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Monday, July 25, 2016

Imogen's Birth Story



Imogen’s Birth Story
Written By Renee Arbia


If you have been looking at my social media accounts lately you will notice that there is a new baby in our family. We are very proud to welcome our baby girl Imogen Barbara into our family. I have informed my blogger audience a little bit here and there about my pregnancy but mostly for this pregnancy we have been very quiet, at least for a mom blogger who blogs about her life. There are a few reasons as to why we decided to keep quieter about this pregnancy. First of all it is a second pregnancy so we did not feel it necessary to announce as much, secondly, I am writing a book about this pregnancy that will be out soon, and thirdly and our main reason is that this has been a very hard pregnancy for us and at times it has literally left us speechless as to what to say.



Everything was going great until our 18 week ultrasound. I went to the ultrasound alone, since we did not have a sitter for Xavier. Nick took him out around town for the day and dropped me off at my appointment. We had no idea of the sex of the baby at that point, nor did we intend to find out. The ultrasound was quiet, painless and the technician was very quiet. Perhaps I should have noticed she was a little too quiet. In the waiting room the doctor came in and informed me that our baby had some issues, they found a cystic hygroma (basically a fluid filled cyst) on the back of the head and some fluid around the heart, compared with the short bones in the legs,  they informed me that they suspected our little girl had Turner Syndrome. They told me in one sentence that I had a little girl and that she had a syndrome. They informed me to call Nick right away to have him come in so they could explain it to us. Needless to say we were scheduled first thing in the morning with the fetal medicine specialists.

The next morning after four hours in the ultrasound room they had concluded that baby girl did have Turner Syndrome, but that her heart and organs seemed strong. After a long discussion of what Turner Syndrome is and how it is a chromosomal disorder and how extremely rare it is, we learned that only 2% of baby’s with Turner Syndrome make it to term birth. Sadly the majority of baby’s with Turners Syndrome are still born. We had no problem accepting a special needs child into our lives and hearts, nor accepting how rare and precious she really is, but accepting that there was a good possibility that we may lose her was something we just couldn’t accept at 18 weeks along. After doing an amniocentesis we knew for sure she had Turners Syndrome. We decided since she was not suffering but thriving and it was no physical hurt to me to carry her we would proceed on with the pregnancy in hopes that she may be in that 2% to make it to our arms. The extreme rarity that she even had Turners Syndrome and had made it to 18 weeks gave us a lot of hope that we truly had a fighter for a daughter and we wanted her to make the decision to stay or go.

Needless to say it was a LONG rest of pregnancy. We didn’t post about this on social media, there were many reasons. Mainly, how do you put a story like that in a status? Plus, we have hundreds of people on our social media accounts and not all that we respect their opinions and judgments and we were not able to take other’s opinions on the manner at all. Frankly, we didn’t want to hear what others thought of our situation. Some took it too lightly, some too seriously, few got it right. We decided it best to only tell people in person or on the phone if we were close enough to them. Unfortunately, if we only talked through social media, chances are we didn’t tell you. We did not accept gifts for her or set up her room for fear she may not make it. You would think the longer the pregnancy the better her chances, but not so much. We had weekly appointments to check on her and every week was different. Some weeks we jumped and celebrated her progress, other weeks we cried and prayed and hoped she would stay with us. Most weeks were a little of both.

Around June we started to breathe just a little better. She had passed her two fetal echocardiograms with flying colors, and I was told I was able to deliver our baby girl at home in our normal hospital instead of having to give birth to her at UNC. Not that we did not like UNC as they were very helpful and have a great hospital but being that it is three hours away it would have been terribly inconvenient for us. We started celebrating and accepting gifts, getting her room a little ready and some baby stuff out. At 39 weeks they decided we had waited long enough for her and they did not want to wait any longer in case she did have some serious health issues we all thought it best to get her out as soon as we can. So on July 11th I went into the hospital for an induction. Unfortunately, nine hours into hard labor, our baby girl’s heart rate kept dropping with each contraction. Knowing that she may have some heart issues no one was willing to take many more chances with the labor induction so we all decided on a cesarean section. It actually was a pleasant experience and after so many long months wondering if we will ever get to hold our baby girl it was a welcome relief to know that she will be in our arms soon. She was born on July 11, 2016 at 7:39pm and weighed 7pounds, 3 ounces and 18 inches long, we named her Imogen Barbara. Imogen is a name in the play Cymbeline by Shakespeare, my favorite playwright and Barbara is after my mom. The NICU checked her out immediately and she was healthy. She received more ultrasounds and genetic testing the next couple days but she was healthy enough for us to come home on Wednesday.







