Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Magic Castle Bounce House Giveaway!

Spring is in the air! Kiddos everywhere are eager for some fresh air, and I think its safe to say that parents are too! 

We've all seen the fun bounce houses that you can rent for parties, but sometimes the price can be too much. With Blast Zone you can purchase a bounce house for your family at a great price! Recently, Amanda over at Open Hands was given the opportunity to review the Magic Castle Bounce House. You can head over here to read her full review.

The Magic Castle Bounce House retails for $349.99 and one of you can win one of your own. Please fill out the entry form below. This giveaway ends on Wednesday 3/12. Good Luck!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Please Vote For Me On Top Mommy Blogs!

Mama On The Bright Side has officially been added to the list of Top Mommy Blogs! This is so exciting; it is good news for me and for you! The more often you vote, the higher I will rank on Top Mommy Blogs and the higher I rank the more companies will want to work with Mama On The Bright Side! This will mean more chances for you to win great products!!

It will only take a second of your time, simply click the Top Mommy Blog image below and let the page fully load. The site will not inform you that you voted, but trust that if the page fully loads then your vote counts. You can vote once every 24 hours, so feel free to vote each day! Thank you so much in advance! 

Just Click To Send A Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Sonoline B Fetal Heart Doppler: Worth It?

If you haven’t heard, I am 4 months pregnant with twins, again! This pregnancy we endured a scary time where we didn’t know if we were going to lose one or both babies. During this scary time, I had two emergency room visits and one high-risk pregnancy specialist visit. Needless to say, many hours and dollars were spent just trying to find out if the tiny people in my womb were still alive.

The first trimester can be tricky. It is such a joyful time where you have recently found out you are pregnant and the newness and wonder of it is sinking in. You can still fit into your clothes (for a little while) and see your toes…but you can’t yet feel your baby(ies) or hear their heartbeats on your own. You are forced to trust that they are still alive, every day, with only nausea and frequent bathroom trips as your indicator. I mean, I guess you could pee on a stick everyday too; that may quell your nerves.

But, lets say like me, you had bleeding and found out you had hemorrhages or some other potentially life threatening complications. All the nausea in the world couldn’t convince you that everything was hunky dory. Alas, I found a solution. A friend of mine who is 4 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy bought an at home Doppler and checks her baby’s heartbeat every day.

Now, you may have heard pros and cons about these at home Doppler thingys. I had a sweet friend give me one during my last pregnancy and all I could ever hear, right up until I gave birth, was the mating calls of whales in my tummy; no heartbeats. Yet I gave birth to two healthy babies, who did in fact have heartbeats. So how do you know what to buy?

The scary part is that you may get a bum Doppler that will never work, which may convince you that your baby doesn’t exist. Or, you may get a Doppler that isn’t very sensitive and won’t pick up a heartbeat until 20+ weeks of pregnancy. By then you can feel the baby kick, so it may be a moot point. I just lucked out because my friend let me come over to her house and try hers out before I bought one.

She had purchased the Sonoline B Fetal Doppler off of Ebay for around $50. For some reason this seemed like a low price for a legit Doppler, but I tried it out. I was only 9 ½ weeks pregnant and we found heartbeats! (This may not be the case with everyone.) The Sonoline B is FDA approved and medical grade, with a 1 year warranty. So I thought what the heck. I think the seller even granted a 30 return policy in case it didn’t work.

That same day I ordered my own Sonoline B Fetal Doppler. They send you this tiny pack of “ultrasound gel” but it doesn’t last long. Thankfully my friend let me in on a secret. You can use aloe GEL; it works just as well and is so much cheaper. So I got my Doppler and some aloe gel and I started searching my stomach. All I could find was my own heartbeat and the sounds of my placenta (yes it has a sound.) So I found websites like this which let you hear the difference between mom’s heartbeat, baby heartbeat, and placenta. So helpful!I was only slightly worried because I was only 10 weeks along. This Doppler works best around 11 1/2 – 12 weeks pregnant, when the baby’s heartbeat is easier to hear. So at 11 ½ weeks I finally was able to find both twin’s heartbeats with ease! They sounded like a horse stampede! 

My vote is that this Sonoline B Fetal Doppler is a success and worth the money. It is certainly cheaper than an ER visit! Now, I check for heartbeats almost every day. Early on, I checked multiple times a day. I can reassure myself that they are still there anytime I want. It is such a joy to hear those little heartbeats!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Learning To Listen More Than I Speak

Learning to listen more than I speak. What a concept. It has really become evident to me lately just how much I speak. Sometimes I am funny, sometimes I am eloquent, sometimes I give good advice, and sometimes I just babble. It’s those last two on the list that really get to me.

Advice. Okay, so I have been through A LOT in my short life. Really, I have lived enough for two people, and I have come through it via the grace of God. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (NLT)” Because of this, I think that it is very appropriate to give advice out of your own experience, but only when it is asked of you.

Sometimes people come to me for advice, but sometimes they just come to me to talk and I give unsolicited advice. They are kind and listen to me and even nod along, but looking back, I realize that I was doing them a disservice. Even if what I was saying was worth solid gold, what they needed most was just an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean or cry on. And you know what that boils down to for me? Pride. In searching myself, I find that it is pride that makes me give advice when none is asked. What a sinful and ugly thing pride is. And it is sneaky; it disguises itself as all sorts of things, including concern for others. 

So from this day forth, I am going to make an effort, with the help of God, to listen to others; not with the intent to respond, but to understand their heart.

Babbling. Seems innocuous right? An idiosyncrasy? Maybe; unless you do it out of fear. I realized that when I am nervous, aka fearful, I babble. I talk at the speed of light, I get out of breath, I sweat (eww), and sometimes I make jokes that aren’t very funny. A good friend of mine, Kay, once told me that I didn’t need to make jokes, that I could just be open, honest, and vulnerable instead of hiding behind humor. And this was on the first day that she met me. Oh to have half the wisdom of that woman. At first I was slightly hurt, but that hurt very quickly turned into self-searching and knowing she was right.

