Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ChameleonJohn.com: Tips for Traveling With Baby

We know it's not easy to travel when your little one has a number of reasons to cry. However, if you have to travel with your baby to another location, here are some tips that can help you have a stress-free traveling experience and grab some benefits and help from ChameleonJohn.com while doing so!

Make a list
  • Make a list of items that are required on a regular basis for the baby. 
  • Make a list of items that might be required during the travel for the baby (this depends on your type 
  • travel. If you are traveling for long hours, extra essentials and items might be required).
  • Now, check whether you have it all or not. 
  • If yes, start looking for a bag that is sufficiently big to fit every item on the list.
  • If not, visit Sears site and look for them.While shopping, look for $5 Off  coupon for Sears at ChameleonJohn.
Check your travel route and stops
  • While traveling, you might need a stable platform that can be designated as a baby-changing station. So, check your travel route and designate a noted place. For this, make sure that you have a separate bag where spare clothes, boxes of wipes, a changing pad, a small towel, diapers, and some disposable bags can be placed. Note: A baby-changing station should be clean and spacious so that you can lay a changing pad down and comfortably change your baby’s clothing and diaper. 
Clothing for the baby and you
  • This is important for every member of the family who is traveling from one place to another. However, perfect clothing for your baby and you are extremely important. Adults can take care of themselves, but your baby is too small to do this on their own. So, be sure that you are carrying the right clothes for your little one. You, as a mommy, are extremely important because your baby is totally dependent on you. And your clothes are in the number one line of fire when it comes to accidents. So, be prepared!
Get ready to walk an extra mile
  • Well, not all babies are happy to sleep while on vacation. So, you can expect your baby to cry a little more if you are forcing them to sleep, when they want to move around. So, get ready to walk an extra mile and keep your baby happy.
  • Make sure that transportation is not an issue. You cannot carry your baby all the way from the hotel to the park, friend’s place, relative’s place or random ‘must-visit’ spots. So, make sure that proper arrangement for transportation is available. 
  • For the baby, strollera should be available. If not, carry your stroller along for the ride.
  • However, if you are planning to buy a stroller, visit Sears and buy a new one. Don’t worry about the cost. Coupons and discount offers are available for you. All you need to do it – match the best coupons with discount offers available in the store. This should help!

Apart from this, what are some ideas, trips and prep tools you use to travel with your baby? Share your comments below!


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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My Cruising Essentials: 12 Must-Haves

Cruise Trip Must Have's

Our favorite low-key, relaxing vacations involve a week-long cruise. And we plan on taking another one this fall, with our brand new baby girl in tow. In the meantime, since we consider ourselves cruise aficionados, we're sharing 12 of our cruising essentials!

1. Floppy Sunhat: I'm not a fan of the sun and it's not a fan of my blonde hair, fair skin or my husband who is practically translucent. We need to cover up, so a large hat always helps when it's time to get off the boat. Besides, I don't even need to spend time on my hair in the mornings with one of these babies.
2. Large Tote: On every trip, whether we're cruising or not, you have to have a large tote (that zips up). You have to have at least one bag that's big enough to fit all the have-to's and important documents safely inside. 
3. Wide-Leg Pants: They're comfy and versatile. Throw them on for a day of casual playtime or dress them up with a funky top for dinner. They're quick and easy, plus elastic pants are good for eating, let's be honest.
4. Oversized Sweater: On the car ride down or in the cabin later at night, it's always good to bring at least one big, comfy sweater or sweatshirt for emergency moments. 
5. Black Dress: My go-to is a straight maxi, but yours may be cut right above the knee. Just like those wide-let pants, a black dress is versatile enough for every occasion on board. 
6. Small, Cross-Body Purse: Wherever you're traveling, on a cruise or not, everyone needs a small purse to travel around with. It needs to be big enough to fit what you need inside but small enough to not cause any shoulder or back problems on any of your all-day adventures.
7. NYX, The Curve: This is my everyday go-to. It doesn't smudge and one quick slip of the wrist creates the perfect black cat eye, for any and all situations.
8. Tinted Moisturizer: When you're traveling to a warm destination, who wants to wear lots of heavy makeup? I always carry a tinted moisturizer with me because it keeps my face from drying out, it's lightweight but it still gives me the coverage I want. I'm a big fan of Tarte products and a recent fan of their tinted moisturizer.
9. Sunscreen: Just like the floppy hat, we need protection from the sun. Well, everyone does. So make sure to lather on your fair share. Since getting Supergoop products in a summer POPSUGAR box, I've been hooked.
10. Good Music: Make a playlist or shuffle through some of your favorites on the ride down.
11. Cozy Blanket: This is only for the drive. My husband and my mom likes to play freeze out in the car, so this quickly becomes an essential.
12. Good Reads: I always pack a book. Even though I never read as much as I would like, it's nice to have it on the bedside table when it's time to sleep.

