Print them…frame them…give your memorable moments a place!!

We’ve all done it…had precious pictures taken and then left them captive on a flash drive or CD. Almost three years after my daughter’s newborn session (better late than never), and I’m finally willing myself to pick frames, prints, and yes, a full-blown wall gallery!!!!!!DSC_2709

Check out this milk coma. THE BEST! And, her wardrobe…styling was a little easier back then when naked was all the rage…for her of course!!! DSC_2655
The cheese cloth swaddles come in every color. This purple is perfection…plus it’s now her favorite color. Using our kitchen hutch for some of the shots, our living room, and our master bedroom ensured that these photos would fit in with our overall decor and design sense. I highly recommend doing newborn sessions in your home instead of the studio! DSC_2631

 

DSC_2637DSC_2676DSC_2682This is just a friendly reminder to print them…enjoy them…remember those moments every day! DSC_2688 DSC_2698DSC_2727DSC_2737

 

Photography by Amy at Portraiture Studio

 

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Deflate your Child’s Water Wings: Water Safety Update!

He rushed back into the bathroom only to see my tiny body face down in the tub. In the moment that he had stepped out of the bathroom, I had climbed back in. My little white nightgown acted as a stopper, trapping the remaining water and holding my small frame hostage. A moment of time…an inch of water…had my father arrived one minute later I may not be sharing these safety tips with you today.

Water safety is always an important topic. During the summer months when temperatures soar, baby pools become permanent yard fixtures, and playdates are centered at the neighborhood pool; it’s imperative that we refresh our memories so that are kids safely stay afloat.

1. What Flotation Devices To Trust:

I wore them. You probably wore them, and we are both here today, but don’t trust your child’s water wings to keep them from drowning. Not only can they easily deflate, they can easily slip off. They don’t keep your little one’s head above water, and they are not Coast Guard approved as a true safety flotation device. While no flotation device (inflatable toys, noodles, etc) should replace proper adult supervision in or around the water, making sure that your child has a Coast Guard approved flotation device is of paramount importance.

2. Backyard Water No No’s :

Although it may sound impossible, young children can drown in as little as an inch of water. Tragically, it happens. So while leaving a baby pool in the back yard may sound like a great idea…DON’T DO IT! When you are done with it, put it away immediately. Even if you dump it out and leave it in the yard, summer rain storms are sure to add an inch here or there. While your little one may not wander into it, a neighboring child may. The only way to ensure that your baby pool won’t lead to an unintentional injury is to supervise appropriately when you are using it, dump all of the water out when you are done with it, and safely store it on its side or flipped upside down in your garage or another place where only an adult can get it down.

In addition to baby pools, standing buckets of water and splash tables that hold water can also be dangerous. dump these out as well and store them properly.

If you have a backyard pool or are visiting someone who does, make sure that you are always supervising. Kids are fast! One minute they are at your side and the next they are in the water. It only takes a moment for a child to drown. It’s okay for you to be paranoid when your kids are around water. That’s your job! It’s also a good idea to make sure that you take a CPR class. Heaven forbid that you will ever need to use it, but in the event that something happens, knowing CPR could make the difference in your child’s life. Every moment counts.

3. Teach them to Swim:

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that young children be introduced to swimming at a young age. Starting as early as the toddler years is a great idea! Research now shows that formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning in children ages 1-4 years old. Even if your child knows how to swim, you should always supervise! Also, advise your kids to stay away from pool drains. These have been known to have a suction power that can pull children down preventing them from being able to get back to the surface.

For more detailed information check out the CDC’s recommendations as well as those from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Have fun in the water this summer…but don’t forget to stay safe. Sun protection is also important! Check out this blog post: Sunscreen safety tips for Kids

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Gluten Free…Fad, Fable, or For Real!

Gluten Free Diets are becoming the norm for many Americans. If you want the skinny on who really needs this type of diet and how healthy it truly is for the general public…check out one of my latest articles for Hamilton County Family Magazine.

Gluten Free Diets: Who Needs These Restrictions and Who Doesn’t? 

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Tips to Make Sure that Infertility Isn’t an Issue for YOU

I gave a little laugh when I was asked to write a freelance article on infertility for Hamilton County Family Magazine, since I’m something of an expert personally. While fertility is “natural”…infertility seems to come naturally to many couples these days. Check out these tips and recommendations that may save you grief later, help you determine your risk now, and get you the help that you may need.

