Weekly Bump Pictures With Cricut

I loved documenting my pregnancy with Parker through weekly photos. It was a great way to watch my progress and now that I am on round #2, it’s great to look back to see what is different, what is the same, and what I should expect to see coming up!
I kept hearing that I wouldn’t have time to do this again with a toddler around but I have made it a priority and so far so good. I know I won’t get every week but if I get the majority that will be enough for a good timeline. You can check out my weekly updates, 12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  | 
This time I decided to share which Cricut cartridges I used 
13 Weeks – Library Fonts & 50 States  |  14 Weeks – Library Fonts and custom made image

16 Weeks – Library Fonts  |  17 Weeks – Storybook Font

  
18 Weeks – Library Fonts & A Child’s Year  |  20 Weeks – Library Fonts & Simply Charmed

My Crafting Attic

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Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower in DC #biggestbabyshower

This post is not sponsored by Big City Moms or The Biggest Baby Shower. I had so much fun at the event I wanted to share my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.

A month or so ago I stumbled on an advertisement for the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower event in New York. Unfamiliar with Big City Moms, I decided to check them out and was thrilled to learn that they would be hosting an event near us in May!

Founders of Big City Moms & Sisters – Leslie & Risa
Sisters Leslie and Risa started Big City Moms about 10 years ago and has now become one of the most trusted destinations for moms-to-be and families to connect through various events around the country. Originally created to give working moms a chance to meet at weekly events, Big City Moms now has over 300,000 members and host the best Biggest Baby Shower events around! 

Rob graciously agreed on a much needed date night since his return from deployment to attend the event. Although it may not have looked like the average date night, it was the one we have grown to know and love. I spent more time preparing myself for Parker to stay with a babysitter, writing out detailed instructions, putting together his dinner, and getting his room ready for bed. I did find a few minutes to style my hair and and put a little mascara on which is unheard of now-a-days! Instead of the fancy sit down dinner we grabbed something at the closest drive-through and ate in the parking lot while watching a few episodes of Kids React on YouTube. While none of that may seem glamorous, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

We didn’t get any photos together at the event 🙁 but I snapped this selfie while Rob was picking up the sitter.

We decided on the Super Pass Ticket which entitled us to early entry, a jam packed gift bag, BINGO card and a Beco Baby carrier. Getting into the event early was a nice opportunity to visit some vendors before the place was hopping with adorable baby bellies. As you entered you received a specific color wristband based on your ticket. On your way out that night you were able to pick up your gift bag and BINGO prize.

I was totally in my element and LOVED stopping by the different vendors and learning about their company and latest products. Here is a recap of some of the tables we were able to visit.

Joovy
As soon as I walked in I noticed a line of eye-catching strollers that I am all too familiar with, Joovy! I knew Pam would be there and was so excited to meet her in person after working with her for almost a year now. Pam had a variety of strollers for new and expecting parents to try out in addition to some of their other fantastic products. At the end of the night, several lucky BINGO winners walked away with these products.

4moms
It was great to see 4moms there showing off some of their products including a favorite in our home, the mamaRoo! I was also intrigued by their spout cover that indicated the temperature of the water coming right out of the faucet.

babyganics
I pretty much started acting like a giddy school girl when I arrived at the babyganics table. We have used almost all of their products in our home and on Parker since he was born. It was such a pleasure to be able to talk with them and share how amazing their products are! Don’t you just love their new marketing design? It’s so fitting for their products!

bitybean
Rob and I really enjoyed talking with the creator behind bitybean, Doug. Founded in 2012, bitybean is a Vermont based company dedicated to helping families get out and explore the world. After an unsuccessful search for a compact baby carrier currently in the market, Doug decided to develop his own. My favorite part about bitybean is their partnership with The Carrying On Project which helps get baby carriers to military families to help with bonding between deployments.

oogiebear
Rob got very excited when he saw the oogiebear table. Oogiebear is a new product designed to safely remove sticky and dry mucus from babies nose. Oogiebear is so new, this was actually their very first event! You wouldn’t know it by their calm and collected presentation though. Rob hates having to get boogies out of Parker’s nose, especially with his large fingers so we definitely purchased one at the event. Stay tuned for a full review and giveaway of one of these later this month!

BambiniWare
The bright, bold and stylish patterns from the BambiniWare table certainly caught my eye! BambiniWare is another local company who made their grand debut in January 2013. After realizing the most fulling job she could ever have was mommy to her daughter, Riche knew she had to come up with a cute solution for all of the smells and stains that came along with the job. BambiniWare products are mother tested and made in the USA.

