If I am not around today, there is good reason. Today, New Year's Eve, is my little Sophie's 2nd birthday!
I cannot believe my little girl is 2 years old today...It seems like only yesterday I held her for the first time. Sophia is my "Miracle Baby". She is my everything. You see, my husband and I had been trying for quite some time to expand our family. During that time, we found out I have PCOS, and I knew it was possible that we might not be able to have children of our own. I took about a million supplements every day, used fertility monitors like it was religion, and I did a lot of praying. Still, every month, nothing....Over the period of a couple years, we suffered through 3 miscarriages and it seemed everyone else was getting pregnant around me. I became horribly depressed and felt like a failure as a woman. Like I were somehow being punished. This was probably the darkest time of my life. I became totally introverted and spent a lot of time wondering "Why me? Why us?"
I finally had a talk with God and told Him "If I am to become a mother again, let it happen in YOUR time...Not mine." I had been praying and selfishly demanding NOW! I finally gave it to God and accepted that I had to let go....Stop worrying...Stop crying...I finally felt peace and clarity. We had actually started looking into the process of adoption and had even been approved by an agency, and then 2 little lines changed my life forever. My mother, who has an eerie way of just knowing things, told me to take a pregnancy test. She had a dream that I was pregnant with twins. I didn't believe it for a second, but after a week or so, it was gnawing at me. So a few days before my period was due, I went and got an early pregnancy test. I never expected it to be positive, but there were 2 clear, beautiful lines! We were definitely pregnant!
My pregnancy with Sophie was awful from the start. I was violently ill, throwing up constantly, and felt like crap in general. Because of my PCOS, the doctor opted to give me a very early ultrasound, just to see how things looked. Much to my shock, it was twins! There were 2 distinct gestational sacs, and 2 tiny little "beans". Unfortunately, by the time I had my next ultrasound, it was down to 1. My Sophia. I was going to have the little girl I had always wanted. I laughed and cried at the same time, and just felt so incredibly grateful. She was strong, healthy, and growing perfectly inside of me.
The months flew by as fast as they could while being horrendously ill and on bedrest, and on December 31, 2009, Sophia Suzanne was born at 8:22AM via C-section. She was so beautiful, all 6lbs 5oz of her. She had the face of an angel and a head full of thick, dark hair. We were hopelessly in love with her immediately.
And now, my Miracle, my little Princess, is 2 years old. Sophia is a happy, beautiful child with a great big smile and a lot of sass. She loves music, is a chocoholic like her Daddy, and she loves giving hugs and kisses. She is also quite the daredevil and isn't afraid of anything. She is my life. Like my other kids, she gives my life meaning and purpose like I never would have imagined before I became a mother.
My biggest wish for my daughter today is this: Sophie, don't be like me. I would never want you to go through things that I have gone through because I just didn't believe in myself enough. Don't ever second-guess yourself or feel not good enough. Don't ever let anyone hold you down or crush your dreams. Trust me, there are people who will attempt to do just that. You will undoubtedly have your heart broken, probably several times. Pick yourself back up when this happens, and be strong. Don't ever doubt your talents and gifts. And most of all, don't ever forget how beautiful you are. There are people who will put you down. Don't ever let them break you down. Life is too damn short to ever spend a moment allowing other people to make you question your worth. Trust me here, kiddo, I am 30 years old and am just NOW figuring this out!
Simply be kind to everyone you meet, and keep smiling that beautiful smile. Love yourself and those around you, and realize that even though life may be hard at times, it's one beautiful ride.You're so loved, little girl. There has never been a child more wanted. We loved you before you were even conceived. Please love yourself, unconditionally, the way that we love you. And always know, no matter how old you get or how far you may be from home, you'll always be our little girl. Our door and hearts are open to you forever. Never forget the road that will lead you back. I am so glad I had you. Thank you for making my life worth living. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.
I love T-shirts. As a matter of fact, I probably have hundreds of them! I've got everything from vintage music tees that are worn-out and super soft to more dressy, fitted tees. There's nothing like lounging around the house in a soft, comfy tee and a pair of yoga pants. (Or even my Pajama Jeans...Yes, I really do own some!) Talk about ultimate comfort! While I do love dressing up and being girly, I also love comfort. T-shirts, in my humble opinion, are the way to go!