When Infertility Comes Naturally

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4 MUST KNOW Safety Tips for Choosing and Applying Your Child’s Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a MUST for our kids! And, although most of us use it on them routinely, is the type that we are using really safe for kids? I recently had to make a sunscreen switch for my own daughter after reviewing the American Academy of Pediatrics and the FDA’s updated guidelines and recommendations. Since I was in the dark on this topic, I thought I would share 4 important points that every mom should know.

1. Ditch the Oxybenzone

When a friend asked me my opinion about oxybenzone in children’s sunscreen, I gave her a blank stare. I hadn’t really heard all that much about it, and I assumed that the concerns were simply social media hype. Trying not to be too skeptical, I told her that I would look into it. To my surprise, there does seem to be some legitimate concern regarding oxybenzone, although some organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology do still think that it is safe to use in children. (The CDC and the Environmental Working Group). This product which is found in many infant and children sunscreens can act like a hormone, potentially influencing our developing children’s endocrine systems. Although long-term studies have not yet been done to determine the extent of the harm, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that parents avoid this ingredient when purchasing sunscreen. In a society where precocious puberty (puberty at a young age) is becoming a more common issue, I decided it was probably a good idea to not take a chance. I’ve opted for a oxybenzone free sunscreen. On a side note, if you are going to be out in the sun and your only option for sunscreen contains oxybenzone, go ahead and use it. Infrequent use is probably not going to have an effect on your child’s hormone levels, but we do know that sunburns in childhood definitely predispose them to skin cancer later in life.

2.  Aerosolized Children’s Sunscreen May be a “No, No”

Many of the large sunscreen companies have made our lives as moms much easier! They have created an aerosolized sunscreen revolution. It’s fast, it’s much less messy, and it goes on more easily. Bad news is…we aren’t exactly sure what it might be doing in our children’s lungs. The whole point of an aerosolized sunscreen is that it sprays through the air onto the skin. Our children are inevitably breathing in some of this spray. Because the aerosolized sunscreens contain nano particles (incredibly tiny particles), when breathed in they are able to travel much further into the lungs. There is concern in the medical community that these nano particles might cause local irritation in the lung tissue or result in increased absorption with unknown longterm effects. If you have to use an aerosolized spray, first spray it onto your hand (away from your child) and then apply it to your child’s skin directly.Hand heart

3. Broad Coverage Update

The FDA has changed its regulations on how companies are allowed to promote their sunscreens. They can only advertise “Broad Coverage” if they provide both UVA (ultraviolet ray A) and UVB (ultraviolet ray B) protection. You want to make sure that you are choosing a sunscreen that has both of these. This is the only way to prevent not only sunburns, but also longterm risk for skin cancers. In addition to broad coverage, make sure that you look for an SPF of at least 15 to 30 (50 would be great if you have the option). Anything higher than 50 doesn’t really have any additional protection as far as we can tell. So, if it says SPF 70 but no broad coverage, don’t buy it!

4. Put it on Before You Hit the Beach and then Keep Reapplying!!

Sunscreen needs a little time (15-30 minutes) to absorb in order to be effective. Don’t wait until you are already in the sun to put it on your kids. Apply it before you leave the house so that they will be protected from the harmful UV rays the entire time they are in the sun. Remember to keep reapplying it as well. Once and done is not going to work. Most sunscreens need to be Little girl with bottle of sun cream sitting at tropical beachreapplied after two hours. However, if your child is swimming or sweating, you should reapply it sooner.

Check out the AAP Sun Safety Guideline Information Sheet for Parents for more information on sun protection. Remember…protecting your child’s skin from burns today will protect him/her from skin cancer later in life. It really is that important!

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Watermelon Juice…Sipping on Tsamma!!!!!

