Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fun In The Sun

Posted by Andria at 10:15 PM 3 comments
Getting out and having fun has been so therapeutic for all of us and I'm so glad we've been able to get together with friends and family a lot lately. I wanted to share some photos of our first beach trip of 2011. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day! A perfect beach day if I do say so myself. We had SO much fun and as you can tell from the pictures, my pasty, white self needed some sun lol!

It was so cute watching my Jeff and Aizlynn build sandcastles. In the end, she ran off to play in the water and he was still there making a sand whale and then a sand shark. I think he's got an artistic streak in him ;) There was a great park area nearby where Aizlynn got to play as we "grown-ups" BBQ'd. It was an awesome day and I can't wait to go back.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Couponing Like the Pros

Posted by Andria at 1:36 PM 0 comments
As you all know, there's been a lot going on for me lately. Some good, some not so good and some I'm still keeping to myself ;) Wouldn't you like know lol. One thing that has helped keep me busy and focused on something productive is also something that I simply must share and It's my latest, greatest, most life altering little hobby lifestyle change, Couponing! Oh yeah, like the stuff you see on t.v. but never in a million years think you could ever do. That's me! Though I'm still in the infant stages of this endeavour, I'm well on my way and it's been amazing for many, many reasons.

I can't take the credit for doing it all on my own though. It all started with a family friend who really educated herself on the ins and outs. She then passed the knowledge forward to a family member who then passed it on to me and it has exploded into a hilarious "couponing team" amongst all of us! We call eachother almost daily to share which store has which sale that you can go ahead and combine "A" coupon with "B" coupon and then get rewards back and so on! Yes it's that crazy but so worth it. I've gotten the MOST unlikely products for pennies or even free! Not to mention, there are ways I've actually made money! And yes, there is absolutely a science and a method. Its not what many people think it is. It's not this "Oh look, I have a .50 cent coupon for a $7 product, guess I should use it".  It’s all about shopping with coupons while a product is on sale, many times combining more than one coupon and stocking up so you don’t have to buy something when it’s not cheap or free.

It's funny because I now have  what we jokingly call "trophy receipts". The kind that say you saved $50/$60/$70 and show your grand total as six bucks or something. My best one is where I paid $6.03 for $92.97 worth of detergent saving me $86.94!!! My aunt has receipts showing hundreds of dollars in savings. JEALOUS! I'm getting there though :)

Many people think that couponing is only for broke people but I'm here to say that that's not necessarily true. I'm not broke by any means and I'm enjoying the benefits just like anyone else. Couponing is one of the best ways to stay not broke! It's actually been a lot fun and rather addicting! In fact, I now have more play money and more money for saving than ever before. I've also hardly touched my tax return. Much of it is still in my account and it's April! That never happens here! EVER.

In my opinion, it's also for those who want to be smart with their money and keep a decent amount of it in your account. Imagine that! It has totally changed how I think about spending. I'm now cringe when people brag about spending a ton of money unnecessarily. It just seems so irresponsible to me! Unless you're well off and truly have money to blow, then in that case a big cheers to you lol. Talk to me about how much you were able to save and then I'm impressed! That's where my mindset is now.

As of now, we have enough laundry detergent to last more than a year (no joke), pasta to last almost a year, deodorant - about enough for a year, tons of canned goods, enough baby wipes to last atleast 8 months, and a much more. The kicker; I don't think I even spent $50 on everything I just mentioned! Other than all that, I've found many creative ways to save money such as utilizing stores reward programs. It's like someone giving you a gift card to shop in their store!  I'm telling you, LIFE ALTERING!

At first it can be really overwhelming, even a pain in the butt however, what you get out of it is worth it for sure. The key is educating yourself, connecting with others who are doing it too and staying committed. You will be checking DAILY for deals. That takes some getting used to. I'm doing all these things and even following great blogs that have helped me a lot.  I'll post an update to share my progress in a few months. I'm so glad I've adopted this new way of spending saving at this point of my life. Now that we're trying to expand our family, saving all I can for is definitely a priority!

