Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NatureBox review

NatureBox is a subscription box for healthy snacks, there are no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors in the snacks that they send. I was able to find a deal and get my first box for free! I was pretty excited because I've been wanting to try NatureBox for a while. A subscription is $19.95 per month or cheaper if you prepay for 3, 6 or 12 months. They also donate one meal for every box they deliver through Feeding America®, which is awesome. Before I got my box, I was drooling over all the snacks on their site. You can either pick what you want or let them surprise you, I chose the latter.

All the yummy snacks!
Cashew Crumble - I am so glad that they gave me this one as my full size snack. It was basically just cashews mixed with cookies but it was so good! I'm not embarrassed to say that I ate the entire bag last night while watching TV. I really want to buy more of this but that might be a bad thing.
The rest of the snacks were just trial size pouches. My favorite (after the cashew crumble) was the coconut cashews and then the cinnamon swirl kettle kernels. The other two snacks, I wasn't crazy about. The sea salt sun crunch had sunflower seeds in it and I'm not a big fan of those. I have to admit that I didn't even try the garden tomato crunchies because they didn't sound appealing to me. Next time, I will probably choose the snacks I want but I am still happy with what I received!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin picking

I've been trying to write this post for about three days now. Every time I try, I get distracted by something. It's been a busy few days so I'm using pictures to help me remember everything. On Saturday morning I had to take Olivia to get her flu shot, she was really pissed at the doctor for that but she got over it pretty quick. After we got that out of the way, we went to a pumpkin patch. We got there just in time to catch the last hayride, Olivia was unimpressed but I enjoyed it. We walked around for a while, I was bummed that there weren't any animals (besides the horses for the hayride) because I know Olivia loves them. There was a huge corn maze but it was starting to rain by the time we got to it so we decided not to do it. It turned out to be a good choice because on the way to the car, the rain started to pick up and pretty soon after that it was pouring.

 The last picture is of Paul running from the rain.
Olivia loved it though, she was looking up at the sky and smiling.
After the pumpkin patch, we went to Walmart to actually buy our pumpkins, they are so much cheaper there. We ended up paying under $3 for each pumpkin, I also got some paint for Livy since she is too young to carve. While we were there, we passed by some fish and Olivia got excited so I took her out of the cart and let her watch them for a while, she was screaming "cat!" like always. I kept correcting her but she looked at me like "whatever mom".

When we got home, we let Olivia paint her pumpkin. I decided to give her black paint so it would be Halloween colors, then I used some white to paint her name on it when she was done. She actually didn't make as big of a mess as I was expecting. She liked painting her pumpkin but she liked putting her fingers in the paint more.

 I love how serious she looks on the right, she was really concentrating on her masterpiece.
After Olivia went to bed, it was time for me and Paul to carve our pumpkins (one of our favorite traditions)! I got out some wine, Paul had his beer and we went to work. I picked an easy design this year because lets face it, I was exhausted and lazy. Paul picked a complicated one, I warned him not to but he didn't listen (typical). Halfway through he started to realize that it was a bad choice. His pumpkin was supposed to say "Nevermore" above the raven but he improvised and just made some tree branches and a moon. I think it actually came out pretty good for free handing, I was surprised he was able to pull it off. Mine came out okay, the thing on the bottom is supposed to be a bow tie but it looks like a mouth to me. It was a fun weekend, now I'm even more excited for Halloween and trick or treating!

Our little pumpkin family.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Citrus Lane review - October 2014

Olivia's Citrus Lane box came yesterday. 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 gender neutral). This box is for a 20 month old girl.

Everything Olivia got in her October Citrus Lane box.

Janod taxi & pink car story city set: These are cute, each set comes with a wooden car and a little person. We already have cars similar to these so I may just keep one and sell or trade the other. I think I'll save the pink one for Liv's stocking. She really loves cars so I'm sure she would like either one of these. They are also compatible with standard train track sets but we don't have one. Retails for: $8.00 each

Ooh La Leggies pink leg warmers: This was the item that I got to choose this month. There were three different options. Solid pink, polka dot or cupcakes, I picked the solid pink because I figured they would go with a lot more outfits. The patterns were really adorable but we will definitely get more use out of the solid pink. We have another pair of leg warmers and I like them so these will be perfect for the fall and winter. Retails for: $10.00

Hohner Kids maracitos: These would have been great for Liv's stocking too but we already have maracas. I know that isn't Citrus Lane's fault but I will probably end up selling or trading these as well. They are pretty small, smaller than the set we already have. Retails for: $9.00