Watermelon tends to be a summertime favorite. Slice it, dice it, cut it into chunks, drizzle it with honey, squirt it with lime juice, sprinkle it with mint…DELICIOUS! Not only is watermelon delicious, it’s a great treat alternative to popsicles, ice cream, and other sugary summertime snacks for your little ones. While I’ve tried just about every recipe with watermelon that you can imagine…I’ve never tried to make watermelon juice; and, now I don’t have to!0079

My watermelon growing friends at Frey Farms have created a new drink that is taking the juice market by storm! TSAMMA Watermelon Juice! While water and milk are my toddler’s main beverages, juice is an occasional treat. Instead of apple juice try this fun alternative. You can also use it to make your own homemade watermelon popsicles!!! Pour it into the molds, stick in the freezer…fun summertime treat! Or, if you’re a traditionalist, a watermelon slice is pretty delicious too! We like to think they grow in our backyard!!!photo 5 photo 1 photo 1

TSAMMA and Frey Farms didn’t ask me to give them a shout out…I just think they’re pretty awesome people with some great products! Available at Earth Fare, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and a ton of other local grocery stores. My little one likes to pick her own! For tips on how to pick the perfect watermelon check out this earlier blog…HOW TO PICK YOUR WATERMELONphoto 4 photo 1

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Hazelnut S’mores…in the oven!!!!

A little sweet treat never hurt..especially not when it’s S’mores!!!! Don’t feel like starting a camp fire, firing up the grill, or even leaving the kitchen? Indoor S’mores it is!!! You can stick with the traditional Hershey Chocolate bar, but if you’re looking for a gourmet twist try switching things up with Nutella. Get your little ones involved. They can line up the crackers and pile on the marshmallows.photo 2

Hazelnut S’more Ingredients: 

1. graham crackers

2. Marshmallows

3. 1 jar of Nutella Hazelnut/Chocolate Spread

4. Cookie Sheet

5. Ovenphoto 1 photo 2 photo 4

How to Roast your S’mores in the oven: 

1. Break your graham crackers in half and place them on a cookie sheet

2. Place a marshmallow on half of the graham crackers

3. On the remaining Graham crackers spread a thick layer of Nutella

4. Place the cookie sheet in the oven on broil

5. Keep a very close eye on these goodies. They can burn in just a second. When you notice that the marshmallows are starting to turn a light brown on the top (literally less than 30 seconds) pull them from the oven and put your halves together!!!photo 1

Come rain or shine these indoor S’mores are tasty every time!

 

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Unicorn themed ideas for little girls…plus a giveaway!

Looking for some fun and fanciful ideas for the summer for your little girls???? UNICORNS! It doesn’t get much more whimsical.10493035_923847114332717_6285155184678789595_o 10475448_923973874320041_7683331523436697203_o

1. Best Unicorn Book

My daughter has been spell-bound by unicorns lately. It all started with a new book. I have to say this is now one of my favorite reads! It’s not too long and the story is heartwarming. Since purple is also a favorite color in our house, this book makes the best read list everyday. Uni the Unicorn is all around town but just click this link and you can snag it from Amazon.

2. Unicorn Photo Shoot

Yep, this is all the rage! Take a pony shoot and transform it into something mystical. Many photographers are now offering this type of session in the spring and summer with live ponies. My daughter just had her shoot with Hannah Hilliard Photography outside of Indianapolis, but don’t worry…another session is right around the corner, and there are still a few available spots! Oh, did I mention that my styling business, The Borrowed Boutique, is offering wardrobe options??? Shoot me a message if you’re interested.

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3. Unicorn Clothing

If you’re looking for a super cute online boutique that carries all the best brands, then my friend, Emily, at The MerrryLoveJoy Company has got you covered! She knows a thing or two about unicorns as well! Check out her unicorn inspired apparel and stay tuned to win some unicorn goodies!!!

4. Unicorn Toy

Jellycat Unicorn plush toys are just too cute!!!! And, one of these cuties could be yours! Enter to win one of these stuffed animals and one of these fun necklaces from The MerryLoveJoy Company at this LINK.
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bashfulunicorn unicorn

5. Unicorn Inspired Party

I know I keep gushing about The MerryLoveJoy Company, but this online shop also makes party planning easy. Soon to make its debut to the website…you guessed it…unicorn themed party products! 11265830_753059850578_1031033514_o

Childhood passes too quickly!! I love that my little one still believes in make-believe. Today Tinkerbell landed on her head and Peter Pan flew through the window! A purple unicorn and a pink hippo decided to join us for lunch! Embrace it! Before you know it the fairies will have flown the coop.

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If You’ve Got Something Fertile to Say…Please Keep it to Yourself!

I wanted to smack her right in the face. The flight attendant’s snippy, “I’m the mother of 6 children,” comment was enough to put me over the edge. Really? Yes, my child is screaming and doesn’t want to sit in her seat, but knowing that you are a fertile, super-mother with 6 loads of experience is not going to calm my 2 year-old or me for that matter. In fact, using your mother of 6 status is the last thing that any woman in the middle of several failed infertility treatments needs to hear. Why don’t you go take your own seat!