Here are a few of my favorite sites to help get you started:

* The Krazy Coupon Lady (my top choice)

* We Use Coupons

* Simply CVS

* Grocery Coupon Network

There are so many more great sites out there! The smartest thing you can do is follow these sites on Facebook and twitter so can be get frequent updates. Have fun everyone and I'd love to hear about your experiences with couponing!


Friday, April 15, 2011

More Great Giveaways in Store!

Posted by Andria at 5:39 PM 0 comments
Hey everyone! Just want to give a quick thank you for your thoughts, prayers and sympathy through this rough week I've had. It really does mean so much. On a much lighter note, we've got a few more great giveaways coming! Here are some of the awesome sponsors you can expect to see featured on Lipstick & Lullabies in the coming week:


*Baboosh baby

*Tea Collection


They've all got great prizes in store and I can't wait to see who the lucky winners will be! Be sure to keep checking in so you don't miss out!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Never Thought This Would Happen to Me

Posted by Andria at 5:28 PM 9 comments

I don't have a clever or fancy way of introducing this post so here's the facts. I miscarried my baby. My precious baby whom was so anticipated and already so loved is gone. There's no other way to say it. It may sound cliché and naive but I NEVER thought this would happen to me. I suppose it might be safe to assume that every woman who miscarries a child says the same thing. It's always someone else but NEVER will it EVER be you. Yet, here I am. This is the story I never saw my self telling. This is the story of my miscarriage. It is long, graphic and detailed so there's your fair warning.

My Story

I'll start of by telling you what happened and then I'll share some hindsight details that are pretty crazy. On Thursday 4/7, It was like any other day except I was feeling what I thought were very mild cramps. So mild infact that I was able to ignore them. I just kept telling myself it was intestinal or something. "Surely it wasn't serious since I'm the freaking picture of health!" Well, about mid afternoon when I went to the bathroom, I saw brownish blood on the paper after wiping. The exact words I called out to my husband were "We have a problem." As a doula, I logically know that not all spotting is gloom and doom but, I think I instintually I knew that something was off. What made me decide to go to the hospital that day wasn't necessarily the slight spotting but the cramps with the spotting raised a red flad for me. One or the other can be fine but not both. Not in my mind atleast.

We got to the hospital, did the boring routine paper work and I got taken to the room for an ultrasound. My heart was pounding out of my chest. Jeff just held my hand tight and we braced ourselves. "Well, there's definitely a baby" they said. I was extremely relieved and let out a "Thank you Jesus" but, quickly my relief was taken away when the O.B said that the baby was measuring 3.3 mm's, the size of a 6 week fetus. I was 8 weeks so to me, that was a big discrepancy. He brushed it off and said it could be fine and that I might have ovulated later then I thought. I looked at him and said "No, I'm very certain of my dates." There also wasn't a detectable heartbeat which again was brushed off because the baby was too "tiny to see one" anyway. I could see that he was starting to B.S me with his "It's too early to panic." speech and how I should be focused on that fact that atleast it wasn't ectopic. I left the hospital with a very unsettling feeling in my gut. I felt that the O.B knew something I didn't and that he was trying to pacify me.

My night didn't become any better. I became less able to ignore my cramping. I kept thinking, this isn't possible. It just isn't possible. My husband kept trying to comfort and encourage me but, I could still detect the worry in his face. That night as I slept with what had become a dull ache in my lower abdomen and back, I had horrible nightmares that pieces of my baby were coming out of me. Everytime I'd wake up and go back to sleep, my dream would continue. I was tortured even in my sleep.

The next morning as I was coming to an awake state, the kind where you lay there with your eyes still closed but you're not actually asleep, I was praying that the pain I was feeling was still from my nightmares and that once I was fully awake it would be gone. It wasn't. The cramping was there and it was worse than the day before. I felt my heart sink and my mind was racing. I was afraid to get up to use the bathroom for fear of what I might see. When I finally did, there of course was the spotting except this time it seemed not so brown but, a bit more on the red side as if it were fresher blood. I tried telling myself that I was imagining it.

