Post-Pregnancy Hormones & Sunkist TEN

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways

Baby and New Mom

Even though I haven’t talked about him much many of you probably know that a few months ago I added a new member to my family.  Boy, how the time flies!  It seems just like yesterday we had our newborn family photos taken.

New Baby

I remember that week well.  I was exhausted, so proud of my baby boy, and overwhelmingly thankful my in-laws were able to drop everything and come down to help us.  My parents were planning on staying the first week at home with us and my in-laws the second but my parents’ plans changed quickly due to unforeseen events.

During the end of their visit I was setting on the couch talking to my mother-in-law and all of a sudden I couldn’t see out of one eye.  Nothing, nada.  I saw bright colors flashing and jumping about but nothing that was really there.  After about ten minutes, my eyesight began to return and soon all I had remaining was a bright spot right in the middle of my vision.  It looked just like the spots you see after a camera’s flash.  They didn’t go away though.  Everywhere I looked they were there.  This made reading and focusing on someone’s face very difficult.

I made an appointment that day with the hospital dept. that took care of my epidural.  After a quick interview I was sent to a neurologist, which then sent me for an MRI {which was surprisingly relaxing!}, extensive tests at the eye doctor, and finally to the pharmacy.  It was a long day but such a fun day alone with my husband.  Having lunch out and leisurely walking around shops in between appointments made it feel like a date. {Which makes me think we need to hire a sitter more often!}

Come to find out everything was okay and it was just my hormones out of whack.  Along with my Rx for vision issues/headaches, I was told to drink at least one pop {soda, coke, what have you} a day.  Since I abstained from drinking soda while pregnant {because I felt I took enough risks taking my meds for hypersomnia while pregnant} I was glad to drink some again!!  It wasn’t too long though that I began to worry about all those extra calories I was consuming.

Sunkist TEN

I needed caffeine but not calories.  It was then that I remembered a refreshing orange drink that I love so much!  Sunkist TEN has all of the flavor {full flavor as their ads say!} with only ten calories.  TEN!  That’s the amount calories found in a breath mint.  Sunkist TEN has something like 90% less calories than regular soda {Don’t quote me though because I’m still a bit sleep deprived.  Just trust me that it’s a lot less!}

TEN Sodas

Have you tried any of the TEN sodas?  They include 7-up TEN, Sunkist TEN {yummy!}, Canada Dry TEN & A&W TEN and are available at Walmart.  It’s a great way to have full flavor without sacrificing your dreams of a swimsuit-ready body.

Sunkist Family

We’re a Sunkist TEN family!  Corny?  Totally, but I thought it was fun!  For those wondering, my daughter doesn’t drink soda right now.  It was just a little silly photoshop work from our Mister Roger’s Halloween costume.

Want to try it?  Right now there is a coupon to save $0.50 off a purchase of TWO 2 Liter bottles or TWO 4-pack cans of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN or Sunkist TEN soda.  {However, if you were to share that digital coupon via email, FB, Twitter (there is a click to share function) you will get brought to a coupon that will get $1.50 off that purchase rather than just $0.50!}  This coupon offer is available while supplies last, from 3/27-4/17.  You can get your soda coupon here

Stay in touch with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s (DPSG) Facebook account and Twitter to keep up to date with their latest products and promotions.

Have you tried any of the TEN sodas?  If so, what do you think?  Also, did you have any random post-pregnancy hormone craziness?  I’d like to know that I’m not alone. : )

Mystery Costume – Who am I?

Mister Rogers Costume

This is a photo of my family’s Halloween costume.  My husband had shingles last Halloween so we had to postpone our dress up day.  Today, we went to a birthday party where costumes were encouraged so we pulled out our outfits.

Can any of you guess who we were?  $5 Amazon gift card to the first person to guess all three characters correctly.  No cheating (don’t Google for help) and none of my friends who were at the party today are eligible!  If ya’ll like it I’ll share more of the costume details with you later.

Two Weeks Ago Today

Two weeks ago this morning I woke up, rolled over, rolled over again, and just about burst into tears.  After a few minutes of flip flopping I realized the pain in my stomach wasn’t from the cheeseburger I ate the night before.  I laid there trying to gain composure as I ran over the “game plan” in my head before I woke Mike up.  I was having contractions!

