DIY Taggie Blanket

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In the last few weeks I’ve started to get ready for baby boy here and there a little and decided to make him a taggie blanket after we found out he was a he and I knew what colors to use! 🙂  I’ve made a couple in the past for M and my niece and I’m always surprised by how simple they are to make and it seems that all babies love them!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Material – I like to use the minky dot fabric that you can find at any fabric store in a wide array of colors.  I think it’s super soft and cuddly, perfect for baby!  For an 18″x18″ blanket, you’ll need 2, 20″x20″ squares of material.  A half yard will be more than enough!
  • Ribbon – I put 3 taggies per side about every 3 inches or so.  Therefore I used 12 ribbons, 4-5″ in length, depending on how far out you want them to stick from the blanket.  You can use any variety of ribbon that you’d like.  I like to try and find different widths and textures to use!
  • A sewing machine (or thread and a needle if you want to go old school!)
  • Straight pins

 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Using fabric shears, cut 2, 20″x20″ squares of material

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     2.   Cut ribbon into 12, 4-5″ pieces

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   3.   On the top side of one of the pieces of material, use straight pins to pin the ribbons in tags every 3″.  Try to not let          the corner tags overlap (if they do, move all the tags towards the middle a little bit)

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   4.   Now you’re ready to sew!  Pin the material right side to right side, in other words raised dots to raised dots (because you’ll be turning it right-side out when you finish).  Sew about a half inch in from the edge, paying close attention to the tags on the inside as you go.  Make sure they stay straight and don’t forget to pull out the straight pins as you go!  Sew all the way around the blanket leaving about 4″ open on the last side (so that you can turn the blanket right-side out).

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   5.   Flip the blanket right-side out through the opening you left while sewing, shaking as you go to ensure that all the corners are completely unfolded.

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   6.   After the blanket is flipped the right way, hand stitch or sew the opening closed.  That’s all there is to it!

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Trust me, I am NOT a seamstress/sewer/anything of that sort and so if I can manage this, you can too!!  What a perfect gift for a baby shower or new baby’s arrival – your friends and family will adore this little handmade blanket full of love!

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It’s been awhile… here’s what we’ve been up to!

Well hello there strangers!  It’s been awhile since my last post.  We’ve been pretty busy around here getting through the start of the holidays with the month of November and Thanksgiving, followed by my very favorite time of the year CHRISTMASTIME!  I decided I needed to set aside some time to reconnect with you all on here and fill you in on what’s new!

The biggest (and most exciting!) thing is the announcement we made to our friends and family at the end of October:

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That’s right.. we’re pregnant… with a little BOY!

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We’re so excited for him to make his arrival this spring.  My official due date is sometime the last week or so of March.  Although if he follows in his big sister’s footsteps, don’t expect him to be here until at least the last couple days of the month, if not the first part of April!!!  But, a girl can hope he’ll be on time, right?! (I don’t know what I say this, I know that he’ll arrive at just the right time for him, regardless of the date on the calendar!) 🙂

M is very excited to be a big sister!  She frequently talks to him in my belly, assumes anything blue is for “baby brother” and has even mastered saying his name.  She’s going to be such a big helper when he gets here!

So there you have it, my excuse for not blogging lately!  (it’s a good excuse, right?!) But seriously being pregnant while chasing after a 2-year-old and almost 5-month-old (I watch my niece during the day) wears a girl out!!  I can’t really complain though because other than a 7ish week bout of all day sickness (what’s this just in the morning business?!?!), I’ve been extremely blessed in that my pregnancy has been a breeze and has flown by so far!!!

So bring on the pregnancy posts, updates and baby bump pics!!

25 weeks

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Wait… You Mean My Due Date is Just an Estimate?!

Everywhere you look in our society, whether it be on social media sites among our circles of friends or celebrities in the tabloids, women (and men for that matter) appear to be under some sort of screwed up notion that your due date is this magical day on the calendar when poof! your baby is ready to be born.  What they apparently fail to realize is that in fact this isn’t the case at all!

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M was born a week late.  I was teaching at the time and therefore only had 12 weeks of maternity leave to be at home with her.  Consequently I worked up until the day that she was born.  This meant 2 weeks (because people started asking/commenting a week BEFORE my due date..SERIOUSLY!?) of getting comments like: “What? Here again?” “No baby yet?” “How are you feeling, any signs yet?” “When are you going to get induced/how far past your due date will they let you go?” or my favorite, “You’re still here/still no baby?!”… YES I’M HERE, IF I WASN’T YOU WOULDN’T BE TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW AND DO I STILL LOOK PREGNANT TO YOU, THAT MEANS NO, NO BABY!!  I hated it!  I mean I know that all of my coworkers at the time meant well, but it was seriously so annoying.  Just because I was nearing my “due date” didn’t mean that the baby would be born by that day!

