Monday, May 31, 2010

Rockaby Baby! Review & Giveaway

Think babies can’t listen to rock music? Think again.

The folks at Rockabye Baby sent us a few CDs to review. Here’s what we think:

{Lullaby Renditions of AC/DC}

For those of you who aren’t married to a classic rock junkie who knows every word to every AC/DC song, they’re the Australian band who brought you “Hell’s Bells,” “Highway to Hell,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” etc.

As you can gather, their songs don’t naturally fall into the baby-friendly category. But when I popped the CD in and heard the gentle monotrone music, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I started laughing as I imagined rocker guys in a studio tapping their feet as they play monotrones and triangles to the subdued melody of “Back in Black” (my favorite song on the CD. Very catchy.)

I was surprised even more when I played the CD for my baby girl. She was fussy, but as soon as she heard the music, she calmed down and started listening intently — no joke.

AC/DC now has a softer side, and my husband couldn’t be more pleased to introduce our daughter to one of his favorite bands this early on.


{Lullaby Renditions of Kanye West}

Kanye West Lullabies: Oxymoronic? Maybe. Good listenin’? You betcha.

When you think of Kanye West, the words “peaceful,” “pleasant,” “lulling,” and “soothing” come to mind, right? So maybe not. But maybe they will now, with Rockabye Baby, Lullaby Renditions of Kanye West.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I popped in the CD, although I smiled at the album artwork as I flipped through the jewel-case booklet. Inside the case I found paper doll cutouts of a baby brown bear wearing a diaper—and his R&B outfit complete with microphone and boombox. You’ll also find a page where you can record your little rockstar’s name, “birthday to be celebrated by future fans,” “favorite foods that will be demanded in future dressing room,” etc.

The music began to play, and instead of drums and guitars I got a tinkling, soothing melody (the back cover says mellotrons, vibraphones, and bells. I know what the last one is.) I immediately recognized Kanye’s “Good Morning,” though if I hadn’t known the song beforehand, this rendition would have fit in with any children’s lullaby CD.

So here’s my take: I’m sold. I have nothing against “Once There Was a Snowman” or “Pop Goes the Weasel” (although I have serious questions about the deeper meanings of the latter), however I sometimes feel a little too “babied out” when I have those songs stuck in my head 24/7. With “Rockabye Baby” (there are tons of other iterations, by the way: U2, Coldplay, Queen, Beatles, Nirvana, etc.) I got the best of both worlds: lullabies my baby liked mixed with songs I knew and liked. There aren’t any lyrics to “Rockabye Baby” (so don’t worry, your lil’ shawty won’t be exposed to Kanye’s choicer gems.)

Really, if you think about it, rock and R&B aren’t all that different from a lullaby. Strong rhythm and repetition are key to both. So take away the more “adult” lyrics, tone down the heavy-duty instruments, and you’ve got something baby appreciates. Plus, sometimes it really helps to have “Da-da-da-dat dat don’t kill me can only make me stronger” running through my head as I change a particularly ripe diaper.


{Lullaby Renditions of Journey}

As my Journey-obsessed husband opened this CD, he thought it would prove to be a major butchering of the beloved tunes that defined his guitar-playing style from his youth.

As the first few notes tinkered the ever reckognizeable, “Open Arms” in music box fashion, we were both instantly mesmerized. A shared glance and jinxed expression of, “Cool!” sent us both giggling and aching for more. The next few songs sent us reminiscing into the days of our youth, while proving pleasant and soothing to our energetic 10-month-old.

I admit that although Journey’s strong melodies lend themselves to be effortlessly transformed into quiet lullabies, some songs just never should be played in a nursery. It was hard to listen to the signature guitar rif of “Don’t Stop Believin” being played on a subdued xylophone (or a similarly synthesized instrument). But if you can get past that and the cheesy cricket noises shamelessly added to every song, then you’ll love this subtle introduction of the ever-popular Journey to your rocker-in-training.