We have been blissfully enjoying some normalcy finally after a long pregnancy. Imogen is pretty much like a normal baby at this point with only a few differences. She has a few physical features of Turners Syndrome girls (more on those in another post) and we have already been to three doctor’s appointments and have many more on the books. She has a team of doctors that we see a regular Pediatrician, Cardiologist, Urologist and Endocrinologist. Needless to say it keeps our schedule packed. Although she has many doctors she is very healthy. Many are for maintenance and to keep up with her health as she grows and to make sure to combat any issues before they arise. When I look at her it is amazing to me that she is here and so healthy. She is such a miracle, she was most likely not going to make it into this world and today she is here, and she is healthy and happy. We are so very proud of our strong, feisty girl. We have a long road to go with her and it is a road we have no idea of what is around every curve, but we know we are strong enough to face it in our family and we are excited to walk a different path and see all the magic and beauty it has to offer.





~”Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she emerged as a butterfly” ~

I started writing a book about my second pregnancy before I was even pregnant. I wanted to write about what goes through mom’s heads when they are pregnant, the good, the bad, the funny, the hungry and everything in between. My book took a very different turn when we found out Imogen was diagnosed with Turners Syndrome and you can read all about it and our feelings on it and how we got to where we are today. Stay tuned for the release date! Our goal is to give hope to other moms pregnant with Turner Syndrome girls or special needs pregnancies. It helped us a lot to hear success stories and see girls who made it to birth. I believe the faith and prayers of us and our friends and family truly are what helped bring our sweet girl into this world. Never lose faith.




To find out more about Turner Syndrome check out their website
TurnerSyndrome.org or check out this wonderful blog about girls with Turner Syndrome



#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #birthstory, #Imogensbirthstory, #TurnerSyndrome, #TurnerSyndromeBirthStory, #specialneeds

Monday, July 18, 2016

Vegetable Pasta Salad

It's that time of year where you go and attend a bunch of picnics and barbecues. I love to go to them and frequently am always thinking of new things to bring than the traditional salads. I love pasta salad but the traditional pasta salad with cheese and pepperoni can sometimes be too heavy for me. I found this recipe on One Green Planet. If you use Vegan Mayonnaise this is a vegan recipe. I love it for it's mixture of noodles and crisp vegetables, plus it is much lighter than most pasta salads. Try it out at your next picnic and let me know what you think!

Vegetable Pasta Salad



Ingredients
- 1 pound of noodles your choice (elbows are shown in picture)
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup of diced celery
- 1 diced red onion
- 1/2 cup of diced pickles
- 1 cup of corn
- 3 green onions sliced thin
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup of pickle juice
- 2 Tbsps of Agave Nectar
- 3 Tbsps of Mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Cook pasta until soft and run under cold water to cool off.
Put all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well and serve!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #recipes, #veganrecipes, #pastasalad


Monday, July 11, 2016

Spring Vegetable Garden Fling



Spring Vegetable Garden Fling
Written by Renee Arbia



We learned a few hard lessons with our first real vegetable garden this spring. Although it did not turn out anywhere as great as we planned it was still a fun and rewarding experience, one that we look back on fondly and laugh and will continue plowing forward to our summer vegetable garden.