So let’s set the story straight, due dates are simply an estimate.  In fact, most research states that a due date is typically within a 2-4 week window of when the baby will actually be ready to be born. According to the American Pregnancy Association, only 5% of babies are born on their actual due dates.  However, 80% of babies are born between weeks 37-42.  Due dates are typically determined based on the 1st day of the mama’s last menstrual cycle.  Providers assume that she has a typical 28 day cycle and ovulates half-way through on approximately day 14.  The problem with this method of determining one’s due date is that not all women are the same.  For me, for example, my due date with M was August 31st.  However, I got pregnant using an ovulation kit and therefore knew the exact date of conception (which was on day 21 by the way…).  When I calculated my due date on my own using the date of conception, I came up with September 4th… not so far off from her September 6th birthday.  Given this and the fact that she was born supposedly a week late weighing just a little over 7 lbs, I’m incline to believe the estimate of my due date was just a little off.

My mom has a similar story with me.  I was due August 1st and was born August 17th (over 2 weeks late supposedly) and yet I only weighed slightly over 7 lbs as well.  Kinda small for a baby 2 weeks late, huh?!  Then again since due dates are only an estimate made based on a generic formula that’s supposed to fit all women, maybe I wasn’t actually late after all!

Some people think that their ultrasounds have all the answers and can give them a more accurate due date.  Well I’m sorry to break it to you, but that thinking is wrong as well!  Prior to 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, ultrasounds have a margin of error of roughly a week and a half of predicting accurate due dates.  Between 18-28 weeks, this margin of error jumps to slightly over 2 weeks and by 28 weeks of pregnancy, ultrasound due dates can be off by over 3 weeks!!!  Apparently ultrasounds only give you an estimate as well!  Are you noticing a trend here… let me spell it out for you, your due date is a ESTIMATE!  (Let’s face it, there’s only 1 person who really knows when your baby is going to be born and it would do you good to remember it should be all on His time!)

So, why do I get so fired up about people’s over-reaction to their impending and heaven forbid passing of their due dates?!  First off because I was one of those women.  The one who had her baby past her due date and therefore had to be subject to all the annoying, unending questions.  And second (and more importantly) because of the number of women having elective inductions based on an “overdue” baby.  What happens when that 40+ week baby is actually only 38 or even 37 weeks along and isn’t ready to be born yet….. ahhh… now we’re getting somewhere.  But, that’s a post for another day… stay tuned! 😉

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Preparing for Baby: Hospital Bag Must-haves

what to bring

I remember when we were taking our childbirth education class before having M and the instructor had us go around and say one thing that we had left to do to get ready for baby.  For several women in our class, the answer was the same: pack the hospital bag.  This wasn’t something I had really thought much about so I panicked a little, did some research and in typical me fashion started writing a list of what I needed to pack.  I decided I would take 2 bags with us to the hospital: one for me, and the diaper bag filled with everything we would need for Miss M.

Boppy pillow, M's bunny aka my labor focal point, M's packed diaper bag!

Boppy pillow, M’s bunny aka my labor focal point, M’s packed diaper bag!

In doing my research I kept seeing the same advice over and over… don’t overpack or you’ll end up with all kinds of things that you won’t actually use.  While I heeded this advice to some extent, I still ended up taking things I didn’t need.  And so, I’ve come up with a list of what I deem as being “must-haves” for your hospital bag.  Hope it’s helpful! 🙂

Mom’s Hospital Bag

For labor:

  • Insurance card/driver’s license (my advice would be to pre-register at the hospital!)
  • Sports bra/swimsuit top (if you plan to labor in the tub…which I HIGHLY recommend!)
  • Headband/hair ties
  • Chapstick
  • Breath mints
  • Focal point
  • Relaxation items: CD, aromatherapy/essential oils, massage tools
  • Camera/video camera – take way more pictures than you think you would want…you can always delete them but can never go back and take them if you don’t!!