Imagine Baby
Founder of Imagine Baby, Lauren Lang, wanted the freedom of going out to run errands or have lunch with friends without the worry of whether her babies were safe. The Shade and The Shell offer safe solutions for parents instead of just throwing a blanket over the carrier. My favorite features of both are the UPF 50+ protection and that they can fit most infant car seats making them universal.

After making the rounds of the expo hall and visiting as many vendors as my swollen feet would allow, we decided to sit in on the Breastfeeding seminar. The session was hosted by Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, authors of Sh*tty Mom and Today Show Producers with guest speaker Gina Ciagne. Iv’e never fully shared my breastfeeding story here at Cherry Blossom Love but it was a difficult and rather short one. I will say that I learned more in her 30 minute presentation than I did in a breast-feeding class we attended. I think a lot of that has to do with this being our second time and knowing a little more what to expect.

My only regret was that I was so busy I didn’t even stop to enjoy the food! Rob managed to get a few snacks in but when I looked over the photo gallery from the event, I was a little bummed I didn’t make the time! It was like our wedding all over again, lol.

  

It’s almost impossible to pick my favorite part of the evening but I will say walking away with a few bags of swap and some other amazing gifts was a an exciting feeling. That evening I sat in bed and went through everything like it was Christmas morning. Those who purchase a standard, super or ultimate ticket get to go home with a swag bag full of goodies.

Each bag was jammed pack with diapers, disposable changing pads, accessories, bottles, samples, coupons, and even some snacks. Some of my favorites in the bag were the Munchkin Burp Cloth, Daddy & Company Disposable Changing Pads, and the OXO Feeding Spoons. It’s a great swag bag for any new or expecting parents!

For those that purchased the Ultimate or Super passes, you also got to go home with a Beco Soleil Baby carrier and additional prizes for completing the BINGO game which required you to stop by at least 25 vendors and attend one of their workshops. We received the Safety 1st Modular Bath Center, a Munchkin Wipe Warmer and Safety 1st Child Proofing kit. Some of the bigger ticket BINGO winners walked away with strollers, car seats, clothing, or gift cards.

I am so glad Rob and I were able to attend such a great event that brought some amazing companies leading the industry together to celebrate new life and all that comes with it!

Be sure to check out some of the other events hosted by Big City Moms and definitely plan to attend a Biggest Baby Shower event if possible!

Week, Month, Trimester Chart

Now that we have officially announced our pregnancy, I am already getting the, “how far along are you?” question.

I find that with most pregnant women, we go based solely on week except when we graduate to the next trimester. We know that you usually hear a heartbeat around 6ish weeks, go for the NT scan at 12ish weeks, find out the gender during the anatomy scan at 20ish weeks, make it to V day at 24ish weeks and weekly appointments start around 36 weeks.

It seems everyone else wants to know what month we are in and I usually have to stop and think about it for a few seconds and will often get myself mixed up. This time I decided it would be fun to make up a little chart to help me remember as the pregnancy brain kicks in, nope it’s not a myth.

The Clueless Chick: Review & Giveaway

For me, preparing for a trip, party or life event starts with research and checklists. It makes the experience my enjoyable and smooth sailing. Sometimes I will search on Pinterest and Google for tips and sample checklists to get me started. The only thing better than a checklist is a book of checklists!

Jennifer Durbin, author of Tips for The Clueless Chick, has done just that. Although she calls her books, “life’s contemporary CliffNotes for the modern woman!”, even as a practiced checklist maker I found them very thorough. I was first introduced to her work while attending The Baby Ladies Baby Shower in Chicago this past July. Jennifer was gracious enough to put one of her books in our goodie bag! I was so excited when I received an opportunity to review all of her books and offer an awesome giveaway to my readers.

Pregnancy is an exciting and stressful, sometimes overwhelming experience. There are so many books available that is could make your head spin. What I love about Jennifer’s book is that she breaks everything
up by trimester giving you only the information you need at that time.

The Tear it Out and Take It with You! section is great for on the go. Some of the checklists include questions for your prospective doctor, registry must-haves, things to take to the hospital and getting ready for recovery.

Being prepared while traveling with a little one is very important. We have taken trips with P over the last 17 months but it has usually been to family or friends houses. When Rob gets home from deployment, we will going to Disney and I am so excited to have this guide to help me make my checklists. 
Jennifer walks you through what you will need based on your destination and length of your trip. I know eating out and on the go was the hardest to figure out in the beginning. Just when I thought I had it down, he reached another milestone and we had to start all over again 🙂 She also goes through tips on traveling without your baby, travel safety and traveling outside of the country. 

Jennifer’s tips for party planning are fantastic. I love hosting guests but always find myself stressed out and over thinking too many aspects. She breaks the process down to include party planning, co-hosting, etiquette, logistics, budget and even steps on going green. At the end she offers sample party lists for a variety of parties.

