Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Just In Case - A Story About September 11th

Today brings up a lot of emotions for me. Of course, September 11th 2001 brings up a lot of emotions and sad memories for our entire country. On September 11th in 2012, a different kind of fear set in for my husband and I. Our first-born, Michaela, decided it was a good time to make her grand exit from my body.

I was 31 weeks pregnant. Large. In charge. Very uncomfortable. Ready to get that baby out of my belly, but not ready-ready. My back bothered me quite a bit that day, but I figured I had probably just had too much ice cream the night before. As it turns out, I was in pre-term labor and had no idea. After picking up lunch on a very hot day, I went back to the office, but not before calling my mom. I told her my back was bugging me and she encouraged me to call my doctor. Because "Just in case".

Within a few hours, my husband and I found ourselves at the hospital. Our OBGYN had discovered that Michaela's head was very low. I was 80% effaced and finger tip dilated.  I was a mess. I kept crying and telling them "I can't have my baby on September 11th!". And they assured me they'd do everything they can to keep her inside and safe. Safe. Something I had never really felt on previous September 11ths. Ever since that terrible day in 2001, I've been holding my breath on that day. If you suffer at all from anxiety like I do, you will understand. For those of you that don't, I acknowledge that its irrational to constantly be in fear or to always refuse to fly on that day, but anxiety is a funny thing.

In 2001, I was only a freshman in college that day. From what I recall we been there a fast and very exciting few weeks. My parents had sent me to a small University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania called DeSales University.  I was unsure of this place because it seemed boring at first, but made a lot of quick connections within my theatre major and felt very comfortable at my new home already.

I felt safe.

The night before my roommate and I partied quite a bit, like you do in college, and we had decided to sleep in and skip class for the first time. The phone rang over and over and over that morning. I wondered what in the world our moms or friends or anyone could POSSIBLY need to bug us for at that hour. We were both annoyed into answering it.  As it turns out, it was my roommate's boyfriend calling to tell us to turn on the TV. He said confusing things like "The world trade centers were hit by an explosion or plane", he was unsure like everyone else, and then as soon as we turned on the TV, the second plane hit. I remember thinking "what did I just see?". It was terrifying to watch live. I stood in front of our bunk beds looking up at the television, shocked.

And then all the thoughts started rushing in...about my dear friends and family who were in closer proximity to the disaster area. Some friends who, just like me, were only at college for a few short weeks before their world's were rocked. A few of them living in the freshman dorm at Wagner College. I toured that dorm. One major stop on the tour of their dorms is an observation lobby that had a beautiful view of the Twin Towers. How awful that must have been for them to watch.

Oddly, though, our school did not shut down that day. They kept classes going. Business as usual. It was probably the weirdest part of the day. How was I supposed to go to class, while my other friends a few hours away were terrified for their safety? Told to stay inside their dorms. Some cut off from communication. Panicked. Told not to use their phones. Told not to breathe the air. Stuck in the tunnels. Being turned around in traffic and sent back to where they came from to get away.

I recall refusing to go to class and instead went through my dorm's hallways offering hugs to those huddled in corners sobbing because they couldn't reach their parents by phone. So many of them worried about their loved ones. There was no Facebook safety check in. There was no wifi. No texting unless you were some sort of fancy a-hole with a newer and nicer phone. But because there was no social media to bury our heads in, we made connections. Deeper ones. We showed love and kindness and support to one another. Through all this fear, we found a little bit of peace.

Eventually the sadness of the day and the horror of what had happened was put behind us. Even though our first month of college was what some people may consider moving back home over, I stayed.

Flash forward again to me in a hospital bed in 2012. Same day. Different year. Praying. In Fear. Really nervous about the unknown and what was going to happen. It felt strangely familiar and sad.

Eventually, though, the pre-term labor had stopped.

My doctor came in and told me I had to stay in the hospital at least another day. She also told me that I would have to be on strict bed rest at home for the rest of the pregnancy.  I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and asked "what are we going to do?"  We hadn't gotten the nursery ready. There were walls to paint. Gifts to open. Thank you notes to write. Even a concert to attend the next day.

I remember having a dream that night that involved a lot of my friends from college and they were giving me hugs. It felt amazing. They helped to give me hope. For a while we couldn't think of a middle name for Michaela. We went back and forth a few times and then it occurred to us. Her middle name should be Hope. Just in case she came early. Just in case she needed to feel extra safe. It was all tucked away in her name. Thanks to my mom who took care of me and a small army of friends, our little angel ended up being born just two days before her due date. Safe and sound. My little ball of joy, named Michaela Hope.