After baby’s born:

  • Yoga Pants
  • Comfy shirt/sweatshirt
  • Robe
  • Slippers/Flip flops (easy to slip on to walk around your room or the halls)
  • Socks
  • Extra panties (don’t bring nice ones, they’ll probably get ruined)
  • Nursing cami/bra
  • Shampoo/conditioner/body wash/toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Hair brush/hair dryer/straightener
  • Make-up
  • Pillow
  • Nursing pads/sanitary pads/Lanolin cream
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Balm and New Mama Bottom Spray
  • Nice outfit for coming home (you’ll be taking lots of pics!)
  • Laptop/magazines (in case you want something to do)

 

Hubby’s Hospital Bag

  • Snacks
  • Stuff to drink
  • Laptop/books/magazines
  • Extra clothes (if planning to stay the night)
  • Personal hygiene products: deodorant, shower stuff, etc.
  • Cell phone charger
  • Cash/change for vending machines – the hospital we delivered in had a “Refreshment Room” with all kinds of stuff for the family, but not all hospitals have these

 

Baby’s Hospital Bag

  • Hand mittens/booties
  • Cute hat – you’ll want baby to stay warm but those little hats the hospital gives you aren’t the cutest!!
  • Blanket – again to keep baby warm but avoid having to use the standard hospital ones
  • 2-3 outfits (more if you plan on having newborn pictures taken in the hospital)
  • Pacifiers (if you plan to use a certain style)
  • Baby wash/shampoo for first bath (if you don’t want to use Johnson’s & Johnson’s)
  • Boppy/nursing pillow
  • Nursing cover
  • Baby book – our nurse was awesome about giving us tons of extra footprints for M’s scrapbook, memory box, etc.
  • Gift for baby to “give” older siblings (I’ll be giving some great ideas for this in my “Friday Find” post this week so check back!!!)

Things most hospitals provide:

  • Diapers/wipes for baby
  • Body wash/shampoo for baby’s first bath
  • Receiving blanket
  • Hat for baby
  • Sanitary pads for postpartum
  • Tucks pads/Antiseptic spray for postpartum
  • Formula (to supplement or formula feed if you choose)
  • Pacifier (the standard green silicone “Soothie”)
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby comb/brush

Ours also provided:

  • Lotion (for me) – baby shouldn’t have lotion yet
  • Snacks/beverages for me and the family in a “Refreshment Room”
  • Tubing/accessories for my breast pump
  • Breast pump to use while in the hospital if needed/wanted
  • Lanolin cream

Printable Checklist:

Complete Hospital Bag Checklist

Well, there you have it!!  And here’s my best piece of advice: pack your bag early and have it in the car or by the door!  That way no matter when the time comes, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re ready or forgetting anything, because unlike me (who went a week late), you might go early and then you’ll be prepared! 🙂  Happy packing!!

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**For more information on preparing for baby, check out my first blog in this mini series entitled Baby Registry Must-Haves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.migonishome.com/2013/03/packing-my-bags.html

Baby FREEBIES!!

I’ve got another Friday Find for you!  I’m so excited to pass these freebies along that there was no way I could wait until NEXT Friday! 🙂  All 4 things you get absolutely FREE!!  All you pay is shipping and handling!  Pass the promo codes along to your friends and enjoy! 🙂

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  • Go to Carseat Canopy
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $12.95

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  • Go to Nursing Pillow
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $12.95

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  • Go to Baby Leggings
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $12.95

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  • Go to Udder Covers
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $11.95

When I had M, I used a code to get a free Carseat Canopy – and I LOVED it!!!  It is great quality, super cute and I got tons of compliments on it!  I’m bummed that I didn’t know about the other three things that I could have gotten for free… this mama loves her some free things! 🙂  Oh well, guess I’ll just have to take advantage with the next baby!

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Where to Deliver: The Hospital, Home birth, Birthing Center Debate

In 1900, almost all births occurred at home.  Women had their babies in their homes, in their own bed, with the assistance of family, friends and local/community midwives.  By the 1940’s the home birth rate dropped to 44% and continued to decline to around 1% by 1970.  From that time period until the early 1990’s, around or slightly under 1% of births occurred at home.  However, since 2004, home birth rates have increased 29% and continue to rise.  Women today are now able to consider the option of home birth once again as a safe alternative to hospital care – depending on their pregnancy.

Everyone knows that babies can – and sometimes should – be born in a hospital setting.  However, it is important for women to weigh their options and educate themselves on other birth locations should they be interested.  In addition to home and the hospital, many women find birthing centers to be a nice compromise.  Prior to making any pregnancy related decision, the best thing a woman can do it weigh her options, keeping her pregnancy and health in mind at all times.