Sorry, to sound hostile, but time and time again the fertile mother either innocently, unknowingly, or even intentionally says something that stings. I do my best to dismiss the innocent and ignorant comments, but sometimes it just gets to be a little too much! So, I thought I would provide those of you blessed with super fertile powers a quick tutorial on what not to say to a woman without kids, someone with known infertility, or any woman you don’t know much about. This isn’t all inclusive…but it is fairly lengthy! For all those who do or have struggled with infertility, feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

What Not To Say In An Infertile World:

1. When are you planning on starting a family? Hint…Hint? (Please, stop asking!)

2. You know the clock is ticking, right? You aren’t getting any younger. (My ovaries are none of your business)

3. Don’t you guys want kids? (Of course not. Don’t most women despise the idea of motherhood?)

4. Do you have any news (pregnancy implied)? (If I wanted to tell you I would have.)

5. How many kids are you planning on having? (Is that really any of your business?)

6. Do you only want one (said with disbelief)? (If I did what’s wrong with that? But, no, my heart is breaking trying to have another!)

7. It’s about time for another isn’t it? (Thanks for keeping track of our family planning.)

8. Your daughter needs a sibling! (No kidding!)

9. Having one is so much easier. (Not when you have to go through infertility treatments to have another)

10. You should be happy you only have one. (Why don’t you try it?)

11. I can’t believe I’m pregnant again. We weren’t even trying. (It must be amazing to be you!)

12. I wish I weren’t pregnant. (I will gladly take your baby)

13. Being pregnant stinks. (Being infertile sucks!)

14. So, you guys are more focused on your careers, right? (Having a career doesn’t mean you don’t want kids!)

15. As a mom of x number of children, let me tell you…(Please don’t.)

16. Life is so easy when you only have one. Just wait! (I am waiting.)

17. I would never want a test tube baby! Oh, your baby is so cute! (She’s a test tube baby.)

18. Be glad you aren’t pregnant right now! (Seriously?)

19. That’s so nice that you don’t have any kids yet. You can travel and do such fun stuff. Be glad you still have your freedom. (I’d prefer to lose my freedom!)

20. I have a great book on how to get pregnant. (I wrote it.)

21. Have you tried putting your legs over your head? (Yes, for 48 hours at a time.)

22. You need an ovulation kit! (My ovulation is just fine thanks.)

23. I have a list of fertility foods that will get you pregnant in no time. (I’ve tried eating from the Garden of Eden. Fertile foods are no match for incredibly low sperm counts. It’s going to take more than pineapple core.)Beautiful young woman making Yoga exercises on the beach

24. Have you tried essential oils? (I practically drink them. Thank you.)

25. You guys just need a weekend away. (Hmm…pretty sure three days in bed isn’t going to do the trick.)

26. You need to stop stressing. (Stop talking, please. You’re stressing me out!)

27. Why don’t you just adopt? (Why don’t you?)

28. Let me tell you what worked for us. ( I really don’t care.)

29. Can I give you a piece of advice? (As though I can say, “No” without sounding rude)

30. Maybe God has something different for you instead of motherhood. (How consoling!)

31. Dr. Oz says…(Why do I care what a cardio-thoracic surgeon has to say about my fertility?)

32. The power of positive thinking is amazing. Visualize yourself pregnant. (What do you think I’ve been doing for the past 5 years!)

33. I know how you feel. It took us a whole month to get pregnant! (Wow, that must have been hard!)

34. Are you taking your vitamins? Maybe going gluten free, caffeine free, dairy free, soy free, and deodorant free would do the trick. (Am I allowed to eat?)Girls Kissing Mom's Belly

35. Isn’t this like your zillionth time going through IVF? (Thanks for reminding me.)

36. Maybe you should focus on learning to be content with what you do have. Isn’t having one enough? (Isn’t that between me, my spouse, and God?)

37. Infertility treatments are so unnatural (Clearly!)

38. There are worse things in life than infertility. You could actually have a serious medical problem to deal with. (True. That helps me cope how?)

39. Infertility isn’t really a medical problem. Having kids isn’t medically necessary. (Umm, who gave you your honorary medical degree?)

40. That’s nice that you can afford IVF. I hear that’s only for rich people. (It’s called debt. The most cost ineffective way to make a baby.)

