Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite things #6: disposable place mats and cart/highchair cover

Anytime we go anywhere to eat i take two things with us. 1- the cart/highchair cover and 2- disposable place mats. Knowing how temping everything is for Brayden to put his mouth and anything and everything these are invaluable!  I'm not a total germo-phob but I know that places do NOT clean thier stuff up to my standards. In fact i don't ever think i have seen a high chair get cleaned after we use one. 

For now I have been using these sesame street table stickies and they work awesome. they have fun character on them and are colorful. and it sticks at the top and bottom so i wrap the one side under the table. Since brayden loves to chew the end of the table it's a necessity. lol 

Since these aren't the most "green" products I was thinking of getting one of the rubber ones that you can keep reusing, i need to find a good deal on one. with my amazon obsession i'm sure i'll be getting it from there! lol

HAHAHAHA! this pic is HILARIOUS! and he's using both his seat cover and place mat!
- it's his "are you serious!?!?" face

Baby #2, IVF and The Big "C" Scare

I've been debating back and forth on how much of my medical/personal stuff I was going to put out there and I decided, what the hell, I'm going all out. If anything I was hoping that by sharing my own health issues it would provide support to those going through similar situations and to let them know you are NOT alone!  The whole reason I started blogging in the first place was because I wished I had chronicled things while we were TTC with Brayden, so in the mindset of not being counterproductive why not just put all out here we go!

Backtracking...  Jason and I had decided that while I am enjoying my temporary status of being a stay at home mom it would be a good time to start thinking about baby #2.  We hadn't exactly been "trying" but we weren't preventing. I was pretty sure that I wasn't even ovulating but we had fun "trying" anyway. I got my first cycle about 11 weeks postpartum and they have been erratic since then. Thank you PCOS. Knowing EVERYTHING we had went through to conceive with Brayden we decided to set up an appointment with the RE (reproductive endocrinologist) about doing another round of IVF.  The appt went great, we still have 15 embryos (aka snow babies) on ice so we have plenty to work with. The Dr did another round of blood work to see what my "hormone" situation is, and it confirmed that I am not ovulating. No big surprise b/c I have never ovulated with out stim meds and/or some form of trigger. So the game plan was to induce my cycle with Provera(progesterone) and then when I get the following cycle (which would prob need to be induced as well) we would start the meds to do another round of IVF called a FET (frozen embryo transfer).  The RE said that b/c we still have so many embryos we would thaw 6 again and take the best two grade and transfer them.  We are a little nervous about the prospect of twins with Brayden being so young but we will be happy with whatever we are blessed with.  We will just be happy if it works. Last time Brayden's twin didn't make it past 6 weeks so we are worried that if we only transfer one it wouldn't work.  Guess we will see what is meant to be!

So in preparation to do the FET I needed to get my annual Pap Smear. I had my appt the same week as my RE appt so it worked out well. I was just hoping the results would come back and we would be good to go.  In the mean time I had gotten my cycle and we were inducing for the next one to start my IVF meds. Of course I has a VERY short cycle (only 19 days) and I got my period, which for me is unheard of.  So of course I thought it was a good sign. But the joke was on me. That same day I got a call from my OB saying that my pap smear came back abnormal and I needed to have a Colposcopy and biopsy done of the area. I was really upset that we had to delay the FET but I knew that we needed to make sure things were okay. A few years before we got pregnant with Brayden I had the same thing happen and the biopsy came back okay so we didn't have any issues. This time I was not as lucky. Of course the day I got the call I missed the call and the OB left me a message to call her. I have NEVER gotten a call from the ob no matter what has been going on so I knew it couldn't be good. I didn't get the message till after the office was closed so I myself a night full of anxiety till I could talk to someone the next morning. When I called the next morning the dr wasn't in but I told them I HAD to talk to someone. They got the nurse shannon on the phone for me. She is amazing, she is usually the one you get calls from or if you have any questions shes soooo helpful. Apparently my biopsy came back as pre-cancerous. I had a surgical consult with the dr a week or so later and she explained that the cells had mutated so rapidly from the time of my pap to the colposcopy that they were the stage right before cervical cancer. NOT what I expected on hearing.  I was elated that is wasn't fully blown cancer but the prospect of having something so wrong really scared me. I didn't even want to think about the "what if's" or ever leaving my husband and beautiful baby boy.  Needless to say we had to cancel out IVF cycle. I am just grateful that we caught it before it turned in to full blown cancer. 