Two hours later I was on my way to the hospital with contractions that were two minutes apart.  I walked into the hospital clenching my husband’s arm and stopping every minute and a half for another contraction.  Every lady that passed me by either wished me luck or gave me the famous southern sympathy, “Bless your heart.”

One lovely epidural, seven hours of napping, and four pushes later I had one of these:

Baby and New Mom

I am very blessed.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

Merry Christmas 2013!

Christmas Card 2013

May God fill your life with peace, love, and joy this holiday season and throughout the new year!

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Cord Blood Banking #CordBlood411

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Cord Blood Registry

When bringing a new one into the world there are a million things to consider.  From nursery decorations, to breast or bottle, to swaddle or not to swaddle, and to bank cord blood or not.  The last one I mentioned, to bank cord blood or not, doesn’t get discussed as much as other new mom issues but I think it’s an important one to be discussed.

If you’re a regular reader, you’re already aware that I’m having a baby next month, Lord willing.  I mention it every other post, I don’t know how you could miss it. 🙂  That means it’s time for my husband and I to set down and decide whether or not we’re going to set aside the cord blood for later use in our family or if we’re going to donate it.

Baby Feet

I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t as familiar with cord blood banking when I had my daughter.  We looked at the price tag {which was hefty} and chose not to save it but I assumed the hospital would save it and donate it on our behalf for public use.  This is a precious commodity and it never crossed my mind that it would just be thrown away.  This time we’re either going to make the plans ahead of time to donate it or to keep for us.  There won’t be any waste this time!

Before I go into the details of what cord blood banking is for those who don’t know I have to tell you that the hefty price I mentioned earlier has gone down quite a bit.  It’s now around $1,700 {with a $130 yearly banking fee} as opposed to the $5,000 it was when my daughter was born.  $2,000 is still nothing to sneeze at but hopefully this drop in price will help make it more affordable for families to take advantage of.  Donating cord blood is completely free though!

Through the Newborn Possibilities Program, Cord Blood Registry offers free cord blood and cord tissue processing with five years of storage to families with a medical need so that they may use the newborn stem cells now or in the near future.  To date, the Newborn Possibilities Program has processed and saved stem cells for nearly 5,000 children.

What’s the Big Deal?

Stem cells are immature cells that have the ability to become other kinds of cells that form organs and tissues. They are powerful, unique cells that are the building blocks of the body.

After a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, some blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and the attached portion of the umbilical cord. This cord blood is rich in powerful hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells.

Cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of more than 80 conditions and are currently being evaluated in FDA-regulated clinical trials for their potential regenerative ability in common health issues including autism, cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Who “Banks” the Blood?

The Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is the world’s largest family cord blood bank and the first and only newborn stem cell bank to pioneer FDA-regulated clinical trials with leading medical centers.

Is Cord Blood Banking Right for You?

Here are some things to read over to see if this may be right for  your family.

  • – Consider the future: Regenerative medicine is a new approach to treatment focused on promoting normal function in the human body through cell based therapies in which stem cells play a vital role. In fact, many believe that regenerative medicine will revolutionize healthcare. Emerging research suggest that stem cells from cord blood have advantages over other stem cell sources in regenerative therapies. The clinical use of stem cells has grown each year, increasing the likelihood that you or a member of your family could benefit from the newborn stem cells you bank.
  • – Know your family history: Does your family have a history of illnesses for which newborn stem cells are currently being used or studied?  If so, you may well benefit from banking cord blood for the conditions treated today, but importantly, for conditions that are currently being studied through clinical research.
  • – Know your options: The primary options for cord blood banking are to store your stem cells with a family bank or to donate to a public bank.  Family banking offers storage of cord blood stem cells for the family’s exclusive use.  This costs a one time processing fee and an annual storage fee.  Free banking is available for families with a medical need.  Public donation allows you to donate stem cells to help someone in need.  Later down the road you may be able to access your donation if  you need it but there’s no guarantee that your donation will be available for you.
  • – Talk to your doctor: If you think cord blood banking is something you’d like to do, it is important to discuss it with your physician. They’ll help you sort through your options and will also work with you and the hospital to ensure you have what is needed at the time of delivery for a smooth collection.