One thing I was lacking in the T-shirt department were some nice long sleeved tees for the winter months. Sure, I had seen some out and about at Walmart, etc...But none of them "spoke" to me. A lot of the fabrics were starchy feeling or just felt odd. Plus, they weren't that cute, if I must be honest. I don't think anyone should ever have to sacrifice comfort for style, and if a top isn't comfortable AND flattering, chances are, I won't be wearing it. And so many of the higher-end long sleeved tees can cost an arm and a leg. With 3 kids and 1 income, I can't afford to spend upwards of $50-$100 for a shirt. Maybe after we hit the lottery!
That's why I was absolutely thrilled to review a couple of long-sleeved T-shirts from CheapesTees! They sell name brand, high quality clothing at rock bottom prices. You know that ultra-feminine, V-neck burnout tee that is all the rage this season? They've got em, and for a lot less than you'd expect! They also have tees for men and kids, as well as great yoga pants, etc for a complete outfit! Like layering? CheapesTees has layering essentials like tanks and camis, too!
Take a look at some of my favorites:
As a woman who recently turned 30, I have noticed that my skin looks and behaves a bit differently than it did in my teens and early 20's. It gets drier, faster, and it has lost some of its glow at times. Especially in the winter! The cold temperatures coupled with artificial indoor heat can be enough to make my body dry, itchy, and sometimes even cracked. (Ouch!) While I have been religious about a facial skincare regimen, one thing I have been overlooking is the skin on my body. Sure, I use lotions. But sometimes lotion isn't enough to combat those winter skin woes.
That's why I was really intrigued by the anti-aging skincare products at Trinity of Youth. Not only is this beauty company based in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, TOY is the manufacturer of a fantastic body serum called BrilliantFX. This is not your ordinary body lotion, either. In fact, it's not lotion at all. BrilliantFX is a serum, which absorbs rapidly into the skin to achieve quick and visible improvement in the skin's feel and appearance. That's right! Say goodbye to tired, dried, cracking skin!
What makes BrilliantFX so brilliant?At TOY, they use the healing power of Arnica Montana, and Lactic Acid, naturally occurring medicinal agents that have been used for thousands of years. Arnica contains the powerful secondary plant metabolite sesquiterpene lactones (SL) in its glandular hairs as its major pharmacologic agent. SLs have a wide array of therapeutic uses for inflammatory medical conditions. Cleopatra bathed in spoiled milk, or naturally derived Lactic Acid, to preserve her beauty. Lactic Acid is the most hydrating of the alpha-hydroxy acids –plumping and mildly exfoliating your skin. The folks at Trinity of Youth have made these ancient beauty secrets available to you in every bottle of BrilliantFx – because Cleopatra’s secrets should be yours…
You may remember I featured a review of the Aerobie Skylighter flying disc a couple of months ago. Well, Aerobie has a brand new product called the Megatop that I would like to share with you all. My 11 year old was very excited when this arrived on our doorstep, since he is so used to me receiving baby or women's products for review. He has grown to love the products from Aerobie, since they're challenging, fun, and a great way to keep active.
The Megatop is no exception! This spinning top is a cut above an ordinary top. This top is specially designed to sustain long and fast spins due to the fact that is perimeter weighted. It also comes with a spin accelerator that allows the Megatop to easily achieve 3000+ rpm spin rates! (Holy cow!) If that wasn't cool enough, the Megatop also comes equipped with a catching plate and a spin booster, perfect for doing tricks and keeping the spin going for what feels like an eternity.
Here are some of the Aerobie Megatop's key features:
Take a look at this short video showing how much fun your kids can have with the Aerobie Megatop!