And Then It Happened

As the afternoon wore on the cramping became more intense and then I felt it. That first gush. Complete terror set in and I could hardly breath as I made my way to the bathroom. I was breathlessly and rapidly whispering "no, no, no, no, no, no" as the tears began to well up in my eyes. There it was, bright red blood. I instantly fell to my knees. It was like my body turned to mush and I had no strength. I felt a panic attack coming on as my entire body began to shake. My husband found me naked from the waist down, shaking, crying and crawling on my hands and knees out of the bathroom while somehow trying to hold toilet paper between my legs at the same time. The only words I could finally clearly utter out of my mouth were "We're losing our baby." "Oh my God", "Oh my God." Everytime I would manage to make my way back to the toilet, the instant I sat, I would hear the gut-wrenching sound of blood trickling into the water. I would just sob. At one point I looked up at Jeff and told him "I can't do this." He would just hug me and try to comfort me but, I knew he was dying inside.

The bleeding became so bad that we started to worry. I had to pretend everything was alright while I was infront of my daughter as we got ready to drop her off at her grandmothers house. We told her that Mommy wasn't feeling too well so we were just going to see the doctor to make sure eveything was alright. Before we left she came upstairs with a picture she had drawn to make me feel better. She said "It's me, you and my little sister!" I wanted to burst into tears right then and there but I kept up my front, smiled through the pain and said it was beautiful.

At the hospital the bleeding as well as the pain came on full force. They gave me a room right away and my nurse stuck towels under me to catch all the blood and clots. I was feeling almost as if I were in labor, vocalizing and breathing through my intense pain. My body began violently trembling as they were scooping into a container whatever was sitting in my vaginal canal. I couldn't control the shaking whatsoever, it was so bad. It wasn't nerves at that point, just my body's reaction to the trauma it was going through. Jeff looked so torn up knowing he could do nothing to take it all away. He just kept stroking my brow and telling me it's gonna be okay. I could see he was holding back tears.

They brought in the ultrasound machine and I knew the news we were about to receive was going to be bad. I looked up at the monitor and didn't need the technician to say a word. I could already see that my uterus was empty. I said "It's not there." and the tech. just stared at me sadly and said "No, it's not-I'm so sorry." The room became so still with only the sound of Jeff and I crying together. I felt as if I were broken into a million pieces and life just felt surreal at that point. Then my heart just ached at the thought of having to tell my little girl.

Having To Break My Daughters Heart

You hear a lot about how miscarriage impacts a woman or a couple but, only when you're in it does it hit you how this affects the children you already have. After we all were home my little girl asked me "So, how did it go Mommy?" I took her hands and said I had some sad news. I told her that the baby was gone and she burst into tears. She was inconsolable for almost an hour, switching back and forth between letting me hold her and then my husband. Just when I thought my heart couldn't possibly break anymore, seeing my innocent little girl suffer like that was unbearable. That night we knew she had a strong need to be near us so we set up a mattress on the floor beside our bed and let her sleep in our room. The next morning I heard her get out of bed so I quickly opened my eyes. I watched her walk over to the picture she drew, take it back to bed with her and she quietly cried as she held it. As the days have gone by she thankfully is doing much better but, I know this is something she'll remember forever. I hope I never have to give her news like that again.

Finding Hope 

The first few days, I was in a fog of sadness. I would consciously make sure that my hand was never over my belly at any point because it would remind me that I was "empty". I immediately began unsubscribing to weekly pregnancy emails and would just find myself starring at nothing sometimes. I quickly realized how important it was for me to snap out of it live for the child I already have. I refused to let myself be consumed. I had to do it for her and for myself.

Will we be trying again? Yes. Am I doing it to fill a void or "forget" about what happened? No. I will never forget. How can I? Every November I will think about how old my child would've been. I will forever be changed by this experience but I'm ready to move forward. Moving forward is definitely not the same as forgetting. Knowing that I can try again does brings me hope. My baby is coming. It just wasn't meant to be in November and I'm slowly becoming used to that idea.

Counting My Blessings

My family and friends were amazing through this whole process and it really made me think about how blessed I truly am. I have always been blessed and fortunate to be very close to my family. Though they can make me crazy sometimes, whenever anything big has happened in my life good or otherwise, they've always been there to surround me with love and in this situation, they did just that and more. I have wonderful friends old and new that have also been incredible through all this. I have a healthy, gorgeous little girl and a husband who is the best friend I've ever had. The amount of love and support I've received from the people in my life has opened my eyes in a way that has never happened before. How amazing it is that something like this had to happen for me to really see. I am blessed, inspite of this, I am blessed. I'm blessed in all the ways that will ever matter in life. I didn't do any "social climbing" to get it, I didn't screw others over to have it, you can't buy it with any amount of money, it is not a fantasy world you can create. It is a gift from God.  I am blessed inspite of this. Though this was extremely difficult to go through, it doesn't take away from the fact that I still have so much to be thankful for.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ecover and Step2 Giveaway Winners!