What are some of your cruising essentials?


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Preemie Newborn Must-Have's: My Favorites

Preemie Newborn Baby Must-Have Items and Favorites

Before having a baby I didn't think that there would be much difference between this or that bib, this or that bottle or even this or that pajama onesie for our little one. But, when I found out that our little one would, in fact, not only be a preemie but have an extra layer of "little" due to her IUGR I started doing my own research on things that I "must-have" and since having her we've figured out what works the best for her, her size and her everyday needs. From bathtime to mealtime, let's take a peek at 6 of our favorite necessities. 

1. Koala Baby Preemie Onesies (with Zippers!): 

These preemie onesies fit her best. They didn't swallow her up and they had a more slender line (which is better for skinny babies). Also, we quickly found out why snaps are meant to drive moms and dads insane and why God made the zipper possible. 

Although I started out with a massive amount of Tommee Tippee bottles - which really do work quite well, our favorite from the start was our one Latch bottle that we put on our registry on a whim. I had seen in a magazine how the nipple is accordion-style and follows the movement of the baby's mouth with ease. This is the only bottle that Claire doesn't "bubble" with, fits in her little mouth with no problems and she has less spit up and less air every time she uses it. We ended up buying several more of these helpful bits. 

This may be a must-have for all babies, but Claire fits in that little nook like it was made just for her. The incline also helps her with spitting up after a feeding and I swear it's the most comfortable place for her to take a nap in - in which she has 5 options - this overrides all the others every time. 

Not only are these bibs soft and absorbent but the extra "fluff"  (or dribble catcher) around the neck helps for spit ups, bubble ups and messes to not stain Claire's clothes. The neck also fits her a lot better than all of her other bibs - we could basically fit two of her in most. We'll be buying another pack very soon. 

This is another "on a whim" purchase - actually made by my momma (Claire's Grandmom). And thank goodness we had it - and eventually bought two. Not only will her crib be elevated for a restful (and spit up free night's sleep) when she's ready but the pack and play we use in the living room also has this elevation for her now too. The incline truly helps with the dribbles after a feeding - which are even more prominent in premature babies. 

I am so happy we purchased this adorable piece. Although some may think it's a redudant item to have with a baby bath, right now Claire is just too small to "go swimming" in her tub. This not only keeps the sink cozy and warm but it becomes a safer way for her to bathe and enjoy herself. Afterwards all you have to do it ring out the flower and throw it in the dryer (and sometimes we throw it in BEFORE the bath so it's nice and warm for her). 

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Ultimate Hospital Packing List

Even though I was packed and ready to go with all the bells and whistles, I still didn't get to enjoy or use half of the items I packed in our hospital bags. Even though I read every list available online and packed everything someone somewhere mentioned that I needed, I didn't need half the stuff that we listed, checked off, bought and strategically packed. But that's because nothing about our hospital stay or delivery was in our hands or of our own decisions - see here

But, if you're one of the lucky ones that gets to go to the hospital, bags in tow and have a "normal" and "healthy" experience - and even if you don't - you'll want to feel prepared when you go. And this list will help you feel secure and ready - whether you deliver naturally or by c-section, we were packed for all three of us for any route to be taken. Let's have a peek!

