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Badass bouncies

Since  I am now the proud, oft-frazzled, mother of two babies under two, I have become the Queen of Doing Whatever Works. I frequently find that both kids need my attention at the same time. A typical scenario involves Maya squealing at me (and baby lungs are much stronger than one might initially imagine) for a bottle, and Nick yelling at me for “Mo! Mo! Moooooohhhhh!!!!” which is toddler-speak for “Give me more food NOW or watch your world crumble around your ears”. Both children want to see the fruits of their labor realized, which means that I cannot leave them in the living room  while I go into the kitchen to make a bottle and assemble a plate of toddler-appropriate snacks. So what’s a mom to do? Why, get a bouncy chair, of course!

Here’s one that I especially love, since it converts to a rocker for your toddler, too. At $41.99, you can afford to have a few scattered all over the place, which is what I’ve done. That way, the baby is always privy to everything I’m doing (you know, just in case I’m not making the bottle fast enough to suit her) and she never feels left out. Having several also makes it so that you don’t have to carry your baby AND the  bouncy chair from room to room. A worthy purchase, by all means.

I’m baaaack!!

So, it is crazy that I’ve taken off the past seven or so months in order to (a) finish gestating and (b) try to get a handle (somewhat) on surviving two kids under two??

It feels GOOD to be back, let me tell you!! I have also hopped back onto the freelance writing train, with two articles sent out today (my goal is five per week, and pitifully, so far it’s been 5 in the past seven months…). But I have high hopes for the future!

And now for the big news… WHO was I gestating and WHEN was he/she born? Well…

We have a beautiful baby GIRL named Maya Lorelei, and she is 5 months old this month! So I am now the healthy, happy mom of one gorgeously handsome, funky, wonderfully weird little boy, and one drop-dead pretty, sparkly-eyed, squealy little monster of a girl. Phew!!!!

Stay tuned for more product reviews coming up soon! Just as soon as this poor writer catches her breath…

Ah, the lovely third trimester. You know, when you go from having a cute belly bump to looking like you ate several of your unsuspecting neighbors for dinner. And are having trouble digesting them. I am now 31 weeks, which means I am neatly in this magical last window of pregnancy. I have nine more weeks to go till I hit my due date of end October, so it looked like in the meantime I would have to deal with the summer, being swollen 24/7, running around trying to get my pre-toddler to not injure himself for the zillionth time, AND feeling decidedly unsexy. This is when I decided that it was not fair that we hugely pregnant women are forced to feel like crap right before we undergo the most important, life-changing event one can possibly go through! So for those of you in the dreaded last trimester, fear not. I have actually found a recipe for feeling and looking gorgeous from months 7-9!

The first thing to do is: TAKE CARE OF YOUR FACE. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: you have pregnancy acne, you’re sweating all the time, you’re puffy and swollen from not getting enough sleep/fluid retention, etc. etc. BUT the thing is, with the right products, you can achieve that beautiful, lit-from-within glow that appears to be the sole domain of pregnant women. And lucky you, I have been through the trial and error required to find these very products!

Glowy Face Must-Haves:

#1. Bobbi Brown Apricot and Bronze Shimmer Brick Compact:

The Apricot Shimmer Brick Compact (top) from Bobbi Brown is truly magical. It gives you the perfect peachy-golden glow, much as the name implies. And for you girls who have a darker skin tone, the Bronze Shimmer Brick Compact (bottom) is a godsend! For those in the middle, like me, both of these have to be in your arsenal. I use them over my blush, and it’s like I’ve been sunkissed in all the right places. Whether you’re in your first trimester when you’re pale and green-faced from having been hunched over the toilet all night, or in your last, where you feel like you’ll never be thin again, this makeup item is the ultimate must-have. At $38, it can be pricey for some, but it has lasted me over 4 years now! The individual colors can also be used as eyeshadow, so I see it as a great investment. Besides, anything that can make you feel pretty when you’re pregnant is worth it, right?

#2. Becca Nefertiti Pressed Shimmer Powder

This is what Becca has to say about their Shimmer Powders:

A delicately fine shimmer powder that lights up the complexion, illuminating darkened areas and lackluster skin and creating a magical glow that seems to emanate from within.

Contains ultrafine particles of shimmer (mica) to deflect light and illuminate the skin, crating a natural, radiant look

Does not have a glittery finish and thus can be worn day or night

Suitable for all skin types

Being a powder, the finish is luminous (not shiny or greasy)

I have to agree with all of the above. While the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are great to give you a sunkissed or candlelit glow (depending on whether you use Apricot or Bronze), the Becca Nefertiti Shimmer Powder makes you look like you’re glowing with happiness. It’s really hard to describe, but suffice it to say, I have only seen my skin glow like that in one other situation and I am not permitted to say what situation that was on a G-rated blog! ;)

The price tag of $38 is comparable to the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, and again, completely worth the price. I’ve had mine for about 5 years now, and I’ve barely grazed off the top at all.

