Thursday, July 31, 2014

July favorites

I almost forgot that today was the last day of July, good thing I remembered or this post would have been late. July has been a pretty busy month for me but here are some of my favorite products!

Mommy & baby favorites for July!

Julep nail polish - I've really been loving this Julep nail polish I got a few months ago. I usually wear bright colors in the summer but I decided to try something different this year. I've been using this dark gray (the name of the color is Stevie) and I love it! It goes with pretty much anything I wear and it stays on pretty well, for almost a week (that's good for me, usually my nails start chipping the next day).

Statement necklace - I've been obsessed with statement necklaces lately and this one is perfect! My cousin got it for me to wear in her wedding (I'm not sure where it's from). It went perfectly with my black bridesmaid dress and it's really pretty so I can't wait to wear it again!

Snap bibs - I think these are Carter's brand but it doesn't matter which brand, I just love any snap bibs! Seriously, whoever thought of this is a genius. I have to give Paul credit because he is the one who found these. I was so happy he did, why do they even make velcro bibs anymore?! Olivia just rips off the velcro bib within seconds and then her shirt get soaked in drool. She still drools a lot (will teething ever end?!) so bibs are essential for us. Luckily she can't figure out how to take off the snap bibs.. yet.

Huggies clutch 'n' clean wipes - I saw this the other day and I had to have it! It was only $5 and it's so cute. It's perfect because I always run out of the travel packs of wipes and it seemed like I was constantly buying them. Now I can just refill this with wipes from the big boxes we get. This is probably bad but I'll be putting Pampers wipes in here, I'm all about Pampers (for both wipes and diapers). Anyway, this is definitely the best investment I made this month and how adorable is that pattern!

Babyganics sunscreen SPF 50 - I love this sunscreen for Liv, it's pretty thick but it rubs in well and it doesn't come off easily. Olivia is pretty pale like me so she has sensitive skin, I've been using this on her all summer and her skin has stayed perfect. I was reading up on sunscreen for babies and this was listed as one of the better brands (no: PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles) so I'm glad I got it. It's also non allergenic and tear free!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mommy stress and forgetfulness

Today seemed to drag on forever, I had so much stuff to do around the house. Then I went out to dinner with my parents and Liv. During dinner Olivia wanted to get out of the high chair so I gave her my wallet to play with and keep her distracted. At some point she threw it on the floor and I totally forgot about it and left it there. I had to drive all the way back to get it, I seriously wanted to cry. While I was on the phone with the restaurant, Liv was splashing around in the toilet and just as I walked in on her, she put her hand right in her mouth. The bathroom door is normally closed but one of my parents must have left it open with the lid up (also always closed). I was so grossed out and I really hope she doesn't get sick! I've been having some pretty stressful days recently and I'm just over it. I wish things could just go smoothly for once! I'm trying to focus on the positive and stay calm but certain days it proves to be impossible. Tomorrow is going to be another stressful day, I'm just ready for this week to be over. So right now I'm going to catch up on my favorite shows and stuff my face with food and wine. I know this is another vent post so I'm sorry but we all have bad days and I'm sure some of you can relate.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wedding weekend!