So I know a lot of us are still feeling very sad today and maybe still in disbelief of what happened seventeen years ago. I hope my story in some way helps to uplift you today. Of course we will never forget what happened. But the best thing about fear is that hope is not far behind.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Surviving Flu Season with Babies and Toddlers

There is absolutely nothing worse than when one of your little guys wakes up in the middle of the night sick. So how do you survive it with out catching their dreaded illness as well? Well, we actually have no frickin clue, but we're going to do our best to help by sharing some things we've done around our households.

Let's talk about everyone's favorite first: BOOGERS!!! Running around frustrated looking for that dang sucker thingie you received upon your baby's birth??  I swear it never fails that ours go missing and it is always as soon as we see those dreaded thick green boogies hanging from their poor red little noses.  There's a reason the hospital only give you ONE of those precious green bulbs. They are a hot commodity because they are the absolute best thing to use on your little ones noses. So what happens if you lose it? Do you go rob the hospital? Maybe. Or you could try one of these that we've found to be just as good as that green bulb sucker things (which by the way is sort of gross that we can't see the inside of it, but I digress.)

 Here we have the Fridababy Nose Frida. 

We don't know about you guys, but we think they do a terrible job of showing that you are NOT actually sucking your child's boogers directly into your mouth. That being said, this thing works like a charm and we are most definitely not being paid to say such things. It's less invasive than the green bulb and you can smile and coo at your infant while helping them get some better breathing happening.

Grossed out by the NoseFrida? You're not alone. Have you seen the Graco NasalClear Battery Operated Aspirator yet??
We received this one as a gift and thought "how silly, why does it play music, too?!" Well guess what, haters gone hate, but this thing works AMAZING!!! Michaela was born in the thick of flu season in November, and let me tell you what, this thing saved her poor little nose so many times. Now it does advertise it self as "super easy to clean" which I'm going to disagree with. Its a little gross because it basically holds the boogers in the bottom and you have to unscrew, rinse, cleanse, let it dry. But other than that this thing is gold. (And spoiler alert: the music is kind of cute.)

One more tip for helping get those dried on boogers out. Get yourself some Little Noses Saline Drops/Spray.
There are definitely other brands of this stuff out there, but this is our nasal spray of choice for our children.  Just a few drops in their nose before you use the aspirator and there will be less tears while sucking the boogies out. You're welcome! 

Now that we've got boogers out of the way, let's talk about vomit!! (It only goes down hill from here, you guys.) Our kids are still pretty little, so we don't have a TON of experience with the vomiting version of the flu, but we do have a few suggestions on what to do if your little one experiences this. Please don't forget we are not doctors, just two moms standing here in front of other moms, trying to help you not get puke all over your favorite top. (Which definitely happened to Dani over vacation, watch our latest YouTube episode to hear alllll about that fiasco!) 

When your cherub starts vomiting, you're going to want to change their diet a bit and also add back in some electrolytes. 
Pedialyte is changing the post vomit session game by introducing these freezer pops. And it's possible they've been around a while and we only stumbled upon them now, but either way, big high fives to Pedialyte and all the knock off brands. Our kids love them!!

Don't forget about the B.R.A.T. diet!
No, we are not trying to call your little ones any names.  Most pediatricians will suggest the B.R.A.T. diet of Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce and dry Toast for kids with upset tummies.  Remember to do everything in SMALL doses because you don't want it all coming right back up on you. Also, these are not terrible things for mom to scarf down in between clean up sessions.

You didn't think we forgot about diarrhea, did you??? Blow outs are sometimes fun at the salon, but during flu season they take on a whole new meaning. What do you do when your little guy gets poop all over their onesie?? How do you avoid getting poop in their eye, or worse, all over you?  No seriously, if you guys know, please write us. 

We know we've mentioned this in past episodes, but we're putting it in writing now. 
ANSWER: You are supposed to roll the onesie down, rather than up over the head during extreme blow out situations. Once again, you are welcome. Poo in eye crisis averted. Everyone is happy.

We'd also like to remind you that the same pedialyte pops shown above help diarrhea situations just as well as they do vomit spells. Same goes for the B.R.A.T. diet. 

Okay, so last but certainly not least, THE DREADED HIGH FEVER! I don't know about you guys, but I have no interest in even discussing anal thermometers as a method of checking my kid's temperature. They are already in physical pain from the fever that has consumed their body, so while many doctors will suggest that anal thermometers are the most accurate, we prefer these other more gentle options and we are even going to GIVE ONE AWAY!!! 