#3. Nars Lip Gloss in Sweet Dreams or Sandpiper

I am a certifiable lip gloss junkie. I find previously-loved and then tossed aside tubes of lip gloss dating all the way back to 1997 in my bags all the time. But the one brand of lip gloss I have been in love with for all of my adult life is NARS. NARS lip glosses are different from other brands in that they are extremely soft, and feel delicious on your lips. They moisturize while at the same time kissing your lips with just the right amount of pigment. In my opinion, the two must-haves from NARS are Sweet Dreams (top) and Sandpiper (bottom). Sweet Dreams is described as pink gold with shimmer, and would be perfect for those with fair or fair-medium skin tones. Sandpiper is described as shimmering amber coral, and is perfect for those with medium and darker skin tones (like me). It should be noted that the shimmer in these is almost unnoticeable, unless you get realllllyyyy close to your lips. So they can definitely be worn with the shimmer bricks and shimmer powders mentioned above, without you and those around you having to go into shimmer-shock.

Feel free to make the glowy-face look your own by using your favorite face cream, foundation and blush in conjunction with these products! Happy Third Trimester!

Crawler’s Must-Have!

Recently, my little genius learned how to crawl. This is a milestone that makes everyone, except for parents, rejoice. Why, you ask? Well, because parents, especially stay-at-home-parents, know what this means: you will never sit still for more than five seconds again for the REST of your life. I can literally set Nick down, turn my attention to an interesting blog post, and then look up to find that he has disappeared into thin air. Of course, I can usually find him behind the couch trying to claw the ears off one of the pets, or in the kitchen trying to stock up on dog food. The point is, the boy is fast. And as a result of this insane need for speed he has, he has added to his repertoire of baby injuries an ugly case of rug burn.

It was recently that Tim noticed that his son’s knees were an unnatural ripe-tomato color. He asked me what that was. Not wanting to say that I spend 24 hours a day with the kid and still hadn’t noticed, I said it was just a case of mild sunburn. He accepted this explanation until it became clear that the “sunburn” wasn’t fading, and also that Nick hadn’t even been out in the sun for a few days. That’s when we realized that our kid was actually singeing the skin on his knees in his eagerness to see the world. Of course, being the shopaholic that I am, I immediately recognized the opportunity for a bit of a shopping spree in the baby department. And that, my friends is when I stumbled upon these lovely creations called Baby Legs:

Available here, these are really, really cute, awesomely hip baby leg warmers. You slide them on like socks, only they go all the way up to their chubby baby thighs (you know, really 80s without being scary!). They’re so much better than pants because they make diaper changes a breeze, they’re better than socks because they can’t be kicked off, and they’re perfect for the summer when it’s cool inside, but hot outside. If you’re anything like me, your child probably spends a lot of time in a t-shirt or onesie and no pants, and this is the perfect solution to keep them at an ambient temperature. AND, no more rug burn! These also provide the perfect amount of cushioning so that there are no rashes or bruises from the little monkey’s frequent tumbles. The best part? They can be used on kids from newborn to school-age, because of the magic stretchy material they’re made with.

They are available is soooo many colors and designs – the categories are extremely fun to browse through (there’s “Classic”, “Funky”, “Earthy” and “Organic” just to name a few). My absolute favorite is “Modish”, because I just can’t get enough of the argyle pattern. The picture above is their “Jack Set” for little boys; they also have a matching one for little girls. Each pair is $12, but you can get them on sale on the specials page for as low as $8. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you can know in advance when there’s a sale coming!

As for me, I am happy to say that I have restrained myself to purchasing just two of these… for now.

Want a sound sleeper?

If you want a baby who sleeps like, well, you know… then get this marvelous, ingenious device:

This, my friends, is a Sound Sleeper. And I can honestly say that without it, I would be a stark raving lunatic right about now. If I could see the man or woman who came up with this idea, a soothing white noise machine for babies, I would fall to my knees and kiss his or her hands and feet. I would give him or her free manicures and pedicures. I would share my huge stash of mini-Kit Kats. You see, I have an extremely light sleeper for a child. That’s right; in addition to my eyes, my coloring and my big cheeks, I gave my son my stupid light-sleeper gene. What does this mean for our naps, you ask? Well, succinctly put, a person a few houses down could be having an allergic reaction to something, said person could sneeze delicately into a tissue, and Nick would be up, screaming like a little, tiny banshee. It gets really old at 5 AM when the sun starts to rise, the damn birds start their infernal chirping, and my son starts going, “AAAAHHHHHWAAAHHHH!!!” Really old.

I remember when Nick was a few weeks old and I was frantically thumbing through a parenting magazine, looking for tips to just.get.him.to.sleep. They mentioned a “white noise machine”, and I drove the 45 minutes to my nearest baby store, and bought the Sound Sleeper. And since then? We’ve all been sleeping very, very soundly.