And now for the giveaway. Two lucky readers will win a copy of Rockabye Baby’s Lullaby Renditions of Kanye West. Rock on!

1 entry: (mandatory) Become a follower of Belly Mamas using the link on the left.

Extra entries:

3 entries: Add the Belly Mamas button to your own blog and leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

3 entries: Send an e-mail to 10 of your friends with a link to Belly Mamas, and copy Leave a comment here once you've sent the e-mail.

2 entries: Become a fan of Belly Mamas on Facebook and leave a comment on the wall. Remember to comment here too so you get your entries counted.

2 entries: Blog about Belly Mamas on your own blog, and leave us a comment here with the link to your post.

Winners will be announced here Monday, June 7.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Cans and Can'ts of Pregnancy

{the hubs and I on a lovely hike ~ 6 mos preggo}

I swear, as soon as you see those two pink lines, immediate worry and paranoia seem to take up permanent residence in your mind. It's not just about you anymore, and your body is now responsible for growing a little human. Wow, talk about pressure huh?!

Luckily, our body's capabilities are nothing short of miraculous. While it is more important than ever to take care of your body now, I'm here to help you realize that the list of "can'ts" while you're pregnant isn't quite as long as you might think.


- As far as eating goes: obviously, drugs and alcohol are a no go. You should also keep caffeine intake to a minimum and avoid sushi, deli meats (unless they're heated through), soft cheeses, and certain types of fish (mercury levels too high).

- You can't take most over the counter medications. Always check with your doctor before taking anything, especially during the first trimester.

- You can't overexert yourself during exercise. Remember, don't work so hard that you are breathless. Oh, and no contact sports of course.

- You can't lift heavy objects. You may feel silly, but let other people do the lifting for you.

- You can't paint. Be careful and avoid strong chemicals...even some cleaning products. "Sorry, honey. I really shouldn't be scrubbing the bathroom and inhaling the fumes."

-You can't get a period. Hallelujiah!

-And last, but not least, you can't see your feet :)

Now for the CANS:

- You can and should exercise. But you already know how I feel about that.

- You can eat healthy. Yes, technically you are eating for two, but remember that second person is the size of a grapefruit right now. Also, there's a big difference between dieting and eating healthy. Please, don't diet while you're pregnant.

-You can use pregnancy as an excuse for all sorts of fun things: going to bed early, crying at the drop of a hat, your newfound pant size, wearing the same 2 outfits over and over, using your belly as a shelf, the list could go on and on...

- You can enjoy your changing body. Growing a baby is unlike anything else in this whole world, enjoy every moment. Even the swelling and backaches. They won't last forever, and when they're gone, you'll miss the feeling you had while you were pregnant.

The best advice I can give you is to relax, be smart (just use common sense), and enjoy the preggo journey! If you have questions about specific worries, ask your doc, even if it is just to put your mind at ease!

What is the most common "can't" that you always hear??


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It was all i could think about...


Not just any ice cream, but the oreo mcflurry kind from McDonald's.

i even ate it the day i went into labor, for good luck i suppose :)

i wonder if carrying a boy is what made me crave the sweets.

i have heard that myth, that having a boy or girl will determine the things you tend to crave.

i've also heard that some pregnant women crave laundry detergent ... um, that's one you might

not want to act on.

when i was pregnant with my daughter, it was fruit that i craved.

plain fruit and smoothies,

the kind from jamba juice.

in my last weeks of pregnancy with her it's pretty much all i ate.

so, with each pregnancy i acted on what the books said,

even though it may have made my bum bigger :)

i catered to my cravings some, not all, but some of the time.

and i quite enjoyed it :)

according to this article published just last month, here are top ten things pregnant women crave:

1. ice cream

2. pickles


4. salt

5. heavily spiced foods

6. laundry starch (so it is true!)

7. red meat

8. cheese spread

9. pizza

10. pineapple

what kind of cravings have you had?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

10 Things that Change When You’re Pregnant

So . . . right off the bat, many of these things are not pretty. Pregnancy is cute from a distance, but up close and personal, it’s kind of wacked out. So, get ready, get set . . .

