Saturday, October 1, 2016

Baking Baby Brown's New Home

We've moved!

Baking Baby Brown is now known as Jen & Juiceboxes!

to see BBB's new home!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Babywearing with Hope Carried

Baby wearing with your first child is such a sweet experience.  You really try to soak in all the benefits of baby wearing while soaking up every last newborn snuggle you can.  Baby wearing with your second child is a necessity.  God only gave me two hands, which are usually busy with a 2 year old tea party, or keeping said two year old's fingers out of my newborn's eye balls.  Not only are my hands free, but my newborn's eye balls are safe, and I still get to soak in all the benefits that baby wearing has to offer.

I'm a baby wrap kind of girl.  I don't know what it is, some people swear by ring slings, or traditional backpack carriers, but I like snugness that a wrap has to offer.  I've had my fair share of wraps with having two babies and I often find that fabric is too thick, there is just way too much fabric in general, or the fabric doesn't posses enough elasticity to really feel comfortable.  I know, it makes you wonder why I even like wraps, but it's kind of like car shopping.  You've got to test drive a few before you really find the one you love, and that's how I fell in love with Hope Carried.

When Brea approached me about working together, I was a little nervous.  Like I said, wraps are tricky, it's got to be the right one.  So, I shopped her sight, and the moment I read the description of her wraps I was sold.  She had me at the word "breathable."  If you've ever worn a baby wrap you know how much "breathable" needs to be a part of it's functionality, especially in the summer.  In addition to the description, I fell in love with all the rich colors she offered.  They were all so beautiful.  I went with the Cobalt wrap for Rowan and it is just as beautiful in person as it is in pictures.  The color is stunning, and the fabric is nothing short of luxurious.  It is so soft, y'all.  It is also very lightweight and yes, even breathable.  It's so nice to be able to wear Rowan on a hot day and not worry about overheating him because I crammed him into a super thick fabric.

Providing consumers with a quality wrap is just the beginning of Hope Carried.  They also work to provide employment to women who otherwise can't gain employment due to lack of education or cultural restrictions.  Hope Carried teaches these women to help create their high quality baby carriers while allowing them the opportunity to provide for their families.  I love shopping and supporting a company that gives back to the community.

Wraps not your thing? Be sure to check out Hope Carried's line of beautiful Linen Ring Slings! They are so pretty, they seriously make me want to give the Ring Sling thing a try!  They even carry carriers for your little mini.  How adorable! I will definitely have to get Mykenzi one!

If I haven't convinced you enough already, be sure to visit me on Instagram for your chance to win a $30 shop credit to Hope Carried! Giveaway runs until Sunday night and I'll announce the winner on Monday!

Don't want to wait to win? Enjoy 15% off your choice of carrier with code: BAKINGBABYBROWN15

I received these items courtesy of Hope Carried, as always here at Baking Baby Brown, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dear Husband: Thank You For Loving My Post-Baby Body Even When I Don't

I don't think anything really prepares a woman for what her body endures after childbirth.  We are so hard on our bodies to begin with that seeing your body look completely different after having a baby only fuels that self doubt.

Seeing my body after my first baby was hard.  It hit me like a freight train that it would forever be different.  I eventually found my new normal and started to love myself again, and then I found out we were expecting baby #2.

I thought after riding this rodeo before that I'd be much more forgiving of my post baby body, however, I wasn't prepared for my body to be even more different than it was before.  I walked away from my first pregnancy with no stretchmarks.  I walked away from my second pregnancy with a stomach full of stretchmarks and a ton of extra skin.  I also walked away with a ton of self-doubt regarding my new body.

If you ask me, I see a body that looks frumpy and out of shape.  I see a body that is droopy and filled with rolls. I don't see a flat stomach or a promise of one anytime soon.  I see clothes that fit differently, most of my clothes don't fit me at all anymore.  I don't see a body that will ever rock a bikini again, and I definitely don't see a body that is even remotely close to the word sexy.

If you ask my husband, he sees a body that was a home for two babies.  He sees my stretchmarks as signs of living, signs of our life together, signs of our children.  He sees a body that is sexier than it has ever been, and he see's a girl that has turned into woman, and then a Mom.  He doesn't see curvier hips, he sees a place to lovingly grab onto.  He doesn't see a scar, he sees the way his wife put her life at risk to bring their kids into this world.  He doesn't see a frumpy, out of shape woman, he sees his wife who gave her body to grow two healthy children.  He sees love.