My cousin got married this weekend, me and Olivia were both in the wedding party. Liv was the flower girl (of course) and I was a bridesmaid. I was pretty nervous about how Olivia would do because she is still pretty young so at the rehearsal my cousin decided it would be easiest for me to just carry her when I walked down the aisle. I definitely think it worked out for the best doing it that way because otherwise she probably would have just stood at the end of the aisle crying. The rehearsal was on Saturday night and then we had dinner at my uncles restaurant. Liv was having so much fun running around with her big cousins. She loves to run and yell at the same time and my nephews were copying her, it was pretty comical (luckily my family owns the restaurant or we probably would have been asked to leave). We didn't get home from dinner until almost midnight, Liv was wide awake and I was getting nervous since we had a long day ahead of us so I quickly put her to bed, she fell asleep fast. The big day was on Sunday, I left bright and early to get my hair and makeup done while Paul watched Olivia. He met us afterwards while we were getting ready so I was able to eat something quickly and get Liv into her dress (she was not very happy about that). She looked so adorable in her dress though but she wouldn't let me get a good picture, she was too busy running around. I think the photographer got some pretty good pictures of her though so I'm excited to see them! During the ceremony Olivia was getting antsy so Paul took her into a side room and she watched Dora on someones iPad. After the ceremony, the wedding party got on a party bus (woohoo!) and headed to the reception. Meanwhile Olivia hadn't eaten since breakfast and just did not want anything (ugh). Once we got to the reception, we took some pictures and then Livy finally decided she was hungry (after almost eight hours!) so she had some veggie sticks and cheese. The wedding was great, it was a lot of fun but Olivia was super tired and wanted to be held pretty much the whole time. At one point I thought my arms were going to fall off, thank goodness I brought some flip flops because my feet were killing me from wearing heels (I rarely wear them). I danced with Liv until I couldn't anymore, she didn't want to eat while sitting with me for some reason so my mom fed her some ziti and then some mashed potatoes and she ate pretty well. Paul was helping too, we were all taking turns holding her because like I said, she didn't want to be put down. Paul and my mom ended up leaving a little before me so that Olivia could get some sleep, she was seriously exhausted. It was a long day, especially for her. The wedding was beautiful, my cousin looked gorgeous and I am so happy for the newlyweds! We just stayed home and relaxed today, my entire body is sore right now (especially my legs) but it was worth it.

The Stensland family. Notice Liv's black eye (ugh).

 The happy couple and of course the beautiful bride!

Left: Little miss Olivia, the adorable flower girl.
Right: My gorgeous sister, mom and me.

The photo booth was so much fun, I wish I knew about this when I got married!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Impromptu trip to the ER

In the midst of our busy week, Olivia decided to shake things up a bit. We were all hanging out in the living room, Paul and I were both sitting right there on the couch with Liv, she was getting down herself so I thought she was fine (she does it all the time). Somehow she lost her footing and she fell off and hit her head right on the edge of the coffee table (so hard). She was screaming and crying, I was trying to calm her down and then Paul started freaking out and saying "look at her head!" She had a huge bump, bruise and cut. After she relaxed a little bit, Paul wanted to see if she was disoriented so we watched her, she was walking a little wobbly and sideways. I called the doctor and waited for a call back, meanwhile Liv was being super cranky and clingy so when the doctor called me back she said it was a good idea to take her in. I took her to the emergency room, she was acting fine while we were there, she was having fun in the waiting room. She was playing a computer game they had (where was this when I was a kid?!), coloring, throwing the crayons everywhere and running around. They said they didn't see anything concerning and they didn't think a cat scan was necessary so we just stayed for a few hours so they could observe her. She never lost consciousness or threw up which is good because those are signs of a concussion. Just to be safe, I have to wake up every few hours to check on her and make sure she's breathing and that she doesn't throw up. Other than that, she is fine.. just a battle wound. It's been a long night.

Oh and the coffee table has been removed from our living room, those rubber corners were supposed to make it safe but of course she hit her head on the front edge.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Beauty Box Five review - July 2014

Beauty Box Five is a subscription box for beauty products (obviously). It's $12 a month and they send you five (duh) beauty samples. However, I signed up to get my first box for free and I was charged the full $12 anyway. I e-mailed them about it today and I am waiting to hear back (it says it takes around four business days for a response) so we'll see, I'm hoping they refund my money or I will probably cancel.

Everything that came in my July Beauty Box Five box.

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara: I tried this today and I like it. It doesn't give my lashes as much volume as some other mascaras I've use before but it's not clumpy so it works for me. I will probably use it as an everyday mascara but not for any special occasions. Retails for $7.99

Hask Argan Oil Intense Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment: I haven't used this yet but I am really excited to try it! My hair desperately needs a conditioning treatment, I use my flat iron way too much and it really does a number on my hair. I'm hoping this helps. Retails for $2.49

Nicka K New York Nail Color: I was happy to get nail polish but I really dislike the color red. I tried this on and it's a pretty dark red. I thought maybe it would grow on me but I seriously just don't like red. I don't think I'll use this much, maybe once a year for heart week (literally the only time I ever wear red). Retails for $4.99

