Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Citrus Lane Mystery Box Review- Cozy Sleeping Bag

I follow a lot of blogs and somehow I ended up reading someone's review of a Citrus Lane monthly subscription box, and thought to myself:

 "self, those are cute, but I don't think they are for me"

...and then I saw the 50% off your first box and thought:

 "self, I will buy nearly anything for 50% off"

Sucker born every day, this one was born 29 years ago.

But actually I don't think I'm a sucker, because so far Citrus Lane seems pretty legit. After signing up for a one month trial box, which I have to wait until the end of NOVEMBER for (I don't have a lot of patience thanks to Amazon Prime), I got an email about their Mystery Boxes.

From what I gather, these Mystery Boxes are filled with leftovers from other monthly boxes, and as Citrus Lane wants to clean house, they give you a great deal on products. Each one seems to have a theme, an age range and sometimes a gender. They also have a value of double what you pay.

I looked around at the options they had and bought two, I just received them yesterday and was very excited to bust them open and see my goodies, which I will now share with you.

This is the first box I opened, it was called "Cozy Sleeping Bag- Star Light print" and was $39 with a value of $80. The box was for a baby girl up to 1 year old.

The only item I knew I would be getting was the Aden and Anais sleep sack, which I was very excited about because here in MN it gets pretty cold and we have been using sleep sacks every night, you can never have too many and this one is gorgeous. Plus I love Aden and Anais products, we have their muslin swaddles and a few bibs as well. This has a retail value of $19.95 and I can't wait to get it in the wash and on the baby!

Next was an Aden and Anais security blanket, I wasn't sure about this when I saw it but after handing it to my baby last night she hasn't wanted to give it up, so clearly its a winner. She has been chewing her hands a ton lately and now she can chew her hands while they are covered in silky satin and I guess that makes her really  happy. Retail value $9.95

Next was a little wooden toy from a company called Haba, they call this a Klick Klack Rattling Figure. It is really cute and seems very well made, although a bit too big an heavy for my 4 month old but I'm sure in no time she will really like to play with this. Retail value $9.49

Next was two small sample size boxes of Dr. Smith's Zinc Oxide diaper rash ointment. Now we cloth during the day at home and use disposables at night and when we are going to be out and about for a long time. So those are the only times I could really use this cream, but I'll give it a shot next time we end up with a rash that won't go away with cloth diaper safe cream. Before cloth we were using Boudreaux's organic butt paste and I was very pleased with how well it worked and the simple pure ingredients. So we shall see if this stuff makes me want to switch. Hard to say retail value of a sample size but I'd guess $3.

There was an Innobaby EZ Grip Massaging Teether. I'm not sure if my baby is really teething quite yet, but she is drooling a ton and loves to put everything she can get her grubby little paws on into her mouth and chomp away on it. So the second I put this toy in her hand she jammed it into her mouth and chomp, chomp, chomped it! I was surprised since many teethers are a bit too big for her to hold or really cram in her mouth but this was just perfect, a winner for sure. Retail value $9 on some sites and $21 on others? Not sure what that's about.

Innobaby Glass tot Food Cubes- now everyone is all about not using plastic and using glass for things, I'm not sure I've really jumped onto that bandwagon completely but I do check plastic things for having BPA but that's about the extent of it. However I will definitely use these especially since I plan to make as much of her baby food at home as I can so they will come in handy. Retail value $9.95

Lastly was a Baby Soy USA bib. It is very soft and really cute, I have a LOT of bibs but it never hurts to have more, especially cute ones since so many of them are kind of tacky and weirdly scratchy and stiff, soft cute bibs are a true gem in this house. Retail value $6

So the box didn't include little sheets like the monthly subscription boxes do on the products/brands or their retail value, so I had to use my best judgement based on Amazon and Google searches, but from what I gather this box has a retail value of $67-$78 depending on the price of that teether (weird), so I'd say for $39 it was a good deal, not quite AS good as they made it seem when they said value of $80, unless my values are way off, but I'm still pleased especially since some of the items are already favorites of my little one's.

Have you used any of these products or other items from these brands? Do you subscribe to Citrus Lane? 

