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You might have a toddler

>> Thursday, June 30, 2011

I swear like it feels like this past September that my son was born. So I'm not sure how it is possible that he's turning THREE this September!! Really, where did the time go? I had a newborn and all of a sudden I have a full on toddler. And a super loud toddler that constantly wants my attention at that. But even if he was a super quiet toddler that didn't constantly want my attention, there are still so many signs that there is a toddler living in my home.

If you aren't sure if there is a toddler in your home, here are some ways you might know:

--While making dinner, you need the can opener and you know exactly where it is...the fridge, inside the veggie drawer.
--Your husband goes on an overnight business trip and he uses a spare wipes box to pack his toiletries in.
--When you throw things away in the trash can, you have to sometimes bury certain things a little deeper.
--Even when you are in the car by yourself, you find yourself constantly looking in the rear view mirror.
--You are desperate for an unhealthy snack and find yourself eating Scooby Doo snacks dipped in Nutella.
--Your friends come to visit, and while using the bathroom, they have to go on a scavenger hunt to find the toilet paper and hand soap.
--When you have spare time and get lost in your thoughts, you find yourself thinking things like "Where in the world are Max and Ruby's parents?" and "How come Mickey is a mouse but he can talk? But has a dog for a pet, Pluto, but he can't talk? But then Goofy is his friend, who is also a dog, and he can talk?"
--When throwing away things in the trash can, you find yourself giving it a once over to make sure nothing valuable has been thrown away.
--In general conversation you spell out words like "park", "cookies", and "outside."
--You know you are going to have to wake up early, or possibly be up several times during the night, but you stay up as late as possible just for some peace and quiet.
--Your grocery list always consists of such items as "fishies" and "Scooby snacks".

If you still aren't sure if there is a toddler in your house or not, just look on the floor. If it's clean, you probably don't.

**The items listed may or may not be from actual experiences in our house. Let's just say that I'm not creative enough to come up with these things out of thin air.


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The latest trend

>> Monday, June 27, 2011

A couple of years ago, I remember watching an episode of NBC'S morning show and the Duggar's from the show 18 Kids and Counting were on. The Duggar's oldest son and his wife were expecting their first baby, and they didn't yet know if it was a boy or a girl and they were going to find out on the show. And how did they find out? They had a cake, made especially for them, and the inside was either pink or blue, depending on the babies gender. They cut into it and it was pink!

I had never heard of such a thing.

But then, this past Friday morning I was watching ABC's morning show, and they had this story about gender reveal parties. Apparently it's the newest trend. People who want to know the gender of their baby, but don't want to find out from someone they don't know or barely know in a doctor-like, not so intimate setting have come up with a great idea.

They have the person performing the ultrasound write down the gender of the baby and put it in an envelope. They then give this envelope to a baker who will make a cake with pink inside for a girl, or blue for a boy. Then the couple has a party with family and friends, and at the party cut into the cake so they can all find out the gender together.

I absolutely love this idea! I don't know if I will have a big party but I definitely think that next time around it would be a fun way for our little family to find out who will be joining us. And if I do that, I should probably go ahead and make a King cake with the little plastic baby inside when I announce my next pregnancy. I'll take any and every excuse to eat cake.


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It's summertime!

>> Thursday, June 23, 2011

During my first pregnancy I was in the huge, uncomfortable stage of pregnancy right in the heat (and humidity cause I'm on the east coast) of summer! It wasn't fun. And I vowed to myself that I will never be in the third trimester of pregnancy in the horrible heat of summer again!!! (But from my last post, you know that saying stuff like that never works out for me!)

(Speaking of summer, today is your last day to get 20% off your ENTIRE order with coupon code "SUMMERBABY')

If you are finding yourself in the same situation now that summer is here, here are some things to remember :

--Make sure to drink lots and lots of water. Dehydration and pregnancy are not a good mix. (for me it caused contractions). You should have at least 6 to 8 glasses a day. For me, if I have a glass soon after waking up it makes it easier for me to keep drinking throughout the day. And yes, you already have to run to the bathroom a million times a day, but it's better than the alternative. If you aren't a fan of water and find it hard to get in the 6 to 8 glasses, make sure to get some watery fruits and veggies, too, like honeydew melon, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumber

--Frequent the pool. It's a great way to cool off, relieve back pain, and get in some exercise. During my first pregnancy I was able to go to the pool often and it really was the best. And I'd hang out along the side of the pool doing leg lifts and other water aerobics. I may have gotten a few weird looks, but it felt so good, and I'm used to people looking at me like I'm crazy.