So I am probably giving away my age here, but I distinctly remember playing Oregon Trail on the ancient computers in my Elementary School computer lab. The object of the game? To move your settler family from Missouri to Oregon City along the Oregon Trail, and to get them there in one piece. This ended up being a lot more challenging than it sounded. With perils along the way like disease, unfriendly Indians, and lack of food to hunt, it's literally a fight for survival. I can't imagine what our early settlers had to face on their journeys westward, but this educational game helped me, as a child, to be grateful for the many advances we as a society have made since then. Thank Goodness I will never have to go anywhere in a creaky old wagon pulled by horses...I am cringing as I type, since I am terrified of horses! But I always loved Computer Lab time and always looked forward to my untimely death by Dysentery when I took my chances on the Oregon Trail.
Recently I got the opportunity to review a whole new take on my favorite classic. The Oregon Trail is BACK, and this time with better graphics than the old-school computer stick people. Red Wagon Games, publisher of interactive entertainment, and game developer DoubleTap Games have announced the availability of The Oregon Trail on the Wii™ system and Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system. This new iteration of The Learning Company’s classic educational action adventure game will be available for a SRP of $19.99 (Wii) and $29.99 (3DS) wherever Wii and Nintendo 3DS games are sold. The Oregon Trail is rated E-10+.
Set in the mid-1800s, The Oregon Trail lets players assume the role of a wagon pioneer leader guiding a party of settlers westward across 2,000 miles of winding, rough terrain from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City on the Oregon Trail. The classic game has now been modernized for all ages on Wii™ and Nintendo 3DS™ and is part of the frenzy of nostalgia over the game, which has yielded everything from band tour promotions ("Fall Out Boy Trail") to humorous references on popular websites ("Digg has broken an axle"). Since 1971, more than 65 million copies of the highly popular game have been sold. The single-player game retraces the historical journey, challenging the gamer to survive and prosper through four unique storylines with three different time periods. Plan and stock up for the dangerous trip, complete a variety of timed challenges including hunting and fishing, and unlock special items along the way. The Oregon Trail on Wii and Nintendo 3DS is the first version of the game where players can drive the wagon on the trail.
I hate it when I have to re-draw winners, but a couple of winners from my giveaways that ended several days ago still haven't replied, so I was forced to choose new winners. Without further ado, here are my new winners!
Carolyn H. BUT- Carolyn recently won the same prize on another blog and wanted to pass this along to another family. (How sweet is that?!) My NEW winner is....Nikole!
All winners have been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond. PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDERS!!! Thanks to everyone who entered, and check back often for more reviews and giveaways!
If you are anything like me, it can be difficult to get all of the proper nutrients your body needs to thrive. I happen to be a rather picky eater, so I know I am lacking in Omega3's and some other important vitamins. I don't eat seafood, ever...I mean at all. Seafood and I simply do not get along. One time at a friend's wedding, I unknowingly bit into a vile crab-stuffed mushroom and ended up crying, spitting it into my napkin, and then ran to the restroom to vomit. Yes, I really do detest seafood that much. So to get the Omega3's that are such a huge benefit of eating slimy, stinky, nasty fish, I take supplements. The problem with many Omega3 supplements is that they're horse-pills. I mean, fish oil supplements can be HUGE! On top of that, a lot of the fish-oil capsules I have taken in the past left me with an awkward and rather disgusting problem: Fish burps. It was almost ironic. I took the capsules so I wouldn't have to taste the fish, and I ended up tasting it anyway...Over and over...All day long. Ick!
Another thing I know I don't get enough of are fruits. I love veggies, but fruits are not my favorite things in the world. I don't know why, but the acid found in many fruits gives me awful heartburn, so I just don't really eat much of it. I guess it also doesn't help that I much prefer savory flavors over sweets.
I never really gave too much thought to nutrients I was missing until I was trying to conceive my daughter, Sophie. She is 2 now, and the good habit of taking vitamins is still something I do on a daily basis. That's why I was so excited to learn about ProNutrients, the new line of supplements by the makers of Centrum. (And we all know that Centrum is synonymous with quality!)
As the mom of 2 toddlers and a preteen, getting to the grocery store can be quite a challenge. It means getting all the kids ready to go, strapping them into their carseats, hoping no one pooped on the way there, wrestling with my gargantuan double-stroller, and praying that I didn't forget something important at home, like my purse! (Yes, on one particularly frazzled day, this really did happen.) So needless to say, going to the store for a few necessities is often more trouble than it's worth and we just go when my husband has the day off and he's there to help keep things under control. After all, I can't push a shopping cart and a double stroller all at once!