1. Morning noon and night sickness. I really believed that “morning” sickness would be restricted to the morning before I got pregnant. I was sadly misinformed; mine was actually worse at night.

2. Random people will invade your personal space. Ever had a stranger run up to you and lovingly caress your bellybutton before? Hopefully not. But get ready. It will probably happen with shocking regularity.

3. Be prepared for a new sensitivity to any news stories or anecdotes related to bad things happening to babies or children. I never liked these stories before, but they never hit home accompanied by the force of hormones.

4. Your bellybutton will do weird things. Might change from an innie to an outtie. Might basically disappear in a hairline like mine did. It’s fascinating, really.

5. You will become hairier. Combine the prenatal vitamins with baby hormones running through your veins, and you won’t make fun of Cousin Bertha and her mustache anymore.

6. Constipation. I will never make fun of constipation issues ever again. Pooping rocks will instill that kind of compassion in a person.

7. Your feet may begin to resemble the Elephant Man’s (no offense, Elephant Man.)

8. You’ll probably gain a new superpower: sense of smell. I’ve had a couple of friends start to think their husbands smelled weird during pregnancy. Thankfully that didn’t happen to me, but I could smell a tunafish sandwich several miles away.

9. Your sense of privacy will probably go down a little. Between checkups at the OBGYN and then labor and delivery itself, a whole lot of people are going to be up in your business. They’re helping, really.

10. Your apparel will change. I know this seems obvious, but unless you are rich (and hey, you might be!) you will probably have a few maternity tops and pants that you will wear in a rotating cycle and want to burn after you are no longer pregnant. I know they have lots of cute preggo clothes now, especially compared to yesteryear, but it still doesn’t change the fact that you have to wear them every other day for a long time.

I know I might be coming across as a downer . . . but someone already posted on things to love about pregnancy (check out the post, it’s not all bad). I just wanted to shed some light on the hairier side for y’all J Good luck and happy tweezing!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Recovery: What your Doc Might not Tell You...

{minutes after i became a mama}

before i get started, i just want to make sure i have a few things very clear:

1. every single pregnancy is different!

2. i chose to have an epidural and i also had to get an episiotomy. that may be a little tmi but i think it greatly affected my healing process.

3. i really, really, really don't want to scare you sweet soon-to-be mama's. however, the things i am about to tell you were unknown facts to me pre-birth. oh how i wish someone would have filled me in!

4. remember that BILLIONS of women have given birth! you can do it!! the "after math" of birth is totally worth the countless snuggles, kisses, smiles and hugs you will get from that sweet little babe.

{similar to the one below! isn't he cute??}

so. without further ado.

things i wish i would have known:

i bled. a TON after having my little boy. everyday i woke up thinking, "today is the day that this gush of blood will stop gushing." that day didn't come for awhile.

my advice? stock up on those mega pads that they give you at the hospital. those things were my best friends for the weeks following birth. you may feel like a grandma but i promise it's okay.

i felt like i was going to be immobile for the rest of my life. okay, that may be a little sarcastic, but the first week was pretty darn bad.

my advice? don't resist when your husband encourages {forces} you to take walks with him every day. even if it is just to the mailbox! it is probably going to be the last thing you want to do but it will help immensely! getting out of the house, breathing in some fresh air, and exercising your body is just what it needs.

there is a lot of talk about stretch marks during pregnancy. what i failed to hear about were the stretch marks on your boobs! i chose to breast feed my son and apparently my body thought it needed to produce enough milk to feed quintuplets. it took about a week to finally regulate.

my advice? if you feel like your boobs are about ready to explode, call your doctor/midwife. and if they give you good advice, pass it along to me! i don't really want that happening again with baby number two.

lastly, it HURT {really bad} to poop. i'm pretty sure it was mostly due to my awesome stitches.

my advice? as soon as you are allowed to eat, drink prune juice! my husband told me to, and unfortunately i didn't listen. i'm thinking i'll pay attention next time. also, those baths they tell you to take work wonders. take them religiously.

lastly, don't try to take on more than you can handle.

my advice? your body will take as much rest as you give it! take naps whenever possible and accept any help that comes your way. enjoy spending as much one-on-one time with your hubby and your new baby as you can. this is a special, wonderful, amazing time of life. i look back at these pictures now and wonder where my little baby has gone.