Download & Print the Checklist Below

via DropBox
via Google

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Birth Story: Claire Louise

Imagine this...

Planning, wishing and being completely ready to have your first child. Getting pregnant the very first try and feeling incredibly lucky that everything was going as "planned." For an anal, OCD, aniexty-ridden planner, it's a storybook beginning. 

And then ... things start to happen. 

Five months of severe nausea and vomiting and no weight gain. Finding out that you have a heart-shaped uterus (which sounds cool but can cause "issues"). Growing a magical micro-wisdom tooth out of no where and having it pulled during your 8th week of pregnancy. Bleeding throughout the first trimester and having more than a couple ultrasounds to verify that the baby's heart is still beating. Having a hemorrhage at the beginning of the 2nd trimester and feeling like you've lost the baby you prayed for. Finding out you were having a baby girl in week 19 and everything was "perfect," all is right in the world and you're ecstatic. And then in week 24 you're sent to the high risk doctor because your baby isn't growing on par, and in fact, is under the first percentile on the growth chart. Getting blood tests done to see if you have a bleeding disorder. Getting genetic tests done to verify that nothing is "wrong" with the baby causing the slow growth. Your baby is labeled IUGR. You prepare for your baby to be born any week. You prepare for your baby to be put in the NICU for months. You prepare that your baby may not make it. 

That was our 8 months. It was a solid 8 months of praying to my loyal set of saints and grandmother. A solid 8 months of being scared and worried and hating the unkown.

But now Claire is here, at home with us and we can let everyone know how she got here. Which is even more dramatic than what we'd already been through. 

Let me remind you that Claire's due date was January 27th. But, once we knew that she was IUGR, that date was thrown out the window. Instead, we knew we'd get lucky to make it to full-term. And, before Christmas, we had a date set. On the evening of January 6th we would go into the hospital to be induced and coax our little Claire out before dinnertime on the 7th. But that wasn't exactly what happened.


On December 30th I had two doctor's appointments. The first was the high risk doctor to measure how much Claire had grown. They estimated that she was 4 lbs. 15 ounces and they gave me the all clear in the blood pressure department (it was 128/68) and urine check. 

After we were done at the HR office, we headed over to my OBGYN, although I had to see one of her partners since she was out of town. Unfortunately we got the most obnoxious and uncomfortable nurse in the world (the type that shouts out your weight in the hallway where everyone can hear). She informed us that the doctor was in delivery so we would have to wait anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, that was not good for my nerves or my blood pressure. Which, she took my blood pressure and it was on the high side (130/90). She wanted to give me 15 minutes and check it again. She came back and it was higher (140/95). So, she made me give a urine sample, even though I did tell her that I JUST had it checked at the previous doctor's office within the hour. 

Fortunately the doctor showed up, checked my cervix and made me have my blood pressure taken, yet again. It was still high and then we were informed that my urine had a "good amount" of protein in it - which is a sign of kidney damage and preeclampsia. Then the doctor said it was time for me to go over to triage and be "monitored" for a couple of hours. At this point I just wanted to run away. This was what I was scared of happening all along. Preeclampsia is known to take the lives of both mother and baby. I wasn't prepared to not get to live with Claire or Claire to not get to have her mommy. 

I called Justin and told him to get a move on it.We were taken to a room, I was told to slip into a butt-less gown, asked a zillion questions and then watched as my blood pressure was taken every 15 minutes, rising with each reading. They drew blood and found that my uric acid level was a bit wonky as well, which points to the liver and acts as another sign of preeclampsia. And then, we saw the doctor that put me there and she said it was time to go to labor and delivery. We were having the baby and getting induced. And despite popular belief that wasn't exciting for us. It was scary. She wasn't ready. I wasn't ready and she wasn't full-term yet. She was little and we wanted her to be able to stay inside and grow as long as possible - she was already getting gypped 3 weeks for heaven's sake.

Then I was wheeled into a L&D room. My dad was called to bring down our bags and my mom's tote filled with some things to get her through the night as well - I wasn't doing this without both my husband and my mom there with me. 