--Flip flops are pretty much the worst choice. It's so hard for me to say that since all my watermelon sized feet could fit into were flip flops, but most of them don't have the arch support that we really need while pregnant. Because of all of the extra weight and the stretching of ligaments, flip flops just aren't the best and wearing them daily could cause permanent damage. But if you have to wear them (I do believe I HAVE to) make sure to get some with good arch support.

--Prop up your feet. I'm not even kidding about how bad my hands, feet and ankles swelled because of the hot summer. (I'm tempted to show you a picture for you skeptics, but I will refrain) Keeping your feet up helps, and so does a nice foot massage! And going back to the first tip, drinking water helps with the swelling, too, along with taking in less salt.

--Stay indoors when you can on those super hot days. Yes, it can be boring, which is when you hit up the mall or go to a movie. And it can seem almost impossible if you have another child who needs to get out and get some energy. But do what you can to stay cool inside. Just take advantage of the cooler weather at sundown.

--Load up on sunscreen. I'm one of those people that will say this is a must anytime, pregnant or not. But did you know that higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy cause melasma and wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent it? Make sure to wear SPF 50, even if it's cloudy. I've gotten my worst sunburns on overcast days.


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Summer Lovin' Discount- 20% off Milan Maternity

>> Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer is officially here and we're definitely feeling it here in Southern California! Heck, it ALWAYS feels like summer...it's just summer, and then hotter summer.

We want to kick off the season with some sweet savings, so today and tomorrow only, snag 20% off your ENTIRE order with coupon code "SUMMERBABY'. Be sure to check out some of our newest styles!


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Never say never.

>> Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm one of those people that loves to say "I will never..."

And there's nothing like pregnancy, having babies, and raising children to make you eat those words! I'm pretty sure that every single "I will never..." that I've ever spoken has been taken back since the first day I got pregnant.

I will never have a baby without an epidural!!
And then I had my first baby, and had an epidural, and it was just not a good experience. All of a sudden I found myself pregnant with my second and saying that I would be going without an epidural. And guess what. I actually did it! That was the most surprising part of all! Of course, that is every ones personal choice, but I definitely ate my words on that one.

I will never hire someone to clean my home!!
No, I haven't hired anyone to clean my home. But if my husband gave me the go ahead, I totally would. Cleaning a house with 2 little ones seems nearly impossible. Although I have come up with a little plan that has helped me out a bit, which I will share later. But if I had someone to help me out with that, I don't think I'd be able to contain my excitement.

I will never let my baby sleep in our bed!
Said the girl who hadn't had a baby, and then came home with the cutest little baby boy in the whole wide world...who would only sleep when he was being held. I went back on that one the very first night we were home. And there he stayed almost every night for the first 7 months of his life.

I will never drive a minivan!
And here I am, with two kids, begging (and I mean BEGGING) my husband to get me a minivan. For some reason minivans screamed "stereotypical mom" to me, and I wanted to avoid that (Why? I don't know.) And now as I lift my two kids in and out of our trailblazer and as I feel so cramped every time we go on any kind of road trip, I can't help but think "Please, oh please, OH PLEASE, let us get a minivan soon!"

I will never join a gym!
"Why would I pay to workout somewhere when I can workout at home for free?" was my perspective. And then I had a baby. And then a few months later I had postpartum depression. And then I needed to get out of the house and have something just for me. It was the best thing I could have done. And of course, there are a lot more options for exercising at a gym then there are at my house....at least until I will the lottery and have a massive gym in my house! (I have a feeling I will be waiting for that for a looong time, since I never buy lottery tickets.)

I will never deliver a baby at home!
My mother actually birthed me at home. And when I told people that and they asked if I would have my babies at home I'd say "No way!" The hospital seemed like the safe place to deliver a baby. I was soooo scared about birthing a baby, I just knew I needed all sorts of help from every possible trained professional! And now that I had my second with out an epidural I think...what is the point of doing it at the hospital when I can just do it at home? The jury is still out on this one (mostly my husbands jury) but I am pretty convinced, which just amazes me!

l will never dress my son in camo and my daughter won't be in pink all the time!
But then, I had a cute little boy, and a sweet little girl. And I quickly realized that they look super cute in EVERYTHING! Even camo and pink. So who am I to deny them any kind of cuteness?

I find it funny that all it took was becoming a mother to go back on my "I will never..." statements. (Please, tell me I'm not the only one!) It has taught me that there is nothing like experience to make you realize what you will and won't do. And most importantly, it has taught me that everyone makes their own decisions based on their own preferences/experiences. No one is right, and no one is wrong. I judged so easily before (I am human, after all), and I've definitely learned to not be so quick judge to now.