{little max, just a few weeks old}

do YOU have something to add to the list??


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting Back Your Pre-Baby Body: The Healthy Way

{photo found here}

Now that the babes out, we all expect to be able to leave the hospital in our pre-baby skinny jeans with six pack abs. Right?? Ha. Not so much.

I wish I could tell you that all the pounds you accumulated in your nine month adventure left with the baby on birth day. If that happens to any of you, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to have to hate you. For the majority of us “normal” folks, the quest to regain your pre-baby body is not an easy one. While my son is totally worth it, I never dreamed my squishy stomach and pregnancy booty would hang on for so long. However, with some effort and a little (ok, let’s be honest, a lot of) self-discipline, I am winning the fight to get my pre-baby body back. Before I get into my suggestions to help with your quest, I need to make a couple disclaimers:

1. Avoid quick fixes and unreasonable expectations. Fad diets may sound
appealing, but not only is it hard to continue with something that is so
extreme, the weight will never stay off if you don’t make a realistic lifestyle

2. Put the focus on your health. Make changes to your diet and activity
level because it’s good for your body. The weight loss is obviously an awesome byproduct, but your main motivation should be for your health. Trust me, your body will thank you.

Now that that’s said, onto the tips:

- Cut out the crap: contrary to popular belief, not all calories are created equal. Eating fresh, real foods will be the biggest contributor to your weight loss. Eliminate processed foods with “empty” calories and replace them with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Instead of reaching for crackers (even if they make health claims), grab an apple. Feed your body things it can use.

- Incorporate cardio AND weights into your workouts. Both will help to change the squishier version of you. While it’s important to get the calorie burn of cardio, training your muscles will firm you up and increase your metabolism.

{photo found here}

- 80% of how you look depends on what you eat. It’s true. You could run 6 hours a day and do 1000 sit ups everyday and still not have rock hard abs. The only way to completely get rid of the “pooch” (or butt, thighs, etc) is to eat right. Remember, keep it realistic. If you deprive yourself of everything, you’ll eventually find yourself binging during a moment of weakness. I give myself one treat a week. That way, it’s easy for me to be strict during the week knowing that if I really want it, I can have the ice cream I’ve been craving. I just have to wait for it. This also makes my indulgences much more satisfying.

{homemade granola with bananas}

- Don’t only focus on the numbers. You may lose your “baby weight” really quickly, but your body isn’t so much reflecting that. Or in my case, I’ve been fitting quite nicely into my normal clothes for months now (some are even getting too loose), but according to the scale, I still have 4 pounds to lose. Everyone’s body is different and everyone has different goals. Remember, focus on being healthy.

- Above all, be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself. Slow and steady wins the race right? Your body went through some major changes during pregnancy and you can’t expect it to revert back in an instant (I’m saying that to myself just as much as you guys!). Even though you may not be completely happy with what you see in the mirror, know that it is a more beautiful version of yourself because you are a mother.

{me and my babe}

If you are good to your body, your body will be good to you! If you have any questions or want healthy recipes, leave a comment or send an email ( I’d be happy to help in your quest!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Day in the Life of Jayne (10 months old)

7:30 am awake chatting away in crib
7:45 am get her out of crib, change diaper, snuggle
(dad will often take care of this one while i get some more sleep...what a man!)

8:00 am breakfast time- yogurt and oatmeal today

8:30 am play time (this is the time i check my email, take care of things around the house, laundry, etc.)


9:00 am go for a run in the jogger. dad came this time too.
jayne loves looking around outside as we move along.

