Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Citrus Lane review - February 2015

We got our box a little later than usual this month but better late than never. 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 24 month old girl.

Everything Olivia got in her February Citrus Lane box.
Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie - ladybug: This is the item that I got to pick this month. Olivia already has the ladybug backpack so now she has the matching lunchie to go with it. The other animals were really cute too, I love the Skip Hop zoo stuff! This is adorable but we probably wont use it that much right now. I think it will come in handy when Liv is a bit older. It's really great quality and it's also insulated. Retails for: $14

Alex Hoops for the Tub: I saw a lot of spoilers this month for Liv's age group and everyone was getting Boon links or Boon pieces. I am so glad we didn't get those because they would have been repeats for us. I was hoping we would get this, I actually almost got it for Liv with our Pampers reward points and now I'm glad I didn't. She wanted me to open it right away, she was throwing the balls around and playing with them. Today I actually put it in the bath for her and she kept putting the balls in the hoop and taking them out, it kept her busy for a while. She has a lot of other bath toys but I think she started to get bored of them because we haven't gotten anything new in a while, we got this at the perfect time. Retails for: $10

YumEarth sour beans: These are little sour jelly beans and they are all natural. There aren't any artificial dyes in them, they are also gluten free, fat free, nut free and soy free. Olivia doesn't have any known allergies so I don't look for this kind of stuff much. I tried a few and they are actually pretty good. They aren't too sour and they are smaller than other jelly beans. I normally don't give Olivia sticky candy but once in a while isn't a big deal, I think she will like these. Retails for: $1.49 per bag

Stephen Joseph Little squirts - ladybug: It's interesting that we got another ladybug product, it matches her lunchie and ladybugs are so cute. This drink pouch is freezable and dishwasher safe. I haven't given this to Liv yet but I tried it out and I have a few issues with it. It took me over a minute to get the top off, maybe I'm just weak but I doubt a child could do it. Also, it doesn't seem to leak when the top is on but once opened and turned upside down, the water just pours out. Olivia is still a toddler so turning something upside down is inevitable. This might be great for when she's older but I don't think it will work well for us right now. It's not a big deal though, I rather get things that are too old for her than too young. She will eventually be able to use it. Retails for: $4.99

This box was pretty good, I really like the lunchie and hoops for the tub. The jelly beans will be a special treat and the drink pouch will be useful eventually. The total value of this box is about $32, not a great value this month if you are paying the full $29. I used coupon codes and only paid about $15 so I am happy with it. My subscription ran out this month and I was going to cancel but they offered me another three months at $15 per month so I decided to continue it (for now at least). Anyway, 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 boxes or you will be charged again.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday party

We had Olivia's birthday party yesterday and it was really fun. The theme this year was Dora the Explorer (her favorite show). It was pretty time consuming setting up all the tables, chairs and decorations but my mom helped me and it looked great when we were finished. There was a snow storm on Saturday so the parking lot was not even plowed and the walkway wasn't shoveled either. Paul had to do it by himself and he did a good job, thankfully he got it done quick too. Olivia got a cold on Saturday so she wasn't feeling 100% yesterday morning but once she got to her party, she forgot all about being sick (until we got home). Unfortunately, due to the snow and all the bugs going around, not everyone could make it but it was still a great day! Olivia loved running around and chasing the other kids, it was awesome for me because they were keeping her entertained. I also brought a bubble machine (my mom's idea) and it was a huge hit. All the kids were super excited to pop all the bubbles and run into them. Olivia loved the bike that we got her, she wanted to get on it right away, she was even sitting on it today while watching TV. The party went perfect but cleaning up wasn't fun, my back is so sore today. Liv didn't eat much all day since she was too busy playing so I was a little stressed out about that. I tried to feed her when we got home but since she didn't take a nap, she was falling asleep in her high chair. It was a pretty exhausting day but it was all worth it and I'm so glad Olivia had fun. We both slept in this morning and just relaxed for most of the day.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Livy's two year checkup

Today was a very busy day and I'm so glad it's over. This morning I took Olivia to playgroup, it was in a different room today and of course the room had stairs. All she wanted to do was climb up and down them, it was exhausting chasing after her. We were all sitting on the floor and she must have got confused because she ran up behind some lady and threw her arms around her neck and hugged her. The lady started laughing and said she was really cute but I was slightly embarrassed. I don't know if Liv thought it was me or if she just wanted to hug a random lady. After playgroup I had to get a bunch of errands done and I had to bring Olivia of course. I don't know if she is getting heavier or if I'm getting weaker but lugging her around is no joke. By the time we were done with errands, it was time for her appointment. That means that she skipped her nap, never a good idea. She weighs 21lbs and she is 32 inches long, that means she only gained 2lbs in six months. That bummed me out a bit but her doctor said she's still on her curve. She's between the 5th and 10th percentile for weight and height, so she is pretty proportionate. Since she is behind with speech, I asked about getting her hearing tested. He said it would be a good idea to get it checked so he referred her to a specialist. I have to call and make an appointment tomorrow. After a few more questions, it was time for her shot. I always dread when she has to get shots. She was so mad at the doctor, she swatted at his hand when he tried to put the band aid on her. It took me a while to calm her down and then she had to get her finger pricked for blood work. Good thing the nurse did it because the doctor was already on her bad side. After all the crying, she slept like a champ in the car and then for another two hours once we got home. She didn't have much of an appetite when she woke up and she was pretty cranky for the rest of the night. I put her to bed hours ago and she is still awake in her crib right now. She isn't crying but she just doesn't want to sleep. It was a long day, I can't wait to crawl into bed and get a good night's sleep (hopefully).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Olivia is two!