Add ons: The add ons are always my favorite! There was a coupon code that made these band aids free so of course I had to get them. They are Mr. Men and Little Miss, I used to love the Little Miss books when I was a kid and I forgot about them until now. I have to buy some of the books for Liv!
This months box was pink for breast cancer awareness* and they had some cute mustache cutouts to play with. I have to admit that when I saw the spoilers for this month, I was disappointed. It wasn't a great box but it was okay, I would have liked it better if we didn't already have most of the items in different versions. The total value of this box is about $35. I bought the six month subscription and with coupons, I paid about $15 per month so for me it was a good deal. However, if I paid the full price of $29, I would be a bit annoyed. 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.
*If you buy a Citrus Lane gift subscription and use the code BOWSTACHE at checkout, $20 will be donated to organizations supporting women's and men's health.
Olivia wanted nothing to do with the mustache so we had to bother Rooney.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rainy day

When I woke up this morning it was raining like crazy. I debated taking Olivia to playgroup but she loves it so we ventured out in the rain. By the time we got inside the library, we were soaked. It was worth it though, Olivia had a blast. She was really good today, for the most part. We were both so tired when we got home, we ended up taking a four hour nap. I didn't feel great when I woke up, I think it was because I was so hungry. We met up with my friend for dinner, Olivia was really good at the restaurant up until the end when she started to get a little antsy. She ate really well today so I was happy about that. So far taking a little less acid reflux medication hasn't changed her appetite or mood. Olivia has been stealing Paul's PlayStation remote and it looks like she's playing but she really isn't, she just likes pressing the buttons. I think it's so cute when she plays pretend.

Liv loves putting blankets over her head and running around, she is so silly.
I should have gotten her a ghost costume for Halloween.
 She didn't want to sit in the high chair anymore, note the cranky face.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another GI update

Olivia had a follow up GI appointment this morning (technically yesterday morning). It went pretty well, she had fun in the waiting room playing with the toys. They have a wall with a projection of pictures on it and when you wave your hand in front of it, the pictures move. All of the big kids were playing with it, Olivia ran over to them and started copying what they were doing. She kept looking up at them for approval and it was just so adorable. She looked so tiny next to all of them but she wasn't shy at all. She also shocked me and didn't cry when the doctor came in but she definitely didn't want him too close. I talked to the doctor about weaning her off the acid reflux medication (Prevacid). We are going to do it slowly, making a small change every two weeks. As long as she doesn't start vomiting or lose her appetite then we will stick to that plan. The way we are going to do it will take about two months, I'm in no rush though. She is still between her 10-15% curve for weight so it definitely scares me when we make a change. Our feeding routine has been working well, I don't want her to start losing weight because then I'll feel like we're going backwards and it took so long to get her to this point. I also don't want her to be in any pain but I do think that it's time to start attempting a wean so we'll see how it goes. We also talked about giving her less puree during the day and more table food. The only reason that I still give her puree is because I put her Duocal (powder that adds extra calories) in it but that may also be the reason why she gets full so quickly when I give her table food. It's all trial and error, the doctor said there isn't just one way to do it but we will figure it out eventually. I hope I am making sense because it's pretty late and I'm tired. Anyway, the appointment went well and the doctor said Olivia looks great so hopefully the little changes we make will be good changes.

Playing in the waiting room.
I forgot to mention how Liv pulled everything out of her diaper bag while we were waiting for the doctor. I let her do that instead of what she really wanted to do (play with the computer keyboard).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Last minute stress

Before Olivia came along, I was super organized. I had everything planned out, I always got things done extra early. I would buy my Halloween costume months in advance and I never really worried about it. Now, I feel like everything I do is last minute and rushed, I guess having a kid will do that to you. The last few days I have been scrambling to get things done. It's frustrating because now that I have a job, on my days off I have to do everything I couldn't get done on the days I worked (laundry, dishes, shopping, errands). I finally figured out Olivia's costume so I went to buy it and it was sold out, I had to go to another store and get her a different version of what I wanted. She was excited though, when she saw it she started yelling out what it was (you'll see soon). I tried it on her when we got home and it's so darn cute! Next year, I will be prepared and get it earlier, although Halloween is still a few weeks away but I guess people don't want to end up like me. I also had to get myself a costume since we are having a Halloween party at work but I didn't put much effort into it, it's just something I threw together quick. I definitely didn't buy an actual costume because they were all so expensive and way too short for me (to put it politely), I would probably get fired for that. Next weekend we are going to a pumpkin patch, I think Olivia will enjoy it much more this year (last year she was unimpressed). I really love getting pumpkins and carving them, I'm like a little kid during the holidays (the complete opposite of Paul, he's a grouch). I think I'm going to have Olivia paint a little pumpkin because obviously she can't carve one yet. I just realized that she can eat candy this year so I won't get to steal all of it, bummer. That's probably a good thing though, right?

