Category: baby

Frugal Friday: Shopping Big Consignment Sales

 Have you ever shopped a BIG consignment sale?  We are thrift store regulars, but have fallen in love with the world of big consignment sales.  This time around I’m consigning at the upcoming Rhea Lana sale in Frisco and hoping to make money.  I’m also planning to shop.  When you consign you get to shop early, and let me tell you that these sales get competitive.  I’m hoping to find a birthday present for Bear, as well as summer clothes for both kiddos.  To see details about the Rhea Lana Frisco sale or find a RL sale near you check out the website here.

 So, you might be thinking that the big sale atmosphere is a little intimidating.  The first time around is, but you get the hang of it.  Everything is marked down to at least 70% off retail, so the prices are fantastic. I also feel good about helping other families to clear out their stash and make money, all while saving money myself.  We all win.   These sales are especially great for pregnant mamas because you can find maternity clothes AND tons of newborn to 6 months clothes because they wear them for such a brief period of time.  I’ll give you a few tips to succeed at a big sale like Rhea Lana.
1) Arrive early.  Do your research and find out if you can get an early shopping pass.  Most sales have these available online for pregnant or expectant adopting mamas.  You can also volunteer or consign at the sale and get to shop REALLY early.  Whatever your time slot is, get there before it starts because there will be a line.
2) Bring a collapsible laundry hamper.  Trust me on this.  You want a lightweight carrier for all your finds.  That way you can toss everything you like into the basket and sort through it while you are in line.
3) Bring a list of everything you are looking for so you don’t get confused or forget something important.  I would break it down like this: big items to look for first (strollers, ride on toys, playhouses,etc); small toys; clothes by age/gender/season.  For instance, I’ll be looking for a tricycle, board books, summer shoes in size 6 & 7, 0-6 and 6-12 month soft leather girl shoes, and 3T summer clothes for Bear.  I will have a list of everything detailed and in my purse, so my pregnant brain doesn’t have to concentrate too hard.
4) Come back for the Half Price Sale.  Most big sales have several half price time slots at the end of the sale, so again check online and find the time slot for you.  Everything will drop from 30% of the retail price (70% off) down to 15% of the retail price.  Heck yes.

Have you ever shopped a BIG consignment sale like Rhea Lana?
What is your favorite big consignment sale?