Body Drench Candy Licious Lips: This lip balm smells like peppermint and reminds me of Christmas. That's not a bad thing but I don't think I'll be wearing it during the summer. I like it though so I will use it in the fall/winter. Retails for $3.99

H2O Plus Bath Aquatics Shampoo: I'm super picky when it comes to shampoo. My hair is pretty thick and only certain shampoos work well for me. I haven't tried this yet so maybe it's one of them but I doubt it. I'm not loving the smell either. Retails for $4 (estimate)

The total value of this box is over $20 so that's a pretty good deal. Although, as I mentioned above, I used a coupon code to get a free box and they didn't honor it. I'm interested to see how they will handle that. I liked the box and I enjoy trying samples, I hate wasting money on full sized products that I end up never using. Depending on the customer service, I may or may not be continuing with this subscription.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer tag

1. Where do you like to hang out during the summer? At the beach or pool

2. Favorite summer clothing piece? Tank tops

3. Favorite cookout food? Hard question, I love all of it! I guess it's a toss up between hamburgers, potato salad and watermelon

4. Favorite summer treat? S'mores!

5. Favorite ice cream flavor? I like pretty much any flavor, I could really go for some mint chocolate chip right now

6. Pool or beach? Pool (only because the beach has sand and sand gets everywhere)

7. What is one essential for your beach bag? Towels

8. How do you like to wear your hair in the warm summer weather? Definitely up

9. Favorite seasonal beverage? Anything frozen and/or refreshing.. coolatas are yummy!

10. Do you like to travel or stay home during the summer? I like to travel but I haven't in a few years due to lack of money

11. Where do you like to shop for bathing suits? Wherever I can find one that fits right

12. Favorite summer nail polish? Usually anything pink or bright

13. Do you sun-tan, self-tan, or not tan during the summer? I used to be obsessed with the tanning salon but I gave it up once I got pregnant and I haven't gone since

14. Favorite sunscreen for the summer? Anything really, I don't have a preference but I like spray rather than lotion

15. What is one song that you will be jamming out to this summer? Anything by Luke Bryan ;)

16. Favorite pair of sunglasses? Dolce and Gabbana (fake)

17. Are you doing anything fun this summer? Just the usual beach, pool, picnics and parties. I also want to bring Liv to a splash park and maybe the zoo again

Never fully rested

I know I always talk about how tired I am but it's been pretty out of control lately. I'm stuck in this horrible cycle of not being able to fall asleep at night and that makes taking a nap necessary if I want to function during the day. I think the nap is what makes it so hard for me to fall asleep so I've been trying to skip it but I just can't. My eyes start closing and I just start drifting so I don't bother fighting it. A few people suggested trying melatonin before bed so I'm going to and hopefully it will get me off of this terrible sleep (or lack of sleep) schedule. I seriously haven't felt fully rested in a good two years and I can't remember waking up on my own in forever, I wake up to Liv crying or an alarm clock. I truly miss sleeping in and I can't wait for the day I'll get to again! Okay, rant over. It's going to be a busy week/weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Love With Food review - July 2014

Love with food is a subscription box for all natural and/or organic snacks. The best thing about this box is that every box you get, you are donating a meal to feed a hungry child in America. For that reason alone, I had to try it. This box isn't too expensive, it's $10 per month which is a pretty good deal. I actually was able to get it for free with a deal they had last month. I got this box a few days ago, I would have done this review earlier but I wanted to try all the snacks so I could give my honest opinion.

All the goodies that came in my July Love With Food box. 
The theme this month is: Happy Camper!

Bar by 2 Degrees: Eh, I did not enjoy this. It looked good but I just didn't like all the different seeds and whatever else was in it (apparently fruits and grains), I only took one bite and threw it away.

Sea Salt Lentil Crackers by Mediterranean Snacks: Yum! These were really good, I just wish I had some hummus to go with them, that would have been amazing.

South Asian Snacks by Zoug: I have to be honest, I didn't try this trail mix. It just doesn't look appetizing to me, it's kind of a strange mix so I'm passing on it.