Right after birth is the only time to gather this potentially life-saving blood.  Choosing to bank or not is a huge decision so I urge you, if you’re considering CBR, to take your time and read over all the facts that way you and your family can make the best decision for your family.  To check out more information, visit

Honey Bunches of Oats – Smile While You Shake It #bunchofbeats

This is a compensated post brought to you by Mom It Forward and Honey Bunches of Oats.   All opinions are my own.

Smile While You Shake It PartyI recently hosted a Smile While You Shake It Party with Honey Bunches of Oats.  This party was a brunch with local bloggers and we had a lot of fun chatting, dancing, laughing, and eating.  After we ate Honey Bunches of Oats and a few other goodies we danced with our Honey Bunches of Oats cereal boxes to shoot our Smile While You Shake It videos!

Honey Bunches of Oats PartyPlaying around with a few of the cool props Honey Bunches of Oats sent us for our videos.

Smiling and ShakingSmiling and shaking it!

Honey Bunches of Oats DiscussionThese bloggers are discussing all the world’s problems…or which cereal to try next, or planning their dance moves for their Smile While You Shake It video?  It’s hard to tell.

“Smile While You Shake It” caught your attention, didn’t it?  It did mine too when I first heard about this new campaign from Honey Bunches of Oats.  Smile While You Shake It is their new anthem they put together to celebrate what it means to start the day off with a smile. The fun and upbeat song, inspired by Samba beats, featuring musical artists Domino Saints, incorporates cereal boxes and breakfast utensils as percussion instruments.  How fun?  It’s a catchy tune that will be in your head for days {you’ve been warned!}.  It’s an easy song for anyone or any family to dance…err, shake to.

Why video the shaking?  Well, because you could win $500 for doing so!

Do you want to win $500 gift card?  Visit the  Honey Bunches of Oats Microsite now and show your fine dance moves {or simple shaking} as you Smile While You Shake It.  They’re giving away a $500 gift card weekly so be sure to submit a new video every week!  The video is only 15 seconds long and takes less than a minute to create start to finish!  It’s very easy and I promise it’s fun!  You can’t make a video without smiling, it’s impossible.  The Smile While You Shake It Contest ends 6/6/14 at 11:59pm EST.  I would love one of my readers to win so please come back and let me know if you do!

You can go here to check out my favorite Smile While You Shake It video that a friend of mine submitted.

More Honey Bunches of Oats PleaseDon’t forget to Like Honey Bunches of Oats on Facebook and Follow Hones Bunches of Oats on Twitter to get the latest updates and contest info from Honey Bunches of Oats.

Cute OshKosh B’gosh Holiday Styles

Disclosure: I am participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for OshKosh B’gosh. I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

OshKosh Store

I don’t know about you but I love to see kiddos in cute clothes.  It makes me happy!  Another thing that makes me happy though is having money in my bank account so how do I find adorable clothes at an affordable price?

Here’s my checklist to save on kid’s clothes:

  1. I know which stores have styles that I like, that fit my daughter well, and {this is important} are made well.
  2. I learn the coupon policies of these stores and sign up to be on their coupon mailing and email list.
  3. I shop sales, I gravitate towards the clearance rack, and I use coupons to save on the newest styles.
  4. Also, if I shop online I shop through Ebates to earn cash back {OshKosh B’gosh will earn you 3% back!}.

OshKosh Measuring Tape

My husband and little one went shopping with me to OshKosh B’gosh and to my surprise they had a lot of fun.  My husband enjoyed trying out their measuring tape although I couldn’t believe how big my girl is getting!  He also kept a running total for me of the items I was holding, taking into account the different discounts throughout the store.  He’s a math guy so this was fun for him.  Go figure!

OshKosh Overalls

While I didn’t snag any overalls this visit {because we already have some} I was a bit jealous of the price – 50% off!!  I almost bought another pair just because it was such a great sale but I held back.

