July 31, 2015

Look at Them Legs

I just tried the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs in Light and I loved the results! It only took minutes to apply and the results were instant. 

The Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs - Leg Makeup was so easy to add to my very pale legs that I was able to do it while watching my little guy play outside! 

It has the consistency of a foundation but it's meant to be used specifically for legs and feet. Like most self tanners you need to apply it sparingly to your knees and ankles and you have to allow it to set before putting on your clothes. It also leaves a colored residue on your hands but it's really easy to wash off with a little soap and water. 

Before (left) and after (right). I'm obviously very fair but I thought the leg makeup did a great job smoothing out my skin tone and giving me a natural looking color.

P.S. Please don't mind my swollen ankles and legs I'm 38+ weeks pregnant so my whole body is swollen. 

Do you use self tanner or leg makeup? If so what's your favorite?

I received this product free from Influenster for testing purposes - all opinions are 100% my own. ‪#‎AirbrushPerfectLegs‬

Be Blessed,
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July 28, 2015

Highs and Lows and a Hospital Stay

Another sleepless night means more time to jot down all the craziness that keeps running through my mind. It's hard to believe that we are literally days away from meeting our baby boy. If I don't have this baby naturally we are being induced on August 5th - a week from tomorrow!

As labor approaches I seem to be so up and down emotionally. My hormones are out of control, I'm so excited to meet our little boy and I'm overly anxious about the delivery process.

Let me start by saying that I've been really nervous about going into labor with baby #2. If I learned anything the first time around it was that the circumstances of pregnancy - labor and delivery especially - are almost completely outside of my control. Things happen just as God plans them whether my birth plan aligns with the plan or not, is really up to him. Which is why my birth plan is pretty simple:
  • Have a healthy baby
  • Keep things as stress-free, healthy and safe as possible 
  • Go full-term (37 weeks) 
  • Be open with our toddler about the changes happening to our family
  • Get an epidural 
  • Don't have the baby on the side of the interstate
It's not a complicated list. In fact I've already accomplished many of the items I was hoping to fulfill. But the thought of having this baby on the side of the interstate during Atlanta rush-hour traffic, is keeping me up at night.

Last week I was so nervous when I started having contractions. I followed all the protocol and called the doctor who requested that I come into the hospital. After the late night drive, I was hooked up to monitors that confirmed the contractions were real - I had a nurse tell me I was dilated but not enough to be considered in active labor. They were going to observe me for three hours and if the contractions continued, or if I continued to dilate, they would keep me longer. Well after a quick check three hours later they confirmed that both things had occurred. So they gave me some pain medication, put me to sleep and told me if the contractions or dilation continued it would be considered active labor, otherwise I would be going home. I was still a ball of nerves - I just didn't want to hear that all this was for false labor.

When I woke up the next morning, they confirmed that the contractions had almost completely stopped but I was continuing to dilate. That was the news we needed to confirm that, "this was it" and they said that we'd be heading home with a baby. Meaning baby boy was on his way! All the nerves I had about false labor disappeared and I was instantly overwhelmed with excitement. It wasn't long after that when the doctor came in and my anxiety was back. He confirmed that my contractions and dilation just weren't adding up and it was actually false labor. I went from high to low in a matter of moments. We packed up and headed home - no baby - this mama was sad.

Three days later the same thing happened but this time after being admitted and getting the pain medication my husband and I decided we'd spend the night in our own bed instead of in the hospital. False alarm #2 and still no baby.

Now I'm gun shy. I've had contractions on and off for days but I don't want to go to the hospital unless I know for sure that the third time is the charm. I know that God works in his own, perfect time and I have to be open to his plan so I'm praying for patience with each passing day. I know that this baby is coming soon but the waiting is driving me crazy.

At this point I will likely be out of commission for a bit, at least until baby arrives, but feel free to follow along on our journey via Instagram.

Also, for all you bloggers make sure to take advantage of my buy one get one free ad sale. Up until baby, any sponsorship ad you purchase will be doubled - meaning you'll get two months for the price of one! Check out all my sponsorship options here.

Be Blessed,
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July 20, 2015

Pregnancy Advice from Strangers

Unsolicited advice runneth over where weddings, pregnancies or children are concerned. With a growing belly people are more and more inclined to share their experiences and expertise on childbirth and rearing. I've been stopped at the grocery store, the mall and even the gas station all so that strangers can sprinkle me with their little bits of pregnancy wisdom. Surprisingly, the advice is not just from women but men are also getting in on the action.

Instead of hoarding these golden nuggets of wisdom I  thought it was only kind of me to share some of this advice with you - hopefully it will make you laugh - if not provide some actual insight.