So the game plan from here was to do a procedure called a LEEP. It's where they cut out the affected part of your cervix.  I just had the procedure this week and the dr said it all went well. They did it at the Cooper Surgical Center under twilight anesthesia. They gave me the option to do it on the office with NO anesthesia and i just laughed. After everything my body went though with Brayden's delivery and as I call it the "after math" there is no way I was putting myself in an unnecessary pain.  I go back for a follow up in 2 1/2 weeks. The dr said they will allow us to continue IVF in about 3-4 months. So we are looking at Oct/Nov, I have to call the RE and see what they say as far as a timeline b/c they obviously are the ones who give the go ahead. 

I'm feeling a little bit better about everything, emotionally at least.  I'm still hurting some from the procedure but I will live. I had a lot of help the day of and after with Brayden so that really helped. My mom watched the baby while Jason took me to the procedure and my sister Katie came over that night and stayed the next day till Jason got home from work.  Having her there was a god sent.  I have to laugh at things b/c I should of known that "just" doing another round of IVF would be so simple.  If anyone knows me, I never do things easy. lol 

I really love my RE and OB office! For anyone in our area looking for a good dr here's the information:

Cooper OBGYN: I usually see Dr Salvatore, but Dr Suarez did my procedure and Dr. Mama did Brayden's forcept delivery. They are all AMAZING! They have a few offices but I go to the Marlton location.
Located:  127 Church Rd, Marlton, NJ 08053
Phone: 856-983-5691

Cooper IVF: Dr Check's office is one of the TOP rated in the state and has awesome success rates, I'm proof it works. lol I've dealt with almost all of the dr's at the office, you really can't go wrong.
Located: 8002E Greentree Commons (rt73), Marlton, NJ 08053
Phone: 856-751-5575

Favorite things #5: Hair care and Products

Oh how I dream of "Big Sexy Hair", who doesn't?! Lol But in reality I have the thinnest, finest hair that literally does nothing!  I have tried every volumizing product professional and not and have had barely any luck making my hair look anything but limp.  But my FAVORITE line of products would absolutely have to be "Big Sexy Hair"! It's the only line that adds some texture to my hair and give it a little bit of a lift with out making it heavy and feel nasty.  I swear by this stuff!  Fortunately my sister has a cosmetology liscence so I get the hook up at the beauty supply store! Who doesn't love saving money!? But you can usually get these at Ulta and even JC Penny salon will have them on sale. Last time I saw them they were 40% off!

I use the mousse and hairspray from this line! 

Since I blow dry my hair pretty much every day, or I look like a ratty homeless person lol, I use the Chi Silk Infusion to help protect my hair. I love this stuff, you only need the smallest amount and it helps prevent frizzyness and keeps it silky smooth. 

Right now I'm using(even my hubby) Bed Head Shampoo and Conditioner. It's great b/c it clarifys your hair but the conditioner is not too heavy to make it limp.  I've been working on these bottles forever since they are the larger pump kind from the beauty supply. I try and alternate what shampoo/conditioner i use every other time I buy and find it helps.

Favorite things #4: Easy and Cheap Food Faves

Everyone had products that they swear by or will only buy certain brands of. I can be that way about certain things like OJ, PB and so on. These are just some random stuff I always have in my cabinet that I absolutely love. Even better I can get them on sale and use coupons. 

 I love this premade mix for pancakes and waffles. The trick for waffles is to use club soda instead of water, it makes the waffles nice and light and fluffy!  Of course whether I'm making home made batter or box mix I love to jazz up the pancakes with fruit, PB spices like cinnamon or even some flavored chocolate chips.

 Make puppy dog pancakes! Use one for a face, cut one in half to make two ears, use blueberries for eyes and nose and/or strawberry slices for tongue/nose. You can even use whip cream to make hair!
Catepillar Pancakes!  You can make little round pancakes and put them in a line! decorate one with a face!
NOT my PHOTOS but just something to help you vizualize!

We love all kinds of beans and different kinds of rice. I love the Zatarain's rices they give you the best of both worlds, you can get them reasonably priced, there's pretty good for you (despite some sodium) and are a super easy side for dinner. Simmer for 25 mins while you're getting dinner ready and you're good to go!

