited!  I had seen her delivery gowns on another blog and had fallen in love.  Who wants to look drab on one of the biggest days of their lives??  I'll already be sweating, hair a mess, wearing my glasses (which if you understood what a trauma this was for me....oye), and looking a little worn.  If the outfit I'm wearing is cute, stylish, and functional - that should make me feel a little perkier.  ;)  Though, in the end I probably won't care since our Baby Girl will finally be here - but at least I know ahead of time, that I'll have a cute gown for our pics!

So, in case you haven't caught on yet - here is a glimpse of what I'm talking about:

Without the sash - still much cuter than a hospital gown.

With sash - MUCH cuter than a hospital gown!  :)
So excited to have something I can wear at the hospital that will be mine and I'll look cute!

And another just for good measure.  Hubby continually takes pics while I prepare for the next needed picture, which may annoy me a little bit but I liked how this one turned out.  ;)

Easy 5 Stars!

The gowns are even cute when they come in the mail:

And you know how I love the added personal touches, like this fun tag:

Cute right?

Here are just a couple of other prints to choose from, though she has a ton of other options:

This was my 2nd choice - I really love navy blue right now and polka dots are SO fun!

Chevron is so in and super adorable!

From feminine to funky to solid colors - she has a great variety!

As Lisa puts it, "Isn't it funny how you always remember what you were wearing on the most memorable days of your life...."  She "loathed" all of the pictures from the hospital after the birth of her son.  So, being an amazingly creative and talented mama, she started designing a delivery gown that would be beautiful - something moms would be proud to wear on that life-changing day!  Along with being stylish, she also wanted to be sure the gowns were comfortable and functional.  With the help of her husband, who works in Labor & Delivery, she did just that!  Since her business has been so successful, she is able to stay home with her now 7 year old boy.  

What a fun and unique story!

So how functional are they really?  I'd say perfectly!  Hubby and I are big proponents of skin-to-skin and hope that Baby Girl and I are both well enough that the hospital will allow immediate skin-to-skin after birth (I did speak with my doctor about this and it shouldn't be a problem).  I also want her to have a chance to try and nurse before they take her for weight and footprints and such.  With this gown - I can do all of that without any problems!  There are snaps at each breast bone to allow for easy nursing and skin-to-skin!  

Easy access with one side unsnapped...

Uber easy access with both sides unsnapped...note my facial expression as Hubby had some witty can just imagine can't you??  ;)

Here's an example of the gown in action!  Love skin-to-skin!

And here is a pic I didn't know Hubby was taking as I debated how to show you the awesome use of the snaps without being completely immodest.  ;)

In fact, after talking to the doctor, it sounds like my Mod Mum gown will make all of that easier than the actual hospital gown!  Isn't that awesome!?!  There are also snaps the entire length of the gown down the back for full coverage - no worrying about whether or not your bum is exposed!  ;)  Though, to be fair, everyone in the labor & delivery room is going to see much more of me than that.  haha.

Full coverage!

I truly wish I could give more than 5 stars here as I am convinced this will be tremendously easier (and more comfortable) than my hospital gown....

Some other awesome perks include the fact that the gown is 100% cotton and is not see through in the least!  Even though I'll be getting the knack of breastfeeding down and I'll have been through one of the most immodest moments of my life, it is a comfort to know that in pictures and when visitors come, I don't have to worry about seeing through the gown.  And as far as being professional - she even has a tag on the inside with washing instructions - just like you would find at the store!

I thought this was a super neat addition!
5 Stars

And the best part?  This gown isn't just a one-time use.  It is going to make a fantastic nursing night-gown!  Lisa notes that every time they are washed they get softer, which means comfy sleeping and easy access for those nightly feedings!  

5 Stars

As far as price point goes, this is a tough one.  While most other major delivery gowns I found online were cheaper - none of them compare very well to Mod Mum.  They aren't as convenient and the quality just isn't up to par (and I can easily see that online).  Plus, the sizing options on most other gowns is limited to 2 or 3 sizes (which is better than the hospital) but Mod Mum carries SIX different sizes - from XS to 2X! You get a great fit at a high quality that will be difficult to beat!