The Sound Sleeper comes equipped with 30 sounds, including Ocean, which is what we’ve always used (some of the others are womb {creepy!}, brook, rain and birds {Gah! Damn birds are everywhere}). It also has volume settings so you can turn the noise up or down according to baby preference. And the BEST part is that when the power goes out, it automatically switches to battery, people! Finally, a genius device that understands the agony of hearing your baby go “AAAAHHHWAHHHH” mere seconds after you’ve set him down, because of a stupid power outage! Living in a city where storms are an everyday occurrence, you really start to appreciate this kind of thinking.

The Sound Sleeper is a bargain at $22.99, and I highly encourage every pregnant woman out there to get one, even if you don’t think your baby will be needing it. And if your child is a light sleeper, here’s a big cyber hug. Now what’re you doing still reading my blog? Run out and buy this thing, pronto!

So, as I have talked about before, I am pregnant. I am 27 weeks and 3 days pregnant, to be precise. Which in laymen’s terms means – pretty damn pregnant. You would think I would be getting a little antsy about the fact that I still don’t have a regular, established care provider. But nope. I am not even close to shaking in my boots. See, if there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I am picky. Capital P I C K Y. Especially when it comes to how I deliver my baby. I mean, my vagina, my birth, right?

Which brings me to the rant part of my post. (Aren’t you glad you came to visit me on my blog today?) Why is it SO hard to find a midwife and/or OB who provides good, professional care, who won’t make you feel like an idiot anytime you disagree with them? Tim and I have lived in two different states now, and in each state, we’ve interviewed about a thousand (okay, slight exaggeration) midwives. And a few OBs. The OBs were immediately cast aside for their love of interventions. (Seriously, one time, we had this OB who within seconds of me being in her office, offered me about 5 different medications – some of which were meant to counteract the effects of other medications she was offering. Um, yeah, no.) The midwives seemed okay, but upon employment, morphed into these ginormous flaky granola hippie morons. They would ALWAYS show up late to our appointments (and we’re talking like, 45 minutes late with nary a phone call!), espoused all kinds of herbs in the 1000 mg range while saying how evil over-the-counter drugs were (who needs FDA approval, right?) and thought homeopathy was good. Now, I love the internet. And I love research. So, natch, when I read about homeopathy and how it’s basically like popping sugar pills, I balked. And laughed behind my hands a little while they were talking. And fired them.

So last night we went to tour our LAST option – a birthing center. It would seem that a middle-of-the-ground place like a birth center would please even picky ol’ me. They’re supposed to be less “granola” and much more educated than your average Certified Professional Midwife, they’re certainly not OBs, and they are all for low-risk, low-intervention births. The best part is that each room has a big, queen-size bed, candles, a stereo with an iPOD docking station, and a giant, big birthing tub. That’s right, so you can give birth in the water. Needless to say, I have an appointment there on Monday. Fingers crossed that the Certified Nurse Midwife (aka CNM) doesn’t talk about sugar pills, herbal tinctures or try to peddle drugs on me.

When you’re a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or a work-at-home-mom (WAHM), dressing up everyday starts to feel redundant and pointless. You might even try to justify being in your pajamas at 4 in the afternoon by saying to yourself, “Well, at least I’m cutting down on the amount of laundry I have to do.” I’ve been there. But I’m here to tell you, my friend, that getting dressed is one way to drastically improve your productivity.

It doesn’t matter if you are a full-time mom, or a part-time mom and a part-time employee. Staying home has its benefits. You get to see your little munchkin(s) everyday, you don’t miss out on any special firsts, and if you feel sick- well, you’re already home! But it can have its downsides, too. You can never leave your “place of work” behind. Some days you wonder why you even bother getting off the couch – it’s so much easier to just sit and relax when the kids are playing happily together or napping. I was the same way until recently. My husband would come home to find me, hair askew, ratty t-shirt and pajamas present, sitting on the couch reading while the baby slept. It was a good life, or so I thought, until I started to get B.O.R.E.D.

I realized that the dishes started to pile high, I never wanted to pick up clutter (what’s the point? It’s just going to get cluttered again tomorrow) and as a result of my ghastly appearance, I stopped answering the door to visitors or even stepping out to get the mail, lest my neighbors see and judge me. In short, I became a recluse hermit-woman. That’s when I decided that the madness had to stop! I began getting dressed (like I was going out to lunch) as soon as I woke up in the morning. And the weirdest thing happened… not only did I get dressed, I got productive! I started doing more housework, going out more, and most recently, I’ve even begun to work from home. I feel motivated, more awake (even if my huge pregnant belly and a 9-month-old who still doesn’t sleep through the night do their best to deprive me of precious shut-eye) and much more energized.

So, if you’re where I was, in pajamas at 4 PM, try this tomorrow: brush your teeth, pull a brush through your hair, apply some light makeup, and put on a pretty dress. I guarantee you, you won’t stop there!

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