The other day Rooney (our cat) was playing with Liv's rubber ducky, he was pushing it around with his paw and running after it. Olivia thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world, she was cracking up so hard that she almost fell over. She didn't stop laughing for a good five minutes, it was the cutest thing ever. No matter how many times I've made her laugh, she has never laughed that hard before. She really loves the cats, all she wants to do lately is chase them around and play with them. She's also been hugging them a lot lately but they aren't into it.

Shopping for cats.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Early intervention

When Olivia was in the hospital, one of the things that came up was making sure that we would have the resources needed to catch her up if necessary. She spent almost an entire month in the hospital and most of that time, she was intubated (breathing tube). The doctors let me know that it is very common for children with health issues (or being at the hospital for an extended period of time) to fall a bit behind in their milestones. I have asked several heart moms about this and almost all of them said their child had some type of delay. I want to mention that just because a child is a bit behind, does not mean they can't catch up but getting them help to do so is key. I have a few friends who had their child in Birth to 3 (completely healthy kids by the way) and they are now caught up and doing great in school! Anyone I've talked to about this always stresses the importance of early intervention. Where we live, our early intervention program is called Birth to 3. When we brought Liv home from the hospital (after her surgery stay), I set up a time for them to come to our house and do an evaluation. During that evaluation, our main concern was her eating difficulties. Olivia was also slightly behind with her fine motor skills but everything else was on track. Since she wouldn't eat, they sent a therapist to our house every other week to work on helping her to learn. They also gave me tips (different bottles/nipples, face exercises, different textures to try, etc.) on helping her but as most of you know, this didn't work out so well. Olivia sort of stumped the therapists she saw, it wasn't that she didn't know how to eat, it was just that she didn't want to. I attribute a lot of that to the feeding tube, not only was it bothering her throat but it was also keeping her full. You can read more about that in my previous post - More about the tube. Just to be clear, I think feeding tubes can be a life saver in certain circumstances. After I was able to wean her off the tube, Birth to 3 continued to come. They helped her with improving her fine motor skills, therapy is basically just play time for Liv. They bring different toys and puzzles, they watch and guide her. They teach me how I can help her when they aren't there and it's been great. She is pretty much on track with fine motor skills now but last month I brought up my concern about her speech. At 18 months, a child should be saying at least ten words (don't quote me on that because I can't remember exactly what they said) but Olivia was only saying three. She was saying "mama", "dada" and "cat". After another evaluation, the therapist said Olivia was speaking at a 13-15 month old level, so we started services for speech. I was told that it's a good idea to start practicing some sign language with Liv so that she wouldn't get frustrated if she didn't know how to say the word. Livy picked it up within a few days, she can sign for "all done" and "more". I am going to introduce a few more signs this week. I was worried that signing would make her not want to talk at all, since she could just sign what she wanted but it's actually the opposite, signing helps speech. Olivia has picked up two new words in the last few weeks, she is now saying "hi" and "baby". Aside from that, she understands everything. If I say "bring me the ball" she will, if I say "where's dada?" she will look at Paul, she knows her name, she points, she makes eye contact, she smiles, laughs and socializes. The therapist said these are all great signs and that since Olivia is making progress, she is confident that she will catch up. She surprises me every day. For example, sometime last month a commercial came on for this cat toy that Olivia got last Christmas, she saw the commercial, got off the couch and ran to the shelf to point at her cat (she knew she had the same one). I know Olivia is smart, she's just quiet. I know I'm rambling a bit but I guess my point is, don't get discouraged. You know your child best and if something seems off, it doesn't hurt to get an evaluation. Olivia's cardiologist told me that he sees a huge difference between the kids that see Birth to 3 and the kids that don't. I understand that some people don't seek help because they want to believe everything is fine but it's not a bad thing if your child is behind. I have an ongoing struggle with myself, I try not to be paranoid but I also don't want to turn a blind eye. I love Olivia and I want the best for her, helping her early on was an easy decision for me. My hope is that she will be completely caught up before she starts school. If she isn't, that's okay too, we will worry about that if/when the time comes. I will continue to encourage her and I will always be a proud mama.

Monday, October 6, 2014

thredUP review

thredUP is an online consignment store with tons of brand name clothes for awesome prices. They have women's clothes, shoes and accessories. They have clothes and shoes for kids as well. I check the site regularly and there are some really great deals. They let you know the condition of the item (brand new, minor flaw, etc.) You can also sell your clothes to thredUP but I haven't tried that yet. I made an account months ago and I finally ordered something a few weeks ago. I'm really picky when it comes to clothes, especially when buying online. I normally like trying everything on, I'm not great at knowing what will look good on me. So instead of just guessing, I searched for brands that I know fit me well (PINK, Abercrombie & Fitch, Juicy, Hollister). After placing my order, it took a little over a week to get my clothes.