Our spring vegetable garden was going very well until we went away for ten days. Apparently you are not supposed to vacation and garden. We had secured a good friend to water. However, when we came home there were monstrous weeds. So much so that we had to look up on the computer what were weeds and what were plants. Then, once we discovered that our garden did in fact do well and we had a lot of kale, cabbage, broccoli, and two big squash plants we were excited to harvest them in the next week. Unfortunately, right before exact harvest time a visitor noticed they were ready first. A very cute, furry visitor called a rabbit discovered our vegetable garden. He had himself a feast and ate all the kale, cabbage, spinach and broccoli that were in it. He also had the audacity to poop just outside the fence. When harvest day came and we went to collect our vegetables, most were eaten all the way through and some literally disappeared.




We were disappointed and since it was the end of June and very hot we decided we would mow it over and just plant a small container garden for our summer garden due to the heat and our new baby due in July. As we were picking up the labels and fence my husband moved the squash plant and found a big zucchini squash. It was awesome and perfect. We cooked it up and served it for dinner. It was not much from our vegetable garden but it was enough for the three of us to appreciate our work and encourage us to keep on it.



After mowing down the garden we replanted a bunch of containers. Most of the container plants did not make it during the spring garden due to a frost we had about a week after planting. So we replanted tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in containers in hopes of them growing for our summer garden. So far some of them are already sprouting. We are hoping to be able to do another big garden in the fall with perhaps some kind of rabbit deterrent. At least we and the bunny got a taste of a great vegetable garden.



#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #LasagnaGarden, #gardeningwithkids, #RocaGardenTools, #RocaKidsGardenTools, #gardening, #GreenLiving, #GardenLife, #nextgenerationsahmbloggardening

Friday, July 1, 2016

Be More Comfortable Nursing with Mamaway Nursing Bras





Be More Comfortable Nursing with Mamaway Nursing Bras
Written By Renee Arbia

Sponsored By MamawayNursing Bras
I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.



Mamaway is quickly becoming the new name brand that moms trust. With their superb line of products like the awesome belly band, baby ring sling and postpartum belly band; moms know that when it comes to their comfort Mamaway knows how to get it right. Mamaway now is introducing a line of Nursing and Sleep Bras to make sure that every breastfeeding experience is a positive and comfortable one both for mom and baby.



Mamaway has made two new nursing and sleep bras the Antibacterial Nursing Sleep Bra and the Infrared Thermal Crossover Sleeping andNursing Bra. Both of these bras are far superior to any normal nursing or sleep bra you have ever encountered. When I nursed my son I quickly found that you really need a sleep bra for comfort, and the usual cotton bra just does not hold up very well. Typically when you are nursing you go up and down cup sizes drastically, can leak milk a lot, or need to use breast pads and your bra ends up ripping and smelly all the time.



Mamaways nursing bras are comfortable, supportive and beautiful. They feature a cross-over design for easy breastfeeding access with easy pull away cups. The cups are made of ultra strong nylon fibers that can stretch up to three cup sizes and withstand the constant pulling while breastfeeding without losing its shape. They even have a pocket in them so you can put breast pads in them easily if you need to. The buttery soft fabric is lightweight and soft and does not put any unnecessary pressure on your breasts. The wide shoulder straps offer additional shoulder and back support while the wide under bust design avoids any roll ups. Unlike most sleep bras Mamaway nursing bras do offer three sets of fasteners to easily hook or unhook your bra. You have the comfort of a sleep bra with the ease of an everyday hook. 



The Antibacterial Nursing Bra has Meryl skinlife fibre and silver microparticles that prevent any bacteria from growing into the fabric which makes this bra antibacterial and anti-odour which is perfect for sleep nursing and those first few weeks of constant nursing. The Mamaway Far Infrared Thermal Crossover Sleeping and Nursing Bra has Far Infrared Therapy that provides many benefits of relief for muscle spasms, increased blood circulation, increased extensibility of collagen and more. The far infrared nano fibres are proven to help blood flow and milk production, making this the perfect bra throughout your entire time breastfeeding.



