Carseat Shopping with Preschoolers- Britax Endeavours

As you know, I’ve been confined, a prisoner, if you will, on bed rest for the last month. For someone who LOVES baby things and happens to be pregnant…and in need of baby things…this was torture. So, one of my first stops on my first day of freedom was Buy Buy Baby to check out all that has changed since Bug was cooking in my belly. And, woah! It’s a LOT! One of my favorite things we checked out was the new Britax Endeavours infant carseat. This seat goes from 4-35lbs, which for a mama with a high risk of birthing a premie, this is great news!

 

Obviously, Bug exceeds the max weight limit! But he approves the comfort level!

With the steel anti-rebound bar, there is 30% less rebound in a front or rear crash.

Even Chuck could maneuver its user-friendly design.

“Baby” the cabbage patch doll appreciates the safety measures present both with or without a base. With latch or auto seatbelts, Baby is riding with exceedingly high safety standards.

Chuck really enjoyed learning about how she can help take care of her new baby sibling in this #1 safety-rated seat. Bug, on the other hand, enjoyed torturing his sister. What can I say, they were stoked to get out of the house, too! I dare you to watch to the end without laughing!

Carseat Shopping With Preschoolers- Video

 

*I was compensated to check out this rad seat. All children and their wackado behaviors are my own.

30 Days

Thirty days of confinement, rest, restrictions and caution. Thirty days of figuring out a new normal and a new sense of purpose. Thirty days to dwell in my thoughts and fears and hopes for this baby and our family.

I haven’t done them well. I don’t know how one does. Two young children who need every piece of me that I can’t physically give and one deep-rooted character of pride sitting in my heart; these have been my companions. I didn’t realize how dependent I am on being INdependent until this last month. Ladies from bible study asked 10 times before they finally TOLD me they were coming to clean my kitchen. A meal train that ended up being a literal lifeline for my family was set up without me signing off…and I am so, so glad. Several friends grocery shopped, played mom-taxi and entertained my minions…all just by DOING. Because, you see, if there is one thing us moms are great at, it’s LOOKING as if we have it all under control….even if that’s not logistically possible. So, I dedicate the last thirty days to those who just DO. Thank you.

Now, the next thirty days? Who knows?! I was tentatively released from strict bed rest! It turns out the complete placenta previa that was aggravated by a pretty large subchorionic hematoma just…moved. I mean, last week it was bad. Really, really “you’re gonna have a c-section if you don’t go into preterm labor before,” bad. And this week, God said, “move!” and it did! Even my high risk doctor was surprised at the level of progress. The hematoma is still there and relatively large, but without the concern of the previa, it’s not as big of an issue right now. I am still on “light duty,” but I am able to leave the house. I can take Chuck to our Classical Conversations community day without reprimand and I can resume our normal dance/Awana/mops routine. Most exciting to me….TARGET! I know, so basic, right? But really, Chip and Joanna have been waiting for me. I must go!

I am 18.5 weeks at this point and while spending so much time with my own thoughts, I began to count down to different milestones. The most pivotal of these to me is 24 weeks. Twenty four weeks…the point of viability. The placemarker in gestation where I will never hear the words “there’s nothing we can (will) do. Just go home and manage your expectations.” Those words still burn in my ears after our traumatic night in the ER in Vegas. So, 24 weeks comes, get this, on Dec. 24! My little minnow will be statistically “viable,” a saveable miracle on Christmas Eve. How’s that for divine?!

This Sunday, Bug turns three and I can’t help but remember these milestones with him. His pregnancy was easy, for the most part, until the end. When I was 18 weeks with him, we were camping out in the mountains near Kern river, roasting marshmallows, blissfully unaware of just how much could go wrong. And here we are with this one, thanking God for each day closer to viability. It’s that way with life in general, right? We go along whistling until someone bumps us…and then someone bigger, then maybe a car or truck and then the whole dad-gum train runs us flat over and we are like, “good grief! I get it now! Life isn’t promised. Each day is a complete and utter gift. I get it.”

So, on Sunday, we will celebrate another gift of a day with our baby (middle) boy and we will once again get on our knees to thank our Heavenly Father for all the days we’ve had, and hope to have, to bring glory to Him, raising our tribe, sewing seeds of grace and mercy and working so very hard on clipping those ties to pride. Grateful for days and the ways, He shows us gently (or sometimes not SO gently) the reflection of the parts of ourselves we need to give to Him. I do get it now.

 

Secondary Infertility and losses

Last summer, I decided to take a break from facebook. We had just experienced the heartbreak of our second miscarriage. The ridiculousness of political rants and petty complaints became a very unwelcomed distraction from processing our pain. Leaving was good for me. I learned to cling tighter to my Savior, instead of drowning my mind in constantly refreshing my feed. Brent and I worked through our raw hurt together, again, this second time, and came out on the other side stronger than ever.

Then, it happened again. And again. And again. And again. During this year hiatus, we have grasped to a tiny life, five different times, only to be shattered as it slipped away. That’s six in total. Six babies in heaven. I’m still jaw-dropped at those words. Our most recent beloved went to be with Jesus this month, almost a year to the day of his sibling.

I’ve been reminded over and over again that God put us on this earth to live in community, to glorify Him. His love is only reflected by ours. So, this village, the people who’ve brought coffee or embraced snot-drenched sobs on their shoulders…these are the Hands and Feet. These are the ones who, without always the right words, show with action, the cross. Thank you.

There’ve been other tragedies and joys and endless hours of news, both personal and public, through the last year. It’s documented in my heart, instead of my page. Our actions, and inactions, haven’t always been understood or appreciated by those around us, and that’s ok. Healing and grieving and growing are processes, undertaken in intimacy with Jesus. Everyone does it differently. But, all you who’ve suffered, too, know, I know. And I love, too.