I can't wait until my kids are older and I get to take back the rest of my "I will never's..."


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Prenatal exercise: If I can do it, anyone can!

>> Thursday, June 16, 2011

One thing you will probably never hear me say is "I LOVE exercising!" Not because I don't exercise, but because I just don't have a love for it. For me, exercise is a way to fulfill my desire to try to be healthy. And since having children, it has become a bit of an escape.

When I was pregnant I would exercise because I'm convinced that the professionals are right, that it will help me have endurance and strength for labor.

I am now the proud owner of 3 prenatal exercise DVDs. And if I can actually get myself together to do some kind of physical activity during pregnancy, you can, too! And if you have just one workout routine and are getting bored and losing the desire to do it, try getting a couple more so you can mix things up.

The first one is Prenatal Yoga With Shiva Rea. I know there are some people who don't really consider yoga a good work out, but it is!!! This one isn't as intense as others, but this was the only exercise I did with my first pregnancy and I know it helped during labor. There are 3 different levels for each trimester, and you will need a yoga block and yoga strap for the second and third trimester. (Unless you are super yoga woman, which I am not. And perhaps if you don't gain over 50 lbs like I did, you won't need them either. In which case, GO YOU!)
You can buy Prenatal Yoga With Shiva Rea here for only $5.69.

The second two DVDs I got at the end of my second trimester with my second pregnancy (I get bored doing the same thing, so I needed some more to mix things up) and I really wish I had them sooner.

Denise Austin: Fit & Firm Pregnancy was better than I expected. (Confession: the way Denise Austin talks drives me up the wall. But the workouts were worth it.) It has different segments which are Breathing and Core Awareness, Cardio Workout, 1st - 2nd Trimester Toning, 3rd Trimester Toning, and a bonus Post Bounce-Back Workout. This DVD left me feeling like I was really getting a good workout. You can get it here for $8.86.

The final DVD is Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout. And let me tell you, it is a workout!!! At least that is my opinion. I was exercising regularly before I started doing this video and still found it quite challenging. There are workouts for each trimester, and you can choose to do the full length workout or an express workout. You will also need resistance bands for this one. If you only get one of these that I have mentioned, I hate to pass up yoga, but this would be the one. You can get it here for $11.96.

Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before doing any of these workouts to make sure it's safe for your pregnancy. And whatever exercise you choose to do is good. If you have any suggestions of ones you've tried and like, we'd love to hear about them! I know next time around I could use even more variety.


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Milan Maternity Sofia Winner

>> Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The winner of the Milan Maternity Sofia maternity/nursing top as chosen by random.org is:

And the coordinating comment:

Congrats! E-mail service@milanmaternity.com by Friday, June 17 11:59pm to claim it, or another winner will be chosen.


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Write it all down

>> Monday, June 13, 2011

The Milan Maternity Sofia Giveaway is still on! Enter HERE!

I was really good about keeping a journal starting at a very young age. Scrap booking, not so much. But for some reason, right about the time that my husband and I met and started dating, my journal writing dropped to about once or twice a year. Not the most opportune time to start slacking. Since we've been married and started having kids, the number of entries each year hasn't increased very much. I think I might do three times a year now.

It's so bad that my journal entry, documenting the birth of my daughter, (who was born in DECEMBER) is still only a quarter of the way done.

Since I haven't been good at keeping up with a journal, and I don't scrapbook, I needed to have an easy way to keep track of things once I started having kids. I got some cute little journals that I keep track of everything in (I got mine at the dollar section in Michael's). My two kids have their own dedicated to them and I started by writing when and where they were born along with their weight and height and continue with each doctors visit. I also keep track of when they start doing things like smiling, laughing, rolling over, sitting up, when they get teeth, saying words. I keep it right in my living room where we spend our days so that I can write important things down when they happen so I won't forget to do it.

When my son started talking more, I started a separate journal of "quotes" and stories of my kids. I also keep it in the living room where we are during the day because I would definitely forget to write those things down otherwise. I just started this one in February, and reading it just now I already forgot some of the things I wrote down and I'm glad that I have a way to remember them. I quickly realized when I became a mother that there are so many moments that I want burned into my memory, and my book of quotes and stories is the best way to make that happen.

So if you are struggling in the journal writing department like I am, and don't scrapbook either, this is a good way to keep up with our little ones. And let's be honest, even if you are good at keeping up with those things, having these books for them is still a good thing to have.


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Good food for the litte ones

>> Thursday, June 9, 2011

Don't forget about the Milan Maternity Sofia Giveaway, enter HERE!

