Friday, July 3, 2015

Flying sucks

Flying sucks. That pretty much sums up my thoughts for today's blog post.

I've never been crazy about flying, even as a kid. Sure, it was fun to look out the tiny airplane window and see the cool stuff on the ground far below, but it always seemed scary and unnatural to me. Humans can't fly. But there we were, some thirty thousand feet up in the air, and I felt like at any moment we would plummet to the ground in a blaze of glory. I haven't lost that feeling at all. I'm not sure if it's "normal" or not to question one's mortality and/or certainty of impending doom before their family vacation, but that's how I spent part of my week during our recent trip to California.

7am at the airport in Washington, waiting for our flight.

Don't get me wrong: traveling is great. It's something we don't get to do often enough, what with my husband's busy work schedule, finances, and the fact that I have 3 kids. (What, you don't like packing and riding in a crammed space with a bunch of tiny, loud humans?!) We had a relatively easy flight with no plane switching or layovers, but the downside was that we flew into one of the biggest airports in the country- LAX. Oh, how I loathe thee, Los Angeles International Airport. My only hope was that I'd see a Kardashian, or maybe my celeb-crush, Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, anyone?) But alas, no celebrity sightings. Just a very, very crowded, chaotic airport, a very stressed out mama with 3 kids in tow, and a husband carrying far too many bags and car seats.

Hello, Los Angeles!

However, when it comes to me, there is no such thing as an easy flight. The first leg to L.A. was pretty uneventful, and we survived the take off, 2 1/2 hour flight, and landing like it was nothing. I remember thinking, "I got this." The trip home, though? Different story. On the way to LAX we were hit with some rain and saw lightening in the distance, to which my grandfather told my son "It's fine. Planes get hit by lightening all the time." Really? Thanks Pops. Unfortunately, we flew right into and over that storm, and I'm not ashamed to admit that it had me in tears.

That's right. We hit some very minor turbulence that lasted for what seemed like forever (I think it was maybe 20 minutes). It just went on and on and on, and no one else on the plane seemed alarmed. Yet there I was, crying. Yep. While my 2 oldest kids were smiling and having the time of their lives, looking out the window with glee, I was sitting across the aisle nursing Harper (who was exhausted and immediately passed out) quietly sobbing into a baby blanket. Each and every bump left me gasping and wiping away tears as I quietly prayed and clutched my husband's hand. Harper didn't flinch while she slept soundly (still attached to the boob, mind you). I really thought I was going to die.

Finally, we made it through the storm. I survived. The plane didn't lose power or careen into the ocean or a mountain like I feared. I know, I dramatic. I can't imagine actually running into really bad weather or having something catastrophic happen. I'm sure I'd just curl up into the fetal position and wait for death.

On the plus side, we did get to see the most gorgeous sunset I've ever from above the clouds. 

Vacation was fun (more on that later), but I'm so happy to have my feet back on the ground.

Now, who's going to help me track down some Xanax before I fly to Hawaii next year?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My thoughts on baby number four

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for First Response. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As a woman who's taken her fair share of pregnancy tests I can tell you that it's one of the most nerve racking moments a woman can ever experience. The peeing, the waiting...everything about it just screams "OMG!" It can seem like some of the longest moments of your life! I remember the last time I took a test and the double lines showed up. Clearly, the test was inaccurate. I couldn't actually be pregnant. I decided to take another, and then just one more to be sure. Finally, it hit me. I was pregnant. Kind of crazy how much life can change in one little trip to the bathroom.

I've been getting a lot of questions lately at the prospect of baby number four. I don't know if it's because of Harper's upcoming first birthday or if people just assume I'm a baby machine now (what's one more, really?) but it's been a very popular question. I think the immediate response people expect from me is "Oh, no! We're done!" But when I pause and reply with "I don't know, we'll see." it really throws people for a loop.

The truth is, I'm not sure if we're done. For the longest time, I was set on two children. But then we decided to see if three was "our number," and along came Harper (read that pregnancy announcement here). We have a 10 year age gap between our oldest and youngest child, and you know what? We love it. It's been an absolutely amazing experience for my older kids to have their baby sister around, and I know Harper feels smothered in love by her older siblings each and every day. Maybe we need one more baby in the house. It looks like there may be more pregnancy tests in my near future!