The Ear Thermometer
This very simple thermometer is sold by Safety1st and has been a constant in our household.  The only issue with it is the ear piece can be a teeny bit too big for the tiniest ears, so you have to remember to be gentle. (Especially if the fever is coupled with an ear infection, ouch!)

The Under the Tongue Thermometer
We don't know how makes this one, but we do like the colors. That said, this style is definitely better suited for the older child in your life. Our 4 year old still can't keep it under her tongue, so our guess is 6 years old and up for this one. 

The Across the Forehead Doodad Thermometer
While we are certain the doodad is not listed in the title of this product, we feel it's necessary to add because we find this thing a bit tricky to use. Lots of moms swear by it, though, so we feel it is only fair to include it in case you hadn't seen them before. We've found the results to be inconsistent with this one and recommend against it.

The KINSA Smart Thermometer
The Kinsa Smart Stick Thermometer is FDA-cleared for accuracy. It’s lightweight, requires no batteries and connects directly to your smartphone for an easy temperature read in seconds.  And guess what you guys??? WE ARE GIVING ONE OF THESE AWAY just in time for flu season!! And for everyone else who doesn't win, we will be giving out a 15% off coupon code once the raffle has ended!

We want to tell you that we absolutely LOVE the Kinsa Smart Stick Thermometer.  We each received one for free from Kinsa to try and were blown away with how easy and user friendly they are! 
We hope whoever wins one loves it too. Visit our Giveaways page for more info or simply click on the rafflecopter widget below!  To follow Kinsa on social media: 
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Twitter - @Kinsa
Instagram - @kinsahealthbytes
Facebook - fb.com/kinsahealth

And for the full scoop on how we feel about Flu and Cold season with our kiddos, don't forget to check out our latest episode of Mamalogues!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dani's Family Visit to Sesame Place!! PLUS Complimentary and Discount Ticket Giveaway!!!!

You've all heard by now that my son is OBSESSED with Elmo.  So once we knew that we were travelling back east for my brother's wedding festivities, we also knew that we would have to squeeze in some time for a day trip to Sesame Place.  Following many of my friends on social media who have been there recently, it seemed like they had made a lot of changes since I was last there over (gulp!) 20 years ago. And, wow, what a difference 20 (or maybe more, okay?!) can make!

Let's start with the car ride. Our family resides in Southern New Jersey. We left around 9am to head out to Langhorne, PA and it only took us about an hour to get there! Not too bad with two little kids. We were a bit nervous because there were a LOT of clouds out that morning.  That being said, there was also a forecast saying the sun was going to come through.  My gut told me to just risk it, so we went and we were so glad we did!

Once we arrived Colton immediately started yelling out the characters he could see on the drive in alone. Sooooo cute. I totally die at the sound of his little voice shouting out his favorite characters on TV. As I mentioned in our YouTube video description, we were also gifted with the same package we are giving away. We received one (1) complimentary ticket and four (4) 50% off coupons.  Since there was only 4 of us, we used up 1 comp ticket and 3 discount tickets. A savings of approximately $180 for our family! That helped us out SO MUCH!! The line to wait to redeem our tickets was short and the customer service people were so friendly, giving our children some stickers before we went in.

We made our way into the park to find the lockers.  For $20 you can lock up your stuff all day and come back as you please through out the day.  Since Sesame Place is both an amusement park as well as a water park, these lockers came in SUPER handy.  Another tip: Don't forget your umbrella stroller! It was great for my little guy to stay in and not have to walk around the whole park and we also used it to hold our diaper bag when we went onto various rides.

Once we had our water gear, placed other items in the locker and were properly sun screened up, we made our way to the dry side of the park.  And what do you know? The sun started to make it's way out!! We were so happy to see that!  We started out on the carousel to sort of ease Colton into the rides. Michaela is always fine with these sort of things, so she was of no concern for us, but Colton is a wild card.  I am happy to report that he LOVED that ride and he went on to go on the swings, the flyin' fish ride and many more. We were blown away at how both of our kids were never scared and just completely enjoyed themselves.

After we went on all the dry rides, we made our way over to Elmo's Eatery and the kids enjoyed some Chicken Nuggets, Mac N Cheese, French fries and apple sauce. They have a decent selection for adults, too.  There were three salad choices, a few sandwiches and they even offer Gluten Free Pizza! The kids meals came with souvenir cups and plates which are featured in our YouTube episode. The kids still love to use those cups even now and it's been a few weeks since we were there.