I love how incredibly soft and lightweight both of these bras are. You barely feel like you are wearing anything, yet you feel supported. The expanding cup size is something I know will come in handy and I love any type of technology that makes sure to help ease breastfeeding and make it more of an enjoyable experience for my baby and myself.



The Mamaway Antibacterial Nursing Sleep Bra comes in Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large and in Blue, Brown and Nude colors and can be ordered on Amazon.

The Mamaway Far Infrared Thermal Crossover Sleeping andNursing Bra comes in Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large and in Yellow and Purple colors and can also be ordered from Amazon.

Be sure to make your life as a mom as easy and comfortable as possible with the many Mamaway products invented to make life easier for both your baby and you!



#Mamaway, #sponsored, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #reviews, #nursingbras, #nursing, #breastfeeding, #newborns, #newmoms, #mom





Monday, June 27, 2016

DIY Natural Products Lavender and Rosemary Shampoo




DIY Natural Products Lavender and Rosemary Shampoo
Written By Renee Arbia

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.





One of the fun things about making your own products is all the different combinations you get to try out and all the different scents. One of my favorite shampoo mixtures is the combination of Lavender and Rosemary. The lavender is very soothing and relaxing and the Rosemary has a great cleansing effect that also helps to clean your scalp and relieve itching and dandruff. This is easy to make and a regular amount like normal shampoo goes a long way. Be sure to shake it first each time you use it. I also add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil, which you should always put in your hair shampoo as it will keep lice away.

Lavender and Rosemary Shampoo
-          ½ Cup of Lavender Castile Soap
-          1 ½ Cups of Water (prefer distilled)
-          3 tsps Fractionated Coconut Oil
-          1-3 drops of Lavender Oil
-          5-10 drops of Rosemary Oil
-          1-3 drops of Tea Tree Oil
  
Directions
Combine and put in a squirt bottle. Use regular amount of shampoo and be sure to shake each time before using.  Although this is safe for kids it is not tear free, so if you get it into your eyes they may sting. You can also use this for an all over body wash and shampoo as well.



For more DIY Natural product recipes check out our page above! You can purchase Majestic Pure Rosemary oil or their other oils on Amazon!


#MProsemaryoil, #sponsored, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #diynaturalproducts, #lavenderrosemaryshampoo, #diyshampoo, #greenliving

Monday, June 20, 2016

DIY Natural Products Lavender and Eucalyptus Body Wash




DIY Natural Products Lavender and Eucalyptus Body Wash
Written By Renee Arbia

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.




One of the fun things about making your own products is all the different combinations you get to try out and all the different scents. One of my favorite body wash mixtures is the combination of Lavender and Eucalyptus. The lavender is very soothing and relaxing and the eucalyptus has a nice calming and cleansing effect that I love in this body wash. This is easy to make and a little dime size amount on a bath poof goes a long way. Try it out and feel free to swap different scent oils to see what your personal favorite is.



Lavender and Eucalyptus Body Wash

-          1 cup of water (preferably distilled)
-          ¾ cup of Lavender Castile Soap (you can get just plain castile and add lavender oil if you want)
-          15-20 drops of Eucalyptus Oil
-          3 TBSPS of Coconut Oil (I prefer to use Fractionated Coconut oil as it has no smell and is more lightweight on your body and hair. However, if you want to thicken the shampoo or it is all you have you can use regular coconut oil, but you will have to heat it up to get it to a liquid state first then combine)

Directions
Combine and put in a squirt bottle. Use about a dime size amount on a bath poof for clean, moisturized skin and a wonderful feeling! Although this is safe for kids it is not tear free, so if you get it into your eyes they may sting. Stay tuned for a baby wash recipe in the near future!

For more DIY Natural product recipes check out our page above! You can purchase Majestic Pure Eucalyptus oil or their other oils on Amazon!


#MPeucalyptusoil, #sponsored, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #diynaturalproducts, #lavendereucalyptusbodywash, #diybodywash, #greenliving


Friday, June 17, 2016

Snack Healthy with Hail Merry Bites



Snack Healthy with Hail Merry Bites
Written By Renee Arbia

Sponsor: Green Moms Meet and Hail Merry Bites
I received this productfor free from Moms Meet(momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.