9:45 am get ready for naptime
(read a couple books, bottle while singing songs, snuggle, down in crib with her mr. monkey)
10:00 am down for morning nap (this is when i shower and get ready for the day)
11:45 am awake chattin' away in crib.
i get her out, change her diaper, and play together or with her toys for a bit
12:15 pm lunch (fruit and veggie or maybe whatever i'm having)

12:45 pm bath in the sink. jayne never wants to get out.

1:00 pm get dressed and ready for the day
1:15 pm go to park, run errands, whatever may be happening

2:00 pm get ready for nap (same routine as morning nap)
2:30 pm down for afternoon nap


4:30 pm awake. wasn't very happy about me taking her picture.
get her out and change her diaper. go downstairs and get a snack.

4:30-6:00 pm play with toys or go to park if we didn't go earlier or run errands depending on the day. today we got ready for our yard sale we are having. she played with toys while we organized (toys often involve kitchenware. spatulas and tupperware are a favorite.)

6:00 pm dinner (fruit and veggie) play with daddy when he's done working.
sometimes we'll go out for dessert after dinner or go rent a movie.

7:45 pm bedtime routine
(a bath if need be, lotion rub down, change diaper, get in PJs, bottle while singing songs,
recite "good night moon", prayer, snuggle time)

8:30 pm bed!!! this is when i finally get some alone time with my mr.

rinse and repeat!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Your Post-Baby Marriage

{Photo courtesy of Forever Bliss Photography. Yes, my baby has a naturally-occuring mohawk. Now you know.}

In lieu of my four-year anniversary, I thought I'd share a word or two on married life with a new baby.

A few years ago, before I was pregnant or even thinking of taking the dive, a co-worker told me that having a baby "definitely" puts a strain on your marriage. That scared me. I had a happy marriage and did not want to compromise that. I asked my sister, who had a 1-year-old boy at the time, if she felt like having him put a strain on her marriage. She said "No. If anything, it's made us closer and made our marriage stronger." So I realized, as with many "facts" people tell you about marriage and parenthood, it is what you make it. If you expect marriage to be hard, it will be. If you expect a baby to put a strain on your marriage, it will. But it doesn't have to be that way if you choose to make it otherwise.

I'm no authority on perfect post-baby marriages. In fact, I have been guilty of putting my baby's needs before my husband's a little too often, and I can count the number of times we've been out as a couple over the past five months on one hand. But once I realized that my marriage was taking a backseat to my motherhood all too often, I discovered some tips that have helped make my relationship with my husband my first priority. Maybe they'll help you too.

1. Have date night every week. At least. I'm not talking about a full-blown four-hour festivity every time. If all you can do is get out for half an hour to take a walk, get a treat or go for a drive, that's great. The important thing is having one-on-one time, sans baby, to connect as a couple. Oh, and try to keep talk about your baby to a minimum and use this time to focus on you and your hub.

2. Don't Skimp on Affection.
When you have a newborn baby depending on you for everything, snuggling with you and looking lovingly into your eyes, your need for affection and attention is filled very nicely. That along with the changes your body has been through, the hormones of breastfeeding, and lack of sleep creates a recipe for disaster when it comes to being affectionate with your man. But remember, he still needs that affection — possibly more than ever. Even if you have to designate 15 minutes of "snuggle time" every day — especially during your recovery time — do it. (For more on this, click here.)

3. Keep it in Perspective. I recently interviewed a "happy couple" for a magazine feature and asked them how they kept their marriage so strong over the years. The husband said he knew a lot of people who put their marriages on the backburner while they focused on their kids. "But if you just focus on your kids," he said, "What about when your kids are gone? Is the flame in your marriage gone too?"

That's a scary thought. There are a lot of empty-nesters getting divorced these days — a phenomenon called "Gray Divorce." I wonder how many of those divorces could be avoided if couples put more time and effort into their marriages while they are raising kids instead of letting that flame die.  

What are some things you do to keep your marriage happy?