I love the color of the box and the cute polka dots!
I decided to keep it simple for my first order so I ended up buying a sweater and a shirt, I really need some new winter clothes so this is a good start. The sweater I picked is an Abercrombie sweater, it said there was a minor flaw but I don't see anything wrong with it. It's grey, oversized and so comfy, I love it! I will be wearing it a lot during the fall/winter, especially in the house since it gets so cold and like I said, it's extra comfy and cozy! Anyone who knows me, knows that comfort is very important when it comes to my wardrobe. The other shirt I got was from Victoria's Secret PINK collection. It's a long sleeved bright pink lightweight shirt, I love these shirts from PINK, I have about ten of them. I know that's kind of overkill but they are perfect for throwing on with yoga pants and running to the store or anywhere casual. This one was actually brand new with the tags still on and I paid so much less than I normally would have for it. I am very happy with my first purchase from thredUP and I will definitely continue to browse the site from time to time, I'm sure I will place an order again soon. If you want to find out more, check out their site, you can get $10 off your first purchase by using my referral - Melissa's thredUP referral.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Retractment of a favorite

I posted my favorites at the beginning of the week and I was on the fence about the tablet. It was not exactly what I had thought it would be. It was too difficult to type on (I know, that makes me sound super old) and Olivia is still pretty young to need a tablet. When she is a little bit older, we will possibly get one for her. I just couldn't find a need for it right now so I returned it. I ended up getting a laptop instead (which was only $40 more than the tablet). So far I really love the laptop, I had no idea that I could get one for so cheap. I'm not going to lie, Windows 8.1 is new to me so I am having a little bit of trouble navigating around it but Google has been a huge help. I may do a review on the laptop within the next few weeks but so far, so good!

The past few days have been pretty busy, I've either been working or running around with Liv. There has been a lot on my "to do" list that I have been meaning to get around to for a while now. Luckily today was my day off from work so I was able to get a lot of it done, I feel pretty accomplished. It's amazing what I can get done when I skip my afternoon nap, I love when I surprise myself. By the way, posting on my blog was on that list so I can check that off now too!

On Thursday I took Olivia to playgroup like always and she had so much fun. She was in the best mood (I wish I could say that all the time). She gets so excited when the teacher blows bubbles, all the kids do but Olivia and two other kids start yelling excitedly and run around trying to pop them all. It's so cute, everyone gets a kick out of them. After playgroup I had to stop by the store for some groceries. As we were walking down the aisle, Olivia spotted some Dora fruit snacks and started reaching for them so I let her hold them (bad move, I ended up buying them). When we got home, I tried them but they were a little too chewy and I'm paranoid of her choking so I never gave her any. I don't think she cared about anything but the box anyway. I'm pretty sure that seeing Dora on the box was Olivia's highlight of the day.

"Mommy, you can't say no to this adorable face!"

Today, I had to run a bunch of errands (returning the tablet, getting the laptop, going to the bank, picking up food, etc.) and it was pouring out the entire time, I was soaked by the end of it. I also had to do laundry, give Liv a bath and organize some stuff. Like I mentioned earlier, I got a lot done. I took Livy to one of the stores with me and every time we passed by a mirror, she would smile at herself and start playing with her hair. She is seriously my entertainment, I love her.

 Left: My mom sent me this picture while I was at work and it melted my heart.
Right: She has been obsessed with sitting in boxes/buckets lately. Silly girl.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Last year in my twenties

Yesterday was my birthday, I'm officially 29 (not 30 just yet)! I am seriously going to miss my twenties, so many awesome things happened to me in the past ten years. After I turned 21, I had a blast going out all with my friends and also got lucky that nothing bad ever happened to me during that time. I definitely got all the partying out of my system. I met Paul and we got married, we had an amazing little girl together. I know she went through a lot and I would never wish for that to happen but she has come so far and I am very grateful that we have her, I wouldn't change that for the world. I had to reflect a little bit but I had such a great day yesterday. In the afternoon I took Olivia to see my sisters new puppy, she was so adorable! Since she's just a puppy, she was nipping a lot and jumping around. Olivia loved her but she got scared when the puppy tried to nip her, she also almost knocked her over. My mom watched Liv afterwards so me and Paul could go out to dinner. We got hibachi and it was so much fun! I was finally able to catch a vegetable in my mouth and then the guy squirted me with water (hilarious). I only had one drink but I was feeling pretty tipsy. The food was amazing and the banana tempura was delicious! It was the perfect birthday and I'm so thankful for my family. Olivia has been sleeping through the night again by the way, thank goodness!

Sadie! How cute is she?!