Today is Olivia's second birthday and I still can't believe how quickly the years are going by. We had a really fun day, I took her to Monkey Joe's in the morning and she had a blast. She was running around as fast as she could, there were a lot of kids there because of the holiday. I love bringing her there because she always takes an epic nap once we get home. She woke up from her nap a little cranky so I let her watch a few episodes of Dora and then she was happy. We had pizza for dinner and then we sang Happy Birthday and had some cake, it was freakin delicious! Olivia isn't a huge fan of cake so she didn't have much but she devoured some M&M's. She technically isn't two yet since she was born at 11:45pm. I feel like this is my day too, I gave birth to her and that was not easy! I always think about that day and when I first saw her, she was such a tiny little thing and I instantly fell in love. We were looking through her baby book yesterday, she looks so different now. I started to get choked up looking at her newborn pictures and reading about all her firsts. It's so amazing to watch her grow up but it also makes me sad, It's bittersweet. When I was putting her to bed tonight, we just laid down together and hugged for a while. She didn't want to let go of me and I loved it, I will miss these moments so much when she is older.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valetine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and of course it snowed. We were supposed to go out for dinner but we decided to go out for lunch instead. I ate way too much, I wasn't even hungry for the rest of the night. When we were leaving, the snow was really starting to come down so we were happy that we went early. After Olivia took her nap, I gave her a few little presents and she was super excited. Her favorite was the chocolate, she had M&M's for the first time and loved them. She would have ate the whole tube if I let her, she got mad at me when I took them away. She is getting really good at throwing tantrums lately, ugh. My mom gave her two balloons, she was running around with them and hugging them. It was cute, one of them was a monkey and she kept saying "oh oh ah ah ah". It was a really fun day but I was pretty exhausted by the end of it all. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Figured it out

Have I mentioned that it's been snowing on and off pretty much all week? No, well just assume that it's always snowing here and I'm so over it. A little update on some stuff I've been posting about, the bottle situation is going much better (knock on wood). Olivia is so particular so I had to find a way that would work for her and I think I got it figured out. She will only drink milk if it's slightly warm, in an open cup, with a straw. That's how I've been giving it to her the last few days and she likes it again (no bottle necessary). I'm so glad she's been drinking it and I hope she continues. Thank goodness that I kept trying because I was so close to just giving up and giving her a bottle again. Oh, I still haven't found a job, that's been pretty stressful. If I cant find something by the end of the month then I'm going to just apply anywhere and everywhere, even if it's just temporary. On a better note, yesterday was a fun day! I took Olivia to my sisters house so she could play with her cousins. They had a good time, Olivia is obsessed with all the trucks and cars they have. Today we went to playgroup, Liv's favorite part is the bubbles. Actually, all the kids go wild when the teacher does bubbles, it's funny to watch. I'm exhausted, it's been a really long week (it seems that way at least). Tomorrow I'm going to the movies with my friend, I really need a break so I'm looking forward to it! Right now I have to go finish laundry and then it's off to bed.

Farmer Liv.

CHD awareness week

This week is CHD awareness week (February 7th-14th)! I find it interesting that Olivia was born just two days shy of that. In case you don't know, Olivia was born with three heart defects. I'm going to try to explain them as simply as I can, I'm not a doctor so I don't know all the correct terminology but I did listen (the best I could) when all of this was explained to me. Her first (and most critical) defect was* CoA (coarcation of the aorta), the main blood vessel was narrow which was causing her heart to pump harder to force the blood to flow through correctly. This is the reason why her heart was enlarged when they did an echocardiogram. She had surgery for her CoA at eleven days old, there is a chance that it could become narrow again but her last check up showed that it was open like it should be. Her cardiologist told me that if it was going to become narrow again, it would have happened by now. I am very happy about that, her surgeon was amazing! Olivia also has two other defects, an ASD (atrial septal defect) and a VSD (ventricular septal defect). Both of these were put on the back burner while we dealt with the CoA, during our last visit we talked about them a little more. Basically an ASD and VSD are holes in the heart, in Olivia's case they aren't very big. Her cardiologist told us that they can close on their own over time so we just have to wait it out and keep an eye on them. One of them is no longer an issue, the other one is smaller now but it hasn't closed completely. I struggle with this from time to time because we still don't know if she will need surgery to close it or not, we wont know for a few more years and it scares the hell out of me (to be completely honest). She was only eleven days old during her first surgery and while it was horrible and sad to see her go through, I know she wont remember it. She was too young to understand what was going on, too young to be scared. Knowing that surgery may be necessary when she is four or even five years old gets my mind racing. How would I even explain that to her? I don't know if I'll have the strength, I'm sure I will find it but it will really break me down. I know I always say I'm going to be positive and I try my hardest. I'm sorry if I contradict myself but that's exactly what my life is, it's a roller coaster. There are major ups and downs when it comes to Olivia's health. Most days I feel like "I can do this! She is perfectly fine and life is great!" and then every once in a while I just wallow in my sorrow. It's extremely difficult not to wonder "why her?!" but why any kid?! It's not fair in the slightest but life keeps moving and we try to adjust. The more time that goes by, the more "normal" it becomes. I just wanted to take some time to get my thoughts out during this week, it's an emotional time for me. I also wanted to raise awareness, I have to admit that I knew nothing about CHD before or during my pregnancy, I never gave it any thought. I worried about a ton of other stuff  that I read about (all the things that could go wrong) and it surprises me now, CHD is so common but it's not mentioned very often. If I had the choice, of course I would pick for Olivia to be perfectly healthy but that just isn't the hand we were dealt. I am so happy she is here, she has overcome so much and she is a beautiful, sassy, and strong little girl who amazes me time and time again.