One of my favorite tips is to always take pictures of all your hard work before your guests arrive. It’s a great way to remember what you did and where all of your time went during the previous weeks and months.

Overall, I love how Jennifer has found a way to provide a ton of helpful information in compact books that are easy to understand. These books make great gifts for first time or even new mom. One of my favorite perks are the tip cards she has in each book.

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You can purchase these books for $9.99 each or buy all three for $24.99 in her shop or on Amazon. Jennifer also sells a few other items including a Diaper Cake Kit and Pregnancy Notes. You can check them out here


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5 Things To Do After Your BFP

Someone very close to me just announced they had a bun in the over and I couldn’t be more excited! It got me thinking back to when I was in my first trimester. I truly valued all of the tips, articles and personal experiences I got. Out of everything I learned and did, these are probably the 5 most important things and what will be on the top of my list next time.

Obviously the first step is calling your OB to set up for your appointment. While on the phone, ask them about prenatal vitamins if you are not already taking them.

There are so many books out there it is easy to get a little overwhelmed. I ended up getting about 12 the last time I counted. While they were all great, these were the ones I found most helpful and kept for future pregnancies.

Baby Bargains is an excellent resource for all of your purchasing needs. They are not sponsored by any company so they are free to provide honest opinions. This is great to read before creating your registry. 
The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy And Birth breaks down each week of your pregnancy and gives a mixture of facts and personal experiences by medical professionals during their own pregnancies. This was my favorite part of each week! 
The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy provides hysterical yet completly accurate stories of life during pregnancy. It covers the good, bad and ugly. I read most of this while commuting into the city for work. I know other passengers probably thought I was nuts as I constantly burst out into laughter. 
 The Baby Book This is great to have on hand for questions before and after baby and covers everything baby.

Consignment sales are absolutely amazing places to pick up maternity cloths, toys, baby accessories, clothing, children’s books and nursery decor. There are consignment stores, consignment organizations that rent out space and host sales during the year and even consignment stores online! You can find new, like new and items in great condition. I would say that 95% of Parker’s toys and clothes are from consignment sales.

My favorite find so far was a Ju-Ju-Be PackaBe Backpack in Cinnamon Champagne, which retails for $140, in like new condition for $30. Although these are some pretty awesome finds as well…

– Pottery Barn drawing desk for $5
– Ball pit for $10
– Go Pod that retails for $50, for $40
– 3 Munchkin dishwasher baskets that retail for $6/each for $1/total
– London Fog snow suit that retails for $50 brand new (with tags) for $16
Kelty K.I.D.S Transit Carrier 2.5 in fantastic condition for $23

I am working on a post about consignment sale shopping that will include some tips, strategies and what you should be on the look out for.

I can’t express how grateful I am for a specific group of women I have come to know since getting my BFP. I originally found them through The Bump but we migrated to Facebook for a little more privacy. We went through our entire pregnancies depending on one another for comfort, answers to our questions and support. It’s easy for people to get tired of you talking about your pregnancy and so what better situation is there then to get together with a bunch of other pregnant women?!?! We do talk about things other than our pregnancies and kids though. I’ve also gotten to meet quite a few of them in person which is a blast. You can read a little more about finding an online group here at one of my Tipful Thursday posts during my pregnancy.

I think it is also important to find a local moms group. I started one for our area on Meet Up. We first met at Panera about 7 months ago. Since then we have started weekly play dates where we discuss sign language, behavior, do crafts, visit parks and zoos. We have also started a baby share system where we can help one another out by watching LO during the day to run errands or at night for a date with the hubs. We are leaving LO with someone we trust and we don’t have to worry about breaking the bank for a date night.

I knew it was important to continue getting exercise throughout my pregnancy but I didn’t realize how important it was until after my pregnancy. These were the two workout DVDs I purchased and I wish I had utilized them more. Here are a few articles that really explain all of the benefits of SAFE exercise during pregnancy.

Physical Activity – March Of Dimes
Seven Great Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise – Baby Center
33 Reasons To Exercise Now – Fit Pregnancy
Top 10 Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise – What To Expect

It is VERY important to talk with your OB about the appropriate type and amount of exercise.

    
Click here to see all my bump pictures

This may be the most important piece of advice I share. I did not get my first prenatal massage until I was at 18 weeks and let me tell you, I had never felt anything so amazing. I know they can be pricey but your body endures so much change and strain during those 9 months, you have to take care of it inside and out. I found that Massage Envy was a great place to go. I signed up for a membership and for $60 a month I got an hour of quiet, peaceful bliss. At least try it once, you can thank me later 😉

These certainly aren’t the only things you should do after you find out you are pregnant but these were the things that I think were the most important looking back! What did you do after you got your BFP?