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July has been a busy month! It's obviously my favorite because I celebrate my birthday, but I love the laid back vibes that July always brings because it's summertime. I'm not crazy about this heat, but I can't change that, so we embrace it with trips to the beach and lots of indoor activities. Anyway, here's what I've been loving this month!
Becoming a mother has made me realize that my birthday isn't just my day - it's also my Mom's BIRTHday. Without her, there would be no me. I wanted to do something different for my birthday post, and I thought hearing my birth story from my mom's perspective would be cool. Thankfully, my Mom was up to the task and agreed to do write it out - 33 years later! It's safe to say I am a lot like her, and that's not a bad thing, in my opinion. Read on to hear all about the day I was born!
On a sunny Sunday morning in late July, July 28th to be exact, I started feeling what I thought were contractions and the beginning of labor. I showered, dressed, and put on make-up. For those who know me, this is no surprise. Eddy (Jenise's dad) and I waited until the contractions were steady and every 4 minutes. We very nervously and excitedly headed to the hospital. Upon our arrival, I was placed on a monitor to check the contractions. About 10 minutes into this Jenise must have decided to take a nap because the contractions all but stopped. Soooo, they sent me home at about 4pm. I drank water to hydrate and we took a walk. Of course the contractions started again but I was embarrassed and did not want to be sent home again. I tried laying down, but the contractions were stronger and I could not sleep.
By 11pm, Eddy and I could take the waiting no more and went back to the hospital. I was admitted and placed once more on the monitor. The doctor came by and we discussed our wishes. I wanted no pain meds nor an epidural because I did not want any drugs affecting the baby. The doctor said, “We will do our best.” The doctor and the nurses came in periodically to check, and although everything was progressing as it should, it was really slow going. I did not know it at the time but we had a waiting room full of people: grandparents, my cousin, and some friends. Jenise was the first baby, grandchild, to be born into our family.
By Monday afternoon, the doctor said he was going to start a pitocin drip to get things going a little faster. I had been in labor for 16 hours. Things got going all right. The spikes in contractions were impressive. During the afternoon, I had been hearing women screaming down the hall. Those had all had their babies, but as I heard one more screaming, I remember grabbing Eddy and pulling him close to me and begging him, “If I start to yell like that, promise to smother me with a pillow.” I was starting to get really tired and at 11pm, the doctor came in and said he was going to give me Demerol because he was worried that by the time I had to push, I would be too tired to do so. I was upset because that meant drugs but I also understood I needed some help. Thankfully Jenise was doing just fine and was showing no signs of distress. Demerol was the most interesting experience. I would work through a contraction and as soon as it was over, I would be asleep. Eddy says that I would ask for ice chips, he would turn around to get them and when he went to give them to me, I was already asleep. It certainly allowed me to rest some.
I don’t remember when I started to push, but I know it took awhile. Jenise came into the world 30 hours after I was admitted to the hospital, at 5:02am on Tuesday morning, July 30th. The moment that perfect tiny baby was placed in my arms, I realized that I had not understood what loving a child was. I felt this tremendous joy and sense of wonder that can only be understood when you experience it. My beloved and I had created this perfect tiny creature with ten fingers and ten toes, not to mention, absolutely beautiful, and she depends on us completely for everything.
Our waiting room entourage ended up exchanging clothes with each other in order to get to work. 😝
Jenise has been a constant joy in our lives and makes us proud every single day. Her determination, patience, kindness, creativity and conviction, make her an amazing daughter, mother and wife. I could not be prouder of the woman she has become.
Thanks Momma for doing this, but more than anything, thank you for being my Mom and for being amazing at it! I love you!
P.S. Yes, my dad's name is Eddy and I married an Eddie.
P.P.S. My mom made sure she was made up before she left for the hospital. Does my love of makeup and being put together make sense now?
P.P.P.S. She's barbaric. 30 hours? Pitocin and no epidural? 'nuff said.