Next up: The water park!  Unfortunately we do not have a water friendly camera, so we do not have any pictures of our time on that side of the park, but I can tell you we had so much fun!! The water rides all come with vests at each one for your child to put on before they enter the ride.  They have three sizes so that you can make sure your nugget is properly protected.  And the tubes you ride on are great. The kids sit in front and mom/dad sit in back.  Michaela particularly loved the Count's Splash Castle.  It is a big water play area for the kids and every couple of minutes a giant bucket of water gets dumped on the kids.  There are also some easier slides for the littlest ones in your family at this section of the park!

Overall we had a wonderful time!  Bonus: The kids were exhausted and slept the entire 1 hour and 15 minutes ride home.  And double bonus: We have memories to last us a life time.  Do you want to take your family to Sesame Place, but maybe don't want to splurge on $70 a ticket right now?  Check out our giveaway! We'd love to help you get there before summer is over!! And don't forget they are open year round and have tons of awesome events out side of summer time!! And of course, don't forget to watch the photo and video collage of our visit on our YouTube Channel!!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Baby Skincare: Which Brands are Right for You?

When our little balls of joy make their exits from the womb, one of the last things you want to worry about is what products you are using on your baby's skin.  It often goes like this in real life: You enter Target. You're exhausted. You're down tot the last diaper. You baby has a ridiculous rash that you can't seem to fix. And just when you thought your baby was comfortably sleeping in the stroller, your little cherub is now screaming quite loudly at you because they've had ANOTHER BLOW OUT!!! AHHHH!!! Sweat drips from your exhausted and furrowed brow as you stare blankly at the ENDLESS amounts of infant skincare on display.

So how do you choose what's best for your baby?? We already have the incredibly daunting task of figuring out how to feed these tiny humans while also sorting out their sleep patterns - and our new lack of sleep pattern for that matter! If that isn't bad enough, we then have to sort through endless brands of diapers, wipes, butt creams, baby wash, baby lotion, and children's sun screen too.  Babies and Toddlers have the softest skin on the planet and the goal for all parents is to keep it that way. But what do we do when there are so many potentially threatening chemicals in our children's skincare products??

Check out the latest episode of Mamalogues to get all of our thoughts on Skincare products that we like and use for our babies! We will also give you a coupon code from Happy Little Camper! We also will tell you what we think about these wonderful and chemical free wipes that we are sniffing!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why Grocery Shopping is THE WORST!!

This week on Mamalogues we are discussing every Mama's favorite topic:


(....and why you should have just left them at home.)


Here is our detailed list of why we - and by "we" we mostly mean Dani - can't stand Grocery Shopping with children:

Taking my kids grocery shopping always seems like a good idea at first.  Because sometimes they are not that awful...Exhibit A:
And because of times like the above, I'll tell my husband, "I don't mind, I'll take them with me." Sounds harmless, right??? Careful what you wish for, Mama, because the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And this may come as a surprise, but there is actually no one at the grocery store who hands out awards to the best behaved child or most patient mama...because SPOILER ALERT: None of those two things exists. (At least not all of the time.)

The drama always starts in the car. One kid dropped Elmo on the floor and is having a tantrum because he can't reach it. The other has announced that they "have to pee" after being told 500 times to go before we left! Nothing makes me crazier than having to take two children into the disgusting bathrooms at the grocery store. Call me crazy, but can't I have ONE trip to the grocery store with out visiting the nauseating bathroom? Is that too much to ask????

Somehow I always find the shopping cart with the busted wheel. I don't know how or why, but I have a knack for not only finding the world's crappiest cart, but because I'm in such a rush to get out of there as fast as I got in there, I have lowered my standards to the squeaky and unruly carts.  And then the fight about who gets to sit where in the cart begins. Is it not bad enough that I have to dance with this shopping cart because it can't move in a straight line? You think I also want to explain to you for the 20,000th time why two children can't fit in the top of the cart? But I digress....

It's super annoying that no one can keep their hands to themselves. Never did I ever think I'd have to do a "hand check" before the teen years, but my children can't seem to control their little hands in the store. I'm pretty sure that before we enter the store, they've made some sort of "let's drive mom crazy" agreement in the back seat of my car. "I'll grab the candy, and while I'm doing that, you throw the waffles on the floor as a distraction. It will be epic! She'll never see it coming!" And then everyone is laughing but mommy.

Why is it that strangers just don't get it that I have no desire to engage in conversation while also trying to keep my toddler who acts like a drunk frat boy inside the shopping cart?? It's not a coincidence that in the last aisle I dodged your smile as you passed me.  It's because if I look away from this boy for one second to talk to you, in the next few seconds he will be standing up and about to do his next trust fall to his older sister down below who, by the way, has yet to catch him. 