My girlfriend Patti had a Tastefully Simple Party and I LOVE LOVE this beer bread! You can opt to use any carbonated drink but it is so SWEET and delicious.  I definitely need to get some more! 
More fun foods to come! I'm also going to start posting my FAV RECIPIES!!! Stay tuned!!

Favorite things #3: Touch and Feel Flash Cards

I bought Brayden these touch and feel flash cards when I was still pregnant. I thought they were the cutest thing and he LOVES them!  I picked them up at Barnes and Noble.(PS they are on SALE right now!!) I know a few other sites carry them. They are super cute and the fact that they are touch and feel make them all the more entertaining for a 9 month old.  Hopefully this doesn't come off as the physcho mom that thinks THIER kid is going to read at 1 year (lol), it's just a fun educational way to look at colors, shapes and count. If anything we look at them for like 2-3 minutes and he usually ends up throwing the cards all over, crawls on them and eats them.  But hey, that's what they're for right?!

I had a fun idea to make eating and playing in the highchair more entertaining. And hey if he learns something even better. I took a few of the cards and made color copies and put them between the trays of the highchair.  So far he seems to love it and if they get ruined it costs me almost nothing. Fortunately a standard sheet of paper fits on top of his so no cutting.Thought I would share this idea!  I also want to make up ones with his name in big bold letters and pictures of his favorite things or people. 

Yup...there's left over food in the seat. lol
 He loves the firetruck and is really good at practicing firetruck sounds! :)
 He LOVES the baby, always wants to kiss it!

Erin Farrell Photoshoot!

Back in the first week of June we had our photoshoot with the amazing Erin Farrell. She did an amazing job and got the cutest shots of Brayden! They really capture his personality. I just LOVE his smile and contagous laughter! It was REALLY hard to narrow down which ones to actually get.  I'm still debating on how to finish hanging the rest. The walls in our house are certainlly looking like a Brayden Museum! 

Definitely check her out if you are intertested in professional pics! She's based right in Delaware. I have referral cards if anyone would like them.  Even those are adorable, she put his picture on them. :)

My ABSOLUTE favorite!
 Mommy's Little Monkey!
(I got the hat from Preppy Peach Boutique on Etsy)

Favorite things #2: best body pillow ever

When I was pregnant I had the worst time finding a way to get somewhat comfortable when sleeping. Then again, what pregnant woman doesn't? I found this Amy Coe Zebra Body Pillow at Babies R Us and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Pregnant or not, it is absolutely amazing to sleep with! I'm a side sleeper and toss and turn all night and this makes sleeping so much better. When Brayden was little and had bad nights we would use it as an infant positioner to bring him in to bed with us, beats having to buy a co-sleeper. It was a little pricey at $50 but of course I used a 20% coupon.  Best pillow ever!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

These are a few of my Favorite things! #1

I was thinking about all the random products and things that I LOVE and figured it would be a fun "segment" to add to my blog!

Last week I dicovered these fun noodles for Brayden. Yes I know i'm excited about noodles but they are great and they get a serving of veggies, which can be great for the picky older toddlers.  And since they were on sale and I have a $1 off coupon for 2 boxes I paid less than $1 for both! can't beat that! I mix the two kinds of noodles together when I make them. They are fun, colorful and are made for kids so they're the perfect size for him to chew!  They go great with a side of veggies, meat/fish and you can dip them in yummy dressings/sauces!

9 month Pedes visit and Braydens 1st STEPS!

Braydens 9 month pedes appt went great he is now 19lb 1/5oz(25%) and 30 1/4 inches tall (98%)! Fortunately this month was only one shot and a hemoglobin test. The dr had me fill out a motor/verbal skills evalutation and he scored way above average functioning above the 12 month level!!!  I can't believe all the things he can do. The dr was really impressed with how advanced he is. I hate to be one of those annoying bragging moms i'm SO proud of my little man! Unfortunately our fav pedes Dr. Sarah is leaving the practice in September so we won't get to see her anymore.  She will be getting to work closer to home but she's been awesome in following Brayden with his reflux and milk protein issues. 

So the dr said we can now add eggs and peanut butter. To watch the PB carefully and still stay away from whole nuts. She actually wants us to start giving him whole milk at 11 months?!  So that's the game plan. Other than that he has no restrictions, she was happy with all the foods/water he is eating and drinking. And we are going to try and transition solely to sippy cup when we go to whole milk. Guess we will see how it goes. It'll prob be a process but I'm sure he will do great!