Posted by Andria at 9:06 PM 1 comments
The winner of the Fun-Fold Jr. Slide from Step2 as chosen by is Francine A.K.A @Princessmom2!

The winner of the Bathroom Cleaner from Ecover is Shannon (@shannonforpeace)!

A Huge congrats to the winners! I'm sure you're going to love your prizes and I want to say a big thank you to Step2 and Ecover! Remember, you have 24 hours to respond or another winner will have to be chosen ;)


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"So What's a Doula Anyway"?

Posted by Andria at 10:48 PM 1 comments

When I first became a Doula over five years ago it seems like almost every time I said "I'm a Doula" the conversation would turn into this: "A what?" "Medulla?" "No a Doula." "What's a Doula?" Oh and don't forget to imagine the most perplexed facial expression to accompany the questions. And YES more than one person has said "Medulla?" "Isn't that a part of your brain?" Even as I type this, my computer doesn't recognize "Doula" as a real word lol! It keeps it underlined as if it were a misspelling! Thankfully in the past couple years I'm finally hearing more of the "Oh that's great!" comments but, let's face it, there are still so many out there who have no clue as to what a Doula is and the amazing service they provide to women.

So, What's a Doula Anyway? Where do I begin?! Doula is a Greek word meaning “woman’s servant" or "a woman who serves". In many ways a Doula does serve but, in today's terms it means a trained professional who provides support to a woman who are pregnant, in labor, and even through the early post partum phase. A Doula provides continuous emotional, physical and informational support to the mother before, during and after birth. We also help the mother prepare her birth plan and see to it that her wishes are met as much as possible.

Doulas do NOT replace your partner! They make it their responsibility to know the mother and the partner, even the big brothers/big sisters to-be. That way a Doula can meet the unique needs of the family and help Facilitate communication between the laboring mom and her partner. In my own personal experience, I have worked along side many dads as if we were a team. When my hands would get sore from rubbing moms back, dad would take over while I would then hold her hand and help coach her through a contraction. Then we might trade again and so on. I've also been in situations where dad's looking very nervous and uptight so I would gently communicate in detail everything that's going on to help ease his worry and then tell him what he can do to help and stay involved.

The benefits of hiring a Doula for your birth are: Laboring mothers with a Doula present have lower incidence of abuse, Reduction in the cesarean rate, shorter labor, reduction in epidural requests, reduction in oxytocin use, reduction in forceps delivery, mothers tend to have less postpartum depression, shorter labors, it reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience, greater success with breastfeeding, moms feel more confident with their baby and the list goes on!

Not convinced? Here's what some moms who have had a Doula at their birth have to say:

"Having a doula at my birth was the best decision I could have made. It put my husband at ease, knowing that he would be better able to assist and comfort me, with support. Even being a doula myself, it helped to use the knowledge of someone with different experience. It was great to have someone encourage me through the difficult times. At my previous births, sometimes my husband froze up and had a hard time encouraging, wrapped up in the difficulty of seeing me in discomfort, and being excited and nervous himself as well, it helped to have another person there, not entirely emotionally involved, and not there to do anything but to be my support, as fantastic as my midwives were, they still had there medical responsibilities that they needed to tend to. Next baby, booking the doula will be the first thing I’ll do!"
- Beth MacKenzie

"I loved having a doula. She was an advocate for me and my choices. She was great as a 2nd person to my very supportive husband."
- @jayellemo