My babies all have names. They’ve all been loved for every second of their existence. Every bit of their being was felt and cherished. They will be remembered at due dates and loss dates…even if I have to reference my “list,” because there are so many. What mother doesn’t remember her baby’s birthday? I’m trying.

So, I suppose the point of this is…well, I’m not really sure. Maybe to try to express courage? Or insight for those who’ve wondered? Or just to document some late night, wine-induced rambling from an aching mama-heart.

Chuck and Bug are our world. They perfectly stretch our parent wings and if they complete our family, we are joy- filled. But, we stand in utter confusion at God’s plans for our family. It’s a sense of paralysis. So, I humbly ask, for those who’ve walked through the fire of secondary infertility or recurrent losses, please reach out. I need some anecdotal hope, one way or the other.

And to my husband, thank you for being mine. Thank you for holding my hand so tightly when I’m crashing to the ground. Thank you for carrying the weight this year. You have. All of it. This life hurts, but it’s also full of sweet, sweet joys and I’m so glad you’re the one by my side for them.

 

EarthBaby- a Boutique Resource

As a new mom, I remember being so overwhelmed by the endless amounts of information that immediately started streaming my way the day I found out I was pregnant. From controversial topics like circumcision and vaccinations to seemingly benign topics like toy and clothes choices, it was all SO much to take in. At that point, I knew very few in my friend circle who had gone before me into “motherdom” and I would have given anything to have a physical place to just go and learn. I never found such a place before C was born, but there is one in town now!

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to a “blogger’s night in” at EarthBaby Boutique in Sherman Oaks. I took “blogger’s night in” to mean…take a night away from your kidlet and come eat good food while hearing from some info-full speakers. And I did!

First, I have to start off with a little community announcement. If you want to go anywhere in the valley, go early. Parking is generally lame. BUT, this night, I snagged the parking space RIGHT in front of the store! I think that fact is noteworthy all on it’s own!

Once I walked inside, I was so pleasantly greeted by owner Renee and manager Jennifer of this cute, eco-friendly baby boutique. I signed in for the event and took a bit of time to stroll around the store, noting which of my favorite squishy brands they stocked. Best Bottom and Buttons diapers!! Sloomb and Green Toys! I was actually surprised by such a wonderful variety of toys, clothes, diapers, accessories and toiletries for ages birth through early childhood! I truly believe you could shop here for every single baby need you could have and do it Eco-consciously.

Look at that diaper wall!
After touring the store, I ventured into the classroom where we would be hearing from some renowned professionals in their fields. Not only that, but dinner was served followed by my favorite, dessert! 
These ladies know the way to a preggo’s heart!
 
First up, we learned about the Ollie Swaddle. This swaddle was created to enable babies hips to lie in the ergonomically ideal position while still providing the secure feeling that helps them sleep so well. It also has an open end making it possible to use for babies who are being monitored in the NICU with all those wires! Pretty thoughtful, if you ask me!

Naturology LA came to represent their all natural soap and bath line. Everything is safe, non-toxic and even edible (although, I doubt they taste as good as the smell!)

 
My absolute favorite product presentation of the evening was the Mama Strut. Oh my WOW! This baby is made to hold in all your lady parts directly after delivery. There are pouches for hot and cold packs, an adjustable waist to help that fundus shrink and it is completely machine washable. I can not wait to try this out after Bug is born. I remember those first few days after Chuck’s delivery…I felt like I needed to be bandaged up…EVERYWHERE. Well, here it is, the answer!
 
Dr. Elliot Berlin from Berlin Wellness came to talk about natural birthing, prenatal and postnatal care. His associates spoke on the benefits of infant craniosacral therapy. I had never heard of this until that evening, but it makes sense. If a mama goes through quite the trauma during labor, imagine it from the babe’s perspective!
 
After the speakers, it was raffle time! You put a bunch of mama’s and mama’s-to-be in a room and tell them you are going to give away loads of free stuff….the energy level instantly goes up! I even won a few things! I cannot wait to try out this Ollie Swaddle on my own little squish! Also, this butt balm is by Little Doodles, a small work-at-home shop, which I am happy to support. And I am sure baby Bug will love these organic cotton veggie toys by Under The Nile, because Chuck has already tried them out and she loves them!
http://alenessphoto.com/project/babies/
I actually kind of dig this photo taken by Aleness Photo. They do newbies and maternity shoots, too!

This was a pretty great event to introduce the local mommy blogger community to this cute shop on Ventura Blvd. Not only do they carry these awesome products, but they do a myriad of talks and get-togethers on topics ranging from cloth diapers and baby wearing to infertility and essential oils. They have monthly playdate gatherings for the littles, and music maker play times. On August 7 they are even a host for the Great Big MomMe Latch On event to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week! You can find out more about that here. So, really, this is a store, but it is more than that to a new mom. It’s a resource. I highly recommend you check out their class schedule and pop in for one when you can. And at the very least, check out the cute fluff on their walls!

Can’t wait to put this Buttons dipe on Bug’s booty!

Thank you Renee and Jennifer for a wonderful evening and a fun event!

For the month of August, EarthBaby Boutique is offering a referral program. So, when you go, please tell them that Cara from The Mommy Crunch sent you! Then, send your friends and increase your own chances to win a store credit!

Please visit EarthBaby Boutique at
13454 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 917-6193

I was asked to attend this media event where I was fed and provided with some pretty fun complimentary stuff in return for an honest evaluation. As always, opinions are entirely my own.