The next time around, at least I know who to trust when I need to spend a few life-changing moments in the bathroom peeing on a stick: First Response. Pregnancy tests have seriously changed a lot since I first started taking them. First Response features their Comfort Sure Design Features with a cutting-edge curved shape to perfectly fit a woman's hand, which is perfect because it sure is an awkward angle when you're trying to hit that little target. Speaking of which, they also now have a 50% wider tip with a longer handle, so you can avoid that dreadful "splash" factor. 

For the impatient ones (like me) fear not: First Response detects all relevant forms of hCG hormones and can detect pregnancy 6 days before your missed period with 99% accuracy from the day of the expected period. That means I could have saved myself the hassle (and money!) and quit after just 1 positive test. First Response gives results in less than 3 minutes and results are easy to read: two pink lines means you're pregnant. You can also take the test at any time- no more waiting for your morning pee. Just head to any major drugstore or grocery store, day or night, and find the pink First Response packaging. They retail for $8.99-$15.99.

So here's to the idea of baby number four! Who knows what the future holds, right? Maybe some day soon I'll be sharing more pictures of positive pee sticks. Do you have any funny or memorable stories involving pregnancy tests? 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Embracing life's #UnscriptedBeauty with AVEENO {contest + giveaway}

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for AVEENO. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I think we can all agree that life isn't always perfect, and that things don't always go according to the plan. As a mom, I've learned to embrace this and just go with it. When you walk into my house you aren't going to see Pinterest-worthy decor or perfectly dressed children, and you know what? That's real life, and I'm OK with it. Life isn't always picturesque perfection.

An AVEENO survey found most parents say that “unscripted” moments are more beautiful than those that are perfectly planned, and I couldn't agree more. Sure, I have tons of pictures of my children posing for the camera with their cheesy grins. In fact, when I flip through my phone's photo album I noticed that it's full of those types of pictures. They do make for some cute shots, because let's face it, I have great looking kids. But those candid shots- the ones they weren't prepared for, or didn't see me take, where they aren't posing are the ones that melt my heart and are truly the most beautiful. The real, raw moments are the ones that build a lifetime of memories.

This #UnscriptedBeauty moment happened a few weeks ago. It had been a crazy, long, hectic day (aren't they all?) and I was struggling to make dinner and entertain my 10 month old daughter, Harper. I was trying to make dinner and Harper was screaming at me from the living room, when she suddenly quieted down. Uh oh. For a mom, that spells trouble, and usually means she's doing something she shouldn't be doing. Preparing for the worst, I popped into the living room to see what was going on. What I found absolutely melted my heart: my 7 year old daughter, Lily, was crouched on the ground next to Harper and was talking softly to her. Harper's tears quickly turned to laughter as her big sister played with her and showed her "open" and "closed" with a little hippo toy. It was so sweet to stand there (hiding, of course, lest they see me and spoil the moment) and watch them play, sing, and clap together. I snapped a picture and quickly went back to finish dinner while the two girls happily played together for another 10 minutes. So beautiful, and totally unscripted. I didn't ask Lily to entertain Harper- she heard her baby sister crying and knew just the thing to cheer her up. Be still, my heart!

AVEENO is flipping-the-script by creating an #UnscriptedBeauty Movement. You can even join in with a contest they are hosting to encourage parents to embrace the natural beauty of life. AVEENO wants you to share some of your favorite unscripted and beautiful parenting moments! One winner will receive a photo shoot with acclaimed photographer, Danielle Guenther, as well as AVEENO products.

How to enter the #UnscriptedBeauty contest:
  • Capture photos of the authentic unscripted beauty in your life throughout June.
  • Post your photos on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using #AVEENO, #UnscriptedBeauty, and #Contest.
  • For Facebook posts, tag @Aveeno.
  • Keep celebrating life’s Unscripted Beauty!

On top of that awesome contest, one lucky Lulu & Sweet Pea reader will be randomly selected win a Daily Care Gift Set from AVEENO!

I've been checking out all of the lovely #UnscriptedBeauty posts on Instagram and Twitter, and I'd love to check out yours! I hope you'll join me by posting your own. Which unscripted moment is your favorite?


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