Stay tuned for the review of my other mystery box!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hospital Packing List- My Top 10's

     For some reason when you have a baby, your life gets filled with STUFF. So it makes sense that it begins before the little bundle even comes into the world- with the hospital bag. Something that causes some women to elatedly prance around their house scooping up all the perfect little things they already know they will need...and others to wallow and panic over not knowing at all what they should pack...how about everything? That way I'll be totally set.

     The girl scout in me came to the surface as I was the latter type of women, I had no clue what I'd REALLY need, but just like most birth plans, what you prepare for is not usually what you end up with. Being the kind of person who loves lists and also loves over preparing for things, I read like every.single.packing list I could get my grubby paws on. Then I started my own list, and for the last few (six) months of my pregnancy I added, deleted, and reviewed my packing list. Then around Week 37 I started piling all the junk I was going to pack in the hallway which eventually made it into a duffle bag, which was never really opened until after the little peanut was born...so much for all the labor items I thought I'd need. HA!

      So without any further introduction, here are the Top 10 Lists of what I was glad I packed...and what I never even used.

Top 10 Things I used in my Hospital bag

1.) Cell Phone Charger- this should be like a *duh* item in this day an age but I was so glad I had an extra one already thrown in my bag so I didn't have to remember to grab the one by my bed as we rushed out the door, this was the ONLY item we took out of my bag before the baby came, and since I labored all through the night I was glad I had it so my phone didn't die and I could keep people updated on my progress.

2.) Make-up Wipes- ok this was the second thing I got out of my bag after my baby was born and I had some time to finally center myself. With day old make-up and sweat crusting my face and visitors wanting to come and take pictures, I knew this was the closest thing to a spa that I was going to get for a while. I really like these small travel packs from Target, but really whatever works for you.

3.) Snacks- I had really packed these because I intended to be a rebel who would "eat if my body wanted to eat" during labor...but really it didn't. Food never once crossed my mind, especially when my taco dinner was making its second appearance (TMI?) sorry. But after baby girl was out and they gave me the green light to order breakfast, something in my brain turned on and was like "oh yeah, we're hungry and we can't wait until the cafeteria food comes". So the Luna bar, goldfish crackers and fruit snacks were amazing! They were also good later in the evening as I was starving and was up most of the night with baby.

4.) Hair Stuff- Whatever this means to you, pack it. I had a butterfly clip, bobby pins, hair binders, and a brush. I have some crazy wavy weird hair so I was glad to have the options of taming my showerless hair for photos/visitors

5.) Dry Shampoo- Speaking of dirty hair, this stuff is AMAZING. I love love love it, I use it on my roots if they are looking a little greasy, and even on my forehead and nose in the summer if my face is seeming a little shiny. It's great.

6.) Robe- My husband got me this robe from amazon for my birthday I specifically asked for this one because I knew it would be perfect for at the hospital with my summer baby. It's cotton jersey material so its light, it has nice big pockets, and the tie is attached to the robe so it doesn't get lost...just be careful when going to the bathroom...that's all I'm gonna say.

7.) Socks- I also brought flip flops and slippers and didn't use either of them until I left the building. But I was glad I had my little sports socks to wear, kept my feet a bit warm and clean from the hospital floor, and also let me know how swollen my ankles still were. YAY!

8.) Deodorant- I wasn't at the hospital long enough, nor did I really want to use their shower, so having deodorant helped me feel a little less stanky. 

9.) Toothbrush and Paste- Again, one more nice thing that helps you feel like a human again. I' not sure why, but it did. Maybe after going 24 hours without having brushed my teeth, having tossed my cookies (well tacos really) and then just generally being human, brushing my teeth after labor was a wonderful experience.

10.) A Good Going Home Outfit- Every Hospital packing list is like "don't expect to be back in your pre-pregnancy jeans when leaving the hospital"...I don't know who would think that but they deserve to have their skinny jeans in their bag as their going home outfit just to realize duh...you just carried a human for 9 months your belly is going to take some time to deflate. But I can't stress the importance of having something really really comfortable, especially up top for your much larger tatas. My nursing tank I brought to wear home was a *little* bit tighter than I normally wear because my girls were just so much larger than I'd expected, so please, plan ahead for this and for the weather, be comfortable!

And of course 

The Top 10 Things I DID NOT NEED in my Hospital Bag

1.) Shower stuff- I was not there long enough really to shower, plus with visitors, being tired and generally trying to care for a newborn, I didn't have much time. I was glad to get home after 24 hours and take a shower in my own bathroom. Wish I hadn't bought that special travel kit...