"The labour of my first-born went very well--much better than I thought it would, considering I was being "forced" to give birth at the hospital. I desperately wanted a home birth, but found out very early in the game that getting a midwife in the province of Quebec was going to be next to impossible. So I hired a doula. Sarah was there for us throughout the pregnancy. I phoned her often (especially in the last 2 weeks as I carried my baby to 42 weeks.) Sarah stayed by my side throughout the 15-hour labour, ensuring that every decision about the labour was my own. I delivered a 7lb 6oz baby girl and recovered very quickly. Our doula still comes around to visit. After experiencing the labour with her, my partner and I consider her a dear friend."
- Jenn Hardy

"Our doula was amazing and brought such a calming presence to our delivery.  She was never pushy, always supportive, and kept both my husband and I very much grounded and focused during our birth.  She reminded me constantly how strong I was and gave me the confidence to trust my body to birth.  Because of her, we had the beautiful unmedicated VBAC we had been hoping for, and I am forever grateful to her for playing such a huge role in our lives on a day that we will never forget.  When I told her after delivery, "I couldn't have done it without you," she said, "Yes, you could have.  You're so strong."  So, I chose instead to say, "I wouldn't want to do that without you."
- Leslie Milner

I didn't end up needing my doula too do much during my birth because I really got into my own rhythm and zoned everyone out. Was she worth it? Absolutely! She offered me months of prenatal support and helped me research and plan the kind of birth I wanted. I knew that I had a strong support system, and I knew that my chances of having a c-section were automatically lowered just by having a doula on hand. That peace of mind was worth every penny! After Lyla was born, our doula stuck around to help us establish breastfeeding and made herself available to answer postpartum questions for as long as we needed her. She took fabulous photos for us, also! I'll always remember her as a wonderful part of our birth experience and I absolutely recommended doulas to all of my pregnant friends!"
- Alyssa

I'll leave you all with this to think about; When I got engaged, I immediately went online, did tons of research, read tons of books, and spent thousands on hiring a wedding planner. Why did I hire a wedding planner? Because she was a professional who would help me sort out the details, be my support through the process and what was most important to me was that I wanted to make sure that one of the most important days of my life went perfectly. In my eyes it was worth every penny. Well guess what? The birth of my baby was ALSO one of the most important days of my life so I had a Doula. I think it's time we as women start placing just as much importance on having a baby as we do planning a wedding if not more! What a precious and momentous event it is. Your Doula will understand that your birth is an experience that you'll remember for the rest of your life and she'll be there to lovingly nurture and guide you every step of the way. Give yourself and your baby the gift of having a Doula present at your birth.


Friday, April 1, 2011

"Pregnancy week 7 update"

Posted by Andria at 10:35 AM 0 comments
I'm seven weeks along! It really feels like the weeks are just flying by. I guess that's what happens when your busy keeping house, homeschooling, driving your child to their activities, church, having friends dropping by and also having friends steal you away from home which was fun. I had a (mostly) great week and topped it off with my first maternity top purchases! They're so cute! I know I don't need them yet but a girl's gotta be prepared right?

This week my little one is developing hands and feet and has already doubled in size! Tiny little eyelids are forming as well as the tip of the nose. Both hemispheres of the baby's brain are growing and an appendix and a pancreas are now developed. It is just incredible to know that each week so many wonderful, new changes are taking place. I enjoyed my first pregnancy but now that I'm older and I've had almost seven years of being a mother, I can appreciate so much more the miracle that's at hand. I can even see how much more my husband is taking in the experience too. He sometimes just lays next to me at night quietly with his hand on my belly and we both just take it all in without saying a word. Nothing nor anyone could steal our joy...

Size of baby? A half an inch already! About the size of a blueberry

Symptoms? Just zapped of all my energy. Although I must say that I'm shocked that I'm not experiencing morning sickness. I was slapped hard with it at seven weeks the 1st time. Praying I continue on without it!

Cravings? I've wanted Chinese food SO bad this week and those sugary doughnut holes you find at those Chinese buffets but I haven't acted on either craving so I was a good girl ;)

Precious moments this week? Hanging out with a dear friend. We had a blast and I just thank God for her...

Any weight gain? Nope, nope!

Baby Bump? Still nothing. Those abs are hanging on for dear life lol!

Movement? Much too early.

Still adjusting to... To the no coffee thing. Im dying!

Changes in the home? Nothing new this week

I Can't wait until... I get some of my energy back. Its becoming harder to keep up with things when you want to nap all day.