When I was pregnant with my son and I imagined having a child, I pictured a perfect little child who wore what I wanted him to wear, slept when I wanted him to sleep, and ate what I wanted him to eat. So far, he does none of those things. So it looks like my mom was the only person to have the perfect child when she had me.

When it comes to him eating what I want him to eat, he is the pickiest eater! He eats toast, crackers, Cocoa Pebbles, chips, fries, apple sauce, yogurt, and a couple of other things. Not the best diet for a 2 and a half year old. Which means I have to cram the good stuff in when I can.

I have two "go-to" foods that he has everyday. It is my only way of making sure he gets at least a little bit of the good stuff.

The first is YoBaby and YoToddler yogurt. With "meal" combinations of apple & sweet potato, pear & green beans, and peach & squash I finally have a way to get some vegetables in to him. My son loves them, which is great since they are organic, have live active cultures, and have vitamins and important nutrients. And seriously, with as picky as an eater as he, it was such a relief when I found these and he liked them so much.

The second is something that I recently discovered and am probably a little behind on. My son requests the GoGo SqueeZ apple sauce every-single-day for lunch! They are made from 100% fruit, and have yummy combinations like apple-banana and apple-strawberry. Plus their pouch makes it perfect for a snack when you are out and about, and my son loves having something to eat in a fun way.

There are so many things that we have to worry about as parents, so it's nice to have to worry a little less about getting in some healthy food. If you have anything that you've found, do share!


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Milan Maternity Sofia Giveaway!

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our new summer styles are finally here and we want to celebrate by giving away one of our FAVORITES!

The Sofia top is perfect for any stage of pregnancy and great for nursing afterwards. Its looser fit makes it great for hiding a less-than-flat belly post-partum.

The Sofia has a subtle portrait neckline and pleated bodice with a hidden zipper for quick and modest nursing access while still providing full coverage. We LOVE this piece! It is available in Honeysuckle Pink or Nautical Blue. You can see it HERE, along with the rest of our new styles.

We're giving away the Sofia top in either color to one lucky reader! Here's how to enter: (Leave a comment for each entry completed)

2. Follow this blog

3. Multiple Entries-Share this giveaway with one of the "share buttons" at the bottom of this post. It's super easy to share to Facebook, twitter, your blog, or e-mail! (One entry for each way shared, and for each day shared)

5. Post one of our buttons on your blog and leave the link (one entry for each)

6. Subscribe to our newsletter on the bottom of our home page

Giveaway open until Tuesday, June 14 11:59 PST. The winner will be chosen by random.org. Good luck!


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My Blue Bumbershoot Winner

The WINNER of the My Blue Bumbershoot Giveaway as chosen by random.org is:

And the coordinating comment:

Congratulations! Please e-mail service@milanmaternity.com by June 9, 11:59pm PST to claim your prize!


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Documenting the baby bump

>> Monday, June 6, 2011

Being pregnant is one of the few times in life when it is not only good to gain weight, but it's expected. And although it can be somewhat frightening to watch your ever expanding belly, it is so fun and important to document it! With both of my pregnancies I tried to take a "belly picture" at least once a month, and I'm so glad I did.

Here are some tips and ideas for documenting:

1. Even though we as women know that our belly is going to possibly grow to a gargantuan size, the reality of it can sometimes be hard to deal with. DO NOT let that stop you from taking pictures!! I gained over 50 lbs with my first pregnancy, and I was miserable!! But I am so glad that I took pictures anyways. I love looking back at them!

2. Pick one outfit and use it for all of your shots. (So picking something that expands is key!) I used some yoga pants and a stretchable shirt. Using the same outfit is great visually.

3. If no one is around to take the pictures for you, take them yourself. I do believe every camera has a timer on them now, so just set it up and go! If I had waited for a convenient time for my husband to be around to be able to do it, I might have gotten 2 shots through out my pregnancies.

4. Take pictures both with your belly exposed and covered. It's fun for ME to see my belly, but I felt too uncomfortable showing those pictures to other people that wanted to see pictures.

5. Pick a spot in your house to take the pictures each time. This is also fun visually. My friend had a HUGE wall calender and would point to the date each month for her pregnancy pictures. While I went with something a little less exciting...a spot in my house that I could easily set the timer to take the pictures myself, but I love this series of hers.

pregnancy2 - how to create a free slideshow

6. Start taking the pictures as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the better the comparison for when you really start growing.

7. Take one last picture in the hospital (or at home as the case may be). I know what you are thinking. You are about to have a baby, you are as huge as a house, you are in labor and feel like you getting ran over by a truck over and over and over again, and you would die if anyone saw you like this. But just trust me on this one! My husband took a picture of me sitting in the hospital bed, and although I didn't want him to, I'm now glad he did.