Hospital delivery:

Pros – Surrounded by medical interventions/technology in case of an emergency, nursing staff tends to the needs of mom/baby, nursery care available to allow mom time to rest, trained professionals to deal with complications, variety of resources available (pediatrician, lactation consultant, family counselor, etc.), care covered by insurance

Cons – Higher chance of complications due to medical interventions, higher risk of cesarean section, some hospitals have policies/protocols that you have to follow (ex. automatic IV insertion upon admission, 24 hour labor maximum after water breaks, Pitocin or other interventions if labor “stalls”), several medical personnel in and out of the room during and after labor/childbirth

Birth Center delivery:

Pros – Prenatal appointments, labor and childbirth, and postpartum care takes place all at the same place – creates a sense of comfort and familiarity, private suite typically with kitchen and living room accommodations for family members, commonly under the care of a midwife resulting in a more personal, supportive experience, trained professionals to deal with complications, encouragement to have a more natural childbirth experience, lower costs, less time away from home, quiet experience with few medical personnel – typically just the woman’s midwife and doula are present, some medical interventions available

Cons – Pediatricians aren’t on location, in an emergency situation the woman would have to be transported to the nearest hospital, sometimes insurance doesn’t cover birthing center deliveries, less medical technology in the event of complications, no nursery to send baby to

Home delivery:

Pros – Much more calm, comfortable and relaxed environment, natural experience, no one there other than family, friends and midwife/doula, immediately after delivery the mom and baby are back to “normal” at home, freedom to choose everything about labor/childbirth process

Cons – Can be far from hospital in the event of an emergency, can be unprepared to handle some complications, often insurance doesn’t cover home births, no medical staff present other than midwife/doula (ex. no pediatricians, surgeons, nursing staff, etc.)

 

While a home birth might sound like a good fit for you, if you have anything at all that isn’t a “picture perfect”, normal pregnancy, being away from a hospital with potentially necessary medical interventions could be harmful to you and your baby.  At the same time, if you are low risk, live within a short distance to a medical center and desire an all natural experience, perhaps a home birth is indeed to best option for you.  Perhaps you’re torn between wanting the safety of having medical professionals nearby “just in case” and wanting a quiet, relaxing, natural environment, then a birthing center may be just right for you!  Take some time to think about it, do your research and make a choice to suit you.  As I’ve said before, the most important thing to keep in mind when considering where to deliver your baby is what YOU want and what is safest/the best option for your pregnancy.

Stay tuned for the next segment in my pregnancy series… it’s a hot, controversial topic that is being talked about more and more: VBACs.  What are the risks, myths, and facts surrounding vaginal births after cesareans?

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I’d love to hear about your experiences, whether your baby was born in a hospital, birthing center or at home.  Where did you choose to have your baby and were you happy with your choice?  Let me know below!  As always, if you have any questions – I’d love to answer them for you! 🙂

 

 

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db84.pdf

http://www.babycenter.com/0_birth-centers-alternatives-to-hospitals_2007.bc

Earth Mama Angel Baby Product Review and PROMO CODE!

In honor of “Try-it Tuesday” today, I want to tell you about one of my very FAVORITE baby products – maybe you’ll want to give it a try, too!!

When I was pregnant with Miss M I spent lots and lots (and LOTS) of my free time researching and finding out as much as I could about being pregnant and babies…like every new mom does I’m sure.  Well anyway, during this research I came across a website and line of products called “Earth Mama, Angel Baby”.  (Have you heard of them???  If not, immediately following your completion of the reading of this entry you must go to their site!)  I immediately knew that these products would be a great fit for me – a mama desiring a more natural and holistic approach to parenting; one that was free of toxins and chemicals, particularly in the things that I would be putting on my new daughter’s tiny body.

“Earth Mama Angel Baby’s safe, zero toxin, hospital recommended organic, herbal products support mamas and babies through the entire miraculous birth process…every Earth Mama Angel Baby product is made with only pure, plant based, worry-free ingredients, naturally.” -Earth Mama Angel Baby website

Right away I purchased several products to use both on myself (Earth Mama Body Butter and Natural Stretch Oil), as well as my new baby girl.  I love it all – especially the yummy, gentle smell – but my favorite thing by far is their Angel Baby Bottom Balm.  I seriously can’t say enough about it!!  I like to call it our miracle balm – because no joke it’s the best stuff you’ll ever have for diaper rashes, irritated skin, burns, owies…we even use it on Miss M’s eczema!  She doesn’t have a lot of trouble with diaper rashes, but the few times she has, we’ve used the Bottom Balm and by the next diaper change it’s completely gone.  And the best part is that it’s safe, toxin free and all natural – it’s even safe for use with cloth diapers!  My only regret is that I didn’t use it on myself – or better yet get some of their Mama Bottom Balm – postpartum! 🙂

Interested in trying out the Angel Baby Bottom Balm?  Head on over to their website: http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com and use the promo code HUGSFROMMAMA to receive 15% off your total regular priced purchase!

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