Dear Husband,

Thank you for telling me I'm beautiful when I'm standing in front of the mirror poking and prodding at my body.  Thank you for telling me I'm crazy when I insist my body is ruined.  Thank you for telling me I'm gorgeous when I don't fit into my clothes.  And thank you for telling me you'd still choose me everyday for the rest of your life.  But most of all, thank you for loving my post-baby body, even when I don't.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Go with the Flow" with The First Years

I kind of became a bottle snob with my first baby.  It's not something I intended on doing, but when I was pregnant with her I registered for a few different types of bottles and called it a day.  I made sure to steer clear from Dr. Brown's bottles because there was no way I was cleaning 75 parts every time I wanted to use a bottle.  Plus, I didn't intend on using that many bottles anyway because I was going to breastfeed.

When my daughter arrived things changed.  I ended up using bottles frequently as I battled D-MER while breastfeeding (you can read about that here) and all the bottles I thought would be good, she either didn't like or she took in too much air while drinking from them.  After about 6 different types of bottles, I broke down and bought the one with 75 different parts to clean and never looked back.  I swore after having so much success with Dr. Brown's bottles that I would never buy any other bottle for any future kids we would have.  Then, our Son came along.

After I had stocked up on all the cute boy designs of Dr. Brown's bottles, Rowan decided he was going to be my difficult baby.  We started having a hard time switching from a bottle to my breast.  He was developing a little bit of nipple confusion and feeding him either way started becoming an issue.  When I was approached by The First Years to review their Breast Flow Bottles, I was initially going to turn them down.  That's the bottle snob coming through.  If Dr. Brown's bottles weren't working with Rowan, I highly doubted any other bottle would either.  Before I sent my email declining the offer, I did a little research on the Breast Flow Bottles and I was intrigued.  I decided to go for it, the worst that could happen is he wouldn't like these bottles either.

What intrigued me the most about these bottles is the nipple shape.  It is shaped just like your breast and uses suction and compression just like breastfeeding.  The two part nipple allows your baby to control the flow just like he does on your breast.  This was great for Rowan as other bottles basically poured into his mouth causing him to get too much milk too fast.  The very first use of this bottle Rowan latched immediately and ate like a dream.  It was glorious.  It also allows him to switch from bottle to breast without an issue.  One of my favorite parts about this bottle is the fact that he latches to it so well that milk doesn't spill out of his mouth and down his face onto his clothes.

In addition to a great design for babies, the wide bottle makes for a comfortable hold for Mom and Dad, and the best part just might be the fact that there aren't 75 parts to clean, there's three.  Yep, just three parts and your done.  I can't believe how much time was being spent washing bottles until I had bottles that didn't require a million parts to clean.  Now, not only do I have a happy baby that can transition between bottle and breast, but I'm happy Mom who doesn't spend hours at the sink washing said bottle.  I have officially added The First Years to my bottle snob list.  It's a keeper.

If you are interested in The First Years Breast Flow Bottles you can find your starter set here on Amazon.

I received these items courtesy of The First Years, as always here at Baking Baby Brown, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sweet Dreams with Owlet

As a first time parent everything is scary.  As a second time parent, most things you stressed about the first time are no big deal this time.  Although, I think many parents will agree that no matter how many children you have, the fear of waking to your child not breathing is the one thing you will always stress about.

With Mykenzi, I hardly slept.  I was constantly waking to see if her abdomen was moving up and down or often times I'd slide my finger under her nose to make sure I could feel her exhale.  It took me until she was nearly two to let her have any stuffed animals or blankets in her crib.  Paranoid Mom? Probably. But, I'd never forgive myself if I found her wrapped up in a blanket or butted up to a stuffed animal and not breathing ... yes, even at two years old.

With the impending arrival of Rowan, my Husband and I frequently discussed his sleeping arrangements and how we'd make sure he slept as safely as possible.  Mykenzi was my traditional back sleeper with no problem.  Once Rowan made his debut, he kicked my anxiety into high gear with being a tummy sleeper.  I tried every swaddle blanket, sack, wrap known to man and this kid wasn't having any shut eye unless he was on his belly.  My poor little dude has a dairy sensitivity which led to Reflux making tummy sleeping the only thing that kept him comfortable.  Tummy sleeping is a big no no in the baby world, and it scares me to death, but for the sake of my sanity I had to do what was best for my little guy.  He's trying to turn Mommy gray before her time.  With my anxiety on high alert, I found comfort in knowing that he had an extra set of eyes on him during the night with his Owlet Monitor.  To be clear, Owlet does not condone tummy sleeping, in fact, they are advocates for education on safe sleeping habits and encourage back sleeping.