A favorite snack that we love to pack in lunches and on the go are cookies, however cookies are never sold in a very healthy way. Plus, they tend to crumble when left too long in bags and taste stale after a while.



New Hail Merry Bites are perfect for snacking. They are made with Certified C.L.E.A.N ingredients and healthy fats including energizing organic virgin coconut oil and sweet almond flour. They are made in a women-owned kitchen that produces award winning and great tasting recipes that are low-temperature dehydrated which protects the integrity of the raw dietary oils and pure ingredients so that they always taste fresh. Hail Merry is a snack food company that celebrates the benefits of plant-based dietary oils and fats that balance the total carbohydrate load, making them guilt-free snacks and desserts.



We loved the Hail Merry Bites. I like that you store them in the fridge but they do taste better actually sitting out for a while. It makes them perfect for packing and snacking. They are great for a pre-workout snack, a reward, school lunches, snacking on the go or entertaining. Both my husband and my son love them as much as I do. They did not taste like anything healthy. One serving is two bite size cookies and they are surprisingly filling for a snack. The only issue we found is if you do not like coconut you may not like these as all of them have coconut oil or coconut itself in them. Also, they do have nuts, so if you have a nut allergy they are not good for you. Hail Merry Bites are so delicious and good for you. They help give you energy and also help with your sweet tooth!



Hail Merry Bites come in six different flavors, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Caramel Sea Salt, Salted Brownie, Pure Vanilla Macaroon, Lemon Macaroon, and Dark Chocolate Macaroon. All flavors are certified C.L.E.A.N, Gluten-free, Certified Vegan, Kosher, Dairy-free, Grain-free, Peanut-free, Paleo-friendly, and Non-GMO verified and do not contain any highly-refined sugars or flours. You can find Hail Merry Bites in the refrigerated section of your grocery store or visit www.hailmerry.com/where-to-buy to find a store near you!



Enter for your chance to win two free coupons to try Hail Merry Bites! Contest closes 6/24/16 and is open to the USA only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


#momsmeet, #hailmerry, #sponsored, #review, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #healthyliving, #greenliving

Monday, June 13, 2016

The New Addition to Our Game Collection




The New Addition to Our Game Collection
Written By Renee Arbia

Sponsor: The Learning Journey International Match It Game
I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.





Now that Xavier is four years old. He loves to play games. He has a few games mostly of the normal variety such as Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four and Guess Who. We are always on the look out for new games. I am not normally a game type of person. However, how can you say no when your adorable four-year old asks if you will play a game with him? Plus, it guarantees quality time together and you get to sit down to play.



The Learning Journey International has come up with a game called Match It which is a trilingual learning game. You simply match the picture cards to the word cards. The word cards have three languages on them English, Spanish and French. They hold together like a big puzzle piece. It comes with thirty cards in all. There are a variety of ways to put the puzzle together and no real directions so it lets you make your own rules while playing. The game is geared towards kids aged three and up. Since Xavier does not read yet we simply do things such as, I read the word and he finds the picture. After a few times of that we switched it up where I held the picture and spelled the word in English and he looked for it. He is getting much better at remembering the words and memorizing what words go with what pictures, which is a great way to start to learn to read by memorizing the look of certain words. 




I really like this game it comes in a really nice box complete with a handle that has already withstood our child flinging it around, leaving it on the floor and the black Labrador dog walking on it. Also the cards are very durable and strong. I like that you do not have to worry about the pieces breaking like some cheap puzzles and again they have withstood being stepped on, flung around and played with in all sorts of ways.




Match It by the Learning Journey is definitely a game we enjoy playing and are happy to add to our game collection. After just a few games Xavier can even play it by himself when he wants. It’s a great addition to any household. You can order your Match It game by the Learning Journey from Amazon!

#learningjourneytoys, #sponsored, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #reviews, #kidsgames
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