41. You are saving yourself a fortune by not having kids. (Actually, I’m spending a fortune trying to have one.)Six pregnant bellies at different stages of pregnancy.

42. If you had more kids you’d understand…(If you had infertility you’d understand).

43. I totally know what you’re going through. My friend had infertility. (How could you possibly know what I’m going through.)

44. You do know how to make a baby right? All it takes is some good old fashioned sex! Do we need to get you a room? (Hmm…baby making can be a little more complicated!)

45. EVERYTHING ELSE EVER SAID

For those of you who are offended by my comments above…I don’t apologize. I have uncomfortably experienced every single comment mentioned above. And, while my real life responses were always gracious, I decided it was time to let off a little steam. Please know that that I don’t hold grudges. So, if I just quoted you in the 45 comments above…know that it has already been forgiven and forgotten.

You don’t have to walk on egg shells around those of us with infertility. We are happy that other babies are being born in the world. We want other people to be blessed with little ones. But, sometimes (most of the time) we do need a little sensitivity. Just think twice before the fertile you makes an overly fertile comment:)

Disclaimer: This article is clearly one sided (from the infertile perspective). It isn’t meant to criticize those with numerous children who are amazing parents with their own set of challenges. Nor is it meant to minimize the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy. Please take it as what it is…a rant from someone in the middle of infertility treatments for an extended period of time.

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What to Expect when Trying to Expect…IVF update from our April Embryo Transfer…

I had been crossing everything before our embryo transfer…fingers, toes, eyes…just about everything except for my legs. These were the last of our frozen embryos. If just one of them stuck we could wave our infertility treatment days goodbye. Only three were remaining, and while the quality wasn’t perfect, they were still little forces to be reckoned with.

I started my progesterone shots (YIKES THOSE ARE BIG NEEDLES), lupron shots, my estrogen patch, my estrogen pills and my routine blood work and ultrasounds. This had just worked several months before. Well…sort of worked. A 5 week pregnancy ending in miscarriage still counts as some sort of progress. It could work again. I had been praying for a miracle. Statistical success rates, odds, likelihood, all inconsequential in the presence of a divine intervention.Happy Family On The Beach. Baby Girl Hugging Her Mother

My typical outlook for infertility treatments has always been cautious optimism. I prepare myself for the worst because it’s so much easier to deal with the disappointment when things don’t work out. Why I decided to change my perspective this last time I’m not sure. For some reason the idea of a changed coping mechanism sounded refreshing. It would work. It was going to work. In spite of the odds it was going to happen. I was going to get pregnant and carry that pregnancy until I had a full-term healthy baby. I was going to have a story of triumph in spite of the odds. This was a simple miracle for God. What reason would he have for denying my request?

The embryo transfer went perfectly. Of the three remaining embryos, two survived the defrosting process. And, of those two, one looked incredibly promising. The catheter slid into place easily and within moments two precious little lifeforms were floating around inside of my uterus. Now came the waiting game. I was hopeful. I was actually incredibly excited. I even felt pregnant. I was tired, moody, hungry and sure that it had worked. I wasn’t cramping, and I wasn’t spotting.

And…I also wasn’t pregnant. Two home pregnancy tests and then a blood draw B-hcg level of less than 1 confirmed that my miracle had not happened. Disappointment has been followed by a firm resolve that there is a reason for everything. I don’t understand it, but instead of letting grief swallow me up (for more than a few weeks), I’m looking forward with hope once again. Since all of our frozen embryos are gone we must start from scratch with a fresh IVF cycle. This journey is far from easy, painless, or inexpensive; but, my desire for another child trumps the obstacles and challenges before me. I refuse to let infertility define me; but I am allowing it to shape me into a stronger woman, full of faith, hope, and love. This may sound trite or contrived, but trust me, this refining process has been neither trite nor contrived.

The struggle with infertility can be all-consuming. It can be and is devastating. I’m not going to sugar coat a horrible diagnosis. However, I can’t let it ruin the beautiful things that I do have in life. Infertility wins if I let it have that hold on me. I refuse to let it win. I am stronger because of it. I am a better mother because of it. I have a deeper respect for other’s pain and suffering because of it. I am learning to let go of the things that are beyond my control because of it. I am trying to make beauty from ashes. Some days I succeed…and for now that’s all I can EXPECT while I’m waiting to EXPECT!

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