That's why I was so excited to learn about Alice. Who is Alice? No, she's not a nanny. But Alice IS a Mother's Helper of sorts. Alice.com is an awesome online store where you can pick up all of your household essentials like toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and even baby food and diapers for rock-bottom prices. Alice provides you a better way to manage all of your household essentials online. You tell Alice what you buy—choosing from great deals on 1000’s of products—and Alice goes to work. Alice organizes all of your products, finds automatic coupons and deals for you, and reminds you when you might be running low, and helps you order just the items you need so you can avoid that trip to the corner drugstore or the big-box store. And all this convenience comes direct to your door with free shipping included. Add to that a FAST turnaround time, and you've got your own personal shopping service!
There is one thing that always makes a fool-proof gift idea for almost every woman out there: Jewelry. The great thing about jewelry, aside from the sparkle factor, is that it can make any woman feel just a little more beautiful while she's wearing it. It's also perfect for any occasion, like birthdays or anniversaries, or even if a man is trying to scrape his way out of the "dog house". (Come on, you ladies know as well as I do that we can't stay TOO mad if we're presented with something shiny!) Yes, flowers are nice. They smell good, they're pretty, but...they are dead in a week. Jewelry is the perfect gift to say "I love you" and it lasts forever!
While the Holidays may officially be over, Valentine's Day is right around the corner! What woman wouldn't love to be presented with a tiny little gift box on Valentine's Day? I know I would! I personally don't have a ton of jewelry, but the pieces I do have definitely make a statement. I like pieces of jewelry that are unique and won't be seen on half of the women out and about. I recently stumbled upon a great online jeweler that not only carries a huge selection of items from Diamond Earrings, Diamond Tennis Bracelets, and even some spectacular Diamond Engagement Rings, their pieces are also fully customizable!
Anjolee has been a leading high-end jewelry manufacturer since 1977. This San Diego based company offers customers over 34 years of expertise in the field of jewelry, and they are 100% committed to offering not only stunning, uniquely designed jewelry, but also stellar customer service. Anjolee’s commitment to customer satisfaction includes the highest standard of quality for each of their products. While maintaining competitive prices, the goal is to make your internet shopping experience surpass shopping in a store. Being the manufacturer enables them to offer each jewelry item in a large range of sizes, diamond carat weights, gold karats in yellow or white, or platinum, thus creating many price points for each product. These various combinations and their unique manufacturing process allow customers to customize any product based on individual tastes and budgets.
Now that Old Man Winter has made his official arrival, so have coughs and colds. This winter is the first in a few years that I have not been pregnant or having babies. The one thing I remember most about my last 2 pregnancies was getting awful colds and not being able to easily relieve my symptoms. There's not a whole lot of cold remedies on the market that are safe for expecting moms to take! And I don't know about any of you, but while I was pregnant, I didn't like taking any medications. You never can tell what lasting effects may present themselves later. So when I got the cold to end all colds when I was pregnant with Sophie, I suffered in silence, with nothing more than a humidifier and a box of tissues to ease my misery. I was laid-out for a whopping 3 weeks, and it was horrible!
That's why I was really excited to learn about Zarbee's All-Natural Children's Cough Syrup. What makes Zarbee's special? Well, while it is called a Children's Cough Syrup, it is also completely safe for pregnant or nursing mamas, too! (Wish this was around when I was pregnant!)
I was thrilled to try out Zarbee's myself recently when I noticed some mild, cold-like symptoms coming on. The taste is actually quite good and tastes a lot like honey. I noticed that it doesn't have the unpleasant aftertaste that many cough syrups tend to have. (This is a major plus as a mom, since kids tend to go running when the medicine comes out!) Within a short period of time, my sore throat and cough had shown significant improvement. Who says all-natural can't be effective?!
In addition to creating an effective, natural solution for those pesky winter colds, the folks at Xarbee's also have some safe and natural remedies for those looking for relief from their symptoms. Good for mom, good for baby.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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