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Monday, August 22, 2016

Through The Eyes of a Four Year Old

Through The Eyes of a Four Year Old
Written By Renee Arbia

Since Imogen has come into our life we have made sure to always keep a camera ready in our house for fun moments. Xavier has taken to love photography. He has fun watching us take pictures and he loves his picture being taken. He asked if he could take pictures as well. He really loved it and he took some great pictures. Here are some of the pictures my four year old took. They are not edited in any way, just how he sees the world.

Enjoy and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #XavierPhotography, #inspirational, #lifestyle

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Big Brother Promotion

The Big Brother Promotion
Written By Renee Arbia

Xavier has been excited to be a big brother since the moment we told him I was pregnant, which ended up being earlier than expected. He ended up over hearing us talking about having a baby one day and he asked us about it, to which we answered truthfully. However, I forgot to add to our talk that we do not tell anyone right away. He ended up telling everyone anywhere he went that he was going to be a big brother.

We had prepared Xavier not to know what he was getting as we intended not to find out the gender of the baby. However, when we got the news that our baby had Turners Syndrome and it was a girl. (Read, Imogen’s Birth Story) It was a very hard time for us. We have never informed Xavier that Imogen has Turners Syndrome as we do not think it is necessary at this time for him to know. However, when we found out his sibling would be a girl we told him. He actually had wanted a baby sister. I think it is because all the shows and books about being a big brother usually had the older brother and little sister, so it is possible he just assumed. However, he has always been consistent that he wanted a baby sister. He lit up with joy the moment we informed him that it was a baby sister.

We try very hard to involve Xavier in as much as we can. He has gone to many of the doctor’s appointments with us and he is a tremendous help around the house and with Imogen. Xavier always helps with the laundry and dishes, likes to pick out clothes for Imogen to wear, always gets us blankets or burp cloths when needed, and even will hold Imogen for 5-10 minutes which is just long enough to throw a load of laundry in or run the dishwasher.

He is constantly kissing Imogen. Every time she is awake he is smiling, kissing, talking or even singing to her. It is adorable to watch. Yesterday I took out the play floor mat for Imogen to try. He was so excited there was a toy they could share. He lay right down on the floor next to her and they played. It was the sweetest and cutest thing they have done yet.

Imogen loves Xavier and always is watching him. Xavier was the first one Imogen smiled at. It is amazing to watch your little one fall in love with their sibling. I hope they will always love each other as much as they do right now.

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #TurnersSyndrome, #Imogen, #lifestyle, #inspirational, #mommystories

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mom of Two 4 Weeks In

Mom of Two 4 Weeks In
Written By Renee Arbia

It has felt like a long four weeks since Imogen came into our lives. They have not been a bad four weeks but long. Why long, sleep is something that does not happen much in our home anymore, or at least for now so every day is much longer than it used to be.

Imogen is a great baby though she insists on being held as much as possible but she is not partial to whom so we pass her around like a football a lot. I have forgotten how much newborns sleep, eat and poop and have been reminded that their needs over exceed everyone else’s. I do not remember much about Xavier’s first month and now with Imogen I am reminded why it is a blur. However, we are trying to soak in the sweetness as much as possible.

I soak in sweetness by…

Writing this with a fidgety baby on my chest in between nursing sessions

Being utterly exhausted yet still finding the time to color and play with my four year old son

Being glad that my baby is so healthy to dirty so many, many diapers, changing pads, pajamas, blankets, onesies and burp cloths

Knowing that no one is more comfort to my baby than me

Watching my newborn smile for the first time at her big brother

Remembering that my emotions are hormonal and not to make any big decisions

Putting my laptop and phone down and snuggling with my little one and play with my son

Remembering that my sweet baby girl fought long and hard to be here

Deciding those two weeks of my own maternity leave was ridiculous when so many more adjustments have to be made in our life.

So we are just treading water right now, running on low fuel and no sleep but running purely on love and snuggles from our children. We picked a slow time in the year for us purposely to have another baby. We have spent the month nesting as much as possible and getting to know our new family of four and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #TurnerSyndrome, #Imogen, #newmom

Monday, August 1, 2016

Go Green with WaterWipes

Written By Renee Arbia

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Our sweet daughter, Imogen is now three weeks old. It is hard to believe she has been here so long, yet we cannot imagine our lives without her. She is very much like most newborns and enjoys constant snuggling, eating and pooping. I am so grateful to have this time with her. I am really glad that we have started living a green lifestyle with Imogen. We have always been healthy and environmentally conscious, but we became more so when Xavier was born, and much more now that Imogen is here.

Like the rest of our family and like most newborns, Imogen has very dry, sensitive skin. I am so glad that I started making a lot of our own soaps and detergents. It has saved me from trying to find lots of new alternatives to things. I have been slowly going through our routines and trying to find greener solutions to our every day lives. With the arrival of Imogen, I realized we had an area of our daily routine that I have over looked. We use wipes all the time. We keep them in the car, bathrooms, my purse and the diaper bag. I use them all the time to wipe hands, faces, boogers, counter tops, pets, toilet seats, floors and of course the four buns of the family members in our house as well as countless visiting family and friends. I realized that I needed to find an affordable, green version of wipes that would be durable enough to withstand our family, but to also be natural on our skin and good for the environment. I realize that the best solution would be for me to make our own wipes, but I really cannot handle any more laundry at this point in our lives so we prefer to still buy wipes. However, I wanted to find a wipe that was natural and not loaded with a ton of chemicals and ingredients. I wanted a safer and natural version for our family.

We decided to go to our favorite store for anything you could possibly need for a baby, Babies “R” Us, where they had a big selection of all types of natural wipes. That is where I saw WaterWipes (Find at a store near you) for an extremely affordable price. WaterWipes are wipes that are chemical free. They only contain two ingredients, 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. WaterWipes are the perfect affordable, natural and safe option for your family.

I love how durable WaterWipes are. I was skeptical because I like a wipe that is very durable. WaterWipes stood the test to our many stunts and uses of them. WaterWipes are strong enough to scrub the tile floor, yet gentle enough for our newborns bottom. We never have to worry about where, who or what we wipe due to no chemicals in the WaterWipes.

We did find some tips when we used them such as; WaterWipes are used best when kept in their own packaging where extra water is placed to help keep them moist. If you do not use them for a while, we found that if you shake the package around, they will moisten.

We now stock our household with WaterWipes and in doing so we have taken another big green step towards a greener and cleaner future for our families.

WaterWipes are fully stocked at your favorite stores, like Babies “R”Us, where you can shop at ease for the world’s purest baby wipe.

To find out more about WaterWipes follow them on their social media pages and find them at a store near you!

Enter to win one of five (5) $100 Babies “R” Us gift cards!
Contest opens on July 28, 2016 and closes on August 18, 2016
I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

#WaterWipesBRU, #IC, #ad, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #reviews, #greenliving, #greenwipes

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 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

- 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

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
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