Butter Crisp Love Minis by Ginnybakes: These were pretty good! They tasted like little shortbread cookies (I think that's what they were). These disappeared pretty quickly and I enjoyed them.

Kids' Oragnic Mixed Berry Chews by Honey Stinger: I really liked these too, I'm still a kid at heart so I love fruit snacks/gummy bears etc. I wouldn't give these to Olivia yet because I'm paranoid about her possibly choking but I gladly ate them.

Dutch Cocoa by Somersaults: Bleh! I did not like these at all. I actually spit out the bite that I took, it was pretty bitter. I guess I was expecting more of a chocolate taste so I was caught off guard.

Chocolate Chip Fluff by Madyson's Marshmallows: This yummy marshmallow had chocolate chips inside. It was the first thing I went for and it was so good! By far my favorite thing in the box. I wish I had a whole bag of these to make s'mores with.

White Cheddar Puffs by Beanitos: The name kind of confused me, I kept thinking beans but they were just white cheddar puffs. They tasted like mostly all other white cheddar puffs I've had and they were good, I liked them. I actually ate the whole bag already.

I really love the idea of this box and how they donate to hungry children, that is so awesome! Since I didn't like half the stuff in this box, I won't be getting it again because I definitely don't want to waste food. I'm not the healthiest eater, I try my best to be and I wish I liked snacks like these a little more. This box would be great for someone who loves organic, healthy and all natural snacks! If you want to subscribe to Love With Food, I'm pretty sure the deal is still going on. You can get your first box for free by using the code YUMMY, you just have to pay for shipping. Don't forget to cancel after you get your box or you will be charged again!

Citrus Lane review - July 2014

Olivia's Citrus Lane box came in the mail today. Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription box for babies/toddlers. You pay a certain price per month depending on how long you want to subscribe (it’s cheaper for the longer subscriptions). Every month you receive four to five items for your child and sometimes something for you as well. The boxes are age and gender appropriate (or you can pick neutral). This box is for a 17 month old girl.

 Everything Olivia got in her July Citrus Lane box.

Plan Toys - my first camera: I knew we were getting this because it's the item we got to pick this month. We got two choices from Plan Toys, either a camera or a phone. I picked the camera because Liv already has four or five toy phones. This looks kind of boring but it's actually pretty cute, it's a wooden camera/kaleidoscope. Olivia has no idea how to use it right now, she actually thinks it's a phone and she keeps putting it up to her ear. I'm sure she will figure it out in a few months and when she's older she will probably love the kaleidoscope. It's pretty sturdy as well. Retails for: $15.00

Peachy aqueduck faucet extender: This is pretty cool, it's for two years plus so I will probably store it away until potty training starts. I don't mind though, I rather get things I can save for later than get something that is too young for her and we will never use (like last month). Anyway, I think it will be easy to teach Liv to wash her hands using this and a step stool of course. Retails for: $12.99

Oogaa silicone placemat: I was hoping we would get this! It will be great to bring to restaurants because it's silicone and stays in place as opposed to a paper placemat that Olivia likes to just rip apart. The description also says you can color on it with washable markers so that's cool. I might also use this at home sometimes since it fits on her highchair tray. It's got cute little purple animals all over it, so adorable and I'm glad I finally have a placemat for her! Retails for: $8.99

Pur-Lisse pur-protect SPF 30 sunscreen .5 oz: I cringed when I saw this on the spoilers page because I thought it was another lotion that I don't need. It's actually sunscreen which I really do need right now, too bad it's so tiny. It will only last me one or maybe two beach trips. Retails for: $10.00 (I could only find 1.7oz and they were around $16 so this is just an estimate.) That's a little crazy to me, I would never pay that much for such a tiny tube of sunscreen.