"Get an epidural. Seriously." 
- said the male the gas attendant at Costco

"Don't drive yourself to the hospital, just call 911." 
- said the female insurance adjuster that inspected my car

"Make sure to send your baby to school." 
- said the male the restaurant owner at one of my favorite ethnic restaurants

"Sleep now." 
- said the female nail tech while I was getting my pedicure

"Enjoy your growing belly." 
- said the female shopper at our local grocery store

"Now's the time to eat more ice cream." 
- said the female attendant at the chiropractor

"Stay inside - it's too hot out there." 
- said the male technician who was changing my oil

"Don't forget about your other little one once that one arrives (pointing to my belly)." 
- said the male kid's train conductor at the mall

"You're going to pop at the next full moon." 
- said the female conducting the animal adoptions at the pet store

"If you want to go into labor do it the natural way. You know the three letter word, S-E-X." 
- said my male chiropractor

I can't tell you the number of internal eye rolls or sarcastic responses I've wanted to spew back to these advice givers but luckily I'm able to hold my tongue most of the time. But since this is a safe space I will qualify the following:
  • Epidural - yes please! I have nothing against a natural birth but if I have the choice I'm taking the pain blocker. 
  • I drove myself to the hospital last time and while I don't plan on doing that again - I certainly don't plan on calling 911.
  • Yes, I plan on sending both my children to school - this was really never a question.
  • What do you mean, "sleep now?" I'm writing this at 5 a.m. because I've been riddled with insomnia. I'm convinced nature has a way of slowly depleting your sleep while pregnant so that you're more prepared for the late night feedings after baby arrives. 
  • I do enjoy my growing belly, sometimes - not at much as I should honestly. This is something I'm trying to embrace but the additional weight can be a lot to handle at times, especially when I can't tie my own shoes.
  • I eat A LOT of ice cream - it's embarrassing how much ice cream I've eaten inhaled over the last couple months. 
  • I heart air conditioning but I do try to take my son outside when it's not raining or too hot.
  • How could I possibly forget about one of my children? I adore my oldest and he is going to be such a big helper and a great big brother. One of the things I'm looking forward to most with baby #2 is introducing my boys to one another. I could NEVER forget any of my littles, they are my heart. 
  • I sincerely hope no "popping" occurs but if a full moon prompts me to meet this little guy, I'm all for it.
  • Thanks for the spelling lesson I always thought "sex" had an extra letter - maybe a silent "e" at the end - anyone else?
I'm just weeks (maybe days) away from having this little guy - I'd love to know if you have any advice.

Be Blessed,
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July 14, 2015

HUGE Ad Space Giveaway

It's time for the best giveaway ever. I am teaming up with 17 other bloggers to giveaway a total of twenty-three (that's right, TWENTY-THREE) ad spaces! That means that 23 lucky readers will walk away with FREE ad space, no strings attached! The spaces being given away range from 200x200 spots to in-post ads, and are from bloggers you've all heard of and love! Ad Space Giveaway - The So-Called Homemaker

The rules are pretty simple: 1. Open to everyone, including our out-of-country friends! 2. All entries will be verified. Although we are saving you some time by not asking for your username for Instagram, Bloglovin', etc., your entry will be verified before you can be declared a winner. If one of your entries cannot be verified, you will be disqualified completely! 3. One ad space per winner...that means there will be a total of 23 unique winners from this giveaway! Enter below and best of luck to you all!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be Blessed,
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July 6, 2015

Gay Marriage

I typically stay away from political posts. In fact I don't think I've EVER shared my political opinion. I've contemplated writing this post for awhile and I've gone back and forth on whether or not it was the right thing to do. I have a lot of trepidation since I like to hold myself to a pretty high standard of sharing my thoughts and opinions in ways that, I hope, make others feel comfortable and this is inherently an uncomfortable topic for many people. I tend to shy away from truly controversial topics - oftentimes because I can see the reasoning on both sides of an argument. But with this, the more I tell myself to keep my opinion to myself for fear of backlash - the more I am driven to come forth. If fear is the only thing keeping me silent than it is my obligation to speak out since so many others have lived in fear for so long under the guise that for some reason they are undeserving. You may not agree with me but I hope that your heart is open and you can respectfully understand my point of view.

I have many gay and lesbian friends and I have been privately celebrating a wonderful victory for them over the past couple weeks. Let me also say that I am a Christian. My opinion and my faith go hand in hand. I think that my faith has brought me to an understanding that God is love. God loves each and every one of us sinners. God has taught me that his two most important commandments are to love him and to love my neighbor. Nowhere and at no time have I thought the teachings of Christ tell me to condemn those that don't believe as I do or to shun or belittle others. It is not my place to judge because who am I to judge? I am far too flawed for that. I am here, on this earth, to try to be a projection of God's love for ALL his children. And aren't we taught that God loves each and every one of us regardless of our sin? There is always a way to heaven and each one of us has to walk our own journey to the pearly gates.