Disclosure: I've partnered with Blueberry Pediatrics for this post.
How often have you been woken up in the middle of the night by a sick kiddo? Or been on vacation, only to have your child develop a fever or show signs of a stomach bug? I’m sure I haven’t been the only one. In those situations, I’ve always wished that I could get a hold of a pediatrician who could give me a quick rundown of what I should do, and what symptoms I should watch for before I really need to worry.
This is where Blueberry Pediatrics comes in. Blueberry Pediatrics offers a true VIP (Very Important Parent) experience when it comes to helping treat your children from the convenience of your home, office, or on-the-go. They have the latest technology and exceptional service, with a pediatrician available 24/7 and just a phone call away! Even better than that, Blueberry Pediatrics offers their service for a monthly fee that's less than your Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, is all-inclusive and won't increase per child. No hidden costs, no additional fees, no waiting rooms, and access to a doctor 24/7. Sounds too good to be true, right?
When they reached out to me, all I could think was, “Why didn’t I come up with something like this?!” But really, the service was started by a cardiologist who is also a dad, so it makes sense that it would, well, make sense! Signing up is so easy. You go to their site, (go here for a special discounted rate they are offering my followers), register, and a couple days later you get a welcome kit with all the tools you need for a successful visit with the doctors. You have a thermometer from Innovo, which is the most accurate thermometer on the market, a pulse oximeter, and an otoscope that will help the doctor see into your child’s ears.
Once you receive your box, you set up an intro call with one of the pediatricians. I had my call with Dr. Garbi. On our call she asked me a few questions about Caleb and Chloe, and their medical history, and she explained the tools to me (because who wants to try to figure those out when their kid is sick and you’re flustered?).
After that, you are set up and ready to go! The pediatricians aren’t just there for when your kids are sick, either. Their platform has two options: you can do a sick visit, or you can message the doctor. The messaging service is for less pressing questions. I asked Dr. Garbi about putting sunscreen on Chloe. Check out the screenshot below to see just how quickly she replied! If I had sent this in the middle of the night, she probably would not have replied so quickly, but once she replied, I received an alert on the site, as well as via e-mail.
I also had a chance to complete a sick visit. Chloe had a diaper rash, and being a first time girl mom, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I was supposed to do. For the visit, I filled out several questions on the platform, and submitted my visit. I received a message stating that I would be called within 60 minutes. Imagine my surprise when less than 15 minutes later, a phone call came in from Dr. Kay. She reviewed all the information I had entered, including the photo I had sent of the rash, asked me a few additional questions, and discussed a course of action to help get rid of Chloe’s diaper rash. Once the visit is completed, the doctor sends you a summary of what you discussed at the visit and it is updated in your profile, so you don’t have to worry if you missed something or forgot something they said (Come on, I can’t be the only one who gets flustered when the pediatrician is giving me instructions and then can’t remember what they said five minutes later). All in all, a really easy process!
I think telemedicine is here to stay, and I for one am all for it. I'm excited for such easy access to a doctor - it's almost like having a doctor in the family. And for $20 a month, I don't think you can beat it. I mean, think about how easily most of us spend $20 a month - the other day I stopped at Starbucks with Eddie and we spent more than that!
So quit waiting around, quit freaking out every time your kid has a little something worrisome, and sign up for Blueberry Pediatrics. I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with JOHNSON’S® for this post.
At one point or another, you or someone you love has used JOHNSON’S® baby products (more than likely their baby shampoo, amirite?). It’s what my mom used on my brothers and me, and I’ve used it on both of my kids. But this iconic brand is getting a makeover, and JOHNSON’S® is all new inside and out. They redesigned all of their products and reduced the number of ingredients in their portfolio by more than half, including removing sulfates and dyes, and 96% of the ingredients in their leading products are now naturally-derived. By doing this, they are making their products more gentle, so you can feel confident in using their products on your babies (and yourself).