Mod Mum also sells robes and headbands to match the delivery gowns! 

But that isn't all!  You can get hats with a monogrammed name for Baby!  Or an infant skirt to match your gown!  Talk about cute pictures!  ;)

Lisa's customer service is absolutely fantastic!  She was super helpful during this whole process and has answered all of my questions quickly and well.  She even lists her phone number on the store's about page so that her customers can reach her any time!  Now that is going above and beyond!  In fact, after asking her a few questions, she told me to call if I had any questions about labor & delivery (apparently she has heard it all. lol.). I thought that was super sweet!

5 Stars +   :)  Love working with people who deserve more than a 5 star rating!

Overall, I am very impressed with Lisa's gowns.  Mod Mum is a store I would highly recommend for expecting mothers.  And wouldn't this make a fabulous  shower gift??  Something super unique and memorable!

Definitely 5 Stars

Head on over to the Mod Mum Etsy Shop and get to shopping.  If you purchase two gowns OR a gown and a robe, there is a 10% off coupon code at the top of the shop page!

One winner will be chosen to WIN a delivery gown of their very own!  Use the Giveaway Tool below to get your entries in!  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bump Update: 32 Weeks

My baby shower was fantastic!  A huge shout out to all who helped in any way.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.  It was beautiful and fun.  And so nice to see some people that I haven't in such a very long time.  Including 3 lovely ladies who journeyed over 1200 miles for the occasion!  And surprised me no less!  That weekend will be one I remember forever thanks to SO many people.  Our Little Sprout is super spoiled already and so very loved. lol. I should have some pics for you all eventually.  ;)

But here are some belly shots for now:

Love my faces.  :P

And I wish my pregnant brain would remember to take these Thursday night so I didn't have that "just out of the shower" look. lol.
This is totally random - but I thought it showed how huge my belly really is getting.  :)
And the comparison - definitely think I've grown.  Which makes me feel a little better about her measuring behind.  :)

This week, baby is the size of a: Head of lettuce!  hehe

Next appointment: 2 Weeks - and it can't come fast enough!

Total Weight Gain/Loss:  Let's just say not much.  But they still don't seem concerned.  However, Baby Girl is measuring 2 and a half weeks behind which, combined with my very minimal weight gain, has me a little concerned.  They are going to see what I measure at my next appointment and go from there.  Trying not to worry.  Just have to pray instead.  :)

Exercise: Trying to work our Bradley method labor exercises in as much as I can.  Some days are much better than others.  For instance - yesterday I did zip.  Except for right before bed.

Maternity Clothes: All day every day.  Unless its PJ's or sweats.  ;)

Sleep: Eh.  Not enough for sure.  Super tired the past few days.  Mixture of lack of sleep and third trimester I think.  Daily naps may be the new trend.

Food Cravings/Aversions: I think I may end this pregnancy without a single craving.  ;)

Movement: Boy oh boy!  She is something else!  haha.  Always moving.  Now it can be mildly painful.  lol.  She really likes to kick my ribs.  And she still doesn't like to move for anyone else much.  Hubby can get her to move if he can find her and poke her.  And Dad went to rest his hand on my belly for two seconds while he was talking to me and she kicked.  His face was priceless and I couldn't stop laughing.  Love these moments.   

What I Miss: Definitely energy.  Not ready to be wiped out again.  Too much to get done before her arrival!

What I'm Loving: The extra help around the house.  Yes, having your parents move in 2 months before your due date can be a bit intimidating.  However, it is so nice to come home and have my clothes folded and dishes washed.  Though it won't happen every day, I will enjoy and appreciate it every single time.  :)      

What I'm Looking Forward To: Baby shopping day with my mom and grandma!  Going to get what's left on the list.  Hopefully Labor Day weekend.

Best Moment This Week: Dad's reaction to that kick.  OR Hubby getting all sentimental over tiny little baby socks.  ;)

Milestones: Baby Girl officially has all her fingernails and toenails and peach fuzz for hair!  How fun!

Goals:  Organize the nursery.  That's a big one right now.  A little overwhelming at the moment.  But we shall overcome!  :)