After the news from last week's SCOTUS ruling I'm nothing short of appalled by all the negativity surrounding the legalization of gay marriage. I'm not appalled that people have opinions (that would be the pot calling the kettle black), I'm just so perplexed by what I'm perceiving as close mindedness. I expect churches to stand by their doctrine but I do expect church-going individuals to at least consider everyone before they so poignantly vocalize their opinions for all. How do you expect to lead anyone to Christ if you are "cyber" shouting from your corner of Facebook that the way they live their life is an abomination? I seem to be recall an old saying about catching more bees with honey... I feel like so many Christians are behaving in the same manner as the Pharisees in Christ's time. They stand preaching their beliefs with little effort to actually turn the hearts of their neighbors toward Christ through a loving and caring spirit of compassion.

I also question why so many believe that it is the duty of their country to defend only THIER beliefs? My church certainly does not celebrate the same belief system as my country but honestly when has my church and my country ever been 100% in sync? And geez, I sure am glad that my church and my country are two separate entities. Even Christ made the distinction between church and state pretty clear in Mark 12:17, "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's...." It should NEVER be the expectation that one group of people or their beliefs take priority within our legal system. If that were the case I challenge all you Christians to think about how you'd feel if suddenly the ideals and teachings of the Muslim faith became the premise of our judicial system. We live in the land of the free and with that freedom we are afforded the very unique opportunity to practice the faith of our choice without the imposition of our government.

I know that there are certainly many arguments for opinions on both sides of the gay marriage issue but after much thought and prayer I can't help but say congratulations to all American's for the awesome ability to marry the one you love, regardless of your religion, sexual orientation or color of your skin. I think an undiscriminating government is advantageous to all its citizens.

How do you feel about the recent legalization of gay marriage?

Be Blessed,
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June 22, 2015

Today I Am Scared

Today I just want to crawl into a shell making sure baby #2 is happy in his current home. I am so anxious to meet him. I can't wait to hold him in my arms and feel his soft baby skin against my own but I don't want that to happen today. Today is a big day for me and next Sunday will be an equally as big as it represents the day that we actually had baby #1. If I can make it through this week, I will feel a huge sense of relief. It will give me the knowledge that I have essentially set a new PR for giving birth - I apologize for the sport analogy but some things will never change.

If you were to align my first and second pregnancies in terms of weeks and months, today marks the day that my water broke with my first. It was seven weeks prior to my due date and my husband was literally across the country, the whole experience was terrifying.

Truth be told, I'm almost as scared today as I was then. Today marks a huge personal milestone in my second pregnancy. I'm reliving memories of time spent in the hospital, consoled by family and friends, under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses, with mounting anticipation and fear waiting for the arrival of our little boy. I spent the the next five days in the hospital prior to the birth of our son. Over those five days I was told what to expect after the birth - lung failure, possible developmental lapses, complications eating and the list went on. I knew that my son would be taken to NICU. I knew that we could encounter a long list of complications. I knew that I had never faced a more terrifying experience in my life. What I didn't know was whether or not I would hold my son.

It was the one thing that keep me up at night, other than the hourly temperature checks to make sure I didn't spike a fever indicating an infection. I didn't know if the possible complications would cause the medical team to rush Austin off to NICU so quickly that I would be denied the opportunity to hold my beautiful baby. Praise Jesus that wasn't the case.

Moments after having him Austin cried a very healthy, beautiful cry and I held him along with my husband. Our family instantly felt more complete and my heart was full. I knew at that point that no matter what would happen in NICU my precious boy was a fighter. He came out with the spirit of a fighter and we were blessed that our time in the NICU was minimal and honestly pretty uneventful. That does not however, mean it wasn't difficult.

Leaving your child at the hospital after being discharged was the single most difficult thing I have ever experienced. I remember the first day when they told me to go home after giving birth. I waited until the last possible second before leaving my baby. I was wheeled to the front doors of the hospital and I sat anxiously next to several other proud mothers as our husbands, boyfriends, family or friends went to pull up the cars. I sat there without my baby. They were beaming with their little ones squirming in their laps. My husband pulled up and I got to my feet but they would not walk forward. The tears were streaming down my face and my heart was racing so fast I thought I was going to have a heart attack. My husband came to my side and my legs gave out. I hit the floor hysterically. I couldn't leave my baby. I couldn't allow him to sit without me in a sterile hospital while I cuddled in my bed at home over 45 minutes away. I just couldn't. My husband literally had to scope me off the ground and carry me sobbing to the car.

As I mentioned in the end everything really was okay with the health and development of our son but that experienced has left an impression. One I hope I never have to relive. One I don't wish upon anyone, ever. Which is why today I am scared.

Be Blessed,
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