The brand new JOHNSON’S® is choosing gentle by making five promises to you, one promise for each finger of baby’s little hand.
JOHNSON’S® has a new standard of gentle that is guided by these 5 promises to parents:
Their promise to be open and honest really resonated with me, because part of why I started this blog was to be open and honest with other moms, and with myself, about the realities of parenting. And while I tend to be very open, once or twice, I’ve hesitated about clicking the “publish” button, for one reason or another. Whether it was talking about my struggle with infertility, sharing my body insecurities, revealing the fact that my toddler had been hitting me, or talking about how I have felt undervalued or underestimated as a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it just isn’t easy to put that information out there. And every single time, you have surprised me with your responses. Instead of responding with judgment, I have always received numerous messages or comments giving advice, a new perspective, or saying, “This happens in our house, too!” And truthfully, it’s really nice to know you’re not alone. So while being open and honest isn’t always the easiest thing to do, I know that it helps to open up conversations that wouldn’t otherwise be had and to keep me accountable to you.
As part of their promise to be open and honest, JOHNSON’S® is committed to continue sharing their decades of research with everyone—including parents, their competitors and health authorities. They are also sharing 100% of the ingredients in their products, including those in their fragrances.
So while it may be the same company that you grew up using, or used on your kids, JOHNSON’S® is all new, from the inside out. To read more about the new JOHNSON’S®, visit their site.
This is a sponsored post. I was hosted by Dolphin Mall in exchange for this post.
When you think of Dolphin Mall, you probably think of Johnny Rockets and outlet shops. And while it is Miami-Dade County's largest outlet shopping center, there is a lot to do at Dolphin Mall. Especially in the summer months, when you need to beat the heat, Dolphin Mall has it covered for you, your kids, and everyone else in the family - from shopping, to dining, to entertainment, and then some.
A couple of weeks ago, the mall hosted me and a few other mommy bloggers who are from Miami. I attended with Chloe, so there were a few things we didn't really get to enjoy as much as if I had had Caleb with me, but Caleb went to camp because I wasn't ready to brave the mall with both of them at the same time, especially when Caleb is hit or miss in situations like that.
We started off the morning at Dave & Busters, with some breakfast and game time. Kids really love Dave & Buster's because of all the games. I know the last time Caleb was there he had a blast!
After Dave & Buster's we hit Forever 21, where the older kids got to do some crafts and activities, while us moms browsed all the cute merchandise. This Forever 21 is enormous, so you are bound to find something to fit your needs!
Then we were off to Cinebistro for lunch and a movie. Cinebistro is a movie dining experience. The way it works is you book your seats in advance when you purchase your tickets. They suggest arriving 30 minutes prior to the movie start time so you can place your orders for food and drink (they have a full service bar), and you can order anything up until 5 minutes before the movie starts. The waitstaff brings you your food and drinks, and you never have to get up out of the big, comfy seats. It is kid friendly for any showings before 6 pm. Any showings after 6 pm, and guests must be 21 and over. The food was good, the dessert was even better!
After the movie, I hit a couple of shops, including H&M (they have a pretty big location here with a kid's section, too). Then Chloe had a diaper blowout and I had to pick Caleb up, so we headed out. But Dolphin Mall really has so much to offer. Below I'm listing their summer promotions. If you need something to entertain your kids (or yourself) this summer, and beat the sweltering South Florida weather and the afternoon thunderstorms, Dolphin Mall definitely is the place to go!
Cobb Theaters: Tuesday June 12 - Thursday August 2, Cobb theaters will offer free admission to kids for screenings of kid friendly movies every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 am. [305.591.9380]
Dave & Buster's: All games half price on Wednesdays. [305.468.1555]
Buffalo Wild Wings: All summer, kids eat free every Wednesday from 5 to 11 pm. [305.513.2660]
Monday Mayhem: $14.19 Unlimited bowling with shoe rental. Food & drink specials starting at 8 pm.