OshKosh Check Out

The staff was very friendly but not the kind that follow you around and bug you to pieces {I avoid those type of stores like the plague!}.  I was kicking myself for forgetting my 25% off coupon at home but our lovely cashier went above and beyond and gave me the discount anyway since I’m a preferred customer.  See, it pays to be signed up for coupons even if you forget them!!

OshKosh Shirt

Here’s my little sweetie sporting her brand new sparkly shoes and sweet rose shirt.

OshKosh Cute

This outfit cracks me up – I think it makes her look so mature!  This was a summer dress on clearance {around $10 I believe} and I paired it with a sale priced cardigan, red beaded necklace {which she’s carrying in the picture}, glittery gold tights, a blue hair bow, and sparkly red shoes.  I think this will be a great outfit for the holidays!

OshKosh JacketForgive me for going a little overboard here but she was having such a good time drawing inside her box that I took several pictures and I just couldn’t decide on one.  Check out this fleece jacket though – $7 – unbelievable, right?  There were many different styles to choose from but I loved this polka dot one.

All in all, we had a wonderful shopping trip to OshKosh and walked away with some gorgeous pieces!  We scored all that you see above plus a skirt, shirt, bracelet, and dress that’s not pictured, for only $106.  I’ll have to post more pictures later but my two year old could only be cooperative for so many outfits at a time.

For those wondering, my husband predicted a higher total than we owed but that was before he knew the cashier would give us a coupon for additional savings.  I won’t do the math to figure it out but I assume he was spot on!

OshKosh Coupon

Did I get you in the mood to shop?  Well, don’t leave home or shop online without this 25% off your purchase of $30+ {Fine print, Not valid on doorbuster specials, amazing values, and clearance items. Expires 12/31/13.}

For the latest updates follow OshKosh B’gosh on Facebook.

My Dog is Dying

This post is going to be a little backwards and I apologize for that.  First, I’m going to share my dog’s obituary, written by my husband, and then I’m going to share a post I wrote last week about her dying that I couldn’t allow myself to post at the time.

Note from my husband:

Lucy Lu

Just said goodbye to a very loyal, faithful friend this morning. Here is her obituary/bio.

Lucy Lu Walkup was born sometime in 2001, the year that I moved to this city. I’m not sure what happened to her between then and 2003 when we connected, but she was either lost or abandoned. I have to assume she was lost because I can’t imagine anyone intentionally giving up such a sweet animal. Then again I can’t imagine her running away either because every time I accidentally left the gate open and set out to look for her in the neighborhood I would turn the corner and see her on the porch staring at the front door.

I was never a dog person really and had no plans of getting a dog but one day a coworker, John, told me that he and his wife Sara had rescued a stray dog (named Hope at the time, they renamed her Lucy and I added the Lu myself) and they were fostering her and wondered if I had any interest in taking her. John convinced me to do a trial night and he dropped her off one evening after work. It was love at first sight. Not really. Actually the instant he shut the door and left she immediately squatted in the floor by the window and peed. I thought about flagging him down before he got out of the driveway but decided to stick it out for the night. I didn’t know what I was doing but as the evening and night went on she quickly stole my heart with her sweet nature and the way she was always shadowing me.

Lucy was a great, loyal friend that went through a lot with me. Before I had a family she was my companion every day during good times and bad and lonely times. Everybody loved her. She really was a sweet animal. Even people that didn’t like dogs either liked Lucy or at least told me she was as close as they came to liking dogs. She was always so patient with puppies and small children.

Then when I had a family she was a great fit for that too. When I married Ashley she was a little bit jealous at first. The first week we got married and Ashley moved in she didn’t even come upstairs to bed (she always slept underneath my bed). Finally one night she came up and we were so excited we let her come in bed. She worked her way to the foot of the bed under the comforter through the night though and got trapped. We woke up and heard her panting and got her out and got her some water. Oops. Despite that, after that she got back to her routine of sleeping under the bed and very quickly made friends with Ashley.