*I used past tense because her CoA has been surgically repaired.

My beautiful little heart hero.

Our CHD experience: She has heart disease
Olivia's story of hope: Little Hearts
Facts about CHD: CHD facts

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The unpredictable toddler

In my last post, I foolishly talked about how excited I was that Olivia didn't need a bottle anymore. Well, that hasn't been going quite the way I thought it would. She did so great drinking milk from her cup that whole day and the next morning but for some reason, she changed her mind about ditching the bottle. Every time I put the cup of milk in front of her, she pushes it away and gets mad. I've tried a few tricks to get her to drink it, most of them didn't work. When I pretended to drink it myself, she got slightly interested and drank some but next time I tried to do that, she wouldn't copy me. Then I put the milk in a regular cup and let her drink it with a straw, she drank all of it so I got excited again. I don't know why I get excited because she is so unpredictable.. like all toddlers, right? I hope I'm not alone in this! Anyway, that trick only works once in a while. It's so frustrating but I refuse to give her the bottle, I have to make this work. When she wouldn't drink any milk, I got her to drink water so I don't have to worry about her not getting enough fluids. I've also been giving her more cheese and yogurt to get enough calcium into her. If anyone has better suggestions, feel free to message me!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

No more bottle feeding

Yesterday I took Olivia outside to play in the snow for a while, it was surprisingly warm. She always has a blast in the snow, she definitely doesn't take after me in that aspect. When Paul got home from work, we went to a few stores and Olivia's favorite place (the pet store). She is always so excited to see all the animals, she was cracking up at the guinea pigs whenever they would run around really fast. She thought it was hilarious, it doesn't take much to entertain her. This morning it was snowing again, just flurries though so we were able to make it to playgroup. She was in a really good mood which I was not expecting, she didn't get much sleep last night. For some reason she woke up three times in the middle of the night and during one of those times, she stayed up for almost two hours. She is taking a much needed nap right now and I hope it's going to be a long one. Hopefully she wakes up in a good mood again! Yesterday I decided it was time to get her off the bottle, I've tried a few times over the last few months but it didn't work out. I got some suggestions from her therapist this time. Since Olivia still likes her milk warm, I made it the same way as I usually do but I also added a little bit of chocolate to it. She loved it, she drank the entire cup! Her therapist also suggested adding a little less chocolate each time and this morning I just gave her regular whole milk without any chocolate and it worked. She drank almost all of it, we are officially done with the bottle! I know, she's almost two and I should have done this a long time ago but weight gain has been the main priority. Now I just have to get her to drink it cold, although that's not really a big deal. I don't mind warming it up if that's what she likes and the important thing is that she is drinking it and from a cup. The things I get excited about now that I'm a mom are so different than the things I used to get excited about. No more bottle feeding, YESSSS!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Enough snow already!

There was another snowstorm yesterday.. shocking, right? Paul spent most of the day shoveling, I think he secretly enjoys it. I stayed inside with Liv, it was freezing out! I wanted to try snow ice cream, so I made some. It tasted okay but I don't think I would make it again. It was my last day of work and luckily it stopped snowing just as I was getting ready to go in but my car was stuck. Paul was trying to push me out (ha yeah right) but I have my own system of getting unstuck. I reverse a little bit, move my tires back and forth, drive forward and repeat. It took me about ten minutes but I finally got out of our parking lot. I made it to work (late) and I was only there for three hours before they sent me home. It was pretty pointless, especially since the drive in was terrible. My car was sliding everywhere so I could only go about 10mph the whole way. People were being jerks and flying by me, it amazes me how someone could drive like it's a beautiful sunny day out when there is ice and snow everywhere. Although, that explains all the spin outs and wrecks. Anyway, it feels weird not having a job again. I was only there for about seven months but it was going well, I'm kind of bummed that they closed. I have been applying to places but I haven't gotten a call yet. I have so many bills to pay and no income, it's really scary not knowing when I'll find something but I'm going to attempt to be positive. Keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out!

Watching these two play melts my heart.
 Snow ice cream! (It looks more like mashed potatoes to me.)