2.) Tablet/Laptop/Whatever technology you wont use- I didn't touch this, I used my phone, and really phones do everything you need to do while in the hospital.

3.) Clothes- Besides my going home outfit, I didn't need any clothes. I wore the hospital gown, which was actually really cute because honestly I was taking it on and off for nursing all the time, getting checks from nurses every however many minutes, and it was comfortable. Plus, less laundry!

4.) Underwear- You wont need it or want it. Everything everyone says about mesh panties is true, they are amazing, they hold it all in, they aren't yours so you don't have to do anything with them later, they are great. 

5.) Nursing bra- Ha! I haven't even put a real bra on since my baby was born, 4 months ago! I love soft comfy sports style nursing/sleep bras now, but I certainly did not need anything while at the hospital, they just chilled out under my hospital gown..real classy like

6.) Camera- Nope never did I even remember to take this out. My phone took all of the pics while I was there, which by the way phones take such great pictures these days! 

7.) Lanolin and breast pads- My milk wasn't even really in until I got home so nothing leaked, and I wasn't sore or hurting yet so I didn't need any cream or anything. 

8.) Tucks Pads- Ok these and Dermoplast were things I didn't know anything about but everyone raved about them so I bought both and didn't use either. Sure I was a little sore after delivery, but I never felt I needed anything besides the ice packs from the hospital. Maybe if you have a more difficult delivery you want these but I really didn't even know what to do with them if I *did* want to use them, so yeah

9.) Baby Stuff- The only baby items I needed or was glad to have were her going home outfit, a cute blanket for photos and her car seat. Everything else you need the hospital supplies. But if there is something else you want, go ahead and bring it, since baby stuff doesn't take up much room.

10.) Towels and Swimsuit top- Ok these never got used because I didn't get to have the birth I dreamed of, laid back in a warm jet tub while I peacefully hummed through contractions...with high blood pressure and induction I was pretty much chained to the bed, so no water frolicking for me :( 

What did you pack in your hospital bag that you were so glad you had? Was there anything you packed that you never used? 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Birth Plan

A List of things that went according to my birth plan:
    ΓΌ  Had a baby

             But in all seriousness, my friends, family, and blogs I obsessively read all offered the same advice: don't stress over your birth plan because nothing about birth goes according to plan. Did I listen?


             I spent hours writing my birth plan, reading other people's birth plans, going back and changing my mind about things on my birth plan...for months. Then the time came to head to the hospital, and in my bag (a bag which had been packed for weeks according to my carefully planned hospital bag checklist) was my birth plan. A piece of paper I poured hours of worry and hope into..... and it never left my duffle bag. 

            Yes the doctors and nurses did ask me about a lot of the things on the list and what our preferences were, such as the eye goop (erythromycin or tetracycline- both antibiotics) or Vitamin K shot, but as far as plans go, it was the least successfully followed plan I ever had. But I still ended up at the same finish line, with a healthy beautiful baby girl in my arms. So really there's nothing to complain about I am beyond lucky.

           When writing my birth plan I scoured the web for ideas, information, other people's plans, and there was a LOT of material out there, I'm not here to give you the low down on when you should cord clamp or if placental encapsulation is right for you. I'm here to tell you that you should make the right choices for you and your family, and then understand that when people tell you things won't go according to plan, BELIEVE THEM. That doesn't mean you shouldn't write a birth plan, not at all. I am really glad I did, it gave me time to do so much research into all aspects of birth and postpartum recovery, and to think about how I would want things to play out if I had a choice. It really helped me imagine the experience and make the unknown not seem so scary. 

           So, what was on my birth plan you ask? What? You didn't ask? Well I will tell you anyways. 
      The first thing I did was call it "Birth Preferences"- which helped me accept that this wasn't the type of plan that you can follow from start to finish, it was a list of things that I would "prefer" if the option is available to me- and in some cases it was and some it wasn't.
            I took the liberty of highlighting in yellow the things that DID go according to my plan...as you can see there isn't a lot of yellow in the labor section but in the other sections things were a little more according to our preferences.

      Here is a list of other sites/blogs that I found especially helpful when writing my birth plan, maybe they will help you.

      Did you write a birth plan? Did your birth end up going according to your plan? Are you in the process of writing your plan now?