Then I threw her another curve ball in 2011 when our daughter was born. Once again there was an adjustment but Lucy was always patient through all the changes and we had some great moments of the two of them together. Lucy had to be patient for a while when a lot of our time was taken caring for a new baby and interrupting her sleep schedule. But as our daughter got older they got to be good pals. They had a great symbiotic relationship based on our daughter’s love of throwing food on the floor and Lucy’s love of eating it. They also both shared a love of going on walks together and those will always be some of my fondest memories. Lucy was always very patient, never snapping when our toddler petted too hard or stepped on her. She would always be gentle and tolerant and when she’d had enough she would just calmly walk away.

On September 13 I took her in for dental cleaning and in her pre-op exam her vet found a tumor in her abdomen. We were heartbroken by the news but agreed with the vet to make her comfortable as long as we could. She had two good months with us after that and I cherished every minute with her and chance to pet and love on her and get lots more walks in. I have more good memories with her than I could possibly share on here and this is likely more than any but a handful of people will be interested in reading anyhow. I don’t think I’ll ever hear a cell phone ring again without grabbing it as quickly as I can to keep it from scaring her. The same is true for any electronic device that beeps when you push a button. I haven’t used my toaster oven in 6 years since turning it on gave her a panic attack. It will take a while to keep from dropping pieces of pizza crust or popcorn in the floor for her while I’m eating and I think every time I go to to get in or out of bed I’m probably always going to expect to see two dog legs and a wagging tail sticking out from under.

I will miss her terribly and there will never be another dog like her. She was a perfect quirky fit for this quirky human. Thanks to all who petted her, rubbed her belly, and loved on her through the years. Rest in peace Lu!

Here is the post I wrote a little over a week ago on Nov. 7, 2013:  

My heart is heavy and my eyes are spilling over with tears.  I don’t know a good way to write about this so forgive me for just beginning.

A handful of weeks ago {around two months I guess} our beloved canine friend, Lucy, was panting and pacing at night so I urged my husband to take her to the vet.  She had an upcoming apt. anyway so the timing was perfect.  I thought “better safe than sorry” but when my husband came home with his head hanging low I knew something was wrong.  I can still picture Lucy joyfully prancing up the stairs and my husband fighting off tears as he came to hug me.  We had friends over at the time so they babysat my daughter while the three of us went for a walk.  It was then he told me about the mass the vet had found in her abdomen.

My kids

Regardless of the expense and hassle, we immediately changed her diet to a homemade dog food  that the vet recommended.  We wanted to do everything we could do to slow down the growth of this tumor (cancerous or benign).  Lucy’s panting ceased, she still had a spring in her step, and a wagging tail so we began to think that maybe she was misdiagnosed or that the tumor was staying the same size.  She still had her shiny black coat, was agile, and no one would have ever guessed she was 12 years old.

Last week Lucy has started changing.  She would still run down the stairs when we would jiggled her leash signifying that was time for a walk but she would get out of breath half way through our short little walk.  “She is 12 years old” we would say trying to reassure ourselves it wasn’t the tumor causing the change.  Then out of nowhere our thin snouted dog developed a saggy chin which had, you guessed it, a mass inside.  Just as the doctor predicted, she’s beginning to lose feeling or control of her back legs.  One day she could jump up on the couch to sit with us as we watched TV and the next day she couldn’t do it on her own.  She’s having trouble making it up the stairs in our house and up the ones on our back porch.

My husband is just now over his shingles and now Lucy takes a turn for the worse.  This pregnant mama can’t take much more.  I do appreciate your prayers.  I know it might seem silly too some to cry over an animal dying but if you’ve ever loved and lost a pet you know what I’m feeling.