Also, can we do away with stickers at the check out line? Because let me tell you something. I feel like I just escaped a battle ground from fighting with these two, and your're rewarding them with stickers because???? Why?? Remind me again?? Because you enjoy seeing me peel them off of the back of my seats? Because you find it amusing that they've placed them on their clothing where I won't see it before it goes in the washer and then after that find them in my dryer in a million pieces? Enough already!!

And of course it never fails that it's 1,000 degrees outside when we have to re-enter the car after a long grocery shopping battle royale.  I'm already sweating from the circus that just happened inside the store. And now I've got my youngest fighting me to get into his car seat and the other one whining about how it is "too hot"! Every. Single. Time. Getting them in the car, along with the groceries, is my own personal hell.  And once we are in the car the grand inquisition begins about when they can have their treats. They have the incredible ability of forgetting the torture they just put me through, and act shocked and surprised when I reveal to them that no treats are being offered after the nightmare that has just occurred.

So in conclusion, Mama, may we suggest you just leave the kids behind next time? Trust us, eye brow dreams do not come true. We know this first hand. Watch the episode featured in this blog post to laugh (and maybe cry) along with us!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Great Stroller Debate & Covered Goods Giveaway!!

This week on Mamalogues we are talking about strollers and we are giving away a Covered Goods Multi-Use Nursing Cover!!!

What does a multi-use nursing cover and a stroller have in common, you might ask? Well, gone are the days of just a regular old cover up for nursing your baby. Covered Goods has upped the breast feeding game by creating this four in one wrap that covers you from all angles while nursing your baby, but it can also be used as a shopping cart cover, scarf, and best of all, it can be used as a stroller cover that protects your most precious gift from mother nature's elements (and also all those hands you don't want touching your little cherub while you are out and about!).


So now that you know what this multi-purpose cover has in common with your stroller, let's talk about single versus double strollers!!

If and when you decide to have a second child, one thing to consider is whether or not you will get a double stroller once you have two children in your household.

We think that having a double stroller, like most things in parenting, is a personal choice and may not be for everyone. For Dani's family, the decision was to opt out of getting a double stroller. This was because there wasn't enough storage for it in our garage and because Dani feels the double strollers are obnoxious in size when being pushed around.  Also, Dani decided that she preferred carrying the baby in the baby bjorn when her older daughter was in the stroller.  If her daughter decided to walk, then she put the baby in the stroller. So the need for the double stroller wasn't really there for Dani's purposes.

Dani's family continues to use their Graco Snug Fit Car Seat and Stroller combo even after having their second child.  It is a single stroller with clip in option for the infant seat. You can use it without the car seat and it functions wonderfully as a forward facing toddler stroller with a shade. It can also recline into more comfortable sitting positions, or if the child is still quite small, it can be made into a bassinet by reclining entirely and flipping up a foot rest to keep the baby from wiggling their way out.

Mary Beth's family is on the fence with this double stroller decision. As many of you who watch Mamalogues on YouTube may know, MB is expecting her second child.  So naturally, she told Dani she wanted a double stroller and Dani listed all the reasons why she should not make this purchase. MB's family currently uses their Britax stroller that she loves because it functions a lot like an umbrella stroller. It is very simple to collapse with pressing just one button. Although closing up shop seems easy with this stroller, the con for MB is that it folds out on itself leaving it open to getting dirty when it gets thrown in the trunk of her car, or worse, when it's being tossed around by airport personnel.

So what should Mary Beth do?? Leave us your opinion below! You can find out what sort of advice Dani gave Mary Beth by watching the episode below!! 


Do you agree with Dani? Is a double stroller a waste of money and storage space?

While you think that one over, don't forget we are giving away TWO of these gorgeous four in one covers featured in this episode.  Find out how to win one yourself by entering our giveaway below!

Thanks again to Covered Goods for their generous gifts to our viewers and readers!!

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You Might Be A Yippie If....

1. You shop at Whole Foods because you've recently gone Paleo.

2. You find a reason to wear your yoga pants to every where but yoga class. 

3. The choice between Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation and Method cleaning supplies has become incredibly difficult for you because you recently gave up making your D.I.Y. cleaners.


4. You recently gave up dyeing your hair because going gray is in now and you don't want those nasty toxins leaching into your body.

5. Even your children are on board with buying all things organic.

6. You sit at work day dreaming about the pets you recently adopted and what it is they do all day while you're at your boring corporate job.

 7. You recently watched this episode of Mamalogues and found no relief in the things we said, rather you've only grown more concerned that you might be a Yippie.