Trying for a VBAC: Risks vs Benefits

Today I’m addressing the most common question about our quest for a VBAC: What are the risks and benefits of a VBAC vs a repeat cesarean? A little about this series: Our second baby is due at the end of April, and we are hoping and trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section).  There are many reasons why we are heading this direction and I hope to share them with y’all over the next few months.  You can read the other posts in my Trying for a VBAC series here.  You can read the Bear’s full birth story here to see what our first child’s birth entailed.  If you read that story you will get a little glimpse into why we are now on this journey to VBAC and a normal birth.  This process has been all consuming for me and this blog is my space to express the way I feel about the whole situation.  Many folks have strong opinions about VBAC vs. repeat cesarean, and I hope that whatever your opinion might be you will respect mine.  VBAC is not the right decision for every c-mama, and it doesn’t always work out no matter how you prepare.  Our hope and prayer is that we can have the best birth possible for our little girl.  I am not in any way a medical professional, just a mama who loves nerding out over research.
Risks VS Benefits of a VBAC or Elective Repeat Cesarean Section
First lets look at the risks of both, lined up together.  I’ll start with what I like to call the “Big Scaries”.
Big Scary #1: Risk of Baby Dying
VBAC – 0.2% vs C-Section (ERCS) – 0.1%
Both rates are very low, but slightly higher for VBAC.
Big Scary #2: Risk of Uterine Rupture
VBAC – 0.4% vs C-Section (ERCS) – 0.2%
Did you know you could have a rupture with an ERCS?  I didn’t either.  The next facts really shocked me.  Let’s look at the risk of uterine rupture for 1st time moms in natural births vs those induced and augmented with pitocin and/or prostoglandins.
Natural, spontaneous labor – 0.012%
Spontaneous labor augmented (prostoglandins, pitocin, etc) – 0.9%
Induced Labor – 1% (WHAT???)
When I read those numbers from multiple scientific studies, I was seriously angry at my previous OB who mentioned none of the risks of induction.  If you were induced or had augmentation during labor, did your OB mention the more than doubled risk of uterine rupture?  I’d really like to know.  I’ve asked a lot of mamas and across the board I’ve not heard of anyone being told this by their OB.  Not cool.
Big Scary #3: Risk of Mom Dying
VBAC – 0.02% vs C-Section (ERCS) – 0.04%
Both rates are very low, but slightly higher for c-section.  The problem is that this rate increases greatly with each repeat c-section, limiting the potential of family by putting mom at risk.
The other risks of VBAC are the same as normal first time birth, but many other risks increase greatly with a repeat c-section and continue to increase even more with a 3rd, 4th, etc c-section.  I’ve found that most women are told the risks of VBAC I mentioned above but not the risks of repeat c-section. Why is this? Many birth professionals believe it because of 2 things: 1)the bad rap VBACs got during the 1990s when it was common to use drugs like Cytotec to induce labor, greatly increasing the risk of uterine rupture and 2)because a c-section is easier to control for the physician, takes less time, and makes more money. A VBAC or other vaginal birth costs around $3-5000 while a c-section costs upwards of $25,000 for the patient.  I support every woman’s right to choose the birth that she feels is best for her baby and herself, but I believe we also have the right to know the risks and benefits of each choice.
Risks to Baby that Increase with Repeat C-Section:
being cut during the surgery
premature birth (and all the risks that come with that)
respiratory problems at birth and lifelong
readmission to hospital or NICU time
risk of death in first month of life
Type 1 Diabetes
problems breastfeeding
Risks to Mom that Increase with Repeat C-Section:
unintended cuts or damage during the surgery
major infection
emergency hysterectomy
blood clots
ICU time
complications from anesthesia
depression and other negative psychological issues
problems breastfeeding
future pregnancy issues including placenta previa, stillbirth, low birth weight, and ectopic pregnancy
There are plenty of benefits to both choices.  Let’s take a look at them.
Benefits of Repeat C-Section:
scheduled birth – easier to have support network and preparations in place
controlled situation
time to prepare a support network for post op
much faster method for emergencies that threaten the life of baby or mom
less liability for the doctor and hospital
Benefits of VBAC:
faster recovery
better immediate bonding with baby (lack of drugs, etc)
better breastfeeding results
avoid major abdominal surgery and all the risks that entails
birth the way God created our bodies to function
much less expensive
less hospital time
fewer complications for mom and baby
Every mama has to weigh these risks and benefits and come to a decision with their partner and an OB they trust.  My former OB told me I was a great candidate for VBAC but that she didn’t do them, so I looked to my local ICAN chapter to find recommendations for VBAC friendly OBs in my area.  I found an awesome doctor and am so happy with the prenatal care I’ve received.  The information that helped me make my decision to try for a VBAC is the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s (governing body of OB/GYN) recent statement on VBAC.  The most important quote is below and you can find a link to the full statement under the resource links at the bottom of the post.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) agree that that most women with a history of one or two uncomplicated low transverse caesarean sections, in an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy at term and with no contraindications to vaginal birth, are candidates for and should be counseled about VBAC.”
If your OB tells you differently, they are going against the policy of their own governing body and you should probably question their motives.
Looking for resources and information about birth, VBAC, and cesarean  recovery?  Try these:
ACOG Statement about VBAC vs ERCS
International Cesarean Awareness Network
Birth Without Fear
VBAC Facts
The Unnecesarean

Best of Bare Feet on the Dashboard: Baby and Pregnancy Edition

Looking back over my Best of Bare Feet on the Dashboard series I realized I left out a crucial category, baby and pregnancy posts from the last 3 years.  We remedy that situation today.  I have so many baby and pregnancy posts I love so I’ll break them up by category below.  Enjoy and please feel free to share the love.  
Cloth Diaper Posts:
The Great Cloth Diaper Trials: 11 Brands Tried and Tested
We do the leg work so you don’t have to.
Choosing Cloth Diapers
Why did we choose them over disposables?
Our Easy Cloth Diaper Routine
Figuring out how to wash cloth diapers can be complicated, so I show you our simple routine. 
Saving Money with Reusable Cloth Swim Diapers 
One simple change can save you up to 90% on the cost of disposable swim diapers.  
Breastfeeding Posts:
*Cute nursing cover by Hope Springs Etsy Shop
Our Breastfeeding Battle Part 1
Our Breastfeeding Battle Part 2
The Big Latch On
Pregnancy Posts:
The Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Being Pregnant
My Hometown Baby Shower
Maternity Photo Shoot from My First Pregnancy
Frugal Pregnancy Tips
Taking the 3 Hour Glucose Tolerance Test: What is it like?
Weirdest Pregnancy Dreams Ever
Our Homemade Baby Book with Free Printables
A Big Brother T-Shirt to Announce Our 2nd Pregnancy
A Morning Sickness Cure with No Side Effects
My Postpartum Fashion Crisis
The Battle of the Baby Weight
Child Birth Posts:
The Bear’s Birth Story
Trying for a VBAC: Why?
Saving Big Money on Medical Bills
We saved 20% on Bear’s birth bills!
Decorating the Nursery Posts:
Birds in Flight Nursery Mobile with Tutorial
The Bear’s Nursery Part 1
The Bear’s Nursery Part 2
The Bear’s Nursery Part 3
The Bear’s Nursery Part 4 
A Ribbon Mobile for Baby’s Nursery
I hope you enjoyed my Best of Bare Feet on the Dashboard series.  I have so much more planned for this blog and can’t wait to see what the next 3 years bring.  I’m now accepting sponsors AND swapping ads with other bloggers.  Check out my Sponsor page for more info.  Thanks so much for reading!  