Plum Organics mighty 4 pouch: Eh. I'm getting pretty tired of all the food pouches lately. Obviously she will eat it but we don't really need these and they are not much fun. Ah well, at least it's a toddler pouch as opposed to stage 2 again. I'm glad this one has 80cals, we are still trying to fatten Liv up! Retails for: $1.99

This months box was just okay again, definitely better than last month though. The total value of this box is about $49. This has been the best box as far as value that I've gotten up to this point (I think). Although the value is great, I don't really love this box. I got a six month subscription and with coupons, I paid about $15 per month and all the items will be used so it's still worth it to me ..for now. I don't think I will ever cave and pay the full $29 per month, it just doesn't seem practical. If you're interested in getting a Citrus Lane subscription for your child, you can use my referral link to get 50% off your first box - Melissa's CL referral. It's a subscription so make sure you cancel after your receive your box or you will be charged again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rained out

I'm still here! I've been working a lot lately, five days a week. It has been a little difficult so I changed my schedule to just four days instead. I really need more time with Liv and Paul so I'm happy I was able to give up one of my shifts. I met up with my sister and her friends at the beach today, I was shocked that Olivia was walking around in the sand because last time she hated it. I think it helped that it was cloudy out and the sun wasn't in her eyes, she gets really annoyed when it's too sunny. Unfortunately the clouds brought on the rain and we only got to stay for an hour. We had fun while we were there though, we tried staying for a little longer to see if it would stop but it didn't let up. We left just in time too because about three minutes after we got in the car, it started to downpour. My sunroof is busted and Paul fixed it a few weeks ago but somehow it busted again so he had to come meet us to switch cars with me. It was a pretty busy day and then I had to work, it was a slow night tonight though so I got home fairly early. I feel like I haven't had time to sit down and relax in a while so I'm super content right now. I may actually get to catch up on some of my shows. Oh and I'm waiting on three different subscription boxes so new reviews will be up soon. I will try not to neglect this blog as much, I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Livy had a blast playing peekaboo with the sand sifter, walking in the sand and stealing Doritos!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mommy's intuition

Over the last seventeen months Olivia has seen tons of doctors and specialists. She has seen her pediatrician (of course), cardiologists, GI specialists, a urologist, ER physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, plus countless nurses and therapists. I am extremely grateful to each and every one of those people for helping Olivia, especially to those who saved her life. However, doctors have tons of patients. They are helping and saving people every day and as much as they try, they can never fully understand everything you are going through with your child (unless of course they are going through it with theirs). During the (almost) six months that Olivia had a feeding tube, the doctors just kept telling me "this is common in heart babies", "don't worry, we can always schedule her for the G tube surgery" or "everything will be fine, she just needs more time". They were wrong. If I didn't make a change, Olivia was going to be bound to that tube for years. I've talked to other moms in similar situations, some of them had kids that were 5 or 6 and still using a G tube. I knew I had to do whatever I could to help Olivia. I understand that not every child has the ability to eat on their own and for them, the G tube is a life saver. I also understand that a G tube is not the end of the world and certainly not the worst thing a child needs. I know it's crucial for a child to get adequate nutrition, especially when they are so young. With all that being said, I knew in my heart that Olivia could do it on her own, they just weren't giving her the chance. The G tube was an easy fix and that would solve the problem for them but I wasn't going to give up that easy. I did not want my baby going into surgery again (even if it was just minor). I did not want her throwing up because she was getting fed too much. I did not want her to be in any sort of pain. I did not want her to have limitations. I did not want her to give up on food and most importantly, I did not want her to think I ever gave up on her. I truly love all of Olivia's doctors but they didn't know. They didn't know the struggle we were going through, even if I complained to them for a few minutes, they couldn't possibly understand. They weren't at home with us, they didn't see her reaction to having a tube placed and even if they did, it would never break their heart like it broke mine. They didn't see her vomit every feed or cry because of her acid reflux pain. I felt completely helpless and I broke down one day and cried on my kitchen floor for over an hour and when I was done, I said that's it.. enough is enough. I stayed up for hours upon hours every single night doing research about tube feeding, acid reflux, heart defects, feeding therapy. The internet is an amazing tool and I suggest to any parent struggling with their child's health to use it. There are so many support groups, websites, blogs, even Facebook has tons of groups for just about anything, it's endless. No matter what is wrong, someone else is experiencing it and the internet will connect you with them if you do the research. Just knowing that you are not alone is a huge help, talking to someone else about your fears or your child's diagnosis can calm you down. Getting advice from someone who has been in your position before, just for that small glimmer of hope that everything could work out for you too, it's worth it. If it hadn't been for the "tube fed kids deserve to eat" website, Olivia would have a G tube right now. All I had to go by before I found that site was the doctors and they were ready to send her into surgery. The moms on that website helped me more than I ever could have imagined. Strangers. Strangers who instantly connected to me because their child was going through the same thing, it's amazing to me. Even though a lot of it is scary and may leave you with questions, at least you can get answers from the doctors about it, at least you have good questions to ask. Any little thing I found online, I would write down and ask at her next appointment. I couldn't have cared less if I was being "annoying" or asking too many questions, this is my child and I needed to know how to help her. The best thing you can do for your child is be their advocate, they can't talk so you have to do it for them. You have to know what questions to ask, explain every single symptom they are having and always find out what the risks and benefits are for anything they suggest to you. Mommy intuition is a real thing. You see your baby every day, the doctor only sees them for a few minutes/hours, you know when something isn't right. All of Olivia's doctors were shocked that she started eating on her own and gaining weight, as if it just happened randomly. They all sort of gave me the "I told you so speech". No. It did not happen magically, she did not just decide to start eating one day. It was me, I made it happen. I found the help, the tips and tricks from other moms, the weaning plan. They have no clue how hard it was to do it, they just see her gaining weight and that's it. Even if it didn't work and she needed the G tube, I would be okay with it because I would know that I did everything in my power to prevent it but I would ultimately accept it.