8. This is basically #1 again. But DON'T let your size keep you from taking pictures! I know a lot of people can feel insecure about their size when they are pregnant. Don't let pregnancy pictures of Natalie Portman and other celebrities fool you. Just remember two things. 1. You probably don't have a personal trainer to keep you super fit while pregnant and 2. Everyone has different pregnancies. Like I said, I gained over 50 lbs with my first, and with my second I gained just over 30! No matter what your size, pregnant bellies are BEAUTIFUL!! Just ask your significant other if you don't trust me.

Here is a peek at the photos I took with my last pregnancy. As you can see, I wasn't able to do the same spot every time, but this is one of those cases where it's better to do it how you can, even if imperfectly, than not at all!

pregnancy - slideshow maker


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Diapers Delivered

>> Friday, June 3, 2011

CLOTH OR DISPOSABLE? It's a hot debate, but no matter what you choose, one thing remains: a tushie needs diapering. Diapers.com is a website I ran across about 4 years or so ago now. It offers all types of diapers, wipes, baby wash, baby feeding needs and so much more now. MUCH more than when I found the site. Diapers.com now also incorporates Soap.com, so you can also add in your laundering detergent, body care, tooth paste and hair care products to your order all at once! Who doesn't love simple?! And after just getting home from the hospital with a newborn, running to the store is the LAST think you want to have to do with a brand new baby. What's the best part about these websites? FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING on orders over $49, which can be done SO easily with just diapers and wipes. Anytime I can get free shipping, I feel a huge victory. You can buy all sized boxes of diapers. Right now there's a coupon for 20% off diapers for THREE months for new customers! No joke! Each customer also ends up with a special code that other people you know [people you refer] can use for a discount and you get rewarded with points too. I used to post them in forums and really rack up for discounts on diapers!

Another website that I totally use to my complete money saving advantage is Amazon.com. There are two programs that I love. First off is Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is where tons of products are available to you for FREE expedited shipping. It's free two day shipping or $3.99 for one day shipping. I can't tell you how often it saved the day [birthday presents, diapers, wipes and more times than I can recall] It cost me $79 for an annual membership. I made all that back and WAY more just on last Christmas alone. I live in a small town and it's my best access to the stuff I can't get here...or I could drive hours away in holiday traffic..PASS. If you are looking for a FREE program and want to trial the amazon prime benefits [all free], sign up for Amazon Mom. Amazon Mom gives you 30% off discounts on select diapers, wipes and 15% off nearly everything else. All Amazon Mom members qualify for three months of FREE Two-Day shipping with Amazon Prime. You can extend this benefit: for every $25 you spend in the Baby Store, you earn an extra month of amazon prime shipping benefits for up to a year! Now that's a sweet deal!


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Kids clothes for less

>> Thursday, June 2, 2011

I have a slight addiction to shopping. And by "slight addiction" I mean I'd shop every day if I could. And if you take that slight addiction to shopping and add a toddler and a baby to the mix, I have the opportunity to spend a whole lot of money very easily.

Luckily, (or unluckily, depending on the point of view) when I was pregnant with my son, one of my sisters gave me loads upon loads of clothes that her son had grown out of. I'm pretty sure my husband feels like he owes my sister a kidney because of all the money that saved us. I could very easily have clothed my son with out buying him much of anything for the first 2 years of his life.

When we found out that I was pregnant with baby #2 my husband was scared.

He was scared we'd have a girl, for 2 reasons.
1. He knows me and my love of shopping and how much I love little girl clothes and 2. There was no one around to give us loads and loads of girls clothes to keep my shopping at a minimum.

Up until the day we found out it was a girl, he was hoping with ever fiber of his being that we would have another boy so that I couldn't go shopping for girl clothes. Poor guy wasn't sure what to do when the ultrasound tech said that she was almost certain it was a girl.

So thank goodness for all of us that a friend told me about an amazing consignment store close by. Having a baby is expensive enough with all the things that babies need and how quickly they grow out of clothes. The first time I went to this consignment store to buy clothes for our daughter I spent about $40 on about 25 outfits!!! And because this place is so picky about the clothes they accept (no tears, stains, fading) everything I got looked new/practically new. I get compliments all the time about how cute my kids clothes are, which makes me feel great knowing that I can spend so little outfitting them and they still look so great. Not to mention the added bonus of consigning and getting a percentage of the sell price so that I can buy even more clothes!

Want to check out a thrift or consignment store near you but don't know where they are?? Here is an amazing website you can use to look up resale, second-hand, thrift, or consignment shops.


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