When I was approached by Owlet before Rowan was born, I was super excited to thoroughly test out this product to share with you all.  It has taken so long to put this post together because once Rowan got here and demanded alternative sleeping arrangements, I knew this could pose a problem.  I reached out to Owlet and let them know my predicament.  I wanted to provide my readers with a true review, but I knew that by letting Rowan sleep on his belly we weren't exactly showing a safe sleeping environment.  My contact, a mother herself, understood my position as a Mother and wholeheartedly trusted my view with this post, on the other hand, her professional Owlet side strongly encouraged safe sleeping conditions.  For the sake of this review, I wanted to keep it authentic.  Rowan is not a back sleeper, he never has been.  Owlet is not a life-saving device, but for us, we find peace of mind that knowing that because we are bending the rules on safe sleeping that he is being monitored by an incredibly smart piece of technology.  Owlet allows me to rest when I'm not on guard monitoring Rowan myself.  I love that when I wake to check on my sweet boy, I can look at my phone and see exactly what his oxygen levels are and his heartbeat.  This is definitely something I wish I would've had with my first baby.

Rowan is sleeping in a  Dockatot - Save 10% on yours here.

Let me tell you how this amazing little thing works!  Owlet uses a smart sock for your little one with a device in it that uses pulse oximetry, the same technology hospitals use.  It monitors your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels through the sock on your baby's foot.  It then sends that information to the independent base station that sends all the collected stats straight to your phone through Owlet's app. Don't fret, Owlet's app is conveniently available on Apple and Android phones.  In addition to the app alerting you, the base station is designed to change colors and alert you if your baby stops breathing.  Thankfully, I haven't had to wake up to that alert, but I have woken up to an alert that my smart sock was dying and that was terrifying enough.  There's nothing worse than waking at 2am to the lullaby the base station plays letting you know you were a dope and forgot to charge the one thing that keeps your mind at ease.  You best believe that I only let that happen once because Owlet is just too important to forget.

Because I'm such a firm believer in this product, Owlet is allowing me to off you $20 off your very own monitor.  Let Owlet be your eyes through the night, if anything, you might just gain a wink or two of sleep, and we all know you can't put a price on sleep.  But most of all, the peace of mind knowing there's an extra set of eyes monitoring your little one is every Mother's sweetest dream. Get some rest Mommas, you deserve it.

To order your Owlet for $20 off click here. Offer ends September 30, 2016.

I received this product courtesy of Owlet, as always here at Baking Baby Brown, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
This post may contain affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting the brands that support Baking Baby Brown.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Big Move

*Blows dust and cobwebs off space*

*tap* *tap* *tap* 

Is this thing on?

Oh. Heeeey there.  It's been a while!  I had no intentions of neglecting this little space before the move, but life pretty much kicked us in the face and as usual the blog is the first to take a hit.  If you've been following along for a while, you may know that we were preparing to pack up our lives in Florida and make the move to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  We've been here just 5 short days and what a whirlwind it has been.

To catch you up, I'll take you back about a week before our move.  Please enjoy all my run on sentences and super high tech iphone-tography in this post.

We decided to use PODS for our move because we'll end up keeping some of our stuff in storage since we are temporarily living in an apartment while we house hunt.  Upon getting our quote for PODS the representative recommended a size for us that was completely wrong.  When we received our POD it was SO SMALL and there was no way most of our things were going to fit in it.  So, we had a decision to make, pack the less important things in the POD along with furniture we could live without for a while and call it a day.  We decided to rent a Uhaul for the rest of our things and conveniently our local Uhuals were out of all their big box trucks leaving us only with a 6x12 tow behind trailer. As you might have guessed, that wasn't big enough for our things either.  We spent countless hours trying to Tetris our belongings into that trailer to no avail.  We were forced to leave countless things behind which happened to include our mattress set.  This also delayed our schedule several hours and we didn't get on the road until 10pm.

[No Cable, No Problem]

We figured we could knock out the 4.5 hour drive through the night while the kids slept.  About 3am we were so tired we couldn't see straight and were forced to pull over to a hotel to nap so we could finish the remainder of the trip.  After some shut eye we finally got back on the road and arrived that afternoon in Tuscaloosa.  Once we arrived, we called a local moving company to help my husband with the big stuff since we are on the second floor of an apartment complex. There was no way I was going to be able to get this stuff upstairs 8 weeks postpartum.  The movers ended up breaking several pieces of furniture, our ottoman had rubber grips on the bottom and because of the heat in the trailer it melted them and they slid the ottoman across our freshly shampooed carpet leaving black streaks about 3ft long, and our washer sensor has gone out from them banging the drum around as they carried it up the stairs.  To top it all off, Mykenzi got a hold of a pen and colored all over her bedroom wall and mattress-less we were forced to sleep on the floor until we bought a new one.