A few things I’ll miss about Lucy:
– Bugging her by tickling the hair on the bottom of her feet while she lays near me.
– The crazy way every tiny beep or vibrating phone would make her start shaking but thunder didn’t phase her.
– The way I could brush her for hours without her wanting me to stop.
– How she insisted her cold nose had to touch my arm while I petted her.
– Her sweet presence that followed me every time I went into my daughter’s room.
– How she would come and get me every time our newborn would cry.
– How she would smell her and then lay down beside her.
– How my daughter now loves to get hit with Lucy’s tail and chase her for kisses.
– Sharing popcorn with her and trying to toss it in the air to her.
– Sharing my last bite of pizza crust with her.
– The way she would bark and move her paws in her sleep.
– I loved how she would never take food off of our plates or beg for food.
– How each week Lucy would invade our photo of the week that we take of our daughter.
– How she slept under the bed and left a huge pile of black fur there.
– Petting her little foot that didn’t make it all the way under the bed with my foot and telling her goodnight.
– Traveling with her and convincing her not to get in bed with us at my in-laws house.
– The clicking of her nails on our wooden floors.
– The way she would think it was time to play every time we would get in the floor to be with our daughter.
– The way she cleaned up any dropped food in the kitchen.
– How she would stop and sniff every few feet along our walk.
– The perked ears and joy in her face when she heard the garage door open every evening when Dad came home.
– The way she loved to lick every last little bit of peanut butter out of an empty jar before we would throw it away.
– How she thought she was a lap dog and would wiggle and squirm onto your lap.
– Hearing her walk around upstairs, jump off the bed, or scoot under the bed.
– How she sent a little bit of her fur behind the tape of every gift we ever wrapped.
– The wet paw prints she would leave after it had rained.
– How she would chase rabbits and cats but would never harm them.
– How she would eat flies.
– The way she enjoyed laying on the back porch in the sunshine.

There are so many other things I’m going to miss. I’m losing a faithful friend.  I want to try and cling to the memories I have so I don’t forget them and try to make new memories with the time we have left together.  Tonight, we’re having family pictures made with her and I’ll probably be bawling in them.  I’m going to love her all I can.  I’ll cherish the fur under my fingers as I pet her no matter how tired my arm gets.  I’m praying that the Lord will let her die peacefully in her sleep or that He will give us the wisdom to know when to put her down and the strength to do it.

For those who have managed to read this far, thank you for letting us share about our beloved Lucy.

Be on the look out…

Be on the look out for! ha! Very punny.

Be on the look out for this tie.  Get it?  It’s a bolo tie.  Bolo means be on the look out for. Ha!  My husband and I are in a silly mood tonight.

Repin to show your support!  …or maybe we shouldn’t try our hand at comedy.  You decide.   🙂

Wedgwood, Waterford, & Royal Doulton Christmas Ornaments

This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. As always, all opinions are my own.

I’ve been a fan of Wedgwood’s classic look for as long as I can remember.  I’ve never owned many pieces but I always admired them at others’ homes.

Waterford crystal is gorgeous and I’m lucky enough to own a small Waterford piece that I bought in Ireland.

My mom is a little obsessed with British comedies and because of her I’ve watched my share of the TV show Keeping Up Appearances.  On that show there is a character named Hyacinth Bucket {pronounced “bouquet”} who obsesses over her Royal Doulton fine china.  Ever since I first watched that show years ago I’ve wanted a little piece of Royal Doulton for myself.  I still don’t own any but maybe for Christmas this year I’ll buy myself one of the Royal Doulton Christmas tea cup ornaments.

Today, I was browsing through the Wedgwood, Waterford, and Royal Doulton sites while looking for sale items and I fell in love with a number of their Christmas ornaments.  I couldn’t help but share them with you in case you want to snag a discounted ornament for yourself, co-worker, or loved one.

Wedgwood Christmas Ornaments

The beautiful Wedgwood ornaments are on sale from $19.95-$29.95 (originally $29-$43).  Check out all the cute Wedgwood ornaments for yourself.

Waterford Christmas Ornaments

These Waterford Crystal ornaments are probably gorgeous in person and will hold their beauty for generations if taken care of properly.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any on sale right now.  They range from $55-$85 a piece but some can be custom engraved for no extra charge.  Check out Waterford’s Christmas ornaments for yourself.

Royal Doulton Christmas Ornaments

I think these Royal Doulton ornaments are just lovely and I’m trying to decide between the tea pot and the tea cup {or both!}.  The single ornaments are on sale for $14.99 (from $21.50 retail) and the sets of three are on sale for $39.99 (from $58).  Check out all of the Royal Doulton Christmas ornaments for yourself.

What’s your favorite Christmas ornament?