Frugal Friday: Reusable Swim Diapers for Your Wee One

If you are anything like us, you are so over this whole winter thing and ready for summer.  Our new neighborhood has 5 community pools we can use for the whole summer for $60!  So excited…  For this week’s Frugal Friday edition I’m sharing one of my favorite summer money savers, the reusable swim diaper.  No, I’m not talking about reusing the Little Swimmers or Splashers.  That would be nasty and impossible.  I’m talking about using cloth swim diapers that are made to be worn all summer long.  We’ve actually used the same Bummis swim diaper the last two summers because of the wide weight range.  It will probably work again this year.  I also have 2 teeny tiny i-play swim diapers lined up for Mini Bear to wear.  Yay for water babies!  
How much can you really save by using cloth swim diapers? About 90%.  I did a little research, and the cheapest I could find disposable swim diapers for was $11.13 for an 18 count pack of diapers ($.62 each).  For the price of one pack of disposables (or less) you can buy a reusable swim diaper that will last all summer.  You can find a ton of sales right now on many great brands like Bummis, i play, Imse Vimse, My Swim Baby, and Apple Cheeks.  If you are at the pool or beach all summer going through one pack of disposables per week you could spend as much as $156 per kid on swim diapers.  Yikes.  
How do cloth swim diapers work?  Just like disposable swim diapers.  They hold in the poop and let out the pee.  Once they are soiled you just rinse them out (like you would a swim suit) after dumping the solids in the toilet, then hang them up to dry for tomorrow.  Easy.     
Why should I think about swim diapers right now?  They are on sale!!!  Buying off season is a fabulous way to save even more money on seasonal items.  

If you are interested in shopping for reusable swim diapers, I’d love for you to use my affiliate links below to find deals at Kelly’s Closet and Amazon. If not, check out your local cloth diaper shop where swim diapers are probably in the off season sale section right now.  Thanks!
– Swim Diapers from several brands starting at $9.95
Amazon links are below to my two favorite brands of swim diapers.

Do you use cloth or disposable swim diapers?  On a scale from one to “get me to a beach before I hurt someone”, how ready are you for summer?  I’m at a strong 8 right now.

Trying for a VBAC: Why?

Our second baby is due at the end of April, and we are hoping and trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section).  There are many reasons why we are heading this direction and I hope to share them with y’all over the next few months.  You can read the Bear’s full birth story here to see what our first child’s birth entailed.  If you read that story you will get a little glimpse into why we are now on this journey to VBAC and a normal birth.  This process has been all consuming for me and this blog is my space to express the way I feel about the whole situation.  Many folks have strong opinions about VBAC vs. repeat cesarean, and I hope that whatever your opinion might be you will respect mine.  VBAC is not the right decision for every c-mama, and it doesn’t always work out no matter how you prepare.  Our hope and prayer is that we can have the best birth possible for our little girl.
Why try for a VBAC?
After a ton of research and prayer, we feel it is the best option for the health of our baby and my health.  I want a normal birth because it is the way God designed my body, and He made me this way for a reason.  I struggled with the trauma of Bear’s birth for months afterward, and breastfeeding was a HUGE battle.  I’ve since learned those issues are typical with c-section.  If you have had a cesarean and fought through the emotions of losing the birth you hoped and planned for, you are not alone.  C-section is meant to be an emergency last ditch option when the life of mom or baby is in jeopardy.  There are many occasions when it is completely necessary and in those cases we thank God it is available. Having had a prior c-section is just not always one of those.  It turns out that induction without medical reason increases your chance of a c-section by up to 75%.  My previous doctor failed to mention that when she tried to schedule Bear’s birth around a holiday.
C-section can be a literal life saver, but it does not come without cost.  Any c-mama will tell you that recovery is a beast.  I don’t remember the first few weeks of Bear’s life because of the pain medication.  The only things I could do were sleep and try to nurse.  It was rough, people.  I’m hoping this time around will be very different.  C-section babies have higher rates of asthma and allergies, as well as many other risk factors.  I’ll go in to those in another post.  Even if Mini Bear’s birth does end a c-section because of medical necessity, at least I will know that is a possibility going in and be prepared for that alternative.
I hear a lot of the same questions over and over about this road we are on. Why not just schedule a repeat c-section?  Aren’t you putting yourself and the baby at risk?  What do you have to do to get a VBAC?  I hope to answer those here on the blog over the next few weeks.
You can read more about our breastfeeding battles here: Breastfeeding Part 1 and Breastfeeding Part 2.  The great news is that even though it was a battle at first, we fought through and Bear nursed until he was a little over a year.
Looking for resources and information about VBAC and cesarean recovery?  Try these:
International Cesarean Awareness Network
Birth Without Fear
VBAC Facts
The Unnecesarean