If I was to describe myself, some of the words I would use are talkative, people person, and extrovert. But honestly, how many of those terms really describe me? And how many of them are forms of protection; shields; masks? This babbling happens the most when I am meeting new people or in large groups, or put on the spot. Ugh! Such fearful situations for me. Fear. Again, an ugly, deceptive sin that is a skillful chameleon.

2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)” So I know that I should not live under this heavy weight of fear. Going forward, with the help of God, I will attempt to keep my babbling and jokes to a minimum and see what happens when I zip my lips and listen more than I speak.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pregnancy Scare Turned Blessing

Sometimes being a mommy is very rewarding, and sometimes being a mommy is very hard. Some days it is both rewarding and hard! As of today, I find myself 3 ½ months pregnant with twins as I try desperately to console my cranky 13 month old twins who are teething, hitting some developmental milestones, and recovering from 3 vaccinations (don’t get me started on that!)

I have read and heard that each subsequent pregnancy can be harder than the previous one on your body, and I have to say that I agree. I am feeling everything sooner this time (as in unpleasant symptoms) and the physical strain of caring for other children adds to it. But this pregnancy there is more to it for me. My last pregnancy I didn’t have any complications except pregnancy induce hyperthyroidism and late term high blood pressure. It was a breeze really. And with no children at home I could nap when I pleased and take good care of myself.

This twin pregnancy, however, brought with it a new scare. Around 8 ½ weeks into this pregnancy I had a sudden gush of blood which led to an ER visit. They did an ultrasound and found a sub chorionic hematoma around twin A, otherwise known as a hemorrhage. Now, when I hear the word hemorrhage I think of blood, the brain, and death. It does not paint nice pictures. Of course the ER doctor couldn’t tell me much at all except that my OB would want to follow up with me and that I should be on bed rest.

Bed rest is kind of hard when you have twins at home! But alas, I did as I was told. Two days later I experienced fresh bright bleeding and went back to the ER. After a 2nd ultrasound, it was discovered that a new hemorrhage had formed around twin B. Now I had 2 hemorrhages. If you have ever used the internet, you know that looking up an ailment is the worst thing you can do. Search results strike fear into the hearts of all who look upon illness related results. Even scarier, I have a few friends who have lost babies due to these hemorrhages.

To add insult to injury, the new doctor at my OB’s office who saw me last wasn’t even concerned. She didn’t want to see me for a month. A lot can happen in month! It was also found that twin B had half the size of a gestational sac as twin A, which could cause the baby to die.

Yeah, second pregnancy, first trimester; scary! Apparently all women have a 25% chance of miscarriage in the first trimester. Thanks doc for telling me that, very reassuring. So I did what any frightened mom to be would do, I forced my way into an appointment with my perinatologist (high risk pregnancy doctor) and asked his opinion. He said he wasn’t too concerned about the hemorrhages because they were small, but that I shouldn’t lift my kids. And he was more worried about twin B’s gestational sac size, at least until I entered the second trimester.

So I left that appointment feeling a little better. Fast forward and I didn’t have any more bleeding praise the Lord! We, and a lot of friends, sent up an abundance of prayers in the 3 weeks that followed. I even bought an FDA approved medical grade fetal heart Doppler to use at home, just to reassure myself that the babies still had heartbeats. (It is great by the way!)

I want to pause right here to convey the heart of this post; God is so big and so good and so merciful. He always shines through the darkness. My pain is always worth it because it ends up glorifying God and showing the world His mercy and love.

At 12 weeks and 2 days I had an early anatomy scan at the perinatologist’s office. Little did I know, this day would be filled with unbelievable joy. They performed an ultrasound and found that Twin A and Twin B were growing only a few days apart in size! They also found that both hemorrhages had just disappeared! Oh, and they told me that it looks like I am having a BOY and a GIRL again!

I couldn’t have asked for better news. When we learned about the hemorrhages, I had no choice but to trust God. The hemorrhages really gave me the opportunity to trust God and God only. It also showed the love of God as He used people to bless us. We had so many friends step up and into our lives to help on a daily basis.

So thank you to all of you who helped us in any way! Now we just wait and believe that this pregnancy will continue without any other complications.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Scentsy Review

Recently I received a Scentsy Warmer for review, along with a delicious smelling pumpkin scent bar. Boy was I in for a treat! When I first received my Scentsy catalog I browsed through it, dreaming of which one I would receive for review. I was really drawn toward this beautiful cream colored warmer with an intricate outline of a birdcage on it. Side note, I love birdcages; the rustic, for décor only type.

And wouldn’t you know it, my Scentsy rep sent me this exact warmer without me even mentioning it to her. It was meant to be. I was thrilled to try out my new beauty with this new amazing pumpkin scent. Thankfully, I received this in time to use it during the holidays. There is nothing better at Christmas time than the smell of pumpkin filling the house.

My new Scentsy warmer is so chic and it fits right in with my home décor. When you plug it in, it emits this gorgeous soft glow that elicits a warm feeling, perfect for the day to day family activities. Scentsy warmers are so nice because they don’t draw too much attention to themselves; they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

The thing I love about the Scentsy scent bar is that it is a delicate scent. It isn’t overpowering. It is a perfect balance of fragrance. The only downside about my warmer is that it has a large heating surface and you really need two cubes of the scent bar to get a good amount of fragrance. But it is worth it!

Check out Amarillis’s page or her website today. She is a great sales rep who seems to be able to anticipate her buyer’s needs! Contact her today for all you Scentsy needs!