[That Hotel Life.]

[Rest Stop Selfie]

Our POD finally arrived days later.  This held our big pieces of furniture we were waiting on.  We got the kid's furniture upstairs and we were ready for ours, as we pulled on our dresser to get it to a place where we could lift it upstairs, the minute it was tugged on it literally fell apart.  The top lifted right off causing the side to fall down, the front fell flat, and all the drawers dropped to the ground. Now we need a new dresser.  Y'all, as much as I wanted to bust out into tears, at this point, all I could do was laugh hysterically.  It really wouldn't have been so bad, but a few hours prior we were locked out of our apartment because the pin mechanism broke in our lock causing it to jam.  They had to completely drill out our lock and give us a new one.

I can't make this stuff up, y'all.  It's been royal poop emoji fest over here.  If it can go wrong, it has.  If it can break, it has.  And if it can bring me to the brink of insanity, it has.  This move will be the death of me.

Despite all that has gone wrong, we are holding up okay.  We've managed to get around pretty well around town and have only gotten lost a few times.  I live incredibly close to a Chickfila and that is the first thing I made sure I knew how to get to, so I think I'll survive okay while my Husband is at work.  Stay tuned as I'm sure the hits will keep on coming as we continued to get settled in.  Just promise me you'll pray that I don't lose my sanity entirely.

[First Game Day in Tuscaloosa]

On the blog front, I do have some pretty exciting things coming up.  I've been working with some great companies and I can't wait to share all their great products with you.  I've also been working on some personal posts that I'm excited to share with you as well. And last, my re-brand is still in the works and I hope to share that with you all very soon! Baking Baby Brown needs a face lift so bad!

So, I'm sorry I've been so MIA, but it was for good reason! I hope to be around more often as we continue to settle in our new home.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Other Side of Gender Disappointment

A few months back, I wrote this post on my feelings of Gender Disappointment.  I was so scared to share what I had been feeling since I found out the gender of my pregnancy with Rowan.  Thankfully, my post was heard and supported by many of you who had dealt with similar feelings.  Now, coming up on the four week mark of having Rowan in my life, I thought I'd revisit those feelings and share the other side of Gender Disappointment.

As you may recall, we found out Rowan was a boy at 12 weeks through a fancy new blood type testing.  I spent the first few weeks after that in uncontrollable tears because I thought I was having another girl.  The months that followed were spent in fear of not being able to BE a "Boy Mom."  I harbored guilt, carried around a pit in my stomach for months, and constantly ridiculed myself for even having these thoughts and fears, but I couldn't fight what I was feeling.

As the days grew closer to Rowan's arrival, I grew more and more scared that I wouldn't be able to connect with him once he got here.  The entire pregnancy was so emotional and the "Boy Mom" fear had made a permanent home in my head. I just knew that once he got here I wasn't going to bond with him like I should, and that scared me even more.  My husband promised me that once I saw him all my fears would melt away and all would be right with the world, but he was wrong.  He was wrong because I heard Rowan before I saw him.  It was the first cry that sent me into tears and made my heart swell.  That sweet little whimper was all I needed to know that I was meant to be a Boy Mom, I was meant to be THIS Boy's Mom.

I heard him and fell in love.  Then, I saw him and that love multiplied.  He was perfect and I couldn't do anything except cry because he was exactly what I prayed for at night.  I prayed for a healthy baby that I would love and cherish, and that's exactly what was delivered to me.  While some of those prayers may have included frilly dresses and bows, God knew exactly what he was doing when He answered those prayers with the most perfect little Boy.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths"

Proverbs 3:5-6

That verse will forever be my favorite and a reminder that I need to trust that He always has a hand on my shoulder and will lead me down the right path.  If I could go back and tell that girl that was "disappointed" in having a Boy, I would tell her to trust in the Lord despite her fears.  I would tell her that He wouldn't lead her down a path she couldn't handle, and I would tell her that despite what she is feeling, that little Boy will rock her world and make her love deeper and bigger than she ever thought she could.

This is the other side of Gender Disappointment.  This side is love, grace, and understanding.  This side everything you didn't know you needed.

Rowan Levi, you are perfect in every way.  I will spend my days loving you to the fullest and making up for every fear I thought about while carrying you in my belly.  You will never live a day on this Earth not knowing your worth to this family, to me, your Mother.  I will always make sure you know just how much you are loved and how thankful I am to be chosen to be your Mother.  I love you, my sweet boy.  Thank you for completing our family.