Dr. Sarah and I always joke that Brayden ALWAYS does new milestones RIGHT after we see her, and boy were we right! Tonight he decided he was going to take his first steps all on his own!  It's insane to see such a little person trying to walk. He gets so excited and proud of himself he screams and laughs while he's doing it and tries to run all at the same time. Needlesss to say he can only get maybe 2 or 3 steps in if he is lucky before he dives on the floor. But he laughed and got back up to try again. We did get video where i help him stand back up and ask him to walk to us!! SO cute! not sure if i'll post that or other video b/c I'm dressed all crazy bummy and a hot mess in it! lol  but i promise I will post something asap!!

All i know is This boy needs to SLOW down, he's not a baby anymore!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mom's 50th Birthday Cake!

I decided to make my mom's birthday cake for her suprise party! This time I wanted to try royal icing stenciling. I'd seen it online and in magazines and it always looks so awesome! But when i looked online for "cake stencils" i was FLOORED at how much they can be. I'm talking 50+ for a stencil! SERIOUSLY!? So being the frugal mom I am i went to the craft store and looked for small enough stencils to fit a two layer cake. It ended up only costing me with coupons(of course) $3 for each one.  Gotta love that! 
Since my mom's favorite flower is the white daisy I started with that and decided to do yellow so i could find other color daisy's to match for the cake topper.  For my first attempt i think it turned out pretty good. I am not happy with the border on each layer. I should of just did it in white icing or another technique, but i had a lot of extra royal icing that was already tinted that I didnt want to waste. 

So here it is!! It's a home made poundcake (my grandmothers recipe) with buttercream frosting, with rolled fondant!

PS! Fondant does burn! lol Since i had flowers on top and I insisted on putting 50 candles on it, all the heat stared to singe the cake and flowers! lol 

SUPRISE!!! Happy 50th Birthday mom!

Since me and my mom are so close it was SO hard to keep her 50th surprise party a surprise! lol But we pulled it off! She honestly had NO clue and it made it great!  For the party we did yellow, white and sea foam green color scheme, I made her cake and most of of the food.  I took her out for a day with Brayden while everyone else set up and decorated! It turned out to be a good time! Mom is ALWAYS putting everyone before herself so it was great to give her a special day! She deserves it!  Love you mommy, Happy 50th birthday! Here's to 50 years of memories and all the ones to come! 

I tried to make sure I got photos of everyone there!  :)  But there are WAAAY too many to upload them all!

Jellybean Jungle!

As you'll see in the next post to follow we threw my mom a suprise 50th birthday party! In an attempt to get her out of the house Brayden and I took "grammy" out to lunch and went to a cute little place called Jellybean Jungle. It's a pretty small place, not the "fanciest" but it was a great time for Brayden. It's a play area for children under 5. It was only 4.50 for bray since he's only 9 month old and you get two free adults. Which is awesome. 
He absolutely LOVED the ball pits! I am so not suprised b/c he loves the little ball pit his auntie katie got him for christmas but he was in heaven with the big ones. I'm not sure if he liked the kids or all the things to do better! :) he's so nosy and a social butterfly and needs to know what's going on all the time.  (just like his mommy. lol) 

We always joke Brayden is a little monkey but I was impressed with how well he was climbing and pulling himself up on anything and everything! He had so much fun!!

Yes he was "walking" himself up the jungle jim! OF course being a paranoid mom i was there to lend a helping hand!
Whatcha looking at?!
 Taking over the "big kid" ball pit! lol
 He knew how to move the pieces and wheels! SMART boy!
 Typical crazy brayden face!
 He loved the hanging pieces!
 He climbed up all on his own with grammy as a spotter! Go Brayden!

Big Boy Car Seat!

For our trip to Rehoboth Beach I figured now was the perfect time to change Brayden over to his "big boy" car seat. He was definitely getting WAY too long for his infant car seat and I knew he's love the convertable carseat we have for him! Of course he loved it! He has so much more leg room, although i think i need to put in the extra head pillow that came with it. Sometimes when he falls asleep his neck cranes wierd and it looks borderline painful.  He sleeps but i can't see how it is comfortable. I LOVE this car seat. Its an Evenflo Symphony Convertable Car Seat. Goes from 5 to 65 pounds and was super easy to install. Gotta love that!