Wednesdays: Unlimited Laser Tag Missions - $15 per person starting at 6 pm.
Mondays: BOGO 50% admissions.
Tuesdays: $5 off admission
Wednesdays: Kids eat free
Fridays: BOGO 50% off on select appetizers
Before I became a mom, I had all these ideas in my head of how I would be this “perfect parent.” You know, the one every book and blog and sanctimommy (a sanctimonious mommy) tells you you should be. I would only breastfeed, I would read the perfect amount to my baby every day, I would feed him the most perfectly balanced, completely homemade organic diet, I would do all kinds of activities for his development. He would never touch sugar, and I would never have to punish my child. My house would be a spotless dream home because my perfect child would allow me to keep house like a good wife should. Real moms, are you laughing yet? Because I’m killing myself with this daydream.
Over the years, I’ve learned to throw out the image I had in my head and the expectation that I would be this “picture perfect” parent. For starters, I’m not Susie Homemaker, nor will I ever be. I forget to switch the laundry and have to re-do a load sometimes more than once. More often than not, 5 pm rolls around and I’m face palming myself thinking, “Oh crap, I forgot to defrost something for dinner.”
I did manage to breastfeed well past my goal with Caleb, but it wasn’t without its hiccups. I struggled to produce enough milk for a while, and I had to come to terms with supplementing with formula or donor milk until I could get my supply to where I needed it to be.
And while I did manage to make a lot of his meals, I also learned really quickly that I needed to make the most efficient choices for my family sometimes, and sometimes, a homemade meal was just not in the cards. Pouches and store bought foods became my BFFs. And even though I managed to keep him away from added sugars his first year, after that it was a losing battle - so I limit it when I can and I don’t let him have it in the evenings, but I’m not going to lose my mind over a little frosting.
And my perfect house? Haha. You can only imagine how that turned out.
But what I have learned is that motherhood doesn’t have to be ALL or NOTHING. It is a huge balancing act. And we need to stop feeling guilty for not being the perfect image we had in our heads.
Picture this... you’ve been breastfeeding your whole maternity leave. Come the time you go back to work and you’re struggling to pump and keep your supply up while you’re away from baby. You’re not producing enough while at work. Does this mean the end of your breastfeeding relationship? If you don’t want it to end, why does it have to be breast OR formula, when it very well could be both? Breastfeed while you’re with your baby, and give formula when you’re not. Simple as that. You stop making yourself crazy and you stop beating yourself up.
Food? Pick your battles. All organic can get expensive, and sometimes you just don’t have the budget for it. So stick to buying organic when it comes to the “dirty dozen,” and don’t worry about the rest. Whole Foods doesn’t need to take all your money, contrary to popular belief. If you're really set on home-cooked meals for your toddler, a service like Babe Appetit (which I have talked about here) could fit your bill - and it's been a lifesaver in our house.
And my house? Well, I’ve succumbed to the organized chaos around me, but when we were married, one of the non-negotiables was someone to clean the house every two weeks. So it may not be perfect all the time, but it’s clean.
When it comes to gear, you don’t NEED all the “latest and greatest” contraptions that exist on the market. All these companies are constantly ploying to get you to open up your wallet for them. They convince you that you NEED the $1000 stroller or the $200 baby food maker. Truth is, your baby will be just as safe and just as comfortable in the less expensive stroller and with baby food you made in a blender you already own. Pick and choose what makes sense for you and what will truly SIMPLIFY your LIFE. Babies actually need very little when it comes down to it.
What I’m trying to get to is that there’s no perfect way to parent. Love your kids. Do your best by them. Your best may look different from my best and that’s okay. You have nothing to prove to anyone and nobody needs to be involved in the decisions you make in parenting your children. And if another Mom tries to make you feel bad about something you’re doing, then throw her a bone, because she’s probably beating herself up about something, too.
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.