As soon as I got into the bed they started an IV, with someone who didn't have the most delicate of touches. I was to start getting magnesium which was to help keep me from seizing as my blood pressure rose. Seizure and stroke were constantly referred to since my bp was getting so high at times. 

They tell you before that the magnesium may make you feel very hot and give you blurry vision, but they don't really relay to you how, for lack of a better and more eloquent word, shitty you will feel. They also didn't tell me I'd be on it for 48 hours. In the meantime, I needed more blood work done and no one could get me to bleed. Not only did I have my IV done twice, but I was poked 4 times by 3 different people.

Then it was catheter time. I'm sure a lot of you have had a catheter. But most of you had that catheter put it after your epidural was given to you. I got to experience getting a catheter put in and feeling EVERY single bit of the adventure and it's not an adventure I'd ever want to take again. No sir, no way. 

So, I'm in bed. A catherter down below. Pricks, pokes and a blood pressure cuff on my right. An IV with at least 3 cords and an oxygen finger-taker (that's the one name I missed) on my left. Two bands around my belly monitoring the baby. And three sticky pads on my chest and two sticky pads on my back. Then they tell me to rest for the night. 


We all stared on the monitors checking on Claire's heart rate and watching my blood pressure go from the 190's/100's down to 119/60 within 15 minutes. Trust me, that's not a high you want to try. Once the magnesium kicked in I couldn't keep my eyes opened even when I was awake. I literally apologized to people who came in to talk to me for keeping my eyes closed as they spoke. My legs had some pretty severe shakes and I was praying constantly that we would at least get to experience a natural delivery. It all depended on how baby was going to take to the pitocin, because little babies have a tendency to not do well with it. 

Nighttime was awful. With your blood pressure being taken four times an hour and the paranoia that you may have a seizure without realizing it, there's just no way one can truly rest. 

By New Year's Eve morning, I was starting to feel some contractions. The doctor that decided it was time to have the baby came in to break my water. And, FYI, she said it wasn't going to hurt. But it hurt, and I also had to sit in the wetness for two more days. After she was done, she then informed me that another doctor would be the one delivering Claire. Cue more panic.

And here's an idea of how much the magnesium was making me feel completely out of it. I allowed a student to place my epidural. A STUDENT!! I would have never in my right mind let that happen. Although, the student that performed it was really great and didn't miss a beat - thank goodness. 

Once I started dilating, everything moved really fast. I went from a 4 to a 6 in no time and once we got to a 6 it was maybe 30 minutes until I was leaning on Justin telling him that if he didn't go get the doctor Claire was gonna come walking out herself. 

As the room was being set up with tables and tools, with every contraction, Claire was closer to arriving without a push to be had. And once we were all set up, two rounds of pushing ensued, about five minutes all together, and our little, bitty bundle came out with a strong kitty-cat cry. They sat her on my chest, she grabbed my thumb, I cried, if I looked up I'm sure I would have seen my mom crying too. She was - is - gorgeous. I heard Justin say he was going to cut the cord but I didn't see it happen (apparently, it took him a couple of tries).

They took her from me pretty quickly to get cleaned up. She was 4 lbs. 11 ounces, 17 1/2 inches long with a light brown pixie cut and frosted golden tips all over. Like one of the nurses said, she must have went to the beauty parlor behind our backs. 

I got one more quick snuggle before she was off to the nursery. All the while, the doctor who delivered her (absolutely fabulous by the way, so happy she was the one who got us through this experience), was "rummaging" down below giving me a good amount of stitches to deal with later. I felt every bit of those stitches too since the epidural had worn off - fun times. 

I'll spare you the details of my mini meltdowns and the 3 days spent in the post-partum   rooms that were filled with more scariness. I'll also spare you the dizzy spells and scares I had my first week home. What's important now is that we are home, Claire is doing fabulous and I'm on the slow mend. 

But is there a phobia "word" for being scared of blood pressure machines? Because I have that now.

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