Please don't take this post wrong, I know that doctors really can't (or shouldn't) get emotionally attached and maybe it makes them seem cold but it takes a very strong and smart person to be a doctor and there isn't anything I could ever say or do to show how much I truly appreciate them. Just to clarify one more time, I absolutely love and am eternally grateful to all of Olivia's doctors!

"Well, I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Birthday Paul!

Today is my lovely husbands birthday so he decided to take the day off from work. I'm really glad we got to spend all day together! We gave him his present in the morning and then my mom brought over an ice cream cake for him (his favorite). Olivia played in her pool for a while and we just hung out. We didn't do anything too exciting but I think we've both been pretty tired so relaxing at home was nice.


Paul with his birthday cake & a cute daddy/daughter moment on the couch!

Livy helping daddy open his present & playing in the pool.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July weekend

So I pretty much worked all weekend. I was so bummed about not being able to take Livy to see the fireworks yesterday and when I got home, Paul was just about to put her to bed. Then we realized that we could see them from our front yard so we brought her outside in her pajamas and she loved it. Her eyes would get really wide when she saw them and she would start yelling "babababa!" I have no idea why she was saying that but it was adorable. I was so happy we got to watch them together because that's all I wanted! I know it's kind of dorky but little things like that really mean a lot to me. Although when it was time to go inside and put her to bed, she freaked out! She wanted to stay outside but it was pretty late at that point. She calmed down once I started reading her some bedtime stories though. I had to work again today so Paul and my parents took Liv to our family picnic. I wish I got to join them but I'm glad Livy and everyone else had fun, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend too!

My mom sent me this adorable picture of Liv at the picnic.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sleep strike

Today was exhausting and yesterday was pretty much the same. Last night I got home from work around 1am and I couldn't wait to get some sleep but Liv had other plans. I have no idea why but she kept waking up every 20-30 minutes. At one point, she wasn't even crying, she was just talking to herself but she was wide awake. It was so weird, she barely slept last night and today she didn't want to nap but I made her. It took her an hour to fall asleep but then she slept for almost three hours. On a good note, she's been loving her little Minnie Mouse pool, she thinks splashing water is the best thing ever. It's fun to watch her in the pool but it's been ridiculously hot out so we don't stay outside for that long. I am really hoping she lets me get some sleep tonight because I have to work for the next four days in a row. I'm pretty bummed because I had today off and we were planning on bringing Olivia to see the fireworks but they got postponed because of the thunderstorms, sigh.. maybe next year.