Frugal Christmas: A Toddler Friendly Mini Tree

 I LOVE decorating for Christmas.  I long for a touch of Christmas cheer in every room of the house.  The Bear’s room is a special challenge because he is now 18 months old and into EVERYTHING.  He can reach to grab things off his shelves and has a special gift for taking things apart.  I decided the answer was a toddler friendly mini tree, but my budget was only $5.

I found this mini tree in the dollar section at Target years ago, along with the hat topper and mini tree skirt.  They cost $2 total.  Target has mini tinsel trees right now, and all of their Christmas stuff will go on sale soon if it isn’t already. 


 I looked at mini tree ornaments at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Target, but most of what I found was either breakable or a choking hazard.  Yikes.  I remembered seeing a fun idea using plastic animals on Young House Love last year, but I couldn’t find the post and got frustrated.  After strolling the aisles of Hobby Lobby I came across a big container of large red jingle bells on sale for $3.50.  Jingle bells are festive, give a pop of color on my little silver tree, aren’t breakable, and are too big to be a choking hazard.  Hooray!  I bought white grosgrain ribbon on sale for $1 and pieces through each bell.

 The Bear had a fabulous time playing with the bells and was able to help me decorate his tree.  Hello, fine motor skill development!  I love the simplicity and festiveness of his tree, and the fact that he can’t break it or hurt himself on it.  Let’s call it a Christmas Mini Tree Miracle.

Here’s the toddler eye view.  Shiny!
Do you decorate your kid’s rooms for Christmas? How do you make it kid proof?

Cute Cousins

 My siblings and I are all spread out all over the country, so when we get together we have to get a picture of the kids all together.  As you might imagine, getting 3 kids age 3 and under to sit still and pose is nearly impossible.  Sweet Luke hadn’t quite mastered the whole sitting up thing, which made it even trickier.  There was a small scuffle over the little blue fish in the middle, but we persevered.  Two more cute cousins will be added to this side of the family in April and June.

How do you get kids to sit still for a photo?

We’re Having A…

Will Mini Bear be a brother or sister for our little Bear?
Will it be a bow or tie in our Christmas box?
Can you guess?
 Mini Bear’s tiny little foot

Still don’t know?
I’ll let Bear show you…

He approaches the box…
opens it up..
 and we see a hint of pink…

We’re having a precious little girl, and we couldn’t be more excited.  She should arrive near the end of April.  As you can see, I’ve already started her accessory collection.  The majority of y’all guessed correctly, so congrats on your good instincts.  You should probably go buy a powerball ticket.  🙂  Now we just have to figure out a name…

A New House, a Move, and a Baby

So, a few things have been happening around here lately.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (which you definitely should) you know that we bought our first house, moved in, and have baby #2 on the way.  You know, just a few small things.  It has been crazy, exciting, stressful, and great, all at the same time.

At least this guy is the sweetest little Bear ever.  

The house is 1970s one story cutie that backs up to a creek and needs a LOT of work.  I’ll post before and after pics of each of our projects as we check them off our list, but it is going to be a looong process.  So far we have dealt with major plumbing issues, residual cat dander and pee, and some serious wood paneling.  We’ve asked ourselves many times, “Why did we buy a house again? and have yet to come up with a satisfactory answer.  We know deep down it will all be worth it eventually, but on most days I feel like we will be surrounded by boxes FOR-EV-ER.  We are doing most of the work ourselves, and let me just tell you that HGTV makes it look way too easy.  This junk is hard.  Crazy hard.  If you’re interested in coming over to remove wallpaper, I’ll love you forever.  I’ve decided to affectionately call the house the Duck Creek Ranch, so that it will grow on me a little faster.  Why Duck Creek Ranch? We live on a super cute creek filled with ducks, it is a ranch style house, and everyone in Texas loves a ranch.

For the first time ever, we hired movers.  I’m a bit of a gypsy and have moved at least once per year since the age of eighteen.  I’m now 33.  That’s a lot of moves, people.  I once could move all my worldy possessions in the back of my car.  Alas, those days are gone.  It took weeks of packing, 3 guys + us, a BIG moving truck, and many hours to get all of our crap into the new house.  I was pretty much useless because of my first trimester sickness and generally being pregnant, plus herding a toddler.  Poor Jed worked all day at his teaching job and then came to DCR every day after school to work until 9 or 10 pm.  He is the best, that man of mine.

I can’t believe I’m already almost half way through this pregnancy.  We found out the gender last week and have been slowly revealing it to family and friends.  I’ll share it on the blog tomorrow, so vote now in the gender poll.  After all, you have a 50% chance of being right.  Mini Bear is growing well, and I’m feeling so much better now that I’m firmly in the 2nd trimester.

How many times have you moved?  Share your craziest moving story in the comments.

A Graco Safety Party and Review of the NEW Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Car Seat

 Recently I had the pleasure of attending a Graco Safety preview party for a brand new car seat, The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40.  At the party we learned a ton about car seat safety and the AAP guidelines, and about this new car seat.  I was so excited to receive one of the car seats to review for you.  The Click Connect 40 is different from our old Graco SnugRide 30 for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that it can safely hold kids up to 40 pounds and 2 years old in a rear facing position.  The SnugRide 30 only goes up to 30 pounds, and has much less leg room.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids stay rear facing until they reach age 2, and the Graco Safety campaign hopes to help parents reach that goal.  Will the Click Connect 40 really hold a big toddler comfortably?  We’ll find out.

 The Click Connect 40 has 8 different seat settings from comlete recline for newborns to sitting up for big toddlers.

 For The Bear to try it out we shifted to position 8 and put up the kickplate to protect the car.

The seat comes in 2 colors, Moonstruck and Mena.  We received a Moonstruck seat, the more gender neutral of the two.  Mena is beautiful, but has lovely pink swirls that aren’t little boy approved.  You can see a glimpse of the Mena design above, modeled by our demo doll from the Graco Safety Party.

 Here is the car seat set up for a newborn.  It looks so squishy and padded, even more than the newborn pad I had to by when the Bear was new.  I can’t wait to put Mini Bear in the seat in the spring!

 The newborn pad snaps out easily, and the seat quickly adjusted to fit our tall toddler.  Really, it took about 2 seconds..

 We installed it in the car using our latch system.  It seemed odd that the base hung off the edge of the seat by several inches, but that could just be our Honda Pilot.  It still seemed secure.  Please excuse my messy car.  True Life: I’m a Blogger.

 The kick plate is genius, in my opinion.  

 The major downfall of rear facing car seats is the loss of leg room in the front seat.  This is a small price to pay for our kids to be 5x safer than front facing.

Quick Facts:
Price: $219.99 at Babies”R”Us
Available: Online and in stores at Babies”R”Us
Colors: Mena™ and Moonstruck™ fashions
 4 – 40 pound weight limit— a full 2 years
 Base adjusts with 8 recline positions for most leg room of
any rear-facing car seat for baby comfort
 The Simply Safe Adjust™ harness systems allows parents to
adjust the harness and headrest with just one hand to fit
their baby’s height as their baby grows, all without having
to rethread the harness for extra convenience.
 Click Connect™ attachment which allows parents to
easily transition their babies from the car seat to the
stroller through a simple, but secure, one-step “click.”

Does the Bear fit comfortably?  Yes, he does.  At 16 months old he is weighs about 30 pounds and is about 31 inches tall (it is difficult to get an accurate measurement on a wiggly toddler).

Check out that leg room.  

Is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 a good buy?  In my opinion, yes.  I love the idea of  using one seat from 0-2 that is safe and gives my babe this much leg room.  You can find the car seat exclusively at Babies R Us.  
The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.